It looks like NASA has delayed they launch of STS-125 to the Hubble telescope until at least February of next year. It would cost me more than it is worth to change my ticket with Southwest Airlines so I am just going to have to eat $102. I called the KSC and they said my ticket package to watch the launch will be good until then so at least I am not out $50 on that. I am really disappointed as I was excited about going. Now I am going to have to just wait. There is another shuttle launch in November but I really have my heart set on the Hubble mission.
In other news, the construction project that has been going on near our house since April is really starting to annoy me. The pace of construction has picked up and with it the noise and disruptions. The site foreman just told Teresa that the construction will not be done until April. How can it take a year to build something that basic? When that is all done I expect they will resume construction on the houses that were put on hold when the housing market collapsed. Along similar lines, the collapse of the economy is really starting to worry me. Most of my savings are safe but I have one IRA that I know has lost a ton of money. I am just going to let it ride and hope it will recoup some of the loses in the next few years. All things considered, Teresa and I are actually in pretty good shape as far as negative impact on our lifestyle due to the economy.
I don’t plan on letting anything put a damper on my retirement though. I will be glad when the election is over and we have a new President. I hope he will work hard towards restoring the economy and winning the war on terrorism. That’s it for now.
Today is Kirk’s 17th birthday. This coming Saturday will be Dana’s 21st birthday. Dana is coming over this evening and we will be celebrating both birthdays. I have been out getting birthday presents and getting the ingredients to bake a cake. Everything is go now, with the presents wrapped and the cake done. Dana is really excited about turning 21 and I hope it is for more that being able to legally drink now. Kirk’s dad just called a few minutes ago and sang Happy Birthday to him over the phone. Both will be getting a lot of presents and I hope the party will be a success.
On another note my brother Skip called today and told me that my Mom wants him to bring her to my church one Sunday this month. My mother has been asking me about attending services for a while now but it is nice that Skip is going to attend also. I am looking forward to both of them being in church one Sunday soon.
Retirement is going well and I am finding plenty of things to do. I don’t know how I managed all these years giving up 10 hours a day to work. I can accomplish so much more with those 10 hours now that I am retired. Plans are still on for a trip to Florida to see the shuttle launch in October. I hope to stop in Huntsville, Alabama to see the Space Museum as well as a guided tour of the Kennedy Space Center. This is something I have dreamt about for a long time and it is finally going to come true.
Even though it was pretty hot today I decided to get out of the house and go for a walk. Hoffler Creek, a private preserve near me, is always fun to walk. Due to the heat I had the place all to myself. In fact due to the heat I really had the place to myself. The only wildlife I came across were the ticks I found on me after I got back. But I still enjoyed myself. They have started to rent canoes and kayaks and as soon as the weather moderates and we get some rain to raise the creek level I will rent one and pretend to be Christopher Columbus. I took my mother to her dentist for an appointment yesterday. Of all the people in the retirement home where she lives she seems to be the only one who can still get around without assistance. That is pretty good for someone who is 89 years old. I cannot imagine I will be that well if I ever live that long. I already have a long list of complaints and I expect the list will only get longer. I expect to get my first real retirement check the first of July. From what the Office of Personnel are telling me my monthly pay should be enough for me to live comfortably on without having to work the drive-thru window at McDonald’s. Lucky me.
It will officially be summer in a few days. This will be my first summer as a retired person. The last time I had an entire summer off was when I was in Junior High School. So I hope this summer will be a memorable one. I have lots of plans and ideas for keeping busy. We have our pool where I expect to be spending a lot of time. The hammock is also I nice place to spend some time. Away from home Hoffler Creek now rents canoes and kayaks to explore the nearby creeks and waterways. I still plan on going soaring at the airport is Isle of Wight. I want to go to the beach, including Assateague beach and the beaches on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I am still planning on driving down to Florida to watch STS-125 launch, although that is in October and not officially summer. I am sure I will think of other things to do. After all I have all the time in the world, I’m retired.
