retirement

My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is starting out on a new life adventure and a new phase in his life. On July 12, 2022, after 39 years, almost to the day, with Sinclair Oil Company, Mike began his retirement. Sinclair had been purchased by a company called Holly, and it seemed like a good time for Mike to take his next life steps. Mike, and my sister, Caryl have been working toward and looking forward to this day for about five years now. They bought some land outside Casper, where Caryl was born, and we, all of her sisters still live. They built a house and barn on the property and have been raising crops for a couple of years now…long distance. The first year they raised oats, and this year it’s a mixture of alfalfa, oats, and grass. I never knew this, but that is how you get to where you can raise hay. Since they lived too far to handle the day-to-day care, they have worked a deal with a neighbor to help with the watering so far, but they really want to be able to handle that job themselves instead to relying on the neighbor. While that has worked ok, their hearts desire is to be in Casper, even though, they will be leaving their two daughters and two grandchildren in Rawlins. Thankfully, Rawlins isn’t too far away, and they can make the trip back and forth periodically to visit.

Retirement might be a bit of adjustment for Mike, who is used to being in charge of quite a few men and women…for about five minutes, I would guess. For most people, retirement doesn’t take very long to “get used to” and find that you really love. Mike will have lots to do anyway. He is an avid hunter and fisher, and now he can head out to the lake and fish to his heart’s content. He can also get hunting licenses here and be able to go on day hunts, if he wants to. There is always work to be done on their little ranch. They have been beautifying their yard, and they had renters in the other house on the property who had horses, but they don’t anymore. They’ll take down the corral, because they aren’t going to raise horses.

Mike loves classic cars. And he owns several. He has also fixed up and sold some cars that needed love and refurbishing. Some of the cars they’ve had are really nice. He also loves their trike and traveling around on them with the wind in their faces. They are slowly phasing out their lives in Rawlins and transferring their lives to Casper. We are all so excited about having them move to Casper. We are all looking forward to spending time together. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My brother-in-law, Mike Stevens is heading for some very big life changes. He and my sister, Alena Stevens are getting ready to welcome a new granddaughter on June 24th, and they are so excited to meet her. They don’t their new little sweetheart’s name yet, but since she will arrive by C-section, they know when she will arrive. The whole family is very excited. With their son, Garrett and his family living in Sheridan, it has been harder for them to see their oldest granddaughter, Elliott, but all that is about to change.

On July 1st, Mike is going to retire from the oil fields, after 39 years. It has been a long and successful career, in which Mike has been promoted to high levels, and has had great success. Still, the time comes for all of us to retire and enjoy our golden years, even though the definition of those years has really changed for most people. It used to be that when people retired, they sat around watching television and sleeping in their chair, but these days people are really quite active. While our hobbies and activities of choice are different, they usually keep us very busy.

Mike and Alena are no exception to that rule. They have plans to do a lot of golfing, camping, and possibly some traveling with Mike’s new-found free time. In the immediate future, they plan to be in Sheridan to help out with Elliott while her parents are in the hospital with Elliott’s new baby sister. They are also hoping to bring Elliott to Casper for several weekends this summer, and before long the new baby will also be coming for visits. Kids love to spend the night with the grandparents, and it’s even more fun when that means a trip to a different town. Elliott and her grandpa are best friends. Mike loves to chase her around the house, push her on the swings, and pull her around on a sheet. Elliott giggles and giggles. They really are pals. The best kind of pals…grandpa and granddaughter kind of pals.

While Mike is leaving the oil field, the oil field isn’t totally leaving Mike. The convenient thing about the oil field is that they are always in need of oil field consultants, and it can be a really lucrative side gig too. Mike’s 39 years of oil field experience make him a prime candidate for the oil field consultant position, and they work their own hours, taking the jobs they choose, and not the ones they are told to do. I know that Mike will be very successful in all of his post-retirement ventures. Today is Mike’s 63rd birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My brother-in-law, Mike Reed is a man who likes to stay busy. He is a supervisor for the Sinclair Refinery in Sinclair, Wyoming, and has been there for years. As his working life winds to a close, Mike and my sister, Caryl Reed are busy working of their ranch outside Casper, Wyoming, which will be their “retirement” home. I’m not sure how much retiring people can do on a working ranch, but with the right help, I think they will manage to be more retired than working. They board horses, but really that is something that takes care of itself, because the owners are responsible for their own horses. Mike and Caryl just provide the land for the horses to stay on. They are also in their second year growing crops. Last year they grew oats, which a neighbor purchased immediately. This year they are growing oat hay. Now I didn’t know this before, but to grow hay is a three year process. You can’t just go out an grow alfalfa hay. Who knew? Next year will be their year for alfalfa hay, and they are excited. Mike really loves working on their ranch/hay farm, and really feels so at peace when he is there.

