My husband is a carpenter by trade and his shop is on the same three acres as our home, so sawdust follows him into our house. It is a fine powder and not big shavings, so I never see it or feel it until I sweep or vacuum. I have learned to never wash my things with his work clothes unless I want to break out in a rash afterwards. The chair where he sits at lunch has to be dusted once a week because it collects a fine film.
He found a new job last month and hired out as an “independent contractor.” His boss and fellow workers are in awe that a man who once managed twenty employees and grossed six figures in one year is now working alongside them. Because for once he is not the boss, he jokes that he finally got a real job. He can choose his own schedule but so far he has worked a 40-hour week. Instead of the same sturdy school furniture he built for the last 30 years of his life, he is building cabinets for a local company and enjoying not being the boss and not filling out page after page of forms the government requires of small businesses.
This is all part of his big “Retirement Plan.” It is how he closes out one chapter of his life and moves on to another. He is too young to collect Social Security, so he continues to work without the hassle of employees, tax lawyers, and a CPA on the payroll. He gets to transition responsibility onto someone else and uses his free time to work with wood to create something new for fun and profit instead of the same patterns he built for thirty years.
I miss him being underfoot. I miss him walking over from his shop several times a day to freshen his drink and interrupt what I am doing. I miss him sneaking up on me while I am deep in thought and scaring me in the process.
I had to stop what I was doing every day and make sure his lunch was ready at noon, but now I pack his lunch at night for the next day. I set the coffee pot so he can take a full thermos with him to work in the morning. He leaves before I get up in the morning and my day is spent alone and uninterrupted until he gets home at dinner.
I miss him. I miss our conversations. At lunch I sit and talk to his empty chair. I miss the sawdust. I noticed the other day his chair stays clean without him here.