Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Box Of Books, A Case Of Wine, NPR, And Thou

Not sure if you got the memo or not, but

I'm Retired.

For real now, as of about 9:45 on July 22nd.  I completed my remaining 14 days of service that were required to Top Off My Tank and put me at a Full Thirty Years, and now I'm Officially Done.

It's...anticlimactic, thus far, really.  I'm on Summer Vacation, but it's starting to sink in, thanks to all the Back To School commercials and displays everywhere.  I'm still scatterbrained and fragmented, but I'm trying to pull it together so that Rick doesn't stick me in a Home.  To that end, I thought I'd dump a little of all my Cranium Crud on you.  Lucky, lucky.

~*~ For the 14 aforementioned days, which I referred to as My Fake Job, I unpacked 72 cartons of a Scholastic Guided Reading Program for an elementary school.  I diligently unpacked 60 books and 2-4 plastic tubs per carton, put a sticker on each book and 4 stickers on each tub.  Then I repacked each carton carefully so the books would not incur any folding or bending, then stacked the cartons back up.  I was in the room alone each day.  The best part was the book titles.  The ones for the littlest kids were so unintentionally funny.  One of my faves:  Chickens Aren't the Only Ones.  Some seemed sort of ominous, like I Know Karate and What Is It?  And lots of them had exclamation points, like Look! and We Like to Play!  I got extremely confused when I unpacked the Nonfiction Focus carton and found a Harry Potter book and an Ursula K. LeGuin book about flying cats. Hey, not my problem.  Retired!

~*~Rick bought me a GPS for a retirement present, and although it is not yet in my car, I am spending more time driving.  I am also trying to listen to the radio more, now that there is more quiet in my life.  True, I listen to NPR instead of music, but I'm starting slowly.  Which brings me to my next topic:  Oh, NPR, when I try to imagine for whom you are designing your programming, I become disoriented. Sitting in horrific traffic last week, cursing and making terribly dire assertions about the character of people I didn't even know, I suddenly became aware that the person on NPR was carrying on at length about the predation of bush pigs and how it was affected by the full moon. That is almost a quote, by the way.  Come on, NPR!  That is as bad as the last program that made me break up with you, which was the endless segment on Norwegian Folk Metal Music.

~*~Male readers--and former students who are easily embarrassed-- may want to skip this part.  It would seem, and I am typing one-handed whilst the other hand is rapping on the end-table--that my body has seen fit to shut down all of its Monthly Bullshit.  Finally.  Because let me tell you--and my children will attest to this--it has been no lawn party for anyone.  Alrighty then.  (It figures, I had just gotten the Massive Multipack that takes up the entire undersink cabinet, Boy Scout that I am.  Like undies, not the sort of thing you sell at a garage sale....)

~*~ We got some gorgeous wines on our jaunt to NotL, about 5 cases.  We were focused on reds, having drunk reds all during the fall and winter.  (We'll drink up all or most of our whites and roses this summer and restock those in October.)  I behaved myself and stuck to my vow to only taste reds, but Rick was all in--he tasted everything.  We found a really fun fruit wine this time, a plum wine at Caroline Cellars.  It's not real sweet, but very light and frisky, almost as if it were carbonated, but it's not.  With a good chill on it, it's the perfect summer patio drink. It would be lovely with spicy Asian food or tequila lime chicken wings.  Our uberscore was a case of '07 Merlot from one of our favorite Bench wineries, Vineland.  This wine was a special deal, and we couldn't resist.  Unlike Miles from Sideways, we do enjoy a Merlot, and this one is drinking so well right now.  Very nicely fruit forward with lots of dark cherry, cocoa, and a little mocha in the finish with smooth tannins.  We won't make this one wait.  And there are more, so many more!  And new wineries, too.

When people find out I am retired, the first thing they say is, "Congratulations!"  The next thing they say is, "What will you do now?"  Everyone expects more from me.  I don't know what to say.  Maybe I'll just make things up, like, "I'm going to medical school" or "I'm taking a wing-walking class" or "I'm selling Amway."  That last one would shut them the hell up.

