Saturday, June 28, 2014

It is finished

After way-too-many-years as a software developer (more or less), I decided to call it quits. As I look back on those years, the far and the near, I don't quite know what to think. I followed my bliss, but my bliss emigrated. My first job was the best, and they went downhill from there. Being unwilling to relocate probably hurt my career, but at the end, what does it matter? The final employer turned out to be the best in terms of salary and benefits (one of which is the opportunity to retire early) even though the work was the most stultifying. Somehow, through a combination of working hard enough, making good enough decisions, and having good enough luck, I managed to get where I am: healthy enough, wealthy enough, with hopefully enough time to enjoy it.

Retirement is one of those one-off things to look forward to, like menopause. You think it will never happen, and then suddenly, you are on the doorstep. The past few years, I wondered how I would know it was time to go. Then it happened - I went into my annual review, thinking everything was hunky dory, only to be told I was not working hard enough, my work was not good enough, I was a burden to my co-workers. The next year looked like one big slog, and I discovered not only did I not want to work harder, I did not want to work at all. I waited a while to make sure I was not doing something rash before making my final decision, but frankly, once I *seriously* considered retiring, there was no going back. For a while, I fumed about the circumstances behind my decision, but one day I realized just how lucky I am to have early retirement as an option. And I have been happy ever since.

Yesterday was my final day. I turned in my computer, gathered up what I had not yet taken home, and left my ID badge at the front desk. I thought I might get a little teary eyed, but that did not happen. There is some anxiety about who I will be going forward, but I'm still me (which in some ways is a disappointment). We'll see how the rest of my life unfolds. So far, so good.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

24 hours with a pre-schooler

Last weekend the granddaughter slept over Friday night and spent all day Saturday in the company of oldsters. Friday nights are not my best - end of the work week - so I was a little reluctant about this plan. But duty called and I girded my loins. No worries, though. All went well.

Now that N is potty trained and capable of speaking in complete sentences, it is a new level of care that is required, one that is more fun and more interesting. We can be out and about without a diaper bag. We can spend literally HOURS "riding bikes" up and down the driveway (glad I had it redone). She is a bundle of energy that keeps me moving.

Lots of room to run at the playground.

Our conversations and her leaps of logic keep me entertained. For example, "Grandpa D* is old because he lives far away." Um, yes, he's old but it has nothing to do with how far away he lives. "You're old." Yes, but not as old as Grandpa D. Looking at the photos on my fireplace mantel, she had nothing to say when I explained that my grandfather had a hook for a hand, just like Captain Hook, but later she related the whole story to her mom. A little sponge, that one.

This is NOT Grandpa D.

N is also past the need for naps, for the most part, but neither of us got a full night's sleep. Knowing she would not want to nap, I told her she just had to stay on the bed while Grandma rested, then I played a relaxation YouTube video on my phone. The results were predictable.

Don't say the N word.

She now has a tricycle to keep at my house. I dragged my bike out, so we could ride together, and even went up and down the block. It was slow going, so I sat on my bike while pushing with my left leg. The next day, that leg was useless. The hellishness of getting old is revealed by the young.

*Grandpa D is my ex.