Monday, February 20, 2017

a little misty

This retirement stuff is a pretty good gig.  Lots of reading, time with kids and grandkids, bits of projects in the house and gardens, some gym time. 

And I'm getting really good at naps.

Last week, Jack and I went to Ephraim for a few days.  He went to a class to learn to make another piece of furniture.  I stayed in the hotel for the first two days (which was like retirement without dogs) and then spent time driving around in the truck on the last day we were there. 

I drove down to Manti and stopped for lunch at the same place we ate breakfast at on the day Stu and Shi were married. 

then

It was the kind of place my dad used to love to drive to for a late lunch or early dinner.  A place that served a tossed salad followed by chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and milk gravy.  Sitting in that booth, looking out the window at the motel where Shi and her parents stayed on her wedding eve fifteen years ago, remembering so many meals in restaurants just like that one with my dad, left me feeling misty and emotional. 


now

So much time passed by, so many good memories.

The other day at my mom's house, I picked out a Dove chocolate from a bag of them on her kitchen table.  I love that when I open a Dove chocolate I get not only a sweet little treat, but also a few words to read.  This is the wrapper from my Dove chocolate last week:



I thought this was excellent advice and got a little misty after reading it.  I showed it to my mom, who smiled and noted that I probably shouldn't be following that bit of advice. 

The first thing I remembered that I could quote from my dad was his never ending quest for someone to pull his finger, and then, of course, he would fart.  And laugh.  Every time. 

I thought of his determination to see the world watered and green if only everyone, everywhere would install rainbirds.

I thought of his stories about trains and working at the smelter and the Silverbell gas station and being in the army air corps. 

I thought of his tale of drinking a cup of tea with his mother who would then offer to read his tea leaves by tipping his cup upside down into his saucer and then carefully examining the leaves and proclaiming his future for that day.

Then I thought of the day when I learned my daughter and her family were moving to California.  Jack understood how distraught I was by this and immediately told me I would just have to plan to visit them often.  When I told my dad they were moving, he took my hand in his, looked me in the eye and said he knew how much I loved that little family and that must have been one of the hardest things ever for me.

I'm not sure my dad was really the kind of guy people would quote.  But he was funny and experienced and smart and thoughtful and very kind and he knew me.  Thinking about him and being in their house, sitting on the kitchen bench next to where he always sat, sitting on the couch next to where he always sat, and sitting in a small town cafe where we'd spent time together all likely contributed to my misty emotional state.  

I suppose that's how the thing called death works.  You can find joy in the memories even in the mist of still raw emotion.  And it's okay.

Friday, February 3, 2017

great news followed by yoga

Whitney talked me into going with her to a yoga class this morning at the gym.  I was looking forward to seeing her and Meredith and also figured I could handle an hour of yoga.  How hard could it be really?

I got through it all right.  It felt like an hour of stretching and warm up for a zumba class that made me realize all of the weak places in my body.  It seems my butt is my strongest part.  Or at least sitting on my butt was something I could do.  I can see how yoga could offer significant strengthening and flexibility opportunities.  And possibly a need for advil.

But the thing that made the yoga experience all totally worth it was the phone call Whitney got as we were walking into the gym. 

I was delighted to be with her when Herschel called to tell her he was accepted into the School of Medicine at the University of Utah. 

Pausing to savor that memory.

I am proud of all of my kids--the adults they've become, the lives they live, the joy they bring.  And while I know Herschel is at just the start of a long arduous path that will eventually take him to being a doctor, mostly, I know how hard he's worked over the past few years and the path he's taken in life so far to get to this point.  I could not be happier for him right now and I am so proud of him for deciding to do something hard and making the necessary sacrifices and taking the steps to get himself on his way to that goal. 

Thursday, February 2, 2017

damn styes

The styes are back.  Been back for maybe three weeks?  Too long, however long it's been.  This post will, I'm sure, sound negative.  I prefer to think of it as simply documenting the events of yesterday.

I've been to the eye doctor three times this go round.  Realized yesterday I've seen at least six different docs about styes over the past few years.  (Thank you various insurance companies.)  Saw a new guy yesterday who is apparently a stye expert.  We had a very entertaining and enjoyable visit before he did the injections, which were so intense that I can't really remember much about the entertaining and enjoyable visit.

Without going into a lot of detail, I'll just say that the injections were so intense that they caused completely involuntary swearing to ensue and also caused my whole body to contract, from the hair on top of my head all the way to my curled up toes in my boots, also extending through my fingers that tightly--vicelike actually--gripped the arms of the exam chair. 

I'm pretty sure the injections lasted for less than a minute or two but just seemed like a lifetime.  Long enough for me to make a mental note about the viselike grip and the curled up toes.

But maybe I'm just a baby about pain.

Holy cow.  They're just styes for heck's sake.  Not massive cancerous growths.  Not blindness.  Not any one of countless medical emergencies.

Little tiny clogged oil ducts in my eyelids.

But they're buggers to open up.

Here's hoping the injections worked and the ducts will be just normal ducts for a while.

And while I'm hoping for miracles, how about some cleared out skies with sunshine and blue skies?

Or a sandy beach with ocean waves? 

Is this all to much to ask? 

I think not.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

phew, it was only a nightmare

I had the worst nightmare last night.  Or early this morning.  I woke up at 5:55 feeling dreadful.  Full of dread.

