Does it ever stop?


Japanese Windflower

The dream of retirement was always to be a time of reflection. You know, reap the fruits of love and labour. So far, it has mainly been the peelings. Life doesn’t really let up. You see those ads of elderly couples swirling about on huge opulent large multi-storeyed ocean liners. A magnificently gowned wife having a glass of wine in one hand and with the other hand holding a rambunctious ruddy faced husband.

The video then takes you to the liner’s cabin (with ocean views) where the same husband with spouse, retire to their enormous red rose petal strewn bed, leaving no doubt that even in retirement, their conjugal activities are still hale and hearty, not having shrivelled or waned at all. Apparently that is a misconception. The elderly are shown as keen and eager as ever to have  sex. Not true, it’s all fake!  It’s fake sex.  In advertising the winning technique is always to show the opposite of reality and truth. That’s how advertising works. That unobtainable and forever elusive search for ‘happiness’, brings in the customers. The truth is that the elderly are more likely to engage in naps, study Aldi’s catalogue, enjoy domestic bickering, but rarely engage in wild sex with rose petals. Their rusty limbs just don’t allow that anymore.

This all because we are now finally getting our air conditioning installed. We signed the agreement some weeks ago. And no sooner had we coughed up the 10% deposit  were told that during the extraordinary heatwave they had been swamped with request for installing coolers. Since the heat left and the weather cooler we did not mind waiting. That’s what is nice about retirement. One becomes time rich and easy does it. This Thursday it is to start and we are excited. It will be nice to have the house comfortable and those wild swings between heat and freezing somewhat controlled by the push of a button.

For some months now we have been tossing up about going and sail away over the horizon. Helvi is still not keen at all on sailing away somewhere. “You are dreaming and letting go of all reality,” she says, while looking at me with those large true-blue eyes of hers. “You will be the first to be bored shitless,” she adds. “Yes, Helvi, but they have libraries and lots of shops, “I tell her narrowing my eyes. “No, it will just be waiting for eating and swallowing food, endless meals and snacks,” she adds to a pile of previous objections.

“I always like travelling when we did not know where we would end up sleeping, that to me is travelling,” she said. “Yes, but we are now too old. I am not going to sit in a bus travelling in Turkey, having a bout of intestinal hurry and on top of that not knowing where we will sleep. We are too old now,” I say with some earnest vehemence.

“Let’s just get the air conditioning out of the way. Keep looking at your Ocean Liners videos”, she adds.

It never lets up.



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23 Responses to “Does it ever stop?”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    Great post, Gerard. I think dear Helvi keeps you grounded. Yes, she’s right: Keep looking at your Ocean Liners videos! Who knows, maybe one day both of you may still enjoy going on a little cruise. After all, both of you are still comparatively young retirees. . . .
    As far as your air-conditioning goes, you say: “It will be nice to have the house comfortable and those wild swings between heat and freezing somewhat controlled by the push of a button.”
    So, you’re right, for now this is really something to get very excited about and to be looking forward to this week.
    Congratulations on doing this wonderful purchase, and may both of you get a lot of comfort out of it! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We shall see, Uta. There is a 90 day cruise Sydney- Sydney all around the world. It would be magic. Play chess/dance or cavort around with other passengers or just peer out over the ocean in moments of lovely solidarity.

      Visit Venice, New York City, Istanbul, with in between eye fillet steak with mushrooms or salmon cutlets poached in coconut milk.
      Regale one’s life of having overcome and achieved victories big or small to other like-wise passengers. Who knows?

      Or sit around with belching passengers, drunken louts in the next cabin, seasickness and a merciless unrelenting raging diarrhoea epidemic doing the rounds between Aden and Fremantle?

      One good thing, the last time between Yemen’s Aden, Fremantle, Sydney, neither Helvi or I got even a hint of seasickness. Much of the crew had been struck down in the Great Australian Bight where the waves are mountainous.

      Liked by 2 people

      • auntyuta Says:

        Good to know that you’re not likely to suffer from seasickness. I still have very good memories of the excellent food we as migrants were being served in 1959 on the SS Strathaird . We still dream about it but know that we never again can count on having another five weeks of absolute luxury that we were spoiled with in 1959. So long ago, but such good memories about a sea voyage.

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Uta. We too did have a lovely 5 weeks trip in 1966 after we married in Finland. Before marriage I went several times on my own to Europe and back. It was far cheaper to travel by boat than air. Now, it is the other way around.
        When my parents decided to go back and live in Holland again, they too went by boat.


  2. petspeopleandlife Says:

    I don’t understand how you and Helvi have gone without air conditioning in the summer. I would have been dead many years ago without Ac in my home or my vehicle. I have not been able to tolerate the heat since I got sick with something akin to chronic fatigue. I can’t be in the sun for more than about 30 minutes. But all that aside this post is about AC and travel.

    I can empathize with Helvi in some respects but I don’t care to travel more than few hundred miles. But for someone that likes going places, as you do, I suppose I can understand the yearning to go on an ocean cruise. The sea air is clean but when inside you’ll be breathing the same air as several thousand folks who are on the cruise with you.

    My friend and her husband go a cruise about 5-6 times a year-maybe more. They don’t get off the ship at the ports but are content to stay on board. I don’t get the attractions but she says she doesn’t have to cook or clean while on the cruise. It seems different strokes for different folks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, but back then, Australia was always a place to make you tough. A place were men are men, women suffered in silence, and sheep were nervous and agitated.

