John's thoughts on retirement

Told you he was working on this so here it is........

The Retirement Party
This blog has two voices; mostly Janie but occasionally I contribute also. I’m the DH but I don’t always cooperate as much as some would like so maybe “dear husband” doesn’t fit as well as baseball’s “designated hitter”. I think I like that better anyway: I’m not the featured player, but sometimes I get to bat.

When I graduated from college in 1975, I figured I should get a job. The Navy had a job for me, but they wanted to send me back to school for nuclear engineering (I graduated as a mechanical engineer). That was ok, and it had the added incentive of being my only offer. That was until Rockwell came back for their second round of interviews. They wanted a mechanical engineer and I wanted a job. Perfect. Rockwell apparently was hiring a bunch a new grads that year. It was like being on campus again, only with money. Lots of new friends and we had lots of fun. None of us thought we would be working for Rockwell forever, but some of us were wrong. Jump forward 35 years and there I was: retiring from the same company I had started working for. Amazing.

The retirement party that looked like a good idea in June started to look like work in August. There were so many things going on and a party just added to the list. But sometimes things just have a way of working out and this party was on rails. The boys stepped up for grilling the brats and their friends joined in also. Another coworker who was also retiring joined us and his family jumped in to help. And on the day of the party the weather was perfect.

It was an open invitation, so it was hard to figure how many would attend. I certainly didn’t think that some of the guys I had started working with 35 years ago would show up. I hadn’t seen them in years but there they were, from as far away as Colorado and Nebraska. My aunt and cousin also drove in from Wisconsin. Lots of friends and coworkers. What a great way to celebrate a retirement. I wasn’t able to spend as much time as I would have liked with everyone, but it was great to see them again.
We first became interested in full time RVing after reading about the experiences of others who were actually doing it. Not just the good things, but all the dumb stuff that happens too. So to carry on the tradition, I’m offering up some of the stuff that has happened since we’ve retired; not as an example of how it should be done, but just because that’s what we’ve been doing.
I’ve only been retired for about six weeks. The longest vacation I’ve had before that was two weeks. So what’s retirement like? It’s sweet.

I thought retirement might be like an extended vacation, but it hasn’t been like that. Our vacations were often planned months in advance, and we tried to pack as much as we could (or as much as we could afford) into a couple of weeks. But eventually we knew we would have to get back to our normal lives and maybe even looked forward to reconnecting with friends and finding out what happened while we were away.

One of the places the road to retirement has led
Retirement has been different. A friend of mine had a shirt that described retirement as “no schedule, no job, no money”. He also had a clock with days of the week instead of numbers. I can appreciate the clock now: I usually have to consult my phone to find out what day it is. The shirt was partially right: I don’t have a job. We have some money coming in, just not as much. And we sometimes have a schedule, but scheduled events are less frequent. A lot less frequent. We sleep in more and stay up later. Sometimes we don’t have any TV channels where we’re camping, so we might go weeks without TV, but we’ve always had internet (we use Verizon’s data card with a Cradlepoint router). We both have more time to read. 
Some deer visiting John outside the RV

I kept a few tools but the only power tool I have is a drill. The tools come in handy because I still fix stuff (like Clint Eastwood’s character in Grand Torino). I still have a list of things to work on, but nothing that has to be done right away.
Some more friendly deer
I spend less time on the computer now that I don’t work, even less than Janie. She keeps me up to date with our travel plans and what’s happening on some of the blogs we follow and some facebook stuff. I still don’t have a facebook account but that may change. Someday. I might put it on my list of things to do.


  1. Janie and John, I enjoyed reading your post.
    We're on still on the newbie curve too, especially now that we just upgraded from a travel trailer toy hauler with no slides to a fifth wheel toy hauler with slides. We're already kind of regretting that we didn't get a slightly longer one with three slides, but otherwise we really like it and intend to make the best of it and enjoy it for many years to come. All the best to you in your travels...and I hope John's head heals up quickly...ouch!
    - Mary Ann


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