After months of house hunting, mortgage applications, moving company disasters, long-distance commuting (sorta), unanticipated major home repairs, government administrivia and last-minute projects at work, I’m finally retired. Again.
I’ve told folks for years that the eight months after I retired from the Army were the best months of my life. While that’s only a slight exaggeration, not working for those eight months was wonderful. I could see a movie in the middle of the day, schedule medical appointments at my convenience, go to a real, actual bank and make a real, actual deposit with a real, actual teller – all without taking a single minute off from work.
It didn’t suck.
So here I am once again, one month post-retirement. Things are mostly settled in and I’m finally starting to learn my way around the area. I have an Ohio driver’s license and Ohio plates on my car. I guess I’m committed, huh?
In my former neighborhood in Prince William County, one of our neighbors, also a government retiree of some sort, told me that I would surely suffer “Potomac fever,” (not to be confused with Potomac horse fever) described as an overwhelming desire to return to the NCR and engage in professional inside-the-beltway shenanigans. He figured that I’d need to get back to the rough and tumble of life as part of or at least adjacent to the Federal government; that I would feel unsettled outside of it all.
I’m pleased to report that I have not even experienced a Potomac sniffle let alone a fever of any kind.
Yup, this time I think I got it right.
I’m still getting up early in the morning, but instead of engaging in a minimum 60-minute commute in occasionally high-speed and mostly no-speed DC traffic, I’m making the occasional breakfasts for the boys and seeing them off to their new schools. I’m driving the 1.8 miles to Einstein Brothers Bagels over on The Strip, as I have learned it’s called, and bringing home a baker’s dozen pretzel bagels, but only on Mondays when they have a reduced price on such things. If I need dog food, I can travel the 1.8-mile trip to PetSmart. Milk is a paltry .6 miles away. Even the movies are just .2 mile further than the milk. I can walk to the Cinemark’s ten screens and if I’m ambitious, I can walk another .9-ish miles to ANOTHER ten screens.
Unlike living in Woodbridge, EVERYTHING is close by.
I do miss my colleagues at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, particularly those on my team: Lisa, Dawn, Maria and TaM. To all of you, thanks for making the experience of working there such a positive one. Especially my team leader, Lisa Shuler. Your support over these last five years was phenomenal and I appreciate your leadership, candor, kindness and compassion.
Apologies go out to Dr. Jim Shurbutt who worked in the cubicle next to me. He never complained when I was loudly editing video, hearing the same audio over and over and over again through the cubicle walls. He tolerated me talking to myself through the editing process and swearing at Adobe Premiere to do what the hell I thought I’d told it to do. He put up with a lot of that and deserves some kind of medal ‘r something.
The Center is a collection of engineers, chemists, computer programmers, behavioral psychologists and… Well, let’s just say it’s a multi-disciplined collection of people with advanced degrees all of whom are engaged in making the highways and bridges here in the U.S. and around the world cheaper to build and safer to drive. I would love to be able to send a shout out to all of you by name. I am honored to have been welcomed into your world and to have worked with this great collection of minds. Thanks for all that you do.
Oh! One other thank you to local resident Todd Herberghs. Todd and I worked together back in DC and now he’s a telecommuter. He sold me on this area when I came to do the home inspection. Todd, you were right – this area has a lot to offer its residents. We need to get together again now that I’m here full-time.
Bottom line: I’m doing well. No regrets on the retirement and I am convinced that despite the obstacles in getting here, this is going to work out just fine.
And I don’t even need to be vaccinated for Potomac fever. Looks as though I’m already immune.