Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Up, Up and Away

Ever since I first saw the movie “To Fly” on the Smithsonian’s IMAX screen, I have wanted to go up in a hot-air balloon. I've wanted to see what it is like to just float above the earth among the clouds. Thanks to some generous coworkers I will now have the chance.

I have been working with many of these math geniuses for much of the last 12 years. Although we are in different divisions, we contribute equally to certain aspects of the survey we work on. We have developed a model for communication that works without a flaw. All of our work is programmed independently by our two respective staffs and then compared until every number matches to the 14th decimal place.

But beyond getting correct results, we have learned how to respect each other and talk to each other without involving our egos. This is something that many competing staffs never master.

Instead of our usual 11 AM meeting today which I was supposed to run, they surprised me with lunch. It was gourmet box lunch from Gerard’s of Oxon Hill. Who knew there was gourmet food in that part of PG County?

Then they pulled out a surprise wrapped in none other than a printout of pages from our website. Inside I found a certificate for myself and a companion to take a trip in a hot-air balloon while we sip champagne.

As I sat there in utter disbelief and amazement, the chief of the other branch, who is a macho Puerto Rican, gave a little speech that nearly brought tears to my eyes. He said all the things my superiors should be saying for me. It didn’t matter who said them. It felt so good to hear those words and to sense the good vibes from everyone in the room.

What a send-off! They couldn’t have chosen a more perfect present to launch my retirement. My heartfelt thanks to Alfredo (Freddie) and the gang! And especially to my friend Steve because I know he organized the whole thing.


Blogger Pauline said...

You lucky thing! Enjoy every moment of that balloon ride and whenever you get lonesome for your old job or wish that accolades had come from those who didn't appreciate you, remember your moments of freedom "above it all" and know that everything works out in the end. (After all, you're writing your own story, are you not?)

10:17 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Such well-deserved "nachas" you are getting from those with whom you have worked.

Am thrilled for you!


10:23 PM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Pauline, Kate -- I don't think I've quit smiling since lunch today. They really touched my heart!

10:29 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

How fabulous! Will David like it as much as you will? Be sure and take your camera and post pictures!
What a perfect gift and such a metaphor for you being more strings attached!!!
(You're braver than me!)

7:39 AM  
Blogger Reya Mellicker said...

Pics, yes, but also how about a little vid of some piece of the journey?? Make David do it so you can luxuriate in the experience.

What a GREAT gift!!

8:30 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

MOI, Reya -- Of course pics and even a movie if we can pull that off and if we haven't had too much champagne!

11:17 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

What a fabulous retirement gift.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous David said...

hey Reya - what's this stuff about "make David do it"? :-) Ok, guess I can make that small sacrifice for the team.

5:17 PM  

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