January in the Rear View Mirror

2017 is cruising along like crazy! and I am so trying to settle into my new lifestyle.  It is so different to develop the mindset that I can do what I want to do, when I want to do it.  The weather has been pretty nice so not a lot of ice and snow and the one day that was terrible icy was a day I just opened the drapes and watched the world slide by.  I almost had a bit of guilty conscience (with a stressor on the ALMOST), as I sat in my new study watching the little boy across the street fall down and slide down the driveway, then get up and do it all over again for a couple of hours. I thought about how awesome it was for him to not have a time concession and to just HAVE FUN. He carefully changed it up periodically, but was so relaxed and unabashed—  but then I truly did have to giggle because I had just sat there for a couple of hours and WATCHED HIM!! These are the funny things I CAN do because I CAN!!

New week!  I wrote that last Tuesday, and then whoa!! here it is another week away and what a week it has been.  I believe it is time to quit being so wispy and start to make a plan. One of the biggest changes I have discovered with retirement is probably FEAR — Fear of the Unknown– and I think today is the first time I have honestly looked it in the face, put a name on it and decided to conquer it!

I decided to start by a  visit with a counselor!  That alone was a bit of a big step because it seemed silly to go in and say, ” I am lost and a bit confused and scared!”  I had never really made a ‘someday when I retire’ plan, so when it happened, it kind of took me unawares– because I was quite sure I was never gonna get old, or sick or retire so why would one plan for that!! Well not a good idea!

We started by talking about depression and if I ever wanted to hurt myself or others— you know all of the counselor-type issues– and it seemed like none of that was part of my issues (although I did confess that my culinary skills left a bit of possibility on the hurting myself and others department!) We talked about the steps of grief and that almost seemed to make sense as we walked through them. She assured me that the ups and downs and the good times and not such good times are all part of that grief process. It seems that is a bit intense for the change of life that most people look so forward to! , but in my case it seemed to make sense.  That kind of helped to put a title on my feelings that made it workable and gave me a sense of making a plan and being able to go forward.

She helped me to see that the thoughts that have been dancing around in my head are worth serious thought and only need to be corralled  and put together in plan.  She referred me to a career planner and set me up with another meeting with her because she seemed to know that I need to have a time line to answer to!  A career planner at my age and YES!! I am going to talk to this lady!  The next few blog entries will be showing my progression into this new phase of my life so for those of you kind enough to follow these and give me your support and input—I say HANG ON!   Here we go again!  I will share the next steps with you and hopefully it will be a great adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

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Look out 2017 — Here we come!

Happy New Years!! Kind of cold and cloudy but not gonna spoil my day #1 of 2017.  I am waiting for my date to come by and we are going out — Pokemoning!  (Not sure if that is a word or the correct spelling but …..)  Oh, by the way, my date is 7 years old and cute as a button!  We have planned to do this all vacation and every day something else has come up so today is the day!  Gonna pick up a tub to finish packing the decorations that came home from Sunrise too, and so all in all, it will be a fun day (and his sisters always seem to appreciate the absence of him on their Sunday afternoon time with Mom, so we will kill two birds with one stone so to speak.)

Well, the new year is flying by already! and I have been so busy that I haven’t gotten back to complete my NEW YEARS Blog!  However, tonight is too cold to go outside and I am not in the mood to clean so I had better get busy and blog!

Strange that I haven’t seemed to accomplish much however, the time flie

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Good-by 2016 Hello 2017 and WELCOME

Wow, what a year this has been!  No need to go to a carnival or theme park for the rides— this year has provided it’s own ride– ups and downs and around and round and finally back to the home station and ready for the 2017 ride.  Kind of hope it isn’t as crazy as this year.

