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Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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On January 1 of this year I wrote the following:

A New Beginning…

January 1, 2011 by Glenn Riffey

Starting today, this Journal will chronicle my countdown to retirement.

___________________________

Well, that was then and this is now. The end of the New Beginning has arrived. For you see, the New Beginning has ended. It is now the “middle” of the story, and it is to continue until the final end arrives.

If you are a writer, then you know that all good stories, articles or essays always has a beginning, a middle and an end. IOW’s you tell them what you are going to tell them, then you tell them what you want to tell them and you finish by telling them what you told them.

So, I’ve told you what I was going to do. Now, I’m going to do it… 🙂

I can’t tell you what I’ve done until I do it and, hopefully, I will be able to do so before you see “The End”. It won’t be a never-ending story, but I hope that the good Lord will allow me to fulfill one of my dreams or goals, if you prefer. And what is that? You may ask. Well, I’ll tell you.

I’ve always said that I was going to live until I’m 102. Ummm, I wonder if anyone will recognize from where that came? Anyway, that has been my goal in life to live that long and to witness the changes that take place during that time.

I’ve already seen phones go from clicking on the receiver to get an operator to using wireless phones for talking and sending text messages and photos around the world. I like to tell people that I lived in a time when the only “cell” phones were found in a prison. Ohhhhhh, I know, that’s bad.

My family was one of the first in our neighborhood to have T.V., and it was a small Black & White set. We would watch one program then maybe the station would sign off for a while until the next program was scheduled. At midnight they would always play the National Anthem and then there would be nothing be a test chart for one to use to adjust the screen’s vertical and horzontal settings. That would stay on until progamming resuemed in the morning.

I remember Dad having his friends over for the Friday night fights where they drank Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, smoked Camels and PallMall cigarettes and eat a lot of pretzels. Sometimes he would have to go out and adjust the antenna for the best reception. While Dad was on the roof I was at a window and someone would watch the TV and say when the reception was best and then I would yell out the window for Dad to stop turning the antenna.

Didn’t do that much in bad weather, of course, and many times there would be not TV at all.

There were little to no fast food restaurants and pizza was Chef Boyardee Pizza in a round can with sauce and powder cheese. It was fun at parties and tasted like cardboard but everyone loved it. It was a treat because pizza was not a big thing back then.

When people talk about the good’ol days they mean that you could leave the house unlocked while you went downtown and not worry about anyone breaking in. You could leave things outside and no one would steal them. Kids could play outside from dawn to dusk and the parents would not worry about them knowing that when they got hungry enough they would come back home, and usually it was always around supper time; a meal that was made from scratch and not “nuked” from something ready-made. Food did taste a lot better back then.

However, that was then and this is now. As of January 1, 2012 I consider myself un-officially retired, only because I don’t turn 65 until the 15th, and Friday the 13th is the last day that I have to officially work because I have to. Come the following Monday I start working only because I want to.

I have decided to continue working until February 28th as I don’t start receiving Social Security until March. This way I will still have a steady income coming in, until S.S. starts, and there will be a seemless change over of the way I receive an income. I could quit, if I wanted, the day I turn 65 and then draw a suitable income from what little 401 pension that I have, but why do so if I don’t have to?

I have now provided at least one post a week this past year and that completes the other challenge that I took as well. You see, on “WordPress.com” they had a post-a-day challenge and a post-a-week challenge. I took the post-a-week challenge and I’ve now completed it with this post. So that’s another achievement I can cross off of my to-do list… 🙂 

As for the last thing I would like to do is to post the photo that I mentioned in last weeks post. This is a photo of my wife and I, at my desk, that was taken at 11:11 AM on 11/11/11. Yeah, that was another challenge that I had and I got that one as well and without further ado, here is the photo:

Yeah, I know, I’m not smiling. Believe it or not, I forgot to do so. I guess that I was reminiscing. I’ve sat in that chair for more than ten yeas. I did so for two years as service manager, then the next eight as I.T. manager. And I’ve been married to that lovely woman for 42 years now. Thought that I would throw that in just in case you were going to ask.

Well, that’s it. I’ve completed my CountDown To Retirement. I’m there and it’s now time to move from the beginning to the middle of the story. Don’t know if I will start another blog about how that goes. I’m still mulling it over, but if I do decide to do so I will create a post on here first to let you all know about and how to follow if you so desire.

Now it’s time to say “so long” for now. May God go with you, and I hope you also can achieve your dreams and live a life worth talking about.