Now that the heat wave has broken I am looking forward to summer. The pool is ready and we all went swimming yesterday. It is not an in ground pool so I cannot swim laps in it but it is still a lot of fun. I hope to go soaring one weekend soon and I am trying to get Teresa or Dana to go with me. I am also looking forward to traveling to Florida to see the launch of STS-125 from Cape Canaveral. Before that our church plans to send volunteers to Gulfport Mississippi to do disaster relief work. I went the year before last and I hope to go this year too. I have no other specific plans for the summer, just taking it easy and enjoying being retired. This will be my first summer since I retired and I plan to make it a memorable one.
Tomorrow will be my last day as a civil service employee. After a retirement service and luncheon I will be heading home to enjoy the rest of my life as a retired person. Everything is go and I am really excited. There is still a little apprehension about things but that will go away after a month or two and I realize that I can get by on my pension and the other savings I have. My mother had her 89th birthday recently and the entire family gathered at my brother Jeff and his wife Donna’s house. It was Mexican night and the food was great and spending time with my family was even better. I hope that being retired will allow me to spend more time with my family and do some of the other things that I have been wanting to do for so long. So many plans, I just hope I will have the time to realize them.
I am still in countdown mode for retirement. After today I will have one more full week of work and then 4 days until I am unemployed. I am really looking forward to being retired. Any fears I might have had are gone. It is time for me to jump off the hamster cage I have been running in for all these years. If everything goes according to plan we will be moving within a year or two to our final home where I hope to spend the rest of my days. Momentous times are ahead and I look forward to them. Last night our church performed our annual Last Supper performance. Once again I played the part of John the Younger. The performance went off well but I wish we had more people attend. The major objective of our New Beginnings program and transition team is to find ways to attract new members and keep our church vital and growing in the coming years. I only regret that I will probably not be here to see the fruits of our labors but I plan on keeping in touch with the members of the church after we move.
There is more crazy weather to report. Yesterday it was 78
degrees, 2 degrees short of a record high. The rest of February looks like it
is going to have temperatures well above average. Looks like winter never came
this year, we are going to go from Fall to Spring with no winter in between. I
have been very busy at work and my spare time has been occupied with our New
Beginnings cottage meetings at church. I have been hosting the meetings at our
house. There is going to be a church retreat in a couple of weeks which I am
going to attend. I went to one last year and it was a very rewarding
experience. It looks like I will really be retiring this year and there may
ever be some VSIP money ($25,000) available this time. The VSIP money would
help a great deal with buying our new house wherever we decide to move. I have got
to make Hungarian goulash tonight for our office specialty potluck dinner. Enough
Still hoping for snow but I am not holding my breath. I received what I hope is my last performance appraisal at work yesterday. I got high marks in all areas and my senior rater said that I should be promoted as soon as possible. So maybe I will be a GS-13 before I retire. I would like that. But the chance for a promotion will not change my goal of being retired this year. I am still hoping that I will be off the work roles and into my golden years by August of this year. In other news I had my first cottage meeting at our house on Thursday. Only a couple of people showed up but it did give me an opportunity to practice my roll as a facilitator. I am in need on a mini-vacation soon or some sort of adventure as it seems that I am becoming bored and restless lately. Nothing seems to hold my attention for long. Taking rides to a park somewhere to walk Max are about the only things I look forward to lately. I think all that will change once I am retired.
I found out this week that my boss was retiring this March. Since I knew he was not old enough to retire I suspected that he was getting what the federal government calls a VERA. (Voluntary Early Retirement Authorization) This allows you to retire without meeting the mandatory age and time requirements. There is a penalty for retiring early but it is only about 2% per year that you retire early. So I asked him about the VERA and he told me that he did get one. I asked if they were still available and he told me yes. So to make a long story short I will be retiring this year. I will retire by August at the latest and May at the earliest. It all depends on how I want to cash in my accrued sick leave. Anyway, before the year is out I will be retired at the ripe old age of 59 with 28 years of federal service. Needless to say I am REALLY excited about this. I am finally starting to sense what being retired will really be like, and I can’t wait. So next week I will be busy getting all the calculations and paperwork done so that I can get a final retirement date. In the meantime I am giving serious thought to what I want to do with the rest of my life as a retired person. To use an Internet phrase W00T!!!