No customization on my site yet – that likely will wait until the Big R (aka retirement). But packing up a desk after 17 years, albeit a few different desks, cubes, floors, is much like moving house. I’m finding odd objects at the back of each drawer that prompt memories and laughter: the picture of a mouse taped to a binder clip that my dear friend, Dawn, made to remind me to plug my mouse into its cradle each night; pictures and more pictures, each with a story – one of me with President George W. Bush at a store in Baltimore when he shook my hand, walked on, and then came back and told me he had stayed with Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace; aprons and more aprons, some hand-painted especially for me, one with the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes to commemorate my citizenship; thank-you notes, many of them for baby booties I have knitted (more on that project later); a copy of one very rude post on our social media site asking if anyone ever proofreads anything on the internal news site – wow, that one hurt; but it’s like with anything – all the millions and millions of words we write and, boom, one inaccuracy and a complaint in the HUGEST font ever. Oh well, you can’t win them all. My favorite complaint post was one accusing me of being a sock puppet because I always said nice things in the comments section. Ouch!
Today, I placed my access badge on the photocopier and made a copy of my picture because I’ll have to give up my badge on the Big R day. It’s me looking 17 years younger. I never lost my badge although it went through the washing machine a few times. My hairstyle doesn’t look too bad, except it’s blonde, highlights very straight and I have bangs. I also have a lot of thick hair – that was before chemo, so now I have wispy, thin hair that has a wave to it – my mother would be thrilled. She spent hours perming my hair when I was little, trying to get it to curl. I digress, but losing your hair during chemo is no fun (more on that whole saga later), although I did have a wig that made me look like Sophia Loren and I never had a bad-hair day. That was in 2010-2011 and you just never really forget. All the memorabilia is in a huge box and I’ll catalogue and sort it out after the Big R.
This morning was my last Monday waking up at 6 a.m. with the alarm – now, that I won’t miss. But with each passing hour, the reality that I am really leaving The Home Depot is sinking in. When you work for a company that’s part of the fabric of society, for a company whose name you don’t need to spell on the telephone, and for a company that most everyone admires, you feel proud and privileged. I only have a few days left – just three more days where the very first thing I do each morning is change my voice mail greeting giving the day’s date so a caller knows it’s current. That’s something I’ve done every morning with hardly an exception for 17 years – you do the math, that’s a lot of greetings. Yep, there will be a lot of adjustment ahead – not least not knowing what day it is!