My DaddyO

The Baby’s first birthday wasn’t the only thing we celebrated recently.  My dad also celebrated his birthday in a BIG way- he retired!

Let me tell ya about my ole Pops.  He’s always been good when it comes to tinkering with things and has earned the nickname “Nomad Dad” because he’s always wandering off in public trying to figure out how something works- we’ve caught him underneath water slides, staring up elevator shafts, and examining interior walls. We haven’t always seen eye-to-eye.  I’m a little naive, a risk taker, and pretty high energy. My dad is very skeptical, not at all a risk taker, and cherishes his quiet personal time.  And we’re both pretty hard headed. Growing up we were forever arguing over things like whether everything my teachers taught was correct, the most important features of a car (color vs. low mileage/good condition), what matters more in a picture (just the right lighting or how my hair looks), or the best boy band (The Beatles vs. The Backstreet Boys). I would have argued ’til I was blue in the face back then, but now I see that Ole Dad was right on all accounts…except that my hair is way more important than lighting in a picture.
He’s always been able to fix my practical life problems.  When The Husband and I first got married this caused some strife in our relationship because we had many conversations like this:

Me: It would be really awesome to change out this light fixture.
The Husband:  Sounds like a lot of work and I don’t know how to do that.
Me:  Well wouldn’t it be fun to learn?
The Husband:  No.  I’ll just call a handyman and pay them to do it.
Me:  Don’t do that.  I’ll just call my dad.
The Husband:  Jayme!  We are married now!  I am the man of your life now!  You can’t just call your dad to fix every little thing!

But, The Husband also started learning from my dad.  My dad has become a father figure to The Husband…and The Husband has become quite the handy man himself!

The truth is, my dad is one of the smartest men I know.  After high school he went to trade school and became a machinist. He loved his job until his company was bought and closed my Dad’s location.  He got on at different companies and worked his way up the manufacturing ladder until he was in management with several direct reports.  But, he never really found another position he loved.  I’ve been hearing him complain about work since I was 14 years old.  He was always working long hours in less than ideal conditions.  He’s been talking about retirement for years and I’m so proud of him for finally doing it! DaddyO has a serious photography hobby so after he catches up on sleep and projects he’s going to focus on that.

To celebrate he gave tours of his plant:

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And then had a big party in the neighbors shed:

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All while the grandkids were jumping on the rusty-springed trampoline and enjoying tractor rides:

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Dad, congrats on your retirement!  Thank you for being a great male role model for my sister and me.  Thanks for loving mom and showing us how couples stick together.  Thanks for teaching us how to be independent, skeptical, and not afraid to stick to our guns.  Thanks for showing us firsthand what good money management looks like.  You and mom never really worked especially high-paying jobs, but you always made wise financial decisions and I’ve learned from this…to this day I can still hear your voice saying “Is that a want or a need?”  (I can also hear your voice saying “Jayme, act your age not your shoe size!”) Thank you for always being yourself even when it was really really embarrassing to me, like the first time you ever met The Husband at Olive Garden and you pulled a tape measurer out of your pocket and squeezed past some diners to measure a picture frame you thought looked neat.  I know you thought I was crazy for quitting my good safe job to pursue an uncertain one, but hearing you be unhappy with your work for so long was a major inspiration for that decision. Thanks for being a fun grandpa to all these crazy grandkids- they’re still practicing headstands to beat you in the next contest.  We love you and are so excited for your next chapter in life!

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