[Kyle] Maryanne really looked and sounded like hell when she went to work. You can't call in sick on your last day, right? Her department took us out for lunch which felt strangely like any other lunch, really. It didn't really hit me that it was her last day until I went to her office to pick her up. She was pretty much done with her work and so was just hanging out running out the clock until an acceptably early time to leave. We killed time by taking pictures, leaving the final messages and saying goodbye to everybody. As we left, I felt giddy realizing that we were leaving that accursed building and its cubicle shaped cages for the last time.
When I met Maryanne, we had little else but each other and our little boat, which it turned out is really all we needed. After spending some time cruising, we decided two things; we wanted to keep cruising and we didn't want to have to stop, ever. I sat down and came up with a plan to do it but of course it was going to take a lot of money. Maryanne, who had just finished a degree in marine and environmental biology from one of the very finest universities in the world for that and was looking very much forward to a life of adventure, decided that she could make more money if she went back to the office life she had deliberately turned her back on years earlier. At first I was hoping that it would be for only one winter but realized that it would probably be two. Once we added up the numbers, we realized it was probably going to be three. She set off to working and did so day after day without complaint even though I knew she was miserable. Once we decided to buy Footprint instead of outfitting Prydwen, that added two more years to her 'sentence'. She expressed worry that things would keep coming up that would push the date further and further back and that she'd never get to quit and go sailing. I told her the date was in stone and that she could write it down. I said that to her every time we would have a little setback - write it down.
For years we saved and studied and prepared. We counted the days down one by one trying to keep our eyes on the distant light at the end of the tunnel. We spent so long doing so that we had a hard time remembering just what it was like to even be cruisers anymore. By the time the day came, it started off feeling just as special as any other Friday. There a was a sense that it wasn't really happening. Walking away from her office in the afternoon made it real for me. It really was the big day we had been working so long and hard for.
My job allows us more flexibility than hers ever did so we will be able to start cruising before we are both retired. The thing is, my job is the one I've wanted ever since I was a little kid. Even though no job would be miles better, if I have to have a job the one I have is the only one I could tolerate long term. Maryanne didn't do that. She took a job she didn't want, doing work she didn't like that kept her from doing much else just so we could go cruising earlier. I can't begin to express my pride in and admiration for her for making it through successfully. She has my undying gratitude. She has more than earned the right to be the first of us to retire.