NOTE: The seconds, minutes, hours, and days of retirement are often filled with the minutiae of “nil.” That feeling of less responsibility, more leisure, and a lot of hardly anything is both positive and negative. This blog attempts to paint a few slices of the sort of life that reflects the “nil” that retirement can often be.

It’s Valentine’s Day. A day for a husband to shine by giving his wife cards, flowers, candy, balloons, and as many symbols of true love that the day will allow. And even for me, who has been married so very, very, very, very many years, giving Valentine’s Day gifts is still really great.

So who knew that this year I’d be in competition with my son? Who knew?

Let me explain.

My wife’s birthday was January 29th. Our son, who lives in another state, came through with a gift of flowers. And attached to the flower vase was a small container of candy and a helium-filled HAPPY BIRTHDAY balloon.

So Valentine’s Day will be the 16th day since my wife’s birthday. I will certainly give my wife a gift today. Maybe flowers. Maybe candy. But I cannot…honestly cannot…give my wife a balloon.

Why? Because the balloon my son gave her on her birthday (16 days ago) is still fully inflated. The flowers are gone. The candy is gone. But the balloon still towers over our domestic domain. It does not even seem like it wants to deflate. I feel like the balloon itself is actually somehow enjoying preventing me from getting a competitive balloon.

Why would I want to get a ballon that says HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY when the HAPPY BIRTHDAY balloon has already been our official condominium balloon for 16 days? I could never compete with that level of balloon love.

So, sadly, I cannot give a balloon this year.

Thank’s son. Thank’s a lot.

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