John and Lisa will be moving to Key Largo, Florida in a couple of weeks. The hospital she'll be working for brought them down there for a few days to see if she'd be interested in a permanent job and they fell in love with the area. And I fell in love vicariously. They called once from a restaurant where they were eating fresh seafood while sitting out on a deck watching the water. They called once after they'd been to the casino. They called once as they were disembarking from a boat ride. In every case, I wished I could just chuck everything here and go join them.
If I could, I'd retire, sell this house and bail. No facing another Indiana winter. No nerve-wracking drives on snowy and/or icy roads. No more sad stories about abusive marriages and bitter custody battles and heartless creditors. No more keeping the numbers of plumbers and furnace repair people posted on the side of the refrigerator. No more "your voice mail box is full" messages from my cellphone.
Instead, I'd rent an apartment. Let someone younger worry about this three-bedroom, three-lot house and yard. I'd simply call the maintenance man when the air conditioner quit running. I'd let the landscaper mow the grass and prune the bushes. I'd sit in front of the computer all day as my "work". Maybe I'd actually sell something if I put enough effort into the marketing end of it. And when I wasn't doing that, I'd be on a pier or at the beach just leisurely watching the ocean, maybe picking up the occasional shell. Or I'd be at that waterfront restaurant chowing down on a grouper sandwich while the waves washed into shore. Maybe now and then I could even afford to hit the casino to throw a few dollars into the slots. And, don't forget, Key Largo isn't far from the Homestead NASCAR track.
If I sound burned out with working, I am. I'll be 63 next year. I've worked my entire adult life. I've been a secretary and a bartender, an insurance underwriter and a realtor, a punch press operator and a solderer. I've worked in industry and government and business. I've toted eggs and totaled up figures. I've worked for mayors and sheriffs and plant managers and tavern owners. I've had jobs I loved and jobs I hated (chicken house mother) and jobs that terrified me (blood-drawer). I'd like to call it a day. Not that I don't give my current job my all because I do but if I had my druthers, I'd definitely say, "enough". And, you know what? I could do it too if it wasn't for healthcare. Because I could afford to retire but I couldn't afford to buy health insurance. So I'll probably have to hang until I'm 65 when I can qualify for Medicare.
During the presidential election, I heard many people who had a practically worshipful attitude about Barack Obama. I never shared that attitude myself, not about Barack or anyone else. But if Obama somehow managed to get me universal healthcare so I could slip off to Key Largo, I'd help shine his pedestal myself.