Nancy Roman

Career Choice

My husband retired last year.

He doesn’t particularly like it.  (I think I might particularly like it, but that’s another story.) He sold advertising, but in this economy, sales were down for the company he worked for, and they couldn’t afford him anymore. He was already 65, so he retired. And now he’s 66, so he’s got Social Security as well as Medicare.

As another aside, it is weird to be married to someone on Medicare, when I am myself so very young. My mother says ‘You think that’s weird – try having a child on Medicare.’

But back to Husband’s dilemma:  He’s 66, the economy is lousy, and he wants to work.

So he’s always trying to come up with ideas for a second career.

We both think he would be great at house-flipping. He can fix anything. But the real estate market is still awful. Especially where we live.

If he can’t sell houses, though, he could still fix them. In some ways, he’d be a great landlord. We could buy a couple of multi-family homes, or a small apartment building. But on the other hand, he has no tolerance for people who won’t take care of their shit. So he’d probably kill his renters. And he could do it. He has a gun.

Perhaps he could sell guns. But he never sells anything. He only buys. Selling advertising was the exception, because he didn’t have to buy any inventory. Once he  owns something, he falls in love. He wants it forever. (Oh wait, I guess that’s a ‘no’ then on house-flipping.) He can’t part with anything. He even keeps old phone books. Expect a story on this eventually.

Computers are out. He’s great with technology – he used to work in the computer industry when storage systems took up whole buildings.  But his skills are outdated and he hates school. He won’t even read instructions (but I think perhaps everyone’s husband is like that.)

He makes cool stuff. He made a potting bench for me out of old pallets.

But he’s careful. That is a very nice way to say that he works S-L-O-W-L-Y.  He could never churn stuff out fast enough to make a profit.

He has a really nice speaking voice. He could be a DeeJay. But he’d only want to play Gene Autry records. And The Beach Boys. The Surfin’ Spurs Station. Although that would be an interesting format, it would be a very small niche.

He would like to invent something. He comes up with products quite often. His best idea is paint-ball guns you could mount to the front of your car. You would use them on stupid drivers. Left turn from the right hand lane – splat.

But last week he had an epiphany.

We’re driving along, and he said, “I think I have an idea of what I’d like to do.”

“That’s terrific,” I said enthusiastically. I am a wonderful wife, as I’ve said as many times as I can fit it in.

“I want to start a horseradish farm.”



  1. Brilliant last line. Certainly didn’t see it coming. Bet you didn’t either. My uncle – a man who was born, grew up and lived his entire life in New York City – once announced that he was going to buy a duck farm. And a few years ago, my husband was so taken with the idea of owning a Christmas tree farm that he actually started contacting real estate agents about it, in rural Virginia, which would have been a problem for us, living in London as we do. Perhaps it’s a phase they all have to go through.

  2. Great post! I like your mom’s comment.

  3. Oh man—did not expect a horseradish farm at all!!! Awesome!!! I am not sure what kind of market there is for that but hey–let him go for it. I think it is a typical guy thing—–my husband has “ideas” all the time….I being the wonderful wife like you—simply nod my head and wait for the moment to pass! :-)

  4. Follow your dreams

    • If he follows his dream, will our yard smell really strong? Will our sinuses be clear?

  5. Oh, I could relate to this post. I was laid off from my job after 26 years with the company, at age 55. Other than the humiliation of being escorted from the building, I didn’t mind being retired. My hubby, however, was laid off at age 63. He had planned to work as long as he was physically able, so retirement has been difficult for him. He tried school bus driving. He stuck with it for a year, but it was an awful year. You might suggest that to your hubby. If that doesn’t cure him from looking for a job, nothing will. Hope the horseradish farm works out. I have a wonderful recipe for a horseradish-cheese spread that’s great on crackers.

    • This is so strange, because that was one thing I actually suggested to him that I almost included in the post. But it was the circumstances that were strange. My husband, after a long weekend trip fell asleep at the wheel and drove his SUV into a culvert. Luckily he was not hurt – but the vehicle was totaled. The next week I saw the ad in the paper for school bus drivers, and so suggested it to him. He was not amused.

  6. Is it too soon to place an order? I like the stuff with red beets in it.
    My husband is also retired and very good with wood. He gets occasion gigs doing fancing trimwork or odd sized custom furniture. He isn’t cheap because he is also SSLLLOOOWWWW but it keeps him happy. Also, love your house!

  7. If you grow them, they will come? I guess. Maybe…
    A horseradish farm. Hmmm. Well, it’s a start.
    Dream big!

  8. Dor

    Oh, I love this one. It made me keep thinking of things he could do. I don’t think a horseradish farm is the answer though. Thanks for sharing this wonderful writing.

  9. Oh my. Try to talk him into the voiceover/DJ thing.

  10. That potting bench is gorgeous! Worth the wait, I’d say. But a horseradish farm? I suppose someone must grow the stuff, but I never saw that coming.
    Thanks for the laugh this morning!

    • I still have no idea why that idea popped into his head, and what the appeal may be….

