Thursday, March 31, 2011


It is only a matter of hours now.

I gave up on the paperclip dilemma and decided to just leave them in drawers, coffee mugs, and paperclip holders for someone else to sort out. My apologies to that someone else.

It is bizarre. Walking through Charleston Center, I feel like a ghost, floating through halls with no purpose. My phone has not rung for two days and the only emails I get are spam. At least this assures me that my efforts to make a smooth transition to the next Director have been successful.

Chanda, the new Director, doesn’t look like a ghost. I spot her running down the hall with her cell phone to her ear and she looks like an anthill that’s been run over by a lawnmower.

Last week I was crossing a parking lot to attend my last Director’s Meeting at our sister agency in Columbia. One of the other Directors was getting out of his car, spotted me, and called out, “Dead man walking!” It was funny; he knows my sense of humor. But it was also accurate.

The photos are now all gone from my walls. Some I took home, most I gave away. I left the nails.

I do have one last very tough decision to make. How do I get Honey home.

My cactus. A gift from Karen a week after we got married that has been in every office I’ve occupied since. Do I tip it over and carry it horizontal in Karen’s SUV? Or do I put the top down on my sports car and buckle it into the passenger’s seat.

My preference is the latter although the forecast of rain may preclude it.

I removed my name from the agency’s website today and replaced it with Chanda’s. Tomorrow I will erase my harddrive. 13 years of data. (I did make a portable hard drive copy for Chanda but there is too much confidential stuff on it to just leave it on the laptop).

And what on earth am I going to do with my firefighter’s helmet?!

Hey!  I could have used this for the "Yellow Shoot"

Take it home, I guess, because I really do like it. I was a gift from the Charleston Firefighter Support Group for counseling assistance I gave them over the years after a terrible fire killed seven of their finest. But it’s too big to put on a shelf and I’ll never wear it and it is embarrassing to have during these terrible years of budget cuts – real firefighter helmets are very expensive to be given away as souvenirs.

I feel like a ghost. Periodically someone will stop into my office to thank me and wish me well. A few of them gave me little going-away gifts. I thank them, shake hands, sometimes allow a hug, and we tell each other that we’ll stay in touch…promise to have lunch sometime. We are sincere about those promises although we know (at least I do) that it won’t really happen.

Kelley, our data-management guru, got it right. She said, “Remember that the windshield is bigger than the rear-view mirror for a reason.”

Friday I will get up just as early as always in order to walk the dogs, help get the grandchildren off to daycare and fix Karen’s lunch. I will probably forget like I always do that it is April Fool’s Day although knowing Brian, he may remind me in some surprising way – like the time he rigged the kitchen sink so when I turned on the faucet the little sprayer thingy shot water in my face instead. Once the house has emptied out I will take a nap.

When I wake up, I will water Honey, who has also retired and somehow made it home to the porch. Then I will leisurely look at everyone’s Friday Shootouts and make silly comments. Maybe I will drop in on Bagman and Butler and prepare a shootout myself – although it will certainly be a late posting.

I have a long and exciting list of things to do after that – from fixing the doorknob on the porch to losing 50 pounds and climbing a volcano in Costa Rica.

But maybe on Friday, I’ll just take a second nap.


  1. Congratulations on your retirement!! Time to have fun! And it is fun! One does have adjustments to make, but hey! Think about all the fun things, too! Well, I'm being way too positive -- I didn't want to retire, I missed my job for years, finally moved to Mexico for a year to turn my brain around. And I did fill in for people who were out for one reason or another for a couple of years. Still, I'm happy for you and hope you have a fantastic retirement -- all of you!!


  2. There you are at last. Your long fading away is finished and now you and your cactus can start your new lives.
    Don't let that volcano wait forever!

  3. You're not invisible, oh great one.

  4. Soon, you will wonder how you ever had time to go to a job. You'll miss some of the people....for a while. Most of all, you'll joy in the discovery of things often overlooked in the grind of the workaday world.

    Congratulations and ENJOY!

  5. What Jack said in the comment above me is exactly what my mum says; she retired some years ago and is happier, healthier and more active than ever!

  6. Big milestone and bittersweet. You have done much good in your life, I can tell. Congratulations on all that you have given. I am sure you will find one OR TWO important volunteer efforts that will suck up your hours. Just don't do anything right away. Enjoy those quiet coffee mornings. Get up early and watch the sun rise. I love that rear view mirror quote and hope I can remember to use it someday.

  7. Whoo hoo! You finally made it. Free at last. Make sure you check out that volcano. I will hold you to that. So much to do. Travel and enjoy life. Oh, and take lots of photos and write, write, write! I will write soon.


  8. Glad to hear you are making all the necessary adjustments to enjoy your enforced holiday with absolute glee - Lovely to see you having fun with the photos too - I loved the pants in the air - So you! x