I Will Be Retiring Early

Totally jazzed about the Bay Lights, I organized happy hour yesterday at Palomino’s. I sent an email to a dozen friends, then sent an internal email to 17 work friends.

No one showed! Granted only one person confirmed (he ended up flaking on me), but still. I felt like the loner in school who has a birthday party and no one attends. I kept thinking, shit, Dean’s working so he can’t make it. I’m at happy hour which I rarely entertain these days. I’m married so I can’t very well start flirting with the bartenders. I’m a 4’10” midget stuck in a crowded bar, by myself, and utterly screwed.

Luckily I spotted a single seat at the bar and wiggled my way in. A much older man sitting by himself was seated to my right. He advised, “Get your food and drink right away. Everything is taking forever.”

I thanked him and asked if he would be watching the Bay Lights later. He said he was only waiting for traffic to die down before heading home. He went on to say he was a contractor for PG&E. He had retired over a decade ago at the age of 53, but continued to do contract work on a project-by-project basis, depending on his mood and his vacation plans.

“Ahhh, do tell,” I beamed, “How can I retire at 53?”

“PG&E offered early retirement and I decided to go for it. I wasn’t sure whether it was the right decision at the time, but it’s worked out. They call me every now and then to work on projects. It’s good. It works for me. It’s flexible and I’m happy.”

“That’s awesome, “ I responded. “I wish someone would offer me early retirement. I still want to work even after I’m retired, but I want to do something totally mindless like work at Trader Joe’s, checking out groceries. That would be cool.”

“Yeah those kids seem laid-back alright.”

While he flashed his credit card to pay his bill, a woman behind him begged, “If you don’t mind, I’m going to snag your seat when you’re done.”

He nodded, “It’s all yours.” We shook hands and he went on his way.

I offered the same advice to the woman who sat down. “They’re understaffed so whenever you get their attention, order everything at once.”

She said, “I come here all the time. I live in the building next door. It’s never like this!”

“Oh, do you work around here too?”

“Well, I’m technically retired. But I do a lot of volunteer work. My husband and I live in Moraga, but we keep an apartment in the city. I love it here. Plus we love the Giants!”

Was this fate or what? I think I’m meant to retire early. Two early retirees in a row sitting next to me in a crowded bar right before the Grand Lighting of the Bay Lights? This is a sign from God.

Move Over Golden Gate, It’s the Bay Bridge’s Time

When the lights go (up) in the city

And the sun shines on the bay

Do I want to be there-ere-ere

In my city

Oh, oh, woh, woah

The Bay Lights launches next week Tuesday March 5th on the Bay Bridge. Cmon people, this is more exciting than the World Series or the Superbowl. This is fine art in our very own backyard for the whole world to see. This is huge. This is major. This is epic!

I can’t resist adding that the artist is a long-time Burner (Burning Man attendee) who founded Disorient camp.

Below are key tidbits I pulled from the Bay Lights site, their news release, and their fact sheet.

THE BAY LIGHTS is an iconic public art installation created by internationally renowned artist Leo Villareal, with over 25,000 white energy-efficient LEDs on the Bay Bridge West Span. This ever-changing, dazzling light sculpture will be 1.8 miles wide and 500 feet high – a monumental tour de force eight times the scale of the Eiffel Tower’s 100th Anniversary lighting. It will impact an audience of over 50 million people in the Bay Area alone, with billions more seeing THE BAY LIGHTS in media and online over two years, starting with a Grand Lighting Ceremony on March 5, 2013.

THE BAY LIGHTS is a site specific installation. The artist will use patterns of weather, the water and the traffic of cars, ships and wildlife as inspiration for creating his software algorithms. The patterns will never repeat.

THE BAY LIGHTS will be seen by over 50 million people in the Bay Area with billions of media impressions globally. It will also infuse significant resources into the region creating jobs and contributing to local businesses. An independent economic impact assessment conservatively estimates $97 million will be added to the local economy as a result of this project.

THE BAY LIGHTS will put the Bay Area in the global spotlight for two years, starting with a momentous Grand Lighting Ceremony on March 5, 2013, a year that also features the America’s Cup, the Port of San Francisco’s 150th Anniversary, the opening of the new Exploratorium at Pier 15 and, within days of the America’s Cup’s finale, the opening celebrations for California’s largest civic works project – the Bay Bridge East Span.

The LEDs are high efficiency and the power used will be offset by solar credits for the least environmental impact. Only $11,000 per year is allocated to energy cost.

Modus NonOperandi

Yesterday, I felt like a little rice cooker completely under pressure, with its cover bubbling up and down from the steam. I felt hot when I woke up so I took my temperature which was 101. I considered calling in sick again, I could barely walk in a straight line, but what was I going to do? Lay in bed for the 4th consecutive day in a row? I forced myself into the office and I have to say, I started to feel better as soon as I started responding to emails and being my productive cubicle-sequestered self. I felt alive, like, thank God I have a brain to use.

In addition to catching up on work, I reviewed and signed the listing agreement for the sale of my condo. Looks like I’m selling since I autographed all those pages yesterday. In the end, I realized it’s better to be completely free of the condo. It’s not in a hot neighborhood. Who knows how long rents will remain high? I might as well cash out and be done with it. Sayonara!

Selling brings a whole host of decisions and tasks that make me want to jump off of the soon-to-be-dazzling Bay Lights Bridge. But I will save all that goodness for another post.

It was a jam-packed work day. Mind you, I have the flu. I only want to go to bed after work. Instead of heading home, I take the MUNI cross-town to my acupuncturist appointment. Dean has the appointment after mine. When I finish, Dean greets me and the acupuncturist says, “Feel better, Catherine, I’ll see you next week.”

I’m confused because Dean’s supposed to be doing acupuncture too and instead we’re both walking out the door. He explains that it’s too stressful for him to get to the appointment in time given his commute. Fine, I get that. He adds that she asked if he wanted a referral to an acupuncturist close to his work and he said no.

That’s when I lost it.

I cannot single-handedly conceive Ghost Baby when the 2 of us both have infertility issues. I have done everything in my power to correct the situation. I have undergone more than my fair share of blood work, procedures, prescriptions, injections. I do acupuncture. I have completely (and unhappily) examined every ingredient that goes into my body. I submit the receipts. I fill out the paper work for reimbursement. None of this stuff is free. I am not going to say I do everything, but damnit, I do a good majority of it.

Where has all this gotten me? Let’s check the stats.

79 pounds (thank you tasteless, disgusting, gluten-free, alcohol-free, sugar-free diet for putting me nowhere close to my goal of 91 pounds)

1 influenza virus

0 ghost baby

I do feel self-conscious airing my dirty laundry publicly, but at the same time, I feel like other people never do. So there’s this perception that people who write blogs it’s all about travel and design and unicorns. Next thing you know, you read that some famous blogger is getting divorced and you wonder was she ever for real? With all her gazillion posts, was she ever upfront about her genuine life. I mean, these are not fairy tales we are writing. These are factual accounts of our lives.

My blog is real. Like this is me. The real, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, always OCD me. We do a lot of fun stuff. We travel, do staycations, enjoy all the amazing things that San Francisco has to offer. But we also have problems just life everyone else. And it wouldn’t make sense if all I wrote about was Disneyland. If you haven’t noticed, this ain’t utopia.