Retirement!

This is my friend Mitch.

He retired a little over two years ago, and his son Sean took this picture as he came out of his home office. He was so happy to retire from a job that had become a slog. He’s told me many times (as all retired people seem to do) that he’s thoroughly enjoying his time without a full-time job.

Today it was my turn.

Yep, that’s my home office behind me, and I’m officially retired today. Unlike Mitch, I absolutely loved my job, the guys I worked with, and my clients. But it’s time to move on to the next adventure.

I’ll miss these yahoos on the Zing team:

But I know they’re going to do great, and the company will continue to grow and flourish. As for me, I plan to start my retirement with a bunch of summer trips, tons of ultimate, and then my move to Montana. Here we go!

New ride

The untimely demise of our van has made us think about buying a new car to replace it. We need something with all-wheel drive (for the Montana winters), some towing capacity (for the jet skis), and cargo/seating space (for our kids who aren’t really kids any more). After shopping around and test-driving several different vehicles, we settled on a Honda CR-V. We are, after all, a Honda family with our Odyssey, Accord, and Civic.

After a marathon afternoon of negotiating for a used one and failing (they didn’t want to meet our price), we opted for a new one. Laralee chose “lava red” as the color, and it’s pretty sharp.

We’re heading up to Breckenridge for a four-day weekend, and I figure we’ll spend a good portion of the drive figuring out all the controls and phone integrations and music settings and whatnot. Pretty cool stuff!

Graduation!

Zaque officially finished high school yesterday as he graduated from Skyline. We had beautiful weather, and his class was smaller than Alex’s or Kyra’s, so the ceremony went a little more quickly.

Here he is, walking onto the sports field:

And getting his diploma:

Afterward he posed with Grandma and Grandpa, Kyra, and of course Mom and Dad:

Congratulations to the youngest of the Schroeder Clan! Now it’s on to the next adventure…

End of an era

Last night was the Longmont ultimate league tournament, and the end of many years running that league. Despite the fact that it’s the end of May, we’d had snow earlier in the week and it rained the entire day before. The forecast called for rain the day of the tournament as well, and I fully expected that we wouldn’t play because the city would close the fields. But the weather held, and we took the field in a 40-degree chill.

My team beat our first opponent handily, and started off strong in the second game, but then sort of imploded and lost the semi-finals. That team went on to take a dramatic victory in the championship game. Several of the players, including the captain, had never won a GRU league before, so it was cool to see them finally make it happen. One of them told me she’s been playing in GRU for 18 years and never won, so I was happy for all of them.

Despite the unseasonably cold weather, it was a fun evening. During a brief bout of rain, as the sun was setting over the mountains, we were treated to an amazing double rainbow. The pictures definitely don’t do it justice.

Since I’ll be gone in the fall, I won’t get to play in Longmont league again. I was touched when, just before the championship game, a big group of people gathered around me to present me with some t-shirts they’d all autographed. A few of my friends had taken the shirts around to all the teams that night, asking people to sign them. Even though I’ll play in the summer league, it’s sad to leave behind Longmont league. This one has been dear to my heart for a long time, and I love the spirit in the league and the camaraderie of the hundred or so people who play in it.

Champs

It’s been a few ultimate seasons since I won a championship, so it was fun to be crowned in last night’s indoor league.

Note the spiffy fanny packs… those were the prizes for the winners. Yeah. I promptly gave mine away to a six-year-old girl (the daughter of Sam, who’s on the far left in blue). And no, the score wasn’t really 115-9; the scoreboard was wonky all night.

To be fair, this wasn’t a traditional league. We used a “hat” format, where teams were randomly shuffled every week. One of my co-league-coordinators wrote a simulated annealing program (I don’t know what that means, but it sounds cool) which generated rosters based on skill level, height, weight, gender, and a few other factors. The idea was to create new teams that were relatively balanced, and it worked pretty well. Everyone scored points based on how their teams did in a given week, and at the end of the season the top players were considered the champions. In fact, I suspect it was pretty much random chance, though, rather than any particular skill on the part of the players.

All in all, it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed playing on teams with almost everyone in the league.

Under-dressed as usual

Dirk posted this on Facebook today:

Several friends (who don’t know Dirk or Jen) have seen it and commented that I seem a little under-dressed. I guess that’s kind of par for the course with me.

That was a fun day, being a part of their wedding. Happy anniversary, old friend.

End of an era

Today was my last day teaching seminary. It’s been four years of getting up at 5:15am every school day and spending an hour with half-asleep high schoolers. Four years of going to bed early, trying to sleep when I wasn’t tired but knowing I’d have to be up in six hours. Four years of spending two hours every day preparing a lesson. Four years of figuring out how to make the lesson engaging and interesting to those half-asleep teenagers. Four years of studying the scriptures in detail, and reading manuals, and researching church history. Four years of wearing a shirt and tie every morning.

And so after returning home from my empty classroom today, I deleted my 5:15am alarm for the last time. That felt good.

When I first received my call to serve as a teacher, my supervisor said, “welcome to the hardest and the greatest calling in the church”. She was right. It was hard… definitely the hardest calling I’ve had in my twenty-five years of service. And it was great… so much fun to be with a roomful of kids every day, so much to learn, and so many blessings from all of it. I’m happy to finish, but sad to see it go.

Chemistry and monsters

Found in an old notebook of Kyra’s:

For some reason, I love the juxtaposition of an ionic reaction with copper chloride, and a bunch of little monsters.