Mike and Caryl also love traveling, so this year they bought a really nice motorhome so that they could be comfortable as they travel around. After his retirement, they plan to do a lot of traveling, but Casper and the ranch will always be their home base. Mike also loves riding their new trike, and feeling the wind in their hair as they travel down the road. With the motorhome and the motorcycle, they are ready for any kind of trip they will want to take. With his retirement will come more golfing with Caryl. They took a trip to Salt Lake City for some R and R at the Little America Hotel there. They played golf at the city golf course, and enjoyed some relaxation time. They also like to stay at the Little America in Sun Valley, Idaho. Some of the Little America Hotels have golf courses, like the Sun Valley hotel…so they don’t even have to leave to play golf.

Mike loves restoring old cars and trucks and has several he is working on now. One of the trucks he is planning to sell, but the other will become a family work truck. The cars he restores, often become show cars, and that makes for more traveling, so it’s a win-win. Mike may be retiring, but I don’t see Mike not “working” in the near or even distant future. He is a man who likes to stay busy, and that means more projects. The thing about Mike is that he doesn’t start a project and then never finish it. He sees his projects through, and his work is excellent. So while it isn’t going to be a do-nothing retirement for Mike, it will be a very rewarding one for sure. Today is Mike’s birthday. Happy birthday Mike!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

My husband, Bob and I love the Black Hills. We go over every year for the Independence Day celebration, which also happens to be right around Bob’s birthday. It is a kind of double celebration for us. Bob and I love to hike, and we have a number of favorite trails in the Black Hills. Some trails we take every year, some only in years that we are in tip top condition, and we try to find a new trail once in a while. There is so much of the Black Hills that most people never see. The back country of the Black Hills, deep in the forest, is just stunning. These Independence Day trips are such a sweet retreat for Bob and me. We especially love the ride on the 1880 Train, as the grand finale. That ride is so relaxing, and it really never gets old.

Bob is such a hard worker. Even in Retirement, he spends a lot of time working on cars for people. There are people who totally depend of his knowledge and ability to keep their vehicles running, and I don’t know what he would do with himself if he didn’t work on the vehicles of all his friends and family members. Since his retirement, he has kept busy and has thoroughly enjoyed the work he does…plus the fact that he is his own boss. All the years he spent working for the City of Casper were great, but there is nothing quite like being your own boss. You work at your own pace and take only the jobs you want to take, and since Bob is such a social person, there is the added benefit of meeting people and making friends.

Bob is such a kind and thoughtful person, who always has something nice to say about everyone. Its a wonderful trait to be able to find the good in people, and that is just what Bob does. I don’t think he has ever met someone he didn’t like. That is something I love about Bob…his easy manner with people. It makes people comfortable with him. From adults to little kids. Everybody likes Bob. His nieces and nephews are all very fond of him, and love to spend time with him. They love to tease him and make him laugh, and he feels the same about them. Little kids are the best ones to watch. They can usually tell if a person is someone they would like, and Bob always falls into the “we like you” category. I have to agree with them. I like him too. He’s a pretty great guy. I liked him from the moment I met him…and I still do. Today is Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday Bob!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Recently, while watching a couple of television shows, I noticed that the latest term for retirement is Second Act, and I found that term to be rather interesting at this particular time in my own life. As my retirement neared, I began to make some mental notes about what I wanted it to look like. Of course, the obvious things came to mind…the trips we want to take, the work around the house that has been put off for far too long, and yes, sleeping in a little bit, but what else did I want this time in my life to be about. Of course, there is also the increased amounts of time to spend with family. Trips to Bellingham, Washington to visit our daughter, Amy Royce and her family, Travis, Shai, and Caalab, and to meet Shai’s guy, Jordan Chapman and Caalab’s girl, Chloe Foster, are definitely on the list. More time to spend with our daughter Corrie’s family, Kevin, Chris and his girl, and Josh, who live right here in Casper, but with all of us being so busy, we don’t see them as often as we would like. And of course to visit with our great granddaughter, is a high priority too. She is growing up so fast, and I don’t want to miss out.

