The Last Day

  On my way to the 6:30 meeting last week, I got to see this sunrise.  I cropped the photo so that no highway signs or cars showed, but somehow that is not available on my camera roll.  I think I might like this uncropped photo better.  
I’ve had an amazing few days.  

I went to Adoration on Thursday evening, as I usually do.  I was alone in the chapel, and felt compelled to lie prostrate on the floor in front of the altar.  I tried to fight that compulsion, but it would not go away.  So, I walked to the front of the chapel and laid outstretched on the floor.  Well, don’t ask me why I didn’t know what an impact that would have, but I did not anticipate what would happen.  

Of course, I cried, because that is what I do.  I felt that I offered to God my brokenness, and He said it was OK.  He will have me the way I am.  I threw myself on His Divine Mercy, and asked Him to do with me what he would.  That’s it.  I felt such peace come over me and it has not yet left.  

This morning, I went to confession and told my confessor about how I am leaving my job.  I told him that I had been struggling with feelings of being wrong, but I explained my efforts to do otherwise.  He said I must forgive this person, and I must also forgive myself.  I nodded and said that yes, I can do that.  I can.  Now.  I couldn’t have a month ago, but I can now.  Then he gave me marching orders…. when you retire, go to daily mass, go to confession regularly, volunteer at church.  OK.  I can do that.  I would be thrilled to do that.  

I am, for the moment, unafraid.  I feel at peace with my decision.  I feel at peace with whatever should happen in my future.  I am incredibly grateful that I am moving on to a new life.  I have no idea really what it will be.  But I am grateful and anxious to find out.  

Tomorrow, I have to go to work for one last day.  I have to fill out all the separation paperwork.  I have to turn in my keys, my badge, request that my e-mail account be deleted, etc.  I also have one huge task to accomplish, but I think I can get it done.  I am so happy to be leaving.  

People have been stopping by my office for the last few weeks.  I am reminded that most of them have no clue of the politics that brought me to my decision.   They have shared memories with me.  There is a whole group of us who went through the Leadership Development training over ten years ago.  None of us are now considered leaders, fyi.  But we sure did develop some nice relationships.  My daytimer is full of phone numbers and e-mail addresses.  I will probably never get together with 99% of those folks, but it is nice to know that we have nice memories.  

I am so excited about the next unknown chapter in my life.  And perhaps I will blog more regularly.  And have time to find some new people who are blogging.  That would be nice.

I cannot even describe the peace in my soul.  I am so so so so grateful.  

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These Last Few Days

A rose in my neighbor’s garden.  If you use flash, it looks like it is glowing in the dark!  

I have four (work) days left before retirement, counting today.  It is getting down to the wire.  I have only one performance eval left to do, and I shall do that today.  The rest of the time will be mainly spent trying to leave something coherent for someone else (who hasn’t yet been hired) to pick up and go with.  Actually, two someones.  They will split my job in two.  

There are lunches every day. I said I didn’t want a party, and I don’t.  But people sure are taking me out for lunch!  It is fun, but fattening.  I finally broke down and had a big luscious burger yesterday – with fries.  I only ate half of it, but still.  

I have alternated between complete peace and utter terror.  Sometimes within a matter of moments.  I have to fight the slave driver voice that is always present, telling me I am being a “quitter.”   I have to really really fight the feeling of being wronged.  

I am in control of the narrative I leave with.  I am determined to leave without bitterness.  I want to look back on a career and feel that it was successful, because it was, and that it was “well-done.”  I’ve been told that by several people and it means a lot.  

The hospital director asked me to come back and work as a contractor once they hire my replacement, so that I can adequately train the person.  I said yes.  But only part time, and only very temporarily.   It may or may not happen.  

There is likely a job that I will gladly take within a month or two.  It is a good job, with an entirely new entity.  I don’t want to say more than that.  But it looks like I will land on my feet.  

Mass almost every morning is helping greatly.  So are my meetings.  

On my first day of retirement next week, I signed up to chair the 6:30 a.m. meeting.  Then I shall go to Mass.  Then I have a lunch date with a man.   And somewhere in there, I will get a work-out in.

I am so looking forward to my next life.  

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Some mornings I wake up and my fitbit will say I have walked 12 steps.  There’s something kind of cool about that.  I am doing 12 steps in my sleep.  

I barely slept last night.  Some nights are just like that.  At about 2 a.m., my brain decides to start thinking of all the things that can go wrong.  And then it decides to think about all the things that have already gone wrong.  Especially if the memories are especially humiliating and painful.  Yes, my brain will decide to think of things I said to my children when they were 3 or 5 years old.  Things they don’t remember.  But my 2 a.m. consciousness does.  I will rehash divorces.  And have profound regret about most of my life.  At 2 a.m.  

It lasts until about dawn.  About right now.  I’ve been dressed and ready to go to the meeting since 4:30 a.m.  The eastern sky is just beginning to lighten, with a slightly purple pink tint.  And that is when my mind will start to work again.  

