Category Archives: Entropy

Doll Houses Revisited

Several years ago, I wrote about my love for all things small—specifically miniature models. In that 3-part series, I delved into all the different types of models I had built over the years both growing up and as an adult. One of the items I included was the two doll houses that I built for my daughter.

1988-21a

The idea to build a doll house for my daughter was spawned from two thoughts.

First, I had run across some really cool doll houses at the local hobby store and thought that it would be fun to build one some day.

Second, while playing cars and blocks with my son came easy to me—something I had done growing up, it was more difficult for me to play dolls with my daughter since I had no experience.

But then I put the two thoughts together and suggested to my wife that we give our daughter a dollhouse kit for Christmas, one that my daughter and I could build together. Not wanting to repeat the same mistake I had made with my son by trying to build a train layout before he could even walk…

Dottrain

…I waited until my daughter was at least old enough to participate before suggesting it to my wife.

It was a Christmas present for her one year.

img_3363

She picked the paint, wallpaper, and floor covering and we worked together to assemble it. I probably did more of the cutting and gluing since she was too young at the time but it was still a project we could share together.

img_3365

We even picked out some miniature furniture to fill the house and make it into a miniature home complete with a nursery.

img_3367

img_3369

Completing this dollhouse only whet my appetite so a few years later again at my urging we gave our daughter an even larger dollhouse for Christmas.

1994-29

This dollhouse was a blast to assemble! I only wish I had taken some interim progress photos during the construction process.

img_3371

The brick foundation was made by painting the wood grey for the mortar and then spreading on a red sand paste using a brick pattern template.

img_3372

The windows were made from multiple pieces of wood and actually open and close.

img_3373

Even the floor was assembled almost like the full-scale version, gluing down individual wood planks, sanding them smooth, and then varnishing and sealing them.

img_3370

At this point, I sensed my daughter losing interest in the assembly part of the model so I put this one together mostly by myself. While working on it, I also realized that she was probably going to be too old to play with it by the time it was complete.   But surely it would be an heirloom she could pass down to her own daughter one day…

img_3378

…as you can see, it was never furnished so it is “move-in ready” for another day.

IMG_0365

After our daughter grew up and moved out, these houses stayed behind. But recently, one of our granddaughters who lives in-town has discovered them and has begun to explore them.

img_2885

She has even found an entertaining one at the Children’s Museum, a place that she and I frequent.

img_3062

Seeing her play with them has rekindled a desire for me to build again. The two houses I built will pass to my daughter whenever she is ready for them. But with each of our sons having a daughter, I now have two granddaughters to build for. They are both too young to really play with dollhouses like these that tend to be a bit too fragile. But if I get started now, hopefully I can have them finished for when they are just the right age to play.

img_3381

I have already begun to explore what is available now. Since it has been over 20 years since we bought the blue doll house for our daughter, there may even be some technological changes, maybe miniature Wi-Fi.

After I retire later this year, I will also have a lot more time available for the construction phase. I’m getting excited just thinking about it. Not only will this be a gift of love to my kids, but hopefully it will be a fun toy for my granddaughters as well. And just maybe they will become an heirloom for them to pass down to their kids as well.

Wednesday with Granddaddy – Double Treat

Last year, I wrote about how much I enjoy every Wednesday since I get to spend the afternoon with my granddaughter at the Children’s Museum of Memphis (CMOM).  She and I have been going there for a full two semesters now, ever since her parents have been back in school. It is a wonderful routine that she and I have gotten in to and, the few times I have traveled and not been available, we have both sorely missed our time together. Well in May of this year, I got a double treat when my daughter and grandson flew in town for a two-week visit.

It was a very special time to be with them since my daughter and her family live so far away. And with my granddaughter’s parents out of school for the summer, there were lots of time to get together over the two weeks so the two cousins could play with each other, here seen sharing cups of ice at Mimi’s café.

