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Just talked to my boss.

They decided not to offer me part time, and wanted me to stay longer.

I’m not interested in staying longer; I’ve been feeling this way too long. So I’m out of here on Friday.

I haven’t quite gotten to the happy part yet – but it’s waiting in the wings πŸ™‚

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Yesterday’s trip to Costco was a new non-move in record – $574.

costcorecord

Whenever we move into a new home, one of the first things that we do is go to Costco to “get all that stuff”β„’ that you have to have when you move into a new home. Those trips can be spendy indeed. But this was just a normal Costco run.

Even scarier – we didn’t get any New Yorks. The Costco Boneless New York Strip is the tastiest meat I’ve ever put in my mouth; I rarely get steak at restaurants, because it’s never going to be as good as what I can cook up on my grill at home in 14 minutes (eight minutes on one side, four on the other). When the steaks were $6.99/lb, I used to buy them whenever I was running out; now that they are regularly $9.99/lb, I wait and get them when I can find them at a lower price. But if they don’t go down in price, and I start to run out, I’ll still buy ’em.

So I spent $574 without my normal $100-150 for New Yorks. Ouch.

Or, actually, wait a minute – maybe I won’t be paying full price next time for New Yorks. Because while this isn’t the first Costco run after moving into a new home, it might very well be the last Costco run that I make as a gainfully employed, productive member of society. So it’s possible that I’ll only be buying them when I can get a deal. And I suspect that I might have thrown a few things in that I might have left alone before, just because I might be broke, later.

It was a busy day; woke up early and made a 7 AM AA meeting,Β  Then we headed to church. After that, we went to our friends’ house and picked up a truckload of firewood that they never used – they are moving to Texas, where nobody wants any extra heat sources, ever.

Then we went to Costco for the above trip. We had a truck bed full of firewood, and the back half of the crew cab had the seats folded up and the shelves folded out, and was chock full of Costco boxes.

Got home, restacked the firewood in our garage**, unloaded the Costco stuff, and then I headed out for a 2 mile jog as per my physical therapist’s instructions. Got back from that just in time to spend a couple of hours with a new pigeon, spending some time in pages 84-88 so that we make sure that we have the same general understanding and language around the program as utilized in Level Flight.

Then I got a nap πŸ™‚

My calf is still injured; the two miles I jogged yesterday were a test drive. The testosterone pellets still have not turned me into a 40 year old Jim Puckett. The house is still stalled – nobody’s done anything at all since they finished the drywall. And the dog is still broke-eared, cockeyed, toothless and splay-footed. It’s business as usual at Chez Puckett.

But something should change today – I’m supposed to have the follow-up chat with my boss, wherein it will be determined if I am

a) Finished up, home free, and a man of leisure as of Friday afternoon,
b) Going to be working a little longer because they think they need me a little longer,
c) Going on a leave of absence for a few months so’s I can come back and see if a rest period helped,
d) Going to to go a part-time schedule, or
e) Possibly some entirely different circumstance that will catch me completely off guard.

In “Glory Road”, Robert Heinlein said that “..all military bureaucracies consist of a Surprise Party Department, a Practical Joke Department, and a Fairy Godmother Department.” I suspect that this is not true at Workday; they’re a pretty functional bunch of folks. But I can’t help but wonder if there might not be a bit of the above running around inside our organization.

If so, I’ll find out this afternoon πŸ™‚

*yes, we stacked the firewood in our garage, which means that we’ll just have to put it back in the truck and move it to the garage at the new house. But we’re already moving everything else anyway, and who knows? Based on current rates of progress, there’s no reason to assume that the new house will ever be finished anyway.

We are sort of getting the condo cleaned up a little bit to show it this afternoon. I know this, because Ethel put the fancy bedclothes on the bed. (seen here from the office in the loft).

fancy

Now, we haven’t put the house on the market yet – in fact, we weren’t planning on doing so until after we moved, because of the difficulty of selling a home while living and working full time in the home, and then of course there is the eternal problem of what to do with the dogs* while showing the place.

But we have a friend who is about to come into some money; she also needs a place to live beginning August 30th – which, if you’re playing along at home, you will note is also the projected date for us to move into the Dog House.

While we were in Mexico, our house sitters had an open house, and Shannon came to it; she remarked how much she liked the place, and our sitters told her that we were going to be selling it at the end of the summer. So she approached us.

