Lee’s Retirement Chronicles: Day 4

(Note: I am newly retired. The 2015-16 school year, which where I live began the day AFTER Labor Day, marked the first time in nearly 20 years that I was not in the classroom at the beginning of the new school year. Here is the next part of what will be a continuing series: “Life After Work(ing).”)

My normal Friday, not unlike my normal Monday through Thursday, when I was still working, began with a 6:11 alarm that would get me through to 6:20 after a gentle push (yeah, right) of the snooze button. Ten minutes in the bathroom (hey, I’m not a morning person) got me into the kitchen by 6:30 where I would lollygag over breakfast, e-mails and facebook until about 7. Then I would get dressed and be on the road by 7:15, often with a stop for a soda or coffee on my way to work.

I would usually arrive by 7:30-ish, chat with my coworkers for a bit and the students would start coming in by 7:40-ish.

Like I said before, it’s not like I’ve been sleeping in until 9 or 10 every morning. Not this morning, either. One of our bedroom windows is directly above the gate that allows access to our backyard. Exactly at 7:30 we heard the familiar “click-squeak” of the handle being lifted and the gate being swung open. Even before I got to the slider opening up to our deck in the dining area, our granddaughter was knock-knock-knocking on the glass door. As I opened the door to let them in, she reminded me that younger brother had to be to his elementary school by 8:20, then she headed back to her mom’s car to be dropped off at the high school.

Since I got my “Sam” money and my wife got her regular paycheck, we had bills to pay; that never changes. But since I’m no longer working, the paycheck to which I have become accustomed for the past 17-plus years was NOT there. I’ll get my first pension check the same day my wife does, but it’s going to be missing a couple of hundred dollars because of health insurance premiums. And my first SS check won’t come until the third Wednesday of October, so we’re going to have to do a bit of belt-tightening until we get settled into a new routine.

I DO work as a “stringer” (independent contractor, per se) for a local newspaper and with high school having started I’ll be getting at least one football game a week. And with Grand Valley State University playing almost every other week at home, I’ve got that going for me, too. And the West Michigan Whitecaps, the team I talked about the other night, won tonight so they’re playing Saturday afternoon. Woo hoooo!

I did a high-school game Friday night, in fact. The team I was covering scored on its second play of the game so I was hoping for something good to write about. Unfortunately for them, they did not score again until the final minute of the fourth quarter and lost 31-13. So, I’ve seen three games and only one of our “area” teams won.

The only highlight of the evening was that we got to look at a rainbow from the pressbox for most of the first quarter. In the third quarter, a train came through on the rail line that runs right behind the pressbox. As I love trains so much — the home where I was born was directly across the street from a railyard — I had to step out for a couple of minutes to watch it go by. I waved. The engineer blew the whistle. The guy videotaping the game for the visiting team watched with me. It was a good night, except for my stop at a McDonald’s where I ordered a shake, then had to wait almost three minutes because no one seemed to know who was responsible for what. I guess that’s what happens when you have high-school kids working on weekends.

I stayed up too late playing “Words With Friends.” No reason to get up early Saturday.


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