Sunday, 15 November 2015

Retirement - First Blush

To set the record straight (not that it really wasn't straight in the first place), I retired from the Canadian Armed Forces (the Regular Force) in April 2009 after nearly 35 years in the military. If I'd stayed in until September, it would have made 35 years complete. However, as fate would have it, retiring when I did, opened up another career opportunity for me, pretty well immediately. I had checked with the Air Reserves in Comox British Columbia, and as luck would have it, there was a Reserve Captain's position just starting up that was almost tailor-made for me.

So in April of 2009, I started work as a full-time Reservist in the Wing Operations section at 19 Wing Comox. My main responsibility at the time was helping plan logistic support for any units deploying to Comox in support of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. I was also a Plans Officer and that meant similar type duties for any visiting units and just general all-round Planning responsibilities within Wing Operations. It was a great job with great people and it made me enjoy being in the military again.

For both Regular Force and Reserve Force personnel, compulsory retirement age is 60 and this past week, I reached CRA as it is called and retired for the second time, this time from the Reserves. So my military career started in September 1974 and ended November 10th, 2015, basically 41 + years of service. I do have possibilities of future employment with the Air Cadets, but that remains to be seen and sorted. But if I manage to get some part-time employment with them, I believe I can work until 65. But we'll see about that.

She's Here!!
My section took me out to lunch at one of my favourite restaurants on the Friday before my last days of work, that being a very nice local Indian restaurant, Manvirros. It was a fun lunch and great food, a nice way to say good-bye to some really wonderful people. Jo couldn't make lunch as she said she had some errands to run and would pick me up when we finished. So she showed up at 1ish, with the dogs in tow in the back seat and took me home to a wonderful surprise.

Let me tell it this way. We drove into the garage, let the dogs out (Barkie 1 and Barkie 2) and they proceeded to run into the house, howling like banshees. I followed them in, shouting at them to be quiet (or words to that effect) and followed them to the front door. I was very surprised to see it was open a crack and that somebody was hunching down by the door. I thought maybe we had been broken into, but no, it was something much worse (OK, I'm kidding, it was something very nice), my daughter Jennifer. Jo had arranged the surprise, some months ago when she knew my retirement and 60th birthday were coming up and booked flights for Jennifer to come out from Ottawa. It definitely made a nice day become a wonderful day and week, as Jenn stayed until Wednesday.

Down at the Spit
So that was my retirement and birthday celebrations. We've had a very nice relaxing week, playing cards and games in the evening and wandering about town. I even went for a couple of morning runs with the girl, as she ran me into the ground. I had two more days of work, but since Wednesday, I've been officially retired. A couple of more pay cheques and then living off my pension. That'll be interesting.

So what is retirement like? Well, it's only been 5 days and Jo and I have been fighting a cold that our 'visitor' left with us. I'm trying to get into a new routine. I used to get up sometime between 5 and 5:30, took the dogs out, then got ready for work (on work days) and headed off to the office, sometimes stopping off at Tim Horton's for a double-double (that is a large coffee with two milk and two sugars; for non-Canadians. It's kind of a Canadian classic) and a muffin, then would get my email started up, maybe read for an hour until the other guys showed up, then start the work day.

I'm still waking up pretty early, but the dogs are now going out between 6 and 6:30. They don't seem to mind. It's still pretty dark and now fairly cool out, so they are happy to stay in bed with us. I'm going to try and run 3 times a week and I've got a membership at the Base Gym, so will try to go there a couple of times a week. I plan to spend a couple of hours in the morning, reading and doing other things like updating this Blog and maybe working on a book idea.. (like that'll really happen). The rest of the day should be pretty well open; maybe some yard work, laundry, that sort of thing and just enjoying life with Jo. I'll try to provide updates on any exciting happenings and goings - on, as well as continue with my Reminiscences thread here.

Anyway, today is a lovely sunny day, it's unfortunate the missus is still feeling poorly. I think she's at the worst stage of her cold, headache, chest cough, so I'm going to take the puppies for their noon walk and feed them and see what else to do.

Oh, as a final few thoughts, these were the books I bought with the gift certificate the guys at work gave me and also the book that Jennifer and Martin gave me as my birthday present. I can't leave a post without a few words on books, eh?

From Jennifer and Martin

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett - This is the first book in the Demon Cycle and I've got to say, it looks pretty good, a mix of supernatural, demons, and lots of action. This is one of the books I've got planned for my 2016 reading challenges. Thanks you two!

From The Laughing Oyster

I have to thank Cookie and the other guys in Wing Ops for this; the perfect retirement gift. These were the books I purchased with my gift certificate

1. The Maze Runner by James Dashner - This is another fantasy series, I think along the ilk of The Hunger Games books. It has been made into a movie as well, which I have yet to see. I do like these kinds of series. It's another book for 2016, as part of my Fantasy/ Sci Fi/ Dystopia challenge.

2. Sidney Chambers and the Forgiveness of Sins by James Runcie. I think I've mentioned this series before, both as a British TV mystery series and also because I bought the first book in the series a few months back. One of my challenges for 2016 will be to make some headway in the various mystery series I've got stockpiled. This is one I plan to enjoy.
3. Lamentation by C.J. Sansom. This is the 6th book in the Matthew Shardlake mystery series, one of my favourites. I've read the first four books so far and I have to find Book 5 still as I plan to finish this series in 2016, of course that is unless Sansom continues the series. The premise is that Matthew Shardlake is a hunch-back lawyer in the time of Henry VIII, who finds himself being drawn into mysteries that involve the King, his wives and mistresses and others in the court and trying to survive the court's intrigues. Fascinating stuff.

So there you have it, thoughts on my retirement and birthday parties and about my new retirement lifestyle and more about books. I hope you enjoyed. Have a great Sunday.
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