Hmmm…perfect timing, no hassle with showing or concerns about pricing, and no realtors’ fees. Hard to find a problem there.

So she’s coming over this afternoon; she didn’t see the whole place while she was here.

We already know that she doesn’t like the other things that she’s seen on the market. So who knows? This might just work. And it might not. I’m not running my life.

Of course, if selling it to her means moving out and spending some weeks in the southern Baja, or up in northern British Columbia, where’s the downside? πŸ™‚ Especially if I’m retired at the time.

Speaking of retirement: no update. They came back to me after I sent the letter and allowed as to how they wanted me to stay longer, for some reason. I let them know that I was willing to accommodate any reasonable request; they’ve been overpaying me for six years. I owe ’em. So they’re doing their thinking now; bossman said that he’d talk to me today or Monday. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be here – perhaps in a part-time capacity – for some time, or they might get mad at me and throw me out on Monday. I’m not running my life.

Speaking of not running my life – I just happened to run into my gynecologist today. She told me to give the testosterone tablets time. (I could probably write a song about that). Since the darn things are already in my rear end, it’s not like I was about to go in with a can opener and take ’em out, so “giving ’em time” is the default behavior.

 

*there is ALWAYS the eternal problem of dogs, which is what makes it eternal. We’re moving because of the dogs, and the dogs make it harder to move.
Somebody remind me why we have dogs again?

Two weeks ago, I opted into a Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy thingy.

(insert standard marketing photograph of healthy older folks being in love and being happy outdoors doing something active)

biote

Here’s the idea. I’m older now. And a lot of the things that go along with being older, are associated with reduced levels of testosterone – at least for me. Women, it seems, can suffer from both reduced levels of testosterone AND estrogen and other female-type thingies.

For guys these symptoms include mood changes, brain fog, inability to concentrate, reduced strength and muscle mass, increased body fat, reduced stamina.

Yep, yep, yep, yep, yep, yep.

My T number was 500; that’s low normal for males. My gynecologist* (how many guys do you know who could start a sentence like THAT?) said that for treatment, she wants it up closer to 1000-1100.

So, after some months of discussion – and even prayer – I let my gynecologist make a small incision at the top of my right buttock, put in eight tiny pellets of testosterone, and then close it up. The idea is that these expensive little Cheek Chiclets would slowly dissolve and raise my T-levels. I should feel some benefit in 7-10 days.

That was two weeks ago.

Today, I’d like to just lay down in my hammock. I did my morning ride, but put off my elliptical and core work until after work, because I would like to maintain some level of effectiveness at my job.

The only real effect I can report is that that little spot on my buttock is still a mite sore, and I can feel a small lump where they put the Performance Pez. So all I got for my $600 was a pain in the butt.

No, that’s not true. One thing I got is that at least I won’t be wondering if the problem is low testosterone. Like Edison inventing the light bulb, I can check off one more thing that didn’t work.

It’s also possible that I might need more pellets. I’m supposed to go back for more blood work at some point.

I was sort of hoping – I admit it – that these pellets would turn me back into a 40 year old Jim Puckett, who could run 18 minute 5Ks, run straight up mountains, and train at 70 miles/week while being smart and productive at work, skiing chair to chair on the weekends, and a “sexual tyrannosaurus“. (If you don’t know the origin of that phrase, I suggest you click the link πŸ™‚ But that is not to be, I reckon.

Since what we’re really talking about here – again – is growing old, either gracelessly orΒ  with some composure, I leave you with these last lines of Tennyson’s “Ulysses”:

…Come, my friends,

‘Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
Push off, and sitting well in order smite
The sounding furrows; for my purpose holds
To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths
Of all the western stars, until I die.
It may be that the gulfs will wash us down:
It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,
And see the great Achilles, whom we knew.
Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and tho’
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

 

I’ll bet that Ulysses would have at least tried the butt pellets.

 

 

*“my gynecologist” – insurance won’t pay for these treatments, and most doctors won’t prescribe them. But my wife’s GYN – and her Internist husband – both use this therapy, and when Ethel was describing my issues, the doc strongly suggested that I do the blood work. And then she did the procedure.

So that makes me her patient, and her being a gynecologist, and me being her patient, makes her “my gynecologist”.

