Wednesday, February 20, 2013

November to December 2012

After retirement on October 31 from P&G after 34 years and 50 weeks (almost 35 years!), I discovered that I was as busy as during full time work.  Multiple projects around my house, repair drive belt on dryer, cleaning out accumulated lint and replacing the vent (unexpected emergency), clean up leaves,  clean out gutters, clean off leaves twigs from roof, repair underground line from down spout to storm drain and finish grading and seeding an area where the sewer lateral was replaced late in 2010.  The grading required 9 months of settling before final repair.  Along with visit to family in southeastern PA for Thanksgiving and Christmas, these tasks left little time to develop a detailed plan for my Big Year in 2013, take care of all financial requirements for retirement and healthcare coverage and to buy a new car.  My 2005 Dodge Caravan had about 237,000 miles and is still running well but not reliable enough for any bird chases requiring driving in 2013. 

I did manage some birding in Ohio to raise my Ohio year list to 297 for 2012, the highest year list in Ohio for me to date.  After Thanksgiving, I also was able to get to Bridgewater, MA to see a new life bird, Northern Lapwing, raising my Life List for the ABA (American Birding Association) Region to 790.  I managed to get across New York state from the Boston area through on and off lake effect snow that became worse near Buffalo on my way back from seeing the Northern Lapwing.  That was not too bad since I had lived in upstate New York for about 17 years before my transfer to Cincinnati in 1994, so I am accustomed to driving in snow short of whiteout or blizzard conditions.

On Christmas night, I left my sister's house in Middletown, PA and drove across the PA Turnpike through the high snow risk area in the Somerset area, to arrive in Washington, PA before the post-Christmas snow storm hit.  However, the snow storm hit early on December 26, so it required 7 to 8 hours of very careful driving across I-70 to Columbus, twice the normal time, avoiding the crazies who insisted on driving 50-60 mph on the snow covered highway.  This also included tractor trailer trucks.  Invariably, almost all of the crazies who passed me ended in the ditch, one SUV overturned and on its roof and at least two trucks jack-knifed and in the ditch.   When I got back to Cincinnati on December 25 about 5:00 pm, I was so exhausted that it took me several days to recover.

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