In The Mix Ability

COLUMN: A Look at a Not-So-Lazy Retirement

this retiree finds plenty of ways to fill her days, from meetings to errant 911 calls

Katherine Schneider |

AFTER THIS ZOOM I'VE GOT A WEBEX BEFORE MY MICROSOFT TEAMS MEETING. It's not just working folks who spend hours on video conferences. Retiree and columnist Katherine Schneider finds herself taking part in remote meetings as part of her busy schedule. (Photo via Pexels)

I notice as younger friends get ready to retire, many wonder what they’ll do to keep busy and productive. I’d offer this day’s journal as an example of how it works – e.g., opportunities to serve will find you!


I had good conversations about who should chair the Eau Claire County Board with a couple of folks. There are no perfect candidates, but two very good ones. Then I chatted with an aging advocate at the state level about how to get aging and disability groups working together on common issues.


Act One:

I was meeting via Webex with county IT folks and the developer of an inaccessible app that needs to be made accessible for my county board duties. The developer hadn’t used any talking iPhone kinds of devices, so I was holding my iPhone up to the camera and tapping on things to show how it worked. 

Somehow, I triggered 911 without knowing it. So, I’m blithely continuing the meeting and someone starts to pound on the front door and ring the bell. I tell my Seeing Eye dog, Calvin, who has gone into full bay mode, that no, we’ll just ignore the doorbell. Then the annoying person goes to the back door and starts pounding. That’s more aggressive than most political candidates or sales people, so I ask the meeting folks to pardon me for a moment so I can go tell the person at the door to get lost. 

Somehow, I triggered 911 without knowing it. So, I’m blithely continuing the meeting and someone starts to pound on the front door and ring the bell. 


Calvin is tied to the chair leg, so when I get up to go answer the door, he starts to drag the chair toward the door. I stick my head out and a nice young man says, “Eau Claire Police. We got a 911 call from this address.” 

I apologize profusely and say my cellphone did it, and he reassures me that’s more common than you’d think. He wanted to know who I was, and seemed to write my name down or check it on a form, and we said “Bye.”

After my meeting finished, I went into settings on the iPhone, and I think I managed to turn off what triggered the 911 call. I’m glad I answered the door or I might have had to replace it if it had been busted down. 911 does work in Eau Claire!

Act Two:

I go over to the university for a candidates forum. I’m the last one, and there were about 20 folks there when I spoke. Students’ questions were of the ilk of, “What is the county’s biggest problem and how will you solve it?” In a different district there was a student running who has a sustainability plan and indicated that he’d liaison with the state on issues and I guess solve things there, too. Good thing I’m running unopposed. All I did was talk about little steps and working with others; I don’t have a grand plan.

I finished the day with a beer and scanning news feeds and Facebook for something funny. I love that in retirement, I can run with a project, binge read a thriller, take time to chat with friends, and even fit in a nap sometimes.

Happy retirement planning!

Katherine Schneider is a retired clinical psychologist, an author, and member of the Eau Claire County Board, where she is running unopposed for another term. She blogs at and can be reached at