SOUR GRAPES: Still retired. Sort of.

By Jim Magdefrau

Two years. Retired. I should be getting the hang of this.

This is my second attempt on gathering reflections on this, but it turned out to be a grumpy piece of how work was getting to be like a job. Enough of that.

Let’s say I’m not completely retired, and I’m not completely working. It’s part of being radically non-committal. Just ask the poor salespeople who wrangled with me by phone after I cancelled our KC Big 12 trip with the hotel, trying to commit me to book four days in Wisconsin. It went from one operator to the manager who tried to close the day. Heck, I barely get to Cedar Rapids. After mumbling, “MMMMM well, I, uh, YYYYA see. I don’t know” between more and more aggressive sales pitches, I finally stood up for myself and said, “May I respectfully decline?” Silence. That’s pretty stern for me. Wow. It worked!

It allowed me to get back to doing … nothing.

Well, not really. Several hours a day I’m at the computer, working on local health numbers, sports, and updates online. It’s not a lot, but I hope it helps. There’s no calls or emails from the bosses, because there are none. If I do get call, it’s a butt-dial, and something to laugh about.

I have the retirement 10 pounds on me. Exercise is walking down to the basement to bike, walking back up the stairs and through the kitchen, where that trail mix is sitting right there. I can’t pass it by. I will walk uptown too, but that’s for a meal to go. So that’s a wash. It’s the opposite of what I set out to do.

Young journalist in action.

There’s also the places I go to each year that I can’t go to until things calm down. Kansas City. Des Moines. Malvern. Imogene. Shenandoah. High Trestle Trail. Columbia. It’s tough to recreate these trips at home. But I try. There’s the Buffalo-seasoned tater tots recipe from the Foundry. Stationary biking and pretending it’s on a trail. Listening to and practicing music to be ready for the next jam session. Online chats while watching the Cyclones.

Like everyone, I’m ready to have some fun. But there’s still some newspaper in me. I spent one day last week helping a former colleague insert a multi-page PDF into a newsletter using Publisher. And I’m using manual settings on my camera. A whole new world.

And I’m heartened to see my great niece, 4, laying out her own newspaper in Missouri. It’s good to see her start so young, and I hope she realizes, it never stops.

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