Monday, April 28, 2008

Sons and such...

Having been told that the only thing that can stop me from retiring now is to end up on sick leave; having mentioned to you all that since we started the 10 hour days I haven't been able to get to the gym, and therefore have regained most of the weight and more inches than I lost; Dottie decided I had no business mowing until I get some of it back off and asked Bill to come in on Friday nights and mow so I won't.

Having fractured a ligament in my back a few years ago and gone out on my only sick leave for 4 months, the thing that worries me most is lifting things that are borderline "too heavy" from floor height; if it's above my knees I can deal with it, though if I have to carry them far I'm fighting some weight induced asthma at the moment.

So not only did he mow this week, but Bill stayed overnight on Friday and did the "heavy lifting" that was required to rearrange the basement enough for me to start putting together that treadmill I bought a while back. I ordered the mat to go under it tonight, and it's "where it's going" so I can figure out exactly what I need for wiring and boxes and such to set it up. (Last weekend I got John to pull the sandtubes from the back of my pickup as pulling the seven of them and lying them on the ground where I'm hiding them to keep them out of the sun so I don't have to replace them this fall would have done me in...)

Bill stayed until after dinner last night, by which time all 3 of us were exhausted. Today we slept 'til noon (my normal hours, but a treat for Dottie) then after some "us" time she cut my hair (I've been begging for 3 weeks now) and then we did Sam's and Costco before coming home to run laundry and watch TV. After we cleared the tapes for this next week (check out "The Big Bang Theory" sometime for a grin) we watched "Hitman". We had seen trailers at the movies for it last year, and when she cleared her Netflix list the first time I added it. Much better than you'd think...more plot than most things drawn from a video game!

Mine for tonight was supposed to be "Pandora's Box" but it's 10 'til 4 in the morning and I really don't want to start a 2:15 minute movie right now, so it's waiting until tomorrow night. By the time I finish here, finish programming recorders for tomorrow night (I watch way too much TV for my own good) and get to bed it will later than it should!

Tomorrow if they haven't gone on strike, I need to call to try to catch the guard at work who knows how to work the camera to take the picture for my "gold" ID card, then swing by the vet's to pick up some MSM for Angel.

Sorry to post and run, but the clock is ticking and it doesn't seem to slow!

May the week be kind!


Monday, April 21, 2008

The "i's" are dotted and the "t's" are crossed!

With a strike over our local agreement looming tomorrow, I received my retirement papers in the mail on Thursday and spent that afternoon and evening, along with Friday filling them out, taking care of the documentation, copying them and getting them mailed on Friday afternoon before work.

Another "curveball" arose in this 2nd set of papers that involved me having to get a notarized statement signed by my wife that she knew I was taking the "lump-sum" buyout; she had to meet me on her lunch at Kinko's and then go back to work. I guess in the earlier rounds of this there was some ruckus kicked up by spouses who didn't know what they're partners were up to!

So, no matter what happens tomorrow, come July 1st I am a retiree!

If we walk, there is good reason for it; they want to take away seniority rights to transfer to a better job, instead having management place who they want to where they want to. Meaning if you are stupid like I was and take the worst job in a team and do it, you'll be there forever because why would they move you?

I think I'm glad I won't be around to see what other iterations this will take in years to come!

Many think me a fool for the cut in income I'm taking to go out the door; others say what if they do to the retireess what's been done to the airline employees (some of them are now collecting $1 on 4 of what they were guaranteed).

I tell them that if I wait for a "good" time to go, I will never leave, as have some that are still there, including some with 1949 time, and one with 1946! Somehow, some way this is going to work out!

The weekend flew by in a blur of family party on Saturday and errands and company on Sunday. Now it's a few minutes after 3 and I'm heading for the shower early today so I can go out the door early so I don't take quite so many chances on getting to work on time!

More later!

May the week be kind to each of you!


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"Falling in love again...

what am I to do..."

Something from an old the one I fell in love with the other night.

Dottie and I have been making good use of the Netflix subscription John and Noel gave us and have continued it on our own; with our hours and such it works out to a disc apiece per week. Hers is usually something we missed in the theater; mine is usually something I can't get ahold of anywhere else.

In Kevin Brownlow's "The Parade's Gone By" he raved about a scene in a movie that I managed to catch on TCM. I not only agreed with him but knew I should find more work by the lead actress; I hadn't gotten around to it until now. They called her "America's Sweetheart".

Her name was Mary Pickford. She lit up the screen from almost the beginning of the movies. During WW1 she went on bond drives for the government and raised $5 million a day! She was such a star by 1919 that she; an actor she would soon marry (Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.), the biggest comic actor of his day (Chaplin), and the best known director of his time (Griffith) joined forces to create the United Artists studio!

Brownlow spoke glowingly of Mary's dual role in "Stella Maris" and of Francis Marion's screenplay (another gal ahead of her time, one of the premier screenwriter's of her day, subject, if memory serves of a book and documentary; "Without Lying Down").

He was so very correct, and I have a new movie trying to find it's place in my "Top Ten"!

The other movie I had seen, "Sparrows" is very very good, but also very dark; a review on the IMDB compares it to Dickens; an apt parallel! I can still, after perhaps 6 years, well up in tears thinking of it...

"Stella Maris" has it's moments as well; not exactly the "modern" Hollywood formula, either, it's such a stunning treat of photography, acting and music its images will stay with you long after the last frame!

A beautiful print, gorgeously restored with all of it's original tints; also a score written for this reissue that could easily stand on it's own!