You know, God has been my guide through all of this and I want to leave you with the very first verse from the Bible that I ever memorized after becoming a Christian; as a small way of thanking Him for still being here.

Proverbs 3:5-6

New King James Version (NKJV)

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
      And lean not on your own understanding;
       6 In all your ways acknowledge Him,
      And He shall direct your paths.
      

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Well, here it is – Christmas Eve – Eve.

The week started out slow, built to a crescendo on Wednesday then ended with the beginning of the end, but a new beginning is just around the corner.

I only worked four days this week. Today starts our Christmas vacation; our last work vacation. For the past 20+ years my wife and I have always been blessed with having Christmas week off. We would start off on the day before Christmas Eve and not go back to work until after the 1st of the New Year. This year we are doing the same, for the last time.

On Monday I started preparing for the vacation by getting caught up on problems and bugs with the new Network Server installation, that we just completed, and I started preparing for the big install of an MFD on Wednesday.

Small things like network permissions were the most common problems and as they came up I was able to get them fixed with little to no problems. As for the MFD install, it was to be done on a wireless network; something I haven’t done for about three years. It can be easy as long as there are no special settings needing to be set. Well, this one turned out to be the hardest wireless install I have ever done.

The business wasn’t that big and there were only four offices that needed setup. The install included, in addition to normal copying, network printing, scanning, faxing and faxing from the desktop, all on a wireless network. Well…?

It started out sort of easy. The wireless connection on the MFD found the network OK and I put in the needed encryption information that was given me, but the machine would not connect to the network. After checking and re-checking all of the info to make sure they were correctly configured it started to look like the install wasn’t going to take place.

The wireless router was not being used as a router but as a bridge and the Comcast modem it was connected to was the device providing the network connectivity. No matter how I set up the network connection the MFD would not recognize the network and the network would not see the MFD.

Sometimes something can just pop out at you and it’s usually because it was so simple to overlook. In this case, the simplicity was the channel that the wireless router(bridge) was set at that was causing the problem. Once I saw the unusual setting I sorta’ forced the MFD to see that channel and lo and behold the MFD connected to the network and up and running it became.

Once the network accepted the connection it was easy to set up the print, scan and faxing from PC configurations. They all worked well and everyone was happy with the new system. After four hours of work I was able to leave, and everyone in the offices had smiles and were quite glad that I stuck with it to finally get things going the way that they wanted. When clients are happy then I know that I did my job well and that does give me a good feeling of satisfaction in doing a job well done.

The hour and half ride back to my office was quite relaxing. Of course I ate a quick sandwich and drank some coffee to celebrate while driving and that sure made the day. I was really hungry… 🙂

So, that brings us to today. My wife and I were off, but we had to take it a little easy. You see, what I haven’t told you was that my wife spent Monday night and part of Tuesday in the hospital for observation from having high blood pressure. It was at a level that could have caused something really bad to happen.

However, with the care she got and the rest that came with being in bed so much, by Tuesday afternoon her blood pressure was down enough for her to go home. In all of the tests that were run nothing came back bad. Everything looked good and at this point they have no idea what could have caused the elevation to the level that it was. It’s still higher than normal but low enough for her to do some limited activity.

With some slow walking, a little shopping and some lunch at the Mall, my wife was happy to be out. We were able to finish up what Christmas shopping needed to be completed and then I took her home where I asked her to make a list for the market and I went out and did that myself.

The market was like a mad house and it was best that she stayed home. The crowd was bad enough, but the scurrying about, just to keep out-of-the-way of those who were rushing, would raise anyone’s blood pressure. However, quite a few people were happy, being polite and just having a good time getting ready for the holidays. That did make the shopping somewhat pleasurable. Smiles do help.

But now, the end is beginning. With only a few weeks left, the end of my work is close at hand. Unofficially, as of the end of the year, I will consider myself in retirement. The few weeks that I will still work is just for clean up, and for bridging the gap caused by one person leaving and another taking their place.

I want a smooth and seemless change of personnel and I don’t want for anyone to say that I didn’t do my job as I was phased out. I will leave my profession working just as hard as I did at anytime of my career. I will not be considered a slacker at the end.

My first post in my quest to Countdown To Retirement began on January 1, 2011. Next week will be my last. I’m not sure how it will end or what I will say but the final post in this series will be completed while I’m on vacation, and when I go back to work, to close down my desk, the countdown will be complete. Let’s see how it will end.

