|A common view for me these last few months|
Back in that time, I guess when I was around 12 or so, I inherited my brother's paper route. From then on I have been working a "job". On May 15th, I had my retirement ceremony after serving 30 years in the Coast Guard. Since then, I have been doing things that aren't actually "work", although some of them are "work like".
I don't actually retire until September 1st, so I'm still getting paid. Thirty years of service give you plenty of time to accumulate lots of vacation time. We are given 30 days of leave a year. There were many years when I didn't use all of those days. Don't get me wrong, I liked taking my leave days, but playing the system right, I was able to take a day less here or there and garner days on the books. My last twelve years of work also had a nice schedule where I worked an hour longer each day for 9 days and then got the 10th day off. It worked out well.
The wars we have been involved in have also let me go beyond the usual 60 days on the books cut off, so I had a real nice 88 days or so sitting there waiting for me to take them. You are also given 20 days of Admin time, so all in all I had about three and a half months of "time".
Yes, you can sell those days back to the government and add some money to the bank account, but I like to use them so much more. To savor each one. To go to bed when I feel like it and get up when the urge strikes me. I still pretty much keep to the same schedule. Nine o'clock usually sees me heading down stairs to read for awhile before I shut my eyes and 6:30 rarely sees me still in the sack. I like getting up with (or before) the sun. I like seeing the day arrive. Now, I just make a pot of coffee and head to the computer room for some light reading and sometimes some writing and then I start my day.
But getting back to the mid 70's. Those were the days when I would get up with the day. No school, no grass to cut (I guess that was a job too), no pressing plans of any kind. I would get my bike out and take it down the 13 steps of our house and hit the bricks. Literally hit the bricks. Irwin Ave. in Bellevue is one of the dwindling streets of the borough that are still as they were back at the turn of the 20th century, brick.
|Irwin Ave - Brick Street|
Later in the day we would maybe play some kickball on the street and when darkness arrived, hide and seek was a pleasant way to spend a summer evening.
We would have passes to Bellevue Pool and when we could get a ride, we would be there for a good portion of the day. We also had a nice camp up by Moraine State Park where we spent many a week and weekend. Also, there was always Conneaut. Ahhhhh, Conneaut.
The day's just seemed to take forever and each one started with the song of robins, cardinals and blue jays and ended with the drone of cicadas and night hawks. Gosh, I miss the creaky call of the night hawk.
So, the picture I just tried to paint was of a young me, with no worries and little obligation or responsibility, doing what I felt like and having a good time doing it.
These last two months have been somewhat like that. I still have the adult obligations and responsibilities that most adults have. Mortgage, bills, college tuition, etc, but my day is less structured than it has been in such a long time. I lose track of what day it is.
I still have plenty of things to do. If you have followed this blog or my Facebook 365day entries, you will see that I have been doing some work around the house. The grass seems to be growing wickedly fast this summer also and today, I will once again whack it back to a reasonable height for the next week and a half or so.
I have also done some travelling. Not the usual kind, but by foot and bike. Shortly after my retirement ceremony, my Bride and I headed south, to Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia to do some Appalachian Trail hiking. Our original plan (to hike two to three weeks straight) lasted about eight hours into the hike. Lisa suffered a bad twist to her ankle that still is bothering her, but the freedom we had with our schedule left us to change the plan and do something a little different. Our adventures the first couple weeks of my "vacation" are chronicled here, if you haven't already read them.
|At the Arch to the Approach Trail|
In June I decided to take a little bike ride. This one was a five day, 350 mile trek from Washington, DC to my Father's house in Bellevue, PA. I had been hoping to do this ride for quite a few years and getting it done was very rewarding. I'm still feeling the effects of the damage I did to my ulnar nerves in my hands, but I don't regret taking the trip one bit. That trip starts here.
|Ready to Start|
This summer has also seen me travel up to Pine Grove Furnace, PA a couple times. It looks like I may have found a job as the next AT Museum Manager. It doesn't pay much, but it gets me that "in" I have been looking for working with the AT community. The museum is an amazing place and the AT Museum Society has very big plans for the place and its expansion. If all goes well, I will be a part of that.
These last two months have also given me the opportunity to grow my beard. Not something I was doing back in the 70's, but something I have been jonesing to do for awhile. I like to think that it is coming in nicely. It was pretty white at first, so I added a little "Just for Men" to knock it down a little and to keep little kids from crawling into my lap and telling me what they wanted for Christmas. Right now, it is just a toy that I'm playing with, but I think I will keep it a while. As long as Lisa lets me. :)
|My last day of work|
And so it goes. My summer continues. We still have some things to do like spend a week in Cape May and I will continue to travel to Pine Grove Furnace and hike the nearby trails. I have also planned out a short backpack trip to the wilderness of Dolly Sods in West Virginia. The honey do list will continue.
It is now time to take Ginger for her morning walk and then I think the pool needs me to check its temperature... With my body...