Not sure if they got the memo or not.  I'm retired.


  1. Monthly Bullshit is about right. I was so excited when I went three months with no Bullshit, but my gyno says, "47? No way you can quit now! Have some hormones!" Sigh.

    I really really really really wish that Harry Potter really WAS nonfiction (or WERE - I can never keep it straight).

    Enjoy your retirement!

  2. As your son, there is nothing that I want to read more than a paragraph about your "visitor". I'm so amped up right now I can hardly stand it.

    In a related story, those are things that I would never actually mean in regards to said monthly event.

    In a related story, I haven't had one for over 26 years so...you've got some catching up to do.

  3. Welcome to heaven. I find I am doing more now than I did at most of my jobs. And I love it. Yes, that GPS eases a gateway to Estate Sales and other road trips. Hugs.

  4. When I told the insurance adjuster early this am (see blog) that I was retired, he said his dad had just retired and spent his time counting squirrels from his front porch. My #1 advice is DON'T AGREE TO BE ON BOARDS OF DIRECTORS! Yoga classes are nice however.

  5. Sillyak--I have always been intrigued by tai chi. (Safer than wing-walking!)

    Mage--Rick and I went to a few garage sales this past weekend and scored a floor lamp for our youngest son, Sam, for just a dollar! Nothing else, though.

    JPD--No one said you had to choose THIS POST to finally comment upon. Sigh. "Why are you...the way that you are?"--Michael Scott

    Bug--GET A NEW GYNO! Immediately. What was her issue? What a sadist. Maybe she was jealous.

  6. You know, you'd be quite surprised at the things I saw for sale at estate sales in Pittsburgh. It was quite literally as if they had opened the medicine cabinet (of the poor deceased person) and started slapping price stickers on the items! Many things were obviously opened and partly used--including "personal items" and shampoo (which I thought was almost more strange!) I suppose everything goes at that point!

  7. I do not miss the monthly Bullshit one little bit. Wouldn't mind having some of the estrogen back, though.

    Tell people you're studying to be a wine taster— a hobby that fits right in with your life style! Don't call it that, though. Just let it drop, everso casually, that you are a d√©gustateur de vins. (Not sure if I got that right; I used your handy little translator on the BW Tie blog, and did it from Spanish to French, a.k.a. catador de vinos. For some reason, it sounds much more posh in other languages. Maybe because 'wine taster' could be someone who is really just a lush.)

  8. Mikey G.3:40 AM

    Of course your answer needs to be, "I'm going to California to visit Mikey G."

  9. Nance, I could not live without NPR. It helps me fly my freak flag proudly. I would have liked the pig story for its sheer bizarreness factor, but am in with you on the Norwegian Folk Metal. My addictions are "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me," "Prairie Home" and "Says You."

    As to Mother Nature's Monthly Gift, mine simply abruptly disappeared conveniently about three years ago and when I look at the tin where I used to store tampons, it is with a little laugh and utterly without the slightest wistfulness. I got through it easily and perfectly naturally without ever even speaking to a pesky OB/GYN. That doc should be fired.

  10. sputnik--but those wonderful programs are never on when i'm in the car! i always get "world, have your say" or "science friday" or "the diane r. show", the latter usually being the least esoteric and most interesting because she has authors who read from and discuss their books more often than not. and, your second sentence is quite the tongue-twister, even for just reading silently with my brain. wow.

    mikey g--if you are commenting from africa, i am going to go nuts. and your comment sounds like the beginning of a rap, yo! seriously, though, yes, we have to plan my jaunt. i'm starting a fund, and no, i'm not taking a trapeze lesson from you, no matter how much i adore you.

    ortizzle--or, we could just go ahead and use the term 'sommelier', which is pretty much already out there...LOL. heavens, how i would love that job!

    jenomena--honestly, nothing surprises me about garage sales anymore. i trundled some stuff down to my brother's lakehouse, which is around amish country, for a bigass lake community sale, and you should see the stuff that people put out--AND IT SELLS. and here's me, with my bread machine, crystal wine decanter, baskets, chef pots, etc. One woman haggled over a 50-cent insulated lunch bag. I told my brother, "That woman just screwed the next two customers. No one gets a break now, not for a while." (I'm such a heartless bitch. I know. I KNOW.)

