View Full Version : Shutting it down

Lew Barrett
12-21-2009, 10:12 PM
I have been reluctant to say much about a pretty big change that's going on in my life on these pages, but I figure, "What the Hell?" Whoever reads this is more than likely to either be a good friend, or somebody with at least a reasonable view of most things, so I'm ready to share.

I will be retiring from my business after 31 years of ownership in January. I did the math, and at age 64 and based on all the events of the last couple of years, including those way beyond my own control....and some well within it....now seems as good a time as any to pack it in and move along to
a more dedicated life based on my interests and not those of someone else. I am grateful as I could be that the business and my good fortune have allowed for this outcome, and I am excited to see what my....our....new future holds for us.

I'm happy to discuss the circumstances that led me here, or just call it good at a time when many fewer people can look forward to anything resembling a "retirement." I am fortunate beyond all measure that we are not in such a position, though clearly we will be making some different choices than when I was working. I am ready for that.

Everybody, myself included, seems to know that a real "retirement" seems unlikely, but I do plan to take some time to get reacquainted with myself, my wife, my boat and my kids, maybe do some traveling and keep my eyes peeled for the next thing, whatever it turns out to be.

12-21-2009, 10:16 PM
Lew, congratulations. As my father learned upon his retirement - and he must have perfected it - he did it three times - he's busier now that he's "retired" than when he was working. At 78 years of age, he's found the time to do those things that he's wanted to do.

Enjoy the time while you and Lindy are still healthy and mobile enough to do those things that you both want to do.

12-21-2009, 10:17 PM
Congratulations Lew and Lindy!!!

Head north first. ;)

12-21-2009, 10:17 PM
EXCELLENT! Great news Lew! Congratulations!
I'm sure you'll have a blast doing the next phase. If you need a tour guide of my favorite Caribbean islands, I can cut you a good deal! ;)

Lew Barrett
12-21-2009, 10:20 PM
You bet, Brian! We're going everywhere at once!:)

One of my fantasies is travel all around...I mean everywhere.... and meet all the great people I have communicated with on these pages. Oz, NZ, England, All over Europe.....a person could make a career and probably a pretty good book...out of visiting the forum everywhere! There are dozens of people here I'd like to meet and I intend to do that. Alaska will be fine! After breakuo...:D

Doug...we're planning to tent in your yard :D Caribbean visits and trips were already done years ago!

12-21-2009, 10:20 PM
Good luck to you, Lew. You're a good one.

S/V Laura Ellen
12-21-2009, 10:24 PM
Lew: You deserve a great retirement, enjoy yourself.

12-21-2009, 10:25 PM
EXCELLENT! Great news Lew! Congratulations!
I'm sure you'll have a blast doing the next phase. If you need a tour guide of my favorite Caribbean islands, I can cut you a good deal! ;)Lock up the likker cabinet or he'll have you hard aground and dry as a bone in no time flat Lew.
Congrats on the retirement! Can't wait to hear what's first on the list.


12-21-2009, 10:27 PM
Well done, Lew! :)
...and watch out, Lindy! ;)

Blessings and peace to you both.

12-21-2009, 10:27 PM
About 13 years ago, my father in law was shoveling 3 feet of wet snow off his roof in central New Hampshire and bethought himself, "I've done this all my life, I don't want to do this any more." Good choice - he's 77 this year and doesn't know how he had the time to do everything he does. Smug, though, unbearably smug. We'll have them over for Sunday evening dinner and he'll say, "I don't think I'll go to work tomorrow. Probably won't go Tuesday, either." I hate smug retired people. Here's hoping you have a long, prosperous and enjoyable retirement. When you start driving the boat around more, WE WANT PICTURES (or it didn't happen). God bless.