Since it had been almost a year since we had all been together, it also afforded us an opportunity to get some professional photos taken of the grandkids.

With nice spring weather, there were also several chances to have cookouts together…

…and learning to share.

It was definitely an exciting time for all.

But for me, the highlight of the visit was getting to go to the Children’s Museum with two of my three grandchildren along with their parents (sans our son-in-law who was on a business trip) and my wife and fellow grandparent affectionately named, Mimi!

For my granddaughter, having been so many times with me to CMOM, she has almost a routine of what she likes to do once we walk in the door. For my grandson, this was a new experience so starting out with Mimi in a police car seemed an appropriate place to begin the adventure.

In fact since it was a new exploration for my grandson, I spent a part of my time going back and forth between where my grandson was at the time and where my granddaughter was.

With her parents there, my granddaughter also got to do some special things with Mommy and Daddy that my granddaughter and I had not been able to do before.

And throughout our time there, I tried to make sure I spent an equal amount of time with each grandchild wherever they were in the museum so that they did not perceive me as showing favoritism to one or the other.   On the occasion when they were in the same place…

…I never could seem to get them both in the same photo at the same time.

Being interested in cars like me and so also mechanically inclined, my grandson spent some time taking the wheels off the car in for repair…

…before running over to the FEDEX plane and loading up packages for delivery. I think he manually cranked at least 20 packages up the conveyor belt all the while my granddaughter was sliding down the circular slide from the back of the plane, each doing what they thought was the most fun.

We fortunately had about two hours at the museum so the two cousins got to shop together at the little grocery store, cook together in the little kiddie kitchen, and do lots of other fun activities.

I don’t know if anyone noticed the gleam of joy in my eyes getting to watch them both play. It was a real thrill for me, one I would love to have more often. And my keen observation noted that they both made the same tongue motion as they played, a small telling behavior revealing they were related.

At 5:00 when the museum closed and for our grandkids, went “night-night” as we always say, we made our way out to the parking lot. But the fun was not over yet. We drove over to my favorite burger place for a well-earned dinner.

As we talked and waited for our food to arrive, I reflected on the wonderful time I had had at the museum watching my grandkids play. I knew they had had fun too and I hoped my fellow adults had also. But deep down, I knew this was particularly a special treat for me—a double Wednesday treat with two grandkids—one that might not be so easily detected by the casual observer. But a treat it was indeed, one that I hope to get to repeat one day, hopefully with all three of my grandchildren making it a Triple-Treat!

Photos on My Office Wall

IMG_2862

Some of the items that I will need to take home when I retire are these 11 framed photos hanging on my office wall. I cannot even begin to fathom how long they have hung on my wall, but I know they have moved from one office to another each time my office changed. Considering that I have worked at the same site and in the same building for over 30 years, they are probably quite old.

IMG_2863

A close up inspection reveals that these are really cheap, 8” X 10” metal frames with a “faux-wood” finish.   I think I probably bought them at Target years ago. At least once when I moved into a larger office, which had a larger wall, I had to search for additional frames of the same design to expand my gallery.

Over the years, I would occasionally change out a photo for a newer one but with one exception, the photos were always either of my family (wife and kids), travel, or my cars. And the reason I know this is because each time I added a new photo, I simply put it on top of the photo previously displayed.

I recently took down each frame and took off the back just to see what treasures were hiding inside the frames.

In some, I found just a few photos but in others, the frame contained four or five photos. As I looked through the photos “archived” in each frame, I saw some of these images for the first time in many, many years.

TrainBridge

Harahan Bridge over Mississippi River

The earliest of these photos were black and whites. Prior to getting married, I had bought all the equipment necessary to develop and print my own black and white photos from black and white film. But some of the ones in the frames I realized I had printed from color 35 mm negatives as I recognized the image as a familiar color snapshot from my first year of marriage (back in my “artsy” pre-digital camera age when the only way I could make a black and white photo was to either print it this way or to use black and white film).

