Countdown to Retirement

My retirement is 3 days away!  The original plan was to work until the end of October to train my replacement but 6 weeks is just too long.  Last week, we agreed I would be off today and work Tuesday and Wednesday, mornings only, and then I’m done.  I have been over my duties multiple times with my replacement so now she will need to figure it out on her own.  It’s the slow season so she will be just fine.

So, how do I feel about all this?  I’m excited but a little unsure of what to do with my time off.    I’ve been working 55 years with minimal downtime – usually a couple of weeks at a time.  There has always been a daily “routine” when working (shower and dress, coffee, breakfast, out the door – throw in gym some mornings) so now there will be no “routine” until I make a new one.  Does there need to be a “routine”?  What if I just wake up on my own and plan the day then?  It can be anything I want it to be as long as I just do it and not sit at home and become a hermit.  What does “routine” mean anyway…”a sequence of actions regularly followed; a fixed program”.  Do I need the structure of a regular program every day?

Whether working or not, I find it easier to exercise early in the morning.  If I don’t, then I usually wind up not doing it at all.  So the one thing I want to do every day is move my body.  I’ve been remiss lately and it’s showing up on the scales….easy to put on…but hard to get off.  There are great waking trails around my home, my gym is about a block away, and Yoga classes are offered almost daily.  Our community college offers numerous classes of interest to us “seniors” and one in digital photography is calling my name.  I can always golf – either practice or play!!  There are endless possibilities.  Whether or not I develop a “routine” remains to be seen but my preference is not to have one and plan my day around the activities and classes available at the time. Staying at home and being a hermit on occasion sounds pleasant too!!

So, the “countdown” is on…


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Retiring “again”!

I retired from corporate America in 2008. Then the great recession hit and my investment portfolio tanked – as everyone’s did. Not knowing whether my funds would last, I accepted a part time position working in the golf industry and it has been absolutely wonderful. I never thought I would “work” in my “play” industry – what joy! The part time position became full time the following year and I have been there ever since. I am, however, retiring “again” at the end of next month. Now, here’s the funny thing. In my post in September, 2014 My Journey Begins I wrote I was 69 years old and would be retiring “again” in a few months. I cannot remember what that was about or what I was thinking. I guess this was one of those “senior moments” of forgetfulness.

Yesterday, I began training my replacement and it is difficult. The knowledge of Microsoft applications is not as originally expressed in the resume. I was not expecting to have to train someone on how to use Excel and Word so it just makes it harder and more time consuming. She said she would need a “little” refreshing….much more than a “little” is going to be needed. I think there was some “embellishing” of qualifications in the resume. Never works….always catches up when it comes right down to doing what the job requires and the skills are just not as stated.

When I leave, I want my replacement to be able to handle the majority of the duties without help. The company has been really good to me, I love the people and I want to leave with the change as “seamless” as possible. Unreasonable? No,not really. I will be there for a month and a half to “train” and this is our slow season. The phones are quiet, the tournament entries are low and the tournaments are almost over for the year. The training will be extensive and the job is not hard or demanding. It’s not “rocket science” folks…it’s golf!

So after a stressful day….I took a Yoga class! My new favorite!

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“Catching Up” again!!

The last time I posted was November 2014.  I lost interest when there were so many things going on in my life.  This is “another” catch up blog.

In January 2015, I decided my home was going to be my “forever” home.  Some friends thought it was a good idea for me to move back to Virginia and I made the final choice to stay where I am since I do love my home and village.  Now it was time for a home renovation (house 9 years old).  Previous posts show me getting rid of all my collectible “stuff” but I kept going.  I’ll just list the items for simplicity.

  • Master Bathroom  – removed the “garden” tub and shower stall and rebuilt the room to include a 7 foot walk in shower.  New tiles installed, new floor, granite counter top, mirrors, lights – everything except the counter taken out and redone.
  • Master Bedroom – carpet replaced with hardwood.  Chair rail installed and all repainted.   Old furniture out – new furniture in “minimalist style”.
  • Kitchen – granite counter tops replaced Formica, black splash added, and black appliances replaced with stainless.  Large table and other furniture removed and replaced with more simple small table and couple of chairs for sitting.  Chair rail added to portion of the kitchen.  New ceiling fan replaced light. Plantation shutters added to replace blinds.
  • Living Room – Mantle replaced with floor to ceiling tiles, all furniture replaced with new simple items, TV added to room.
  • Dining Room – Furniture removed and replaced with only a few simple items.  Chair rail added and new light.
  • Guest Bathroom – Shower and tub combo replaced with new tub and subway tile surround. Granite counter top replaced “manufactured marble” which had cracked.
  • Study – took out some furniture and added treadmill and desk.
  • Entry – new entry light and furniture.
  • Hall – new lights.
  • Paint – the entire house was repainted on the inside – all of it.

