Dan is back on shift today. Kat and I bounced to life at 5:30 a. m. Granted, one of us had more life than the other at that ungodly hour. I fed Kat, had my morning infusion of coffee and spent some time reading the news and checking out Facebook. Neither brightened my day.
I had a hearty brunch at 9:00. That perked me up. I went outside and started painting planters. I am down two with thirty six to go!
I stopped for a bit of a break and my brat of a granddaughter snuck in and scared the life out of me.
The grocery stores are finally settling down here. I am so glad that Genie is finally getting a few days off. She needs it and she so deserves it!
Back in early November, I broke out in a case of shingles. I went to the doctor within a couple of days and he prescribed some very effective medication. My shingles were only bad for one week. For that week, they were pretty bad. I spent a lot of time in bed. When Dan was at work, I would get myself up to feed Kat and then lay down on the couch. Kat would eat, wander around for a while and then sit in front of me with a disgruntled look on her face. At seven thirty, she would run to the back porch to bark. I would haul myself up (in case she really needed to go out) and drag myself to the door to let her out.
When I got to the door, Kat would sit on her haunches and look at me as if to say “It is time for you to go – get out already!” I do not know what she would typically do when I went to work, but she obviously wanted me to go so she could do it.
This week, I officially retired. I have been home since the end of March so I have been wearing Kat down. She realizes that life has changed and she is making the best of it. She spends most of her day following me around waiting for treats, napping, or running around the yard barking at every dog, cat, or leaf that goes by. Later in the afternoon she will sit down by her leash and bark to let me know it is time for her walk.
Kat has stopped trying to get rid of me every morning. That is one more win for me. Now, I just hope to one day convince her that we no longer have to get up by six a.m.
In the ever changing story of my life, I am officially retired as of today! Due to ongoing health issues and my boss’s concern that I may not be able as dependable as he would need me to be for the next few weeks, we have come to the mutual conclusion that I should retire now and be done with it. Yay!
I have been working for fifty years (with time off or part-time employment for a few years when my children were infants to preschoolers). For the past 26 years, I have been working in the Saskatchewan construction industry. For the past 16 years, I have been working for my current boss.
The first fourteen years at KMB were great. I loved the work – it was challenging and rewarding. I loved dealing with our clients, our suppliers and all of our professional support team. I generally got along with most of the other staff – especially my boss. We had some good years.
We had a few less than great times – like when I was in the hospital for a month a few years ago. I was on oxygen, morphine, multiple antibiotics and inhalants, had an ongoing iv and tubes draining my chest cavity in an attempt to allow my collapsed lung to expand. My boss would call every few days to see if I knew when I would be back at work. The day I got out of the hospital, he called to see if I would come to work the next day – which I did. 🙄
The past couple of years have not been great – or good. Since the boss’s son joined the company there has been a total lack of respect, consideration or appreciation for myself or anyone on staff. I still enjoyed working with the rest of the staff, etc but the atmosphere has been uncomfortable to say the least.
Last year, I did have the biggest sale of my career (and the biggest single sale for the company to date.) It was with our supplier that I have worked closest with over the past sixteen years and involved my favourite product. The customer was a regular, who specifically wanted to work with me. The order went virtually flawless start to finish – budget pricing to payment of invoice. Best of all – the facility name for the project was St. Ann’s. 🤣🤣. Every order is important when you are in sales, but it is definitely nice to end a career on a high note.
High notes or low, I am ready for the next chapter in my life. I have always lived by the motto that you do not move forward looking in the rearview mirror. There is so much ahead to look forward to!
My first major project will be getting our yard in order and repainting all of our steel planters. My husband was out sourcing some paint for me this morning. I also want to start scheduling some r & r into my days. I may check out my Kobo today and invest in a new book. 😊
I have received notice that I am scheduled to return to work on June 8th. Since I am retiring on July 24th, I could easily refuse. There is no benefit for me to return, other than a few weeks pay, which we could survive without. There are several reasons not to return – most, but not all, health related. The dust, the air conditioning and the stress in my office all aggravate my asthma and that is something I do not need, on top of my other respiratory issues right now, particularly considering the current Corona virus situation.
Be that as it may, I have agreed to return to work until my official retirement date. I have been with this company for almost sixteen years. I have a lot of time and effort invested in it. I have built up a number of client and supplier relationships that I do not wish to see the company lose. As much as I know things will ultimately be done differently when I retire, I want to make sure someone is ready to take over where I leave off.
In the meantime I have two weeks left to enjoy my pre-retirement break. Today I am cleaning our patio set and getting it ready for resting and relaxing once I do retire for real!
I am transitioning from employment to retirement, with a slight detour through a pandemic. This detour has taught me a number of things about myself and my impending retirement.