Based on finding just four black and white photos, my earliest wall gallery must have only included four frames.

Once I started traveling internationally, I began to add pictures from my travels, replacing all of my black and white photos with color photos.

Aquaduct of Caesarea (Israel)

Aquaduct of Caesarea (Israel)

And as my travels increased, I needed to add additional frames to accommodate photos from all my trips.

Lisbon Oceanarium (Aquarium, Lisbon, Portugal)

Lisbon Oceanarium (Aquarium, Lisbon, Portugal)

When family members traveled with me on these international trips, they appeared in my displayed photos as well.

File0351

Sometime in the early 2000s, I began to display photos of my cars (at first two and then three cars in 2006) and then in 2011, I added photos from my two oldest children’s weddings.

20110526_6LOPV0KMEZ

As my travels continued, I began to replace old travel photos with newer ones.

DSCN1694

In May of 2016 when I bought my latest car, I planned on replacing the picture of my Mini, which we no longer owned, with my new WRX.

Car19

But then just days later, I got word that my work site was closing.

So rather than adding to my collection, I began to think about what I was going to do with my photo gallery when I left. Since the frames are so cheap, I wouldn’t want to display them inside our house unless I invested in much nicer frames.

And then I came upon the idea of hanging them all in our garage over my workbench. After all, once I retire, I will be spending a lot more time at my workbench doing one of the things I love doing, working with my hands.

IMG_2870

I’ve wanted to take down these shelves for quite some time since they just end up becoming a storage space for old paints and chemicals that are not even good anymore. Now I have a good reason to.

So rather than boxing up these old frames and sticking them in the attic or worse yet, throwing them away, they will simply relocate to one of my “new” office walls. Because after all, every time my office moved these gems moved with me. And so they will!

Miniature Car Moving Day

Not long ago, the day came that I needed to transport my 1/18-scale model cars home from my office. This was in preparation for my final office move before our site closure and my retirement. Last year I posted that this would be a necessary step before I retire. While my eventual idea of a miniature garage for them in the back yard was not well received by wife, I needless to say needed to bring the cars home.

The first step was getting down their original boxes from the attic. As you can see, they were quite dusty with some having been in the attic for almost 20 years. Donning a respirator mask to keep the dust out of my lungs, I climbed into the attic and began to search for all of them. Before I brought them into the house, I wiped them off as best I could with a damp rag. Some of the boxes were a bit damaged from the time when squirrels got into our attic (who would have know squirrels like to eat plastic).   Others were covered by blown insulation, which actually protected them quite nicely from the dust and the squirrels.

It was a bit of a treasure hunt to find them all and in the end, I found 27 of the 28 boxes I knew I should have. The one missing may turn up whenever we get other things out of the attic.

With the boxes cleaned fairly well, I loaded them up into the trunk of my car for the drive to work.

The next day, once I got to work, I loaded them onto one of our stability sample carts and wheeled them into my office.

Next began the process of removing the Styrofoam base from each box. Because the clear plastic had come loose in many of the boxes, this proved a tedious task for some. In a few with the loose plastic, some of the blown insulation had gotten into the boxes and so I had to clean this out as well. One of the more damaged boxes might have been a temporary home for a squirrel as when I dumped out the insulation; an acorn and something else I won’t mention fell out (For your benefit, I chose not to photograph that).

Each car is attached to this Styrofoam base with a bracket and two screws (I actually managed to find all but three screws). Some of the boxes still had the small catalog inside the box, this one being almost 25 years old.

A few of the boxes still had the price tags on them. This one I could see that I had purchased at de Bijenkorf, the large department store in Amsterdam that Anne Frank shopped at.

Prior to putting the car inside, I gave each box got another good wipe down to get rid of the residual dust and then I stacked the car filled boxes on the cart.

After I got half way through, I realized I had been putting the cars in backwards. I confirmed this by going to the BBurago website and seeing all of the cars facing left with the front angled forward. I had screwed them all in with the back angled forward. Obviously I had to redo those.

