You probably haven't noticed that I haven't been around all that much since last year, since I'm not around all that much anyway, but things got either really wonderful or really complicated (depending on how you look at it) in the middle of October.
You see, I found out that the company's pension-predictor website had been lying to me for years. My real pension calculation came out at roughly one-and-a-half times what the website said… I officially retired on Novemeber 1.
I'm not old enough to get Social Security yet (if ever…) but I can live – quite handily, thank you – on my actual pension. And I am old enough to take money out of my retirement accounts, so I have paid off all my debts (except my mortgage), and can now consider myself A Free Woman!
(What I really want to know, though, is how I did everything I needed to do and worked full-time, too. It can't really simply be that stuff expands to fill the available time, can it?)
However, after letting myself enjoy not getting up at 3:00 am nine days out of every 14 for November and December, in January I accepted a new part-time job. I am officially the costume designer for the summer-musical-theater-program-for-youth that I've volunteered at for the last 11 years.
We're doing (our version of) Jungle Book this year, and I've got to produce roughly 70 furry jumpsuits and ten or so Indian villagers, including Mowgli's mother and the little girl she's adopted. We'll use real Indian clothing styles for the villagers, in bright colors to differentiate the humans from the animals, which will mostly be grays and browns, and mostly really stretch velvet trimmed in fur pieces. Mowgli will be wearing only the traditional loincloth – it's actually supposed to be the turban he had on when he was separated from his parents – so we've been searching for a tiny microphone transmitter we can hide under his wig and not have the mic cord visibly taped up his back… And I don't yet know how I'm going to costume some kid as a white cobra and make it look halfway decent, but I'll think of something.
(I may end up doing props again, too, but we don't think there're more than one or two in the whole show, one of which is a banana. It's a jungle out there, you know…)
Just a little different from rocket science, right? But now I am finally fully and completely a theater artist – albeit a technical one, not a performer – with No Day Gig. After years of letting engineering pay for my theater and music, it's really nice to be able to concentrate on where my heart has always actually been.
And not getting up at 3:00 am is still pretty neat, let me tell you!