Friday, May 06, 2005

End of an era

On my last day of work for Robert Mondavi Corporation, I passed the 240,000-mile mark in my 1996 BMW 328i sedan. It's in fact the end of two eras, as I bought the sport car just after arriving at Mondavi in 1996. Within the next two weeks, the car will be sold.

En route to "work" this morning, I re-wound all the “Pimsler” Spanish language cassette tapes that Terry Henry had loaned me. Didn’t quite make it through the 25 “lessons”, but it’s better than not having tried at all.

There was a festive air at the office. Joyce brought in a fruit tart and orange juice, while Kelly added pastries. We learned that Joyce is in the process of negotiating with Cork Supply International. It is down to agreeing on a salary.

Shirley Carson, our H.R. Manager, delivered our final paychecks: final salary check, payout of accrued Medical and Personal Time Off, and our Fiscal 2005 Bonus Share. The gross was pretty impressive, however, after 40% was deducted, it felt we had been fleeced. We joked bitterly of supporting the Iraq war effort.

There was little left for me to wrap up at the office. Handed over my notebook computer and docking station to our Tech Support guy, Scott. On the desktop, I laid out the monitor, keyboard, mouse and monitor stand, and reconfirmed that the company had no interest in these components and I was free to take them home. Louis had an extra docking station, which he added to my stack. That will save me $75. Loaded everything into the car.

Sealed up two small file boxes containing the distillation of nine years’ work here at Mondavi. Julius, another of the Tecs who had for years taken care of us, said he would “burn” my electronic files onto discs for Louis, who might find some benefit for his role supporting Woodbridge Winery.

We adjourned to Gina’s for a final lunch together. Took my camera along to capture the occasion. “JuJu”, Gina’s co-owner, could not accept that we’d no longer be coming into her restaurant as a group. She presented each of us with a small gift: a jar containing her special blend of spices.

For years, Kalid and Joumana's Gina's Cafe was our first choice for lunch

A final gathering for lunch at "Gina's Deli". Tim Shaw, Gina's owners Joumana and Kalid, Mark, Jim, Josh West, Vickie, Joyce and Louis.

Kalid and Joumana's daughter Maya

Following lunch, I used this last opportunity at the office to copy documents (passport, driver’s license, motorcycle title and registration.) I will carry about 25 copies of each. Distributed an e-mail with instructions on how to contact me.

By 2:00 p.m., Shirley was blending margaritas. We gathered in the H.R. conference room (a now-familiar routine) for food, drink and lots of laughter. (You have to laugh. It’s the only way to get through the sadness.) All this time, I had failed to appreciate what a collection of comedians inhabited these offices!

By 3:30, with hugs and good-luck handshakes all around, I was off to an appointment with Dr. Friedman. But before I could leave the office, Kelly and Vickie surprised Mark, Tim and I with signed 1.5-liter bottles of the 2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. It was quite a nice farewell gift.

At Dr. Friedman’s office, I received my second Hepatitis B injection, and a Hepatitis A injection. He wrote prescriptions for a year’s supply of “Lipitor” and 300 tablets of Doxycycline (anti-malarial). Drove away from Napa, closing another chapter in this life.

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