Day 139

It is now day 139 of retirement and I am still finding new adventures every day. I miss my colleagues from work but I don’t really miss the work itself. It has not taken me long to adjust to the next phase of life.

In late February Roxanne took some time off work and we headed to the NASCAR races in Atlanta. We had an amazing time and it was so great to connect with people we had met in previous years. We are already looking forward to going back in 2020.

I have been absent from the Blog for a while and for that I do apologize. I can guarantee that the next several weeks will see me writing far more.

In the summer of 2013 I was diagnosed with Osteoarthritis of my right hip.. That was a real shock. I always thought it was only the elderly that had this issue, was I ever wrong. It was worn out probably from years and years of being very active. I first met my surgeon in 2014 and although I was a candidate for a replacement at that time I was not mentally ready. I learned to cope and at that time I said “it really isn’t that bad.” I would say it really wasn’t that bad and although I had pain, I could hide any limp etc. I had visits to the surgeon again in 2015, 2016, and 2017. I knew that it was getting worse, and he was surprised that my symptoms were not matching the x-rays for level of pain and discomfort. He had indicated that most people with the x-rays that I had would have already had the operation.

Jump forward to the summer of 2018 and my annual visit to the surgeon.
It had been getting harder and harder to walk and everyone noticed my limp except me. I told him I was ready. He said that I was healthy enough that he would do both at the same time. My right hip was so bad I did not realize that my left one was also joining the party.

Coming home from the Nascar races in Atlanta we changed planes in Minneapolis. For the first time ever I asked for a ride in a cart as I just could not walk anymore. That in itself was very humbling for me. The prime of my life at 57 and I could not walk through the airport. The driver of the cart told me he had just had his hip replaced and he said it was great.

This brings us to tomorrow, March 20th. I am scheduled for a bi-lateral hip replacement. Almost 6 years from the first diagnosis I am having the surgery. I have no idea what the day will bring. Many of you know that my faith and trust in God is the most important thing in my life. With that in mind I know that I should not fear, but I do have some apprehension. But I will not fear. I have come too far in life to lose faith now. I know that He will direct the hands of the surgeon and I am also trusting the Lord for a very speedy recovery. Tomorrow evening my Jewish friends celebrate Purim, I will never forget that my surgery is on the same day as that celebration.

Roxanne has been such a blessing throughout all of this. I could not have asked for a better wife. She is so amazing and so supportive. I love her so very much and I know that she will be very patient with me over the next few weeks while I recover. Roxanne is a perfect example of a Proverbs 31 woman.

So now everyone is up to date on my life. I do promise to write as much as I can while in the hospital and also recovering. Retirement has been an amazing journey the last 139 days. Tomorrow I will start the next chapter in the fantastic journey.

Day 92 The Adventure Continues

A Great Visit To Palm Springs With Roxanne And My Parents

It is very hard to believe that it is today is day 92 of retirement. Looking back on the last 3 months I have only one word. AMAZING!!!!!. A person spends a large portion of their adult life in a career or series of careers. As time goes by they eventually start thinking about retirement. Then the day arrives and they are faced with a new reality. For myself, retirement or as I call it re-firement has been better than anything I could have ever imagined. It truly is a gift and a huge blessing.

One of the things that I really wanted to accomplish in the early stages of retirement was to be more focused on Bible reading and prayer. These 2 areas reduced considerably in my life in the last few years. As much as I loved work it also was exhausting, and many nights when finishing work I would just eat dinner watch TV and go to bed. Although far from perfect I now have started a routine to read the Bible and pray every morning before I do anything else. I have started a prayer journal and in it are many names and many needs. Yesterday while in Vancouver for a meeting a lady at the airport saw me reading the journal, then asked what it was. After I told her she asked me to write her name in it with her need. Every morning I also thank the Lord for the blessing of retirement and I will never take for granted the fact that I was fortunate enough to take early retirement. What a gift.

I was absent from the BLOG for much of January as I had a very special trip for 2 weeks of the month. I was able to go with my mom and step dad (also known as DAD) to Palm Springs California for 2 weeks. Roxanne was able to join us for one of those weeks. The background to this story is that my parents would visit California for several months during the winter for the majority of the last 30 years. They stopped going 3 years ago as the driving to California and everything associated with it were getting more difficult.

