Shawn and I both had our retirement parties at work on Thursday.  I think the emotions of it all surprised both of us.  It is hard to say goodbye to people you have spent 5 days-a-week with for years.

My party was in the morning, and my team provided a great spread of bagels, coffee, and carrot cake.  I stood just inside the door to the conference room and got to hug or shake hands with everyone that came in.  It was like a wedding receiving line.  A few people stood and said some very nice words, and I learned that I touched their lives and careers in ways I was not aware of.  I received lots of cards and well wishes in retirement and a photo book with pictures of each of my teams.

The quilted background is a nice touch

And I feared only a few people would show up

Shawn’s party was in the afternoon.  HIs team went all out with a farm theme for decorations.  Dioramas with potato characters, a red barn door for a photo backdrop, and a pinata in the shape of a terminal.  Shawn may have enjoyed smashing the pinata a bit too much.

Shawn with his team

Shawn and I in our Idaho potato form

After the parties, we headed home to finish loading the last Pod.  We really thought we had everything gathered up and ready to go, but in the last week, it seemed like the few things we had left expanded like a wet sponge.  By some miracle, Shawn and friends got everything in the Pod and the RV.  We actually ended putting so much stuff in the RV that we could only access the bedroom and bathroom while traveling.

Special thanks to our friends and family: Warren, Jeff, April, Jordan, Dorian, Stepanie, Matt, and Malcolm for helping us pack.  We would have been working way past midnight without you.  After the last dinner at our favorite neighborhood Mexican-Italian bistro, we had to say our last goodbyes.

After a sleepless night on an air mattress in our empty house, we cleaned and vacuumed.  Then we realized we had lost one of our cats.  We figured Chuck snuck out while we were moving things into the RV.  We called for him and looked in all his usual haunts, but no luck.  After an hour of searching, we stood in the kitchen wondering what we were going to do when Chuck sauntered out from the depths of one of the kitchen cabinets.

Time to hit the road for Idaho…California is in the rearview mirror.