Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Here comes a new life chapter

Well here I am. Something I'd hoped to do 18 months ago has at last arrived: Retirement.

Right now I just feel relief that I have got here. Planning an early retirement has been a pretty big stress as there are no safety nets in the form of pensions etc if the money runs out. Thankfully I only need enough money for the next 9 years, until I can tap into my superannuation, but that's still a long way into the future. Admittedly, I can still work, but that kind of defeats the purpose of planning one's retirement doesn't it?

My final day was a bit of a shambles. I cleaned up my office, loaded books, bookshelves and other personal items into my car, and then attended my farewell lunch. Was a great turnout, and lots of nice words, a lovely Aboriginal painting, some flowers, a gold watch and earrings, and cake! Of course there was cake!

In the afternoon I had patients to see, as well as sort out a few computer issues that hadn't been resolved despite the appropriate people saying they'd been resolved (how are they going to cope without me?), so I was a little frazzled and running behind. And then to top it off I had a weirdo final patient who was very keen to pull his pants down and show me his erect penis! Yes, just occasionally we have to deal with this sort of behaviour from patients. Needless to say he got no reaction from me and of course I couldn't find the "lump" he insisted was in his groin (which I didn't need him to uncover his genitals for me to examine, the creep). So yeah, a memorable final day!

Back home and my mum had sent me a lovely email:
Hoorah ,
Freedom at last,
Enjoy, enjoy
Love MUM

So now it's over. All that hard work has at last paid off and it's time to move forward into another chapter of my life. To pursue other avenues, spend more time on my passion for photography, and get around to editing a bunch of videos. There are five hours of Tanzania videos that a certain friend is very keen to see the edited version of. I shall have to bleep out all the swear words before we let her kids see it though!!

Next week I fly to New Zealand. Meanwhile I'm just doing a few house chores and tidying up for the housesitters. The bags are almost packed, just a few more clothes to pop in ( I've joined Qantas Club so have a 42kg baggage limit, meaning no stress at all with bringing 2 pairs of skis) and I'm done.

I'm definitely excited now.

The world is my oyster....

Monday, June 22, 2015

More backyard shenanigans

I have been absolutely amazed at how quickly the last few months have flown by, but with only a couple of days until Retirement Day, I can tell you this month has been excruciatingly slow.

I think because I am all planned. The money is sorted, assuming my Sydney house will sell but there's really no doubt on that one, and I've been gleefully giving away and throwing out stuff pertaining to my professional life. For an habitual hoarder, I'm loving the liberating feeling.

I met my house sitters last weekend, and they are absolutely lovely people. Relaxed, love gardening, not into chemicals, my kind of people.

Then I found out I've been demoted in my wwoofing job at the Bakpaka in Wanaka. Having arranged it last year I'm a little miffed, as I was hoping to work enough to cover my accommodation. But it's still a very good deal for $70 a week including laundry, WiFi and only cleaning 2 mornings a week. No evening shifts at all.

Meanwhile at home I have been working on the backyard, in fact I have built the pond!

First I dug a big hole, created a foundation of tyres to stabilise the wall, filled them in, made another tier of tyres, filled them in, then infilled the centre so the pond depth stays less than 30cm. This way I fit within the local guidelines and don't need to erect a pool fence around it to keep kids out.

Then I lay down an old rag rug that is ready for the trash can but makes a protective layer for the pond lining, kindly donated to me by my friend Kate. Then rocks get strategically placed, and the pond is ready for filling.

In a fit of laziness I erected a dry stone wall around the tyres. This is a wee bit flimsy, and in later months I'll apply mortar so it doesn't fall down every time a stray foot comes in contact with it.

Then more strategic rock placing, add river stones and bits of coral and shells collected from the beach, throw a pond plant in and it's looking pretty good.

Finally, connect the pump, which along with the waterfall was a donation from my friends Sally and Sheridan. In the end I've decided just to stick with the one waterfall down one wall, rather than having cascades down both walls, which was my original plan. The logistics of the extra ponds and creating the falls just got too much for me. Maybe a project for another time.

Unfortunately, the whole system isn't yet waterproof. The pond isn't leaking, but the waterfall is, probably where it falls into the pond. So still a little work to do, but in the meantime, here's a video of the waterfall in action.

No more projects till I get back from NZ.