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Cape Coral, Florida, United States

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Retirement 1.1 - 365 Days of Saturdays!

After a long absence I am resurrecting my blog - Lighframe - It's been more than a year since I have posted - many events have come and gone since then.  The "Main Event" happened about a year ago when I made the conscious decision to take early retirement from my career at Novartis Pharmaceuticals.  After 22 years at Novartis, 31 cumulative in the industry I made the decision to retire on my terms.  It was a big step with many visits to financial planners at Fidelity, test driving our retirement budget and conducting numerous scenarios with income planners and financial calculators. All the numbers and experts said we could,  still writing your own paycheck every month from your own financial resources is a different world than "working for the man" with benefits and other perks. From now on we were on our own.  Like I said a big step and yet I had this feeling that it was the right move.  The culmination of meticulous planning had taken us to this point in time.  The birth of our granddaughter in March 2011 cemented my decision.  Zoey was going to get to know her "poppie" especially since she lived in Dallas and we were still in Massachusetts at the time.  So as of June 30, 2012 I was retired.  In July we packed our suitcases and other items in our Jeep Wrangler, now my personal vehicle since the company vehicle has gone back to Novartis and headed to Cape Coral FL where our new home purchased 18 months earlier was waiting for us.  The adventure begins.....

June 2012 - December 2012  The Beginning......

The Final Get Together!

A great retirement party from my friends and colleagues at Novartis at Legal Seafood in Natick, MA.
We had a great  time recalling memories and sharing most recent events.  Its like sitting through a bio of your life and you are watching all the film!

I was given this wonderful gift from the group - looking forward to a new future in a new place.  I had voiced that I was going to spend time with my photography and also embark on selling real estate part time to "keep me busy".  This caricature of me hit the nail on the head!  It hangs in my office with the fond memories that came with it from that evening.

Cape Coral - Welcome Home

In my zeal to get to our home I subjected my poor wife to riding in our "iron coffin" -now our only personal vehicle that we owned. the 1997 Jeep Wrangler with only one overnight! Tired and exhausted we pulled into our street.
Mind you we
had only been to our new home occasionally in the past 18 months.  Our exhaustion added to our confusion and we mistook our home twice coming down the street in the dark.  We  found ourselves in uncontrollable laughter amazing what your body does after being cooped up in a Jeep for 14 hours! We finally arrived at our home and exhausted we collapsed in our bed in the spare bedroom.  The rest of our household goods would arrive via truck the next day.  So here I was retired in a new place. The euphoria left in about 48 hours and I found myself pouring into the unpacking process with a fury. After multiple decades of being results oriented and living on schedules and deadlines I found myself executing the same at our new location.  Poor Viv - she was exposed to my "slave driving" eagerness to get our new place up and running and efficient within the next 72 hours!  After being called many choice names it was done a pile of flattened boxes and cartons lying out front waiting for the recycling truck to pick them up.  Now what do I do?  Needless to say that I had not shed that corporate mentality yet so I threw myself into a series of projects that had to be done today!  Because God knows tomorrow would be too late!  Why beats me but that's what felt good at the time!

As time progressed I realized that there is a tomorrow and everything does not have to be done today! I did attain my goal of obtaining my Florida Real Estate Licence.  A grueling 10 day course followed by a long exam.  Felt like being back in some training session but it felt good gave me a sense of accomplishment.

 Memo to those going into or considering retirement - Have A Plan!  Social plans are just as important as having a financial plan.  After all you don't just want to sit in front of a flat screen TV.  The programming is not that great and it will get old pretty fast.  Viv and I had a Social Plan committed that we were not just going to sit around and wait to die.  True that Florida has the nickname of God's Waiting Room due to the influx of the elderly especially during the "Snowbird Season."  And true if this was God's Waiting Room it a great place to wait.  However we planned on doing a lot more living!

 Explore what other interests you have besides work, what your passion is, what you really love, what you really want to accomplish  and have a plan to do it! Put it in writing!  

I made a vow in writing to devote more time to my physical well being, learn a new skill and to devote time to my photography.  I now have a brand new canvas to compose in a new area with striking possibilities.  I want to share these compositions with you via this blog.  I now have no excuse to keep this blog active so stay tuned you'll see a lot of SW Florida and other areas through my photographic journey.  

By the way after 365 days of Saturdays I have acclimated well.  I am happy and I am spending time with Viv as well as going off to Plano or Kansas City to visit our sons and their spouses and of course Zoey.  And yes I did learn a new skill - real estate sales - doing pretty well but committed to keeping it part time- a lot more other living to do! So Retirement 1.1 is in the bag and now we are going into 1.2!

Some Views of Livin' on the River! 

Morning on the Coolasahatchee River

Cape Coral and Fort Myers sit on opposite sides of the Coolashatchee River (it's a mouthful took me a while to effectively pronounce it!).  the name comes from the Calusa Native American tribes who populated the inland waterways in the area.  The Caloo in its short form flows down to the Gulf of Mexico not too far from the Cape and Fort Myers.  This is one of the first photos I took in the early morning.  Downtown Fort Myers sits to the left of the High Point Towers Condominium complex.

Another early morning view on the river looking East!  The Hancock Bridge is to the left.

High Point Towers - Luxury Condominium Complex on the shores of the Caloo! 

 The Fishing Pier in North Fort Myers.  This was an early morning composition the lone fisherman was trying his luck.  As soon as I put my camera and tripod away a pair of dolphins frolicked at the end of the dock.  By the time I retrieved my camera they were swimming out into the Caloo.  Isn't that the way it goes?

 Fort Myers is known as The City of Palms.  The Royal Palm is like the "King of the Palm Trees".  This was taken at Riverside Park on the Caloo.  There are hundreds of these palms throughout the park offering shade and very pleasing to the eye.

 The Hancock Bridge - connecting Cape Coral/North Fort Myers with the City of Fort Myers.
One of three bridges that connects Cape Coral with Fort Myers.  The other two are the Mid Point Bridge and the Cape Coral Bridge.

Strolling on the Caloo - The Cape Coral Yacht Club Beach on the shores of the river provides Cape Coral residents a place to enjoy sand, sun and surf.  Also handball courts, tennis courts, a marina  and beach pavilions are available.

Bird Meeting - What's the beach with out the usual puffins and gulls? Cape Coral yacht Club Beach

The Fishing Pier - located at Cape Coral Yacht Club Beach - great place to fish, hang out, grab some sun, watch the sunset and just enjoy the 350 plus days of sunshine found here at the Cape!

And speaking of sunsets.....these were taken at the Fishing Pier in February 2013.  It's great living on this side of Paradise!

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