  11. Hmmm... I didn't use the term 'sommelier' because I thought that was reserved for the wine experts in hotels and fancy restaurants. And although they would possess the same expertise, a catador de vinos, aahhh... that would have you traveling around and imparting your knowledge of fine wines in a variety of social circles. (That last part was just bullshit, but you get my drift.)

  12. ortizzle--yeah, you're right. the true sommelier would fetter me too much. i like the idea of being a sort of Nomadic Sommelier. and, of course, i like the french term you devised so awfully much. let's do just stick with yours!

  13. Paul Giamatti could teach me about Pinot any day. Still can't tell if I'm jealous that you get to retire. Get back to me in a few weeks and I'll be more sure.

  14. Congrats, my mom just retired a couple of days ago. I agree about NPR. I enjoy it, but sometimes they try a little too hard to be quirky and interesting, and wind up telling you about things that only three people in the world care about.

  15. Nick J3:53 PM

    Perhaps in your retired free time, you should pursue improving your poetry skills. You always said that you weren't a great writer so maybe you would enjoy improving.

    Also, how many former students read your blog besides me and B.D.?

  16. Nick J.--LOL. I said I wasn't a good POET. I happen to think I'm a great This-Kind-Of writer. Hee hee. But, yeah, maybe I will write a little poetry now and again. Who knows? I've already gotten some encouragement from Eric (you know who that is.) Actually, lots of formers from over the years read me. (And a few Very Cool Parents, too.) Oh, Nick. You crack me up.

    Elliot M-M--Yay for your mom! And welcome to the Dept. Thanks for joining me here and for adding your voice to the discussion. NPR is great, but every once in a while, I find myself saying, "Did I really just listen to that?"

    S. Warehouse--Oh, I'll miss plenty about the Actual Teaching Part, but you and I both know the stuff I'll be glad to have left far behind. I really like Giamatti, too, in everything.

  17. I listen to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me on NPR, and This American Life, and sometimes To The Best of our Knowledge, but all on podcast, not live. I like Marketplace and All Things Considered, though they get a bit fruity sometimes, too. Even for a California native, born in Berkeley in the 60s no less.

    Regarding the 'supply', I'm guessing you could wait 6 months, throw away the box, and THEN the curse would return. Sigh. (My cousin uses the euphemism 'aunt flo came to visit,' which is confusing, because we HAVE AN AUNT FLO, and I always wonder why she would drive all the way to visit Jenny, 6 hours away, but not me, only just over an hour? Not fair.

    Maya LOVED the Catwings books, esp Jane on Her Own, which is the most complex of the stories, in my mind. ;) . A very kind neighbor made wings for her stuffed cats, even, and sewed them on, since I'm not really talented in that area. My dad lives 2 blocks from LeGuinn, in Portland, and we thought about knocking on her door and showing her the stuffed cats and getting an autograph or something, but my daughter was far too shy and star struck for that. Also, kind of intrusive, since they weren't friends, just lived in the neighborhood.

    Yay wine! I love that your son commented, btw.

  18. (and how weird that those books were in nonfiction...)

  19. j.@jj.com--CATWINGS! Do you know--and this is so very, very sad--that I just could NOT come up with what that damned book's title was or what the series was called? And I just got downright adamant that I wasn't going to resort to The Google, either. You'd think I could put flying cats = cats with wings = catwings together somehow, now wouldn't you? Sigh. Oh well.

    (and did I even misspell the author's name? horrors. looks like I should have employed The Google.)

