Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tired, Tired, and Retired

What happened to August? Did anyone see it go by? Wow, what a busy month and it flew by. August was my practice-for-retirement month. I had managed to save enough leave that I was able to take just about the entire month off before my official retirement date. So, what were some of the significant happenings? Well, first of all NO blood tests this month. That was a first for quite awhile. A little strange also since the last blood tests put me back to stage four. Oh well, I have some tests coming up this month and we will see what is happening.

August 3rd I turned 62. It is this milestone birthday that is allowing me to retire early as I can collect reduced Social Security. I think I have said here that I hadn't planned on retiring until I was at least 66. However, with this stinkin' disease, it was time. I wasn't real productive at work and I was so tired most of the time. I wanted to retire now so that I could still enjoy some of this time without working. I didn't realize how busy I was going to be, at least so far. But, even though I am getting up fairly early each morning, it still isn't 5:30 a.m. and most days I do get a nap in at some point during the day.

Most of August I had one of the grand kids staying over just about every weekday. I think the family thought I might get bored or depressed not working - HA! I really do like having the kids here though. Even went fishing a couple of times with the boys.

The second week in August I spent a day at two dog pounds picking out a new companion. I thought I had found one at the first pound and spent some time in the yard with it. But, even though it was OK, there didn't seem to be a strong connection and after we got into the yard, he pretty much ignored me. So I went over to the county pound and immediately fell in love with a long-hair Chihuahua mix three year old male dog. He weighs 8 pounds. I took Cheryl back when she got out of work to have a look at him and we came home with him. Got him on Tuesday and had him groomed on Friday. Here are before and after pictures, meet Snickers:
We have certainly bonded and he barely leaves my side. He is a super calm dog and sleeps most of the time, either on my lap or in his bed. He doesn't know how to play at all and I am trying to teach him. Today he actually ran around the yard in circles, the most activity I have seen from him. We do go for walks a couple of times a day so at least I get some exercise. Here is his favorite spot when he is not on my lap:

Next on the agenda was the going away luncheon my work held for me. It was a wonderful time. There were even several friends from my former work place who were able to make it. All of my local family was there except for our granddaughter, Holly. She was at camp that week. I really appreciated all the hard work my boss and others put into the affair, even though I had asked them not to make a fuss. It was held in our training room and the theme was Independence Day (my independence from work). Plus they know I like patriotic themes. Here is just one of many pictures I have of the affair and a coworker took a bunch of pictures and his wife set them to music on a DVD for us. Nice memories.

Then that next Thursday was my very last day at work. In the morning I attended a class as a student. A co-worker put together a new training and it was based on generational differences on views of human sexuality. I was the token old person represented, oh, I represented the "mature" generation - my desk sign said so. Then I spent the afternoon doing the final sorting of papers and cleaning things out and packing up stuff to keep.

That night was the next huge thing that happened in August. Our one 12-year-old grandson, Jimmy (um, "James") has some major problems and as a result had a very difficult year last year in school because we all felt the school officials did not deal with him properly. Cheri, his mom, tried to get him transferred to a different school within his district (one that was actually closer to their home). The new school accepted him, but the principal of his former school refused to release him. She appealed the decision. That Thursday the appeal was turned down because that principal still refused to release him. Cheri got upset and withdrew him from school. Earlier in the year we had discussed him coming to live with us and going to Round Rock schools, but when we were told she would have to give us legal custody, we didn't pursue it anymore. Well, now we had to pursue it. That next day was the last day to register before the start of school on Monday. And it had to be before 11 a.m. We spent Friday scrambling to get him registered, filling out papers and getting legal paperwork notarized. Somehow we got it done at 10:55 a.m. We are his guardians for school. Jimmy lives with us from Sunday afternoon until he gets out on Friday then he goes to his house for the weekend. He has also signed up for football. He made it through the first week of seventh grade without any trouble, including football practice. Three weeks ago, in addition to seeing his psychiatrist each month, he began seeing a Christian counselor once a week. He is very motivated right now to get his emotions under control. I think he is on too much medication (9 pills a day), but it is better than when he is not on them. He has seemed much happier so far and is doing very well. Here is a picture just before leaving for his first day of school. We had prayer just before he went out the door.

So, as you can see, I have not just been lying around. Oh, I am doing the cooking, cleaning and laundry too. I may have to find a job so I can relax, HA. Coming up next in two weeks are blood tests, another CT scan and then the week after an appointment with my oncologist. I don't think there will be too much change from last time. In fact, it may be my imagination, but I think the lymph nodes in my neck might actually be a little smaller than they have been. At least I don't think they are growing.

Our CLL community suffered a very sad loss this past week. Kurt Grayson passed away from complications of CLL. He was a character and I considered him a friend even though I never met him in person. We corresponded a lot and he gave me lots of advice, particularly when I was first diagnosed. He was an actor who was in many, many television shows and movies in the 60's, 70's and 80's. He lived the life in Beverly Hills, but he was a warm, caring, passionate and sometimes ornery human being. He was a generous person who reached out to fellow CLLers and helped them in so many ways. He was one of the founders of He had really been struggling this past year and although he was weak and wheelchair bound, traveled to NY with his nephew to seek a final treatment. He barely got started when he ran into major complications. Another tragic loss from the "good" kind of cancer. Stinking disease!

I'll try not to be so long before the next update. I know, I know you have heard that before.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dad, i'm glad to see you posted again. I see you all the time, but I still love reading your blog. I don't know what you are talking about not haveing a job. REMEMBER.. You work for me now! Dog sitting, Jonathan, ect. Do I have to give you a raise already?

I Love You,