Well, I’m in my last week of work and it’s been almost a bit surreal.

It feels really good to be this close to the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m so close, I can see the trees and sky!

They already have shifted people around so that our replacements are already on the midnight shift. There are three electricians on midnights that are leaving in the next few weeks. So, we have plenty of people and the work has been light.

I spent some time the past two days cleaning out my toolbox and doing inventory. I turned in the list today and I don’t know what they do with it, but I’ll get a pass to take whatever they let me keep out of the plant. I guess they’re picky about what tools you take. I can’t see them reissuing a used tool to someone, though. I really don’t care if I leave the whole thing behind, I won’t need them anymore and I already have my own tools at home for whatever I want.

But, nothing can spoil my good mood this week. It’s been fun going out on calls and talking to people. Everyone is either almost ready to leave themselves, or happy because they are moving up the senority ladder fast right now.

I’ve even been working overtime. They’re tearing out some older vacuum braze ovens that are no longer needed to make room for the consolidation. I’m tearing out machines that I remember putting in. They’re big – probably 150 feet long and 25 feet high, so tearing them out consists of chopping them up into peices small enough to haul to the scrap yard.

It’s kind of like we’ve killed the dragon, now we have to cut up the body and get rid of it.

Tearing it out is not easy work, but it’s not rocket science either. It’s actually kind of fun and I don’t do it often enough that it’s fun in small doses.

I worked in the department these ovens are in back in about 1980. I saw the older, smaller versions of these ovens come and go. One of the first jobs I was on on my first tour through buliding 7 as an apprentice was helping with the tearout of the old
ABAR #2 – a small version of the ones we worked on today. So, it’s been surreal seeing these huge ovens that I spent so much time keeping running and knew so well being torn out. Like us older workers, they’ve outlived their usefulness and are being disposed of.

At least they’re not cutting me up for scrap!

I keep thinking of my friend, Mike Petralgia and his song about ABAR #5. I’m sure he feels some of the same things. I haven’t seen him there the past week. I wonder if he retired last month while I was on sick leave?