Still a merry Christmas…

"I'm telling you Prancer, I'm tired of Rudolph getting all the ink while we carry most of the weight. I told the old man to get a new publicist and while he's at it, trade the red schnoz for a GPS."

Last week’s letter to Ellen and Reid dealt with the dreaded “R” word.

It will be a cold day in hell when I’m ready to pack it in and park my substantial rear on some damned rocker.

But given that this year in some ways went to hell a while back, I can’t succumb to the temptation to use events to manufacture some feeble excuse to be down-in-the-mouth about things.  That’s not how I feel or what the kids should see.

We will still make the best of things, we will still look ahead and hope for better times in 2011, and we will still have a merry Christmas.


December 7, 2010

Ellen/Reid: It was 17F this morning which is not quite what I signed up for weather-wise when I shipped down to these parts.  It’ll last a few more days then hopefully return to more normal conditions which I guess would be the 40s for highs.  I can live with that.

I played golf on Sunday at the behest of my friend Mike at the bank.  Somewhere in mid-round he asked me point blank if I would ever consider retirement if there didn’t appear to be any longer-term job answer.  He brought to the surface something I’d thought about but kept shoving toward the background.

Henry and Ellen play in St. Paul's 19 inches of snow.

I guess it is a several part answer.  The first being financial in that John is finagling things more toward a bond income portfolio but that takes a few months to get in the swing of things (i.e. checks in the mail).  As you’ve heard before that will cover some, but not all, of the monthly nut.  So there is some consolation in that.  Mike perceived aloud that I live pretty simply, which is true for the most part, without a ton of costly extravagance.  My only frills would be trying to see the two of you, riding the bike, and playing some golf.  That’s about it.  I’m not saddled with a ton of debt and heaven forbid that some calamity like a health malfunction would arise, things should mostly stay that way.  My final check from the bank is December 15.

The other half of the question is what value can still be brought to society.  I still believe I have something to bring to the table at the bank (or somewhere else) and the notion of simply pulling the plug and sitting back is anathema to me.  That’s when people become old.  I just don’t see myself that way.  No way am I ready to watch for Social Security checks automatically deposited into my account.  This morning I’ll send a note to my manager, with a cc to the HR department, to outline or suggest what it is that I might do, even on a contract or part time basis, to stay on here.  Nirvana might be to land a part time situation with health benefits.  That might buy me some time as I slide closer to a retirement situation that is doable and sustainable.  The “R” word just doesn’t seem real to me at this point.

However it’s not that there has been a ton of looking for jobs on my part.  I don’t have much faith, or seen much reason for hope, in the online job boards or resume services.  It really boils down to who you know and asking those folks to keep their ears to the ground.  That’s where the Mikes and Betsys of the world are a huge factor.  Yet there really appears to be nothing shaking at the bank once my extension expires on December 31.  I probably should’ve been looking around more than I have but the situation here was such that it kept me more than busy.

In some ways, Reid, your pursuit of graduate school makes some sense.  An advanced degree is usually worth the effort although I’d caution you again to make the move for the right reasons and not because you want to escape the drollness of an agency or because the grass might appear greener on the graduate school side of the fence.  Still, it will help you down the line even if you don’t know precisely what the path will be.  It’s a little too late for me to follow that same route.

Your grandmother has had a series of bad breaks the last couple of weeks but she seems to be regaining her footing.  It’s hard to understand what she says on the phone although in a few weeks time I’ll be out there so she can tell me in person.  While I’m on the road I’ll transport some of your belongings from Omaha to Des Moines and will probably deposit them at Nancy’s house until your mom can retrieve them and take the goods to South Shore.  I don’t precisely know your Christmas schedules but maybe we can rendezvous if you’re still in DSM on December 28 or 29.


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