Posts tagged Working Retirement

Not the most consistent writer, am I???!!!!!!

Heck, I almost forgot I even had this blog sitting out here, and there have been many times when I should have actually been documenting my thoughts and actions.

Guess I’ll see what comes from these fingers tonight, maybe it will be the impetus to write a bit more often in the coming months and years.  Then again, it may be such a ramble that maybe I would be better shutting it down forever! LOL  Only time will tell.

Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even started writing tonight, if it hadn’t been for my dear friend Linda dropping me a note to see what I’ve been up to and where I am heading next.  In a nutshell, I’m getting ready to leave AZ at the end of this month for cooler climes, as I am heading to MT to see my daughter graduate from college and visit with my son and his family before heading to Yellowstone National Park, WY to work this summer at the Mammoth General Store!

In the process of catching her up we made an amazing discovery…….  We’re getting older…….. LOL  See, we’ve known each other online for at least 12 or 13 years now, but have never had the chance to meet in person.  Someday that will change… Slowly but surely I am heading that way!  Just have to take time to smell the roses along the way.

So much has already changed in the years we have known each other; she’s retired, moved, become a mother-in-law and grandmother, all things that have happened to most of us in that same time span.  Myself, I’ve become a 2nd time divorced nomad! LOL  Much more than that really, but it is the easiest way to explain who I am becoming, assuming I can explain.  Those of you who have read my blog from start to finish already know what started me on the road to wherever; for those of you who haven’t read it all yet, feel free to stop now and catch up or just join me as I trip down memory lane.

Back when Linda and I first “met” everyone was living with the “Y2K” fever and fears.  What was going to become of the world as we had known it up to that time period?  Were computers going to shut down forever?  Would phones stop working, would electricity become a thing of the past? Were we going to lose touch with the rest of the globe as a result?  Or, was everything going to go forward as it had before?

For quilters online it became a chance to pull together, no matter where we lived.  To reach out to total strangers and share our hearts and our skills while we could.  Y2K quilts started a craze that has connected us forever.  Little pieces of fabrics traded around the world became our connecting thread in a time when uncertainty was the only certainty we knew.  Can you even imagine what 2000 little squares of fabric are like when you have no clue whether you will be able to reach out to those you have met thru the “Net” once the year 2000 became a reality?!  They were our tie to what had been, and our hopes for a safe and normal outcome once Jan.1st of that year had rolled into being.  As we all know the world as we knew it did not come to an end, thankfully.  The bonds that were forged online continued and many a friendship has grown from those earlier times.  Many of these friendships will always only be online, but thru luck and planning many of these people have actually met in person and become even “faster” friends. Others will meet as time permits and in many cases thru some mighty strange circumstances.

I had lived in a little town at the time called Thompson Falls, MT.  I was raising my daughter mostly alone at the time as her father was an over the road truck driver.  The computer became my connection to a world I thought I would never be able to see, but even that has changed with time.  I met, traded and chatted with many, many women and even a few men who relied on these machines to pull us outside of our current circumstances, whatever they were.

Okay, enough about what has drawn us together, intertwining our lives in ways we would never have thought possible.

At this moment I can honestly say my life truly changed yet again just over 2 years ago.  On March 16th, at 7 a.m., 2008 I left my “safe” job as night auditor at a motel in Kalispell, MT. and moved down the road to the home I now live in, my 19′ little house on wheels.  Those first weeks even though I was safely sitting in the driveway of my son and daughter-in-law’s house were a real experience!  Cold as only MT can be in the oddest of March’s.  The winds howled, the trailer rocked, the propane heater worked when it wanted and stopped when most needed though no one could find an explanation for it’s pulling tricks on me, and while I wondered whether I had a stupid mistake in forsaking my safe but most tiresome of lifestyles, I also knew that I had to try something different.  I was stuck in such a rut that I literally lived to work, sleep and go back to work.  That is not living, that is nothing more than existing.  Thank you, Lord, for my children!  Without them I would not be where I am today!  They are the ones who saw an opportunity for me to move out of the rut and see as much of this country as I possibly can while I am still young enough to enjoy the experiences.

And there most definitely have been a lot of them! And, God willing, there will be many more in the coming years!

I’ve lived and worked at the base of Mt. Shasta (California), and ridden a old renovated train across part of that mountain, and I’ve worked and wintered in AZ. two years in a row and ridden the new “light rail” train system between Mesa and Phoenix which only finally opened for business last winter!  Talk about history!  Old and new alike! I’ve stood on both rims of the Grand Canyon, crossed the Hoover Dam at least twice (I don’t usually “do” dams as they are way up in the air compared to being on level ground, to say nothing of having an awful lot of water on at least one side of them! LOL), revisited the Vermilion Cliffs (which I hadn’t seen in 20 plus years), I’ve walked the grounds of  Montezuma Castle cliff dwellings, and listened to exquisite Native American flute music piped into the area of the Casa Grande Ruins!!!  Very eery, but totally enchanting!!  I have revisited the Badlands and Mt. Rushmore in S. Dakota, seen Crazy Horse’s Monument (for the first time), revisited the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and so much more I can’t even begin to recount!  All in a little more than 2 years time!  Blows me away to even think about it!!

