Retro check

This week at the library, we got our first paychecks under the new contract rate. I was the only one, at either branch where I work, who calculated what their new rate would be. I was right too. My increase amounted to 70¢ per hour. What surprised me though, were two things I hadn’t taken the time to calculate—hours of service in my new position, and hours of service in the past year.

Hours of service since September determined the amount of my retroactive pay check. There were more of them than I thought, making the check larger than I expected. Hours of service in the past year determines eligibility for benefits, like vacation time. Suddenly, I have 28 hours of vacation time! Until I started working at Sully Branch, this would have been two full weeks’ pay.

I haven’t had paid vacation time since the very early 90s, and that was at a job that strongly discouraged working fewer than 70 hours per week or taking any time off. And that was the only job I’ve ever had were I got paid time off. The shop steward and president of our local, is the children’s librarian at Winton. She reminded me that I can carry over half of my vacation hours from one year to the next, just in case I can’t figure out what to do with them this year.

Between having a modest windfall and not knowing what to do with this vacation time, I spent a lot of time grilling my coworkers yesterday. Discreetly as I could, I asked everyone what they were going to do with their retro check money. All their checks were larger than mine, some of them huge. Except for the one clerk who is going to take the family on vacation, everyone else said, “Pay bills.”

How boring. Besides, I don’t have any bills to pay.

All I could answer when my coworkers asked me the same question in return was, “I dunno. Buy bike parts maybe?”

Apparently, this question bothered me more than I thought. I didn’t sleep well at all last night. But somewhere around six this morning, it hit me. I’ll use it to pay my entry fee for The Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour in June.

And, since that events starts on Friday, ordinarily a work day, I’ll use some of my vacation time then too. I’d been dithering over taking Friday off since the library is closed on Saturdays all summer, and the loss of two days’ pay is significant.

The Great Finger Lakes Bicycle Tour is an annual event hosted by the Southern Tier Bicycle Club. This year, it’s also the event chosen for’s ReUnion Weekend.

Hosted in Watkins Glen, NY on the weekend of June 8–10, the GFLBT is three days of cycling in some of the most scenic country in the state. There’s usually a 20 to 30 mile sunset ride on Friday night, a choice of rides on Saturday (century, metric century and half-metric) and another half-day ride on Sunday.

I’ll be joining occasional ride partner, bikerjohn. I’ll ride (in his truck) down with him and we’ll ride (our bikes) in the event together.

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