Things have been crazy this week. There has been a very unfortunate business blow-up that has sucked me out of my lovely mostly retired state back into a quagmire of nasty stuff and taken valuable time that I could have used blogging. I will write more on this later perhaps. Hope to use the three day weekend to catch up on my posts. So let's start by finishing up last weekend's trip to the #2's.
After the Holocaust Museum, we went back to Pu Central. 2B and #2 had made a reservation at nice Jose Andreas restaurant, Zatinya, a Turkish/Eastern Mediterranean small plates restaurant. It was a great experience on a number of levels. First the food was very good. Second I got to do gourmandizing with #2 and we really go to town when we are together. Three, 2B's wine palate has grown and he brought two great bottles to the restaurant increasing the pleasure and decreasing the price. Four, we had a fabulous waiter. Five, my new hearing aids (more on that in a later post) worked like a charm and I had no problems hearing people even though it was very noisy. And six, the price for four of us was only $220 before tip! Even accounting for bringing our own wine that seemed really good for a as much as we purchased (15 small plates, three cocktails, two desserts and two coffees).
On Sunday we spent a lot of time hanging out with the kids. I in particular was spending a lot of time with 2.3. We played with Star War figures (I was always the bad guy and always lost), all kinds of hide and go seek games outside with 2.2 joining us. Checkers - he's really good at 7 years old. He even started to show me some of his games on the iPad which requires his being very patient as Grandpa is pretty a pretty freaking slow learner.
We went out for a true Chesapeake Bay treat, steamed crabs for a late afternoon lunch/dinner. They were as expensive as the meal we had the night before! We played card games in the evening. It was very good.
On Monday, we got up to check out of our hotel. Our room was on the first floor right next to the lobby so all we had to do was turn left out of door into the lobby area. Except that when we did we were greeted by yellow police tape and an officer telling us we couldn't go into the lobby as it was a crime scene! Seems someone had tried to rob the front desk clerk in the pre-dawn hours. We didn't hear a thing. Might want to think about staying here again.
Proof positive of Wife, #2 and 2.1 being in Washington D.C.
aka 2.4 (he's teething)
Pile O Crabs
Devastation wrought by clan on Pile O Crabs
Our hotel lobby shut down by the Falls Church police
There are only around 5 more months left before Daughter #2, Venerable Pu and family head back to Asia for there next two and half year tour (Hong Kong) so we want to see them as much as we can before they take off.
This is a very quick trip with us arriving on Friday and going back on Monday. Even with a flight delay out of Houston we arrived early enough to run over to their house and have dinner. 2B had gone out and gotten Peruvian chicken, a favorite...and opened up a couple of bottles of really nice wine.
Today, we went with 2.1 and #2 to the Holocaust Museum. I had never been to before. #2 wanted 2.1 to have the experience plus with 2.1 going to boarding school for the period #2 and the rest of the family are in Hong Kong and Wife and I being the closest family members, we wanted to have some personal time with her (2.1). The Holocaust Museum is certainly a very powerful experience.
In my very first post about the Hanging Gardens project, I titled "Another de-I Wife Construction adventure". Little did I know! Our landscape contractor, David, really did good work and at a very fair price but his work style and Wife's clashed and there was lots of drama through out. But all's well that ends well and the end result has met all our expectations. If you want to see what things looked like in the beginning, here is a link to that first post.
The Tour du Jardin
Some selected views
The Potting Area
Wife has always wanted some shelter for her potting bench. Her idea was much simpler but once David and she got going it expanded a lot. Our workers called it the 'fruit stand' in part because it is right next to the peach tree.
The Happy Gardener Surveying Her Realm
Glad for workers to be gone and having her space back
This was another example of where once David through out an idea we took it to some extremes. In this case I was the culprit. When we came back from France, I was smitten by the cloister at Mont Saint Michel (scroll down to interiors). I showed it to David and over a series of iterations this is what we ended up with. I like to call it the mini-Parthenon. Could you see a full sized replica of the Venus de Milo statue in it with Wife's face?????