As a blogger, the obvious next step is continued writing, and I will be blogging and advertising for my work alma mater…The Stengel Agency, and I am really happy to be staying close to everyone there, because they have been a huge part of my life for as much as 22 years, depending on the person. My life has been richly blessed by each and every person I worked with at The Stengel Agency, as well as their family members, who have become a part of my family too. My retirement will always include them, because they are of vital importance to me. Insurance has been a vital part of my life for 30 years now, since I first became an agent with the Don Foster Agency, before moving to The Stengel Agency in 1996. I would say that I am dating myself, but I think the word retirement has already done that, so the number of years as an insurance agent makes now really difference in that respect. Insurance has been good to me, even though it was not the career I had expected to have. Insurance made sense to me from the start.

As a writer, I have always been interested in writing a book. I guess we will see where that idea takes me, because I have no idea what I would like to write about…for a book anyway. Nevertheless, I’m sure it will come to me, because I have had no trouble coming up with story ideas in the past, so the future will simply bring with it longer story ideas. I’m sure that our travels will also help with writing ideas. Hiking the many beautiful trails we have in this country cane be very inspiring, whether I’m writing about nature hikes or World War II. And, speaking of hiking, that is going to be a big part of my Second Act. The weekends never seemed long enough to get out and hike the mountain trails on Casper Mountain, but with the whole day, every day off, I think we might be able to squeeze them in once a week, at least. There are so many things that have been going through my mind as the day approached, and now that it’s here, I guess the time has come to begin. I’m still not totally sure what my own Second Act will look like, but I’m excited to begin to find out. I’m ready for anything!! So, let the adventures begin!!

For the past 27 years, my brother-in-law, Chris Hadlock has been a peace officer. He spent the first seven years as a deputy for the Natrona County Sheriff’s Department, and the last twenty years as a police officer for the Casper Police Department. All that has come to and end now, as Chris retires from service. For me, as for most of his family, it is a very strange thought. We have identified Chris as a police officer for so long, that it’s almost as if we have to figure out who he is now. I know that is often the case with any retiree, no matter what field, but some changes seem bigger than others. When my husband, Bob Schulenberg retired, his identity went with him. He was a mechanic, and he still is a mechanic. His location just changed. That’s what happened when Chris switched from the sheriff’s department to the Casper police department…different location, but the same job. For Chris all that will change now, as he begins his new career in sales. It will be a big change, but I believe it will be a good change.

Chris served the people of Natrona County and the city of Casper for 27 years, and that is an amazing feat for a man in law enforcement. Law enforcement is a demanding occupation, both physically and emotionally, and 27 years is a long time to take that kind of abuse. The physical part of it is hard enough…running after people, jumping fences without knowing exactly what is on the other side, forcing their way into places where criminals are trying to keep them out, and pulling people out of cars and other places they have been trapped in…just to name a few. The emotional strain is far worse, in my opinion. Whenever an officer goes out on a call, they must almost force their adrenalin into high gear. I could say that one type of call is worse than another, but in reality, every call has the potential to reach a flashpoint…that moment, when communication breaks down, and the situation explodes. What might seem to be a simply traffic stop, suddenly puts officer against perpetrator, and sparks fly. Having gone on ride-alongs with Chris, I can say that I have seen those points a time or two. I can also say that my brother-in-law has an uncanny ability to de-escalate a situation better than anyone I’ve ever seen.

Chris is not retiring outright, but is rather going to go to work for Comcast in their sales department. He will be working in the area of police radios and such, so it’s really right up his alley. While it is going to be a big change for Chris, as well as my sister, Allyn and their kids, it is really the best move for him. Like a caregiver, the stress of his occupation could have, at some point become detrimental to his health. Yes, you can take care of yourself, but stress is stress, and it’s hard to avoid when your job demands it. There just comes a time when you know that it’s time to move on, and that was were Chris was, so once he was at the point of being vested, he knew it was his time to move. This really is a very positive move for Chris, and I wish him well in all his future ventures. Chris, we the people of Casper and Natrona County thank you for you years of faithful service. We congratulate you on your retirement. On now to new adventures!! We love you!!