And I just love using that phrase πŸ™‚

It looks like they have finished hanging the drywall at the Dog House.

It’s so cool – because now these areas, that were spaces, are rooms! The simple act of defining the walls – and ceilings – defines the rooms. Where there were barriers of studs and trusses, with soft fluffy insulation between, there’s now a solid substance that one can thump.

For instance, here’s Ethel standing in her kitchen, looking back towards the entry, the hall closet, and the laundry room –

Kitchen

The drywall forms a barrier; creates echos and corners; and it forces the eye to accept limitation. And, while it does create those echos that reverbrate our movements and voices, it also shields us from external sound; the inside of the house now is quiet.

(editor’s note: the things you see up against the roof, and along the one corner, that are NOT in drywall but instead in a nylon builder’s sheathing, are the fur/larch beams and timbers that wil be open and stained. Ethel said “You can’t give me too many beams and timbers”. I tried πŸ™‚

I keep walking around and around, just amazed – one more big increment in watching stuff move from some drawings on a notepad on our kitchen table, to actual living spaces. For instance, the living room –

LivingRoom

That big thing over there in the sheathing is the wood burning fireplace – it’s not going to be drywalled, but rather stoned with Glacier Mountain, a local granite from the Cabinet Mountain range just southwest of Whitefish.

We imagined the view through those big windows, and that big stone fireplace, and now they are becoming reality. (I wasn’t aware just how big the fireplace was going to be, but then, I had asked for the one from Xanadu, so I reckon I have nobody else to blame πŸ™‚

One of the things that tickled me the most was finally getting the garage drywalled – one of the reasons that we’re building this house is because Ethel made me buy a truck that is too big for the garage at our condo. Well, we won’t have that problem any more:

Garage

(Now, if you’re going to say something like “isn’t it cheaper to trade the truck than to build a house?” then you haven’t been playing along at home. The main reason that we are building the Dog House is because OF THE DOGS. And the reason that I bought the truck is because OF THE DOGS. You might be sensing a theme here).

So now it’s drywalled. Next comes the taping and mudding – the taping, as I understand it, goes pretty quickly, but the mudding is much slower, as they have to wait for the previous coat to dry before they can apply the next. We’ll see how it goes.

I have no idea what comes after that – the next layers above are the floors – tile, carpet and hardwood – and the interior doors and trim (knotty alder) and the plumbing and electrical fixtures – sinks, tubs, can lights, switchplates. I don’t know if these things happen in parallel, or sequential – and, if sequential, in what sequence.

But I’ll probably find out πŸ™‚

Icelanders are not like me.

Now, they LOOK like me – given my current haircut, I could pass for an Icelander as long as nobody spoke to me (okay, I might have to wear more Euro-type clothing). And, while their language is ancient and foreign, it’s Teutonic enough that I can often puzzle out the cognates.

But – they aren’t like me down deep.

Here’s a gravestone from a cemetery in Reykjavik:

Erlingson

This is obviously a husband and wife – but the astute observer will note that they have different last names. Now, in Amurrica in 2019, that wouldn’t be that uncommon – but this was in the 30s and 40s.

You’ll note that there’s a third name – with a third last name – on there, as well – with a death date that looks like 1936. We’ll get to that.

Magnus is the husband, and Agustina is the wife. Magnus’ last name is Erlingson, and Augutina’s is Torpadottir. Those words mean, literally, “Erling’s son” and “Torpa’s daughter”.

That’s how last names work in Iceland – you have your father’s first name as the root of your last name, and “-son” orΒ  “-dottir” added, depending on your gender.

All around this grave, there are newer graves – of people named “Magnusson” and “Magnusdottir”. The children are sharing a burial plot with the parents. I suspect that the third name on the above plot was a child who died young, and was buried in the parents’ plot.

This means just exactly this – that you do not have a family name. You don’t give your family name to your children, and then it’s not passed to theirs. It means that you can’t say “The Joneses have lived in this town for a hundred years” – because every generation, the names change.

(There are exceptions – some folks in the 1800s had family names, and still use them. And if the wife or children want to distance themselves from the father for whatever reason, then they use Mom’s first name as the root – in this case, the children would have been, say, “Einar Augustinason” or “Margret Augustinadottir”. But the above is the general rule).

So, yeah, that’s different. I think that we can all agree that that’s different.