The Bigfella
12-21-2009, 10:33 PM
Congratulations Lew (and Lindy)

12-21-2009, 10:36 PM
Congratulations, Lew & Lindy!

capt jake
12-21-2009, 10:38 PM
Congratulations! You and Lindy deserve it! Thanks for the advice and help you both have given me! :)

Lew Barrett
12-21-2009, 10:38 PM
Lock up the likker cabinet or he'll have you hard aground and dry as a bone in no time flat Lew.
Congrats on the retirement! Can't wait to hear what's first on the list.


I get it! Lefty is inviting us to be with him and Carter in the islands. That's different! They have rum there! I'm in!

Lew Barrett
12-21-2009, 10:39 PM
I love this place. Prepare for drop ins! We're coming!

S/V Laura Ellen
12-21-2009, 10:41 PM
I love this place. Prepare for drop ins! We're coming!

You and Lindy are welcome here anytime.

Lew Barrett
12-21-2009, 10:42 PM
As with many stories, this one started out as a storm cloud and has been slowly changing to the silver lining. The Classic Comics version of the story will have to be told at some point in the thread, but let's not cut the celebration short just yet!

12-21-2009, 10:44 PM
Congratulations, good speed.

12-21-2009, 11:10 PM
Good for you Lew!!!

12-21-2009, 11:13 PM
You mean to tell me that retired doesn't mean tired again? Hell, I have been telling people that I have been retired for 20 years.

Good luck to you, Lew. Your good nature shows that you deserve the best of it.

12-21-2009, 11:18 PM
Hittin' the road as a roadie?

The North Islanders have bigger boats but the South Island is more prettier.
When do you arrive?

Paul Pless
12-21-2009, 11:19 PM

Kat and I are wishing you the very best Lew and Lindy.
Just think how much more time you'll have to varnish now.:D

C. Ross
12-21-2009, 11:24 PM
Congrats, Lew and Lindy! Hope you can stop here sometime -- we'll round up a gang.

George Jung
12-21-2009, 11:38 PM
I imagine we can anticipate more frequent contributions to 'classic yachts', and

perhaps 'Lews' travelogue', hmmm? The pictures would be a nice touch.


David G
12-22-2009, 12:11 AM

Congrats! I hope the next phase is even more fun than the last one.

Bob Triggs
12-22-2009, 12:18 AM
Lew, That is really good news. Congratulations!

12-22-2009, 12:40 AM
Good to hear, Lew. I hope the years ahead are fulfilling ones for you, and that our paths cross again.

Don Kurylko
12-22-2009, 01:00 AM
Cheers Lew! May your retirement(s) be long and fulfilling! :)

12-22-2009, 01:01 AM
now ya old bugger you will be going slow enough for this cripple to clap eyes on ya.

looks like we will be up in the sound in April and by gosh or by golly you and I are gonna have that mug of rum :)

Lew Barrett
12-22-2009, 01:16 AM

Laughing out loud!

I'll tell the story ; it wasn't pretty when it happened back eight weeks ago, and I went through some rough nights trying to get the measure of it. Truth to tell I've seen this coming for some time.

I got fired by some real bastards and it has elements of the complete tragedy, including a Judas and the (as usual) corporate betrayals that end up looking like a slow motion train wreck that can't be avoided. All these stories have elements of similarity and I've been talking to other friends (including a couple of fellow forumites) who have all been through similar movies.

It was clear that my company, the one I'd built based on high service standards, an effort to maintain 100% customer service, prompt payment, all the good stuff even including aggressive employee compensation (and good money for me too) was not going to survive this round unscathed. We were sacked as part of what was, in essence, some corporate nepotism mixed with age discrimination. It does not pay me to dwell on it too much as I early on decided that my blood pressure readings and my sense of equilibrium relied on my not getting too emotionally wrapped up in the episode .

It took me a few weeks to get perspective on it and get the measure of it. We knew (Lindy and I) that the real problem was for our employees. It was clear that they would be the ones to suffer since it would be it harder for them to see it through to the end of any restructuring I might try to put together. The deconstruction of our team was hard for them to take, snce most of them had been with us for over ten years. I finally had to order them to stop working, even after they had been terminated. I'd come n to the office and find them there anyway. Supremely touching and flattering at one level, hard to deal with at another.

