Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Retirement Meeting

I had a meeting with one of our HR folks about retirement stuff, making sure I understand what I need to understand, when to do things, and so on.  It was really good.

I found out approximately what my state pension will pay every month, and even better, learned how the very generous state sick-leave policy works in retirement.  Basically, if you're lucky enough not to need to take a lot of sick days, then the value of the unused sick days gets moved to pay for health insurance.  It pays for the group insurance until you hit 65 and get Medicare, and after that pays for the Medicare B part, until it runs out.  Mine will run out when I'm about 80, so that's pretty darned good.

Having read blogs for a longish time now, I have a feeling that the most interesting blogs are about someone's life in transition: grad school, new professor, new parent, and so on.  So I'm sort of hoping I'll feel a bit revitalized her as I transition into retirement.


Monday, August 22, 2022

Beginning Again, For the Last Time

 We've come back "under contract" now, and so it's time to get ready for the new school year.  We have two weeks til classes begin, so plenty of time.  And not.

This is my last fall getting ready for classes.  I thought I'd feel emotional, sad, teary, but not yet.  I tend to be fairly emotional about some things like that, so I'm pretty sure it will hit at some point.  But for now, it's not!

A couple of colleagues are asking for a special "take it easy on me" semester/year as far as service.  On one level I'm sympathetic.  On another level, I'm frustrated.  We've lost several people to service in other areas, an interim chair of another department, an interim administrative post, and all of a sudden, we're really hurting for committee roles.  And we need a senator.

Now to prepare for classes!

Sunday, August 07, 2022

Yes, Retiring!

Since a couple of people kindly asked, yes, indeed, I'm planning to retire during summer of 2023.

As to what I'll do when I retire?  I learned when I had sabbatical that I'll never be bored, so there's that.  

My local nature center has a bird banding program which I worked on during sabbatical.  I'd like to become way more involved.  I really liked the people, and the birds are endlessly fascinating.  I'd like to bird more, and since spring and fall are the best birding times around here, I haven't been able to much for a couple of years.

Some depends on covid etc.  In my dreams, I've always traveled a lot when I retire.  Will covid mean that's not really possible?

My dream travel: get an air bnb or something for a month or two in different places: a month in Barcelona, a month in Porto, a month in someplace in Italy, someplace in southern Germany, and so forth.  The idea would be to be away for two or three months, then come back and relax at home, then recharge, and off again.

Where's home?  That's a great question.  I really enjoy my house.  You may remember when I posted about having my old rug taken out, and then having hardwood floors put in.  Then the hardwood floors being darker made the house feel dark and sort of cave-like, so I picked new colors and a friend painted the interior for me (for pay, of course).  The thing is, every time I look at the yellow, I smile.  It's just happy.  The floors are beautiful, the house is very live-able, I love the colors.  Yes, it's too big, and yes we have winter.  But it's also fully paid off, so my expenses are real estate taxes, maintenance, and utilities.  Less than you might think.

But then, maybe I want to move back to where I'm from?  That's not clear at this point.  It's way expensive there.  But there's good weather year round, and family in the area, which I really enjoy.

We'll see.

If covid makes travel really untenable, then I may get a dog...

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

Two Years In

 I've been chair for two years now, and am looking into the final year before I retire.  So this is a little weird.  Everything for the last time, to some extent: my classes, the chairing work, all that.

And yet I still feel like a beginner in so many ways.  All sorts of higher ed organizations have "becoming department chair" programs to help new chairs do a good job; I was signed up for one my first summer, but it was cancelled due to Covid.  Last summer new chairs got to go to them, but I didn't, so now I'm still behind in some ways. 

What I've learned by being chair.

1)  No one ever asks to talk to me about anything good.  If someone says "can I talk to you?" I brace myself, because there's no way it's ever good.  It may not be horrible, but it's never good.  No one says, "Can I talk to you?" and then reveals that their book just got published.  That's a quick email, and congratulations.  Or a chat in the hall and congratulations.

Recent "can I talk to you" issues:  1) I found a new job and won't be teaching in fall.  2)  I'm pregnant.  3)  I bought a house in a state far away and want to do all my work remotely.  

None of these things is about me at all, but all will make life more complicated and difficult for me (but at least I don't have to become a parent, which I've never wanted to be).

2)  Nothing is ever stable nor meant to be.  There's always turn over, always stuff that breaks down and needs to be replaced, always some new task coming from higher up that will take time in meaningless but frustrating ways.  There are two extreme ways to get around in trees.  1. Sloth: go slow and careful.  2.  Orangutan: take a swing and hope for the best.  I'm trying to be an Orang for most things.  Because the tree I'm in may get chopped down at any moment and I'd better be a moving target.