Fall Break

The day has arrived. We’ve been looking forward to this week since we booked the Air BnB months ago. Vacation week is here and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It was a year ago that I found out the plant I work in would be closed for good by July 2024. The place I’d worked in for the last 22 years. It’s been a year of mental and emotional ups and downs. In February of this year we found out another company out of Michigan that also works in the orthopedic world wanted to buy our building and hire folks for their business. Basically transition from our company to theirs. It felt like a beam of hope in what had been a sea of hopelessness. Now, it seems us closing our doors is more up in the air due to the plan to transition our manufacturing from here in the states to Puerto Rico and China has stalled. Those other manufacturing facilities aren’t quite as prepared as they all thought.

Best laid plans, yadda…yadda…yadda…

About two weeks after we found out about our impending employment doom the family headed up north an hour to Three Rivers, MI where we stayed at a lovely Air BnB. It was on a small lake with an amazing view. The house felt lived in. A home, more than just a rental. Cozy living room downstairs and upstairs, with nice sized kitchen for cooking, plus a gorgeous 2nd story porch with a screened-in portion for grilling, dining, and card games. Those two days there made an impression, so early this year we booked it for four days.

It’s a little different this year, though. Kids are older and scattered about, with our 19-year old living in an apartment an hour away taking night classes and babysitting during the day. She’ll be joining us tomorrow and staying the night Tuesday, heading back on Wednesday. Our son won’t be joining us till tomorrow as he has school today plus marching band practice(heading to state this weekend.) The only kids that will be with us the whole time will be our oldest and our four-legged one, Otto.

I’m taking my Chromebook, Stephen King’s Fairytale, and my sketch pad. Planning on doing some writing and drawing and reading. Not much else. The wife wants to do S’mores by campfire one night. Another difference from this year to last year is that this year it’s a lot colder. Like, they’re calling for snow showers up there so the S’mores will be interesting. But hey, that’s what we have coats and hats for, right?

I’m a lot less worried about the pending closing of my plant than I was a year ago. The option to transition to another company for one helps. But my wife and I talked about it and we’ve been doubling the mortgage payment and putting as much back in savings as we can. If we last another two, three years there the house will be close to being paid off, and savings will be padded so that I can take a little time before jumping back in. Plus, the severance they’re giving me is pretty substantial. I really want to do something different, out of the medical field entirely. I’ve been in it since I was 19. I’m tired of it. It no longer feels like it’s about making lives better. It feels like working to make stockholders happy. I’m not interested in making stockholders happy and company officers giant bonuses. I’m interested in making me and mine happy. I’ve been doing this for almost thirty years, and I’m ready to do something else.

What? I don’t know, but I’m ready nonetheless. Kids are too old for me to be a stay-at-home dad. Our elder dog would probably enjoy me at home, so who knows. Music, writing, drawing are all things I’d love to fill time with, instead of punching a clock. We’ll see.

So I’m ready for this week. I’m ready for the seclusion, the changing leaves, the grilling of meats, and the drinking of libations. I’m ready to be with the family, just us. For the time we can all be together with no distractions and no annoyances. Even just an hour north from home, being up there feels like we’re a lifetime away. I’m good with that. I feel like these vacations together are few and far between. Our youngest graduates high school this school year. He says he wants to take a gap year before heading back into academia. Work, save some money, do some living. I think that’s a good idea. But who knows where everyone will be this time next year. Gotta enjoy these while we can, while we’re all still available. Those family vacations with my own parents don’t seem that far away, but that was over 30 years ago. It goes by fast. Too fast.

Well, time to pack. Enjoy your week, kids.

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