It was not snowing when I went to bed last night, so I did not even realize it had done so until I went out in my slippers to fetch the morning paper and sunk in to my ankles. BRR! Emil Catt refused to follow me, watching from behind the front door.
Now, early afternoon, the sun is out, bright; melting all snow on the streets and sidewalks, while the wind is blowing snow from the rooves* and fields across our windshields, blinding us like a New Mexico sandstorm in hot summers, though we’re shivering now.
“Tis a lovely, bright, freezing day! I love Colorado!
Did you know *Rooves as a plural of roof is dated, but not incorrect. The Oxford English Dictionary lists “rooves” as an alternate to roofs, one of several outdated spellings used in the UK, and in New England as late as the 19th century. I’m amazed ! I was taught rooves was the plural for roof in the 1960s. ‘Course you never really knew how old the good sisters were, nor if they came from the UK…
So I resigned.
On my birthday.
Sixty seven years old.
I refused to sign the Personal Improvement Plan (PIP).
I refused to continue to be monitored and rated, to be reprimanded because my average review scores were 91%, well below (cough) the team average of 94%.
I refused to continue to be written up, reprimanded, assured they simply wanted to help me to improve…”within the next thirty days, or be subject to further discipline, up to and including termination.”
They could not confirm that if I improved from 91% to 94%, that the expectation would not then change to 96% or 98%, or, what the hell, 100%. No, they could not confirm another PIP would not be in order.
I realized I would never input information as accurately, nor as swiftly as they determined necessary. It IS all about the input, after all. I realized that if I improved, another problem would be found, another opportunity for improvement would arise, another reason for disciplinary action. Perhaps I could learn to not organize dangerous potlucks, or to work in the dark, or to not question the authority of the children they put in charge (Bitter, bitter, bitter, Roxanne).
I decided to refuse the constant pressure, and the direct threat.
And then, when they asked if we could find a time to discuss it, I said no.
I have retired.
On my birthday.
Sixty seven years old.
Life is good…
Early mornings, when it is so quiet you can hear the rumble of the train along the tracks five miles distant on Santa Fe Avenue, you can just about imagine a time before the people, and the traffic, and all the progress, when wildcats actually roamed the gulches here in Highlands Ranch. That is why they call it Wildcat Reserve, donchyaknow. Wildcats were here first, and not so very long ago.
A man I met fifteen years ago, who had built one of the earliest houses here in “The Ranch” (we know that’s a stretch), over off Springhill, told me when he moved in, he actually saw the wildcats. I wish I had been so lucky. Sitting on my porch with my cup of coffee, no plans in effect as yet, just looking out across the wash when a movement caught my eye, and my breath quickened as I realized a big, beautiful, powerful cat was looking back at me, mid stride; then, without taking his eyes from mine, almost lazily sat back to watch my every move.
Have you done that? Startled an animal, then stared them down, playing chicken, refusing to quit first? I did it once. Saw a fox snooping along the fences in the open space. He was a young one; beautiful red, intent on finding breakfast. I stopped my walk, clicked my tongue, and watched his head snap up, furtively looked around (furtively is a good word, isn’t it), then locked eyes with me, and froze, wishing he were invisible. He wasn’t, and I had time. So I stood there, staring. And he stared, too, then he twitched, darted left, then right, then ran like the furies as far out from me as he could get, down the path, into the tall grass. He didn’t last but forty five seconds. Chicken. I heard the lady who owned the yard he was just about to scout through calling her kitty. Breakfast thwarted.
Well, the sun is fully up now, the mourning doves have begun their keening, Emil Catt has found something to tease him in the yard, and my coffee, what’s left of it, is cold.
Here’s to another day and the good it will bring. Sorrow, sadness, and potential wickedness be damned, along with the threatening snow.
Who is John Galt?*
They are making big changes to I-70 and the historic area near the Denver Stock Show. Homes have been moved, RTD has put in a light rail line, shutting the entrance to Riverside Cemetery, Denver’s oldest cemetery. New buildings and streets being constructed. I-70 is being lowered and widened…it’s all great, just great… an extension of all the new construction in the RINO area. Huzzah for progress!I do have to chuckle, though, because it seems Denver assumed it would/could declare eminent domain to acquire the land on which approximately four miles of rail lines owned and used by the Denver Rock Island Railroad to create a lovely open space. The rail lines would, of course, need to be moved.Per today’s Denver Post, the railroad has filed suit, refusing to move the tracks, thereby halting construction of a portion of the one billion dollar project. It has used that 4 mile section of track for more than one hundred years. It does not feel compelled to comply.You don’t mess with railroads, anymore than you mess with the BLM. They are like their own little countries, owning, controlling, using land as deemed necessary. I am neither a city official, nor an official of any sort, but in the years I worked in mortgage banking, there were a few times when I saw whole subdivisions lose their ingress/egress to the railroad that owned the ten-twenty foot stretch of rails and land at the entrance to that subdivision. No argument. The homeowners, towns, businesses were forced to meet the railroad’s demands, or lose physical access to their properties, along with the loss of market value.
I’ll be interested to see what comes of this shooting match. Denver should have made better arrangements early on, me thinks. Now that they’re negotiating from a position of need to stay on schedule completing the project, it will likely cost the city and its citizens beaucoup in cash and concessions.