    Honestly, J., how much more Hip can you be? Born in the 60s in Berkeley, living in CA now, Dad in uber-cool Portland, holy crap. Next thing you tell me will be that your brother lives in Seattle or Soho. Excuse me now while I--in Podunk, Ohio--go vacuum cat hair, water my tomatoes, and fold underwear. Oh, and polish my guns and bible. (Red State, you know.)

  20. Don't throw away the supply, Nance. I've been told one needs to get through 18 straight months without a "visit" of any sort before one has experienced "the change." (Doesn't this sound as though we are characters in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"?) I recall feeling pretty smug by the 14th month only to have discovered I had been "visited." Had to begin counting all over again.

    Anyhow, I never saw any medical personnel, either. (Hey, it's my body; I'm more familiar with it than any doctor. Also, we're not SICK! We're just experiencing that which we are suppose to experience, so the medical high priests have not been invited to my space.)

    You're going to enjoy this little life changing adventure, Nance. It will probably be the first time you will feel sufficiently warm during the winter months!

    As always,

  21. L--yeah, I'm not a big fan of The Gyno Experience in any incarnation. And I refuse to accept this 18 Month Yardstick. I'm pronouncing myself Officially Done. I won't toss the Multipack, though. I'm just superstitious enough that I'm sure I'll scotch myself. I once held on to a navy blue sock for years and years, certain its mate would turn up one day. Finally, I bowed to the inevitable and threw it out. Wouldn't you know it? I was cleaning out the boys' room upstairs and FOUND IT? Must be why those hoarders on TV stack stuff up the way they do: The Navy Sock Factor.

  22. Me? Hip? HA! Too funny. I suspect the being born in the 60s in Berkeley had a lot more to do with my parents' cool factor, rather than mine. And yeah, both parents very progressive, very cool. Though my mother came through a particularly difficult bout of Libertarianism. She would not recognize the bozos that call themselves Libs now, though, and converted to practically commie progressive before she died.

    My brother lives in Juneau, Alaska, has a full beard and doesn't drive. I suspect Juneau makes Ohio look QUITE urban. They don't even have a burger king. (Not that that's a BAD thing, just an indicator of how small the capital of Juneau is...the population doubles (at least) when a cruise ship comes in.)

    I guess we both misspelled the author's name. You were closer than I, in that all you did was to omit the space between "Le" and "Guin". I also added an extra "n". I don't care nearly as much as I should about spelling though, so it doesn't really bother me.

    I'd think living here was MUCH cooler and hipper if I could afford not only an 1188 foot condo but also a college education for my child. HA! What a joke.

  23. j.@jj--I helped double the size of Juneau about 5 years ago when our cruise ship docked there. Were you a reader here then? I wrote a series of posts about my Alaskan Adventure. I was surprised at how small Juneau was. (And all the Dept. men have beards. My husband, Jared, Sam...currently, Jared looks like a terrorist with his big, full, dark beard and close-cut head. I could not be more dismayed.)

  24. Nick J12:55 AM

    Nance - True. This blog is very well written. I love the stylistic capitalization.

  25. Mikey G.10:33 AM

    Yes, that was from Africa. I believe Tanzania, at that point. And now I'm in Istanbul for three days, visiting a friend. I'll call when I'm back in the states and we can really catch up.

    And no, I won't make you take a trapeze lesson. But we should talk about indoor skydiving. It's not nearly as scary as it sounds, and even my boring stepmother thought about doing it. You just float around in a vertical wind tunnel. Think about it...

  26. Nick--It's very Dickinsonian.

    Mikey G.--I adore you. Period.

  27. Waiting for my reproductive system to retire and secretly concerned it is taking my brain with it. Sigh.

  28. So, two official retirements. Yeah! I kept supplies for many years after I retired, because my sadist of a gynocologist did put me on hormones. Also, I have this thing about Be Prepared.
    I have a plan for your retirement - put up more posts for your adoring audience.
    It's a mixed blessing, having your offspring read your blog!


Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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