Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘retirement

Indoor Pursuits

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One day after a big melt, everything froze solid again and the wind chill is biting. Putting on the equivalent of a spacesuit to walk the dog makes sense because when we step outside the cold feels like we are in outer space.

The horses didn’t seem to pay the Arctic cold much attention, except maybe to more fervently devour hay for fuel to generate desired body warmth. We didn’t waste much time after the morning “cheers” (Ian’s and my more descriptive variant of “chores”) of seeing they got properly fed, knocking away ice that formed on their waterer, and doing the requisite housekeeping under and around the barn overhang.

We headed straight back to the house to thaw out.

The rest of the day was given to indoor pursuits, beginning with scouring the local newspaper over a warm breakfast. Cyndie and I then each independently processed the day’s Wordle challenge. After that, I lost myself in a jigsaw puzzle while Cyndie was occupied at the other end of the old family table toiling on a craft project.

We also took turns scouring our closets and dressers for clothes we can live without in a burst of decluttering. Getting rid of shirts that I haven’t worn in years is an exercise I really enjoy. I need to be in the right mood for it to go smoothly and when I am, it becomes easier as I go to dig ever deeper and jettison excess versions of button-downs or short and long sleeve tees with minimal hesitation.

At this point, there are many shirts I was only wearing to the day-job that now deserve to be retired, since I’m no longer employed outside the home.

My uniform for working at home tends to be rather limited and one combination of base and outer layer pullover shirts can last me for days before needing to be tossed to the laundry.

It all gets covered with the spacesuit when we go outside anyway, so if I can avoid working up a sweat, nothing gets too dirty except the treasured outer covering of my lined Carhartt overalls. Those now have so many accumulated layers of having been soiled that they almost stand up on their own. Makes it increasingly easier to climb into them over time.

Anything to make the project of dressing for outer space a little less onerous between the hours of indoor pursuits where we are warm and cozy.

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Too Funny

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My weather app didn’t get the memo. Look at the warning they sent me last night…

Nope. Other than the fact it is Christmas Eve and none of my former coworkers will be driving in this morning because the place is closed for the holiday, or the fact it is Friday and I haven’t worked on-site on Fridays for years, I’m not going to be doing that commute anymore.

They can adjust that warning for me to: Watch out for wet conditions in the paddocks and stay alert when moving around the horses.

Oh, what a relief it is to be done with navigating highway traffic during the twice-a-day commutes.

This feels like retirement already.

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Written by johnwhays

December 24, 2021 at 7:00 am

Final Commute

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I am one to never say never but in the case of commuting to the day-job that I have allowed to occupy my time for longer than I ever imagined since moving to the countryside of Wisconsin, today is my final time. Starting tomorrow, my ability to give my full attention to managing our Wintervale property will become my new primary occupation.

Another way to put it is, I am retiring. I am choosing to end a career that began in 1981 as a graduate of a technical education in electronics from an institution known for educating radio and television personality-hopefuls. Their electronic technology degree served me well and provided opportunities to work with some brilliant people on some breakout technologies over the years.

At that first job at a manufacturer of vacuum technologies for the surface analysis sciences, I was introduced to the nuances of manufacturing. During my 18-years with that company, I met and worked with Gary Engelhart, an electrical engineer who became the person I would follow to several different versions of system engineering and electronics manufacturing jobs for the rest of my days working in the field.

I tried to quit several times over the years, but Gary always made it clear I was welcome to return when my circumstances warranted. I am forever indebted to his confidence in my abilities. There is sadness in ending my time of working with all the staff at Gary’s electronics manufacturing company, but it is definitely offset by the thrill of claiming the rest of my days as my own.

I will not miss the stress of the day-job responsibilities.

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Starting tomorrow, here’s to leaving my car in the garage more often than not.

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Written by johnwhays

December 23, 2021 at 7:00 am

Single Week

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Less than a week, actually. The holiday season is long but the actual day of Christmas is just a single day and it is now six days away. I am also down to a single week left commuting to the day-job. Three days, actually. It feels like a lot is happening that will hopefully lead up to a period when not much needs to happen, for the rest of my life.