This is a very sad day in my 2016, as we learned yesterday that our baby we were planning on gracing our July didn’t make it past the 12th week in uterine.  As I write this, Amanda and Michael are at the hospital to complete the process of ending this dream.  I find it amazing that a little person who we never were able to hold or kiss or cuddle can still be loved so much and leave such a big hole in our hearts.  However, we are so blessed by the five that we can hold and kiss and cuddle (four of Amanda and Michael and one of Jeremy and Amys) and you know that God is gracious and must have just wanted a new little angel to complete his 2016. Her doctor is a wonderful man and assures the kids that there is no reason they cannot try again so that will be a decision they will make in the next few months so there may be another surprize in our future — or not– it is up to them and God and the rest of us will just wait to see.

This is short and as I wave goodby to 2016, I look forward to 2017 and to sharing the trip with all of you.  It will be an exciting and fun time and lots of new experiences to share.  Love to all of you who have made my voyage to date so wonderful.

 

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Merry Christmas —and God Bless Us Everyone!

Christmas morning, 2016 and raining— my favorite favorite weather!  Washes the world clean and a new start promised!  Thunder even !  Wow!  Thank you God for such a beautiful day.

Well, for the first time in my adult life, I didn’t send a single Christmas card.  Even in the old days when we would go through the couch cushions to get enough change to buy the stamps! so I am going to make this blog my Christmas letter to anyone who reads it. This will be my year in review, not so much about the retirement road as I started the blog to explore and share that ,but of course, that also will be touched in it because it is part of my year!

This has been a year!  My youngest son Will and I share a little 2 bedroom house in Air Park in Lincoln, which has always been my favorite part of Lincoln to live in.  It is an area that is vastly populated by a very diverse group of folks– every size, shape, color and creed of humanity. Old, young, rich (well not TOO rich) and poor.  It is a wonderful blend of all that is wonderful in the world.

Will works as an insurance salesman for All State and is doing good.  He likes his job and this year added to his resume the ability to sell Life Insurance along with home and auto. He is a teasing, naughty uncle to Amanda’s crew who live a few blocks away and finds his most relaxing time lying on the couch with the TV, I-pad and phone all tuned to different things. He is the proud owner of 7 pound Shorkey named Giny who runs our household with an iron paw.

Amanda and Michael live just a few blocks away and their kids are part of what makes all of life good!  The two oldest girls are in middle school and have to get on the bus at 7:30ish –rain, sleet, snow and sunshine. They are 7th and 8th graders and next year Ava will go to high school!  I have offered to purchase a minivan and paint it red and black (Lincoln High Colors) and deliver her and her friends to the front door. However, she assures me she will take her chances with the public bus system that transports them to school. I don’t get it!! Both girls played volleyball this year and did great, and Jozzy played basketball too. She is our little shorty, but she can guard and steal like she is 6 feet tall.  (Could possibly be a grandma’s perception but I don’t think so!)  Serena and Bo still go to elementary school and are active in all the after school clubs, plus Serena plays trumpet and sings in choir. Bo is still too young for the extra music stuff so he and I go hunting for Pokemon’s.  Can’t give any specifics, cause I don’t know any, but he assures me we are doing good!  It is an app on my phone and is a lot of fun driving around looking for critters. Michael works for the State of Ne. doing computer stuff and Amanda quit Sunrise when I retired and hasn’t gone back to work yet.  She planned and pulled off an INCREDIBLE surprize retirement for me and added to the surprize an announcement that I was gonna be grandma again in July!  #5!!

Jeremy, Amy and Daxton still live in So.Sioux City.  Amy is a sales coordinator at Beef Products, Inc. and Jeremy is with the police department. He made Sergeant this year and I am so very proud of my policeman!  Then Daxton is in high school– plays trumpet and guitar in the band, plus a great student. He got his Eagle Scout last year — very unusual for one so young!

Mom and Dad are doing well– still quite active and busy. Dad had a pacemaker put in this year, so he is getting back to is old self.  Such a blessing to have both of them still in good health and spirits!  My mother won a game at the Casino and was on Facebook the other day. So funny.

Sisters and brothers and families are all doing great and we have continued to grow until we have to have a hall for holidays!  Celebrating Christmas with all tomorrow (Monday) and can hardly wait!

Lots of changes in my personal life– retired in October and have been reassessing my path since. I am not gonna go into much here as my previous blogs and any upcoming ones will be more about that. Just suffice it to say that I am looking forward to 2017 and what it will bring.

