I know I am getting old or older. Seems like if there's a big event in the future, all my thoughts go to that event and everything else gets a way-back burner. Today was the Retirement Party for Jill Pavic. It was held in Mill Hollow MetroPark, yes my faithful readers...OUT OF DOORS. Most unusual for me but that is what Jill wanted. So I have been concentrating on this event, and the food I needed to prepare, the things I needed to buy, and was I sure I knew how to get there.
As I prepared Robert's breakfast this morning and sat down to eat with him before he left for work, I asked him again, if he had decided anything definitely on his retirement from Republic Steel....as in when will he experience some LIBERTY?
"Yes, I have. If I run into my boss today I'm going to tell him my last day will be August 31!" To say I was a bit stunned is only mildly correctly. We've been talking about him retiring because I do want him out of that mill before it kills him. It's become a most dangerous place, the equipment is not kept up, people have died in accident IN the mill in recent months/years. But to have a date put to the moment was a bit startling to me. Robert's mulled over his 66th birthday of next year, then the end of this calendar year. But we are going with August 31. Part of this decision was made because the mill will be starting up the new blast furnace, electric not gas. And it will mean big-time headaches for Robert.
The boss had asked Robert to give him 2-3 months notice since there is no one to replace Robert. I called about noon to see if Robert had run into the boss. He had and he had given his notice. The boss had kind words to say to Robert, as did his last boss...about being a faithful worker, one who could be relied upon. And Robert says that these words mean more to him than any bonus or increase in salary. That's my man...it's never been about money to Robert. It's always been about doing the best job he can...and he has. In all areas. The boss did ask Robert to come up with an action plan on how the mill will run without replacing him. This is another problem at the mill. They so desperately need management and workers yet these people are never hired. Now, a head manager will retire and they have no intention on replacing him. But it's ok, right? It's not Robert's problem. He told me he would come up with a plan but no matter which way he devises things, there are important parts of this job that will just have to fall through the cracks and that will lead to bigger problems. But for now, we are happy that we have lived the life we have, been provided for by the various names this steel mill has gone buy, that Robert has never been without a job except for 8 month in the 80s. Even then Robert hauled carpets for a friend who owned a company to keep money coming and food for the kids. I was able to be a substitute teacher during this time as well. We have been blessed. And now it's time to move on to the next phase, whatever that may be.
So in the afternoon, I attended Jill's retirement party. She's worked for 31 years in the school district, a difficult school district. She's cared so much for these students who are below the poverty level with very little home loving nor attention. So many times she's bought them clothes, or shoes, or underwear. She's gathered winter coats for them as well as backpacks. And that's all that I know...I always wonder what I don't know. But I do know she's amazing and has been blessed for her goodness.
About 13 ladies came and we have a lot of lively discussions. When I told them that Robert had set a date, every exclaimed. I think they thought I was kidding. But mostly we concentrated on Jill. She received some gift certificates to the movies, to Zoups, a tote bag and an armload of bracelets, candles, sleepware. Thanks to Dawn's suggestion I filled a basket with all kinds of crafts she can learn....Origami, String Figures, Balloon animals, Knitting which she insists she's afraid to try, body lotion and the coupon to Zoups. It was a lovely day. Perfect weather, perfect friends, wonderful burgers and dogs provided by Mary Beth Lyon and plenty of sides from the rest of us. Jill already knows what she's going to do next. She's already been hired to be the supervisors for student teachers through LCCC.
Robert, on the other hand, just wants to bicolage (French for putter). And so he shall.