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Monday, February 18, 2013

Good Bye U of U, Hello Palo.

It has been over 2 months since my last post where I wrote, "There have been some new developments at work, which I will write about soon."  I guess I lied about the "soon" part.  Let's see if I can catch this up.

In December, I was digging through the details of the University of Utah's employee benefits.  I was trying to plan ahead for a time when I might need to stop working. With much needed help from Joan Gines, Assoc. VP in HR, I learned that it would make sense to retire sooner than later. We laid it all out and it was obvious that a medical retirement -long term disability - was a really good option for me.  In fact, there was one question remaining when we were done.  "Where do I want to be - at the office or spending time with my family?"

With the facts in hand it took just a couple of days to decide that I really needed to take adantage of the opportunity.  So, as of January 18th, I am officially on FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act). Before I qualify for disability benefits I have to be away from work continuously for 6 months.  My 6 months started after my last day in the office on January 18.  The very next day, Gerri' and I left for 2 weeks on Maui.

My friends at the U organized a retirement party for me.  I was overwhelmed by the support.  The party committee made a video with several of my coworkers singing "good by Kevin" and "we'll miss you Kevin" set to two Beatles tunes.  Earlier in the day,  I went to lunch with my friends that I "supervised" over the last few years.  At the afternoon party they gave me a new IPad in a Zagg case with a built in keyboard.  I was planning to purchase one of those to use as my voice as my speech gets worse, so, I was thrilled!  Then my friends gave me a new walking stick which I have used every day since.  We even gave it a name - Palo.  Palo goes everywhere I go.  (Palo is the Spanish word for "stick.")
They also gave me a beautifully bound book about the Salt Lake Temple.  Then, because they received more donations than they needed for the iPad, they gave us spending money for Maui.  My friend Eve Mary Verde gave us a prepaid American Express Card. We will make good use of those gifts and we truly appreciate the generosity and support of our friends.  Terry Cirillo took photos of the event which can be found at this link:  Retirement Party Photos

When this party was being planned, I felt that it might be best to wait until after we returned from Maui. My boss (and friend) Eric Denna encouraged us to have the party before we left.  I'm glad we listened to his advice because the two weeks since we've been back from Maui have been crazy.  I will describe these past 2 weeks in my next post.

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