Well, guess I will send this off —(on the 27th, — late as usual) and wish each and everyone of you a blessed end to 2016 and a wonderful 2017!!

 

 

 

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WHO AM I ???

It is the middle of December and I am not exactly sure just where the heck these last few weeks went or what exactly I have accomplished ….. not decorating for Christmas or excessive house cleaning but it has certainly passed quickly. I have been involved in some serious Pokemon sessions that I still don’t understand but Bo assures me that we are doing great!! I drive around the neighborhood and he captures all types of strange critters and then we have to replenish our pokeballs several times a day so we can capture some new ones!

Retirement is OK– but so very different than I had expected or anticipated. It means that you are in charge of your time and your plans. It means being able to take a weekend to play with grandbabies or watch football without worrying if laundry is done cause I have all week to do it!  It means sitting in my recliner playing different solitaire games for literally hours if I want to.  I still am not real good at facebook, and will tell Amanda that I got an e-mail from someone when I mean a text message, but I have time to learn –if I want to!

I have gone to Sunrise a couple of times to tie up some loose ends but the last time I was there was different.  No difference in how any one treated me but there but just a difference in the feeling that I had.  When I walked to my car that day,  I realized that this is my LAST time of being any part of the integral part of Sunrise== like walking out of court when the judge has just granted the divorce decree or watching the casket of a dear friend as it drops into the hole. It is a separation of past love and current situation. It is final and  a different kind of sad. A strange feeling engulfed me as I started my car and took one more long look around the campus, like when a movie or a good book ends and you don’t want it to. It was an ache that tears couldn’t ease and even Vicks and Ibuprofen couldn’t relieve. (Vicks and Ibuprofen have historically solved most of my issues through the years)

This was different than the other sad times when I knew I would miss daily seeing the residents or the staff, when I knew there would be no more crisis to solve or no more sharing in the highs and lows of Sunrise daily lives–be it new babies or split relationships or the death of someone dear. This was a finality that happens when you realize that you are no longer a part of something that had pretty well defined you through most of your adult life, and now you are YOU– not a Sunrise representative but you.  Now to figure out just who the heck YOU are!!

 

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Onward

Well, it is time to truly begin the new trip. 

First thing on the agenda is — I guess– develop an agenda!  The house was full of boxes of treasures that I had brought from work, so before I can start a new adventure, I need to establish a base and put into place some kind of organization so I begin to sit up an office. Now rumor has it that I wouldn’t know organization if it were standing naked in front of me. (That makes no sense, I know, but …….)I felt I was organized — it was just Charliss fashion.

I have always thought it would be kind of awesome to have a “HOME OFFICE”, and now– I will have one.  Dress code is pretty causal here– sweats and tennis shoes or pajamas and slippers depending on the mood of the day!  Instead of overhead pages, I have a detective show or a DIY show on for background noise and instead of residents and staff popping in to visit, Ginny, our little shorkie (Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix) lies on a pillow on the easy chair and only ‘visits’ when she needs to go outside to chase squirrels or potty! At this point, I am just getting it put together, combining my knick knacks and my work treasures in a snuggly combination that suits me and accommodates my plans to be productive– even though I haven’t decided yet what that productive part will be!!

In the past, the computer desk sat in the living room and was a great place to collect mail, and all those little items that will be put away tomorrow! When I worked on things, it usually was in my recliner with the laptop–on my lap-– and I had a small folding table, if needed, to hold extra papers, etc that was necessary for whatever project I was working on.

Amanda came up and she and Will moved the desk into the bedroom-turned-office, dusted off their hands and left. In order to move it from the living room, I had cleared off all of the clutter and collectables and realized:  #1. what a pretty piece of furniture this is and  #2. what a huge, heavy  piece of furniture it is! I push my good ole dependable office chair up to it and I am home! Already I can feel a transformation in my train of thought.

