September 2, 2012 is my husband's birthday. His 74th one. Still works full time plus call outs and feels not answering his phone if the company is calling is just ridiculous. His work ethic is flawless. Retiring from General Telephone after 22 years of buried work, he collected his retirement in a lump sum, invested it and took a new job 2 days later. Utilities Contracting hired him for his experience and put him in charge of a line crew. He has worked on telephone lines since before I first met him some 32 years ago. He's traveled all over Michigan and northern Indiana repairing or installing new lines and the only days he didn't go to work were the few days that kidney stones or a torn up knee kept him off his feet. There have been 2 kidney stone procedures which kept him home a few days, but otherwise, he has taken the earned vacations and no more.
He left Utilities after a couple of months because Verizon (after they purchased General Telephone Michigan) offered him a position at his pre-retirement seniority because they needed expertise. He couldn't refuse the opportunity to get another 22 year pension for possibly short term work and he also thought maybe the new Verizon platform would be better for him. Possibly a chance at higher management or who knows what else could be down the pike. Utilities was great to him and told him anytime he was more than welcomed to return, if things weren't so good at Verizon.
Things weren't so good at Verizon. He stayed 5 weeks. On a Friday afternoon he called Utilities to tell them he was going to work 1 more week and would like to return, they said, "See ya Monday." So retirement number 2 lasted the week-end. Pension number 2 was collected, lump sum and invested. He continued to work full time for a company he really enjoyed. Loving the work makes it less of a job and more of what you do each day. The work ethic he has shown his employers, he has also passed on to the kids. They all show a great dedication to their employers and each has climbed the ladder of their professions with dignity and a proud clean work record. They didn't just bloom that way, they learned it by example.
At the end of this year, retirement number 3 is expected. I have been told repeatedly that he will work until the Christmas break and that's it. I have been hearing this for several years, but I do believe it this time. I do believe he is ready to pack it in and enjoy some time in his yard. Some travel with his bride and a lot of down time in his home. I'm happy about this decision. It's way passed time for him to relax. He has earned his retirement.
This past Friday at 10 minutes to 4 a.m., his phone rang. He was needed in Jackson for an emergency pole down. He was out the door by 4:10 a.m. Jackson is nearly an hour and half from here. I will not list all the details, but he didn't return home until Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Yep, 31 and a half hours later he came home. He then ate a quick sandwich, mowed his 3 acres, took a shower and we went to the car show in our hometown. All his choices. Then, finally, he took an hour and a half nap. Michigan football was one, so he got up to watch that.
I tell that little tale because you need to know he isn't human. He isn't normal. What he is, is extraordinary and dedicated. What he is, is a little more than most of the other men I know. A little more stubborn, a little more dedicated to doing what's right. He's a lot more than that, but his employers know this is who he is.
We have been married 31 years in March, if we make it through the first 3 months of retirement, that is. I have watched him lose 2 of his daughters through no fault of his own. They chose to disassociate and he had to accept that. Their children are missing the best Grampa ever. I have watched him fall in love with each and every one of the rest of his grandchildren as they came along and each of them love him right back. This big bear of a man is putty in any of their hands. We share 9 granddaughters and 1 grandson. We have the most awesome children-in-laws and wouldn't trade one of them. That blessing is because the boys all learned how to treat a woman from him, I think. I don't live with the boys, of course, so I don't really know how they treat their wives when they are alone, but I do know they never saw this man treat his wife with anything but love and respect. Our daughter learned what is expected of a man and bless her heart, she found one finally who just might be a mini-Mike. Mike does enjoy teasing me about a buttload of things, I can deal with that and he does make me laugh. I may or may not do a little teasing myself.
So Happy Birthday to my Baby and here's to many more~ right by my side. And know that when I count my blessings, my winning pick in the husband lottery is always near the top of my list.