But that’s just skimming the surface of different – because, here we go. This is not just a TRADITION. It’s actually the LAW. You HAVE to name your children like this.

There are, as I said, some few family names that took root in the 1800s and early 1900s, after the current system being in place for the previous thousand years. But folks realized that this was causing certain families to take root, and to establish themselves – and they thought that it caused a bit of a class system to start up – so they outlawed it, although there were exceptions in which families got to keep those names once they took hold.

And not only does the government tell you that you have to name your children using a certain convention – since last names come from first names, they also maintain a list of government-approved first names, gender specific, that you have to use to name your children.

When I first heard that, I sort of thought, “well, that’s cool – they’ve found something that works for them. And apparently nobody minds.” And I still think that that is true.

But then I thought – what if they tried to do something like that in America?

Church – would be out.

America is founded on the principle that once the government starts to meddle in your affairs too much, you’re actually supposed – it’s your DUTY – to take the family rifle down from the wall and go shoot them. (You’re free to read the Declaration of Independence however you wish, but I can’t see any other way to read it). That’s really what the Second Amendment is about; it’s not there so that we can repel invaders. It’s so that we can get rid of our own government if it becomes too oppressive.

People like that ain’t about to let anybody tell them how to name their young’uns.

I then tended to notice things – simple things, like the fact that, when I went downstairs to get coffee in the lobby at 7 AM, they walked out and shut down the coffee machine for cleaning, so that nobody got any coffee for the next half hour or so. And folks just shrugged and went about their business. Nobody said “Why in the world would you shut down the coffee machine at the most coffee-intensive hour of the day?”

I started to notice that authority in Iceland is simply accepted, and that folks don’t seem to argue with it, and nobody complains at all. Then I realized that the stores open very late, and close very early – and nobody complains.

Pretty much what any authority deems, is just accepted without comment.

Americans wouldn’t put up with any of that.

I realized that these folks are DIFFERENT.

Icelanders pretty much don’t fight. They have been in “wars” – small disputes with other countries – but as far as I can tell, the last time that more than 1 person died in one of these things was the 1000s, when a total of 24 Vikings died in two skirmishes. And I can’t tell that they’ve fought among themselves, as Icelanders, at all.

These folks are DIFFERENT.

Now that I’ve said some stuff about them, I’ll talk about me. Any observation of other folks has to result in an introspection, or it’s useless. And here’s what I learned about me, after realizing that these folks don’t complain or change things.

I…am not SUPPOSED to complain or changes things.

I’m not talking about “me the American” but “me the member of Alcoholics Anonymous”. We AAs “…have ceased fighting anything or anybody” and we long ago decided that our answer to Hamlet’s question is that it is indeed nobler in the hearts and minds of men to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.

We have the Serenity Prayer and the Acceptance Page.

But I realized, while watching how these Icelanders live, that (and here’s the shameful thing) I’m glad that I do, indeed, live in America, where folks do complain, and argue, and fight.

Here’s the unworthy part – I can’t get away with that stuff without getting drunk. But I’m glad that I live in a society where other folks DO that stuff, so that I don’t have the government telling me how to name my kids. And so that the hotel makes sure that there’s coffee in the morning. And so that the grocery stores actually are open before I go to work, and still open after I get off.

That one bothered me. In fact, it still does πŸ™‚

 

Back in May, I prayed and talked with folks, and set a date for retirement – July 19th. Which, with a two-week notice, put my day of sending a letter to be – today, July 8th.

Letter is sent.

TheLetter

All of the things that I said yesterday are still operative; I’m still sorta stupid. So this morning, at the 7 AM meeting, I mentioned my conflicts and troubles. I heard a lot of good stuff – but after the meeting, what I heard from individuals was that it was time for me to leave.

My best friend there said it simply – “Do you still love it?” When I said that, although I loved the company and folks, I pretty much hated going to work and had for a long time, he told me to get out of there.

Well, now I am.

I’m not freaked out, either; I have a small, but definite, tight cord of fear across my transverse colon. (real-time note: I just got a slack message from my grandboss, wondering what this email is in her inbox. Here we go).

I’ve left the door open to going to part-time, or even just going on leave of absence and trying again in a few months. But, failing that, I’m in my last two weeks of work.

I’m not yet excited about that – but I suspect that when the fear passes, I will be πŸ™‚

I’ve sent the letter.