When moving out of my Sunrise office, I had sorted through the things I had gathered over the past 27 years. These have meant something special to me for one reason or another. Some were personal items — little items that someone had given me, notes and cards I had received, a napkin or matches that were memorabilia for one reason or another. Although I had left any thing that was Sunrise property there, I had brought books purchased and handouts saved from the various workshops I had attended through the years. The books and handouts I had saved because the information was good, or had information I planned to share with the staff; then there were a lot of the research papers I had used for various projects and classwork to complete my Bachelor’s degree.  When I was going through things at Sunrise, it seemed important to save them and go through them at a more leisurely pace, but now I am kind of thinking I really didn’t need to bring all of them because I REALLY CAN get this information (and more recent) on the internet which I still have at my fingertips and now I have more time to pursue the research because the only interruptions are putting the dog out!!

Time is strange right now and I find myself kind of ‘floaty”!  I realize how my disorganized life style was really more organized than I realized and that it had focus.  Now I can nap at 10 in the morning or watch TV and write on my blog at 3 in the morning because I CAN!  I have found myself wanting to GO somewhere, but when I get in the car, I just kind of drive aimlessly around, only to return home and back to organizing my new office, or doing laundry or cleaning the bathroom or watching TV, or playing on the computer or taking another nap!! Folks have always said that prompt time management was NOT a strong point of mine, but now that I don’t need to manage it, IT IS WEIRD!

Training through the years has been working my home life around my professional life whether it was working nights or days and one job or two.  It was also full of family and friends– immediate or extended– fun and responsibilities. It was being OK with 4 to 5 hours a day sleep, or catching a quick nap at a train crossing while waiting for a train to cross! Each minute was pretty well full doing something!  It has always been my theory that I will sleep when I get old —and I might be getting close to old because now I sleep whenever I take a notion. NOT OK-– Now it is time to re-train and develop a new focus.

 

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The Party’s Over

Well, sitting in my ‘used to be work chair’ preparing to share my truly last day at work and hoping I can do it justice.

It was a kind of cool and drizzly day– actually some of my favorite kind of weather, so it was a good start!  I always stop at Cindy’s office as it is right inside the front door where I gather my mail and talk about the previous 24 hours or the weekend’s events — she always comes early so has a finger on the pulse and it is a great way to start each day.  It prevents surprises or at least lessens them and gives me a minute to kind of prepare for the day– good, bad or indifferent

The first ‘change’ became evident as I took my mail from my box and sorted the work things that needed to go to Seth from the things that were my personal things– a couple of cards and some junk mail. Heading to my office was pretty normal- greeting the folks along the way, exchanging a giggle with one of the residents, then turned the corner and — the door was open!  Seth was behind the desk working on something on the computer and for the first time since this has begun, it was a bit uncomfortable– for both of us I believe. We kind of exchanged small talk as he moved from behind the desk to around the front and I slipped behind it.  Thank goodness it was time for our weekly Status meeting so we headed to the conference room. Once there, I tried not to comment to much, but you know me– just being quiet doesn’t seem to be part of my makeup.  I always have an opinion and feel the need to share it!!!

After the meeting, I stopped to visit with the surveyors to ensure they had all the things they needed and to ask if they needed me for anything.  Assuring me they were fine, they said exit would probably be about 4 this afternoon, so told them I planned to leave for a while then come back for exit. Seth and Josie were leaving for lunch, so I told them my plan and they said that since I would be gone, they would be preparing  the office for painting this afternoon.  I stopped by my office again to check my e-mails and found my computer had been changed– starting with a new screen saver (no Willie Nelson in the bath tub — a wet willie don’t you know!!) A quick check and then left for lunch.

I bid Cindy a quick good-by and said I would be back later.  It seemed to be a good time to try that Shrimp Fettuccine from Fazoli’s that I have been wanting to try, and that was a great decision.  Love it when my administrative decisions are so positive!!

Back to my house, I sat down and gave some thought to the morning and I realized the first thing I must do is to drop the MY.  I guess that is the first BIG CHANGE that I need to deal with and that is: it is no longer MY.  Not my business mail, Not my office, Not my computer, Not my residents nor my staff.  Seth said I can take My chair which I will grab when I come back for exit, along with my “Grandfather ” Indian bust  that has been with me since I started.  That will remove the last of the MY’s that are mine.