Debbie & LynnFor a number of years now, my brother-in-law, Lynn Cook really didn’t want to go a lot of places. It was something I just couldn’t understand, then…but, I think I might have it figured out now. It really wasn’t that he didn’t want to go anywhere, it was about where he was going. Lynn was a truck driver for a number of years, and also served as a deputy sheriff for a number of years. I think that a big part of the problem was driving long distances, or driving much at all. Lynn, it seems had simply had his fill of driving.

Upon his retirement, suddenly, Lynn didn’t mind going places so much…provided that the destination was a camping spot in the Big Horn Mountains for Campa month or so at a time, that is. It would seem that the problem actually wasn’t the trip, but the destination. He wanted to go to one place, camp out, sit around the campfire, and just relax. In reality, I think that most of us who have worked for any length of time, can relate to that. It’s all about have your day finally be under your control.

Retirement for Lynn Cook meant that he and my sister-in-law, Debbie could go out in the mountains, shut off the phones…not that they had much reception there anyway, and just disconnect. Yep, it was about being disconnected from the hustle and bustle. Lynn, like many people who have been around noise, ringing phones, a hectic schedule, or tense moments, simply needed to find aMountain Man way to make the world go away…even if it is only for a little while. And that is something I can certainly understand.

When Lynn is camping, he feels…alive. Fresh air, beautiful scenery, a campfire, and family around him…that’s what it’s all about. Bob and I feel a lot like that when we are hiking, so I can relate to his way of disconnecting. Just being out in nature, gives a person a feeling of freedom that can’t be beat…especially if he doesn’t have to shave…because isn’t that what retirement is all about. Lynn, I hope that today has been that kind of day for you. Today is Lynn’s birthday. Happy birthday Lynn!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

13769501_10208508353819908_7092183569546088678_nimageFor quite a while now, my husband, Bob Schulenberg has been thinking of retiring. Then, with the economic downturn, he was offered an early retirement package, and it was such a sweet deal that he took it. By coincidence, his retirement came the day before a planned vacation to the Black Hills, so I don’t really think it sunk in that he was retired. It was just a vacation. Following the vacation and the retirement party that we threw for him, Bob set out on another trip. This one was to move our granddaughter, Shai Royce out to Washington to live nearer to her parents and her brother, Caalab. This trip was different in several ways. For one thing, I was not with him, so it did not feel like a normal vacation. For another, I was back at work, so it was odd that he wasn’t. I think it was during this trip that the realization began to come to him, that he was retired. Still, it was a little bit like a vacation, because he wasn’t at home either…he was still traveling.

Bob was gone ten days, and the trip was a lot of fun for him. He got to spend time with our daughter Amy Royce and her husband Travis, as well as their kids, Shai and Caalab, with whom he traveled to Washington. It 13726688_10208508353339896_5130602397002190962_n13669592_1326545620693091_8321025877100167903_nwas such a great time. They treated him to all the fun things they could think of. During the days, while Amy and Travis worked, Caalab, who mostly works at night, and Shai who doesn’t have a new job yet, showed him all the sights of Bellingham. They went on the trails, and to the parks, as well as the many food places around. Then, when Amy and Travis were off, they had a barbeque, went to the beach, a festival in Seattle, a baseball game, and of course, a jam session with our own guitar players, Travis and Caalab Royce. Bob got to see their new home, and was quite impressed with their…BIG garage and bonus room, also known as the “House Divided” room, where half is decorated with Chicago Bears memorabilia and half with Green Bay Packers memorabilia.

The trip was over all too soon, but somewhere between the day he left, and the day he came back, Bob became a whole new man. He is more relaxed, less pressured, and maybe even quicker to laugh. I could say 13718523_10208508435141941_7648649970773167244_nimagethat the trip to visit our daughter and her family was good for him, and I would be right, because he had such a wonderful time, but this was something more. I think that during this trip, it suddenly hit him…”I’m retired!! I don’t have to go back to work when I get home…in fact, I don’t have a job to go back too. I can go home and do what I want to…when I want to.” Yes, Bob came back to me, a whole new man. Retirement looks good on him. I think I’m going to like this new relaxed man of mine. He really is…a whole new man!!

