by Terry Hogan


In June of this year, I decided it was time to retire.  It was somewhat of a quick decision.  It was for a variety of reasons, but mostly to do with the work environment.  It is now October as I write this. If my math capabilities still work, IÕve been ŌretiredĶ for less than six months.  ItÕs been hard on me.  ItÕs been hard on my wife, although she denies it when she talks to me.


In the four months, I have slashed and burned the long to-do list.  I have gone well beyond the to-do list.  I now wander about the house and yard daring something to break, need trimming, need maintenance or need painting.  Like a fenced dog, I am wearing a path around the perimeter of the yard, looking for tasks to be done (OK, IÕm exaggerating a little - IÕve tilled and re-seeded the path so it is hardly noticeable now.)


On the other hand, I have undertaken one or two projects.  The wall paper is gone in the dining roomÉthe walls are resurfaced and painted.  IÕve stripped and refinished the master bathroom woodwork.  IÕve repainted the kitchen, master bedroom, and master bathroom.  IÕve cleaned out the garage; repaired the drywall and re-painted it in two colors.  IÕve cleaned, acid-etched, and put epoxy on the concrete floor of the garage, complete with colored sprinkles. IÕve added knotty pine wainscoting in the garage, stained golden oak    IÕve hung artwork from my former office walls on the garage walls. I may submit photos to the ŌGarage BeautifulĶ magazine.


On the outside of the house, IÕve repainted the wood garage doors, added a new storm door, and added a small tumbling stream in the back yard that recycles the water.  I now also look forward to wind storms, hoping for trees to fall so that I can find someplace to cut firewood.  When my next door neighborÕs lawn mower broke down, I was mowing her grass before the engine on her mower had cooled down.  (IÕm either really a nice guy or just bored out of my wits).


I recently finished a 160 page draft genealogy book covering both my family and my wifeÕs family line, complete with ancestral photos, and selected documents incorporated.  I presented this draft for my wife to proof.  She acted interested.  She tries her very best.  I might be starting to wear on her a little. IÕm not sure.


ItÕs been a late fall here.  The leaves are still green and firmly attached to the trees. It annoys me.  IÕm looking forward to raking leaves.  If my neighbor misplaces her rake, I may rake her yard too.  I go out and shake the smaller trees in my yard about every day, but the leaves are still firmly attached. ItÕs pretty disappointing.


Speaking of being firmly attached (notice my smooth paragraph transition), I now have tamed the catfish in the pond at the back of my yard.  I bought stale bread to feed the ducks and geese, but was surprised by large (3 to 5 pound) channel catfish surfacing to suck down the bread.  After a couple of weeks of nearly daily feeding, the channel catfish and bluegills are lined up along the shoreline waiting for feeding time.  I havenÕt named them yet, but I am beginning to be able to recognize a number of the channel cat by unique markings. No such luck with the bluegills, but maybe with a little more time.


A little over a month ago, I was contacted by two different companies to see if I might be interested in going to work for them on a part-time basis. Both contacts came the same week.  It was like an early Christmas. It occurred to me that my wife might have been discretely sending out my resume, but she denied it. In any event, I met with representatives of both companies a couple of times, trying not to look too much like a dog viewing a steak bone. Given the nature of my work, such things take time, but I believe offers will be coming.


Now IÕm inspecting the house, the yard, and the cars for potential projects to undertake, while keeping the cell phone strapped to my belt, in case opportunity calls.  IÕm getting a little edgy.  IÕm like a husband with a 9.5 month pregnant wife.  You just get to a point where you want something to happen.  But my wife says she doesnÕt notice my agitation.  Perhaps that is true.  But I do know that the family cat has been keeping his distance from me the last few weeks.


Well, its time to go walk the yard and see if any leaves have fallen yet. IÕll probably shake a tree or two. Perhaps my phone will ring while IÕm out.  After all, the reception is better outside.