Once home, I stole a short nap that was interrupted by Seth’s phone call saying they were planning to exit in about a half hour. I jumped up and ran. It was very important to me to attend this last exit and they graciously waited for me. Another rather uncomfortable moment happened as the exit began. We all had to sign our names and positions so didn’t really know what to sign–so went ahead and signed administrator because I didn’t really know what else to put, and Seth signed Administrator too, but the State ladies seemed to take it in stride so we did too!   The exit was fairly quick and painless with the areas needing corrections minimal and fairly easy fixes!  So I get to leave with a good ‘report card’ reinforcing my belief that we are the great  team I have always known we were.  We have some improvements needed in some of our systems, but our team is solid!!  WHOA—“We” is kind of a spin off of MY huh, so better just grab my chair and the grandfather bust and head out!

When I got to the office, everything was out except my chair which sat in the middle of the room. The curtains were down and the room seemed large and empty and kind of impersonal and cold–so it was not so hard to leave.  Jo P and Seth loaded the chair into the backseat of my car –and that was a bit of a trick, while I tucked the Grandfather into the front seat !! I peeled the key off my keychain and handed it to Seth, bid farewell to he and Jo and pulled away from the sidewalk with a big smile that lasted until I got out of the parking lot. As I drove off,  I realized AGAIN just how very much I truly love this beautiful campus and that I never will be able to really return. They say you can never go home again, and suddenly those words hit me hard, melting my smile into big alligator tears that blurred my vision enough to force me to pull over along the side of the road. After a few minutes, I wiped my tears and blew my nose (thank goodness for those Amigos napkins!!). As I headed down the road, I realized that “the party’s over”, and it is time to look ahead to a new adventure.

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SURPRIZE!!

AND What a party it was!!   Saturday I went to the Keg on 20th and O for a couple of drinks with my friend Sherry and her hubby. She very nonchalantly suggested we introduce her hubby to Huskerville, a little community pub in Air Park. I called my daughter to see if she and her hubby wanted to meet us there, but she said they were already there, so we headed out.  When we walked in I had the shock of my life!  There were people that I knew — everywhere and in the middle of them were my Mom and Dad!  My brother and sisters and their spouses, kids and grandkids, and friends —- oh, my goodness friends— current and past employees.  The bar was as full as was my heart. All of these wonderful people there to wish me well in my retirement.  As I went from table to table, I was so thankful for each of them and the contributions they have made to my life.

The night was wonderful and I didn’t even realize how bad we were being beaten by those Ohio folks until the next morning!!  Sunday was a lazy day, trying to relive the evening before and just savoring the special time I had with each person. I spent a great bit of time re-reading or actually really reading all of the beautiful cards and notes and well-wishes and laughing or crying a bit as I treasured each one–so many memories and so many stories. The other thing that really touched my heart was the effort so many people had put into being there.  Some of my family members had traveled hundreds of miles and had to travel back late– my friend Hardy who is blind and had missed the bus had grabbed a cab — my brother Jim who truly enjoys yelling at the Huskers when they do less than stellar not only gave up the comfort of his man cave, but restrained himself during the Husker performance! my mom made my very favorite chocolate cake and brought it in the cake pan that has attended a hundred family gatherings. These examples go on and on– such incredible, wonderful people.

Since one of the beginning goals of this blog was to share my feelings of this life changing event, I also spent some time just ‘examining my feelings’ and I realized that it really hasn’t sunk in yet. So far it has been like a month long party with lots of reconnects with old and new friends, special time with residents and current staff, parties and gifts. I know that I have a tendency to stuff my feelings (especially negative ones), and I don’t want to do that with this.  I am trying to make this a time of truth– good and bad!

Monday will be my true LAST DAY, because state will exit and I will put my chair in my car, turn in my key and come home.  Still doesn’t seem real.

