Wednesday, April 01, 2009

loot and praise

Yesterday, I walked away from the building that has been the main stage of my professional life for the last two decades -- nearly a third of my life.

The leaving was easy. But it seemed to be a bit odd.

Odd enough that when I left my PDA and my Blackberry behind, I realized I had failed to make a paper copy of my calendar for the next two months. I have lunches and dinners scheduled between now and 15 April when I leave -- and no electronic shepherd to tell me where I am supposed to go, and when.

But this is a grand electronic age. I requested a .pst file of my contacts and calendar before I left. Using a trial version of Outlook, I now have a calendar. Thank you, Mr. Gates.

Yesterday was a busy work day. I was actually on a telephone conference with an attorney at 6 in the evening when the good IS people asked me when I was going to leave. They needed to get their Brutus duties done, and quietly commit my sign in code to its rightful peace.

Not surprisingly, the highlight of the day was the two-hour retirement shindig that my colleagues created on my behalf. I will get some photographs for later publication. But it was a great ceremony, with the usual buffed version of the retiree's life; followed by a very clever spoof of "The Raven -- renamed "The Maven;" a heart-felt roast by my boss; and a very nice presentation by our CEO.

It was also great to talk with a number of friends and dignitaries that I had not seen in years, including the former chief justice of our supreme court, and most of the members of the workers' compensation board.

But look at the swag at the top of this post. I could not think of a retirement gift. But I remember several of you telling me that quality pots and pans are hard to find in Mexico (going to pot). I now own an 11-piece set of Circulon pots and pans. What a deal!

And my friends always come up with a combination of valuable and gag gifts. I received a tile mosaic from an attorney friend who is exploring her artistic side. A manager gave me an "Algodón" plaque for the house. There is a $10 Mexico calling card for my mother. A bottle saying I want to return to my job that I merely need to drop in the sea. And a Hillary Clinton doll -- for who knows what purpose. Perhaps to discuss the drug issue.

The affection we share for one another at these events is something we need to bottle and spread out over our work careers. I literally felt cosseted in love.

But it is time to move on.

I was a bit surprised when I walked away from the building that I did not feel some regret. But I did what I have done with every transition. This part of my life goes into a box. The lid goes on. And I will keep it on the shelf.

Because a new segment begins today. I need to get the house into some semblance of shape for the house sitter -- and I will be on my way south.

And will I remember my colleagues?

You bet I will. Just as I will remember the friends I am about to make in Mexico.


American Mommy in Mexico said...

So exciting!

I look forward to reading about your Adventures in MX so very soon!

Felipe said...

Don´t install that Algodón plaque on the first house you find yourself in.

Congrats on freedom.

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you Steve. You sure have some exciting times ahead of you.
I remember the day I walked out of my old job after 28 years. Everyone asked me to come back and visit but I never did. Once I walked out that was it.
Have a wonderful retirement!


Anonymous said...

Congrats Steve! Hope this next chapter proves to be a real page turner!

Babs said...

The biggest surprise for me was discovering that in my "new" home no one really cares what you were "before" so if you attempt to tell them something that you have knowledge goes in one ear and out the my case construction and design. So, you soon learn to forget the past and "live in the moment". It's so much better anyway! BUT, if you have an ego about your work career, it is hard to swallow that... at least it was for me at the beginning.

Cynthia Johnson and Mike Nickell said...

Happy First Day of Retirement!

Linda Lou said...

Congratulations on retirement! Will see you in Mexico!

Constantino said...

Felicidades, y recordar las pequeñas cosas se menciona en todos los comentarios de su viaje!

Might as well start now!

Theresa said...

So, how did you feel when you woke up this morning? Relieved? Happy? Sad? That is the key.
Casa Algodón just cracks me up, because every time I see it. For some reason I don't translate your name into Spanish, so it confuses me every time!

Brenda said...

Congratulations, now you are free. Let the fun begin.

Anonymous said...

Everywhere you go, there you are.

Best Wishes.


glorv1 said...

Safe travels Steve and Mr. Jiggs. I look forward to reading your posts and hearing about how you and jiggs are settling. Take care.

Nancy said...

Congratulations, Steve. It's a big milestone. I hope that you enjoy this next period in your life as much as we are - learning, exploring, and meeting new people.

When do you head out of town?

Felipe said...

Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty, you´re free at last.

(Most don´t have a clue what to do with it.)

Calypso said...

Babs brings up a very good point. The longer you are retired the less impressed anyone will be with your past - but it is logarithmic - not linear - your stature will fade fast - you being an attorney and all ;-)

Best to not dwell on the past - even my wife has little regard for how famous I was when she was ten years old - go figure ;-)

Life is good without the benefit of the past getting you pats on the back unless you can write about it VERY ELOQUENTLY like Felipe up there ;-)

Congrats amigo - you were already part of The Pack - but now you are about to live the reality of it all - welcome!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Steve!

While many of your readers are already retired, some of us are not, and so we are vicariously living your retirement, and keenly feeling envious about your circulon pots and pans. I'm an anolon man myself, but I'm not trying to provoke conflict here.

Just be happy your last name isn't "Wool," or you'd have problems in Mexico with that plaque. Lana is slang for money, roughly translating as "dough." Algodón, as far as I know, carries no such overtones, so you should be safe hanging it on the house.

Looking forward to your new adventures.

Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we are also vicariously living in a warmer climate, as we are now enjoying the relative warmth of 45-degree days and rain instead of snow.

Steve Cotton said...

AMM - And I look forward to writing them. But first I need to finish my house projects here in Oregon.

Felipe - No plaques installed until I am ready to put down my roots. For now, it will go on the mantle -- if I had a fireplace in Melaque. That would be like needing sun block in Nome.

Anonymous - Thanks. I just want to be certain the pages do not turn too fast.

Babs - I am more than happy to play the role of plain old Steve Cotton in this next act of life. Type casting and all that.

Linda Lou - Less than two weeks from today, we will be on the road south.

Constantino - "Gracias," he said, nodding in that way that students do while listening to their teacher explain gravity.

Theresa - This morning I woke up with a head cold and no voice. It felt like a Saturday, and I treated it as one. There will be many more Saturdays in my life -- I hope.

Brenda - Fun and living.

Charley - That was the original thought behind the title "same life, new location." I knew very well that no matter where I locate, the 60 years that made me who I am will be right there with me.

Glorioa - Thank you for your encouragement. Jiggs has been hanging in there just to please you.

Nancy - I head south on 15 April. I will let you know more details as the trip progresses. I would love to see you and Paul on the way down.

Felipe - One thing my libertarianism has prepared me for is freedom. At least, I hope that's true.

Calypso - If my writings have established anything, it is that I do not have a very good memory for my own life. As a result, status means little to me. Relationships are far more important. And that is one reason I love this group.

Kim - I guess I should inquire locally before I display my plaque. I do not need to discover that my name in Spanish is colloquial parlance for some drug -- just as the federales bust down my front gate.

New Beginnings said...

Felicidades! How exciting! This is it - the beginning of your maybe "not so same life" in a different location. Safe travels to you and Mr. Jiggs. Can't wait to hear about your new adventures

Steve Cotton said...

New Beginnings -- As soon as I can get my goods winnowed down toi fit in the truck and do a few things around the house, we will be on our way south.

Steve Cotton said...

Cynthia - - Muchas gracias!