Turning Back Time
End of a month, end of a quarter. Where has the time gone? It was Winter...and now it's Spring, as evidenced by this first rose bloom in Missy M's back yard.
It's been a busy 13 weeks since 2016 began. One might say "life-altering." But I'll get to that momentarily. Please know that I have had several good reasons for my recent silence...or, at least they seemed good to me at the time. (There's that word again: time.)
Let's see if I can recap...
January and February — In reviewing my calendar for that first month, I am struck by how ordinary the days and details appear. After the Holidays, I had several "usual" things scheduled, including meetings relating to Master Gardening, my historical book club, and various and sundry doctor appointments. But by mid-month, we knew that "ordinary" and "usual" were two words we would never, ever again use to describe January 2016.
While on his first week away from home since his knee replacement surgery and recovery last October, Mr. T was asked to meet his VP for breakfast while in Maryland. When I returned home from a meeting at the Extension Center, I had a text that read "be careful what you wish for." And I knew, then and there, what the subject of our subsequent phone call would be: retirement.
To paraphrase Shakespeare*: "Be not afraid of retirement...some achieve retirement and some have retirement thrust upon them." We were working our plan for T's retirement to be "achieved" following his next birthday...a more or less "official" retirement age, if you will. But, the chickens of some unfathomly poor and unbelievably numerous corporate decisions made in Japan and in Germany since 2009 came home to roost last year. And "workforce reduction" was supposedly a last straw. Blah, blah, blah...I could go on (and HAVE, at length). Bottom line: retirement was thrust upon T in mid-January when he accepted a package. And we have spent these last several weeks digesting options and rewriting our script.
At first, we thought we should accelerate our move to GA, and we began a whirlwind of activity around that chore. Then, we came to our senses, took one giant step back, and two very deep breathes...and decided to give it some time and space.
After Mom's death in 2011, I went through grief counseling and am reminded of some excellent advice I was given then, summed up much better than I could write below. I think it just might apply now:
"Usually it is wise to avoid making hasty decisions, especially in matters of such consequence as moving...I offer this useful rule of thumb: Make no major decisions for at least six to twelve months..., until you've experienced all the seasons of your emotions. This...happened barely two months ago, and I would expect that at this point, you're both still frozen in a state of shock, barely able to believe (much less able to make any sense out of) what has happened to you. You and your wife are extremely raw and vulnerable right now, and not in the best frame of mind to be making major decisions, such as moving." (From The Grief Healing Blog Post " To Move or Not: Making Decisions in the Wake of a Recent Loss")
To be clear, we have discovered that T's "grief" over this loss isn't so much about the job itself; it's more about the loss of the right to make the decision on our own timeline. The job...the product...the company: those things have all changed so drastically and not-for-the-better over the past 5 years...those things were already "lost" to the point that many "what if" scenarios have been discussed over our morning coffees for many, many moons now, including the possibility of a package being offered. So, it wasn't necessarily a surprise that it was offered...just when it was offered. So many senior management assurances had been given that there wouldn't be a workforce reduction...both empty and false, as it turned out. Ah well, in our heart-of-hearts, we knew better...why else would we have even ventured to discuss the possibility? Why, indeed.
So, our retirement schedule moves forward from September to February (or June, since that's when the package ends). And our moving schedule moves from May to..., well we are still working on the date. Let's just say "not May." The good news? Because of all the preliminary work we did in January, we have most of the major decisions made and lined up (who our Realtor will be, how we will prep our house for market, what we will do, where we will be moving to); it's just the pesky when question that's still up in the air at the moment. Sigh.
We decamped to Georgia for the last two weeks in January and the first few days in February, to serve as dog- and house-sitters while Missy M met a rather aggressive work-travel schedule. There, I had a bit of successful eye surgery (YAG-laser) to correct a problem I've had since my first cataract surgery in 2012 (yay!). We had returned to HPNC for a couple of weeks sans our dogs who remained behind while we took care of some things "back home." While we were in NC, one of the most frightening episodes of my recent memory happened in GA...giving me chills just recalling it.
Somehow and for some unknown reason, our part-Australian Shepard Winston decided to go on walkabout by digging his way under M's fence to freedom. Panic ensued, and then we put Operation "Find Winston" into high gear, with fronts in two states NC and GA. I truly don't wish to relive those horrible hours when he was missing, so let's just move forward to the time four days later when he reappeared and tried to dig his way back into the fenced yard. That didn't work so well, so he walked around to the front of the house and waltzed into the open garage door. "Here I am!" Good grief. We arrived a few hours after he had returned, ever so thankful that he was unharmed and none-the-worse-for-wear, other than extremely hungry and so tired that he slept for nearly 12 hours straight.
Mr. T spent the next week building an "auxiliary fence" (a fence beyond the current fence, all the way back to M's rear property line), along with a gate in the existing fence, creating what we now call The Outback...more or less a huge doggie play area in the un-tamed part of the property. The Drool Gang loves it! Well, all except Dixie, who still prefers the sofa inside the air-conditioned house, thank you very much.
Yes, we have already turned on the AC here. Of course we have also had mornings (including the first day of Spring) when we had to turn on the fireplace. Nothing new, right?
March — And that brings us to the present-but-rapidly-ending month. Mr. T and I headed back to GA for Easter, enjoying Easter Brunch at Ray's On The River (photo below), albeit without M who has had an awful upper respiratory infection. She's better now, thanks.
And I'm now continuing my journey on to Mississippi to attend Homecoming at the W. Even though this year has a tough act to follow from WHC2015 (refresh your memory of that trip by visiting that post here: http://adsit2.blogspot.com/2015/04/lost-and-found.html ), I am truly looking forward to reconnecting with my college friends. Should be a fun weekend, turning back time as Cher would say.
I mentioned there were several reasons for my absence, didn't I? Time for me to wrap this post up with my final reason. I have been filtering some comments that come through to my blog...some that have given me cause for concern. I started this blog more or less as a journal for myself, a place to touch base with friends and family, and a repository for pictures I wanted to share. All has been well until this year, when I started receiving and rejecting comments in foreign (read that: non-English) languages. I neither read nor speak these languages, so I have no way of knowing what is being shared by way of the comment section on my blog. For that reason, I have turned OFF that capability.
Need to get in touch with me? Let's use the old-fashioned way: email! I trust you remember that...
*"Be not afraid of greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them". - (Quote from Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene V).