Sue is retiring next year and it got me thinking about how long I want to work. I really like my job. Doing and or teaching web design has been my passion for almost 20 years. And that followed a 32 year career as a printer, starting in 1968 when I quit my paperboy delivery job to work after school at the Sherwood Press.
I got a lot of respect as a printing press operator. Printing back then was like nursing is now. You could work anywhere. I was never unemployed in 28 years of full time printing. I got fired or laid off a couple times, but easily found new jobs in a week or two. I worked at 9 different printshops, each one had either better hours, a better machine, or higher wages. We used to say that the only job security in printing was the skills in our hands. Similar to a gifted auto mechanic now, there was always work.
With all that being said, I still plan to keep teaching for a while. This job is so perfect! I love the passion my students have for learning web design. Even after all this time I still enjoy working on my website, and sharing that enthusiasm with my students is fun. I work every other quarter, and then have 3 months off. How cool is that? I typically play during my time off, but working part time somewhere is an option also.
I did seriously look for work recently during my quarter off, even had a couple of great interviews. But, sad to say, age discrimination is a real thing. I think employers know that I could retire and live on my social security and pensions. They see my employment history and do the math. He doesn’t need to work! Why is he even at this interview?
So yeah, I’ve been daydreaming on the weekends about maybe getting a bigger car that makes road tripping less painful. I can road trip just fine in my little 2004 Tacoma pickup. I love that old truck! With a canopy on the back it’s a hotel on wheels. But when Sue is with me, I think it’s reasonable to ask for a little more comfort. We are in our mid sixties after all.
I wanted to explore possible interior van builds on a used van we might get somewhere in the future. I’ve never done 3D modeling before so I watched a tutorial on www.lynda.com about SketchUp. It’s super cool software, and the online version is free. Here are some screen shots of what I built. It can also do animated transitions and make an mp4 video. I built it all from scratch based on the dimensions of a high roof 148 inch wheel base Ford Transit. The figure, bags, faucett, bikes and chairs were free components I downloaded.
My best lead was Tammy Bakker face. I was terrified. Especially at the first bolt. It’s overhung there and only one bolt is keeping you safe 25 feet up. The stainless steel glue in ring bolts are at least as old as my daughter. They look perfect, but when you are rusty, one bolt that high up is just plain scary.
I had to stop and focus on calming my mind. Moving up was mostly irreversible, and the higher I climbed the bigger the fall. I told myself that I’d climbed it before and I was the same climber on the same moves. All I had to do was stay calm and be the best climber I could be. Those moves at the start are hard to read. It feels like a 30 foot whipper most of the time. We stick clipped the first b0lt. Most of the climbs rarely led to that feeling of “in the zone”. I got occasional flashes of grace, but they were rare. I don’t know if it was a diet fail, or I’m just getting old. Tons of vans on display. Very tempting to go down that path.
We saw some 25 year olds trying the 10a to the left of Phone Call. The girls were very bold, taking whippers casually. It was super awesome seeing them climbing something over their head with such confidence in the process. Normally on a 3 day trip I’m ready for Karate by day 3. It’s puzzling why it didn’t happen this trip. The only thing different was eating salads every night. I need to try a steak and potato dinner. This new salad diet is great at home, but if it messes with my climbing all bets are off.
I’ve been to smith and vantage with Chad and James over the last two weekends. I wasn’t climbing especially hard on either trip. I did sail up Air Guitar and Whip Saw quite cleanly. I felt a little bit of the elusive ‘zone’ come over me on both climbs.
Air Guitar is always scary at the start. It’s tiny finger jams and crimps on the first move, but it quickly turns into friendly stems and huge jugs. There are just a few true crack climbing moves in the bottom 30 feet. After that it turns into one red hand jam which is easily moderated with good face foot holds. Then it’s all yellow hand jams to the top…with a few fists at the end. I felt entirely in control and very well protected as I climbed higher and higher toward to anchor.
Also got into the zone on Tammy Bakker. Getting there seems harder than it used to be. It might just be that weekending is much less focused than my longer summer trips.
I’m teaching WordPress this quarter for a few days. It makes me miss the years past when we could dive deep into the application over 11 weeks. It’s such a huge application and I know so much about it. For example building this custom theme was a lot of fun, and I’ve never taught it.
I’ve been looking into van life. It’s an interesting idea in that it would allow us to take painting-climbing trips more easily as we get older. But sleeping in my little Tacoma pickup these last two weekends reminded me that the vehicle I drive does not make me a better climber…or painter. Getting more luxurious wheels might just make me soft.
This is a progression I’ve watched as climbers get older and softer:
- instead of sitting on a rock or a log, they bring a lawn chair for the campfire
- they upgrade to a stand up tent
- They upgrade to a camper on a pickup
- They buy a camping trailer
- They buy a Winnebago
- They stop climbing altogether
It’s a slippery slope that all starts with a lawn chair. If roughing it in my little Bibler tent and or pickup canopy bed keeps me from getting soft, I need to forget about van life.