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Old 08-09-2017, 05:02 AM   #51
Reptile Lover 23
Originally Posted by Rich Z View Post
Well, I guess the best way to describe the reason I decided to retire was because I didn't want to die before giving retirement a try. And I didn't want that to happen to Connie neither. We went many years without a vacation that was more that 2 days. Sick? Too bad, work needed to be done. I can remember going into the hospital with appendicitis during egg laying season and Connie had to leave me at the hospital so she could harvest eggs before they dried up. That was a wake up call to me. But I think I talked about this all at length in this thread if you are interested ->

I guess I still miss hatching season. That was always an exciting time of the year, albeit a backbreaking time. I can remember night after night standing at the work counter feeding as many baby snakes as I could before my back, legs, and feet would ache so bad that it brought tears to my eyes. But I just couldn't stop. Math was the killer. I had to take the total number of babies I had to feed, divided that by the number of days I needed in the schedule to feed them, and hoped I could pull enough 1 day old pinky mice out of the mouse building every night in order to meet the quota. Getting them onto frozen thawed was a VERY high priority. One year I produced 8,000 babies and I'll be honest, I almost did an emergency retirement that year. I have never had a nervous breakdown, but I do remember one day very clearly where the thought of just opening the door to the reptile building and go running out into the woods screaming seemed almost overwhelmingly attractive to me. That is when I decided to get some Valium and keep it in the den desk drawer. A quarter of a tablet was usually enough to keep me from the running and screaming stage.

Honestly, I am relieved to not have the pressure of live animals wanting to die unless Connie and I dedicated our lives to keep that from happening. And in the meantime, we have had time for family and friends, and they all got used to that. People just stopped inviting us to parties, because they knew we were too busy to attend. So now much of our family has passed away and friends have scattered to the winds. Sometimes I do have to wonder if it really was all worth it. I lost a lot of my life working with reptiles, and Connie followed along with me because, well, she is the most loyal person I have ever met. She would honestly and truly follow me directly into Hell if I decided that is where I wanted to go. I really could not put her through what she was doing to try to keep me from killing myself any longer.

I have to say that sounds from the heart, i got a tear in my eye reading this, sounds like you truly devoted your life to reptiles, and also lost out on alot of things as a side effect, i wish things would of gone better for you,

I have an old freind which i help do wood working and model making hes on his last legs i enjoy helping him and if i didnt he would be dead, he gets depressed from time to time as he cant get out as much as he used to.

I understand what your talking about as i have seen it myself im only 24 but i get on with people older than my self for some reason, Sounds like you met the woman of your dreams
Old 08-09-2017, 09:37 AM   #52
Rich, I know exactly what you mean about retirement. I retired as soon as I was eligible, even though I was offered promotions if I stayed. My employees couldn't believe I was going, but I told them there would come a time when a person will give all that they own for just one more day with their loved ones. Sue and I didn't take a vacation together in over 40 years, due to my animals and reptiles. My corns don't take much daily care, except during egg laying, but I see Sue eyeing the racks and doing a quick calculation, so I know I have too many at times. So I do a quick fire sale and cut back. But you know how it is, I need that one for a future project, etc. Luckily for us, my son now lives two miles away, and he knows more about snakes than I do, and can care for them if we go on vacation. If you ever miss working, just take a cup of coffee and a chair out to the bamboo grove with Connie and it will quickly pass. LOL.
Old 08-09-2017, 10:41 AM   #53
Rich Z
Aarrggh... The sentence "And in the meantime, we have had time for family and friends, and they all got used to that." should have been

"And in the meantime, we had NO time for family and friends, and they all got used to that."

I used to use colored dots for everything as status indicators during breeding season. For the eggs, a red dot on the egg incubating container meant that they had begun to hatch. That "8,000" baby year, I had those plastic shoe boxes EVERYWHERE. In whatever rack space there was, perched on top of racks, and stacked on the floor. That "running and screaming into the woods day" was when I had walked into the building and saw literally hundreds of incubating boxes with red dots on them, and I remember thinking, "There is just no way in Hell I am going to be able to keep up with this. Babies are going to die because I will not be able to get them set up and offered food quick enough." And that likely happened. It seemed that if you don't offer a baby snake food soon enough, then they will NEVER eat and just die.

I still have nightmares where I will walk into the reptile building and discover a door to a room I had forgotten about. And when I walk into that room, it is filled with cages of dead snakes that I had simply forgotten about and they all died from neglect. That gives me cold sweats just thinking about the dream.

Heck, I'm sitting here typing this thinking that the Daytona Beach Expo is just a couple of weeks away. This time of year was when it was the absolute worst. So many babies hatching out needing to be set up, yet we had to start getting ready for Expo. While at the show, I always had the thought in the back of my mind that we had SO much work waiting for us back at home. And we were losing valuable ground just being away for the weekend.

I still can't believe we escaped before the stress killed us.

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