Sunday, January 31, 2016

Retirement Countdown Calendar - No More Sunday Blues!

I still don't believe it. After thirty years in health care mostly in the Midwest and another ten years of federal service at the Library of Congress, I am retiring this week. I've been fortunate enough to be working part time, three days a week, for the last two years. This has allowed me to slowly work my way in to this new way of life. I also unexpectedly started up my digital art business creating pet portraits on my iPad. So I'll have even more time to spend on that. But whenever Sunday evening came, I still got the blues! Who wouldn't? A lot of people I know had countdown calendars near their desk, or special apps on their phones to remind them how many more grueling days and hours were left until freedom. I worked one up when I thought August of this year was the final date for me. But when I found out that this past December was indeed my eligible date, I didn't hesitate to turn in my resignation notice soon after. So August became February and this will be it. I will always remember the date because I filled in my required papers during the blizzard of 2016, and the actual day is my mom's birthday. After forty one plus years working full time, and several part time jobs before that in high school and college, I'm happy to pack it in. So this week I'll clean out my desk for the last time, and plan on a new adventure. I can't wait!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Neighborhood Iron Works and Charming Sights

Since we are STILL snowed in, and our car is far from free of getting out of a street parking space, our usual Saturday routine of brunch in McLean was impossible. But living in a walkable neighborhood with restaurants and shops within walking distance is a plus - even though we feel trapped here without getting in to our car and driving to the wide open spaces. So we walked down to Tortilla Coast for brunch and then took a short walk around the neighborhood before returning home. What stood out today were all the ironworks - the black gates and fences really were showcased against the now tiresome white - and dirty snow piles. They come in all shapes and sizes - rounded, pointy, intricate, simple, broken, well maintained. But I liked the cat in the window staring out at us and the outside, and all the birds devouring the feeder filled with delectable foodstuffs. Little round lights on a tiny tree were masquerading as snowballs behind it's iron entryway. It was bright and sunny and almost warm - but still not enough to melt that disgusting ice surrounding our car. I suppose blizzards and storms are good for the soul? I'll take the heat and the sun any day! 

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Walk on the Mall

If I didn't say where these photos are from I don't think even I could guess. But this year is all about capturing images that have a different twist, or textures, or surprises. Since I will be retiring next week I will have even more time to do what I really like to do, when I want, and as often as I want! I'm still trying to get adjusted to that whole notion. So in the mean time when my husband and I meander about the neighborhood I'm hoping to enjoy every minute of it. I've never run in to anyone who is sorry they retired. I can't wait to get in to that mindset! Oh- the photos are from the national mall. Don't you recognize the American Indian museum? The air and space museum? The Smithsonian castle gardens? The US Botanic garden?

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cannon House Office Building Mail and Keys One Last Time

There are only three more working days to go before I officially retire. Yesterday was the first day back to work after the horrible bizarrd that is still creating a mess around here. Our car is still stuck behind a pile of dirty slush and ice that will be around for awhile. Our patio key broke off while my husband was putting sandbags in front of the door to avert a potential flood from entering the house from the melting snow. Since I had to mail a small package anyway, I remembered there was also a shoe shine stand and a key maker in the Cannon House Office Building. So I traveled through the tunnel from the Library of Congress to my destination. The post office was busy from several days of backed up service, and the key guy was just finishing up with a customer when I passed by. He was extremely charming and we struck up a conversation. If you talk long enough, something invariably comes up to remind me of the seven degrees of separation. It started out with families being okay after the storm, to he being from Wisconsin - the same place we lived for thirty years. But not just that, but from the same city. Plus his father retired from an industrial plant that was just down the street from us, and he knew where our address was. Aside from that, he is also retiring and moving to Texas in three months. He said to stop by next week before my last day. I'm. It sure he really meant it, but it sounded so sincere. Strange things happen in the basement of a house office building! And what a nice way to have ended my last trip there - as a working stiff. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

My Favorite Announcements - Red is the Best!

Over the last week, we endured a blizzard the likes of which we never saw living in Wisconsin for thirty years. But in Milwaukee, I don't ever recall getting a snow day. In healthcare, there is no such thing in a twenty four hour a day operation. But here, working for the federal government, it's just not that unusual. So for over the last few days I've been checking the Office of Personnel Management for status updates. I particularly like the red posts - no work. That happened both Monday and Tuesday. But today reality set in, but at least there was a three hour delay. But it hardly matters anymore. I just need to get my retirement papers processed - which is the main reason I went to work. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

All Sides of the Snowy Capitol

Another day off from work! That makes two in a row and only four more days left before I retire on Wednesday. Rather than wander around the neighborhood today, we decided to head towards the government buildings because the sidewalks would be less treacherous - and they were. So we walked around the Capitol Building and things looked a bit different at each turn. There still wasn't much pedestrian traffic, and the mounds of snow were quite high just about everywhere. The reflecting pond had a couple seagull visitors and a squirrel romped about. A few snowmen were erected here and there - one with elaborate red buttons. The famous sledding hill on the southeast side was much less busy than in days past. I suppose some people probably had to get back to work. I am still not a fan of winter or snow, which was a reason to leave the Midwest. But it's been wonderful not to have to work either. But soon, I won't have to do that either! The weather becomes less important when you don't have to be anywhere. Can't wait to see how that feels! 

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Breath of Fresh Air?

After breaking off the key to the patio door and putting sandbags near the entrance to avoid a rush of melting snow, we decided to venture outside - against my better judgment. I'm off from work today, and it's obvious why. The roads are dreadful and the sidewalks are worse. Walking Is not the thing to be doing if you want to keep all your bones intact. So we carefully made our way around the neighborhood. The clearest paths sent us in whatever direction. Luckily for us, our car hardly had any snow on it at all - the winds were in our favor this time. Others were not so lucky! There is a law that sidewalks need to be cleared within twenty four hours. A lot of people just didn't think that rule applied to them while others did, but at some points not even a foot wide, while others were a bit mischevious creating winding rather than straight paths. The birds found little pools of water to splash around in, and the icicles were really forming depending on the direction. Large chunks of snow and ice were already battering our patio garden. One of the little trees was literally broken apart. Along the paths, the greenery was trying to poke out of the snow searching for sanity - like we were. I can't wait for this all to go away. There is simply nothing good about any of it!