Roxanne and I had 2 days in Palm Springs last winter and when we got home my mom said they would sure like to go again. That got all the wheels spinning in my mind. How could we get it to work?. Without telling my parents I was planning to retire I started discussing with them that I would arrange for a vacation and arrange the travel down by airplane and that I would drive them around for the 2 weeks.

January 8th arrived and we flew to Palm Springs. Although it rained for 4 days I think we had a great trip. I know I had a great trip. I trust that they would say the same. They were able to see many of the “friends” that they had met over previous years. They appreciated renewing friendships with people from all over North America. We ate at many of their favorite restaurants, saw the sites and had many laughs. Having Roxanne with us for a week was also a big blessing as I sure missed her the days that we were apart. One of the greatest feelings I have ever experienced in life was going to the Palm Springs airport and watching Roxanne walk into the arrivals area. I now know why so many people cry at airports. That image of Roxanne will be forever stored in my memory.

My parents stayed at the same condo for a number of years and rented from an amazing owner. Right off the balcony was a tree that my mom loved very much. It provided shade in the afternoon and lots of birds took shelter in the tree. It was great to look at. The last full day we were in Palm Springs the wind was blowing very hard. It was just before we went for lunch that the tree snapped in the wind with a large portion of it ending up on the balcony. My parents saw it snap, and I had just come off the balcony with some laundry, so the timing was perfect. It was interesting to have the tree break on the last day because my parents don’t know if they will ever get back to California. This may have been their last trip.

The Tree That Mom Loved So Much

I will always cherish those 2 weeks with my parents and I would do it over again with out any hesitation. It was a special time and I would recommend quality time spent with family to everyone. We never know how much time we are given so to spend it with family with no distractions is such a blessing.

I even came up with a possible “job opportunity” while looking up at the sky while at the pool one afternoon. I realized that more and more snow birds want their own cars with them rather than renting but they are no longer capable of driving that distance or don’t want to. The thought that came to me was offer a service to drive cars to Arizona or California for “snowbirds”. I talked to my good friend “Mr. M” today and he thought that it was a great idea. So I am going to explore this a little more but be assured that the cost will be reasonable. Maybe I can even expand it to looking after their homes in Edmonton while they are away for the winter. So in the interim if any of you reading the BLOG know of people who may still want this service this winter LET ME KNOW.

When I arrived back in Edmonton Roxanne and I were able to host the booth for International Messengers at the “Break Forth Conference”. What a powerful 3 days, and in the evening we were able to attend sessions and hear from Bob Goff, Lisa Bevere, and listen to the music of Jesus Culture. We met many amazing people and it was great to spend 3 days in that atmosphere.

Break Forth 2019

Wednesday and Thursday of this week I was even able to go to Vancouver for an International Messengers Board meeting. It was great to see everyone and discuss our organization. I also had the most amazing view of Mt. Baker from the plane. It reminded me of the majesty of God.

Mt. Baker In All It’s Glory

To end the writing for today it is time to give a “Closet Update”. I will start off my saying how much fun this has been. Turning an “RBC home office” into a “closet for Roxanne”. Since the last update the painting has been completed and the 6 frames are up. Hopefully this weekend Roxanne and I will be able to insert many of the inner pieces. It is great that this project is in the home stretch as this is the first thing that I wanted to accomplish when I retired.

Making Progress On The Closet

Wishing everyone an amazing weekend. For the football fans remember to cheer for the Rams. I have been a Rams fan since I was a little kid so any support is greatly appreciated. Much of North America is cold, so keep warm. Over the next few days we are supposed to have up to a foot of snow in Edmonton so that will be fun as well. Blessings to everyone.

Day 63! Christmas Was Amazing

Watching A Classic On Christmas Eve.

