Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tomorrow will be my 21st day as a retired person.  In the first week, I left my property just once and that was only because I had a dentist appointment.  I ran a couple errands then returned home to continue my hermitting for as long as possible.  As of today, I've made 4 more excursions into the "world", which seemed quite adequate.  After the first week, I no longer felt like I was "hiding out" but for a little bit, it was enjoyable to not have to deal with people except by choice. After 29 years as a social worker, being a recluse for a while is actually pretty intriguing.

Odd as it seems, given my profession, I am an introvert. The past three weeks I have nurtured my introvert nature, enjoying being alone except for the dogs. I would say I was working on things I enjoy but interestingly, I have been cleaning house, not something that typically amuses me. Despite that, I have found considerable enjoyment in dusting, waxing, washing, sorting, rearranging and even discarding the accumulated goods of over half a lifetime.

People don't "become" introverts, they either are or they aren't. Knowing and understanding this to be a part of one's personality is, however, not inherent. When I was young, I was called shy because that is probably what my behavior looked like when I met new people, especially in groups. As a teen and young adult, I thought of myself as "shy" because I had heard it and because it seemed to explain why I was rarely at ease in a group of people and why my idea of a college "party" was sitting around with a few friends, drinking wine and philosophising about the state of the world. It was, after all, social work school. In those years, I sometimes told people I was shy only to be met with laughter and skepticism. Did this mean I wasn't shy?

Introvert, a new word for shy? When I first heard the term used, it was not in a very positive light. It seemed to refer to someone not only shy but rather "backward" and withdrawn, unable to function well in public. While I did not really consider this an accurate description of me, I certainly didn't fit the definition of an extrovert. It seemed to merit some research, so I gave it some. Then it all made sense. What I learned is that "introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits. Their disposition is frequently misconstrued as shyness, social phobia or even avoidant personality disorder, but many introverts socialize easily; they just strongly prefer not to. In fact, the self-styled introvert can be more empathic and interpersonally connected than his or her outgoing counterparts." So, perhaps this explains why I could spend 29 years as a social worker yet revel in my days as a hermit.

A common preception, no doubt of extroverts, is that being alone is the same thing as being lonely.  As I searched for some art or photos to go with this blog, I searched "solitary people" "people alone" and other criteria I considered to mean "unaccompanied by another person".  Repeatedly, the pictures I found were titled "lonely" man, women or such.  These were sometimes pictures of people who appeared sad or distressed but just as often they appeared introspective, curious, peaceful or just deep in thought.  Other than the fact the pictures showed only one person, there was no clue to suggest the person was lonely.  I don't understand the assumption that these two words mean the same thing. I can always go visit someone but I rarely find myself feeling lonely although I am currently spending more than 90% of my waking hours in the company of only myself and my dogs.  Perhaps introverts deserve more respect, after all, not everyone can find pleasure in one's own company.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Very, VERY Unemployed!

That would be me.  Yaaaaaaawn!  Streeeetch"
How amazing! 

Even though I didn't actually lay around all day today, the FIRST day of my retirement,  the knowledge that I could if I WANTED to, was in itself awesome.  I did sleep in but only as long as the dogs would allow.  They insist on breakfast on some kind of schedule.  Scooter cannot stay in bed too late as her biscuit hunting instinct kicks in by 8:30 and there is no controlling her much past that time. 

Once breakfast was over, I raked the yard and cleaned the sidewalk from the porch.  Cleaned out the fishpond, hopefully the last time this year. Now I have to decide if the fish are coming in for the winter or if I'm going to get a heater for the pond.  It's not quite deep enough for over wintering the fish otherwise. 

The down side of the day was that Scooter was outside with me for a while and she went "shopping" in the yard. I think what she found was left behind by a neighborhood cat. YUCK!  She then had a partial relapse of her vestibular disorder and became fairly dizzy.  The combination was not good, she upchucked all over everything, including me.  She finally had to be force fed some meclazine for the dizziness and put in a crate for a couple hours until she stopped spinning.  Poor girl, still not feeling great and her head tilt is worse than usual but she stopped vomiting. 

Finally settled for the evening, now I'm going to have to take time out and do actual important stuff, meaning I have to read the stuff I got about my insurance so I am sure I have done what I need to.  I certainly don't want to mess up and find myself without any insurance at this point.  Guess I'll get the papers and get comfortable in the library as the dogs are now settled in front of the heater.  Don't want to disturb them and they can't just stay curled up, sleeping, if I leave the room. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

3-2-1- I'm GONE!

Yes, the countdown is that short. I have 3 more days to travel the 80 miles to the workplace. Part of Friday will be taken up with the retirement party. Monday, my last OFFICIAL day, I will go to the office only 35 miles from me and pack up the last stuff in my office there.
WOW! That close! A week from now, I will be sleeping in and when I get up, I will have a leisurely breakfast, with my dogs and watch some TV and contemplate what I would like to do for the rest of my life.

Not to worry, I already have a two page list of projects and I have barely scratched the surface. I think I want to construct that 2/3 size carousel horse that I bought wood for 20 years ago. That wood may be seriously hardened by now but I've got the tools to conquer it.

