Retired But Busy

If you read back in the blog, you’ll see I retired.

Retired is not “doing nothing”.  Rather, it’s “doing what I want, when I want and on my schedule”.

My wife asked me to coach the robotics team at her high school.  This is from 2:30pm to 4:30pm, three days a week.  This is a volunteer position.  There is a lot of learning going on during these time; using tools, problem solving, team work and “engineer think”.  I feel this is an important thing and I will be there unless I’m deployed or my family needs me.  This is my chance to give back to the world.

I’m driving a school bus on field trips for multiple schools.  These days start with my inspecting the bus around 7:30am and since the schools finish up at 2pm, the buses are always back to school by 1:30pm.  I’m doing this 2 or 3 days a week.   This gives the kids a chance to see things outside of school and gives me a chance to see that the future world will be in good hands.

And, I’m busy catching up on the house maintenance that got deferred while I was working full time.

 

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Recently Retired Life

It was one week ago today that it was the last time I drove my yellow 1950 CJ3A the 43 miles to work and drove the 43 mile return trip…..I hope, to never have to do that drive again.

It’s been just one week, but  I’ve noticed one major change in how I do things.

When I was working, vacation was used to regain enough energy to be able to go back to work.  My vacations had two phases.  Phase one lasted a couple of weeks and that was “I just want to sit around, not think, not drive anywhere and not do anything”.  My wife and daughter would have to drag me out of the house.  If the vacation was long enough, I’d get into phase two of my vacation–getting out and doing enjoyable things.

I was thinking that first few weeks of my retirement would be the same–a few weeks of “phase one” before getting into “phase two”.   This has not been the case.  I seem to have moved right into “phase two”.  I guess I know I don’t need to hurriedly regain my energy stores.

So far, I’ve been; running three times in the nearby dry riverbed (reminds me of when I was in college), doing a huge amount of house cleaning, cooking all sorts of new and amazing meals and completing a whole lot of yard work.

Once I get the house cleaning and deferred maintenance (painting) done, I’ll start in on the projects that I’ve been saving up.  Along the way I’ve also been collecting the needed tools and parts to complete them without a major expense, so that will be nice to stay busy without spending a lot of money.

The other thing I’ve been doing is helping my wife at her high school.  She’s the robotics team coach and she “drafted” me to be a mentor.   I’ve only been doing it for three days now, but it is pure engineering and problem solving.  Even more important than my passing along knowledge, will be passing along the passion for engineering.

 

All Sorts of Stuff

The past few weeks have been an interesting mix of emotions and they all converge.

My mother’s house was sold a few weeks ago.  So, the final chapter is being written in “mom’s book of life”.  I still have a 25 square foot store room full of her stuff to sort through.  I was in a hurry to get the house cleaned out so the remodeling contractor could get in there and do their work, so some stuff that I wasn’t prepared to deal with is in storage.  Once I get done with that stuff my “mom’s book of life” will be complete.

I have retired effective November 1.  My last day at the telephone company was yesterday.  I drove my 1950 CJ3-A Willys Jeep to work on the first day I worked at the telephone company and 26 years later, I drove the same Jeep on the last day of my working at the company.  It was a nice piece of symmetry.

I was hoping to retire on October 31.  It would have been a sweet memory to go with the older and more somber memory of my fiancee entering hospice.  But as I mentioned earlier, I had to move it because of insurance benefits.

October 31, at just after 9am, I stopped and remembered my fiancee.  “I’m afraid I have only bad news……”, was how the doctor started his conversation about hospice and end of life care.  Someone walked by my cubical at that very moment and asked if I was having second thoughts about retiring.  I said no, but they didn’t believe me.

I opened up with them a bit and told them of cancer stealing my fiancee, how my wife’s stage 3B breast cancer is still gone, but could come back and how we have saved an amount of money equal to 25 years of my salary.   I ended my little tirade by asking them, “Why should I let work take me from my wife?”

I think they understood.

My wife will retire in May and then we will be free to spend our life together.  At that time she will be 58 and I will be 57.  Hopefully we will have a long time together.

 

On my first day of retirement, I ran 4 miles, I swept the floors of the house and washed the clothes.  Now it’s time to decide what I want to cook for dinner.

Retirement, Moved.

I moved my retirement date by one day to November 1.

It was health benefits that did it.  At the telephone company, health benefits end on the last day of the month one is employed.  If I had retired October 31, I would have lost the health insurance that night at midnight. That would have been alright except it takes them a few days to mail out the letter saying I’m no longer covered by my health insurance.  This is the letter that my wife needs to add me to her health insurance plan outside of the normal sign-up times.

By waiting the day, the health insurance benefits extend to November 30.  Now there will be time for the paperwork to catch up to reality and we won’t have that awkward period without health insurance.

 

CJ3A and Retirement

Next Tuesday, unless I’m back to Puerto Rico, will be my last day at the telephone company.   My employer says I must retire in person, so if I’m on military leave, my retirement would have to wait until I get back.

November 11, 1991 was my first day of employment at the telephone company and October 31, 2017 will be my last day at work.  I drove my yellow CJ3A to work on my first day of employment at the telephone company and I will drive it to work on my retirement day.  It seems only proper to do so.

 

 

 

Wow

I mentioned to a TV station engineer that I’m retiring.  They offered me a job before I could even catch my breath.  We were running 8:14 minute miles at the time and it was over 100F degrees (almost 40C), so “before I could even catch my breath” might have been one or two minutes….but still…….

Apparently that engineer told someone else who told someone else, and so on.  I’ve received telephone calls from three other companies asking if I’d be interested in coming out of retirement to work for “them”.

Yet another engineer (he does consulting work for sewer system operators) has asked if I’d be interested in writing software for computers that control sewer systems.

My wife mentioned on her Facebook page that I’m retiring and somewhere she must also have mentioned my commercial driver license and school bus driver certificate because I’ve received telephone calls from two different friends of hers…both are school district student transportation directors and both are asking if I would like to drive a school bus.

My wife has already said how nice it will be for me to come down to her school and help mentor the high school kids in the robotics club.

I still have my government “portable hospital engineer” job and I am still a substitute school bus driver for the elementary school that our daughter attended.

Can I have a 5 minute break between retirement and un-retirement?  Please?

Retirement

I had my mid-year performance review this past Monday (July 31). The review was the usual good one.

As usual for performance reviews, the supervisor asked, “What would you like to be doing in 5 years?”  Usually this question is expected to be answered in some vague manner, but this time, my answer was clear, specific and had a time frame,

“I want to retire in the next couple of months.”