2005 was the milestone year. Charlie retired… or at least tried to (see below). In January he started building custom furniture "full time" - expanding on the part-time work of the past few years. Jenny snickered to herself (loud enough for everyone to hear) about the delusions of an old guy who thought he might get some regular woodworking business. If any work came, she said, he would certainly tire of it, and move on to something else. In fact, Charlie has had a continuous backlog of work all year. He has built a library (bookcases, table and storage), several entertainment centers, outdoor furniture built from ipe (ee-pay), another Murphy bed, a set of rolling cabinets for a church, and many other things. He isn't very fast (yet), so it would be tough if this was the only income, but he has enjoyed it immensely, and is continuously gaining skill and speed. A lot of the work can be seen on the internet at www.plesums.com/wood
Charlie resigned from CSC in January, but has been asked back to answer questions and help with a couple projects. AIIM, the trade group in Charlie's field, designated him the one "Subject Matter Expert" in Workflow and Business Process Management (BPM), so he created an on-line course, and will arbitrate the "right answer" if there are issues. If anyone ever takes his course, he will get the author's royalty. He also wrote a chapter for a book, but gets no royalty for that (If you need something to put you to sleep, see www.plesums.com/image/WorkflowBPM.html). It all makes furniture building look pretty good!
Jenny was in a panic when Charlie retired - she was afraid he would expect her to retire too. She continues to love her work at Virtual CFO - as a contract financial controller for multiple start-up companies. She is one of the oldest employees at vCFO (in tenure... we wouldn't dare mention age). She is often able to work from home (especially nice when the gas priced peaked). Best of all, Charlie is able to get health insurance as a dependent on her policy!
Jenny's computerized sewing machine is now over two years old, and hasn't been turned off yet. In addition to the machine embroidery and the usual sewing projects, she has started to explore machine quilting. She occasionally joins Charlie in the wood shop, as long as she can return to the sewing machine every few minutes to change the color of the embroidery thread.
Jenny casually mentioned an interest in turning bowls... so Charlie immediately had to upgrade to a new lathe. You know who makes the most use of the lathe - it has become a type of hobby, a break from building furniture. They are also expanding into veneering with exotic wood. Charlie took a course, and a vacuum press will be arriving this Christmas season.
This letter is being written on Jenny and Charlie's 35th wedding anniversary. It is utterly amazing since some didn't expect those two strong willed people to stay together more than a year or two. It is starting to look permanent.
Mark, now 30, has been gainfully employed all year. He was lured away from the job he had at the beginning of the year, but found the pastures weren't as green as he expected, so just went back to a different division of the first company. All three jobs were in the same area of Dallas, so he never had to leave his home or neighbors in suburban Frisco.
Jenny had a birthday - we won't mention which birthday, but it did end in a zero. For that magic birthday, Jenny wanted to take a trip. All the televised pictures of Rome surrounding the change of pope made Italy interesting, but it must have been noticed by others as well - no easy reservations or bargain fares. Looking elsewhere, Charlie suggested Bangkok, but Jenny selected Singapore - a safe, clean, beautiful city where they respect the elderly. We spent 8 great days there in late August. Vacation pictures coming soon at www.plesums.com/travel/singapore
At Jenny's office party she received a recognition - the "Globe Trotter Award for her Master Vacationing Skills!" That evening Jenny and Charlie went to another party with folks from CSC. "Singapore? Did you take Cathay Pacific or Japan Airlines? I prefer the Cathay flight on that leg." "You should have stopped in Kuala Lampur." "Bangkok is a little tougher, but more diversity and history - I've enjoyed it every time." In that group, Europe, Japan, Australia, and even Hong Kong seem no farther than Chicago
For years Jenny and Charlie remodeled and maintained their homes, including installation of four new roofs. Our roof had hail damage, so had to be replaced. Jenny rejoiced when the contract was signed for professional roofers, and enjoyed the sound of every nail. Of course, Charlie was on the roof, replacing some of the trim, before the roofers arrived.
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