Preparations and Departure – June 15 through July 1, 2005

(Click here for photos from this period)


The last two weeks before we departed were especially hectic. Barb shouldered the majority of the burden – I was still engaged at Armstrong, first completing an all-important departmental self-study in support of our renewal of accreditation of our computer science program, and then later trying to clean out my office and leave a coherent set of records for my successor. I’d make plans to spend the day on campus, but invariably Barb would ask for “just 15 minutes” and I would find myself driving into school just in time to arrive at noon.  I did get a welcome break from the routine when Chuck Leska, who had  been unable to attend my retirement party, drove down to visit over the last weekend before the move.   Great to get caught up with him -- to share memories of students we had in common and our experiences as novice software developers oh so long ago, and of course, to go on several runs.


Group shot

After Chuck's departure Barb and I reverted to our established mode pretty much right up until my last day at Armstrong: June 30. That day was special. Dr. Steve Jodis, my friend, my colleague, and my Assistant Dean, had sent out an email inviting Armstrong runners to join in a 7.5 mile farewell run at 9 am. Nine runners responded, and I was touched. Barb showed up just as we were finishing our pre-run stretching and captured the ten of us on her new digital camera. Steve occupies a special place in my affections – we’d worked together effectively and amicably since his arrival, he’d served as one of my most informative and involved running coaches, and he paced me in my first competitive race. I regret that another very influential figure in my Armstrong experience was not there: Dr. Ray Greenlaw. Not his fault: he was off in Turkey or Greece at the time. First my Department Head, then my Dean, always a pleasure to work with professionally, and another great influence in my running: he was always willing to slow his pace to mine when we ran together. Further, he offered a beer if I did better than “X” minutes in my first race – and I did – and he offered to pay my Boston Marathon entrance fee if I qualified in my first marathon, held at Tybee Island – and I did. I feel warmly toward all of those who ran with me on June 30. I really do. But I must especially mention a man whose character I especially admire, even if we do not agree on religious issues. Thanks to Ed Wheeler, Dean of Arts and Sciences, former head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. It was a pleasure to work with Ed, a man with an analytical mind and a humanistic heart.

After the run I hurriedly finished cleaning out my office and rushed home to help with the final packing of the boat. We still had tons of things to put on board. We had previously focused on giving to the kids the good furniture and selling the sellable at a series of moving sales, and giving the givable to Good Will, and giving the rest to the junk yard, but we still had an enormous volume of stuff that we thought we wanted to take with us on board. So we had carried that all down to the dock, where it awaited loading onto the boat. We labored until 3:30 am on June 30/July 1 putting it all aboard, and then collapsed for a few precious hours before getting up to drive into Savannah for the house closing. When we arrived back in our driveway we were faced with two vastly contrasting situations: a buyer was waiting to purchase my car (talk about last minute!) – the last of our disposables -- and our east neighbor was waiting to tell us that our dear west neighbor and friend of some eighteen years had died after complications from a stent placement. We went over and gave our condolences to his wife Marie.  Major General George Lynch was a hell of a guy. We mourn his passing.

We spent hours putting on board the kayaks and the bicycles and securing the items that had been thrown aboard the night before.  It was 5:30 pm by the time we left “our” dock. No longer our dock, really. The dock by then belonged to Greg and Juannie Olson. Great folks. It’s nice to feel so good about the new owners.

We were tired. We were relieved. We went all of 7 miles before anchoring on the Ogeechee River, not quite to Marker 98, and not quite to the Intracoastal Waterway, but definitely on our way to a whole new life!


The last two weeks have been hell.  I hope to never go through anything like that again.  We had not moved in 18 years so I was a bit rusty in all the things to be done especially since we were doing such serious downsizing and moving onto a boat.  It was rough having so little help from Chuck and we planned way too many activities in too short of a time span, but somehow it all worked out.   I think it was my daily list of things to do that saved us.

One of the fun things we did in June was to have a boat renaming/christening party.  Amazingly enough, it was because of talking to folks at that party that we easily sold my Highlander car and our Grady White boat.  The bad part about selling the car was that the new owners insisted on having it four days before we left.  In retrospect I should have refused the offer or rented a car as not having my SUV during those last hectic days caused no end to challenges and extra work including trips to the storage unit / Goodwill / trash.   

It was great that the kids were able to use a lot of our furniture.  My son Jeff came down from Knoxville to pick up his load of furniture because he wanted our riding lawnmower which couldn't be carried in a moving truck with the other furniture he was getting.  He brought a friend and they were able to spend a fun day out at Tybee Island before they hauled all the goodies back to Knoxville.  I hauled our family room wicker furniture up to Raleigh for daughter Nellie.  Unfortunately, the grandkids - Katie and Jessie - were not with Nellie when I arrived so I was not able to see them.  Nellie took me out to dinner and we had a great evening together.  I've since learned that instead of putting the wicker furniture in her bonus room, she has put it in her family room while her other furniture is being reupholstered.  She and the girls thinks the wicker looks so good in her family room that the may leave it there.