True story

I found a snippet of an article from the New York Times sometime in the 1990’s:

As a physicist, I can attest this is true.

Those were the days

Another thing I found in my box of really old stuff (in a manila folder called Miscellaneous, if you can believe it) is this beautiful page from a copier, circa 1992.

That’s Dempsey in the shades on the left, and those are my lips and nostrils on the right. We’d taken a road trip from Rolla to Jefferson City one night (because that’s kind of stuff we did) and broke into the State Capitol building. I think it’s okay for me to admit that now, because surely the statute of limitations has expired. We wandered the marble hallways for a while and found a copier, and decided to put it to use. Hence the “Missouri tax dollars at work” note at the top.

Ahh, college.

Okay, so I’m a geek

I’m going through boxes of old stuff, cleaning house, and stumbled across a page I’d torn out of a magazine.

Luckily Linux isn’t quite that bad these days, but yeah, I do remember days of figuring out arcane hardware configurations and the like. (I’m looking at you, X11.)

Mission call 3!

Like Alex and Kyra before him, Zaque has decided to serve a mission for the church. After a few months of preparing (mostly waiting for the earliest time he could submit his paperwork), last night he received his mission call.

Unlike past years, missionaries now receive their calls via email. So it’s a little different to stand around Zaque’s computer as he opens the email, rather than sitting on the couch as he tears open an envelope.

He clicked the link in the email and started reading the letter aloud.

It started out just like all the others: “You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints…”

And then came the second sentence, the one all prospective missionaries read with a little anxiety (mixed with excitement) in their voice: the one that tells them where they’ll be serving.

“You are assigned to labor in the Oklahoma Oklahoma City Mission.”

Yep, Zaque’s heading to Oklahoma on September 18 for two years. Laralee and I are so proud of him. He’s going to be an amazing missionary.

You’re drinking WHAT?

Laralee always impresses me with her dedication to eating well. She makes all sorts of concoctions that are amazingly healthy, or involve “superfoods”, or are elixirs of immortality, or whatever. Today I was impressed with the drink she created in the blender. Or, more accurately, I was impressed by how thick and purple it was.

I think it includes things like spinach, beets, and grass. Yes, grass. But such is the price of being healthy, I guess…

Fini

Today was Zaque’s last day of high school. He seemed pretty happy.

We still have to get through graduation next weekend, but for now he’s just thrilled not to have to worry about homework, quizzes, tests, and projects. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure how much he worried about those anyway…

RIP desk

Back in the late 90’s, we bought a desk. It was easily the largest desk I’ve ever seen, and since it was made of particle board (we were freshly out of college and married) it weighed hundreds and hundreds of pounds. But its sheer bulk made it practically indestructible– I’m pretty sure we could’ve weathered a tornado or a nuclear blast underneath it. When we had a moving company transport our stuff to this house, the workers (who were all massive Tongan guys who carry stuff for a living) confirmed it was the largest, heaviest, most awkward desk they’d ever encountered.

It takes up the entire front room of our house (admittedly, it’s a pretty small room to begin with) and over the years Laralee’s accumulated quite a few things. The desk has so many drawers and cubbies that it’s easy to stash just about anything in it.

Well, the time had come to retire The Desk. Not only do we need to downsize our things a bit in preparation for our fall move, but I’m pretty tired of having my desk in the basement. Now that I’m approaching retirement, I don’t want to have to trudge downstairs, all by myself, whenever I want to use my computer. I’d rather share the office with La.

So I emptied out The Desk. I ended up with stacks and stacks of books, papers, office supplies, sewing materials (!), and who knows what else. It took up most of the space in our dining room.

This is what The Desk looked like afterward:

Then came the adventure of disposing of it. We decided we couldn’t give it away to a friend, because it’s literally so huge that no one would have space for it (without emptying an entire room of their house). We couldn’t just set it out on the front curb with a big “FREE” sign on it, because it literally weighs five hundred pounds or more and no one would be able to move it (plus, we’d need to disassemble it to get it out the door, then reassemble it on the curb). So we dismantled it into about fifty pieces, loaded everything into the van, and took it all to the dumpster at my office. Several of the larger pieces were too big for the dumpster and had to be cracked in half with strategic karate kicks. Fortunately particle board cracks pretty easily with enough concentrated pressure.

With the office empty, we set up a smaller desk for Laralee and moved my desk (just a solid-core door with two filing cabinets) up from the basement. Even with these much smaller desks, the office is still pretty cramped.

But we’ve accomplished our two goals: no more big desk to move, and I won’t be stuck down in the basement this summer. Yay!

So many veggies

Laralee and Kyra are about to start a two-week “cleanse”, which is code for “food no normal human would eat”. The intention is to help both of them with the malaise they’ve been feeling. It means we have a ton of fruits and vegetables that Laralee bought, and she’ll be testing some new recipes for super-healthy food. It also means Zaque and I can look forward to cooking our own meals for the next couple of weeks (hello, mac and cheese!)

Feliz Dia Mama!

Today is Mother’s Day, which of course means none of our kids did anything special for their mother. Luckily our second daughter, Hannah, brought over some nice flowers, chocolate bars (Chocolove, of course), and balloons.

She’s very sweet, and Laralee definitely felt touched by the gesture.

Senior pix

Zaque will be graduating from high school in a few short weeks, and I realized we have to put together some graduation announcements. He and I went out to the yard, where the tree in our front lawn is in full blossom, to take some “nice” photos.

Of course, it’s Zaque. So the results went something like this:

But in the end I managed to catch him right when he looked presentable. Woo hoo!