Our peach tree has its moments. Most years an early spell of cold weather will wipe out the crop. But this is the one year in three that we have a bumper crop. The problem with fruit trees like this is they all ripen exactly the same time. So we will be very busy the next couple of days picking and processing.
I've been researching my past posts and composing this post for some weeks but needed a nice block of time to sit down and write.
I'm pretty confident in saying that the process of making my transition from my 'career' phase to my 'next' phase (I'm not quite sure what to call it yet) has achieved the necessary velocity to break free from the past and onto the future. In so doing there has been a lightning of spirit and real joy to living that has accompanied the change. It has been something that almost everyone I interact with has commented on. So I thought I would do a recapitulation of the posts of the last year or so that documented the end game of the process.
I actually started thinking about the 'transition ' process in 2010. That was when I made some firm goals to reduce the amount of time that I was working, set some timelines for winding down my business, and stopped various business expansion efforts. Then, the crises with my Father started. First his house catching fire and his decision to rebuild followed by his illness and year long dying process followed by the estate settlement process. The time and energy used to support those activities soaked up whatever I had freed from the 2010 changes and then took some.
So it was in May of 2013 that I wrote the first of my Transition posts. In that post I acknowledged that I was tired to the bone and wished I could just stop. I was aware enough to see the irony of the "transition consultant" having to manage his own transition and how different it was to be the patient rather than the doctor. I also spoke to the boogie men of fear of change and loss of indentity.
Five weeks later in July 2013, I talked about the general process of dealing with transition; the gradual realization you don't want to keep working so hard, that maybe you do have financial wherewithal, and most of all the need to have someone help you with this process
Another six or so weeks passed and in the end of August 2013 I wrote about the nature of filling one's time was a critical factor that causes folks retiring to go nuts. You devote so much time to work and if you just dead stop, what are you going to do to fill up that time? Maybe you don't know so you don't do anything and hang on to what you have. You don't deal with it. To answer this is the basic concept of transitioning. You don't just stop. You reduce the time and energy doing certain things, maybe give up certain things so you can put more energy into other things you want or just acknowledge that you have less time and energy than when you were younger.
In October 2013, I gave a report on how this transitioning process was going and talked a lot about how the world really wants to put you into a box and how I was redesigning my work life to be more the way I wanted it without the outside world immediately saying, "Oh then you've quit. Goodbye."
Then I didn't post again until April 2014. And during that interim a lot happened! I combined these in two separate posts but published the same day. In the first of these, I talked about the serious spiritual recognition I'd made during our trip to Asia about the ego and how so much of my business persona and life and been tied to it. I'm not going to go into a long spiritual tirade here as it is not the venue for it, but this was big! It was a major breakthrough in my understanding of what I was fighting and what I needed to do. In the second post, I then postulated, "OK, I know what I shouldn't be doing, but what am I going to do! There was still a lot of work stuff on my list though not the ego driven stuff. And the last entry related to the big trip that we were making to Europe to test the hypothesis that travel was going to be a part of the new future.
I made two posts, one while on the trip, and another when I got back on that trip. The trip was a major breakthrough because I realized that I had something I wanted to do. I had something that could take up a lot of time and energy and that I was passionate about (remember the energy/time algebraic equation). This was the biggest breakthrough yet. Now it was no longer a question of understanding there was a role I needed to leave but there was something I wanted to go to! A colleague of mine is a retirement specialist and I went to a practice presentation she was giving where she talked about if you don't have something you want to do that answers your values and passions, you will either not do anything or you will be miserable when you change. I certainly could see where I had been in that place.
In the months since this realization, I have jumped into defining my new role with great enthusiasm. It really helps that the ego battle thing earlier has made me value each thing I'm doing with equal weight without the burden of our societal value that only career counts. I'm embracing being a husband, grandfather, a person who learns, who travels, who writes, and is deepening his spiritual understanding. This is my new dharma (duty/role).
Hmmmmm, I think I need to rewrite the 'About Me' paragraph in my blog
According to our contractor, our project will be finished by the end of next week. Wife and I have a bunch of last minute decisions to make about various things related to lighting, plants, painting, etc this weekend. I've decided to hold off on any more pictures since we will have the finished product unveiled shortly.