Bob at about 16Few birthdays mark such a big change in one’s life as this one will for my husband, Bob Schulenberg. Bob had planned to retire in January of 2017, but with the offer of a severance package through the City of Casper, where he has worked since May of 1989, due to the economic downturn, Bob retired on July 1st. It was like icing on the cake, and we couldn’t turn it down. That means that since he was 17 years old, this is the first birthday Bob will spend without a job. That is such a foreign thought to him…and to me. Bob is a hard working man, who has a lot of trouble sitting still…probably for working so hard for so many years, so I doubt he will do much of that. Besides, there are people who have been waiting for him to retire, so he can work on their cars. Hmmm, does that sound like much will change with him? I don’t really think so. In fact, I think that the only thing that will be likely to change, is the stress of an 8:00 to 4:30 job…with a boss. I think that the “B” word is one word Bob is totally ready to imageremove from his vocabulary…and I’m ready for him to be able to remove that word too. One of the things we are looking forward to is more free time to walk and hike, because we both like that. Of course, since I am still working, most of that will be around Casper for now.

Bob has a few other plans in mind to occupy his time, like finally getting his garage organized and putting in a storage shed to house the things that really won’t fit in the garage now that it will be a shop, and not just a place to park the cars most of the time. That’s all fine with me, as long as he leaves me an open stall to park my car in, because after all, my car lives there and the cars he is working on don’t. I can see him hanging out at the parts house, talking to the guys, because most of the time he doesn’t have much time for visiting when he goes in there. And of course, there will be the morning breakfasts with the other retirees…you know, that exclusive club that can go have breakfast at 9:00 if they want to, because after all, they don’t have to got to Bobwork. I guess you can see why I am going to have to keep him walking and hiking…yes, it’s so he doesn’t get fat from all that sitting around.

Oh, I tease Bob about sitting around doing nothing, but that simply isn’t Bob’s style. He will probably watch a little more television, but my guess is that it won’t be very much or very often. He has better things to do than to sit around wasting away. For Bob, retirement means the freedom to get out and do things, without having to stop and go to work, and I am very happy for him. Today is Bob’s birthday. Happy birthday Honey!! Have a great day!! We love you, and we are all very happy for you!!

BobFor as long as I have known my husband, Bob Schulenberg, he has had a job. He is a hard working man, who never quits…until now. Today, for the first time since he was sixteen years old, Bob doesn’t have a job to go to anymore. In the years I have known and been married to Bob, he has had only two jobs. The first in a uranium mine where he worked from 1973 to 1989, when he went to work for the City of Casper. He has worked at the City of Casper for a little over 27 years. One of the girls in human resources, Tracy did a little bit of figuring to come up with some interest figures about how much time that 27 years really is. According to her calculations, for Bob’s May 1, 1989 start date through his last working day for the City of Casper, June 30, 2016, figures up to be 9,922 days, or 14,287,680 minutes, or 857,260,800 seconds. Anyway you look at it, 27 years is an incredible accomplishment.

Bob has never been a man who sits around, and his retirement will be no different. He loves working on cars for family and friends, and already has several jobs lined up to keep him busy…after he takes a couple of weeks off that is. After all, he is going to have to get used to this new direction his life is taking, and what better way than to relax for a couple of weeks before diving into the new ventures he is bound to take on.
Retirement plaque
Of course, being retired will mean that he has more time for our favorite pastime…hiking. We are planning several trips in the near future to go hiking, some just for a weekend, because, after all, I am not retired yet, and others for a week at a time. Of course, no matter how long we are able to go for, we always enjoy our hiking. We love getting out in nature, and especially getting back in the trees.

I don’t know if Bob feels like not having a job is as strange as I feel like it is, but I’m sure he will quickly get used to it. It’s like getting a drivers license. At first it’s strange to be free to go when you want to, but then you get used to it, and it’s just normal. Before very long, retirement will be the same. So without further ado, Bob is calling it a career, and now he is off to new adventures. Congratulations on your retirement Honey!! I know your new adventures are going to be amazing. You’ve earned it.

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