As is obvious from my last post, and from a slight change to the layout of the blog itself, I formally “retired” from Bolthouse Farms earlier this month. The process of coming to this point of transition has been underway for months, but the actual steps of publishing a written announcement to the company, followed by a “Virtual Town Hall,” followed by posting and announcement on Linked In, then saying goodbye to a host of old friends and colleagues has been emotionally wrenching. I knew that the final ACTS (“Hands/Feet”) of transition would be hard, but I totally underestimated how deeply I would FEEL (“Heart”) the parting. I KNEW (“Mind”) that it was the right time to make a change, but regardless of that clarity, I was (and still am a bit) floored by the impact of this big change.
As the month of January 2024 played out, I had one more major ACT that needed to be take place in order to complete my Bakersfield transition and “come home.” Most readers aren’t aware that since 2021 I have kept an apartment in Bakersfield and commuted there weekly from Atlanta. (not many of us doing the weekly Atlanta->Bakersfield-> Atlanta commute!!) As my time at Bolthouse Farms came to a close, I also wrapped up my lease at the apartment and with the help of dear old friends and work partners (Cathy & Alan) packed up the apartment and packed as much as possible into a vehicle to drive across country. The map above depicts the majority of the route starting in California and ending in Columbus Ohio at apartment of my daughter’s boyfriend. We were dropping most of the “apartment goods” there, then finishing the journey by bringing the vehicle back for a final “drop-off” in Atlanta. Marie and I did the trip together (which was outstanding and certainly fodder for a future blog for sure) and after 3204 miles, I was happy to be done with cross country driving for a while!
The ”GMC dealership” story came about on day 5 of our trek, in Columbia Missouri. We had driven in deserts, crossed the rockies in a snowstorm and were now squarely in the plains when after a lunch stop one day, the check engine light came on… ugh!! We had had a few challenging moments with the car over the previous few days, but now the light was solidly on, and the car wasn’t running well! I asked Marie to see if there was a GMC dealership ANYWHERE close by and in a flash she pulled up that there was a dealership literally around the corner, less than a ½ mile away. Incredible!! We limped into the dealerships’ lot and pulled right up to and literally RIGHT INTO the service bay. Now I was tired, road weary and pretty freaked that we had a major problem on our hands and we were a long way from home…. or Columbus!
I went up to the service counter and met Cole (no last names on the blog) who was working the desk and after a brief explanation he dove right in. Marie was with me every step of the way and was upbeat and calm as we were dealing with Cole and kept reminding me that we were on an adventure, and that everything was going to be ok, and that we weren’t in any real hurry… all very calming comments that helped me settle down and not be so freaked out. Cole on the other hand had identified a “mis-fire” in cylinder 4” and was swapping our spark plugs and coils to isolate the problem. It took about an hour and the engine was running fine and after Cole took it for a test drive on I-70 (no mis-fires!!) we were literally good to go. It was an incredible relief to pull out of that service bay, and head off to our stop that night in Effingham Ill.
I share this specific story because we all feel stress from many many sources. Mine were coming from all the emotions of the January transitions, then the check engine light in Missouri! In that “freak-out” moment, the combo of Marie’s funny/calming confidence and Cole’s quiet competence saved the day and totally put be back on track. I am so thankful to both of them for their impact that day and will be thinking about ways to bring a “calming confidence” to stressful moments in the future!