It hasnít quite sunk in just yet that my esteemed colleague Tyler Murphy is leaving our little fold. Oh sure, Iíve had plenty of time to get used to the idea since he gave what is possibly the longest notice in history. (You know, Tyler, two weeks is customary. Two months is a bit excessive).

But despite more than ample notice, Iím not sure what Iíll do on Monday morning when heís not here. You see, he (re)joined the ES staff during my second week on the job. And Iím not entirely certain how Iím going to manage without him. (Jeff, I hope you were sitting down for that little revelation.)

Our relationship has not always been an easy one. There has been a fair bit of tension between young Mr. Murphy and myself during our shared tenure at Chenango Countyís hometown daily. Largely because weíre both fiercely competitive. And we have pretty divergent opinions and beliefs when it comes to, well, just about everything.

Including, I might add, where dirty dishes should be placed. Iím of the opinion that they should be put directly in the dishwasher. Tyler, on the other hand, insists on leaving them in the sink. Probably because he knows it irritates the heck out of me. (One of his greatest strengths is knowing how to push buttons.)

In fact, we fall so often on the opposite side of issues and debates that when we find ourselves agreeing philosophically on something Ė anything Ė weíre a bit taken aback.

The beauty of our differing view points is that it leads to healthy (and, yes, sometimes heated) discussion, something I can assure you there has been no shortage of these last couple of years.

It is one of the things Iím going to miss. Because I will miss him. More than I realized, actually. (Donít let that go to your head, Tyler.)

That said, Iím glad heís leaving. And no, not because of the whole dish thing. I think heís ready to leave the nest and Iím proud of him for having the courage to spread his wings. Iím more than a little excited for him, too. A fresh start, with all sorts of new opportunities to explore and discover Ė itís exhilarating. I know; Iíve done it a time or two myself. There are a world of possibilities in front of him, and Iím glad heís going for the brass ring.

The newsroom will be a much different place without him, of course. Reporter X will bring a whole new set of skills, interests and personality into the mix, and our staffís dynamic will change as a result. But change is a good thing. Itís necessary, too, in order to evolve and grow.

There will be new assignments as well. As Tyler mentioned in his parting column on Tuesday, Iíll be taking over the police/fire/court beat. Iím excited for the opportunity, but itís a little bitter sweet. See, it will mean giving up coverage of two areas which have taken up a lot of my time over the last (almost) three years: the Norwich City School District or Chenango Countyís agriculture community. Theyíll be in good hands, I know. Brian Golden will be taking on the NCSD; Melissa deCordova, agriculture. But itíll still be hard to let go. Not that Iíll have too much time to dwell on it, since Iíll have a lot of work to do getting acclimated to my new beat. Tylerís been showing me the ropes the last few days. But next week, Iíll be on my own. Itís funny, but part of me feels like a newbie reporter all over again. Iíll get over it of course. But in the mean time, Iíll keep reminding myself that change is good. And comfort zones are for wimps.

Tyler, I bid you a fond farewell. I wish you nothing but success and happiness with your move, and in life. Good luck, my friend.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunmelissa.

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