It is so hard to believe that it is already January 2nd, 2019. Sixty Three days into retirement. It seems like just yesterday that I retired but so much water has gone under the bridge thus far. Or in our case, living in a cold weather climate, so much ice has frozen under the bridge since I retired. Today however is a beautiful day. I remember telling some of my team a few years ago that we always have a January thaw. We are into one of those now. It is mid afternoon and the temperature is 7 degrees celsius or 45 degrees fahrenheit. It is great to be able to open house windows in January. It is supposed to get colder again in a few days, in the meantime we will take any warm weather that we can get.

I have had lots of feed back from people saying that they like reading my BLOG. I appreciate that very much because I know nothing about writing a BLOG but I do have passion to write. An internet search reveals passion is one of the most important things you need to have in order to write a BLOG. Besides this BLOG is for my friends and I. The grammar will not be perfect and I am sure I will have many spelling mistakes. I will never have hundreds of followers and I sure won’t make any money from this BLOG. But it will be the writings of a self proclaimed work-a-holic that retired in his mid fifties. Besides I am now in good company. Coach Mark Richt who I have always respected announced his retirement from coaching football this past weekend. If you want to read some great information take time to look him up on the internet.

Christmas Eve Roxanne and I had the opportunity to read the story about the birth of Christ at our evening church service. I so enjoy the candle light service. Then we came home and watched It’s a Wonderful Life. We did stop on the way home at my favorite restaurant (for those who don’t know, McDonald’s) to get some food to eat while watching the movie.

Christmas was amazing this year, Roxanne and I had so much fun preparing, hosting and celebrating. It was great that she had a few days off which allowed us to spend extra time together. I cherish every moment that I can spend with Roxanne.

With all the extra time I had, since I am not working it gave me more time to think. I spent lots of time thinking about Christmas when I was younger. One of the things that I always enjoyed was the family aspect of Christmas. I always appreciated so much that many generations would visit and be in the same house for Christmas. There were never enough beds for everyone, but no one ever complained about sleeping on the floor. It wasn’t just for Christmas Day it was for a few days. We would get up early, stay up late, play games, eat, skate, eat, etc. etc. We as younger kids would offer to shovel the snow and even wash dishes. It truly was a family event. Wonderful memories that I will always cherish.

As wonderful as Christmas is, and everyone knows I love Christmas, I really miss that aspect of Christmas. Since Roxanne and I don’t have any kids it is very unlikely that we will ever celebrate in that manner again……..For those of you that still do that…..good for you….keep it up… One day you will look back and realize how important it was.

On Christmas Day Roxanne and I had a blast. We were up at 7 to start cooking. The cranberry salad from Southern Living was a hit, and this year we did the mashed potatoes in a slow cooker. The turkey turned out amazing and today for lunch I finally finished the left overs. We appreciated having part of her family over and after they left we watched a few movies to end the day. It was so great to celebrate the birth of Jesus with my AMAZING wife and her family.

The New Year is now upon us and the big question is. How is Gord going to do in January? Good question! November and December had me looking forward to Christmas which gave me a distraction from not being at work. I ask myself the same question, how am I going to do in January? Will I miss work, and continue to miss the people and all the great things that happened everyday. Only time will tell. I do know that we were at Ikea on Monday and today 46 boxes were delivered so I know that part of the month will be spent on working on “Roxanne’s Closet”. More pictures at a later date.

As always thanks so much for taking the time to read and I want to wish all of you the most amazing year that you have ever had. May 2019 be a very special year for you and all your loved ones. We will be praying for you!

Day 51 And Retirement Is So Much Fun……….

The Floor Is Finished

Just wanted to give a quick update on “The Closet” as many of you have been asking how Gord’s project/commitment is coming along.

As you can see the floor is now in, and it looks great. We are making faster progress than I thought and I want to ensure that we continue working even though the holidays are here. We will be off to Ikea to look for the shelves that we want to put have in the room and the painting will be completed very soon. I know Roxanne is liking the progress as well. It is such a different spot than it was when it was my office. Maybe I should have changed it years ago, if so maybe I would have kept working!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another wonderful fact about retirement! I went for a 2 hour lunch today with my good friends Connie and Al and I did not have to be concerned about being anywhere. That is a wonderful feeling.

Well the quick update is now finished. Have a wonderful weekend everyone, enjoy the blessing of the Christmas season. Spend time with those you love. You never know when they may no longer be there. Thanks for taking the time to read my blog….