As a final note, I do plan on including a photo of my wife and I as it was taken at 11:11 AM on 11/11/11. Yeah, I just couldn’t help but create a photo at that time. After all, it was a once in a lifetime event and I just had to document it. It’s cool, I like it, and you will get to see what we are like. Just don’t expect us to look that old… 🙂

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Every year, at Christmas time, we have a “goodie day” at work. On Wednesday past, we had an excellent one.

It might have been because we will have five employees retiring within the next year or so. Two are retiring on December 31, myself shortly thereafter, my wife in June and the last one later next year. Of the five, as far as seniority goes, I’m the youngest at 25 years. The other four range from 27 years to 35 years. All at one place of employment. How many still stay in one place of employment for so long? But, I digress.

The food layout was fantastic. From sloppy joe to fried chicken, along with potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni salad, not to mention cheesy potatoes, vegetable soup and deer bologna. And Dirt! Have you ever eaten Dirt? Man it was delicious, and that was just a small part of the sugary desert spread. There were cookies, cakes, old-fashioned fudge, donuts and Dirt… 🙂

What wasn’t eaten on Wednesday was finally consumed on Thursday.

Over the two-day period I devoured enough sugary stuff to sweeten my coffee for at least two weeks. You see, I don’t normally eat a lot of “goodies” like this. It’s one of the ways I keep my weight down and it also keeps my Triglycerides down as well; two things I always fight, but keep under control.

However, first I just needed some of the sloppy joe on a bun. Of course I had to have some of those cheesy potatoes along with some fried chicken, potato salad and coleslaw. Then came the Dirt. But first, waiting for the “lunch” time we had to have some cookies, donuts and candy as appetizers. And don’t forget afternoon snacks, after desert, of course.

So, you kind of get the picture… don’t you?

That was just on Wednesday. I won’t even go into Thursday, but needless to say I am starting to come down from the sugar high… 🙂

Now, as for work. Well there were a couple of calls this week. Nothing exciting, and I’m starting to learn some new stuff on our recently installed Small Business Server / Exchange Server. Man, is it ever fast, and the operating system is fantastic.

There is so much to learn and the problem I now face is that do I want to go into learning all that I can or just take it easy and absorb just enough to keep things afloat? I mean, after all, I only have a short time to go before I’m outa’ here.

Problem is I’m not the kind of person to slack off like that. I want to learn and do as much as I can up until I do leave, but then what do I do with all of that knowledge afterwards? Sort of a little conundrum that I have.

Anyway, did I really eat too much? At the time, I felt like I did, but it sure was good, delicious and quite filling. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the Dirt! Now that was something else… really!

Nah… I could do it all over again, but maybe next month. I have had enough – for now… 😉

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Here it is, Saturday evening and I missed yesterday’s weekly post.

Even though it was quite a busy week, ending with the annual company Christmas Dinner, that is still no excuse for having missed putting up some kind of a post.

What makes it worse is the fact I had this on my schedule and I clicked off on it when it popped up yesterday afternoon. Just as I started to go online to write the post I got an important phone call from a client with a network problem on their MFD and I was on the phone for about 20 minutes with them.

When we hung up, having scheduled a visit for next week, I had to help out the CFO with a problem. So, the next thing I knew it was closing time and we were on the way home to clean up for the dinner.

How embarrassing…

So, now I sit here writing this in order to meet the weekly deadline for my weekly post, and what a week it was.

Keeping Friday in mind the rest of the week was just as busy. Did a OCR install and configuration for a client, handled several client problems and cleaned some minor problems from the new network server install.

Speaking of which, I am more than happy that we had an outside consultant do the install and configuration on this. Admittedly there is no way I could have done this. It was too involved, meticulous and out of my league, and I don’t mind admitting that at all.

As I’ve gotten older, that is one of the many things I have learned – when to say you don’t know how to do something and let someone more experienced do the job. It sure keeps me out of trouble and that can’t be all bad… right?

Well, I’ve just finished up doing some photography work for posting next week on my photoblog “Riff’s Photography Journal” and I’m finally caught up to date.

This post, while late on a Saturday evening, will make it in for the weekly post that I promised to do. It’s short, sweet and to the point. Just a few more posts to go, maybe.

Next week there might be some change as to when I actually do retire and I’ll know more about that then. When I find out, I’ll let you know. Till then, have yourself a nice rest of the weekend and I promise I’ll do my best not to be so late next week… 🙂

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I sure hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving. I know I sure did. Actually, I gained 5 lbs but, uhhh… that’s a different subject.

