My So-Called Retired Life.

First things first.  I should tell you guys that I have a friend named Kim and that she is true blue.  About a minute before she was my friend she was my boss.  She’d be the first to tell you that she taught me everything I know and I can honestly say there’s more than a morsel of truth in that statement.  When I accepted the job as her assistant, my very first job in publishing, she said she was offering it despite my recent work as a bleeding heart environmentalist (“I hope you don’t expect us to start recycling”) and I knew this was going to be fun.  She did not disappoint.  When I told her I was leaving to accept another job, my palms sweaty, my nerves on edge waiting to see what she’d say, she was about as supportive as a person can be in her very Kim way (“Fuck, Becka, you’re going to work for Nancy?  I want to work for Nancy!  I hate you.  Get out of here, go be happy”).  In the intervening years between then and now, since that day she hired me and well past the day she watched me move on, she has been one of my biggest champions, one of my favorite people, one of my dearest friends.  Kim has a big big heart and she gives and gives to the people she loves.  I’d like to believe I’ve been respectful of her generosity over the years, that I’ve managed to not take advantage of it.  I guess only she could tell you that for sure.  What I do know is that she is someone I can turn to in desperate times and she’s still one of the first people I want to share good news with.  I can’t imagine that ever changing.  That’s my definition of true blue.  That’s Kim.

One more thing to know about Kim?  She has a sweet-ass beach condo in Sarasota, Florida.  We’re talking two bedrooms, two baths, with a balcony, people.  A super sweet condo.  And, in another shining example of Kim’s generosity, I’ve been living here solo for the better part of this month.  Since January 11, with the exception of a brief and blissful sojourn to the “other coast” to visit Chez Shannon, I’ve been enjoying leisurely pool time, taking long runs by the beach, reading like a fiend, and just generally getting a feel for the retired life, along with all of the other, well, retirees.  Lance says I’m like Cameron Diaz in “In Her Shoes,” without the long legs and curmudgeonly senior sidekick.  I actually think I’m more like Shirley MacLaine, the curmudgeonly senior.

What has the retired life taught me?

I now know for certain that children with noodles have no place in pools.

I’ve learned that my love for men with British accents is not age-biased (I have a mad crush on Andy who looks like he’s sixty-five but sounds like a solid forty; alas, married, not widowed).

I’ve learned that Sherrilyn Kenyon is a terrible writer (of course, that didn’t stop me from reading all 309 pages of Night Pleasures: A Dark-Hunter Novel; the condo’s bookshelves are silly with trashy romances).

I’ve learned how to make my own coffee frappuccinos in Kim’s blender; all of the taste, a fraction of the calories!  Ditto on homemade guacamole.  Seriously, forget early bird specials.  This sweet condo has a kitchen and I’m happy dining in.

I’ve learned that Carrie Mathison is batshit crazy and should be removed as Nicholas Brody’s handler immediately.  Immediately.  (Hey, a gal has to escape the sunshine occasionally.  Thanks to Jen and John, I’ve been escaping to Homeland: Season 2 on Showtime Anytime.  One word: “Wow.”  Another word: “Carrie, sweetie, he’s just not that into you.”)

And I’ve learned what I suspect many snow birds have known for some time now: Southern Florida winter weather rocks.  It’s consistently in the 70s, the sun is almost always shining, and the only burning questions on this gal’s mind are “Do I hit the pool today or the beach?  Or both?”

Yes, I guess above all else I’ve learned that the retired life is the life for me.  Next up: Finding a job that I can one day retire from.  How hard can that be?  Tomorrow.  I’ll focus on that tomorrow.

Today?  Mahjong!  (Just kidding.)

And a thank you card to Kim, for sure.

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