During the four years since my husband was retired, when I rose, showered, had breakfast, and left for work in the morning, I never gave a second thought to the fact that he often was still asleep. However, now that I, too, am retired, I’m beginning to wonder about our compatibility: I’m a morning person; he’s a night owl. I like to get up, shower, get dressed and have breakfast by 9:00 a.m. at the latest; he likes to sleep until 9:30 or so, then watch some tv or surf the net, eventually decide to eat breakfast, then maybe shower and/or get dressed around noon or later.
I’m ready to go to sleep most nights by 11:00p.m.; he’d rather watch the news, watch Letterman, and maybe even play a little spider solitaire on the computer—sometimes until 1:00 a.m.
(The problem occurs when I’m asleep and he decides to crack open a tray of ice and dump it into the ice bin (crash, bang!), or when he drops something (another crash, bang!), or when he starts flipping through the TV channels on the bedroom set and hits one where the volume is much louder and maybe there’s a heavy metal band playing (crash, bang!) and I end up wide awake, just as he dons his CPAP mask and immediately goes to sleep. Then I lay there pondering my revenge: Should I “spill” ice water on him at 7:00 a.m? Start vacuuming the house at 5:00? Use our noisy blender to make a fruit smoothie at 6:00? I finally drift off to dreamland with get- even plots swirling through my brain. (Of course, by morning the anger has abated, and I quietly begin my day whle he sleeps on—totally oblivious of the evils he has again avoided!)
If I want to go some where, I like to be on the road by nine; I like spontaneity in my day. He prefers to plan ahead. He says if I want to go somewhere, I only need to let him know the day before and he will plan to be ready. I don’t always know, for example, on Thursday afternoon that I want to go to Boston, or Skowhegan, Waterville, or wherever on Friday. So if I decide it’s a beautiful day when I’m up and ready on Friday, once he gets his act together and is ready to do something, it’s 10:30 or 11:00 a.m. By that time, I feel it’s too late to go anywhere.
Meal times are a challenge to coordinate, as well. Breakfasting before 9:00 a.m. most days, I’m thinking lunch around noon, when he just finished breakfast! It could be worse, I know, and I’m sure we’ll work out the kinks. In the meantime, it’s good that we have no firearms in the house! But then, that’s been true for the last 26 years!