The reality was that it didn't pay for me to struggle to maintain operations and that I didn't want to invest the time and money it would take to get a payback out of rebuilding our "tooling" and alliances. I could take a slightly early retirement and hardly be out anything, or try to keep us going on reduced income and battle into the headwinds of this continuing and unreliable crappy economy. When I did the math, I realized my retirement had been handed to me. I never would have called it quits without something like this happening. I would likely have pulled at the traces without let-up had we not had our heads handed to us.

Although at first it felt like a huge collision with the great white whale (Fred;)) by thinking it through I realized I was in a position to call it good. As I said the hard part has been having to let my team go, including my daughter who has been working for me for the last four years.

The good part is that it forced her to realize she has to go back and finish nursing school (atta girl, Rachel!) and I am freed of working for the corporation that had me under contract and had made our working life increasingly unpleasant for the last years as their demands increased but not their support appreciation or their pay rates.

So.....free to move along! Life is all about perspective and getting older is all about learning how to give things up gracefully. I am truly happy am moving along and instead of being bored or worse....nervous....about going into work every day I'm now eager to see what our new life brings us. Happy holidays, friends!

12-22-2009, 01:31 AM
The good part is that it forced her to realize she has to go back and finish nursing school (atta girl, Rachel!)

So, definitely not all bad then?

Seriously; you're one of the good guys and it's a shame to hear it didn't end on a high note for you but I suppose it had to end some time.

12-22-2009, 03:59 AM
Congrats Lew....

12-22-2009, 04:39 AM
Best wishes Lew, and season's greetings. You will do just fine with that positive attitude.

12-22-2009, 05:20 AM
Please visit if you're up in this corner. Looking forward to more writing about your waterborne achievements and adventures, but please describe some of your screw-ups... even if you have to make them up. You're altogether too competent and skilled! :D

12-22-2009, 08:48 AM
Lew, I wish you well, you're one of those rare guys who naturally build the threads of a community.

12-22-2009, 09:00 AM
Lew, I never really knew what you did, but I knew it was something to do with audio engineering, I hope you'll be able to keep up with sound engineering in some capacity. It seems such an exciting field, maybe you need to enter through another door. Are any of your employees going to run with business, I do hope so.

I guess you'll be visiting Nashville, how is that daughter doing?

I'm also guessing you are asking John B to tune up his XKE in preparation for a visit.

In the meantime, block off the 19 through the 21st of March for the Maine Boatbuilders show, oh and good luck.

Bill R
12-22-2009, 09:13 AM
congratulations Lew!

12-22-2009, 11:30 AM
I think that's great news, Lew. You don't seem the type to retire, do nothing, then slowly fade away.

Me neither.

I enjoyed about 6 years of retirement and semi-retirement when I sold my business back in '87. They were some of the best years of my life and I got quite a few dreams taken care of and put behind me. Then I had to get back to work. I'm now enjoying a sort of forced retirement brought on by the problems in the housing and financial markets. Everyone says I can't afford to be retired but I'm gona damn well try. :)

You were talking about a visit to Savannah a while back so when you finally get a round tuit be sure to let me know you're coming.

12-22-2009, 11:36 AM
Congrats Lew!

Now you will have no excuse not to spend more time on the forum :)

Lew Barrett
12-22-2009, 11:51 AM
Gareth, my career wound it's way around professional audio from film sound and studio rentals, to tape recorder manufacturing to wholesale equipment sales.
I am not a trained engineer but I do have a hunk of accumulated experience with audio and video systems engineering for the trade.
Although I still have a lot to give to my industry, I don't see my next future there just now. I need a break from it.