Anyway, this has been a tremendously busy week. I have been out on calls everyday and in amongst those calls I’ve been given more job offers for part-time work when I retire. I’ve already been asked before and these are different offers.

Do I really want to do that? You see, I’ve been giving some thought to going off to college and getting an AA Degree in Communication Arts. Why? you ask. Well, that is the biggest thing I have always regretted not doing. I could have gone to college but I chose to enlist into the Navy instead; which is something I have never regretted doing. It was a great time in my life and I would do it all over again.

If I go now, I’m sure I can make it and getting a degree would be one more thing I could check off on my list. In addition, it would set a good example for my five grandsons. Besides, I just want to prove to myself that I could have earned a degree of some kind had I put my mind to it.

However, I’ve been getting quite a few job offers for when I retire and it’s interesting to see how what I already know has made this possible. Most of these offers have to do with computers or networking of some kind, but I don’t know if that is what I want to continue on doing. I am getting a little burnt out and I would like to try something different.

Getting a degree in Communication Arts would help to build on my photographic skills as well as learn some new techniques for working in a TV studio, not to mention building on my writings skills.

I have done copywriting assignments in P.R. before, as well as designing and adding the copywrite material for company brochures. I have three blogs on which I write, this being one of them, and I do photography on two of the three blogs that I have.

So, do I continue doing work in my present field of Information Technology or do I move over to photography / copywriting in retirement?

We’ll see…..

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It is Wednesday, as I write this, and I’m finished working for the week already.

I only had to work Monday and Tuesday and I’ve got the rest of the week off. I’ve scheduled these days off for the past ten years now and there’s no sense changing it now.

Monday and Tuesday went pretty fast. I did have two firmware updates, with print driver changes, at two different clients. The first update was done in a banks I.T. department. Soon the bank will be updating their operating software to Windows 7 and we had to find out if our MFD”s will support it.

I knew in advance that at the present level of operation they would be fine for Windows XP and Vista, but not for Windows 7. However, I didn’t know that the bank was soon going to be making these changes until I got a call from a friend in the I.T. department.

She told me about the problem they were having with their initial testing and my reply was that this was expected as the machine needed to be updated in order for it to fix the problem. You see, with Windows 7 itself and with most of Microsoft Office Suite 2010 applications our MFD’s work OK. However, with Excel 2010 the problem is evident. It just won’t print to our machines.

Whatever is happening, either the MFD”s will print out blank pages or just a line or two from the Excel program. When the machine receives an update and the print drivers are updated the problem goes away. So, in order for the bank to be able to use Windows 7 and Office Suite 2010, specifically Excel 2010, with our MFD”s, our machines need to be updated; all of them.

There are about 30+ MFD”s in their system, counting all of their branches, and over the next month I, and the tech’s from our service department, will be updating these machines and letting the bank’s I.T. department update their drivers. I figure by Christmas this should be completed – hopefully.

I had a second and similar problem with another client on the same day and doing the firmware update on the MFD and installing new print drivers solved their problem. Again it was with the fact that they had updated their three PC’s to Windows 7 and installed Microsoft Office Suite 2010 and they could not print from Excel 2010.

After updating the MFD and installing new drivers for them the problem went away. And this is the problem. So many business will update their computer operating systems without first contacting the company that handles their MFD’s to see if there are any known issues with the operating system update and what can be done to prevent any glitches.

My friends at the bank, however, knew this and they gave me a call before doing anything. Going to their office and doing the update on their test machine, and letting them install the new drivers, showed them that this is what needs to be done before they can roll out the new system. Since they are not planning on starting this until after the first of the year, gives us plenty of time to go around and make the necessary updates on our MFD”s that they have.

For this they are very grateful and besides, we have a good working relationship and even though I will be retiring shortly after that, I still want to go out with a good record and remain on a friendly basis with all my clients. I owe them that and I know they will appreciate it.

You never know, I might need a part-time job, and they might have an opening where I could fit in.

Anyway, today has been a wind down day from not being at work and a get ready day for the big family get together tomorrow on Thanksgiving. I figure there will be about 30+ people there and we should have a wonderful time. My camera is ready and the battery is charging.

So, let me finish by saying I wish you all a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving. For me, I will be giving thanks to God for family, friends and the good people who follow and read this blog. I do appreciate each and every one of you and I pray that God will bless your Thanksgiving in a very special way.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone… 🙂

 

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