The Retirement Scoreboard – Part Six – The Retired House

structure2Retired houses are different from houses that are still working. If you enter one you need to be able to discern the difference – and here are a few pointers to make your stay pleasant:

a. A working house may have a fresh smell to it – that is the result of hiring a cleaner to drudge at home while the householder drudges elsewhere. The fresh smell has been sprayed from a can.

The retired house with a fresh smell has it as a result of the retiree throwing out all the old crap that was hanging around and opening the windows.

If it does not have a fresh smell it is because the retiree has something better to do – model trains, or petunia gardening, or Pokemon – to do with their time. If they are cat-person retirees beware of any areas with a fresh smell.

b. Working houses are never finished. There is always something being renovated or replaced or upgraded. The working person has a wage and can spend it. The retiree hasn’t, and as a result tends to make do with what is there already. This may account for the state of the lounge room furniture. A retired house is a painting that rarely has any more brushwork added to it.

c. Retired houses have animals. The cats mentioned before, budgies, dogs, or worse. Some retirees in the country take to native animals, or vice versa. Few actually have sheep roaming in their dining room but it is not impossible. Chickens are likely.

If you are phobic about animals choose someone other than a retiree to visit. Apartment dwellers are a safe bet.

d. Retirees sometimes have children or grandchildren to visit – thus their houses have to make some concession to modern times. The television set is the most common thing, and might only be fired up for those visits. It is a brave or stylish grandparent that keeps the 16″ HMV black and white set prominently in the lounge room  ” for the littlies ” and compels them to watch it when they visit. I think it is a peculiar form of abuse that they find charming.

e. Retirees have liquor cabinets. You can groan as much as you like about the prospect of a nice warm sweet sherry on a nice warm day, but the fact remains that you might get a ” wee drappie ” from the garrulous pensioner that consists of a half pint of single malt. You takes your chances.

f. Retired houses are a bad prospect for robbers. The people are there during the day, and if they have been warned, they lock up. If they are like some of the people I know, they are armed, and itching for the opportunity…

g. Retired houses have pictures of children and grandchildren on every available horizontal surface. Comment on one, and you will be forced to comment on them all. Make sure you are complimentary.

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