Rachel is my middle daughter but "our (Lindy and my) oldest daughter. Sammy, our gal in Nashville, is our youngest. I have an older daughter, Heather, through another marriage. Heather's mother and Lindy are good friends as Lindy and Iris are alike in some ways. Heather my first daughter is living with her husband and three young sons in California. Heather is a teacher in Santa Rosa, just a fabulous person, and more about her story is in order at some point. They are suffering some rough luck at the moment, a story I will tell soon enough.

Sammy, our Nashville cat, just sold a tune to the Discovery Channel for the upcoming season of Treasure Quest (we think that's the program's name) and we also think it may become the theme song for the program. If so, she will be well on her way to having a real future in music, something that would be a dream come true for all of us. If she happens to hit it, I'd like nothing more than to drive her limo. That would be quite sufficient. :D But to be clear, although "they" bought the tune, we aren't sure what they will be using it for. The story will be clearer in January when the program airs.

Rachel has been drifting a bit, and without a doubt one of the positive aspects of this change is her decision to return to school. Rachel had been a very high performance young lady who for whatever reason, lost her her direction a few years ago. Previously she was a level 10 gymnast ready to be classified as "Elite" meaning she was on her way to a full ride scholarship. She was one of the top three high school gymnasts in Washington State but one day she woke up (didn't really happen in a day), quit gymnastics and entered into a career as a party girl. This was annoying and disappointing.
She returned to productivity and sensibility about 3 or 4 years ago. Rachel is one of those people who, if she sinks her teeth into something, will becomes superbly proficient. She was a fine student until she quit, a great athlete, and more recently, a very good bass player. She went back to school earlier this year and most recently announced her intention to pursue a nursing career. It's a perfect match for her personality as she loves people, people love her and she s very focused when she wants to be and I've no doubt she will see this through to the end.....marrying a doctor!

We have a great family. We haven't been without our trials....who isn't.....but we've seen them all through and we've grown tighter and tighter through the years. I have been blessed many times over.

I want to write; I have been practicing with you guys here over the years, and I think that the people who inhabit our passion as wooden boat lovers are one of my natural starting points and subjects. I look forward to really having the time and energy to do a more serious job with my writing and because I don't really need to make a living wage at it, I'm hoping I might develop an honest and direct style that pleases me above all. So far that has proven elusive, but I have enjoyed the practice.

Stumbling into this room a few years ago has had a far more profound effect on e than I could have possibly imagined at the time. It's odd because as some of you may now I always caution people not to tae the place too seriously. While believe that should be true if one is having a sparing match over political or "social" issues we've all proven to ourselves over and over again that when the chips are down, one can find real friendship here. Ain't that a paradox?

snow(Alan H)
12-22-2009, 06:00 PM

As I mentioned in another post I was a littled concerned that you had somewhat dropped off the radar - as many have touched on above, you truely are to use a great Kiwi saying - " One of the good bastards". My dear old departed Mum used to say that "God does not repay his debts in money", so based on this, those that are not good bastards will get their comeupance in life.

You introduced yourself to me on-line as "one of the forum antiquarians" & that you are. What really won me over was your line on a post by a new forumite named 'Balance', she disappeared after asking a simple question - you replied based on the analogy of time & a watch - it went like this " Balance is gone, I think. She asked us for the time, we told her how to build a watch, what kind of watch she wanted, where to wear it and what kind of watches we like!" - this told me so much about you without ever having meet you & elevated you automatically into the good bastard club.

As we say in my world (advertising) you have the gift of the gab - you are right in perusing that gift, in todays electronic publishing world there are no borders or boundaries, the only challenge is getting paid for your work but I'm sure your big enough & ugly enough to sort that out.

Lew - enjoy this Christmas, you are a free man - not many can say that. That 21 year old bottle of Appleton's is locked away until we hook up.

Cheers Alan

p.s. I was sent this several years ago when I was having my own aha moment & it cheered me up.

"A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground into a large field.

While he was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on him.
As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, he began to realize how warm he was. The dung was actually thawing him out!
He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.
A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate.
Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung, and promptly dug him out and ate him.

