Saturday, August 1, 2020

The Year of Reversals

To Do List:

Current projects on the languish:   The Three Tumico Terrors
    It's been blazing hot in the shop, and I don't have the heat tolerance I used to.

Future projects on the to do list:   

free for the asking.  mmmmmm, iron oxide....

I have seen those tap handles go for pretty nice coin.  Plan is to clean these up and put them up for sale.  I gotta get some cash flow in the positive direction.  I have everything I need to do it.  Just need to break the cheek weld with the chair, and get to it.

Status Update

This year has been nothing but a  good news / bad news joke.  And I'm the punchline.

Lots of sand in the air at work, and I finally decided to check again on the how and when of the pension at work.  I ran the numbers a while back and it showed about 2500 per month at the normal age of retirement.

Well, the numbers that I ran this week show it's closer to 25% of that number...  I'm at a loss.  So calls will be made next week to see if I'm mistaken or I spent 20 plus years in a gilded cage.

I was lower than a snake's belly in a wagon rut last night.  I woke up at 0400 with this crushing weight of lost youth and wage potential.... 

It hit me like a brick, that this is like a betrayal.  And that is the worst.  In my mind, betrayal means the present relationship is undefined because you didn't understand the other party even though you thought you did.  The past is wasted, it was not what it seemed.  The planned future is gone, and what kind of boob am I that I didn't see this for what it is.  It is the destruction of reality as I understand it.  I guess there wasn't as much virgin ground to rip up as I have gone through this once already this year after the head injury.  That took about three months to come to terms with.  I'm sure there is more un-tilled soil in my field, but, God spare me that, please.

Then, I remembered that other men have been zeroed out later in life than this and done well for themselves.... 

"What Are You Prepared To Do?"

It takes industriousness and mental change to get over this.  I'm not wired to mope, or sit in the dark...  My mind started working out how do I turn this around?  What is holding me here?  Why is staying a good idea?  What is the best solution to what I see here?  What about me needs to change to harness this and sling shot off it?  What short term, medium term and long term goals need to happen?  What do I need to prune to do what needs doing?  Basically, a reordering of my entire life.  Overwhelming?   Yes, but necessary.

The plan is, throughout this weekend, to brainstorm what is positive about this position I find myself in.  What options do I see?  I've got to quit limiting the view, get on top of this, stand on my toes and look out to the horizon.

I ordered a couple books off my goto book site.  They'll be here in a couple weeks.  Nice cheap used books, from the Rich Dad series.  I need a fresh view from that perspective.  It's been on my list for quite a while, but I just never did it.  My previous forays into entrepreneurship foundered on the rocks...  And caused a crop of grief.  But I should have different issues now.  I learned some good lessons from the past.  I hope.  My goal is to leverage the info in the book to make smaller mistakes by aiming better. "Aim small, miss small."

I don't believe "the way is shut".  I think it's I'm not used to seeing this kind of situation as a positive place.  But I am seeing glimmers of that now.  I don't know if the head injury was a reboot into a new way of life, but things have gotten very different after that happened.  The world seems to look brighter and quite different than at anytime before.  The previous post was a glimmer of the change I'm seeing.


I don't know if you even care to read about the status updates.  If not, I don't blame you.  There is enough heart ache out there to overload everyone.  Consider the status update title an exit ramp if you aren't interested. But I feel a bit of responsibility to keep you apprised of why I haven't posted like I had planned and where my head is at.  You have invested some time reading what I post, and I appreciate it.  

If you can take a warning from this, Great!  If you can take encouragement, Excellent!  If it kicks you off high center into a change, it was worth the time to write it up.  If you just laugh and point, then it was good entertainment.

I got work to do, thanks for stopping by.


  1. That is a hard thing STxAR, but you have the right attitude: Cannot sit there and mope.

    Rich Dad Poor Dad (Very much appreciated the original book, not so much the rest of the series) is simple: Buy Assets, not liabilities. Which at least at my age works better, but what assets?