I am going to landscape my yard in the next couple years. I want to use a scene like this for my inspiration. I would love to bring in big red rocks and arrange them to create a natural looking landscape with native plants growing among the rocks. I want to design and build a window seat in front of my south dining room window so I can sit there in the sunshine, with a book, on cold, snowy winter days. I think I might have been a cat in a previous life, I so enjoy basking in the sun in the winter. Summer, not so much, I don't find nearly as much enjoyment in summer sunshine.

I still find it hard to imagine really being retired. I find myself thinking how on a coming weekend I want to make a trip to Menards to get more building supplies then I remember, I don't have to wait for the weekend. I can go ANY DAY I WANT TO! Now, how can I NOT be excited about that. Darn, better go add to my list, thought of some more things I want to do. LOL

Thursday, September 1, 2011


I got the word today, I'M APPROVED TO RETIRE! The deadline was extended so I will work to the end of October, time to finish up everything and pack up offices. All the changes over the past couple months are piling up and it is definitely time to go. New rules, new policies, new paperwork, increased duties, less staff. All this does not add up to improved working conditions.

Now the "West" Region of SRS takes in most of the state (the grey area) and we are taking bets on the likelihood one of the Florida imports to SRS, brought in by the new secretary that Brownback brought in from Florida, will end up running all of it from Emporia. Emporia, by the way, where I was born, is so far from western Kansas, it is not even in the middle! That last little county, sticking out on the east side of the grey area, is where Emporia is located.


I was amazed at how happy and relieved I felt when I found out I was approved. The thought of staying home, working on my own house, my craft projects, my art and my family, including the dogs, has really grown on me since I first decided I was going to take the retirement option. Sadly, I won't see much of the people from the office since I've been working 35-80 miles away from my home for about 8 years now. That means it won't be real easy to drop in and say hi to those I used to work with. I'll miss seeing all of the coworkers I've spent years with but not enough to make me want to keep working.

Friday, August 26, 2011


OK, so I debated on retiring. I decided I was going to go for it, it made sense. I'm ready to stay home and put new floors in the house, visit grandkids more often, play with my dogs, do more art, more scrapbooking, and other things that I like to do. I sent in my notorized form to sign up for the retirement incentive program that came up.

After making the decision, I was excited, thinking about things I want to do. THEN I find out they are going to wait until after Labor Day to tell us who gets approved. That means that when I finally get notice, if I am approved, I have only 8 more days in the office to clear up anything that is still hanging. I have worked out of 2 offices the past 4+ years so I also have 2 offices to clean out.

If I thought banging my head on the desk would help, I'd do it till I was cross-eyed but after years working for the government, I know EXACTLY how much good it would do. OMG! I don't even know what else to say. For me that is a statement in itself. NO! NO! NO!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

LONG, HOT summer!

Guess what! The guy who was going to give me an estimate for putting in a new furnace AND AIR CONDITIONER did not come back in the spring so the simmer (pun intended) has been pretty harsh with just window units running. I don't think the inside temperature has hit 90 but it has been uncomfortably close a few times. The bedroom and dog room is cooled by a window unit so sleeping is cool. Doesn't improve my desire to get up in the morning though. If the dogs would be quiet and I didn't have work, I'd sleep in every morning, just for the cool.

Now, on the subject of getting up for work, there is a possible retirement plan on the horizon. The new governor is driven to cut, cut, cut and as a result, there are offices being closed and now they have offered an early retirement package. Although it is not technically "early" retirement for me, since I am eligible for my pension plan, I was planning to work until eligible for social security. If I get this package, I will have insurance until I am eligible so I could stop working now. This idea is sounding rather fascinating because things have been changing dramatically in my job in the past couple months. These changes and the ones rumored to be coming, are making the job much more stressful and frustrating. I'm feeling like being retired could be a pleasant and relaxing change.

On a lighter note, the house has paint all the way around, although the back needs a second coat. July has been entirely too hot to work on it so that second coat has been pending for quite some time now. Retirement could give me that much needed time to work on this and all the other projects I want to complete. I'll have more time to spend with the dogs as well, which will be good for them as they need more training time than I have for them. I'm actually pretty excited about the prospect.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Pretty Posts

Tradition is to use trim colors on turned porch posts on a Folk Victorian house. The problem is, there are no instructions on how to paint them. I couldn't find more than a couple pictures of painted posts, none close to the shape of mine.

How much is too much? Not enough? How do you know when you get it right? I guess it is just done to taste, or maybe you stop when you get tired of painting little colored stripes around the posts. It ended up taking almost 2 weeks to get the posts done, mostly because I would paint a section, take a picture, then paint another section, trying to figure out just how much color I wanted on them. Of course, after figuring it out, I had to do 4 more posts, just the same. The reward is, my porch is starting to look really good.

With the long weekend, maybe I will start putting the ceiling on the porch. It would change the look tremendously as the open rafters are unfinished. I would have left the rafters exposed and painted but whoever built the porch did a very unsightly job of attaching it to the house. Not something that can be repaired without tearing the porch roof clear off so putting a new ceiling up seems to be the best alternative.