We left Idaho on Wednesday July 28th at 3:30 am and got to Casper about 15 1/2 hours later and checked into a motel exhausted and grumpy. The poor dogs were totally freaked out and wouldn’t eat or sleep. The room was dirty and smelled bad so we checked out the next morning and moved to another, much nicer and cleaner, place for the duration of our stay in Casper. It has a great trail to walk the dogs and Tom has been doing just that – over and over and over and over……… while I have visited my mom, brother and friends. He has probably walked 20 miles over the last three days but he is really getting to know this part of town :-)
We will have the same issues with them for the six days we are in Denver but we are staying in a hotel there that has a full bedroom, kitchen, and living room and is next to an open space so we can at least not be cramped. We just won’t be too mobile so will have to work that out. In Lake City, we won’t have a problem. It is a small town and my son has a yard they can hang out in and relax. We really have never traveled with them before unless we have been able to stay with family who have yards but, since mom sold her house and the girls are now in apartments in Colorado, hotels are the only option.
The dogs will be on the same flight with us to San Jose in the cargo hold when we fly out of Denver. I can hardly wait to hear Wiley and Kaya howling until the engines come on when they will probably still be howling but we won’t be able to hear them. They have never flown on a plane (and never will again) so this will be a real adventure. They will have only one more stressful time for the four hours it will take for the van that is picking us up at the airport to travel to Puerto Viejo but we will be with them in the van so it should not be too bad. Once we arrive in Puerto Viejo and get to the house, it should only take them a week or so to adapt. I think they will be just fine playing in the yard, napping on the cool rock floor in the open living room, and running on the beach. They will never have to travel again and be cooped up for days on end. They will be the envy of all their friends!!
Since I left my work life and retired on Friday, I thought I would put together some of my random thoughts of how I got to where I am in my life. It is rather interesting to think about how I have ended up finishing my career at age 56 and moving to Costa Rica to continue the next chapter.
I was never one who thought about what I was going to do when I “grew up”. I had a vague idea that I might be a lawyer but I never knew what that meant. Rather than planning my life, I tended to let it just happen. I was very young when I first got married, had two sons, got divorced, and went to college. I remember showing up at the financial aid office at the University of Wyoming, a child on each hip, and telling them that I was here to go to school and that I had no money. A wonderful financial aid officer just looked at me and said that we needed to figure this out. He got me into school and I ended up majoring in accounting because I knew that I could get a job to support my kids. I worked about 30 hours a week and took a full load of classes and finished in 3 1/2 years. Luckily, it turned out that I had a real talent for number crunching and administration and so I had a successful career in that field.
I ended up working in higher education because that was the only real option in Laramie, Wyoming in the late 1970’s. I took a job at the University of Wyoming Library as an accounting technician and the rest is history. I have worked in many different places – all either higher education or non-profit companies – and I enjoyed it for the most part. However, I always was a bit of a rebel and my real talent was in managing change. Status quo just didn’t do much for me and I enjoyed going into a new place, looking at how things were done and fixing those things that weren’t working. By definition, change management requires that you move around a lot since once change is effected there is nothing more to do and boredom sets in :-) So I moved around a lot.
I started my career at the University of Wyoming and ended it at the University of Idaho. What is very interesting to me is that these are such similar institutions, particularly in size and location. They are both in small towns with the institution itself the primary employer. The most interesting similarity however is that they are both the basis of the only politically liberal mindset in the state. Idaho is the most conservative place I have ever lived, perhaps the most conservative state in the country – although I suppose that it would be hard to outdo Texas in that regard. It is not bad or good – just interesting to me. At any rate, it seems as if I started and ended in almost the same place.
So now it is on to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, Costa Rica. I figure that if nothing goes terribly wrong health wise, Tom and I will have at least twenty or so years living in this amazing place. No more number crunching, no more stressing about personnel issues, no more stressing about institutional finances. Dang – why didn’t I do this earlier!!!!
Tomorrow is our last day at work forever – YAHOO!!! I honestly can’t quite believe it. This last two weeks has been a bit of a whirlwind. Tom has been really winding down and I have been freaking a bit because I had so much to finish up. Tom had a replacement to train so he was pretty much done as soon as that happened. I, on the other hand, have been trying to finish up two major project (finished one) and remember everything that other people need to take over. This afternoon I cleaned up my office and tomorrow I need to cull through my email and thousands of files and try to get them in order. Guess what probably won’t happen 🙂
We have also gotten together with many of our friends that we have made here in Moscow over the last few years and that has really been fun. Tomorrow I will tell everyone I work with goodbye (adios forever) and then we will head home around noon. The people who have bought our furniture will be here starting around 2:00 to pick it all up and then we will be hanging out in an empty house. We will sleep for the next few days on an air mattress and use camp chairs to sit in. Tomorrow night we will really feel that our life has changed…………
We are just around the corner now from the big move. In twenty five days we will be boarding the flight in Denver that will take us to San Jose for our new life. These last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind – especially after I decided to quit work on July 23rd rather than July 30th. I didn’t think that moving up one week would make much difference but it has. It means that I only have five days to finish everything I need to do at work – good luck to me.