    I am a little concerned about mine as well - I am actually in a 401K but heavily market dependent. And, I worry about when (not if, in my mind) someone decides to "invest" them (e.g. Bail In).

    1. I started listening to an audio book. The mindset of make money work for you was something I'd never really gotten hold of in my mind. It fired a quick flame, and it burned out as quickly, like a match.

      But it set a bookmark, and after the night watch, it just popped up. So I took that as a "not a coincidence" moment and ordered the book. We'll see what happens.

      Bitterness killed my dad at quite a young age, compared to his kin. I saw that up close and personal. I don't want to repeat that. And with God's help, I won't.

  2. Keep posting about whatever you want to post about!
    Personally I am more than happy to see what is going through your head because I have been sincerely worried sick about you.
    3 months after that head injury you should be physically healed up and rarin' to go but you aren't.
    This concerns me. That ripple effect behind your eyes REALLY concerns me. So any positive progress I can notice I like and you already know that I am a little bit more perceptive than most people. I am seeing positive progress now. You are still trying to grieve and heal emotionally just as much as you are physically. Iam seeing forwrd progress on both fronts. Of course you are going to have set backs and moments of doubt. That is perfectly normal. Taking stock and making plans for the future is a very healthy thing to do where you are at right now and I commend you mightily.
    Now, as for a rusty tap wrench that seems to be calling my name from afar..
    The second one from the top.
    How much you want for that bad boy?
    Cleaned up or not I have been wanting one of those for a while now.
    Let me know how much for it plus the shipping and we can work out how I can get the money to you. I would be more than happy to get it as is and then you can concentrate on the other ones.

    1. Thanks Phil. I appreciate that. I started out with a specific purpose, and things have moved around a lot since then. I've pushed myself to see if I can identify what areas up there were damaged. So far it's a bit motor, some hearing, and a little balance. When I'm tired, it's easier to identify. Like working that Caballero until you know what's what.

      I'll put your name on that wrench. I need to loosen one handle, and figure out the dimensions. I need to make 2 of those for another one I know of. It'll be easier to ship that way, too.

      Anything I make off this project is going into the shop fund. I need to put a/c in there so I can work during the summer. 110 degrees and 80% humidity are just a bit beyond me now. And, I tend to be sentimental about things. I don't have enough room for that, so it's time to grow the heck up in regards to stuff. I've also found that getting things to people that can use them is a real thrill. So, give me a few days, and then we'll haggle. I'll ping you offline Thursday, it's on the calendar.

      Thanks for keeping an eye on me!

  3. I'll second what Phil said.
    You post, I will read and comment as appropriate.

    1. I should probably keep this to myself, but when you comment on my ramblings, there is a feeling of accomplishment. Like what I wrote matters.

      Somehow, I would up being a "cowboy". I come from a long line of solitary workers. Dad was a policeman for 20 plus years, both grandpa's were farmers and ranchers. I've worked alone for the majority of my life. I've kept my own counsel, and be happy to do it. But there is a feeling I get when someone finds what I do important enough to comment on. Thank you for doing so. And if it's off topic, it may spur me to a place I've never been. I'm up for that, and welcome any comment you care to post.

      Thanks for coming by the shop, John. You are always welcome to stop by for coffee and conversation.

  4. I understand that. I don't post much on sites that never give me feedback. And by "don't post much" I mean almost never.

    Yesterday's project was adding the second and final, anti-scalp wheel to the front of the deck on the big mower. Since the manufacturer never intended their deck to have anti-scalp wheels on the front, it was interesting.
    And by interesting I mean it meant cutting the universal wheel brackets, and stretching them in a couple of axis.
    My scrap bucket is now a tiny bit lighter, and as always, the final weld of the day is the best weld.
    It was the sort of job where no measuring tools are used, and at the end it was very satisfying.

