Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Time's a Coming

I've written today until my fingers are raw. The holidays have compacted my deadlines, and jammed everything together. I'm editing my last interview now, and when I'm finished, I'll be through until after the first of the year.
This is the first Christmas in years, that I haven't either had to work, or be on-call. It almost feels funny, not to have a pager on my side, and fret that it might go off.
Last year, I was on-call the week of Christmas when a high priority computer system failed. I was on an outage call for what seemed like days. As I read back over my personal journal, the story repeated time and again through the years.
Jilda and I never had children, and most of the folks with whom I worked did, so I usually volunteered to cover holidays, so they could be home with their children. 
For those of you who are new to my blog, I retired in March of this year. The circumstances were strange. The company said it had to reduce headcount, but asked for volunteers who were in a position to retire. 
I could have sat tight and kept a job, though I would probably be on-call the week of Christmas. But had I not volunteered, someone with less time with the company would have been forced out. 
As it turns out, I was ready. So I get this....voluntary/involuntary separation. I left so that someone else could stay. But the thing is, I was ready to go. 
I've spent years dreaming about what I'd do once I retired. I knew it would involve music, writing, photography, and travel. I retired nine months ago and we've been doing all of those things.
And this Christmas, I won't worry about a pager, or an outage. I plan to spend quality time with my family.
Tomorrow, is tree day here. We plan to get out early and get us a tree, and spend tomorrow evening, drinking hot apple cider, and trimming the tree.
I'm excited.


  1. Glad you can look forward to a Christmas free from a pager. What a great service you did over the years to allow the others, who had children, to be at home. This year, you enjoy your Christmas, and getting your tree today!


  2. That was kind of you to fill in for your colleagues over the holidays. Have you said what you did in earlier posts? New here.
    We (my husband) retired in July and what a pleasant change of pace. Enjoy!

  3. Thanks Jane for your kind words. Yes, we're off to see the tree man. We're excited.

    Janet, I worked for MaBell for 33 years. I started as a child :)

    I've stayed really busy since leaving the day gig, but my work is the work I enjoy.

  4. We, your readers, can tell you like your "work." But there is usually a negative connotation to the word. I think, for you, the word should be "play" because you do enjoy it so much. Ever since I retired, I tell everyone that work is a four letter word, and should be avoided.

  5. Amen, Grandpappy. You nailed it.

  6. Good for you 101. Enjoy it while you're still young enough to enjoy it. I wonder if people realized from your job what a kind gesture it was for you to leave. In a world of greediness and me, me, me that is so refreshing to hear to me. No pagers, no work, and nothing but Santa and the Mrs. and family. Sounds like you have it coming to you!

  7. You're such a nice guy. I'm new here and love your posts. My uncle always gave up his Christmas so other folks with kids would be home. However, I always, always missed him at Christmas. What are you writing with a deadline? a book?

  8. Well, I think everybody's writing a book aren't they :)
    But I write a weekly column in the Lifestyle section of some local newspapers, and I also write features/interviews for two newspapers in the Birmingham (Alabama) area.

    I have a self published book called Remembering Big which is a compilation of my first year of columns.

  9. You capture exactly how my wife and I are feeling as well, since we 'retired' a few months ago. There's a liberation but also a constraint that maybe we could be doing something more.

  10. Enjoy your Christmas without the pager! It was nice of you to let your colleagues be home with their families.
    I used to work in elder care back in my home country Sweden, and I had to work several Christmas days.

    I did answer your question over at my blog, and yes we carry the essential oil of patchouli. Let me know if you have any more questions.

  11. Anonymous7:47 AM

    Welcome to the world of retirement! My husband was offered an early buyout in 1993, but he had 9 mo. to do it in. The company started outsourcing work, this is a high profile company most people know and they lost 90% of their upper mangement in the first buyout. My husband retired at 58 or 59 yrs. old, had planned to work until 65 yrs. old. Things have a way of working out for the best. He missed the comradie of co-workers for about 5 yrs. and now he might talk to a few a couple of times a year and exchange Xmas Cards and it's out of sight, out of mind. The one thing that urked me when he retired was that all the close neighbors thought he was there to help them with their home projects and to save them money from hiring it to be done yet when we could have used their help, they were never around or we had to wait for weeks till they could work us "into their schedule" to help us. He and I usually stuggled on our own and didn't end up needing them. He allowed himself to be used as a dogsitter so the neighbors would have to pay boarding fees for their dogs while they went on vacation or away for a weekend at their beach home. We moved to a Sr. Citizens community where nobody asks for your help.


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required