I no sooner wrapped up negotiations with my ex-wife than my former employer is now causing me problems. This time, however, the issues are decidedly based on those involving red tape and not with the settling old scores.
For the last several days I have been trying to make sense of recent changes made to my annuity, now that my ex is receiving her portion of it. I was forced to contact “Blue Eyes,” my former HR officer, to ask his assistance in deciphering both a letter and an e-mail that I received which purport to explain the new changes. That he is as confused as me provides some hope that I am not completely helpless with numbers, equations, and formulas. With a little luck, I hope to be able to sort this out over the next few weeks.
As I wrote in my last post, with my ex’s financial negotiations now behind me, this allows me to have less of a cloak and dagger blogger persona.
Three rules that I established for this blog at the outset were that I would not write about politics, “cranky old man” observations, or the actual process of blogging. While I do give myself some leeway to occasionally break one of these rules, in general I do want to follow them.
Today, however, is a day I shall indeed break one. I want to indirectly discuss this blog, and also share a little more about myself.
My name is Marty, and I am a retired law librarian (cue compulsory 12-step meeting greeting: “Hi, Marty!”). I worked for the federal government in all three of its branches (legislative, executive, and judicial) for nearly 32 years. I served lawyers, prosecutors, judges, researchers, and the general public in different library and federal agency settings. I was also fortunate enough to work alongside some very talented librarians and “legal eagles” of all stripes. It made for an incredibly satisfying and exciting career.
But working for the federal government does mean that one is required to hold his tongue. By virtue of working for Uncle Sam, I generally had to keep my own personal views of politics and government to myself. Even marching for or against a social cause — something I still occasionally did in spite of the murky admonitions against doing so — is considered to be a verboten activity for many civil servants. When I began to ponder a life after government service, I started to have fantasies of finally being able to get up on a soapbox to offer the world all of my thoughts on a wide-range of current topics. Writing a blog fit nicely into such a scenario for me.
However, once I retired and began the process of creating this blog, I came to the conclusion that our politics are too divided, too red/blue, and much too angry for me to really want to think and write about on a regular basis. I really didn’t want to contribute to all of the excessive noise. I am a liberal, and I do have very strong views about my country and the world in which we live. But so do so many others, and political blogs are a dime-a-dozen out there. In fact, an old friend of mine is a political blogger (Hi, D). So I decided instead to focus on contributing a smile, perhaps even a full-belly laugh by giving my own view of life’s adventures as a new retiree. I thought concentrating on retirement and related topics might be more enjoyable. Or, perhaps I was just fearful of nasty, disagreeable comments on the bottom of each post.
As I pondered what to call this blog while on a walk shortly after arriving here in Florida, I actually saw a snake slither from the road into… yep, the grass. Brilliant! A name created! Thus, “Snakes in the Grass” was born. “Snakes” metaphorically represent of all the roadblocks in my life that cause challenges: alimony, an ex-wife, Social Security, my 401(k), insurance, etc. How I’m able to navigate around them are all fodder for my postings.
Unmasking myself won’t stop me from also continuing to observe the little things I encounter in daily life that are also worth mentioning. For instance, I saw the below at the grocery store yesterday. I never knew anything quite like this existed. Do we live in great times, or what????
Starting now I can also write more about my career, government service, libraries and librarians, and, last but certainly not least, my new nemesis — the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Lo these many months, I haven’t wanted to reveal too much about myself; but now I will happily have more topics in which to explore.
To those bloggers who have been curious enough to write me directly to ask about my full identity, I do thank you for your kind messages and also helping me stay under the radar a bit. Two of them I’d like to offer a little “sunshine” now because I love their writing and regular topics very much. Please check out Joe Tintle’s wonderful posts about switching careers from being a sportswriter to teaching high school English. Joe is funny and engaging. Likewise, “Just Me Mike” is a blog worth checking out if you love movies, TV, and the occasional travel review. Mike just blogged about a recent European trip, and his posts were fun, interesting, and worth reading. He’s also a fellow Floridian, so he can’t be all bad.
To former colleagues who are now regular readers, I do thank you. Please know that your identities and your exact locations will continue to remain private. Occasionally you might see some of our joint-experiences written about in future posts, and please do feel free to correct me when my memory is faulty or at least different from your own.
So enough of this navel and blog-contemplation. There are tales yet to be told, awkward situations yet to happen, and a certain blogger’s long-suffering spouse to whom we all should give our occasional and collective sympathy.
Onward to more posts… and as always, my thanks to all who stop by here.