      We never felt so much cold as when we lived in that asbestos sheeted garage in an isolated suburb in Sydney back in 1956.

      Heating and cooling were frowned upon. Just put on a coat, they said. Our neighbours would walk around wearing blankets or winter coats. Houses were built out of paper-thin sheets.

      When the first of air-con shopping malls were built, my mum used to take her knitting and spent the cold days in the heated shopping mall. In the evenings our family used to huddle around a kerosene heater. If the wick wasn’t properly trimmed one risked getting enormous headaches. Geez, it was tough.

      I just like the idea of cruising around on a boat rekindling previous memories and journey on boats. Modern boats are so huge. They have indoor parks and shopping strips, cafes, nightly crooning entertainments, all sorts of experiences. Water slides, pools etc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Well, Gerard keep on dreaming. Maybe one day your dream will come true But be careful what you wish for. 🙂

        I grew up with no ac nor a fan. I sprinkled water on my sheets before going to bed and then got up to put water on the sheets again in the middle of the night. It was torture.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, sprinkling water on a bed seems a good idea. However, I have to be careful. Helvi might well think it to be a religious ceremony to ward off impure deeds or even thoughts.

        My parents always slept with a large plaster cast statue of the crucifixion above their bed. They were lucky it never fell off the wall. It could easily have killed both of them.

        I never understood that. It surely would have put a damper on things if we had followed suit. Can you imagine the eyes of the dying peering down below onto the bed?


  3. Curt Mekemson Says:

    Have to confess that suffering heat and freezing cold would do in anyone’s sex life, Gerard. As for retirement… what’s that? Instead of riding your horse off into the sunset you are writing your horse off into the sunset. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bkpyett Says:

    Love the windflowers! I’m sure you’ll settle down once the air conditioner arrives! Love your description of the rose petals on the bed and bouts of intestinal hurry!! No place like home.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Last time we were in Bali, we had a huge bed full of rose petals. Not only that; the bath had been filled and floating on top were rose petals too.
      The white towels were folded and shaped into swan figures resting on our gigantic bed. It was so big I had trouble finding Helvi.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. jennypellett Says:

    Oh Gerard, this made me laugh out loud. I love you two. I’m sure your gentle banter would keep us amused for hours. Long may it last, cruise or no cruise.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad it made you laugh, no greater compliment. Thank you, Jenny.

      Boat cruising is becoming very popular. The boats are very large and people jog on them to keep fit. There are gyms, doctors, even a decent mortuary where the dearly departed are kept on ice depending on finances. If there is no money you can get a good funeral and tipped into the waiting sea where a kind shark might well have a feast.


  6. Big M Says:

    Aircon was absolutely essential in the last heat wave. Pensioners should be subsidised and fast tracked. People die in their own homes under those conditions.

    Travel becomes more of a worry as we age. Even our short sojourns within Australia are marked by concerns. Will the dogs be okay, will junior burn the house down, have I got enough crosswords for the plane trip, what if I get a leg cramp in the plane…..

    As for intestinal hurry, our little dog, Skye, was afflicted yesterday, so made sure that it happened inside the house. Grrrr.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad you feel pensioners should get subsidised air-con. Actually, houses should be built with them as well as solar panels.
      Yes, the dog and who will look after Milo is a concern. The dog hotel is expensive and Milo still freaks out just by driving past it.
      He hates it. Milo has no intestinal hurry but looks quizzically whenever on my walks I tie him up outside the men’s.. I think he knows!


      • Christine Says:

        Milo freaks out, does he? You can’t blame him.
        Don’t leave him . . for a cruise.
        “.. eating and swallowing food .. endless snacks” ha, ha, ha


      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, Helvi feels I will just cruise along the seas eating and eating.

        Milo does not take to dog hotels. He shakes still even now when we are anywhere in the vicinity of that place.

        I am not sure if it is blackmail by using emotional coercion. He is smart.


  7. shoreacres Says:

    This caught my eye: “Modern boats are so huge. They have indoor parks and shopping strips, cafes, nightly crooning entertainments, all sorts of experiences. Water slides, pools etc.” And that’s exactly why you’ll never get me aboard one of those things. I lump Vegas, Disney theme parks, and cruise liners into one great pile, and firmly reject them all.

    Now, that said, I have some friends who’ve been on small cruise ships — like in Alaska. They have only a few hundred people at most, and because they are smaller vessels, they’re able to go places the big ships can’t. If I were forced to take a cruise, that’s how I would do it — a flight to somewhere, and then a nice, leisurely trip, like up the inside passage. But the big ships? Oh, Lordy. I see them berthed down in Galveston, and shudder.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, that’s what Helvi says too. We never were drawn to large tourist Icons.
    ‘Firmly rejecting,’ has a firm grip in this household too, Linda.

    We never saw the Eifel Tower when in Paris nor their Disney land, not even Iguazu waterfalls in Argentina. We did watch the crowds go by and saw their Tango.

    Each time we drove by a large theme park on our Gold Coast we shuddered. Not to speak of the large banana, the big prawn, the big pine-apple and large oyster monuments spread along our highways.

    We get mixed reports from different people about the large cruisers. Helvi keeps saying she would like unplanned holidays.
    We shall see.


  9. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    As Maya Angelou once said, We are more alike my friend than we are unalike.


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