While friends have been out hiking and biking, I've been spending my recent days in unproductive idleness. The Excellent Wife (TEW) was down in Florida for a few days: the Excellent Mother-In-Law had decided that she was Florida-bound to see the grandchildren and great-grandchildren (and the one daughter who lives down there), and TEW went along to act as guide on the plane, arranger-of-arrangements, carrier-of-luggage-and-bottled-oxygen-supplies, fetcher-of-airport-wheelchairs, and to attend to similar duties. She left me alone from Wednesday to Sunday with adequate food and warnings not to get into too much trouble while she wasn't around to monitor my comings and goings.
I get up quite early most days. On weekdays this is partly due to the fact that both of us need to get excercised, abluted, dressed, and out the door in time to arrive in a timely manner at our respective employments. On the Thursday, I didn't have to be at work until 10. Normally, I'd be out of bed before 5:00 in order to allow for the activities noted, but, without the need to make space for her, I lolled about a bit, then a bit more... and almost didn't make it to work on time.
The idle time has me re-thinking retirement plans. In a few months, I'll be old enough to collect Social Security. My Social Security "full retirement age" is sixty-six-and-a-bit, but if I can't find anything better to do than I've been able to come up with this weekend, the inactivity might be malignant, perhaps even fatal. I'd better keep working, unless work becomes worse than idleness.
Friday afternoon, though, I engaged in an activity I'd been thinking about, off and on, for thirty-plus years. When I first moved to New Jersey in the mid 80s, I worked at the Fireman's Fund Insurance Company (since taken over by Allianz), somewhere on Route 10 in Parsippany. Paydays brought an extra quarter-hour for lunch, and my fellow employees went to Arthur's in Morris Plains for excellent burgers a few times. On the menu then, and now, was/is a 48-oz. steak. It was a topic of some discussion among my coworkers then, and I never forgot it.
Now, I loves me some steak, and have always eaten about as much as is available without seeming like a complete Philistine. TEW asked me once, "How much steak will you eat?", to which the answer was (of course), "How much have you got?". It's been on my mind for a few years to go order the 48-oz. steak, just to have the experience, and I knew that TEW would not want to participate in it (and her disapproving eye-roll when she heard about might result in permanent ocular damage). So I decided to go on the Friday she was away.
I'm glad I did. It's not a great steak (although the concept of a "bad steak" is not one that will stay together in my head), but it's good. It's good enough that there was not enough left to worry about bringing any home (there was a streak of fat in the middle that I left). I now know how much steak is enough (two and a half pounds would probably have done it), and I never have to do this again. (In case you were worried, TEW's eye-roll caused only minor vertigo and no visual problems to speak of.)
But now it's time to get back to routine: work, keeping my usual hours, and arranging my diet so that the six-or-so extra pounds I'm carrying doesn't take up permanent residence. The ankle is improving; if the weather holds this weekend, I'll try to get a few miles in on the bike to see what I can do.