Rome Was Not Built in a Day

Belly Dancer hard at work

Belly Dancer hard at work (not me!)

Many retirees will have heard the joke . . .

“What are you doing?”


“But you did that yesterday.”

“I know, but I didn’t finish.”




I’ve been a bit like that the last fortnight.  The problem with time in retirement is that it is often elastic.  What doesn’t get done today, can be finished any other time, whereas I really need the stress of a deadline to accomplish things.  For the last couple of weeks, I have let external prompts set my priorities, but along the way, I have severed my ties with the last of my pre-retirement life, and tidied a few loose ends as well.

The best prompt was when hubbie said “That’s opened up the room.”  He is referring to the way we re-arranged the lounge room furniture last Christmas, when we needed to make room for ten at the dining table.  I never mentioned we should put it back into its original place, because in my mind, our Christmas layout was only ever a half-way measure until I could get him on side to move even more of the furniture.  He is a “here is sofa, here is television – job done!” kind of guy, whereas I have been feeling claustrophobic for a long time now.  I knew if I planted the seed and waited . . . and waited . . . It only took four months. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Now I am waiting for him to get used to the new arrangement before I ask him to re-hang the wall art to suit the new furniture layout. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Our television, which had been suspended from a wall bracket, switches itself on at midnight.  The first time it happened, the sound of murmuring voices woke me with a start, and I thought we had a break-in (even though we live five floors above ground). I got around the phantom switch by turning the electricity off at the wall, but with the new layout, I can’t reach the plug. So hubbie played with the television settings, until between us, we worked out the root cause. Problem solved. It only took four years. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A former work colleague rang to pick what is left of my brain.  That reminded me that we had started to clean out the garage a while back, and hadn’t finished by the end of the day. I recalled that I was about to throw out a box of “stuff” that could be useful for him.  Now all that was left of my work-life is packed up in a big box which is sitting in the hallway, waiting for me to arrange to get it up to Sydney.  At least that has a deadline . . .

In fact, “Finish cleaning the garage” was on my supposedly motivational list of “things to do“. I keep a filing cabinet in the garage, and we have bought a you-beaut shredder.  I dragged everything up into the lounge room, because it was dark and lonely in the garage, and I made an almighty mess all day, sorting out old “stuff”.  The shredder overheated and had a dummy spit several times during the day, but with hubbie’s help, that is actually one job that was completed.  A two inch strike-through on the to-do list is hardly representative of the day’s effort.

I don’t know if it was on account of moving the furniture 🙂 but poor old hubbie came down with gout.  I think it was because we had a fun Arabian night here at the complex, complete with a belly dancing exhibition.  I suspect he was so frightened he might be called upon to dance, that his ankle swelled up.  Hanging around, laid up on the couch, he got so bored he started reading appliance manuals.  He worked out how to turn off the clock on the microwave overnight, so that it is not consuming electricity unnecessarily.  Not that it will save much, but every little bit helps.  We’ve had the microwave almost six years, and it only needed two buttons to be pressed simultaneously to stop the clock display . . . but Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Hamming it Up for Arabian night

Hamming it Up for Arabian night

Note my belly dancing coin belt - note to self - must take it up again

Note my belly dancing coin belt – note to self – must take it up again

And so it went.  There were twenty-five items on the list, some needed a few minutes, some needed hours, some were trivial, some were important – none were urgent.  There are five still to be crossed off.  They will never get done, until something that is even less important pushes them to the top of a new priority list.



It was the same when I had a paying job.  The last three things in the in-tray never got attended to, even if I had worked hammer and tongs to clear the decks.  I always lost motivation once the pressure was off.

And in the last few days, I have a new priority that has pushed all the others into oblivion. I have received the report on my manuscript from my editor.  Now to settle to tinker with it some more. I cannot share how long I have been writing this story. It is just too embarrassing.

Well, we all know – Rome wasn’t built in a day.

But it WAS built – – – eventually.



28 thoughts on “Rome Was Not Built in a Day

  1. I got a kick out of this post – and your name as well, Garrulous Gwendoline! Very cool costume for Arabian Nights. The idea of your husband purposely (perhaps) coming down with gout to avoid possible participation in a belly dancing exhibition amused me greatly. I suspect the Garrulous Gwendoline may put the poor fellow through his paces and he has justification for his fears – although I trust he loves the adventure of living with someone with so much spirit!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog to read one of my posts. It afforded me the opportunity to check out yours. Glad I did – you write just the sort of amusing posts I’m fond of. I look forward to reading more.



    • HI Kate, Thanks for the follow! And for the positive feedback. Now that gives me something to live up to – a supply of humorous posts. No pressure, huh? As for hubbie, well not sure he is loving the adventure, but he has been on the ride for thirty years, so he might be getting used to it soon. As for dancing, well, he brings his own ‘super-glue’ whenever he has a chance . . . Gwen


    • Hi Lesley, thank you for the comment and thank you for the follow too! I just checked yours out and love it! As for similar husbands, I can’t remember the last time mine bought me a massage voucher for my birthday – ‘cos he never has! So I just planted the seed. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂 ps superfluous use of exclamation marks is the new rouge apostrophe, hehehe


      • Thanks, Gwendoline for the follow and the nice comments. You might need a pretty big seed for that one to germinate – my daughter told him outright that that was what I wanted and he took that not so subtle hint 😀

        Oh yes, exclamation marks (holds hand up) Guilty as charged, M’lud.


    • You have so much on your plate. At least lists help order our thoughts, and it such a good feeling when you actually get to strike one off! BTW, I have been looking at old photographs. Might come the day I need a few for the book if it ever gets published. They are mostly B&W professional shots from the 50s and 60s. I might need your loving touch at some time in the future. I’ll wait to consult with the editor first.


  2. LOL @ the joke. The people I know who are retired seem to be too busy socialising/travelling to get anything else accomplished. You look terrific dressed up – it’s been ages since I’ve been to a themed event. I used to belong to a group that had dinner once a month and each time the cuisine and culture was a different country or region and we used to dress to that style. It was a lot of fun.

    You are a very patient wife! I’m a bit of a nag about getting things done around the house. But all the clutter is mine and I never seem to get that in order 🙂


    • I make clutter too. I keep spreading the various projects across the dining room table, when I really want to take photos of it so I can sell it on eBay. Also, I used to have a friend who did those Host A Murder nights. They were a lot of fun.


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