For some of the cars, it was bitter sweet to box them up. This Mini sat on my desk for over 10 years…

…a daily reminder of one of the most fun cars I ever owned.

And this is probably the nicest car I collected, complete with soft rubber seats and even carpet on the floor. I fondly remembered finding it on a trip to Lugano, Switzerland in 1998 with my wife and youngest son.

Throughout the afternoon, it was interesting to see the look on coworker’s faces when they stopped by seeing what I was up to. Even my boss had an odd look on her face when she walked in, no doubt wondering what I was spending work time doing. But none of them understood what an emotional task I was undertaking.

After I had screwed the last car into its box frame, I was left with this one car for which I could not find its box. So I decided it would just have to be on display somewhere at home until I did further searching in the attic.

Rather than taking them home, I decided to keep my two Miatas on my desk to the very last day. I knew it was going to be traumatic enough to walk in and not see my collection so I would at least retain these two…

…miniature reminders of the two fun Miatas I owned.

With my task complete, I placed all of the filled boxes on my cart and wheeled them down to my car.

As I carefully stowed them in the trunk of my car, I was glad to realize that I finally owned a car that they would all fit in to. Over the years, I brought the cars into work one at a time. Until I bought this WRX, none of the small cars I had would even hold them all.

Knowing that for now, I did not have a space to display all these cars at home, I stored many of them in this large box I found in the closet and the rest I put on top of this shelf in the same closet.

I was determined I was not going to put them back in the attic knowing the damage the boxes had incurred from their years’ storage there.

And I was encouraged by my wife’s comments when I told her I had brought them home. She said maybe we could find a glass enclosed cabinet to display them in, not so much to keep the dust off of the cars, but to keep them safe from small grandchildren hands which would no doubt be fascinated by all these miniature cars.

So hopefully one day, my cars will be on display again so that I can enjoy seeing them and recall to the times when I purchased them. Until then, I’ll just have to be satisfied with the memory of them in my office for so many years.

Unquenchable Thirst for Reading

I can’t get enough of reading. For someone who read very little for pleasure up until about the age of 25, I’ve sadly missed a lot of years that I could have been reading. But a reader I have turned in to! These are some of the bookcases filled with books I’ve read over the years.

IMG_2852

IMG_2853

Once I started this blog several years ago, I began to keep a digital list of all the books I read in a calendar year. And for several years, I’ve been keeping an Amazon “wish list” of all the books I wanted to read. I’ve written before about all of the books I have in waiting on that list, but unfortunately that list is growing faster than I can read.

IMG_1176

Not long ago, my sister-in-law introduced me to BookBub, a service you can sign up for in which you pre-select the types of books you would be interested in reading (I signed up for both fiction novels and non-fiction history books.). Once activated, you then get a daily e-mail message that lists digital books that are on sale—just for that one day—priced from “Free” to $3.99. Who can pass up these kinds of prices? So far this year, I’ve purchased eight BookBub books, each for $2.99 or less. Even with the current price of gas, I can’t drive to the public library and check out a book for much less than that.

My problem is, as always, I am a slow reader. I marvel at my wife for how fast she can read.

My Wife's Bookcase

My Wife’s Bookcase

Often when our evening is almost over, we will each get up on our bed and read a digital book on our iPad. It is amazing how quickly she is touching her iPad to move to the next page. Sadly for me, I often end up falling asleep while reading being so worn out by the end of the day.

DSCN0235

One of the best times for me to get to read is when I am traveling by air. I honestly don’t mind sitting in the airport waiting to board when I have a good book to read. And once on the plane, I often put ear buds in to discourage any conversation from fellow travellers so I can have hours of uninterrupted reading pleasure. Thank goodness we can now use our e-readers below 10,000 feet and while waiting to depart.