1. I am ready to retire! I love the peace and calm of retirement. I do not miss anything about my job – I particularly do not miss the constant pressure and conflict.
2. I wasted money when I was working. I spent a lot of money on fast food and going out for supper. I spent money on clothes – not designer labels or anything, but working in a construction company office is hard on clothes. I always needed a new shirt or jeans or jacket or boots. 🤷 I spent a lot of money on OTC drugs like aspirin, antacids, immodeum and the like. I do need them anymore.
3. I save money not working. Our shopping has gone from pricey porkchops, steaks and chicken breasts to stewing beef, ground beef, and ham, pork and beef roasts, and whole chicken – which has led to some creative use of leftovers. It isn’t that I suddenly love cooking, it is just that I have the time and energy to do it. I even made a homemade birthday cake for Dan. I save money on gas and vehicle upkeep. This is partly due to staying home because of the pandemic, but mostly because my driving was primarily to work and home. Also, I will save quite a bit on planting our garden this year. Typically, I buy a lot of bedding plants. This year, for the first time in decades, I have been starting my own bedding plants from seeds. 🌾
4. My health was worse than I realized and it is improving more than I thought it would. With my stress level down, my asthma has eased off considerably and out of the construction dusty air in my office, I am breathing way easier. I cough much less and my blood oxygen level has gone from 91% to 97%. That alone makes me feel far less stressed and healthier.
5. Our house was seriously messy. I have spent hours deep cleaning since I have been home. I still have many hours left to go, but the improvement is already notable. It is also pretty exciting finding things that have been MIA for months.
6. I am not hating the idea of starting a couple of renovation projects. Once I get finished with spring cleaning, I plan to redo the grandkids room. The last time we did it was before Genie was born. The wallpaper pattern is an adorable mix of baby toys – a little juvenile now that she is sixteen.
7. I am spending way less time on social media than I thought I would. I do enjoy blogging and hope to spend more time connecting with others on this platform. I have just been getting busy making my ‘transition’ lately.
8. I am really enjoying spending more time with Dan. It is hard when one half of a couple works traditional Monday to Friday hours while the other works twelve hour, twenty four/seven shifts. This could be my favourite part of retirement. 😍 I wasn’t sure how it would go once we are both retired and together every day but honestly, I think it will be great.
I am having one of those super great days that runs along like a roller coaster
1. My meds are kicking in and My breathing is so much easier today! But, I am not loving the pharmaceutical companies that cannot create one single drug that does not cause headaches, vertigo, constipation, and/or diahrea! 🤦
2. Spring has sprung, the sun is shining, the air is warm, and the snow and ice are quickly melting! But, our vehicles are filthy. I get that Dan has been taking my little car to work and there is no avoiding the puddles, mud, and steel dust out at Evraz. No idea why the Jeep is so bad. It has not been going anywhere! 🤷
3. I went to the bank this morning. Banking is good! But why do so many (obviously retired) seniors want or need to go to the bank at ten o’clock on Saturday morning to pay all of their monthly bills – one at a time?! (Like they did not know they had six of them going in 🙄). Seriously, once I am retired, I am never leaving my house on Saturday. Wednesday morning sounds good. 😒
4. With all this springy weather, our streets are melting and drying off. I love dry streets! But why do dry streets bring out every lousy driver in the city? I put my signal on to move into the left lane. Some dough head took that as a challenge to boot it so he could cut me off – just so he had to slow down because he was turning left RIGHT THERE! 🤯
5) And finally… Spring has sprung, I am feeling much better, I have places to go and things to – life is good. 😊. But, I have to return to work on Monday and with the way things have been there for the past two years, I would definitely rather not. 😢.
This week I have been enjoying one of my first ‘lasts’ at work. The western sales rep for one of our biggest, and my favourite, supplier is in town. Construction Specialties manufactures many products (Acrovyn wall protection, entrance mats and foot grilles, hospital tracks and curtains, expansion joints, louvres, sunshades and more). I love their products, I love the quality of their products, and I love the people I deal with from this company – including and especially Peter.
Peter has been our rep for ages now and he is great to deal with. He is a great guy period. He knows the industry inside out and always has some interesting news for us. (This week it was paperless drywall – and the non porous reason behind it. It is a healthcare thing and way more interesting than it sounds). Peter knows his company and he definitely knows his products. If we have a problem or need support for anything, he is on it. He is respectful and decent. There is no question that he has our backs. We feel we can be totally honest and upfront with him and he is totally honest and upfront with us. It has been a great relationship for both sides from day one.