We had three moving sales where we basically gave our possessions away for 1/100 of what they were worth.  Of course, some of it was pretty worthless but some was quite decent.   Fortunately, our friends Jack and Jo Brinckerhoff came up from Jacksonville for the week-end to help us with our key moving sale.  What we would have done without their help, I cannot imagine.  Jack's key point was - you need to decide if your goal is to make money or get rid of the stuff.  Of course my key goal was to get rid of stuff but Chuck's was to make money.   I would put a price of $10 on something and he would turn around and put $40 on it.  Of course of few of the things he marked up never sold, but a number of  them did sell for the price he listed.  We sold over 400 items during our three sales.  it's amazing how much one accumulates during 18 years.  Many more things went to Goodwill than were sold though. 

I was able to have lunch with my old work group at Southern Company Services / Savannah Electric before I left.  It was great seeing everyone again.  They are such a great group of folks.   still can't believe I'm retired.  I thought I'd have all of this spare time, but ended up getting involved in other things, as well as keeping up with the boat and house - which made me busier than before.  I particularly need to give thanks to Brian Talley who gave me the idea of setting up a Tusentakk2 web site and then helped me do it.  Thanks Brian!  Also, congratulations on the birth of your son!

During the last few weeks my daughter Danielle and granddaughter Abigail came over a number of times to help with the packing and cleaning.  Kristen (who is ten) was at her father's so didn't get to see much of her.  As you can guess, getting things done with little Abby (who is 21 months) under foot is nearly impossible.  It was still fun to have her there as she is so sweet.  I will really miss seeing her, Danielle and Kristen regularly.  Danielle and I had a cry together on our last visit.   Neither of us can quite imagine how it will be not having the other one around as it has been for the past 28 years. 

We were really happy about the nice folks who bought our house.  Because we were so busy getting things on the boat, we never had time to mourn leaving the house.  The new owners asked if we were sad and I had to honestly say that I wasn't.  I was just glad to be moving on.  The same thing happened when I retired.  I was too busy organizing Chuck's big birthday week-end parties, writing up final performance reviews and getting ready for our two week vacation in Norway to mourn leaving work.   Maybe that is the right way to move on.  No time to sit and think about how different things will be and how much you will miss them.  It was strange to have our house so empty though - we even had echoes when we spoke.  Weird!

The saddest thing was to come back from the closing and to learn about our neighbor George dying.  His stent replacement was supposed to be no big deal.  How could he die from that?   He was the picture of health.  A regular at the gym, working on his yard daily and taking his daily walk.  He was the nicest guy you could ever meet.  He was the neighbor that allowed us to use his driveway when we had dock problems after a storm years ago.  The crane that drove across his driveway crumbled the driveway, clipped the edge of his roof and tore up a great deal of his lawn.  We later fixed it all, but during the crisis George just smiled and said don't worry about it - it's no problem.  He never had a bad thing to say about anyone and was always there for us when we needed any help.  I still cannot believe he is gone.

We have seven scuba tanks and Chuck decided that all of the tanks were coming aboard - much to my dismay as I thought four was plenty.  Because Chuck was so busy with other things, he did not get around to dealing with storing the scuba tanks until the end.  Thus, on the last night he began figuring out where the tanks were going to go as I hauled all the other things down to the dock.  What a mess.  I insisted that we had to have everything off of the dock and on the boat before the new owners arrived the next day.  Thus, we were up until 3:30 am getting everything moved onto the boat.  We also had to make another trip to our storage unit so were up at 6:30 am to get that done before the closing.  Because a lot of the stuff we loaded on late that night was not properly stored, we spent most of the afternoon getting things organized so they wouldn't come crashing down on us in rough seas.  Chuck was considering asking the new owners if we could just spend the night at the dock and make a start early the next day, but I was ready for us to make a break and get started with our new life.  We were so tired that we didn't go far up the river before we anchored and crashed for the night.  From what I remember it was a beautiful and calm night.  A nice way to start our new life.


Steve stretching

Nearly ready #1

Nearly ready #2

The farewell runners

And they're off!

Will they run him down?

There they go!

Chuck & Chuck

"Tapestry" name removed

Unveiling the new name...

...Tusen Takk II

Collecting stuff for the moving sale

Room of furniture for the moving sale

Son Jeff determined to get the huge riding lawn mower in his truck

Chuck & Jack (who is wearing some of the moving sale junk)

The new owners of our lovely Grady White

Granddaughter Abigail over to "help"

Granddaughter Kristen also over helping with the move

Barb w/granddaughter Abigail and daughter Danielle

No furniture left in the house

New owners of our old house

Farewell to our house of 18 years

We'll miss our great dock!