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What!??  Again??

December 1, 2012

The last entry on these pages was a question: “How the heck am I going to dry out my camping stuff... in an apartment... in this!”  An early winter storm had cut short my camping trip, and there I was back at home, with sopping wet equipment and no place to dry it.

And that is where this online diary stopped!  There have been no subsequent entries in this space.

So what happened next?

Well, the weather warmed up, and some gracious friends allowed me to dry out my tent and other stuff on their lawn, so all was well.

And then my life took one of those turns that you don’t see coming; but when it comes, everything is changed: I went back to work at Heather’s law office.

What!??  Again??

Yes, I worked for Heather in 2007-8, and now I’m working there once more.

Not full time, mind you, and not as her main secretary/receptionist, but for the two months since my camping trip I have worked there three or four hours every weekday, and sometimes also on weekends – basically doing data entry and file management – and my comfortable routines of retirement have been drastically altered.

I used to spend a couple of hours every day writing emails to a wide assortment of correspondents.  That has fallen almost entirely by the wayside.  I used to create essays for the Anglican Priest section of my website.  No longer.  One such essay (about wearing the clerical collar) has been almost ready since late August, but because of this return to law office clerking I haven’t managed to finish it and get it online.  I used to have coffee or lunches with a number of dear friends.  I still do, but such occasions are much less frequent.  And I haven’t played my clarinet at all since August!

I continue to do some priestly stuff, of course, presiding and preaching at a couple of church services, and giving talks at a few meetings.  I have also done what I have been asked to do at the Manitoba Medical Services Foundation, where I’m a board member.  And I do get to let off steam and have some fun – playing Scrabble on the Internet with about sixteen different people, so it’s not like I’m actually suffering!

But this part time job at Heather’s office really does eat up an enormous chunk of my time.

Basically what I’m doing is making sure that when Heather closes her practice for good (which is due to happen in April 2013), every one of her more than 2,500 files can be retrieved at a moment’s notice.  “We need a copy of Mr. Whosit’s Power of Attorney,” says the lawyer who will be taking over Heather’s practice. 1  “It’s in box 53,” says his secretary – after checking the database that was laboriously created and completed by yours truly.

The thing is, Heather has run her own law firm for almost fourteen years.  During that time she hired various people to do her clerical work, none of whom had formal training, and all of whom differed widely from one another in ability.  Some could type (with a typewriter – remember those?), some could only write things by hand.  Some were comfortable with a computer, some were not.  Heather’s files themselves are immaculate, but how they are stored and recorded has varied widely over the years.  Heather needed the person who created her database (me) to come in and ensure that every file in the office is consistently identified in that database, marked, boxed, and sent away to the storage company.

It is boring and repetitive work, but it needs to be done, and my taking on the assignment has reduced Heather’s stress levels significantly, which pleases me a lot.

And now... she and I are about to embark on another adventure!

We are going on an ocean cruise.

What!??  Again??

Map of North and South America with the cruise itinerary marked
Journey around South America
Click on this map and you will be taken to a full-size
interactive version of it, including dates and place names...
– and a daily update on where the cruise ship is.
Yes, again.  This will be our third 2 cruise, and this one is a long one: going almost all the way around South America.

On Monday, December 3, we fly to San Francisco.  After being tourists there for a couple of days, we’ll board the Star Princess, 3 and head toward the equator in our giant floating hotel.  There will be snorkeling off the coast of Mexico, and visits to some great cities in Central America, Equador, Peru and Chile.  Just after Christmas we will be going around Cape Horn and heading for the Falkland Islands.  Yes, there are colloquies with penguins in our near future.

The actual cruise ends in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.  There we will disembark, and we have arranged to stay in an apartment hotel for five days, exploring the city that is reputed to be the “Paris of South America.”  After which, on January 9, we’ll board a flight for Toronto, where Heather has a meeting to attend.

God willing, I shall write a blog of our adventures, perhaps of the same or better quality than those I wrote when we went to the Caribbean, and later to the Mediterranean.

We should be back in Winnipeg on January 14, where once more Heather and I will resume our work together in Dixon Law Office, winding down her practice.

So, who’s the new lawyer?

One of our greatest joys is that once Dixon Law Office has been closed, Heather’s clients will be able to take their legal work to a member of the family.  Our son Troy, who on January 1 will join the Winnipeg law firm, Pullan Kammerloch Frohlinger, has agreed to take on any and all of Heather’s clients, thus ensuring a degree of continuity for them.

All of which is a far cry from my last entry in these pages, where I was camping alone and happy in the far off, but snowy, wilderness.

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from John H-J., December 6, 2012   12:15:20 PM MST

Hi Tony:  I seem to remember back in the year of 2008 telling you that, in my humble opinion, you would not be able to retire entirely (unlike myself who has taken the art of relaxing during retirement to new levels).  Rosie and I have been travelling a great deal this year, so much so that I had difficulty finding the house when we arrived home from Cuba on December 4th!  Great news about Heather’s retirement and Troy taking over her clients.  She will now be able to take more time for herself and also to give you all of the attention that you deserve.  I am envious of your upcoming cruise as well!  Cape Horn is (and always has been) on my bucket list.  Give Heather our best and do not wear your collar around the penguins.

from Doreen W., December 3, 2012   2012 5:55:27 AM CST (CA)

Well Tony, you certainly do live life to the max – good on you.  Those pearly gates are going to be wide open when you arrive.  Anyone who takes the gift of life and lives it so fully and compassionately will indeed be welcomed.

from Don J., December 2, 2012   2:44:50 PM CST (CA)

Hi Tony,
Great to read of your life.  Congratulations on the amazing development re Heather’s retirement (Troy).  May God bless your trip.  Hope to see you in January or February.


1  Curious about who that might be?  Keep reading.
Click here to get back to the narrative.

2  For the story of our first cruise, in the Caribbean, click here.  For the story of our cruise in the Mediterranean, click here.
Click here to get back to the narrative.

3  By a rather nice coincidence, the Star Princess is the very same vessel that we were in when we cruised the Mediterranean last year.  It may well be that Heather and I will meet many of the same staff members that we knew then.
Click here to get back to the narrative.

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