Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday's Words for September 10, 2008

Yes, it’s September once more, which means summer is waning, the days are getting shorter, and the kids have gone back to school.

As you know, we have our daughter and grandson living with us. Our grandson has gone back to school—and so has our daughter. She’s beginning a year long course at the local community college, taking classes that will qualify her as a P.S.W. – Personal Support Worker. Here in Southern Ontario, school begins on the day after Labour Day. Tuesday morning, September 2nd, bright and early, off they went, the two of them.

You’re probably wondering why I wasn’t whooping it up last week in my essay, sharing with you all the joys of having my home to myself again each day.

There’s a simple reason for that. Mr. Ashbury had the week off.

Yes, he had the week off and we didn’t go away anywhere! Now, calm down. No, he isn’t ill. He just decided that he didn’t need to go away this time. He’s very defensive about this decision, at least in the face of the total and complete shock of the members of our family. He tells them it was my idea to stay home, but that just isn’t true. He has another week off in November, so you’ll have to stay tuned to find out if we’re going anywhere or not. The answer is anybody’s guess.

Mr. Ashbury has worked for the same company for thirty years, now. He’ll tell you, if you ask him, that he is very fortunate because he likes what he does. He works in the aggregate industry, and when the kids were little they used to tease him about having taken over Fred Flintstone’s job.

In his years at the quarry he’s been the guy who broke up huge dining-table sized chunks of limestone with a sledgehammer, and the guy who operated the enormous loaders. He’s also been the ‘go-to’ guy who knew how to fix anything that broke, and how to make new what wasn’t there. He began working for the company when it was a small, family owned operation. By the time it was bought out by a big multi-national corporation in 2003—and we were blessed that the former owner made as a condition of the sale that his people would keep their jobs—he could look at every piece of equipment and acknowledge with pride that he’d had a major hand in designing and building most of it.

Mr. Ashbury doesn’t have an engineering degree, but he knows his industry and knows what works. This fact has been acknowledged recently by the engineers who designed the new processing plant. They have had to come to him to ask him how to fix their ingenious design that didn’t do what the book said it was supposed to do. In the last few years, he’s had to deal with some new bosses who point at this mythical book and say, “this is how things are supposed to work”, and who are always amazed when things don’t work quite that way. My DH calls it “engineering fantasy meeting everyday reality”.

He works long hours in the summer months (when he is not on vacation, of course), Monday to Friday beginning at five-thirty in the morning, and getting off at five o’clock in the evening. Some days he stays two hours longer, when needed. And he often works six hours on Saturday as well.

Recently his employer had a representative of the company that administers their pension plan in to speak to them about how their plan works. This guest gave an example of how one could afford to retire at the age of sixty if one made certain selections as to the type of investment early on. DH advises that the man looked at him as if he was crazy when he asked, “What if I don’t want to retire until I’m seventy?”

I for one am glad he feels that way. You see, he’s been referring to me as “The Retired Person” for quite some time now. Our eldest pointed out to him (bless my first born!) that by referring to me as The retired person, he is in fact stating that there can be only one.

Yep, I’ve got that position all sewn up.


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