I dreamed (nightmared?) that I was at work.  My office was large and had lots of windows but there were dark heavy drapes covering all of the windows so the room was dark and dreary and stuffy and oppressive. 

I had no work to do.  There were four documents on my massive, old, broken, metal desk but I couldn't remember what any of the documents were about even though I knew they were something I had worked on in the recent past. 

My two coworkers were in the dark office with me but they were lit up--bright little auras surrounding them in the otherwise stuffy room.

I felt so desperate in that room especially when I suddenly remembered I still had three days of work before my retirement. 

What a relief to wake up and realize it was all just a bad dream.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

things i've already learned about retirement

After less than two days of retirement, I've already learned/realized several things.

1.  It would be very easy to sit in my chair all day, excluding the time spent fetching food, letting dogs out and back in, etc.  Note:  I have not done this.  I figured this out very early yesterday morning and if there's one thing I am, it's a getter-doner.  So I've made sure I got some stuff done each day.  Like, for example, I did the laundry yesterday.  Today I folded it and put it away.  And I washed the bedding and have clean sheets and blankets to sleep under tonight.  I met Jack, Jr, Jessie and her two youngest kids for lunch today.  Also today, I wandered through the house and made a list of projects--big and small--to keep myself busy and productive.  This list goes along with the list I made when first considering retirement that included daily tasks and/or options but also numerous potential vacation spots to plan for and dream about.  I love me a good list and I have a couple of good ones now.
2.  I can now spread over an entire week all of the tasks I used to do in two or three days of a weekend.  This is the definition of glorious.  Look it up in the dictionary.  Or someplace.  Or don't.  But it is awesome to have that extra 40+ hours to use however I choose.
3.  I've been doing all of the things for so long that I thought it would take me some big amount of time to slow down.  That was a big misunderstanding in my head.  This is like Christmas break without the stress, which is the main reason why I retired.  Lower the stress level.
4.  Also, yes to pancakes.

Monday, January 30, 2017

seventeen years four months and six days later (approximately)

Right now, I'm sitting at home in my chair by the fire looking out over the deck and back yard on a Monday morning.  For all these past years, I would have been sitting at my desk at work.  But last Thursday, January 26, 2017, was my last day of work.

I retired.

I was done.  And I am done with that stage of life.  It was time to move on into a new stage of life--one of actually living every day instead of slogging through yet another day.

Things I will not miss:
  • Getting up and dressed and made up early.
  • Thinking in my head that I am a valuable contributor while idling away the day waiting for work or interactions or conversation.

Things I will miss:
  • Interactions with coworkers, good people.
  • The thrill of a project--figuring it out and completing it.
  • The beautiful view out of my office windows.
  • Driving to and from work with Jack.
  • Lunch with Jack.
  • My paycheck.  Probably.  At least a little.
Things I am looking forward to:
  • Free time
  • More--skiing, reading, movies, time with kids, grandkids, parents, friends, etc., etc., etc.,
  • Gardening
  • Cleaning/Organizing/etc., etc., etc.
  • Projects--big and small
  • Travel--road trips (short and long), fly-away trips, etc., etc., etc.
  • Jack's retirement--which should have happened on the same day as mine but for an annoying management snafu that will hopefully be resolved soon
  • Naps
One of my major goals is to improve the behavior of the animals I live with.  Everybody needs to settle down and learn to get along with each other.  I will be conducting extensive research into how to get dogs to stop barking at EVERYTHING; also how to stop dogs from chasing the cats EVERY.TIME they see each other.  Seriously.  Just calm down you guys. We are now together in the chill-out time of life.

And we're going to rock this.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

that hour we spent talking to dish network

Jack and I just spent the last hour on the phone with Dish Network.

Waste of time?  I don't know.

What are you supposed to do when your local NBC affiliate suddenly goes off the air because it can't reach an agreement with your tv provider so you realize you aren't going to get to watch the last week of football before the playoffs.  And if it goes anything like the last time this happened when Fox 13 couldn't come to terms with Dish and went off the air for weeks and only just resolved it all barely in time for the start of the football season--well, it seems likely we won't see the playoffs (playoffs!) or the super bowl and, well, it was concerning.

And since Jack had surgery on his thumb this afternoon and was a little medicated, it seemed like as good a time as any to tell Dish we either wanted our local NBC affiliate back or we wanted out of our contract.  And of course, they insisted they were working on the affiliate issue 24/7--seriously? 24/7?--and there wasn't any way they could waive the early termination fee, which, wait, there's nobody at Dish who can waive the fee and let us out of the contract?  Well then we need to talk to your supervisor.  So that was the story, one supervisor after another until we were talking to the secretary to the president of Dish.  Seriously?  And they all had the same script.  Which is, I'm just gonna say, really frustrating.

Pretty early on in the call, Jack realized Dish wasn't going to let him out and he didn't really want to change providers because we like those Dish hoppers. 

After an hour it was time for another pain pill for Jack.  And by then, the secretary to the president had set us up for half price HBO and Showtime and a $20 discount for some number of months that added up to more than the early termination fee. 

So we're still with Dish.  Paying $35 less per month for some amount of time.  And according to Jack's surgeon, in three months he'll be so glad he had the surgery.