Retiring = Reverting

The best way I can describe what it was like when I was a kid, growing up in a developing suburb of Chicago, is total freedom. Well, if you don't count school, life was so free. I had the run of the land, as long as my friends and I didn't cross any of the really major highways (which we rarely did). My neighborhood was one of many being built on what had been farm fields for untold generations. The benefit from all of the construction was the amount of available scrap lumber that made fort and treehouse building an annual event. During one wet spring, we picked up the scraps that had been placed around John's house by the construction workers so they could walk without sinking and slipping in the mud (we didn't know it would be John's house at the time because it was still being built and John wasn't living there yet). Being amateurs, my friend Todd and I haphazardly nailed the pieces together into what would be our second fort. The first fort was only 3 feet high, so this time we built it tall enough so we could sit upright in it. Forts were all about the building, not so much the habitation. It's not like we were under attack or anything. Anyway, on Monday after school we discovered that our fort had been returned to its previous use - the boardwalk on the mud! How could the construction workers be so insensitive, tearing down our hard work? Ah, well. There was never anything to do with a fort once it was built, anyway.

So now my wife and I are headed to the sticks in Tennessee to build our future. Besides a few forts, I have never really built anything to speak of. I did spend some time working for my dad's company back in my youth, though. With that, I learned a little bit about a lot of things such as concrete work, steel construction, welding, steel cutting torches, piping and plumbing, painting, and more. Most jobs were in chemical processing plants, so the conditions were less than glamorous and probably more dangerous than any of us realized. But I learned a lot and most of the work required improvisation to get done. Rarely was the job a fresh installation. Most often we were adding a storage tank or piece of machinery into an existing work area, and the work around us didn't stop while we were there. Needless to say, there was no air conditioning and if the work was outside in the winter, we were cold. Chicago cold.

I know I'm rambling a bit, but my point is that I'm no stranger to hard work. Many people, after learning about our plans, feel obligated to tell me that it's going to be a lot of hard work. It has been a long time, and I know sometimes I'll be wishing I could be sitting in a comfy chair behind a clean desk in a comfy office again, but I believe the memorable times of natural beauty and the glory of the harvest will outshine the city life, I'm sure. 19 years is enough - if not too much - to spend indoors. When we find our place, we'll build our home, and then some. Just like when I was a kid, but this time it's for real.

Short-timer's disease sets in

14 work days to go

It is becoming more and more difficult to keep my head in my work, as short timer's disease takes hold. On one hand, I really shouldn't get involved in any long-term projects because I won't be around to follow up. Also, whomever will ultimately be responsible for these things is probably around the office now, and handing off a pile of projects in the waning days of my time with the company is not a good idea, in my opinion. So, for now, I gently push people to find someone who cares - I mean someone else with an interest in these projects. It's tough, though, because most of my workmates are friends, and I like to help make things work. But I must let the younger generation take my place as I step down. I have revealed my lack of interest in this digital environment only to my supervisor. I used to be intrigued by the challenges in this new business, but after 2 1/2 years it has become like factory maintenance. There is really no incentive when you don't get a commission. It is almost counter-intuitive to assist the company in a way that adds work, which means there will be more work. When I had left my last job, I decided that the next job I got would have to have some financial incentive to excel. However, I ended up back in the same type of position. I guess I just get bored and the rewards aren't really there for me.

So, I'm taking on Mother Nature as the new challenge. Making food from earth, water and seeds (and sweat, I'll bet). I especially like the idea of a 0 minute commute, and 3 meals a day at home, and my dog, Render, by my side (unless a squirrel shows up) just like the old days. I guess I'll have to get a pick-up truck if the locals are going to take me seriously.

Sources of inspiration

I am surprised at the reaction most everyone has had when they learn about our Tennessee plans. It usually starts with a smile and a look as if they think it is a joke. There is usually a laugh in their voice, and "Wow" is a common exclamation. At this point I feel quite well rehearsed, fielding the same questions over and over again. Many people have expressed envy, indicating that they would like to join us or do the same thing at some point in their lives. It is going to be difficult leaving all of my friends behind, and interesting leaving the career I have built over the last 19 years.

I probably wouldn't be making this change if it weren't for a few bloggers that I have been reading over the past few years. Most are Christian Agrarian family men, focused on living a simple, self-sufficient life. Here are a few that have inspired me:I hope our future stories inspire others to follow their own dreams someday, too.

Today I learned: You should never expect that concatenating Windows Media files will be easy.

2 dogs shot

Just got back from the vet where our 2 dogs got their annual booster shots, bordatella & rabies shots. Something tells me that folks in Tennessee won't care so much about things like this, at least not out in the sticks where we'll be.

I got some new info that relates back to my previous post; I was informed that the information reached my CEO "...through a joint customer if you can believe it. Someone at the competition shared their "plans" with them".

I think they'll be changing their plans.

Today I learned: +We have much bigger dogs than most people in Glendale, CA.

Makin' a list, checkin' it twice.

I'm **SO** ready to go to Tennessee.
  • I went to a networking event yesterday that left a LOT to be desired. $6 parking and a $3 soda, with a 'free lunch' of greasy pizza and iceberg lettuce-stuffed deli sandwiches.
  • They're renovating the kitchen at the house next door, which is a mere driveway's breadth from my office window. Saws and hammers and drills, oh my!
  • Every time I go outside to get something, it's covered in greasy black soot from smog. It can't be dusted, because it clings to every surface and gets into every crevice. You have to wash it off with windex or fantastik.
These are just a few observations from the last 24 hours, but i should make a real list of what things i don't like about Los Angeles, so that when i get 'homesick' i can read over that list and put things back into perspective.

Then again, i'm sure i'll look back at some of the things that are annoyances here, and think "HA! I DIDN'T KNOW HOW GOOD I HAD IT!"

I'm glad to have been able to do what i've done. I worked hard for what i've achieved. But I'm 37, and i'm ready for stuff to slow down. I've come to the realization, finally, that i don't have to prove myself to anyone but me, but it's difficult to balance what I believe is good work against making the extra effort to get a positive reaction from my customers: it's exhilirating to know that people appreciate my efforts.

(is this a blog entry or a self-administered pep-talk to get motivated for tonight's gig?)

well, enough screwing around, time to get the dishes out of the sink, get some breakfast, and make today's grocery list.

Today I learned: Noodles is a good alarm clock.

Somebody snitched on me.

24 work days to go.

I suspect a former supervisor (let's refer to him as LandApe), who is now working for a competitor, learned about my brief, yet immaterial, talks with said competitor. I believe LandApe told the CEO of my current company about the "affair" for some reason, as I was questioned about it by my direct supervisor this morning. There is another side to all of this that I won't write about since it touches in legal territory. Anyway, I sent an email to the CEO tonight asking him to reveal his source of information. I really want to know who leaked what should have been confidential information, especially if it was my old boss, LandApe. It is making for an interesting chapter at the end of my digital career.

Bring on the chickens.

OOH! cuteness!

click to see website
This chicken purse is really cute!

Hmmm, i could be pretty crafty with a needle and thread... I have some handles salvaged from a pink handbag i bought in London (that one of the dogs decided needed some remodeling and therefore chewed on it) i might have to get a piggy stuffed animal and turn her into a purse.

Today I learned: scrubbing the floor on your hands and knees can tweak your back for the whole next day.