His paychecks stopped long ago, but he still keeps an office, which I call his man cave. The cramped room is filled with heavy, dark wood furniture he has had for years, back when he got a paycheck. Loose papers cover his desk and legal-size manilla folders are stacked on the credenza behind him where he also keeps his printer, a copier machine, and an ancient IBM Selectric typewriter which he uses to type addresses on envelopes. There are yellow post-it notes stuck to his computer that remind him of deadlines and other tasks to do. The framed certificates on the wall bring back memories of a time when he had billable hours. His office is lit by fluorescent ceiling bulbs and an old floor lamp with a shade that is slightly singed around the edges. They don't make phones like the one he has anymore. It isn't even retro like a Princess. His desk faces the door so that the wires and cables from his computer are visible to people who happen to drop by. These are occasional visitors, like me or sometimes other tenants from the building. He says he's relieved that outside people don't visit; otherwise he would have to dust and use a vacuum cleaner, which he would bring from home.
He has a collection of empty Amazon boxes he saves for mailing presents to his kids who live in other cities. The sagging bookcases, there are two of them, hold heavy textbooks containing out-of-date information that he used when he practiced tax law and got a paycheck, which he called bringing home the bacon. He doesn't say that anymore -- only that he's semi-retired because a retired person must be boring since they are not doing interesting stuff that most working people want to talk about.
Although it takes a while, he eventually opens every piece of mail, including advertisements from carpet cleaners announcing a special deal, even though we have hardwood floors at our house. Occasionally there is a check inside one of those envelopes, which he calls found money because it's not a paycheck. He has no billable hours, but he's semi-retired. This is the man I married. The man I love and adore.
Happy Birthday, Bruce!