It’s not what you think, although it is a damn good lede. I’m talking about taking a bath. A glorious, hot bath that uses more than 40 gallons of precious water from our monthly allocation. Sinful, guilt-inducing decadence that is now unfortunately a fragrant whisper of memory.

Working in the tight confines of the studio, I’ve learned my hair is a great place to hold pencils, blending sticks and vine charcoal. There have been classes where I looked like a porcupine with all the tools of the trade sticking out of my head. Now I need to learn to take them out at the end of class. I recently went to the grocery store and the dry cleaners with a 2B pencil in my hair after class, and no one told me. I am well on my way to being the Neighborhood Eccentric.

We are all creatures of habit, and changing 30+ years of fully-ingrained habits is about as easy as putting together anything from IKEA – there are always screws or bolts left over that you know should have been included, but you can’t figure out where they were supposed to go. You’re left with the sinking feeling the whole thing is going to fall apart at the worst possible moment.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life. No, that is not a trite simile. I am now retired. Yesterday was tough – all the final goodbyes, the packing up of my laptop and phone, and finally, looking at my now-bare desk. Bittersweet. This six month journey was filled with experiences – some wonderful, and some challenging. I have some final comments on my work transition before this blog really becomes about retirement.

I know when I am being purposely ignored, and this was it. In fact, I’ve been ignored by experts – just ask any of their ex-husbands. There I was, ready to drop over $4,000 on the spot after I got a couple of questions answered, but to the employees of this Apple Store, The Old Lady wasn’t worth the time or effort. I refused to go up and beg for help, when the result would be getting patronized by a Salesdude younger than my son.

People mean well. They just don’t always convey that sentiment properly. Now that I’m telling people about my plans to retire at the end of August, I’ve been getting a lot of comments – mostly because I’m retiring early and I’m pretty visible in my industry. The comments have ranged from the typical, to the pretty personal, to the extremely skeptical. I hear this is typical for someone who is just about to retire, but I must say some of them surprised me. I thought I’d share a few of them with you. Who knows? You may get them too, when it’s your time.

I always wondered why cartoons of artists have them squinting at their thumbs held out before an object. Now I know. I had a hard time not laughing the first time I did it, and I am happy to report I didn’t say anything snarky. I thought it, but didn’t say it. Most unlike me, and probably the result of First Day Jitters.

Nothing sucks the soul right out of you like a business trip. With all the stresses jet lag, airline nightmares, weather difficulties and hotel beds pile on, I found even the smallest thing would set me off. Last year, during a particularly long NorthEast business trip, I had trouble getting the Starbucks across the street from our SoHo office to get my name even close to right. Even the right gender seemed to be impossible for them.

I’ve always wondered what that meant. Not being the superstitious type in general, (unless the SF Giants are in the playoffs) I had never really followed astrological phenomena. Thanks to my college roommate Selene for clueing me in, now I know. Major appliances and pretty much anything else that you need will spontaneously decide to break, and break badly. Hey – I’m pretty much retired, so don’t I get a break?