  11. I’d tell him to go for it. I have a retired couple as neighbors and they’re think outside the box kind of people too. They began selling weeds from their backyard over the internet. They’re advertising the weeds as ancient herbal remedies and people are buying them like hotcakes.

    Best of luck. Your hubby sounds adorable. I LOVE that bench!

  12. Maybe he could start by growing horseradish on the potting bench?

  13. pharphelonus

    sounds like a cool idea.

  14. I know you said you built your dream home, but I think it might be my dream home, too. It’s gorgeous!!! (As is the potting bench.)

    Your Hub and mine (“Peppermeister”) should really partner up and go all out with the gardening. In fact, why don’t they live here and I’ll move in to your place?

  15. Sounds as good to me as anything! However, I do have an idea for him if he wants to invent something. I AM SERIOUS! I have an idea I have been looking for a skilled person to be able to make, market and/or sell. Let me know (it is a simple piece of apparatus, but one that I cannot make myself).

    • I’ll write you for more details. Maybe my husband and you can get rich!

  16. Love the potting bench, would love a radio station playing oldies (although maybe not quite Gene Autry old), and my hubby would ABSOLUTELY love the paint ball to splat inconsiderate drivers.
    Good luck with the horseradish farm…

  17. Great fun. Happy Bloggentines Day to all

  18. Always love your mother’s quotes. She cracks me up. And I think your husband has something with the horseradish farm. We have one near us and it is really a money maker!

  19. I love it! And the picture makes it. This reminds of a Seinfeld episode (I say this at least once a day) where George is brainstorming career ideas with Jerry.

  20. I’m always announcing ideas like that to the Cap’n. And I actually have a job – from which I cannot retire anytime soon. The Cap’n has learned to accept all ideas amiably, and to let it sit for awhile, until I come up with the next Great Idea.
    Love the way you told this. Perfect rhythm!

  21. Horseradish is highly invasive! I once had it in my garden and every time you (accidentally) chopped a piece up, every piece grew into a new plant! It might be the perfect crop for a retiree! Good luck.

  22. The potting bench is really cool! Did you know that you don’t have to work too hard on a horse radish farm? Once you plant horseradish, you can’t get RID of it.

    • I am working up some enthusiasm now…

  23. A lawyer I know retired and now goes to the children’s hospital and holds babies. Apparently there are sick, drug addicted babies who need to be held and rocked. Doesn’t pay anything but it gives this former hard driven attorney a lot of satisfaction.

  24. Well why not? Or combine things, lovely potting bench with starting kits of Horseradish?

    Maybe he could start a business of not flipping houses but clearing out houses that have been abandoned, this would play into his love of hoarding maybe a little to much but it is big business right now. All he needs is a truck, a shovel and some cleaning materials. Talk to the local banks and he is in business. Anything that is usable he can either sell at the local markets or give to Goodwill for the tax deduction.

    • Chris

      Nancy – I like this idea. And he has that nice new big truck to play with. He could do the flea market circuit-he loves talking to people. Or he could sell the stuff to Gary-who doesn’t live that far away.

  25. He does great work. I have a guy who is handy and, though not ready to retire, will not do well in retirement. He, too, may start a radish farm or build Adirondack Chairs or do “consulting” work just to get him out of the house. The man can’t sit still!

  26. Apparently, I am the only one who wants the paintball gun on the car. I think he could make a mint.

  27. I am still laughing at this. Very, very funny, especially the paragraph about the gun. I know it’s hard on a man especially to be without a job when he wants to work. And, yes, you are a terrific wife!

  28. Alright, I have several things to say:
    1. My mom said the same thing when I said “geez, being 50 makes me feel soooo old!” and she said “try having a daughter who’s 50!”
    2. If that picture is the back of your house, o-dear-lord-I-am-sooooo-jealous!!!
    3. Please put us on the list to purchase the paintball on the car thingie. My husband will ADORE it.
    4. I have the perfect idea (even tho you live nowhere near me) – buy a house out here that I can rent. Your husband can fly here to fix things up. I promise we take really good care of our stuff so he won’t have to shoot us.

  29. Instead of a paint ball gun, I have always wanted to be able to install a “crawling” sign on my front bumper that is displayed backwards so it can be read in the car that is ahead of you rear-view mirror, and on the back bumper with regular display for the car (s) behind you. I would love to leave messages like, “Next time use your turn signal,” or “Your blinker has been on for the last 50 miles,” or “GET OFF MY TAIL YOU IDIOT!” or other messages of your choice. The messages would be given via voice activation – you won’t have to do texting and driving, or it can be standard messages, the ones you usually use and can be displayed by a voice command like “#1” or “#7,” whatever.

    It should probably, however, use messages with a more “friendly tone” (especially in LA), to avoid Road Rage. . .

  30. Chris

    What happened to the alpaca farm? Remember, I’ve got contacts. Paula: yes, that might invoke road rage. My idea was always that a little flag that said “STUPID” attached to a suction cup could be shot at the car (maybe it needs a magnet?) but I think I got that one from TV, not an original idea.

  31. I love your blog, it is so funny and entertaining. :)

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