 

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Winding down

Saturday morning dawning bright and beautiful.  Well, yes it should be my first day of  real RETIREMENT, but we had surveyors last week and they got called to another facility before they could exit, so they are coming back on Monday — and so am I!! Survey is kind of like a report card, and so I want to see how we are doing. If that makes me nosey (like my kids say, well then call me nosey!!) My theory is that as long as you do what you think is the right thing for your residents and do it for the right reasons, then you should be OK.  Occasionally you have to fight for your decisions and occasionally you lose, but I seldom did things because “the state would really like this”.  If I felt it was right for us (and by us I meant ALL of Sunrise — staff and residents), then that was what we tried to do.  Also, never believed in ‘paper compliance’. If we said we would do it, then we tried to do it– not just give it lip service.

 

So many things I want to say to my department heads and how I wish I could give them the security of knowing just how damn good they truly are.  It is a bit scary because change is tough, but they know Seth and they know he has a good heart so he will lead them well. Of course there will be a learning curve but with Healthcare, there is always a learning curve so you just get use to it.

Well this is kind of short for me but I have a ton of errands to run AND I have a meeting with my friend Sherry and her hubby this afternoon followed by football tonight so best get going.

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TRICK AND TREAT WEEK– the finale

Trick AND treat week– that will be this ‘after the party-then go home’ week. See that is the trick- coming back to work after my going away bash!! It began on Monday, my truly last Monday in an office that has suddenly become very big and echoey– (not sure that is a word, but like I said– it is my blog),  sitting at a desk that truly  is made of wood, kind of forgot that!! BUT nice wood. Thank goodness I got a magazine in my morning mail that had a lot of loose mailers in it.  I was able to spread it out so that the desk still looked like mine –covered with papers. However, I was able to open that big drawer (remember the first one I emptied) and place my purse in it. That was a nice touch!

Our State surveyors came early this morning for the first of the next three days to complete our yearly review.  It is a little tense, but not bad because reality is that there is nothing that can change at this stage.  They will find what they will find, they will give us suggestions and tell us what we have to fix and then they will leave. We will grumble a bit about the visit, then get busy and make a plan on how we will improve the areas they found deficient and get on with our day to day business— only this time I will be left out of the second half of the equation.  I will hear the verbal findings and get to be there for –and be part of –the grumbling that will take place on Thursday and Friday, but won’t be there when the written report comes in and the response goes out nor will I get to be there for the work part– hey this retirement timing is getting better and better,huh??

Tuesday was pretty much the same except this was definitely one of the TREAT days.  Through the years, we have frequently enjoyed “Taco Tuesdays” at Sheri’s– the grill and bar in Milford, but today was even more wonderful because Cindy, Jo and I were joined by two old and dear friends.  Joyce who was my secretary for over 20 years and tells the best jokes ever and Celia who was my Director of Nursing for over 14 years and who taught me volumes of things about not only nursing, but about LIFE. We talked for a couple of hours, then made a plan to do this routinely. Hopefully life will not interfere to the point that we don’t do that– it was a super delightful day with lots of laughs and memories and good tacos also!

By the time we finished lunch, I decided to just call it an early day and came home to begin the work on turning my bedroom into my new office.  I need to get the furniture arranged so that I can begin to start to put away all of my treasures and begin my new life.  I know I am old-fashioned, but I LIKE curtains on my windows.  Since we have moved in, I have had blinds on my windows but today I hung curtains over the blinds.  I love the added color and it seems homier to me. When Will got home, he was even a little impressed although he has told me for months that it is dumb to add to the window treatment.  However, I am not sure if he is more impressed by the visual change or the fact that he didn’t have to help do it.

I had left a message with an ex-employee this weekend and  and he returned  the call. We made some tentative plans to get together and decide if we want to write about a program we had tried a few years ago.  We can evaluate the pros and cons and perhaps put it all together with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. This is exciting— a few baby steps toward my NEW LIFE CHANGE.

Well, guess it is time to call it a night and prepare for tomorrow–  Wednesday– hump day and the mid point of my last week.  Kind of scary . We shall see what it will bring.

Good night one and all!

 

 

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