I’ve been reading “Go Set a Watchman” by Harper Lee, with horror.  It’s a terrible book.  I know just about enough about Harper Lee to know, just KNOW, she would not want it published.  It will tarnish her name.  I am so sad for her.  She was so adamant about having only one book.  And now she is old and feeble and someone has done this to her.  dammmmmmmit.   Oh, yes, at 2 a.m., this is reason for me to be upset.  

The pink is increasing and the purple receding.  I will get on with my day.  

It will involve a pot of minestrone.  Though we are still in the heat of August, I am craving the warmth of a bowl of home made soup.  So I shall make some.  And continue to polish my kitchen cabinets.  I thought they were too old, but it is amazing what cleaning with soapy water, and then polishing with olive oil will do!  They look beautiful again.  

Off to a meeting…..

Thank you Lord for this day and whatever it may bring.  

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Three More Mondays

That’s me on the mountain yesterday.  What a beautiful day.  It was so good to be outside.  This has been a long year of treadmilling due to injuries and a surgery.  I don’t feel secure to go out into the rocky, rooty, and unsteady soil of nature when I have a bandaged or casted arm or hand.  My hand and arm are still not healed enough to ride a bike, but I am good to go on the trails!  How happy!

I got my hair all chopped off on Saturday.  I am so happy to have this short, short hair.  It is so easy, and I think it suits me better than any other “do.”  I had added some red lowlights earlier this year, but decided to let them grow out.  I actually like my gray hair.   I would like to have long hair, I had always thought that when I was an old woman I would wear my long hair in a bun.  A beautiful bun, or french twist.  But I hadn’t counted on thinning hair.  If I don’t have bangs, you can see straight through the front of my hair.  

Age is a cruel master!  However, I am so grateful for my health and general wellness.  There are a few things here and there, and that is life.  But as a whole, my body is holding up well.  And though I do take good care, exercising, and eating well, I would never take credit for this blessing.  It could end tomorrow, that’s clear.

Life is feeling so much happier.  I still have to send out my resume to three different places, but I will do that today.   It is exciting to not know what is going to happen.  I have had several offers of places to live for a year if I should decide to sell my house and “live around,” trying to save money.  One is a motor home in the desert western part of Colorado, the other a mansion in the Hamptons.  They both have their charms.  

So many possibilities.  I am so grateful for a loving God who gives me a push every now and then!  

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Hello Kitty.  This was a gift from a friend for my AA birthday.  I think that was so sweet and it means a lot to me.  But I finally did realize why I find these little things disturbing.  That cat has no mouth.  She can’t talk.  She can’t eat.  She just gets to sit and look pretty.  How nice.  And what a great little symbol for all the little girls out there.  Keep your trap shut and stay tiny!  

So, at work, what happened…. I think I need to write this now that I have a couple weeks of perspective and yet its fresh enough to remember.  

As some of you may remember, I left the hospital in 2012 after working there for over 17 years, and was transferred to a job downtown.  A job I hated.  It was terrible and I nearly lost my mind.  I got so depressed that my life fell apart.  I stopped opening my mail, and stopped paying my bills.  I was completely non-functional.  I had a terrible boss.  But ironically (or not) I could always talk with her and she often incorporated my feedback into her management style.  She was a rookie.  She appreciated my honestly.  I appreciated that she listened to me.   We are now friends.  In fact, we recently had lunch, and she told me she is expecting twins in December.  I am so excited for her!  She added that she made a list for her husband of people she would welcome into her home to help her after the babies are born, and I am on it!  I am so honored and excited about the prospect of helping her.  

Sure, this is a bit of a disclaimer.  But the past is the best predictor of the future…. this is how I get along with people, even people I am having problems with.  

I got to go back to the hospital after a year and a half of the downtown job. I was thrilled.  Someone took the job I left, but another old job of mine was available.  I jumped on it and expected that I would be able to work at least another 3 years.  In peace.  Doing a job I was very comfortable with.

But, right away, I noticed that one of my staff was a sneaky, dishonest, phony, gossip.  I tried to supervise her.  I told her she couldn’t do the things she had been getting away with, like punching in 7 minutes early and punching out 7 minutes late, and getting a half hour of overtime every day by playing that game.  I guess I was not supposed to notice.  She was rude to her co-worker.  She was condescending and insulting to her.  I talked with her about that.  Then she started being rude to me.  With the encouragement of my supervisory chain, I documented, had meetings, etc.  It finally reached the point where I needed my boss in the meeting with me.  And that was when I knew I had a REAL problem.  My boss came into that meeting and gave my staff the impression that I was the one with the problem.  So, I confronted my boss.  Who acted innocent and like she couldn’t understand what I was talking about.  OK, I gave up on that.  I then let this woman do pretty much whatever she wanted since I had no support from management.

At about the same time, I realized I had a problem with the woman who took my job when I left.  I tried to help her, but even though she asked for my help,  she would get angry with me and be really rude.  So I backed off.  I tried to leave her alone.  About a year ago, she called me to her office to help her with an excel problem.  I solved her problem and she was so grateful, she called me an “asshole.”  She then did some other dastardly things…. I talked with my boss about it.  Who said he would talk to her.  And when he came back to my office, he said “well, I guess she has a point.” I asked him “what about calling me an asshole?”  “Oh!” he said, “I forgot about that.”  oh.  ok.  

