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Saturday, July 2, 2016

Random Thoughts at the Beginning of Jim's Retirement

 Jim has about 20 boxes left to empty out of the 44 the movers brought to our basement on June 2.   He is working down there right now going through files of articles.  Every file means a decision--keep or recycle.  It does take time.  However, he just came upstairs to announce that he had found a long lost file that he will want to use for his next project.  He has asked our handyman to build more bookshelves because there is no more room on the ones we have.

On Thursday I posted a photo on Facebook of Jim and Mark Noll, a friend from church, with a statement about it being their last day before becoming professors emeriti.  At this point, the post has received 87 "likes" and 20 comments, mostly of congratulations.  The comments come from all stages of our life-- from high school friends to  recent graduate student friends in the group we sponsor at church.  Jim, Mark and Maggie scorn Facebook but I forward the comments to them in emails.  I like the idea that this occasion can be shared and noticed!

Friday, July 1,  was the first official  day of  retirement.  Jim was in his office by 8:30 am as always.  The big change was that he no longer has a reserved parking spot.  It's not a problem in good weather; it will be more of an issue when the weather turns cold and icy.  Getting used to a new office with a different microwave, refrigerator, copier, and printer has also taken a bit of effort on his part.  Jim likes his routines!

Is this all making a difference in my life too? Today I picked up my first prescription under the Medicare Advantage program and the charge was $2.  That bodes well. We are no longer on  Notre Dame's excellent medical and prescription plan.

Since Jim is purging so many files, I was inspired to go through the work materials I had saved since I retired 2 1/2 years ago.  I had purged them once; I found  it easier to purge a lot more this time.  I shredded 170 ILRs (Individual Learning Records) for students I could not even remember.  They enrolled but may have stayed in class for just a few weeks or less.  I saved probably 100 or so more files of students that I did remember and have been looking up those names on Facebook.  Many are there.  I refrained from making "friend" requests in most cases, although I am curious as to what has become of many of them.    It was definitely an exercise in nostalgia.

We shall see how this all plays out financially and how we use our time together and apart.  I am going to take care of our grandchildren later this month but Jim will stay home.  I hope we can do so again in September together.  We are planning a week at Lake Michigan in late August and a trip to southern Indiana in October and are not constrained by a university academic schedule.    There should be more freedom to come and go but I don't think there will be any other big changes in our daily lives.

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