And, of course, that now leads us back in a loop to where I am headed next.  Yellowstone Park via Zion National Park as I travel up thru UT.  Yellowstone and I have a history of our own.  It was the vacation spot we always went to when I was young.  Visiting the geysers, staring into the hot pools and watching the bison graze as well as checking out the bear “jams” as dad drove us from one spot to another and mom gave us little tidbits of information about the park.  It became a summer “retirement” location for my father to work in off and on as my children grew up, but most of all it represented a dream of mine.  I wanted to also work there one day myself!  As a child I saw students from all over the world working at various positions in the park as well as folks who had retired but wanted to work a bit to give pleasure to themselves and others at one of the most marvelous wonders this world offers for our enjoyment of Mother Nature.  As an adult I took my children to visit their grandfather there in “God’s Backyard” and hoped yet again that someday I too would be able to work there.  Well, come May 24th another of my dreams will come true, because that’s just what I am going to do, as I mentioned earlier!

What comes after that?  I have no clue.  I realized I was again letting myself be sucked into the rut of safety by coming back to the same location to work until just a few weeks ago.  Don’t misunderstand, I love this park in Mesa, most of all I love those people who come to winter in this park and could easily see myself coming back year after year and working myself into the ground to continue making sure their time was enjoyed to the fullest I could help make it, but that isn’t why I changed my lifestyle.  I changed it so I could also have time to explore and enjoy as much of this country as possible before I too have to someday get off the road and settle down for a well deserved retirement.  So, I turned in my notice and this summer will once again start looking for another location to work in next winter.  I’m thinking possibly southern New Mexico or the Gulf Coast of Texas!!!  Maybe even Louisiana if nothing appeals to me enough in this half of the country.  I’ve always wanted to see New Orleans!!!  LOL

Can you tell my foot has gotten “itchy” again?!

I’ll keep you posted as I see what is to come!

Oops!   Just realized I forgot a couple of things!  Some post back a ways I had said the kids sent me down here to AZ last fall with a bright, shiny red 1 ton diesel to pull my trailer with as they sold the van out from under me and were planning on going back on the road permanently themselves…. Well, they changed their plans after being out for 2 or 3 months in northern California and returned home.  Decided they liked being in one place where they could all spread out better till the boys are grown and gone, so they moved back up to Whitefish, MT right near Glacier National Park.  They have loved the area for many years, so I’m tickled they decided to go back.  At the same time, they also decided mom was right, as lovely as the diesel was for pulling my rig, it really was way more vehicle than I needed, especially in parking lots!  So, I now have a lovely white 2006 Nissan Titan with a 6 ft. truck bed and a full back seat to call my own!  May 1st will be her maiden voyage pulling the trailer and I don’t think she will mind one bit!  The truck is supposed to be able to pull 9500 lbs. but my trailer, even stuffed with my junk comes in under 4000 lbs.!  I’m really looking forward to taking to the road, can you tell???!!!!!!!!

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I’m Back!!!!!

From the Badlands!  Yep, I decided yesterday that I wanted to take a ride, so about 2 in the afternoon (and didn’t get back here till 9 p.m.) I headed down the road thinking that I might go back towards Mt. Rushmore and actually visit Crazy Horse…. But, I just wanted to drive and not get out of the van unless I really felt like hopping out, so down the road I went.

Drove thru Sturgis which is gearing up for Biker Week and I mean they are gearing up!  Tent stores set up with thousands of t-shirts and other stuff to appeal to biker fans who will be flocking to this area within the next week.

Not being a biker, I passed on checking out the goodies and headed on down towards Rapid City where I knew I had to decide just where I was going.

Seeing more and more Wall Drugstore signs as I went, I knew it was time to hit the Badlands!

Last time I was thru them it was late evening in March (20 years ago) so I didn’t see much at the time.  Yesterday was a whole different matter.  If you have never been there, you have got to go!  Not only does it look like a moonscape but the National Grasslands add their own appeal to the area.  The views were breathtaking!

To think that the last time I really saw any of the views offered was 50 years ago just blows my mind!  Just wish a family member was still around for me to pin down the actual year I saw all the wonders of western South Dakota and Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, but I just have to be content with the knowledge that it was when I was between 5 and 7 years of age, I guess.

Since I was near Wall Drug, I did stop in to look around there, too.  I remember stopping there with my brother 20 years ago though we had only popped in for a few minutes, but I have to tell you…….  Nothing seems to have changed! LOL  That place is a great tourist “trap” and well worth stopping by to see!

Well, I have to do some laundry and a few dishes and get myself into town for an oil change, so I guess I’ll hop off till the next time!

Since I am only here in South Dakota for another week, I know I’ll be popping in again before then.  Crazy Horse still awaits!

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Fried Chicken???!!

I could swear I smell it and it is driving me nuts! LOL  The weather must have something to do with it, I guess.  Sun’s shining, temps are in the mid 70s, the birds are singing and the world just drives on past us here in the park for now.  But, I do smell fried chicken and I can’t figure out where it’s coming from! LOL  My coffee is chocolate flavored and I’m surrounded by pine trees……….  Isn’t a restaurant near-by that would be cooking it and I haven’t smelled any other foods that people across the highway from us have cooked these past weeks since I arrived here………  Oh well, I guess I am just going to have to head into Mt. Shasta City later on for fried chicken! LOL  I was planning on pan-fried trout for dinner tonight.  One of our guests caught his limit the other day, but was having to cut his weekend short, so he gave the fish to our grounds keeper who remembered hearing me say I love fish….  Bless Jimmy’s heart, he also remembered hearing me say that I don’t clean or behead fish, so before he even came near me with them, they were all cleaned for me.  Aren’t I spoiled???!!!!! LOL  But, the fish just came out of the freezer a couple of minutes ago, so I think I’ll just pop it in the refrigerator and eat it tomorrow.

Well, I guess that’s what days off are for when you are on a “working retirement”!  You can change your mind on what’s for dinner and head out the door to get it! LOL

I’m off to KFC!

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