welding tips vs sanity?

            I think most people would tend to agree with Albert Einstein when he stated “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I also would tend to agree. The last couple of weeks, at least, at work have me truly pondering this statement. I have made probably 3,000 welding tips over the last couple of weeks. Although there were two different part numbers, there is no real difference in the manufacturing process. So to me they are all pretty much the same. Making the same part for the better part of two weeks now really has me doubting my sanity. I knew I was borderline, at best, before, but holy cow how much can one guy take. I knew when I started being a machinist there would be days, perhaps even weeks like this: therefore I was selective in choosing where I wanted to work. I know some shops guys run the same two or three operations on the same one or two parts for many years, and are content, I just know I would not be. I am one of those people that doesn’t do well with too much change either though. Where I worked before I was the only one that ran new programs/ parts. I kind of enjoyed it, but it would have been nice if someone else was competent enough to finish one so I didn’t have to stay late or go way above and beyond just to not really be appreciated for all my hard work.

            Am I insane? Perhaps this is like most other things, where I am over thinking it. I have a tendency to do that, and besides what else am I suppose to do while running the same parts over and over again. When I am stuck in a routine my mind wanders to all kinds of topics. This raises questions, doubts, and even some fears in my life. There is also the point of that my sanity would depend upon others perspective of my mental state. What exactly is sane? Is it going through some sort of daily ritual pretending to be “happy” only to come home to see how all my on-line friends are doing? When did we become a society that valued on-line friendships more than those that we could possibly make with a real person if only we got out from in front of the computer every now and then? (This should be another post later) Is sanity only truly a matter of perspective? Maybe we will never really know the answers to these question and so many more that tend to arise in my mind when I am manufacturing welding tips. Dang welding tips anyhow. Till next time. Joe


Quit trying?!?!

How can anyone actually determine when it is time to quit trying?  I know there are all kinds of differentiating factors that go into this question, and they vary greatly based upon each individual, but is there any actual way to answer this question for ourselves?

                After over the last six months of trying or at least I thought I was, to make things better with my wife and I, I was informed this last weekend that I have quit trying.  WTF! Have I changed? I think so. Is everything ok? Probably not. Do I still have work to do on myself? Sure! Don’t we all? It is just so hurtful to have work hard and basically gotten nowhere. The story of my life I guess. One step forward, then two steps back seems to be all I have accomplished  for the better part of the last two decades, and not just in my relationship with my with. For instance, about six months ago I took a different job. It seemed to be at least part of the resolution to a few contributing factors. Where I had been working had recently been through two rounds of lay-offs. They came to us and said they either had to come up with some creative solution, or lay more people off. Their idea of a creative solution was to send a few of us out to a different company to try and do something they were calling “job sharing”. We were going to remain employees where I was, but we would work for them and they would basically cover our hourly wages. After spending half a day there, and going through an over hour long interview we later found out that the legalities of it would not work. Questions like who would cover workman’s comp and other issues arose and the “work sharing” fell through. This along with other factors led me to simply apply at the company they sent us to. I was offered a job that although a minor step back seniority and rank wise was about $2 per hour more to start. It was a swing shift position which added another 8%. I took it thinking it would help close some of the gaps financially and that the swing shift would “keep the reign on me tighter” so I would have less free time to “screw things up.”  This new job, although better overall, seems to sometimes make “life” harder. I chalk that up to the simple fact I am basically on an almost opposite schedule as my family.

Maybe it all boils down to the possibility of the fact that I have given up. I don’t think I have completely, but sometimes I wonder why am I still holding on and trying. Maybe it would be simpler for everyone, and cause a lot less pain if I did give up. Then I could come to the realization of my many problems, and perhaps even come up with some resolutions. This would also allow less pain to be inflicted upon others by my words, actions, or feelings. At the very least it would allow for me to get out of the boat with Pete and Re-Peat, and perhaps end this struggle with one step forward two steps back.

Just in case you have never heard this one:

 Pete and Re-Pete are in a boat. Pete falls out. Who is left in the boat?


Pete and Re-Pete are in a boat. Pete falls out. Who is left in the boat?


Pete and Re-Pete are in a boat. Pete falls out. Who is left in the boat?

Re-Pete. Ok three times should be enough. Till next time. Joe

minor daily issue?

I am certain we all know that some days are better than others, but it seems as if lately no matter what I do the bad days keep on coming. Yes I tend to over-think even the little things, but even when or if I actually accomplish something there are three more things to be done that come up behind it.

Today is yet another example of that. While I have been awaiting the insurance to send me a check for the car, I have been tinkering around on my race car. A few months ago, with our quarterly bonus at work, I was able to get a new fuel cell. I had the pump all routed up and ready to roll. The car ran yesterday, but not for very long, then it would not start back up. I pulled the top of the fuel cell again only to find out the routing I had done to the pump was not good enough and it was sucking air along with the gas. A couple of hours later and now it finally runs, not great yet, but runs. Now it gets too much fuel. I should be able to figure it out and fix it pretty easily though.

This is just a simple example of now matter how hard I try to make things better there is always more challenges that I may not have realized now at least visible on the horizon. I am not sure if there is any real answer for this dilemma, I have been searching for many more years than I can recall. Then there are days that seem so boring it is difficult to get through. Usually followed by days that are so busy I can hardly keep up. Oh well I guess… on towards tomorrow…


Just recently I donated some time to a non-profit. I mainly walked up and down the sidewalk attempting to draw in traffic. I realized I could do it for myself too. I could be the honestly disabled veteran searching for more cash. (hey it would be tax free too huh?) Not sure if I could honestly do it, but the thought has been more than just a passing one since I helped to raise almost $200 in the tip buckets for those that just wanted to donate without having to really stop in. This was in three hours in a not very busy part of a smaller city. Just imagine what one could make in a busy intersection in half a day or so.

Am I crazy for even considering the possibilities? There are plenty of people around here (practically every exit ramp) and you know at least half of them make up lies to put on their signs. I would be honest with mine.


Three reasons a truly disabled veteran needs more cash….

Not in any particular order…





How to make friends?

Another posting I would like to share that I wrote on another website…

Here is the latest installment of the issues with Joe. I just cannot figure out what it takes for someone to make a real friend. I realize I have not made it easy most of the time, but really what does someone have to do, or be, to make a friend? Ever since my time in the service, and usually also while in, I cannot seem to make a real friend. I have moved around and I know that combined with my “issues” make it hard for someone to relate to me. Even other vets seem to be kind of a friend for awhile then something in life changes and they are gone. I know usually I have moved every 2-3 years for some reason or another, but it is a lot more than that.

Not that I really want to, or can afford to, go out and do something where I could meet new people, but even when I was out and about more I usually just became a temporary fix for their problems. For example, when I was working construction and would go out of town for a job, I would usually end up in the local watering hole (aka bar). I would usually walk there from whatever motel I was stuck in. I would go and have a couple beers and dinner, but would usually end up as Dr. Phil. I would use my vast life experiences to try and help other people who thought they had a major problem. Funny thing is life seems horrible for us all until we see someone else struggling with something much greater than what we are dealing with.

Maybe it’s just because I am a guy, I don’t want to seem desperate but I am not afraid to stick my neck out a little to try and make a friend. Maybe it’s just because I do not really have the time or money to continually go to the same place(s) consistently to make friends.  Maybe it’s I am trying too hard and making myself seem desperate. Maybe it’s that I am not trying hard enough, even though I believe I am without being desperate. Maybe it is that there is no one who can relate to me. