Oil and Gas Industrial zone,The equipment of oil refining,Close-up of industrial pipelines of an oil-refinery plant,Detail of oil pipeline with valves in large oil refinery.

The EXPAT

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49. Expat Conclusion

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Until the 1990s many computer programs (especially those written in the early days of computers) were designed to abbreviate four-digit years as two digits to save memory space. These computers could recognize “98” as “1998” but would be unable to recognize “00” as “2000.” Many feared that when the clocks struck midnight on January 1, 2000, many computers using an incorrect date would fail to operate properly. It was feared that software and hardware failures would lead to widespread chaos following January 1, 2000. Mainframe computers, including those used to run insurance companies and banks, were thought to be subject to the most serious Y2K.

Those who had worked in Y2K-compliance efforts insisted that the threat had been real. They maintained that the continued viability of computerized systems was proof that the collective effort had succeeded. In following years, some analysts pointed out that programming upgrades that had been part of the Y2K-compliance campaign had improved computer systems and that the benefits of these improvements would continue to be seen for some time to come.

As closure to my Russian activities, with Avtoagregat’s success in Kineshma, I read with interest the current literature, filled with Y2K stories. Long story short, my next job was with State Farm Insurance in Bloomington, IL, bringing Carol and I back to the states for a short assignment.

An estimated $300 billion was spent (almost half in the United States) to upgrade computers and application programs to be Y2K-compliant. As the first day of January 2000 dawned and it became apparent that computerized systems were intact, reports of relief filled the news media. These were followed by accusations that the likely incidence of failure had been greatly exaggerated from the beginning. Those who had worked in Y2K-compliance efforts insisted that the threat had been real. They maintained that the continued viability of computerized systems was proof that the collective effort had succeeded. In following years, some analysts pointed out that programming upgrades that had been part of the Y2K-compliance campaign had improved computer systems and that the benefits of these improvements would continue to be seen for some time to come.

As the Y2K crisis subsided, looking ahead to some relative peace, I answered an ad for a teaching position in Elko, NV, Great Basic College (GBC). This job was an Instrumentation Professor, a position that fit my resume nicely. We spent five years at GBC, working where the gold extraction industry flourished in Northern Nevada. The last two years at GBC, I worked summers as Instrumentation Instructor at Micron Technology. The was some five hours north in Boise, ID, where the company put us up in housing close to the manufacturing plant during summers.

After the second summer, I chose to work full-time at Micron, with my brand of Quality Control technology. During the next ten years I trained thousands of Micron technologists across the country and at several foreign locations, including Singapore, Catania and Milan, Italy. One interesting experience in Singapore, where I attended church, a gentleman in the group recognized me from many years ago. He remembered the youth group Carol worked with, where she had outings at our apartment. What he remembered was the dozens of shoes outside our apartment when Carol had an activity. In Singapore, you didn’t take your shoes inside, they were left outside the door.

We met in a small bungalow for Church back then. Now the church had grown into a three-story building, housing four congregations.

So, how this story ends? With 4 magnificent children, 22 magnificent grandchildren, 6 greats, but they are all great, spread from New England to the South West.

What more can I say? What I can say, what I must say, is a heart-felt tribute to the companion who has stood ready to move camp with family and household more times than I can count. Over 60 years, and still counting. Carol, I love you!

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson

Bob Robertson is a retired professional quality engineer and educator with extensive experience in manufacturing environments throughout the world, including Singapore, Indonesia, Russia, and various locations throughout the United States. Besides all that, he Leslie Householder's admired and revered father, and she is pleased to spotlight his "Expat" stories here on her Rare Faith blog.