Retirement Purgatory (Episode 2)

Written by David Howell

After spending 25+ years successfully leading application development activities at an enterprise level, David moved toward pursuing his own passions full-time. He travels the world with his wife, Leslie, exploring nearby shore dives and remote atolls from liveaboards. Together, they document their adventures at

8 June 2020

Day 24 at the local Chicago area based Residence Inn includes dwindling food options as we nosh our way through temporary supplies hoping to empty the cupboards and fridge at just about the same time flight restrictions are lifted.  We seem to have an imbalance of nuts and dried fruit which is met with the same level of resigned gratitude as all that Lembas bread between Samwise and Frodo.

Equally limited, if only by routine, is the daily rotation of regular activities which helps pass the time. 

Working on
Leslie and David working on from a hotel room in Illinois.

The TropicLens website update is falling into a Yin Yang bifurcation between us with Leslie doing the heavy lifting on design while I get started on content. She found a terrific theme that is incredibly flexible, but can be a little complicated as getting the CSS and component inheritance has been tricky at times.  In addition to the new look and feel, we are revamping the navigation and adding a few elements (like “Where in the world are Leslie and David?”) that might be more interesting with the pending increase in retirement related adventure. 

Breaks from desk work involve walking more often than not.  Getting outside in the fresh air and Vitamin-D infused sunshine is a great way to get the body moving, blood flowing and brain thinking.  The frequent robin and squirrel activity around the corporate retention ponds is entertaining to watch.  We can also mark the opossum, bull frog, beaver and heron squares on the suburban wildlife bingo cards.   (Disclaimer: I would not be willing to bet any substantial portion of our retirement funds that the heron wasn’t either a crane or stork.)

Warrenville Wildlife
The West Branch DuPage River is a short walk from our Warrenville hotel and host to a surprising variety of wildlife.

Spring being spring and with the remnants of Tropical Storm Christobal contributing to the effort, there is a 50/50 chance that inclement weather forces a change in venue.  So, when it does rain and since the hotel workout area is temporarily closed, I walk the halls. 

The hotel has two wings which total 210 steps end to end.  With an average stride of 2.5 feet, it takes approximately 2,100 steps or just about ten laps to complete one mile.  I can usually complete a couple of miles without seeing anyone, especially if it is before 7am or after 9pm.  Laps in the hotel might be a bit creepy to some, so I change floors each time I pass someone in the hall.  It isn’t quite Danny Torrance on a Big Wheel running into the Grady twins at the Overlook Hotel, but it is still probably a bit unnerving for someone to see the same mildly heavy breathing guy in a protective face mask wearing a Bacon Is Meat Candy t-shirt again and again.

Typically, when I walk alone, I try to write. Often this means jotting or recording notes on my phone as ideas and phrases come to me.  Sometimes I listen to music.  When I don’t have any fresh ideas, the music gets too repetitive or for lack of anything else compelling to occupy my mind, I count.

So many (many) indoor walks have led me to this.  Each floor has 36 doors:  26 are actual hotel rooms (although the room number for each floor goes to 27, the hotel skips room 14 on each floor…oddly keeping superstitious #13), 2 fire doors separating the wings, 2 elevator doors, 2 stairwell doors, 1 linen closet and 3 mechanical rooms (except on the second floor where one of the mechanical rooms has been replaced by the laundry room). Additionally, each floor has 12 art pieces hanging on the walls, 322 ceiling tiles and 26 lights (14 decorative and 12 recessed).

I kind of want to apologize for the last few paragraphs, but content is content and being able to share my raw unadulterated visceral life experiences is what blogs are all about, no?

Anyway, June 15th marks the end of Bonaire’s latest travel restriction extension.  Will we be able to book flights or will it be a White Zinfandel and Reese’s Peanut Butter cookie fueled sobfest?  Come back next Monday to find out!

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