Yesterday was a busy one. Our “mules” (Rex and Susan) from Spokane came down and picked up the packed duffle bags that they will be taking to PV and we went to the farmer’s market and then had lunch before they headed back. Rex has just been named the interim provost at Eastern Washington University and I was concerned that they would have to cancel due to his additional workload but that will not happen. They know how to set priorities 🙂 .
Last night we headed over to our friends house, Ron and Denise, for some yummy ribs and beer. It was a great time, much laughter and talk. Ron was being very generous as he is the one who will take the brunt of my leaving in July rather than November when we had originally planned. Anything I haven’t finished up as well as the responsibility for getting the financial statements done and the audit addressed will fall to him. I should have had them to dinner. Thanks RON!!!
So today is the second to last Friday I will ever work at a job – pretty neat feeling. We are done next Friday around noon (no need to stay all day) and then we will take the next four days to finish getting the rental ready for the landlords to move into and finish packing up everything we will need to take to Wyoming and Colorado. The dogs are finally loving their crates so that concern is no longer hanging around. They should be fine on the flight now.
Things left to do are: get complete vet history for both dogs; file paperwork for retirement at work and TIAA-CREF; figure out how to get pillows in the luggage; re-file all of our paperwork for Costa Rican residency and have it all go to Jordan’s house for him to finish up for us; eat all the food in the freezer (could be tough); un-archive all of my books that are archived on the kindle so that I can read them in CR (won’t have 3G in PV to download directly); get contact information to and from friends; gas up the truck; HIT THE ROAD!!!
We had dinner Friday night with our friends Chris and Sharon. They took us to Banyans, the restaurant at the WSU golf course and it was great! Chris came to Moscow as the Director of Contracts and Purchasing from the University of Michigan about ten months after I came to Moscow. He came into a giant mess and has spent the last three years putting together a great operation. It just so happened that he and Sharon bought a house just around the corner from our house in Moscow so we were able to get together fairly often – although not often enough :-) They are just wonderful people and I will miss them. I hope they will come see us but won’t hold my breath – Costa Rica is a bit out of their comfort zone.
This coming week Joyce and Doug are hosting a goodbye party for us and have invited several of the information technology folks I have worked with closely over the last few years and I am really looking forward to that. On my last day – July 23rd – there will be the traditional party at work with the people on our floor as well as those people across campus who work for and with me. And then on the 24th, we will go to the final goodbye party in Lewiston hosted by Tom’s boss and another friend who works for me. This has been a very hard four years as I was asked to come in and fix many things that were wrong or not working well. The people who will be at these parties are the ones who stuck by me when I was under extreme pressure from those who didn’t like what I was doing. They are also people who have held their own in their individual areas against the negativity and good ole boy culture that permeates this university. Bottom line –there are some of best and some of the worst people I have ever worked with in my 30 years or so of working in higher education. I am glad to let go of the worst and will be very glad to be able to retain my good memories of the best.
I went to Coeur D’Alene with Joyce (Doug the mule’s wife) to spend the 4th of July with friends. They live on the Spokane River and it was beautiful. We sat on their deck and watched people go up and down the river in really cool boats and had great food and great company. We took several rides on the boat and saw incredible houses although the one above took the prize 🙂 It was a very cool weekend and we had to wear heavy coats when we went to watch the fireworks on Lake Coeur D’Alene but it was worth it. The show was incredible and something I will always remember. We had a perfect spot sitting on the boat with the displays just overhead. I couldn’t ask for a better last 4th of July holiday.
Tom has been in Puerto Viejo since Wednesday getting everything ready for the final move. He and Doug left Moscow on Tuesday morning at 7:00 a.m. and arrived in Puerto Viejo around 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday. By the time they got to bed that night they had been up for about 40 hours and were completely exhausted. They have spent the last few days hanging around PV and recuperating and seeing the town. I am so disappointed because Doug has not seen any birds or animals during his time there and that is part of the pleasure of being in Costa Rica – seeing all the diverse wildlife. Hopefully he and Joyce will be able to come back some day and they can experience more of what we love about the country. They have been able to eat at some really good restaurants and they have been able to walk on the beach every morning. So it hasn’t been all bad 🙂
It is just forty days before we fly out and work is definitely winding down. They had a failed search for my job and so are going back out to try again. That means they won’t have anyone in place anytime soon and everyone reporting to me is feeling very unsettled. I feel bad because there is nothing I can do to help. All I can do is assume they will figure it out.