The renovation started in February and was not quite finished when I learned I had breast cancer.  Damn!  Surgery followed and recovery.  Chemo not considered since cancer was small and had not spread to lymph glands.

I started radiation in January 2016 and had 26 treatments.  These wiped me out.  I had little energy and no inclination to do much of anything.  I basically kept working and not much else since I came home after work and crashed.  I ate too much, drank too much chardonnay and gained weight which I definitely did not need.  I found out breast cancer has a high risk of coming back with alcohol so I stopped drinking.  I’m still clean and sober!!   It took most of 2016 to recover.

Now 2017 is coming to a close….my, my time flies!!  I have a CT scan annually to check on the dissection from 2012 and on the “Patient Portal” entry, which I normally do not read, it said “emphysema changes” – now what the hell does that mean.  In July, I took this to my annual physical appointment and my doctor thought at first it was just some changes in my lungs but sent me for a pulmonary test.  It came back with emphysema and I only have 80% lung function.  Smoking in my earlier years had caused it and getting older progressed the disease (now known as COPD).  I quit smoking 37 years ago.  This was a total shock.  About the same time, I had a colonoscopy and the doctor said he could not get a large, flat polyp and recommended seeing a surgeon and just having it cut out – meaning part of my colon cut out.  I didn’t much like that idea and searched until I found a doctor at UNC that specializes in removing large, flat polyps endoscopically.  It has to come out as the flat one’s usually result in cancer.  So, I’m scheduled for another colonoscopy next month with the specialist.

In August, I decided it was time to take care of “ME” so I announced my retirement from my job (second retirement).  I have learned that Yoga and Tai Chi are good if you have COPD and I will have pulmonary rehab scheduled later.  Exercise is a key to maintaining my current lung function.  My “official” last day is the end of October but I will be taking earned vacation in October so only have couple of weeks of actual work left.  And I feel great about the whole thing!!  I had a previous post about retiring when my boss asked What would you do anyway?

I’m about to find out!!

The good news is that I continue to get good check ups about my dissection and the breast cancer has not reappeared.  I think I can manage the COPD with breath work and exercise.  The last thing is to have the polyp removed and I feel confident I’ll get it done in a couple of weeks.  I am exercising more, loosing some weight and feel really good!  I am excited for the next chapter.



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Catching Up!!

It has been over a month since I last posted.  I certainly hope my followers have not given up on me.    I may have to take two posts to catch up….it has been very, very busy!!

First, I sold all the antique hat pins on Ebay as well as a few other things that were collectibles and small.  I made over $1,000 which was very good I thought.  I put some items on that did not sell so then began the work of cleaning out closets and donating. My church had it’s annual tag sale so I donated a van full of items.  They were pleased since my stuff is “good stuff”.  They said you would not believe what some people donated that was not possible to sell for any amount.  I think this was the first pass.  Afterwards, I made another pass and donated another truck (really, my brother’s truck) full to our local Mission to use in their resale store.  I gave all the old bowls I had sitting on top of my kitchen counters as well as many other items.  I don’t miss a thing.  Looking back the majority of it I had not used since moving into this house in 2006.  Now that’s sad!!  The more I give away the better I feel!  This is really becoming a freeing experience.

I made trip to see a friend I had not seen in a while.  She lives in wine country Virginia so we went to a few for tastings.  I did have some wine but not much.  It was great seeing her and spending quality time together.  She has a dog, 5 cats (all rescue) and takes care of 2 feral cats as well.  I did not take my dogs.  My dogs have never known a cat so I didn’t want to take any chances and her cats are bigger than my dogs.  I took the rest of the week off and had some work done on the house.  Cleaned on the outside, washed windows, cleaned out gutters and fixed some areas in the garage where I had my foot slip from the brake and pushed the freezer into the wall.   Two big holes!  Probably need a big “STOP” sign.

I had my six month CT scan and visit with doctor that did the surgery for my aortic dissection.  These visits always make me nervous weeks before I go.  He said all is very good.  The stent is still in place and is not leaking.  I still have an issue with the right kidney but he can’t do anything about it.  For now, it’s the same.  I asked what would happen if the stent did start leaking and he said he would just put in another one.  Good grief.  I was nuts thinking about the first one – I certainly don’t want a repeat!!

I had contemplated retiring again next year but I am rethinking it.  I really need to have the house painted inside so can use the money.  For now, it’s on hold.  Maybe when I’m 70!!

I live in North Carolina!  Yesterday there was snow in South Carolina.  Too funny!!  South Carolina!!  Today is cold but sunny and beautiful Carolina blue sky!! Picture is from my back deck!