747

My favorite flight is on my return trip from Amsterdam each year when I typically have a seven to eight hour flight during day light hours when, despite the 7-hour time difference, is still when I would normally be awake (The flight to Amsterdam is overnight so I usually try to sleep as much as I can rather than read to better acclimate to the 7-hour time loss).

DSC_2408

Another favorite time of mine is on vacation when I can also spend many hours reading non-stop.

Having turned 60, an age I’ve always thought of as “old” (although less so now that I am actually 60), I’ve had the sad thought of wondering just how many more years of reading I have left.

One of the items on my “to do” list once I retire is to read more. So even though knowing each of us has a limited number of years to live, I plan to accelerate my reading. Not that I will necessarily become a speed-reader to rival my wife. But with more hours available to read, I’ll be able to read even more books. But I suspect that even with that change, I’ll still have trouble keeping up with all the books I want to read. Because there are just so many great books out there, and the universe of books continues to expand ever larger.

Puzzle Addiction

Earlier this year, I posted about one of my favorite wintertime activities—putting together puzzles. In that post, I postulated that the popularity of puzzles was likely due to an addiction. Well I now have to admit that I too have succumbed to that addiction.

img_3505

In my last post, I mentioned that I had ordered another puzzle as soon as I had completed the first one. Whether I did it consciously or subconsciously I picked another puzzle that had a number of individual scenes rather than one main scene, which makes it almost like a number of smaller puzzles within a larger puzzle. With this puzzle type, you can focus on finishing one scene and gain a quick sense of accomplishment even though there are still a large number of pieces remaining to be placed.

img_3508

Obviously the first step with any puzzle is to lay out all of the pieces on your work surface, trying to isolate the side pieces in one area as you remove them from the bag. As with the Door puzzle, once I began to assemble the side pieces, I found that several were missing leaving three distinct gaps in the puzzle frame. But as before, I forged ahead knowing that they would eventually turn up.

img_3510

As I was laying out all of the pieces, I noticed that this puzzle, unlike most I had worked in the past, had a number of unusually shaped pieces. The four pieces at the top are shaped similarly to puzzle pieces I have assembled before. But the other pieces were rather oddly shaped. I could see that I would have to abandon my old approach of organizing pieces by shape for easier placement in the puzzle since some of these pieces seemed almost one-of-a-kind.

img_3509

As with the door puzzle, I started working on individual scenes that had some unique colors that would make their assembly easier. By the time I had almost completed four of these, I had finally located all of the side pieces.

img_3511

One helpful quality of this puzzle was that there was a brown border around each of the individual scenes. This made framing these simpler as I could look for the pieces that had this detail. But then I noticed the center scene (the Eames chair) had a turquoise frame around it. Therefore I decided to focus on that one next since those frame pieces would be easily distinguishable from the other ones that had a brown frame.

img_3513

With the center scene complete, I then focused on the other frames that each had a unique color combination.

img_3516

And before I knew it, I had only about four incomplete frames left…

img_3522

…and my pace quickened, aided by the diminished number of pieces remaining, until I had just one scene left to assemble.  At this point I couldn’t stop and so proceeded to work until the puzzle was complete.

img_3526

This puzzle I assembled in less than a week which is pretty amazing given that I had already returned to work (although I must admit I did multi-task on my work-from-home day adding pieces while in teleconferences).

img_3515

And at the end of the week, we had a snow day from work which gave me some additional time for puzzle assembly.

img_3528

But I also recognized that uncontrollable itch, that just like a drugged-up junkie; I was looking for my next “fix” even before finishing this puzzle and so ordered my next puzzle using my wife’s accelerated 2-day shipping.

img_3529

For this purchase, I decided to go with a more traditional single-scene puzzle. Exploring the world of puzzles online, I debated between train scenes, landscape scenes, and car scenes but anyone who knows me well enough could have predicted that the car scene would be my first pick, this particular one of the famous Woodward Avenue in Detroit, home of the annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

Obviously what caught my eye on this one were the 1960s era muscle cars. What I failed to notice was that nearly one third of the puzzle was an almost monochromatic night sky.

img_3532

This realization was validated once I had laid out all the pieces into four groupings: side pieces, colorful pieces, road pieces, and sky pieces. The sky pieces, mostly in two shades of purple are to the right. I decided that part of the puzzle would have to be last and I would likely have to use my trusty tool of organizing the individual pieces by shape just like I did for the snow scene puzzle.

img_3533

I got an early taste for what this would be like just assembling the sidepieces as the road at the bottom and the sky at the top required a one-by-one trial and error approach to completing the puzzle frame.