Morals of the story:
(1) Not everyone who ****s on you is your enemy.
(2) Not everyone who gets you out of **** is your friend.
(3) And when you're in deep ****, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

12-22-2009, 07:31 PM
Enjoy it Lew. Ya could always come up to B'ham and get some sawdust on ya...

David Tabor (sailordave)
12-22-2009, 07:55 PM
Lew: I just now saw this post. I know you (and Lindy) will do just fine in the next phase of your lives. And I'm going to hold you to your commitment to travel around and visit all the forumites! You know my email; keep me posted! Best wishes always.

12-22-2009, 07:58 PM
Well Done!
Now, how about a cross country cruise, the whole fam damly aboard Rita, Can ya get here from there?:D

bestest wishes to you all.


C. Ross
12-22-2009, 08:12 PM
" One of the good bastards"

You have no idea how perfect that is for Lew.

Forced life change is a bitch, and navigating it as gracefully and forward-looking as Mr. Barrett has is classy. I hope to weather the storm as well as you have, Lew.

L.W. Baxter
12-22-2009, 08:23 PM
...Stumbling into this room a few years ago has had a far more profound effect on e than I could have possibly imagined at the time...

I agree. For me it's been a place to think out loud with people who can not only understand what I'm on about but tell me in a colorful fashion where I've gone terribly wrong.

Congrats on the respite, Lew. Sorry about the circumstances, but most people I respect have been canned at some point by unimaginative buttholes.

Memphis Mike
12-22-2009, 08:34 PM
Are you still coming to TN?

12-22-2009, 08:35 PM
Lew, I've been enjoying your writing here and for Classic Yacht for some time now. Still, I think the title of this thread is a bit wrong. It's not "Shutting it down", it's "Starting it up"! :)

Bob Adams
12-22-2009, 08:56 PM
Congrats indeed. Thanks to the rotten bastard that destoyed my business, I'll have to work till the day I die. It's good to see others make it out of the race.

Lew Barrett
12-23-2009, 11:02 AM
Thank you all. It will be a great relief when the hundreds of details attending this are done and I can move on. Once having made the decision to be done with it, the remaining time and tasks have become onerous.

What would we do without our freedom?


Paul Girouard
12-23-2009, 10:57 PM
What would we do without our freedom?


In search of Govt health care? :confused: :D

Congrats I think on your retirement. I've pursues the thread and can't quite figure if your happy or sad about it? Maybe a bit of both as the company it seems is not going forward?

You had hoped your employees could take it over weren't you?

Well either way I wish you and Lindy the best.

Merry Christmas ! Enjoy that Chinese food! Dim Sum? In Seattle can one find real Dim Sum?

Captain Blight
12-24-2009, 01:10 AM
But... Lew, I'm on the cusp of hitting it rich! What am I to do now? What do I make of wire runs from nowhere to nowhere?

Will you still be avialable for freelance work? Please say yes. Please.

Paul Girouard
12-24-2009, 01:15 AM
But... Lew, I'm on the cusp of hitting it rich!

What am I to do now?

Pay more taxes.

What do I make of wire runs from nowhere to nowhere?

Go wireless! Nuttin but cutting edge stuff for a rich guy. ;)

Captain Blight
12-24-2009, 01:25 AM
How can Lew help me to pay taxes if I'm doing nothing sinister and arranging my life in such a manner as to pay the lowest taxes avalaible? Do I have to buy an even cruddier boat to balance the scales?

12-24-2009, 01:32 AM
Congratulations on joining the retired crew Lew and Lindy, and a happy Xmas to boot! I never was so busy. If you light up down my way you are welcome. I too enjoy your writing and I hope you don't retire from that.

12-24-2009, 06:59 AM
Thank you all. It will be a great relief when the hundreds of details attending this are done and I can move on. Once having made the decision to be done with it, the remaining time and tasks have become onerous.

What would we do without our freedom?

you are just about to find out the diffrence. :) merry Christmas, happy solstice, the blessings of the end of the longest Night.