Tuesday, July 9, 2013


R U in a rut?  Well, yes, those letters are in rut, but not necessarily YOU!

Everyone will tell you to watch out for the ruts in the road, to avoid the ruts in the road at all costs, etc etc.

But has anyone elver mentioned the ruts on that garden path?  Or that wooded path?  Not really the actual path itself but... well, let me explain.

I'm retired now.  I was an energetic work horse in the work force... uh, back in my day.  But, I would find myself in a rut, the habitual rut.  Get up. Prep for work. Drive to bus stop. Ride bus to work. Greet the security guards. Walk into a usually empty office. Make my pot of coffee. Take my pills. Make my oatmeal. Pour a cup of coffee, eat my oatmeal and await the arrival of office staff. Like clockwork, the routine kicked in with variety added by which day it happened to be.  Monday: Office staff meeting. Tuesday: Division Manager staff meeting. Wednesday: Branch Manager staff meeting. Thursday: Office staff meeting. Friday: Executive staff meeting. Then the rest of the day would be that of handling office politics, doing some programming. Finishing the pot of coffee. Lunch alone. Waiting for the five o'clock whistle.  To make it even more mundane and repetitive - the same 6-8 hrs of music would play through the headphones each day.

To say I looked forward to fire drills, phone calls from non-irate end-users or a visitor to stop by -- yes, that would be an understatement.

At the end I think I even had established a routine of clothing. Monday: blue shirt, gray slacks. Tuesday: white shirt, dark blue slacks. Wednesday: tan shirt, brown slacks. Thursday: blue pin-stripe shirt, dark gray slacks. Friday: white shirt, dark green slacks. If you didn't know what day it was, a quick glance in my direction and you probably could figure it out. I'm not saying it was a routine.  No, it was a rut.

Now I'm retired.  There should be excitement. No ruts.  I'm ambling down those garden and wooded paths, enjoying the moments and all the things to make me stop and smell the roses.


Monday: wife does laundry. Tuesday: Sr lunch and 2-4-1 movie. Wednesday: Grocery shopping. Thursday: Cards. Friday: Sr fish supper. Saturday: Visits from kids. Sunday: Church.

The above is my friends' schedule.  I refuse to fall into that path rut.  I remember everyone telling me how much I'd enjoy sitting in my rocker on the front porch and just lazing the day away.


I garden my path.  Any rut I find there is where I let the water hit too fast and furiously.  The wooded path is really just a narrow lane going through the back of my property after I cross the bridge.  It wanders among the trees and bushes, always showing me something new each time. Sure I have a set of rockers on my porch and when I sit in them, there are usually another five or six people with me and we're having a blast sharing a joke or memory. And need I mention the big RV rig sitting beside the house?  Every chance I get, that thing is on the road.  Yes, I lamented the increase of gasoline prices but I have two choices -- sit in the rocker and stare at it or get in it and rock my life.  There are several local campgrounds and if you do like us, share the experience and costs, trips are well within the means of a retiree.  My wife's brother and his wife also have an RV.  We make our trips and share the expenses.  It is soooo simple.  Each person puts in like $100 and all gas and camping expenses come out of it. Souvenirs, restaurants and other items are handled independently.  Our last trip to California from Ohio - a 3 week excursion - cost us (my wife and I) only about $1200 for our share.

Maybe I am living in a rut. I travel, I write, I do things.  Maybe the rut is strictly how one looks at the moment of existence.

Shake things up!  If today is Monday, put on a pink shirt and black slacks.  Leave that packet of instant oatmeal on the shelf and go wild - have a Hostess cupcake.  Get involved with that little white squiggle on the chocolate icing.  Maybe you can't move those meetings around but you can certainly change the music you listen to.  If you listen to Metallica, put on some Mozart or instead of George Strait, give Phil Collins a whirl. Lady Ga Ga, Phil Phillips, Toni Braxton, Paula Abdul, Celine Dion, Tim McGraw, Justin Bieber or even Frank Sinatra can help you beat that rut.

For lunch, forget the sandwich or soup.  Try some shrimp, meatloaf, buffalo wings or try Thai instead of generic Oriental food.

Ruts are what you make of them.  With the proper alignment of your view, ruts are no more than just a minor bump in the road, barely noticeable.

So the next time you find yourself ambling down the garden path and realize you're in a rut -- stretch out, grab that rose (yes, thorns can hurt but nothing is without some pain) and inhale.

Until next I ramble on...

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