For the last six months, I have only been commuting to the far side of the Twin Cities three days a week. I am already aware of the complexity of noticing what day it is when Saturdays and Sundays become blurred with Fridays and Mondays. When seven days a week all require the same attention from me, I will join the throngs of others who are in the phase of life when every day is simply “today” and not so distinguishable from all the others.

Yesterday was Cyndie’s Christmas Cookie baking day. I failed to provide much warning but the post I created in 2017 is still very applicable. Check out: Advance Warning.

Cyndie invited helpers to contribute to the extravaganza. They captured and shared some images of the frivolity…

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Cookies galore are being shared far and wide. For reference, if you ever have a chance to help Cyndie in the kitchen, you will be stocked with plenty of goodies upon your departure.

Despite this being the second Christmas season under the pandemic, glad tidings and good cheer still shine through.

Merry Christmas, everyone! Enjoy this last week.

I know that I will.

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Written by johnwhays

December 19, 2021 at 11:46 am

Minor Procedure

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Yesterday afternoon, Cyndie underwent a minor surgical procedure on one of her fingers and I was given responsibility for dinner. Our usual routine when it is my turn to cook involves a phone call to Cyndie’s favorite pizza place, Gina Maria’s. When they opened a location near my workplace in Plymouth and offered to deliver half-baked pizzas to our suite for me to take home, I became a regular customer.

Often, when I would call in my order, they ask if I wanted the same thing as last time. Sometimes I did. They make a fantastic deep-dish crust that we find almost irresistible. At the same time, we both love variety, so we occasionally mix it up and go for classic thin.

For last night’s dinner, I ordered a large because it might be the last time I have them deliver to me at work. I warned them that I would be disappearing from their list of regular customers.

This is what they delivered:

The person taking my order reminded me I could always come pick it up myself or have them deliver to our home instead.

“We live in Wisconsin.”

I think that is when they decided to decorate our box.

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Written by johnwhays

December 10, 2021 at 7:00 am

No Story

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There is no story here. No beginning, middle, or end. No dramatic challenge or rewarding resolution. It’s the first Wednesday in November of 2021. November 3rd, in fact. Happy Birthday, Elliott. I’m commuting to the day-job another time. The same challenges that have been burdening us at work for the last two years will be waiting anew.

Weather is stable for the time being. Past, present, and future are all where they need to be. Everything just is, from where I am sitting.

Every time this happens, I am struck by the thought of how many others are enjoying no such luck at this same moment. The people who are refugees stuck where no country wants them. People caught in endless cycles of poverty. People struggling against terminal illnesses.

I’ve got it easy.

Even when it feels hard to me, I have it embarrassingly easy compared to the trials and tribulations others face.

My response is to send thoughts of love out into the world, confident in the power it wields.

I practice gratitude. I accept there are things I don’t understand.

We tend to our animals with attention to their needs and appreciation for their wisdom.

We marvel over the natural world living and growing around us.

I strive to be in the moment. Where is the story in that?

Okay, never mind. The story I’m not telling is my pending retirement from the day-job. My goal of ending the need to drive 65 miles away from our home for work. I’m not writing about the angst of trying to successfully transfer the details of my primary daily tasks to others before my end date arrives.

The challenge of figuring out Cyndie’s and my health insurance options before my employment ends.

Since it has been my intent to maintain a healthy distance between details of the day-job and this blog, the command of my headspace by work issues often leaves a gap in my blogspace. It can tend to leave me with no story available to tell.

I will admit to longingly looking forward to soon having that headspace released from the responsibilities of employment with hopes of replacing it with pursuits more aligned with my creative interests.

The story is, I will be retiring from my day-job in December.

There. I wrote it.

I gotta say, it gets a lot easier to write when there isn’t a great big something I’m busy trying to not write about in my personal blog. Otherwise, it makes me feel like I’ve got no story to tell.

And that’s just unlike me.

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Written by johnwhays

November 3, 2021 at 6:00 am