During the last months before I retired, I wondered if I might like to work just one or two days a week, rather than retire completely. It would get me out of the house, around other people, and put a little spending money in my pocket. Before I had a chance to inquire about that possibility, I ended up with COVID, and spent my last working days home sick.
Recently, the opportunity presented itself. My former boss texted me to ask if I’d be interested in doing a project. I had never been taken off the payroll, so it would be like I was still working there.
I met with him at one of the ball fields where the project was putting metal roofing on two dugouts. The frames were already in place, all that was needed was to install the metal panels and trim. I was told I’d be shown what had to be done, I’d have someone to help, and all the materials and tools would be provided and on site.
It sounded like a good thing. A short project—I figured a few days—and I would get out of the house and do something different. This would give me the chance to see if working a little was something I wanted to do. I was told there are other projects that needed doing, including other dugouts that need roofs—if I was interested.
Day one, the supervisor took me to a ballfield to look at dugouts that had already been roofed so I could get a feel for what had to be done. He had done the roofs on those dugouts. We then went to the ball field where I’d be working to see the materials and to be shown how to install the pieces. Each panel had to be trimmed with metal shears and creased in a certain way, then installed on the frame, squared up, screwed in place with clips, and the ribs where the panels overlapped had to be crimped. By the end of the day, I had been trained and gotten a few panels installed.
Okay. I can do this.
The following day I got to the site ahead of the fellow working with me. I prepared ten panels so all we’d have to do was install them. Once he got there, we got into a routine, and the work went along quite nicely. We got all the panels on that dugout. The last panel on the first dugout came up a bit short, but I had been told I’d end up with a partial panel at the end.
I called the supervisor after completing the panels, as he had to show me how to put the top and side trim pieces in place. He said he’d have a piece fabricated for the end that was short. When we completed the trim, we moved on to the next dugout.
There was a roll of adhesive we had used on the first roof. The supervisor called the company that provided the roofing materials to obtain another roll of this adhesive. The person asked how he was using it, as he shouldn’t have used a whole roll on one dugout. He explained what we were doing. That was when we found out some of what we had done on the roof of the dugout we had just finished—and the two roofs that he had been done previously—were done incorrectly. He shrugged and said to me, “oh, well. It works. We’ll just continue on.”
Day three, I informed the supervisor that we didn’t have enough clips to complete the roof. He blamed me for that. We installed what we could.
Day four, clips were procured, and the job was completed. The panels came out perfectly on that frame. I called the supervisor to tell him I was done and how it came out. He suggested that I had made a mistake on the first roof, with the panels coming up short. I parked the truck, put the tools away, and was done.
I didn’t mind the work and it was a good experience for me. I had never done metal roofing and I like learning new things. I was reminded what it was like to spend my days working and how much time that takes. Most importantly, I now realize how much I like retirement and appreciate having the time to do what I want to do, when I want to do it.
When I was done, I pondered the experience, then added up my hours and applied the hourly rate to that number. I decided there is no way my time is worth so little.