With the puzzle framed, I decided to focus first on the front three cars. If this approach allowed me to additionally place the road pieces around them, I would have half the puzzle complete before working on the center band of color leaving the sky to tackle last. With this plan of attack, I forged ahead.

img_3534

Turns out, starting with the blue car was harder than I thought. As I looked closer, I could see that the car was not a uniform blue color but had reds, yellows, and whites throughout it. I kept plugging at it but eventually gave up when I had only partially completed the hood and the tires.

img_3536

As can be seen, I actually had better luck with assembling the road, which I thought would be more difficult. With the headlights reflected on the road in the picture, it transformed what might have been a single colored road surface into rainbow shades of purple and tan.

Sticking with my original strategy, I decided to work on the red car next. Although it had some “surprising” purple and flesh tones colors incorporated into its picture, it actually proved much easier than the blue car to assemble.

img_3537

At this point, I decided to modify my strategy and rather than working on the yellow car, I moved all of the “suspected” blue car pieces over to the right and focused on the famous Totem Pole Drive In.

img_3539

This turned out to be a very wise detour as in no time; I had the iconic structure assembled.

img_3540

And if you look closely around the famous marquee, you will see it is outlined with what I thought were blue car pieces but were actually sky pieces, brightened by the sign’s lights from the evening purple sky to almost daylight blue. No wonder the blue car had been so hard to assemble; its pieces were hiding among blue-sky pieces that repeatedly would not fit anywhere on the car.

Before returning to the blue car, I decided to assemble the yellow car, which proved a wise decision as the two cars overlap and as I added yellow pieces, small bits of the blue car on the yellow pieces helped it get assembled as well.

img_3543

Then returning to the blue car, its assembly was much easier and any piece that didn’t go to it became part of all the other cars in the background.

img_3544

At this point, I was left with about 200 pieces of various shades of purple almost evenly divided between dark and light.

img_3547

I semi-organized them by shape and jumped in.

img_3548

I started with the lighter colored purple pieces first to build the sky from the ground up. I occasionally ran across a piece with small black dots on it (bits of tree) which made them easy to place.

img_3552

Once I had finished with the lighter colored pieces, it was a one-by-one trial and error approach to complete the darkest part of the sky. This process took a while as I might try 30 or 40 pieces in a single location before finding the right piece. Some of the pieces had unusual shapes, which made them much easier. After several days of this approach, I finally completed the puzzle.

img_3608

I was most pleased with the outcome.

As I mentioned before, once you complete a puzzle, a part of you just does not want to take it apart. After all, you probably spent hours and hours working on it only to have it torn apart in just a few minutes.

img_3604

This puzzle included an advertisement on the side of the box to preserve the completed puzzle in a frame for those individuals who just couldn’t bear to take it apart. Being a car-loving guy, I must say I was briefly tempted to frame it but in the end, I knew it wouldn’t look as nice as just a framed poster of the same scene due to all the “crinkled” lines.

So I took it apart satisfied with the three puzzles that I had completed prior to the end of January, which interestingly is National Puzzle month. But I think the time I spent this January working on these three turned me into a real “puzzler” and I look forward to next winter and the puzzles I will assemble then.

Retirement Dreaming?

img_3702

A few months before my planned retirement date, I had an unusual dream. I know we do not fully understand how our minds process data while we sleep but when we can recall a dream; it is often interesting and sometimes even enlightening how different events at the time get woven into our dream. In case you have not followed my posts previously, a little background information may be helpful.

