Retirement Purgatory (Moving On)

Our Storage Locker

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

15 June 2020

There has been lots of frenetic activity these last few days as we made the decision to continue “Bonaire Watch 2020” from Florida.  That way we will be closer to Miami and can jump on a plane as soon as the Caribbean airspace opens.  Plus, we can get in a few dives to check out the new equipment.  Leslie found a terrific house we can rent in Key West (at least for the next six weeks) so we will have much more room for working, resting, playing, cooking, exercising, etc.

Beat Saber In Hotel Room
The coffee table, normally in front of the couch, was placed on its end and moved to the corner (below the camera) as the only option to make a little space for Beat Saber in the hotel room.

Items on the To Do list this week now include returning our I-passes, repacking things we borrowed from storage, rechecking our luggage bags to make sure they are all below 50 lbs, saying goodbye to family and friends (at least until the holidays), getting rid of our cars and eating through our food supplies, etc.  Work continues on the redesign and we hope to get that live by the end of the week. I also have to contend with some lingering retirement paperwork…emphasis on the “paper”.

So I received a 6.15 lb. box in the mail containing 1,119 pages of medical, dental, vision and supplemental documentation for my health coverage.  As I had opted into electronic communications, it was surprising to receive and concerning not only for the unnecessary tree murder, but the potential karma hit as well.  Double checking the eBenefits site highlighted an obvious UX flaw as it does not indicate my option had been saved.  After going through the flow again, restarting and checking again…it still doesn’t show my selection. Add sending website feedback to the To Do list!

Admittedly, that isn’t the most interesting anecdote for this blog.  It is, however, indicative of the joy sucking, festivity dampening and largely overcast (literally) period of time this first month of retirement has been.  (Occasional needle movement into the fun-o-meter green zone notwithstanding.)

It does feel good to have at least short-term activities to look forward to.  Migrating to Florida is bigger than most lately, but micro countdown events with solid timelines have served as reasonable counterweights to equally frequent but disappointing news coming from Bonaire.  Among those pleasures has been scheduling Leslie’s first hair cut after salons reopened and tracking our custom face mask orders…

Custom Face Masks
Custom scuba themed cloth masks seemed a better way to go than disposable versions as it seems many of the solutions to get the economy going involve increasing stress on the landfills.

…which turned out great!  I selected a Scuba regulator for obvious reasons and a Flamingo Tongue which isn’t intuitive to non-divers, but has an intrinsic humor quality for me.  It also has sentimental value as Leslie and I bonded over Flamingo Tongues while courting thirteen years ago.  I was heading to Grand Cayman and she suggested I look out for the little critters. We had not yet met in person, but that email courtship is the source of quite a few fond memories.  Leslie chose a dive flag and a seahorse.

OK, time to stop writing as I have a few other tasks that need to be completed today and this is the longest blog so far.  Five days until Key West!

Please stay safe and healthy. 

Also, a quick note about the elephant on the page.  This is not the blog to wax poetic or shout raw emotions about the societal turbulence going on right now.  There are plenty other avenues for those discussions.  Such topics are intentionally beyond the scope of this channel.  For our part, TropicLens will stay in its lane.  Meaningful and substantive efforts to support our own personal causes will continue to be carried forward by other more directed and appropriate means.

Bali Water Temple
The 1,000+ year old Tirta Empul Temple in Bali is a peaceful and beautiful location for pilgrims to complete cleansing rituals.

Our contributions toward equality and justice are firmly rooted in the experiences of interacting with a wide spectrum of people not only in our travels (Australia, Indonesia, China, Mexico, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta, Pensacola and Key West to highlight a few diverse world and political view examples) but also through a regular rotation of coworkers and contractors (from India, Poland, Russia, The Philippines and more) at both our jobs over the years.  It is our goal to visit many more places, meet lots of interesting people, have thought provoking conversations, forge new friendships, make a difference where possible and share our experiences as often as we can. To that end, we hope you enjoy these blogs.

As always, make smart decisions and if you have the ability to positively impact someone’s day, do so.

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