2018 & Retirement

I retired last year – and what a year it was. It seemed like no sooner than I made the decision that it was going to her a very busy year indeed!

Lark Tongue’s in Aspic

The first thing I did was fulfill a lifelong dream of finally owning my own boat. I had been having a lot of fun with my kayak Serenity – but since my childhood I always wanted to have a power boat. I was never a priority before but I had dreams of spending my sunset years boating.

Jake aboard our boat Lark Tongue’s In Aspic off-shore Cocoa Beach
Old man of the sea

I named the boat after the seminal 1973 album of the same name by favorite band King Crimson. Somehow seemed to fit the idea of something I really didn’t need but wanted anyway. Or something like that 😎. We got out a lot in 2018 exploring as far north as Mosquito Lagoon and south as Sebastian. Our favorite thing to do is go out in the ocean from Port Canaveral for a swim!

I also added a new vehicle to the stable so I can pull the boat around and put it in the water. I picked up a sweet red Ford Ranger special EDGE edition with a step-side bed. It is a 2003 with low miles on it. It pulls the boat fine for Florida highways!

Tibetan Terrier is my co-pilot

Steamboat and Fort Collins

I went to my favorite ski area Steamboat Springs in late February and drove to Fort Collins afterwards for a reunion with my old colleagues from Hewlett-Packard.

Gnarly Old Guy
Steamboat Springs – some old guy that still can’t keep from crossing the tips of his skis!
February 2018

As usual these days I was really worried about the lack of snow. However, no sooner did I get there and the heavens opened up with dozens of inches of snow! I ended up skiing for all four days and seriously pinched a nerve in my back. But what fun I had!

One evening I made the trek to my favorite hot springs – Strawberry Park. It had been a couple of years since I was there last and the first time I had been there in many years when it was still day light. I was surprised at how much it had changed since I first started visiting there nearly 30 years ago!

MDD Reunion

After doing as much damage as I dared I limped my way over to Fort Collins for a long-awaited reunions with old friends. I stayed with Barry & Diane whom I had known since the mid-1980’s in Lake Stevens (Seattle). I saw all my old friends including Dan & Maggie Matheson whom I got to know very well in the early 1990s when Dan and I did many drive trips.

Barry & Diane Odbert

Barry hosted a get together one night and I met many old colleagues from Hewlett Packard when I lived in Fort Collins. Most I had not seen since I left the area in 1995. Many of the folks went back to my early days with HP in Lake Stevens. Barry and Diane were in Germany when I was there. All of us worked together at some point during my six years in Fort Collins.

Colorado Color

I decided that I was going to return to Colorado in the Fall – driving this time – and visit all of my favorite mountain spots at the peak color season of September.

Maroon Bells – Elk Mountains – Colorado

Jake and I left the beginning of September and spent a week with my Mom and Brother Dave in Panama City. From there we did 2 twelve+ hour days of driving to Fort Collins. I stayed there with good friends Barry and Diane for two weeks – working some of the days and then taking 6 days off to see the mountains. I ended up putting 5K miles on the truck. It drove well. The drive home was three 12+ hour days – ugh!

Independence Pass & Maroon Bells

East side of Independence Pass

Our first trip was to Aspen. Twenty-four years ago I went to the Maroon Bells outside Aspen the Fall before I moved back east. I always wanted to go back.

I started from the east – south of Breckenridge and went over Independence Pass. The drive was simply spectacular. Aspen was crowed beyond belief. Eventually I made my way to the Aspen Highlands ski area where you catch the shuttle to the parking area. The ride was miserable. The views – however – were still fabulous!

Rocky Mountain National Park

Another trip I never made when I lived in Colorado was Fall River road in the north side on the Park. This is a dirt road and gets pretty rough but nothing my truck couldn’t handle. The drive was very nice and the views once at the top on Trail Ridge Road were fabulous. The Park was absolutely jammed with people – it was unbelievable how crowded it was everywhere. The weather was postcard perfect.

Steamboat and Rabbit Ears Pass

My mast trip was back over to Steamboat to see what I looked like in the summertime. Bottom line is that it is quickly becoming very expensive but still has it’s charm when you get into the old parts of the town and area. The resort itself feels like a different place now with a bunch of new construction everywhere. Not as much charm there.

We did enjoy some time exploring the Rabbit Ear pass are between Fort Collins and Steamboat and the drive on the Poudre Canyon was very nice.

Many thanks again to my good friends Barry and Diane for letting me crash at their place for nearly two weeks! Barry and I got the opportunity to play together some and spend a lot of time talking about music and the glory days of Hewlett-Packard and living in Germany.

I drove home and shortly after that this happened:

Hurricane Michael

After two years of near misses 2018 was a quiet one here for hurricanes. Unfortunately my brother Dave and Mom were not so lucky. If fact – of all the hurricanes our family has been through this was the worst. Dave’s house was damaged beyond repair. My Moms faired much better.

However, it was damaged badly and Panama City was seriously damaged. So Mom stayed with me in Cocoa Beach for about two months. It was hard in my little house with my job keeping me very busy – but the time flew past and then this happened.

Retirement

On December 21, 2018 at 4:00PM I logged off my IBM account.

Artifacts from years gone by

Thus ends a career started over 40 years ago when I started my first job as a Research Assistant at the University of Washington. From there to Boeing for about 4 years testing aircraft. I made the switch to high-tech in 1984 and worked for Hewlett-Packard for about 11 years. I lived in Germany working for HP and saw the world! Then my chance to retire at 50 as I sought my fortune with the 3D/Eye-VDS-Alventive – over 5 years in start-up mode. A short stint at small public company iManage. I then retooled at went back into product development as a Product Designer for 5 years at Autodesk before another retooling and finishing my career at IBM for nearly 9 years as a User Experience Designer and web-dude extraordinary.

Logging-off

Reflecting back I can’t say I enjoyed it all but I enjoyed most of it and that’s what matters. In the early years the opportunity to experience so much – which worked until it got tiring. I was able to significantly reinvent myself late in my career – which I am proud of mostly because I really enjoyed my last years back in the heart of design. I was able to discover what I am really passionate about – creativity. Not everyone gets that chance.