For something released 90 years ago this year, it can rival anything you find on screen today! With no "green screens" and no computers; just camera, lens and a film that had properties unlike anything they make today (also flammable, unlike the film of today) they truly created magic!

After their initial growth from the "two reelers" of Griffith at Biograph and later Mack Sennett, etc., the best movies of the era were never "silent", and were never "black and white". Along with "Intolerance" and Abel Gance's "Napoleon", this one might even make my Top 5, which would make "Casablanca" the only "talkie" there! (Pressed to name that 5th I'd have to choose between Chaplin's "The Kid" or "City Lights" and I really can't), and I couldn't rank them, either...sorry!)

Tomorrow I'll have the last disc of 4 of Roscoe Arbuckle movies, some of which I have on VHS but the restoration process is so beautiful now that watching them now versus my old tapes is light years in difference. Next in my queue? "Pandora's Box" which I saw 10 years ago perhaps, and following it a disc of extra material. Mary Pickford's "Tess of the Storm Country" just skipped it's way from 62nd (where I added it last night after watching "Stella Maris" to 3rd.

I feel as though I should apologize for a rant somehow...or would it be a rave?

May the week be kind!


Sunday, April 13, 2008

I made it!

Friday night, at 8:42pm, I had the hours I need to retire with credit for 30 years. I couldn't figure out why they were adding up quicker than I expected, as I had printed a calendar and counted days in February when this all began. As I looked at the monitor with my hours the other night I realized I counted "straight" time not "time and a half". I got the "first draft" of my retirement papers, a first draft because I didn't realize when I spoke to them the first time that I could continue the optional life insurances I have on myself and Dottie; they are much cheaper than hunting down new policies at our age!

So as long as everyone's math is right, I no longer have to fear the axle strike, etc.. Hopefully the 2nd draft of those papers will come in on Monday and I will sign everything on Tuesday.

I have spoken of my Dad dying and my Mom ending up with only his Social Security. Since he had 17 years in the meatcutter's union before he went supervision, he should have been "vested" and had Mom gotten a lawyer like I begged her to, I think she would have gotten something from them, but at the time he died it was all my fault (that he got cancer) and she wasn't listening to me.

Her Dad, a Santa Fe engineer after he came home from WW2, passed up "62" for "65" and put in his papers the first of January, 1971. He mentioned to me more than once that he hoped he wouldn't regret it. That not only got him "max" Social Security back then, but gave him a full 25 with the railroad. He was set to retire the first of February that year.

The 3rd week of January he had a massive stroke; he was paralyzed on his left side. His left arm never worked again; it took almost 18 months for him to walk slowly with a cane unassisted. His speech was (frustratingly for him) never "right" again, either. For someone who was literate and well read it was terrible! He lived 10 more years, unable to do any of the things he loved except travel and read...

Just one more of many reasons for me to make this break now!

Someone at work claims to have figured out the average length of retirement for the autoworkers that "get out" of our plant. Since the death notices are in the union paper each month, it wouldn't be hard to go through the records and figure it.

They say it's 4 years...

I haven't told Dottie that number yet. I'm also hoping by getting out at 52 instead of 62 or 67 I'm adding some years to that!


The weekend is escaping rapidly, and shortly I have to figure out whether just Bill is coming to dinner, Bill and Laura, or Bill, Laura, John and his family. Makes a big difference in how much comes out of the freezer, lol!

So for the moment, I'm going to go finish my latte before I get on the phone...

May the rest of your weekend be kind, and may the coming week be as well!


Monday, April 07, 2008

My last one day weekend...

at GM if I'm lucky!

I needed about 100 hours to "have my time" as of the end of last week. I got close to half of those this last week. I'm watching "the axle strike" with one eye, hoping they settle or that we find parts enough to get to the middle of next week.

Dottie kept the 3 grandkids Friday night and on Saturday finally got to cook the corned beef dinner she usually fixes St. Patrick's Day weekend as both sons finally managed to clear a Saturday evening. Of course, I was at work...the leftovers were dinner last night after we did the weekend's shopping, and still very good even reheated.

I've been starting to do some minor checking into my next career; Bass Pro and Cabela's both say they want 3 weekends a month on their websites, though I haven't spoken to either store in person. Costco sounds like they might be flexible for part time help, and so far Border's sounds not only reasonable but even happy to have persons in my age group. Lowe's is an option as well; after my back problems a few years ago I'm trying not to find something with heavy lifting. I saw a parts counter job for a appliance company the other night; something I hadn't thought of. Possibly an auto parts counter would do as well...

Once I get those last few hours in and know that everything is firm for my July 1st date I can explore a bit more.

So, another Monday arrives and I have errands to run before work!

May the week be kind!


Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I "called for my papers"

Tuesday afternoon; 90 days from my planned "retirement" date of July 1st.

It's not that I wouldn't love to keep bringing home what I do; I just can't deal with the long hours anymore. To think of doing another year of them leads my mind to places I don't want it to go!

Also, by doing this, as long as I am out the door first, no matter what happens Dottie gets to keep 1/3 of the money along with the healthcare, dental and eyecare. That's worth a lot, especially after seeing my Mom end up with only my Dad's Social Security.

If it all works out, I have the last week of June off as vacation, so I'll have a week to "transition" and flip my hours while I find something else to do.

I took a vacation day Tuesday as we are scheduled to work this Saturday, Dottie worked last weekend so it was a way to avoid that 6 day week and have some time with her.

Normally one who dreads change, I can't wait for this!