    Filled with the glow of a job well done, I parked the mower at the foot of the shed ramp and decided to test the generator.
    Gasoline dripping from the area of the carb isn't a good thing, and although the access was challenging, I'd bought a pair of pliers to push hoses off of the barbs, and aside from a tiny bit of hand web pinching, the tool worked great.
    And in reference to OAFS post about keeping stuff, I was glad that I'd kept that long piece of 1/4" fuel hose.
    I replaced all the hoses on the generator and it ran leak free.

    1. Well, see, I learned something new. I didn't know what those little wheels in front of the mower deck was for. I've used a riding lawnmower about twice in my life. The vast majority was push or brush hogging on a tractor.

      I do like to fab without measuring. It is faster, and intuitive. I have a couple grinders when it's too fast and my intuition is lacking.... Metal is very forgiving.

      I really need to unpack the em-gen and wiring in a plug for it. I'm a 100 miles off the gulf, and that's close enough for real trouble. I'm running out of digits to plug the holes, hopefully the dike won't fail before I'm done....

    2. You set the wheels so they are about a finger's width off the ground when the deck is at your normal cutting height.
      They function as an overtravel stop on a floating mower deck when the ground is rough.

      Mr. Miyagi should have said, "Weld and unweld instead of wax on and wax off."
      I stopped using the GRIND function on my welding helmet because I usually forget to switch it back to weld.
      Like drills, the number of grinders is directly proportional to my reluctance to change either grinding wheels, or drill bits.

    3. Ditto. I didn't realize how useful multiple grinders were. I don't weld often, but when I do....

    4. One of the things I got done on my, "Things to do in retirement" list was to take a hobby welding course.
      After the course my welding changed from terrible to mostly OK, and on very rare occasions my weld beads look like I know what I'm doing.
      Like you, I don't weld very often and the key to good welds (like a lot of things) is to weld more often.

    5. I graduated from LeTourneau College (University). i spent most of my time there while it was a college, but they changed the name the year I graduated IIRC.

      They were still under the influence or RG. He was big on cross training. I took an electronics degree, but was required to take ME course work, Welding Engineering 1 and WE 1 Lab, as well as Machine Tool Lab.

      I learned to weld in FFA back in high school, but this was a different beast. 8 point scale, below 72 was a D. I had to run across campus to get to lab, and when I got there, all the newer machines were bespoke. I got an old AC only machine with a big crank handle sticking out the top. Vertical, overhead... nearly impossible to do, much less make a passing grade. My last lab before dead week (no homework, week before finals) I asked the instructor what I had. C- "Can I do any of these over?" "All of them if you want." I got a high B, and looked like a boiled lobster. My shirt wasn't thick enough.

      I got a compliment on my projects in machine tool, and I never forgot, "you are talented. how long have you done this?" "First time." "You would make a good machinist."

      And now you know why I started this mess. I have to do things or my head starts hollering. That compliment took over 20 years to bear fruit.

  5. was going to offer a brotherly pat on the back.....but this hit close to home. Short story; I'm in a job that I HATE, managed by sluts of the milenial era. I just turned 65 and desperately want OUT!!! Can't till I'm 66 and 2 months. Oh and retirement fund......30 years of farming and you can imagine how much I have saved. (000000)
    When you find the answer or even if you don't; please write up a post. You never know; it might help another person.

    1. Thanks for stopping by the shop, Steve. I grew up around cotton farmers in the 70's and 80's. You guys have my utmost respect. That is one tough way to make a living.

      I'll keep looking for a way around this. Or through it.

      I'm praying for you. hang in there.

  6. OK STxAR, I finally got around to posting about the Tap Wrench.
    I sincerely hope all is well for you or at the very least, tolerable.
    Thank you again for wheeling and dealing with me. I still have my eye on that "smaller" die wrench...
    These things are huge man!
    I do want you to know it went to a good home.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Bud, the way you took to that care box I sent a few years ago, I knew we were brothers. I had no doubt you'd do a great job with it. And you sure as heck did. Very nice.

      I'll shoot you an email and tell you a story today if I can get some time and brain cells together. I've been busy, but not making much headway.