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Elvis hasn't left yet but he's inching towards the door...
Old 02-27-2008, 08:56 PM   #1
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Elvis hasn't left yet but he's inching towards the door...

Had my retirement party last Friday. It was great, 53 people came including a bunch of retired coworker friends as well as current coworkers, friends and family. My brother flew in from Chicago (to Pasadena, CA). One fellow (the only one at HQ who I don't care for personally but he represented the whole HQ operation, strange they would send him, I must mask my feelings fairly well) flew out to present me a very nice official citation and a bag full of gag gifts. I had gone to enough boring retirement parties and didn't want anyone to come out of a feeling of obligation like my DW going to all the teacher retirement parties whether she liked or knew the particular teacher very well. So I chose a cheaper place than the office would have gone for and picked a day that would be convenient for most folks and gently made it clear it was OK for anyone to come or not as they saw fit. A nice letter from local Congressman and a couple ex-astronauts in attendance including my former boss who I would have kept working for until they literally carried me out of the place. But most of all it was a heartfelt farewell for me and a genuine expression of gratitude on my part.

Tomorrow is my last day in the office. I cleaned out my desk & office today, most of the stuff was easy to toss or package for home. The pictures on the wall are the hardest part, been looking at some of them for 20+ years, one goes back to college days maybe 40 years ago. Got to find a place for that one. Turned over my property. All I have to do is come in tomorrow and turn in my badge and get signed off the computer system. My wife came in to the office in the afternoon to watch the end of an era in our lives, we really are a pair. But I have a last video conference I will go to say good bye to folks I have worked with across the agency (NASA). It has been a really good place to work, NASA regularly tops the polls of best agency to work for and I believe it as I worked at four different agencies before coming to NASA 28 years ago. I sometimes wonder if I should not keep working as I like what I do and although the Govt pay is not the best I am at the top of my career and it would be a good time to stash away more retirement funds. I have become accustomed to and comfortable with the work schedules/rituals, come in and check emails & phone calls, if nothing urgent go get some coffee & chat with friends. Then read & reply to the normal traffic, maybe some meetings or video conferences, senior staff meetings are Tuesday morning (will not miss those) VIPs out from HQ alter the plans as do occasional travel. Been pretty good and I don't think my life will change as much as my wife's when she retired and no longer had a classroom of kids to teach. I will just be on the internet at home Vs at work. Main thing is I get to skip those meetings.

But what did change things was that night, last October, in the cardiac ward. Just a warning sign but a lot of folks ignore them. My Dad had a stroke at 60, retired at 62 and died at 70 with at best 4 years of decent retirement. I just don't need more stuff. My wife & I are ready to hit the road. In April we are going to Jazz Fest in New Orleans and then work for a week on a Habitat for Humanity project in southern Mississippi. This summer is a loooog road trip to kayak the Arctic, more about that as it happens. I guess I will not feel retired until I am on that road.

Conflicting feelings, just like the one time I went skydiving and both wanted to jump and didn't want to jump which really screwed up the event (I tried to just take a 'small' step out of the door of the airplane and discovered that there are no small steps out of a airplane). Hope this one goes better.

Elvis hasn't left yet but he's inching towards the door...
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:50 PM   #2
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Yakers, congratulations and thanks for sharing both your ambivalence about leaving and your assurances you are doing the right thing by your health. What a wonderful legacy you leave behind. And thank you for the long years of dedication that you put in to make this country's space program all that it is. As a grateful citizen, thank you very much!
Happy kayaking and best wishes for the next "small" step out the door!
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Old 02-27-2008, 09:57 PM   #3
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congrats - enjoy - you'll have more time to post here
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:03 PM   #4
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Way to go. Bet its a great feeling.
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Old 02-28-2008, 12:00 AM   #5
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Congrats and hope you share some of your travel stories with the board!
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Old 02-28-2008, 06:57 AM   #6
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yakers, Your retirement party sounded like a very special event. After so many years of service, you sure deserve respect and admiration. I look forward to hearing about the Jazz fest, Habitat for Hummanity project, any any other adventures you two have. Here's wishing you and your DW all the best!
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:04 AM   #7
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Sweet Yak Sweet!
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:14 AM   #8
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How did you set up the Habitat project in Mississippi? Tell us about it.
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:20 AM   #9
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Congratulations on a new life !
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Old 02-28-2008, 07:23 AM   #10
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Congrats Yakers! Loved reading your story and hearing your insights.
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(49, married; DH 53. I am fully retired as of 2015 (well ok, I still work part-time but only because I love the job and have complete freedom to call off if I want to travel with hubby for work), DH hopes to fully retire 2018 when he turns 55 to access 401K penalty-free...although he may decide to do part-time consulting)
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:57 AM   #11
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C o n g r a t u l a t i o n s.

Not sure where I first heard this, but "first you make the decision, then you make it right." You sound somewhat "All Shook Up" but check back next year; Then, I bet, you will be gushing about the wonders of retirement. You're smart to be busy for the first year or so, as it will ease the transition.

BTW: That's a great line (idea) about "no small steps out of an airplane" when skydiving. I will steal it, if you don't mind.
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Old 02-28-2008, 09:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yakers View Post
My wife & I are ready to hit the road. In April we are going to Jazz Fest in New Orleans and then work for a week on a Habitat for Humanity project in southern Mississippi. This summer is a loooog road trip to kayak the Arctic, more about that as it happens. I guess I will not feel retired until I am on that road.
Hey, congrats on your retirement! And thank you so much for your contribution to the Habitat project on the coast. The MS coast needs all the help it can get.
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