This week Peter is here for the annual Construction Specifications Canada tradeshow. He comes every year for it and spends the better part of a day with us. We (my boss Brian, Peter, and I) spend the morning catching up on news, go for a nice lunch, back to the office to discuss more business and then we meet for supper at one of Regina’s best steak houses. It is always fun. This year was special. This year will be my last for this get together. This year was also a bit of a celebration for one of my best years and definitely my best sale ever. It was an impressive sale by any standards and I was so happy to end my career on such a positive note. (For the record, I have never been one to spend my time chasing BIG sales. I take care of the little sales and our customers just trust me enough to bring the big sales to me.) 🙂
I will have a lot of ‘lasts’ and ‘goodbyes’ in the next few months. It is kind of sad, but I know that I am fortunate that I get to make these special memories before I retire.
In less than six months I will be retired. I was so excited about the possibilities when I made my decision to embark on this new phase of my life. My family and friends supported me. It was all good!
Somehow the closer I get, the harder this has been getting. Retirement has not been looking that promising. Finally, in total frustration, I sat down and wrote a blog about my current struggles. I put it all out there. (Well most of it). I hit publish and went to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I suddenly realized what I was really struggling with.
For the past five decades, I have been in the enviable position of being a ‘caregiver’. I have had the physical, mental, emotional and financial ability to help and support others – husbands, children, grandchildren, parents, siblings, employers, co-workers, friends and the occasional stranger. Now, I am suddenly planning for a life where my main focus is caring for me. It never occurred to me that such a change in focus would be a problem for me, much less others – especially those who I have done the most for over the years.
There are probably a lot of people who come up against these mental struggles when they are planning or kicking off their retirement. I wonder why nobody talks about them. 🙄
The closer retirement gets, the more it looks like an unavoidable train wreck.
In July 2019, I decided that I would retire on my 65th birthday (July 2020). This was not a rash decision. I gave it a lot of thought and took a number of factors into account.
1. I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with my husband. With his 24/7 shift work and my 9 to 5 Monday to Friday, our together time was limited.
2. I wanted the opportunity to spend more time with my sons and daughter and my grandchildren.
3. Although I have always seemed more youthful than I actually am, and felt I could easily work for a few more years, I decided I wanted to retire when I was still felt young enough and strong enough that I would have the energy to pursue new interests.
4. There were situations within the construction industry and the construction company that I worked for that made my job stressful and frustrating. I did not want retirement to be about getting away from what I was doing but I was ready to leave it behind.
5. And, last but not least, I wanted the opportunity to start enjoying the retirement life that my older siblings were already living. 🧘🧚🏄👩👧👦💃
I discussed my decision with my husband, my children, my boss and my siblings. Everyone was on board and encouraged me to do what I felt was right. I threw myself into preparing for retirement🥳
That was then, this is my now:
1) In recent weeks my husband seems to be less enthusiastic about my impending retirement. He has to work for another four years to get his full pension and he seems to resent that I will not be slogging it out with him. I get it. I really do. But I know this will be better for both of us. We will have more time to spend together. I will be able to carry more of the household workload. We will both be able to live around his schedule. I want to do this, but I do not want to go into this feeling guilty and resented.
2) I will no doubt have the opportunity to spend more time with my sons and their families. That will be nice. In August, my daughter kicked me to the curb and banned me from seeing her children. To say that I am devastated from the loss is a total understatement.
3) I am definitely not feeling youthful. I have been sick since October and I am exhausted. I look old and I feel old. 👵 Retirement, as I see it now, is the opportunity to nap – a lot.
4) Even though I was definitely ready to leave my job, I wanted to go out feeling really good about the job I did and the contribution I had made to the company I worked for. Things get worse every day. I do not care how I get out. I just want to get out. That is not how I wanted to begin my retirement. I did not want it to be about getting away from where I am. I wanted to be excited about where I am going.
5) Finally, my siblings and the retirements they were enjoying. I have a sister two years older than me. We practically grew up as twins. We have been best friends before bff’s were even a thing. She had a kidney transplant last March. She still, and will always, takes a handful of pills every day. The side effects are brutal. She was always the bright one, the quick one, the happy one. Now her life is so hard. My oldest sister has always been large and in charge. Not do much large physically, but definitely in charge. She has always been a hoot. She has been dealing with recurring cancer for years. She has been keeping it at bay and living a good life. She has been sick since before Christmas. She has been exhausted and losing weight, confused and weak. Last week she was diagnosed with aggressive, advanced Alzheimer’s. We are all heart-broken for her, for her family and for us.
I am less than six months from retirement. I should be more excited and relieved and happy everyday that it gets closer. I should be, I want to be, but to be honest I am struggling. I definitely do not want to stay in the workforce but these days I do not know if retirement is going to be any better. 🚂