Credit: Saveup.com

Credit: Saveup.com

After almost 35 years working at the same location, I am retiring. But the cause of my retirement is not necessarily a planned event; it is the result of our work site closure and relocation out of state. I was one of the employees designated to work until the site closure actually occurred to ensure a smooth transition of functions to the new site. And since I was planning on retiring in 2018 anyway, it did not make sense for me to relocate to a new site for what would likely be less than a year of additional employment.

Prior to my dream, several related events occurred.

First, for some time, I had been thinking about the fact that when I left, there would be no retirement party. Not that my vanity caused me to wish for the recognition in such an event but just the acknowledgement that there would be no happy celebration of one of the most significant milestones anyone can achieve in their professional career. Over my years at this location, I had been to numerous joyous occasions when others retired. It seemed almost as if rather than me leaving the company, it was leaving me.

Then a few days before I had the dream, my boss told me that rather than executing the previous plan of consolidating the last few remaining employees onto the first floor of our multi-floor building, that we had had an offer on the entire site and may have to actually vacate the site before our planned closing date.

With that as background, in my dream, I was going to a surgery center to have some procedure performed, for what I do not know. When I entered the center, there was a vast number of beds sunken into the ground so that the bed surface was level with the floor. The room was divided into plots with four beds to a plot, each surrounded by a walkway. The beds were of different sizes and styles (I tried to draw this image for you but alas, I am not a very good free-hand artist).

I don’t know if I arrived late but there was no more room for me on that floor so I had to go down a long walking escalator to the lower level. When they took me to my bed, rather than a bed level with the floor, it was a coffin. I remember sensing it was going to feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable and I was not going to be able to move around.

coffin

I told the attendant I did not want to be in that coffin and so was shown to another bed much like the others in the room.

The next thing I remember, much like when we are sedated for a medical procedure, was afterwards. I never understand what procedure was performed on me. But my next image was of me standing at a loading dock. Backed up to the building were the open doors of an 18-wheeler trailer. Inside were rows and rows of identical wedge shaped containers, almost like roller luggage bags. I must have been told the trailer was loaded with biological tissues from other patients who’d had procedures, the contents of which were being taken offsite for sanitary incineration.

My bag was not on the truck and then the doors were closed and the truck left. After the truck was out of sight, my bag arrived at the dock all by itself.

img_3676

Somehow I knew that my red and black work backpack, which contained my work computer and my personal iPad was also in the roller bag. But when I looked closely at the bag, thinking I needed to take out my backpack before it went off to the incinerator, I could see that there was something beating inside the bag like a human heart.

img_3678

I knew I couldn’t open it for fear of what I might see inside and then all of a sudden the beating heart stopped.

My next thought was, wait I am not dead. Even though the heart in there has stopped beating, I am still alive. I then wheeled my bag into a secluded alcove where I planned to take out my backpack without anyone seeing me. Then I woke up.

I shared this dream with my wife over dinner that night and she thought it was quite revealing. She coaxed me through interpreting what it might mean.

The work life that I had known for so many years was dead but I was not. Something was taken from my body but I had survived. Going to the lower surgery center level was probably me having to relocate at work. Being lead to the coffin were the months of anticipation knowing our site was closing, in a sense dying. And the 18-wheeler was filled with human losses from all of the other employees impacted by this site closure reminiscent of how all our lab samples had actually been loaded onto an 18-wheeler months before and relocated to a new lab.

While this may sound like a bit of a morbid dream, I think it will help me bring closure to my working full time. I am actually very much looking forward to “retiring” although I must say that with air quotes as I plan to continue to teach and potentially consult. I know it will mean change for the life my family and I have known for so long. But I expect it to be a joyous change with more time for travel, more time with my family, and more time for other fun activities. SO close that casket and let the fun begin!