‘Retirement Day’ – June 30th, 2009
Late Monday afternoon our oldest son, Kyle, called to say that the closing was complete and he was no officially a homeowner for the first time. His 15 year loan will be a tight squeeze for him considering his law school loans but he seems to have everything well planned and we really respect his desire to build equity in the property as quickly as possible rather than go with a 30 year loan.
When I woke up Tuesday morning the first clue to this not being just any other work day was that Ken had two new T-Shirts waiting for me on the kitchen table. One had the image of a motorhome with the work, ‘RETIRED!!’ in bold letters across it. The second said, ‘Retired, RVing and Loving Life”.
Ken took me to work so that if he was ready in time he could simply pick me up from work in the motorhome. I had him drop me by Panera’s so I could take in a couple dozen bagels for the team.
I had almost everything out of my office already so I thought it might be a long morning. However, one of my key team members, Betsy, was immediately checking in from Europe where she was scoping out the next locations where our team would be rolling out the SAP software. As I worked through the issues with her, it really started to hit, how little it really mattered what I told her—I wouldn’t be there tomorrow!!
At 10am I went down to fill out the final paperwork in HR and to ‘strip down’ of all my company property: laptop, blackberry, air card, credit card, access badge, etc., I then spent the next hour and a half saying good-byes. I surprised myself at how comfortable I was with it.
Ken picked me up at 11:30am but said he wasn’t ready yet so we were in the Audi. I asked what the plan was for lunch and he said well he’d made lunch reservations to celeb rate my last day. He then dawdled around driving through the parks and by the city pool. He kept getting text messages on his phone and told me it was Kyle.
We finally ended up at one of my favorite restaurants, Tiramisu. It suddenly became apparent when I saw the parking lot that Ken had more up his sleeve than just he and I going to lunch. I recognized lots of my team members’ cars in the parking lot.
Apparently one of the ladies on my team, Frankie, had been texting Ken to tell him when they were ready for us to arrive.
Some of the high-impact people in my life--Ken (of course!), my current boss, Bob Elkins, the CIO, my boss up until 5 years ago, Ken Jones--I was so thrilled to see that they included Ken who was such a mentor to me during my career, and the lady who kept all of us in line, Diana Klauser, IT and Training Coordinator--if you ever called me it is likely it was Diana you talked to--she took very good care of me for all these years!!
The guys from left are Mark Cawthon, one of my Sr. SAP Analysts who covers all the inventory, quality and purchasing functionalityin our ERP system. Russ Cook, our 'miracle working' SAP technical guru who can be found on the system most any hour of the day or night, Lou Anderson, the guy at the controls of who gets what security into our sytems, Bob Smith - he was actually the IT Director when I started back in 1976, retired about 6 years ago and have been working for us part time every since. Jim Russell--Jim was actually one of the interns I got to train about 20 years ago and is no IT Director, Americas. Dave Antoniuk, Finance VP... a real joy to work with, and Barry Pennybacker our new CEO since a year ago April -- also happens to be a diehard Penn State fan -- Trev plays there in October!!
It seemed strange when everyone else had to leave to get back to work and Ken and I were able to just set there and continue to enjoy a conversation with my retired boss.
Because of the festivities it turned out to be more like 3pm than noon when we were able to head out with the motorhome. However, Ken had everything hooked up and ready to go, knowing we’d get a late start.
We arrived at Beaver Dam State Park at about 5pm and found a level 50 amp site. The man in the TT across from us watched the entire time I directed Ken’s backing in to the site. I think he was expecting that there’d be fireworks to watch before it was over, but Ken and I have gotten pretty good at shared coordination ‘take off’ and ‘landing’ procedures.
Kyle came out to have dinner with us…pork chops on the grill, red beans and rice, and fresh green beans. Russ, one of my good friends at work, had given me a couple of bottles of Spirit Knob wine as a retirement gift so we uncorked one of those to celebrate our major milestones of the last 24 hours.
We were back to the RV by 10pm.
No, I don’t feel retired yet but I think it will start sinking in!!