On and on.  I knew I had no support from management.  The problem woman is 20 years younger than me and it seems the big boss has a crush on her.  She is as mean as a snake and politically connected, so no one will deal with her.  I am not the only one.  Someone else filed a workplace violence claim against her a year or so ago, and they just dragged him through the mud to discredit him.  

She talks over me in meetings I am chairing.  She laughs and carries on in meetings I am chairing.  She is disruptive.  She told me to shut up a couple of months ago.   It has gotten intolerable.

Recently, I volunteered to do a project that would more rightly be her job.  I was mindful of that and asked several managers if they wouldn’t prefer that she does it rather than me.  They all wanted me to do it.  I explained that the workgroup needed to be very small.  If it is large, it gets out of control, and you can’t move quickly and do get things done – fast!  Oh, it’s all good.  I proceeded.  

Then someone I love and trust came to me and said problem girl ought to be included.  I told him refused to work with her.  If she should lead the project, then I’d be happy to give it to her, but I cannot work with her.  

The next day my two managers (who used to be my friends) called me into a conference room and very sternly told me I can’t pick and choose who I am going to work with.  They wouldn’t look at me.  They told me I had to have a meeting with problem girl and be willing to work with her.  The meeting lasted one hellish hour.  I called them on their affect.  I told them it was extremely unfair to me.  I was frankly puzzled at why they said I was gossiping about problem girl and it needed to stop.  I wasn’t gossiping about her!  I would do anything to avoid even saying her name, for God’s sake.  She scares the crap out of me!  

On the weekend following that Friday, I decided this was a loud and clear message to RETIRE.  I have not changed my mind since.  It is time for me to go.  I am too old to be in this workplace and I don’t fit in any longer.  If the behavioral norm is to call people assholes and tell them to shut up, I think I’m grateful not to fit in.  

On the following Monday, I shared with my boss that I am leaving, so we don’t have to have a big meeting for me to learn how to get along with someone like that.  As we talked, it became evident what had happened.  My problem staff had overheard my conversation with the man who asked me to work with problem girl, and immediately ran to tell p.g., all about it.  (they are friends.)  So, these two bosses, who used to be my friends, believed problem girl when she told them I am running all over the hospital talking crap about her.     They acted like it was some kind of “cat-fight,” my boss said he didn’t want to “get between two strong women.”  I confronted him on that!  What kind of b.s. is that?  

Someone in my own office overheard a conversation I had with someone I trusted, and ran with it.  The management of the hospital, these two I have known for 20 years, decided to believe someone else and just treat me like some horrible employee.  

They were SO relieved when I told them I am leaving.  

After all these years.  After everything.  

O.V.E.R.  It is over.  

This is the state of the sisterhood.  

But, I get to move on.  I get to have a new life.  The hurt is already starting to abate.  The hemorrhaging wound is starting to close.  

This is not how I ever dreamed it would end.  But lots of jobs end this way.  This is life.  People act this way.  

Praise God that I have a pension.  I can actually do this!  

My trick now is to change the narrative I am writing in my mind.  I don’t want to leave angry.  I want to have happy memories of a place that was a huge part of my life for 21 years.  It was very very good to me, until it wasn’t.

I get to leave on my own terms.  That is the truth.  I am happy to leave.  That is the truth.  I am looking forward to a new life.  That is the truth.  

Thank You God.

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On the Road to Retirement

That’s my daughter, as she left for Montana on Sunday.  I asked if they wanted to take my rocking chair to put on the roof of the truck, it would complete the “Beverly Hillbillies” picture.  I was heartsick to see her go.  I was heartsick that she was leaving this way.  And then she was out of touch for 36 hours and I was sick to my stomach worrying about her.  But they made it.  I have to be done worrying about her like this.  She is a 36 year old woman!  

I’m starting to feel more calm about retiring.  I am grateful that I can.  I am glad to be leaving my workplace.  I can’t believe I lasted as long as I did because it really is not a friendly, healthy environment.  I still have 18 more days to get through.  18 days too long in many ways, and then far too short when I consider all I need to wrap up in that time.  

I am going to an AA meeting AND mass on my way to work this morning.  I need to do anything I can do to keep the fear at bay.  

It’s getting better every day…. 

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Effective September 1, 2015

I will be retired.  I will wake up that day and not have to be anywhere.  

I am relieved.  I am terrified.  I don’t know where the money will come from.  

Today I will write a letter and give it to my boss.  And then I can tell people I am leaving.  

There will be 21 more work days after today.  There is a lot to clean up in that length of time.  I want everything tied into tidy packages with pretty bows.  

I would have to say that I am numb.  I really can’t comprehend that this is finally happening.  

This morning I reflected that I started working there the day after Labor Day, September 6, 1994.  My intention was to work for 20 years and retire at 62.  My plan didn’t exactly go that way, but it’s pretty close.  I put in 21 good years.  Now it is time to move along…. 

Thank you God for your Grace in my life.  

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