Twelve years.  It’s a relatively short period of time in the grand scheme of life.  That’s how long I stayed at my last job.  I left it last week.  It feels a bit odd, if I’m being honest.  I have spent one week at my new job – same occupation just different location.  I wonder how I feel about this new place twelve years from now.  Twelve years… same length of time most of us spend in school.  Well 13 if you count Kindergarten – which you should count Kindergarten because that’s where you learn the truly important things in life.  I know usually around the 4th of July I post a very patriot blog because I LOVE the 4th of July.  It has replaced Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday.  But instead of boring you all with my love of fireworks, cookouts and parades I will bore you with what you can accumulate in 12 years.

I had to clean out my locker at work.  It would be the equivalent of cleaning out a desk if I had been lucky enough to have had a desk at any point in time.  Here’s what 12 years looks like:

  1. I fed the recycling bin 3 different manuals – from  1999, 2001 and 2005 on a computer operating system and it’s various upgrades.
  2. Also to the recycling bin went 2 folders full of time sheets from 2001 to 2003.  I saved them in case there was a pay discrepancy.  I guess?
  3. My 1998 APCO Basic Telecommunicator handbook.
  4. A training manual from when I first started – all outdated by time and technology.
  5. A folder full of clippings and articles that I found important enough to keep but now have no idea why they seemed so important.

And now the really good stuff:

  1. My 911 Cares Breast Cancer lanyard
  2. A hairbrush
  3. A box about the size of a credit card that says “If you don’t like my attitude quit talking to me!” – containing 18 business cards.  Highlights of my “Business Card File” a painter in Key West, one of our firefighter friends from Wisconsin we met in Bristol, the Martinsville Candy Kitchen and the guy from Plainfield’s VFW who will bring their cotton candy machine or snow cone machine to a birthday party.
  4. A Non Sequitur comic from the Sunday paper talking about how if you just ignore it the giant pink elephant in the corner will go away.
  5. A laser carved wooden sleigh ornament that a co-worker gave me as a present 2 years ago.
  6. My collection of McDonald’s toys – a bobble head moose from “Open Season”, Romeo, Shep and Friday dogs from “Hotel for Dogs, and my most prized procession a bobble body Chicken Joe dressed in hula drag from “Surf’s Up.”  Yes I know what you’re thinking.  I always used the excuse that I kept them in my locker to keep visiting children entertained.  That’s actually a small collection, some of my Happy Meal toys went home with kids.  At one time I had several teeny beanie babies and some of the Hot Wheels and Barbie toys too.
  7. A painting Dawson made in Kindergarten that kind of looks like an ink blot from the Rorschach Test.
  8. One time I spelled out the word “HUG” in M&M’s on the copy machine and made a copy and faxed it to friend who was having a bad day.  I kept the copy hanging in my locker.
  9. A picture of Dawson & Teagan from Gulf Shores in a magnetic frame.
  10. Speaking of magnets I had a bit of a collection of those too.  A happy bunny that says “I just realized I don’t care,” a pair of flip-flops (to remind me it’s always sunny 72 degrees and flip flops somewhere), Mickey Mouse holding an American flag (that was a present from a coworker too), 3 calendars from a Realtor and the Health Insurance website information.
  11. Dental Floss.
  12. Three postcards from Marco Island, Florida.  We visited Marco Island 8 years ago when I was pregnant with Teagan.
  13. A 5×5 2008 Happy Bunny Calendar – and a Happy Bunny card that says “Chubby girls are cute and we get to have pie.”
  14. The “I Will Lose Weight This Time! Diet Journal”  — It has yet to work.
  15. A pack of 100 calorie Pecan Sandies.  See item 19.
  16. A manila envelope full of various medical insurance claims.
  17. 2 silver, 1 gold and 1 red gel glitter pens used to fill out 4 different years worth of Christmas cards.
  18. The paper with my locker combination on it.  8-15-23. I’m not sure what I would have done had I forgotten the combo since it was inside the locker.
  19. A fortune from a cookie.  “The star of riches is shining upon you.”  The lucky numbers are 3,4,10,30,33,40.  Go ahead and play them on the lottery if you want, so far they haven’t hit.
  20. My 20 year high school class reunion invitation.  Kind of ironic – I celebrated 20 years of being out of 12 years of school in the same week I left.

That’s it.  12 years in a nutshell.  I’m not sure if I think I should have accumulated more stuff or less stuff.  Oh yeah and I did leave a few things behind.  My “DON’T BE A DICK’  sticker was turned into a magnet and placed in Mike’s locker.  Just a little something to remember me by.  And the picture Pam drew of the 4 owls saying “who, what, where, and when” I left for Patty.

Well I guess it’s on to new adventures.  And a new collection of “stuff.”

P.S.  Teagan was absolutely thrilled she got to keep the Chicken Joe.  She has asked for it every time she saw it in my locker for the last three years.