With the start of the new school year, I have a senior, a junior, and a first grader. The two teens are dialed in, they know their routine and it's been an easy transition from one grade to the next. However, with my little one, it's been a different story.
My original plan for this month's column was to discuss my transition into "retired life" and the phases I went through on the path to ultimately accepting that decision. It was something parallel to the five stages of grief, starting with a denial and isolation then ending with acceptance.
As I write this I'm sitting in a borrowed apartment that was set up for our arrival by my friend Dulcey. I can hear bananaquits (or Sugarbirds) and frogs that sound similar to very loud crickets, a rogue rooster crowed at the break of dawn, and the ocean is a short walk away from our back door.
As I write this, it's 100 degrees outside and the air conditioning has gone out at The Oakdale Leader office. Fortunately for me, I chose the first day of this calamity to telecommute. However, for some of my coworkers, having to be in the office all day with only ceiling fans and some box fans to circulate hot air makes the hair and the clothes tend to cling where they're not wanted.
Rafting is all the rage at this time of year and seeing the enthusiasts buck through the white water rapids or float lazily down the calmer stretches of the Stanislaus River, I'm reminded of my personal experiences of going down a river.
It hardly seems possible that time has flown so quickly but I'm staring at the dates circled on my calendar for New York thinking, there's no way it's already down to the nitty gritty and I don't have a dress yet.
Two of my closest friends have each been weathering multiple storms and going through major life changes. It seems that the hits have kept on coming for them. These two are my good-time pals, I have some of my most fun memories with them. Now, however, I no longer live nearby and struggle with my feelings that I can't physically be there for either of them during these hard times.