Although I’m officially retired, I obviously write a bit on the side to keep my mind challenged. At least that’s what I tell myself. Most of you know I actually write to save money on therapy sessions. If I write about my frustrations, then I don’t have to pay a therapist to vent (mostly about my husband, Jack.) It’s a homerun with each article. I save money and I stay married.
So, I’ve found my niche. I’m comfortable.
But, what if? What if all of you, my readers, get tired of my rants? What if Dave, my editor, decides to save The Reporter a LOT of money by cutting me out of the lineup every two weeks? What if my fingers get crushed under a car’s tire and I can’t type anything but a bunch of letters at a time with a flat, thumbless hand? How funny is an article that reads: “jkl kjl kjl kjl klj” over and over? (Yes, just to figure out this particular “what if?” I tried to type with my fingers tucked in. It is NOT easy.)
When all of these “what ifs” keep me awake all night, my husband, Jack, is in bed next to me, snoring peacefully. He’s my biggest “what if” because he is set to retire in less than a month, after flying an airplane for more than thirty years.
Do you understand what his retirement means to my life? It means he’ll be home 24/7. Even worse, he won’t be the captain of an airplane any longer and he’ll be looking for something else to control in his life. Something like my house! This reality is literally looming over my head. I feel like a nervous bird hiding under a parked car, knowing a hungry vulture is sitting on a tree branch nearby, waiting for the owner of the car to drive away, leaving me exposed. I’m either a juicy appetizer for the vulture or I’m back to the “what if” scenario where I’m crushed by tires. Either way, the vulture gets fed.
To be clear, when Jack retires, he will be home, home. Full time! We are not used to being in the same house together that long. The articles I write for The Reporter won’t be enough therapy for me.
Okay. I do have a couple of options:
1. Pray Jack finds another job that will keep him busy. And, if I’m really being honest, a job that will pay for crucial items like groceries, emergency counseling sessions and Botox. (I figure, it’s probably important to keep up my looks in case everything else hits the fan and blows into tiny pieces.)
Or… the big sacrifice…
2. Find myself a job that will get me out of the house.
I hate being a grownup.
It would help if I had a doctorate in some medical profession. I could wear the big white doctor jacket to cover the excess body lumps and the only accessory I’d need to worry about is a shiny stethoscope. Plus, most doctors in the Keys seem to have it made as they only work one day a week – right?
I obviously don’t have a doctorate. So, what are my job options in the Keys? Bartenders here probably make more than most doctors. God knows I make a great drink. However, I’m not crazy about the hours and I’ve never seen a bartender actually sit down. One of my many requirements for a job.
Dolphin trainers. Ultra fun. But I’d need to practically get a doctorate to compete with some of the applicants down here and I’d need even more Botox if I stayed out in the sun all day. Dive master, fisherman, boat captain. Same sun issues, and, honestly, a boat is like an airplane – which is where I worked for twenty-five years as a flight attendant before retiring. Let’s face it… you’re trapped on that metal object for more than a couple of hours with people. Ick. I’m better with animals.
Dogs are my favorite animals so I become a dog groomer. I’m sure I’d need to get certified somehow, but it wouldn’t require a doctorate like a veterinarian. And, the dogs here are chill so they wouldn’t complain about my lack of talent. If they ended up with a bad haircut, I’d still get a kiss from them. Unfortunately, their owners could and probably would bite after they saw their dog’s ‘do, so that’s out.
Realistically, at my age, the only logical job is at a plastic surgeon’s office. Think of the benefits. I’m not talking two weeks vacation and unlimited health benefits for my family and me… I’m talking about benefits like discounted “procedures” and unlimited Botox. But, I might need to study up on medical terminology, i.e. school. Eh…
The best job in the Keys, whether you have a doctorate or not, has to be at a hair salon. But, not as a stylist. Like bartenders, stylists have to be on their feet all day and, even worse, they have to talk to their clients the entire time they are stuck with them. (Remember, I’ve already done this as a flight attendant in my past life.) And, again, stylists actually have to know how to style hair – on humans. I don’t have an ounce of “style” in me.
No, a stylist is not for me. But I could be a receptionist at the hair salon. I’m great on the phone, I’d get to sit down and I’d get all of the perks a salon offers – hair coloring, waxing, cuts, discounts on products, etc. This is crucial for women at my age where maintaining any level of beauty is virtually impossible unless we have a personal assistant exclusively tending to our chin hairs and gray roots.
Plus, it’s common knowledge that hair salons know about everything there is to know in the Keys. If you need a new couch, call your hair salon. If you want to find a new lover, call your hair salon. If you need a gall bladder operation, don’t go to the doctor until you consult with your stylist. They’d know the best surgeon for that type of operation. Beauty salons are the bibles of the Keys.
So, those looming “what if” questions of mine are solved. I’ll simply get a job at a hair salon here in the Keys and get discounts on the things I already pay for so I don’t look like an old ape on menopause. I’ll be out of the house when my husband is home every day, which means I’ll save my marriage. Since I’ll still be married, I’ll have things to vent about in my articles, which will be better than ever because I’ll know all the juicy inside scoop on the Florida Keys.
Working at a hair salon in the Keys is better than winning the lottery – almost.
And, the best part? With all the money I make and save at the salon, I can still budget in Botox – just in case.
Yep… we have come full circle and I can finally get some sleep.
Jana Vandelaar has worked as a freelance writer in the Keys with a loving family, fun friends and smelly pups for more than 20 years. Check out her website at www.janavandelaar.com for more books available online or ‘Like’ her Facebook page at JanabananaINK for daily smiles about life as she sees and lives it. If you enjoy her articles, Jana has a book titled, “ONLY IN THE KEYS, Snort-Laughing Stories About Life In The Florida Keys.” This is a fun book full of Jana’s most popular articles written for The Reporter since 2008. It’s available at Randy’s Florida Keys Gifts, MM 102.4 or at Hooked On Books, MM 81.9.