Pinehurst Sun

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Birthday Gratitude

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”  C.S.Lewis

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am 69 years old.  After the aortic dissection two years ago, I am in “love” with birthdays.  I love the good wishes from everyone, the cards, the calls, the meals, the presents…..I just love it all!!  This is “probably” because I was close to not seeing my 67th birthday….let alone the 69th!  Happy days!  It was also a day to count my many, many blessings.  I am relatively healthy now, I have a wonderful family, great friends, a beautiful home, happy pets, nice job and nothing to complain about!!  I have really had this all along, I just did not appreciate it as I do now.  Nothing like a little “kick in the butt” to realize that life is absolutely perfect just the way we make it!!  We can make it crappy (and I have in the past) and we can make it great…it’s all up to us…every bit of it!!   Material things will make us happy for about a nano-second and then it’s forgotten only to be tossed or set aside at some point.  I am happy every time I empty a closet full of “stuff” or clean out a drawer of accumulated “stuff”.  My simple life!! I love it!!  More to come…….

My morning walk today!!

Morning Walk 1Morning Walk 2

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Photographs and Memories

Yesterday I spent most of the day sorting through photographs.  I thought it would be emotional but it wasn’t.  I first sorted all of them into categories:  husband, parents, pets, siblings, nieces and nephews, houses, cars, travel, hobbies and junk.  I immediately tossed pictures of people I did not know, places I could not remember where they were, multiples, scenes of something (i.e. various parades, gatherings, etc.).  I then went through what was left in each category and kept a variety that are really important and the best of the bunch.  For instance, there is no need to keep 92 pictures of my niece (I only have one).  I did not need to keep pictures of a wedding when the bride and groom have been divorced for years and moved on to who knows where or places I worked that I really need to forget!!

This is how I started!

Pictures B4And this is how I ended!  All in a pretty little box!!

Pictures After 1Pictures After 2


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The “eBay” Experience!!

I have sold items on eBay before and had good luck.  A few days ago, I listed my antique hat pin collection which included 6 sets of hat pins in porcelain hat pin holders.  I listed them rather cheaply because if the cost is too high, people will just not pay attention.  If the price is attractive, I get more views.  Anyway,  I listed the hat pin holders as “Limoges China” which is what is written on the bottom and signifies these are a reproduction of the original Haviland Limoges from France (I Googled all this before I listed them).  If they had been the real French Limoges, they certainly would have been more than the $10.00 (including pins).  They would have been more like $100.00.  I have a number of people watching the bidding and even have bids on two of them.

Then I get a message from some lady in Wyoming that says they are all fake and not legal to sell on eBay because they are not authentic.  This person has not bought or sold anything on eBay (the number of items traded is always listed after the sellers name).  She continues to tell me she is an expert on Limoges and these are illegal.  I wrote back that they were from China which was in the description and nothing was said they were original but listed as reproductions from China.  She wrote again they were “illegal” and against eBay rules.  I asked her nicely to not send any more messages and my description was exactly what they were. Also, there are a whole bunch of the others listed on eBay identical to mine.  So, then she writes back that she will turn me over to the fraud department at eBay and “let them handle you.”   Just to make sure there was no misunderstanding, I wrote the two people that had bid and told them what happened and they both said they did not care where the holders were from.  They wanted the pins and were not particularly interested in the holders. Just to make everything really clear, I changed the description to say “Hat Pins and Holders” only – no mention of Limoges China.  I also filed a complaint with eBay. 

This left a bad taste about trying to sell more items on eBay.  I don’t know what her problem is with me and she is probably contacting all the other people selling the same thing listed as “Limoges China”.  I guess we will just wait and see what happens.  I can understand eBay being careful with people selling true “knock offs” like advertising a Chanel bag and it being fake.  I advertised mine as being a reproduction from China and it’s listed that way.   And the price!  One of them includes the holder and 10 very long antique hat pins for $25.00.  Just one of the hat pins would sell for that.  Trust me, if it was the real Limoges, the price would be more like $250.00.

My “Rules” for selling on eBay:

  • Don’t sell anything under $10.00.  It is just not worth the pictures, the listing, answering questions, packaging and shipping if it’s under $10.00 even with shipping charges extra.
  • Do not use “Buy it Now”.  It seems lately that most of the items are “Buy It Now” meaning there is no bidding.  The buyer pays what the seller is asking.  These prices are usually incredibly high.  I have put a number of them on my “watch list” just to check out the traffic, and the majority don’t sell.  The seller will just list it again and sometimes under another name.
  • List for only 7 days.  If it doesn’t sell in 7 days, it goes to charity.  Listing for weeks will not help sell it.
  • Have one picture, maybe two if the manufacturer name is a selling feature.  I see no need in posting a whole bunch of pictures for a little item.  If a buyer has questions, they ask!
  • Short description.  I have found eBay buyers look through hundreds and thousands of items.  They usually look at the picture and the description line.  Most don’t take the time to read a long description.
  • Ship as quickly after being paid as possible.  Your customers will comment and give better feedback for quick shipments.  Package well.
  • Always leave feedback!!

I am going to see how the next round of items sell.  If I have more “grief” than “luck”, I will just donate all the rest of it.  I only wanted to make enough for a new camera!!

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