BY MARY WOLBACH LOPERT
Moderator: Welcome ladies and gentleman to Spouses of Spouses @Home. Here at S.O.S.@Home we provide support for those who are either living with a work-at-home or a recently retired spouse.
Ceil: What about a laid off husband?
Moderator: Ceil, we covered that last week. I’d like to welcome our new members… Ceil put your hand down. Yes, new members – Walter and Georgette. Walter why don’t you tell us your story?
Walter: The entrepreneurial bug just bit me. Things were getting dicey at work so I took an early retirement and I’m setting up a home office. I just don’t know why my wife is always ticked off at me.
Ceil: Oh, I can tell you.
Moderator: Ceil, if you interrupt again, you are suspended for three meetings this time. Would anyone else like to comment?
Kathy: Sure. Walter what do you do for lunch?
Walter: I ask her at breakfast what she’s making for lunch.
Kathy, Patty, Coleen, Melanie: GASP. Oh no, here we go again.
Moderator: Kathy, I’ll handle this. Walter, you must learn to be independent. Your wife has her own schedule, right?
Walter: Yes, she works part time and volunteers at our kids’ schools, but she still should be willing to…
Moderator: Walter, stop right there! You need to realize that she had things running smoothly for years. You’re a grown man so you can make your own lunch. We’ll have a small group discussion later in the meeting. One of these groups will be able to help you. Now Georgette, tell us about your situation.
Georgette: I’m recently retired and was looking forward to spending time with my husband doing all the things we’ve talked about for years.
Ceil: Ya, and I bet he doesn’t want to spend a dime.
Moderator: CEIL, you’re outta here. Now.
Georgette: No, that’s not it. He suggested we take up skiing. After three lessons we took off on our own. He told me I could handle that one run. (Sob) It was so steep with all those bumps. I fell, my ski came off and I couldn’t get it back on. All he did was stand at the bottom of the run and yell at me. (Sob, sniff.)
Patty: The same thing happened to me only it involved mountain biking. “Go faster,” he yelled. Who wants to ride fast over boulders and roots? I almost killed myself. I found a mountain bike group ROMPPs – Retired Old Men Pumping Pedals. He’s tired when he comes home and I’m not in the ER.
Moderator: Brilliant solution, Patty. I think it’s time we started the lightning round of what’s happened this week. Ceil, I see you trying to sneak back in.
Coleen: He expects me to drop what I’m doing if he hears a new microbrewery is opening, even if it’s halfway across the state.
Diane: I know he’s trying to be helpful, but he washed my new silk lingerie with his work jeans, in hot water and bleach because everything was blue.
George: Now that she’s home, she won’t let me eat a cheese omelet every day.
Carolyn: He follows me around the house all day long, ranting about politics.
Bruce: She doesn’t get dressed until noon.
Louise: He’s gone more now than when he was working.
Ceil: And you think this is a BAD thing?
Moderator: Ceil – OUT.
Jennifer: There’s only so many times a week I can come home from work and tell him I love having chili for dinner, again.
Judy: He thinks he’s a better housekeeper than I am and he’s fixing things that aren’t broken.
Allen: She threw out all my good underwear. Who cares if it had holes?
Melanie: He never leaves the house.
Allen: She’s always gone.
Melanie: He’s re-sorting the recyclables.
Allen: I’m tired of being asked to go out only to end up shopping and having me be the designated “holder.”
Bruce, George, Walter: I hear you brother.
Ceil: You just don’t know how hard it is to really shop.
Moderator: I’m calling security, Ceil.
OK, I think that’s enough sharing. Before we break into small groups I want to leave you with this thought: The best defense against a spouse @home is a little kindness, a bit of patience and a large helping of amnesia.
Ceil, Give me your S.O.S. @Home membership card. You’re banned for life!