So we got back just about two weeks ago. Because we embarked for Italy/France just after I walked out of work, there really wasn’t any routine about becoming retired. Nor has there been any real opportunity to sink into a pattern since we have returned. The first week was spent pretty much catching up on my life and paying bills that had been sitting around for a few weeks. Besides which we had a terrible case of jet lag and had to readjust to the 9 hour difference. As you know, I’m a big believer in support groups, however I was unable to locate a good jet-lag group. There was one that met at three in the morning, but it seemed somehow counterproductive to my goal. Feeling alone on this challenge I realized that if I watched a bunch of zombie movies I would find some souls that I could relate to. They seemed to move, talk, and think like I felt, although it soon became clear that when they said they wanted to “Eat Italian” it meant something totally different. Anyway, with their help I was soon able to bounce back.
I should backtrack a bit since the most common question we were asked when we got back was “How was the flight.” It was a little different, that’s how. First off we were on a six a.m. KLM flight out of Rome to Amsterdam. This meant we had to be picked up at 3:30 in the morning. We had ordered a car and driver to take us and sure enough a black stretch BMW arrived at our hotel and whisked us over to Da Vinci airport. I highly recommend to everyone a middle-of-the-night drive through the deserted streets of Rome at 160 kilometers per hour. It was beautiful, quiet, and I felt like I was in the Batmobile, cruising through an ancient version of Gotham City (need I remind anyone that for 10 years I was Commissioner Gordon).
Anyway, we got to the airport and there are two ladies to check in the baggage of the 200 of us on this flight. Not really a problem until one guy got flagged for having too much weight in a couple of his numerous suitcases. He then proceeds to start unpacking everything, laying it out on the airport floor, re-shuffling, re-packing and generally holding up everybody. He then sits on his suitcases and finds an assistant to pull the zipper. Then they re-weigh his bags and he still has it wrong. This guy really wanted to avoid paying the extra $25, so he starts all over. He goes through the same routine, re-sorting his clothes, lining up the pants, underpants, and shirts and zipping it all in again. No dice. Half an hour later, he finally strips and starts putting on all his heaviest clothes in multiple layers. I swear he was in his underwear at the front of the line picking out heavy clothes and this time zipping himself up. Somehow they let him on the plane. The Italians are a very forgiving people.
Anyway we switch planes in Amsterdam and get on a straight through flight on KLM, the Dutch national carrier to take us to SFO. We boarded the plane and then good things happened. They had screwed up our seating so they had to bump us to Dutch Business Class or something like this. We said goodbye to the hunter/gatherers and those afflicted with Elm disease in the economy section and moved ourselves on up to the more bucolic section of the plane. We settled in, enjoying the extra legroom, and complementary tulips, Heineken, and reefers provided. Talk about a real Dutch Treat.
OK, so what will I do now that I am retired. I mean the racetrack isn’t open year round. I’ve decided to pursue a new hobby: Writing internet reviews of products for items I’ve never purchased. I’ll just go to all the shopping websites (well, maybe not all of them) and make comments about the look, feel, and quality of different things we consume. I think I can fill up about two or three hours a day doing this. I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of my waking hours. I’ve always wanted to learn to folk dance, but I don’t have any Croatian clothing so I’m not sure how that will pan out.
Anyway, I know that many of you are still hunting for that perfect holiday gift. Well, I can’t really help you with that, but I can point you to the one gift you shouldn’t give to anyone unless they are a gibbon, bonobo, or chimpanzee: The Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer!
I’m not sure what inspired Ms. Hutzler, nor do I know what happened to the first 570 iterations of this indispensable kitchen tool. I urge you to check out both the reviews of this handy item and the Questions and Answers. The creativity on display pretty much rivals anything else done by humans. It’s why I want reviewing to be my new pre-occupation.
One final note about the trip. Both the Fabulous Miss K and her unbelievable coat are doing well. Neither one had problems at customs once we convinced the agent that the coat was not alive, nor was it a stolen relic.