Day 47

The first cake I have ever baked

Day 47 is here and time is going so very fast.  Retirement is truly UNDER- RATED. This past Friday I made my first cake.  A Coca-Cola Cake from scratch.  It is funny that it has taken me this long to bake a cake.  The cake may not have been perfect looking but all “reviews” are that it was great.   That same night I made baked pasta with meat sauce for dinner.  Roxanne said that also passed with flying colors.

I know in one of my earlier posts I wondered when the best time of year to retire would be.  I have come to the realization that November 1st is a perfect day.. The last month and a half have been amazing.  I have found it so easy to get into the Christmas mood.  Watching movies and playing music almost everyday.  Cards are mailed and I was able to do them during the day and not have to fit them in after a day of work.   When a person is ready to retire I would recommend this time of year without hesitation.  It is also great to go to the mall during the middle of the day when it is not as busy.   One of my great friends, (Mr. M) says that retirees are out between 10 and 2.  I think he may have a point.  Today I had to run a few errands.  Left the house at about 10:15 and was home in an hour.  Three stops,  minimal lines and the traffic was great.  

Recently I read that young kids laugh about 300 times a day, while adults laugh less than 20 times a day. I have to wonder what happens to us as we age.  The one thing I have promised myself is that I am going to try and laugh much more in retirement.  I will try to also enjoy the little things much more.  I don’t think we spend enough time enjoying the little things.

Christmas is just around the corner and I want to thank all of you for reading my Blog.  Should this be my last post before Christmas,  I want to wish you and your families all the blessings of the season.  The little baby born in the manger, became a man who gave His life for us that we might have life.  Take time to enjoy the memories that you will make with all your friends and loved ones.  Each moment is so very important.  Live each moment to the fullest.

Day 37

A Great Night Of Making Memories!

Friday night December 7th or more precisely Day 37 of retirement.  Time is going so very fast.  I cannot believe that I have been retired for 37 days.  Roxanne and I spent part of the night putting up the Christmas tree.  She spread out the branches and put up the angel while I put on the lights.  Tomorrow we will put on the ornaments.

Speaking of tomorrow it is hard to believe that it is time for another birthday.  Roxanne sensed that I am more excited about having a birthday than in the past.  Possibly it is because it is on a Saturday or maybe because this is the first birthday since retirement.  I don’t know what the reason is, but I am looking forward to the day.

I spent the last 2 days taking out the carpet and wall paper from my old “home office”.  Making progress on the “closet” for Roxanne.  Over the next couple of weeks Andrea the amazing painter and Dwayne the exceptional floor layer will be here and then on to the final stages.  It really was a sense of accomplishment to get the work done over the last couple of days.

Wednesday, Roxanne and I spent 5 hours at the “Hip Clinic”.    I asked the Occupational Therapist if she had ever seen a grown man cry before?  I found the day to be a little overwhelming and I am not looking forward to the next several months.  They let us know that the surgery was scheduled for January, we had to ask them to reschedule due to other commitments.  Good thing that we had other commitments, because January is just around the corner.

Over the coming weeks and months  I will add to the Blog the journey of a Bilateral Total Hip Replacement.  At this moment in time I can truthfully say that I have never been so scared of anything in my entire life.   One of the staff trying to make me smile said Gord “you are getting a 2 for 1 special.

Today someone  asked me how I could do so much renovation work in my office with bad hips….I said God has been good, and He indeed has been.  I have been able to do the work with out too much pain, and that in itself is a blessing, but I can tell now that I had a full day.

I am still missing all the people from work, I miss all the calls and emails.  I miss all the challenges.  I miss helping people and I do miss the income, but I think I am starting to settle into retirement.  I can confidently say that “retirement is under rated”.  Earlier this week an accountant who is retired asked me if I was “decompressing”.  I told him I don’t think so.  That tells me confidently how much I loved RBC and my role with the company.  Although it was a role filled with challenges I never did let the stress bother me.  That is another blessing.

Time to end for today, thanks to the people all over North America and Europe who have been reading my Blog.  Have a wonderful and blessed weekend.