Tuesday, March 29, 2016


I haven’t written for a while because the rut has been too deep these past weeks, or maybe the old brain has been doing a lot of thrashing lately.  It’s time to breathe a little, and behold – WE HAVE SPRING!!  Spring is such a fantastic time of hope, or at least I am more hopeful when it’s spring.  The redbud trees have opened their orchid blossoms, daffodils have come, grass is green and growing, and the Bradford pears exploded this week (I mean that in a good way…not making reference to acts of terrorism).

Hepatica? growing along the Michael Tygart trail, Greenbo Lake State Park

Yesterday afternoon, I took a certification test and PASSED!!  Hallelujah!  Now I’m a legitimate Microsoft Office Specialist, a certification many of the bigger universities insist on for instructors teaching the same class I teach at the community college.  It’s been in my plans to get this certification for at least a year…something that’s been simmering on the back burner under procrastination’s heavy lid.  I was no more ready for it yesterday than a year ago, but perhaps I just didn’t want to fail…so I waited.

I made the decision to go ahead, finally, only because several of my students want to take it soon and were begging me for insights…which I had none to give other than what is available online.  It’s a financial issue for some of them to take the exam, not that money is no object for me, but $120 is not a deal-breaker.  I wanted to give them first-hand information before they decide to borrow money to take it.
The test was harder than I expected, but the testing platform was much easier to use than our Office training simulator.  About a third of the way through, I was convinced that I’d already failed.  With two minutes left on the timer and my brain in utter defeat mode, I clicked the submit button.  Calculating…calculating…PASS – Green check mark!  OMG!  Confetti and balloons dropped from the ceiling, and the orchestra launched Ode to Joy (only in my imagination).  It was a thrill, and well worth the pounding headache from no sleep the night before and all the pre-stress of taking a test.  I don’t like tests.  Now I have a badge in Word.  My next goal is to get a badge in Excel – with two badges, I become a Microsoft Office Expert (MOE)...which kind of reminds me of the Three Stooges.

Moe, Curly, and Larry
So, the session for University #2 ends Sunday night.  It will be a hard weekend ahead - grading papers and final e-paperwork to close out my classes for the session.  I don’t know what lies in store next with this university.  My understanding is that enrollment is up, so hopefully there will be more work for me.

Now it’s time to update my CV, resume, and all the job board profiles with this new certification.  I want to find more work before my retirement date.  I have a promise (but no contract yet) of work fall term with University #3, depending on enrollment.  Training is supposed to happen in summer, but no specifics have been sent to me.  That job is still smoke until something tangible transpires.  

Retirement from real job – set for July 1.  I was surprised that last week somebody was named to take over about 60% of my work.  Welcome to my world, young fella.  He graduated in December and has little experience, but these systems he’s taking on are legacy and fairly trouble-free under normal circumstances.  They are good systems for a new person.  He has much to learn – technical, social, and especially political.

As a retired person (semi-retired in reality...just gone from the job that really pays the bills), I see a lot of wonderful changes.  For one, the alarm clock will not get much use.  I'm going to hike, camp, kayak, golf, play piano and guitar again, sew, clean house, actually look at cookbooks and try new recipes, declutter, garden, go to the gym, do home repairs, bike, visit my girls more often, visit friends I haven't seen in years, and...work 3 or 4 teaching jobs.  Yeah...I don't know, but it's going to be very good.  Sixty-five working days to go - but who's counting?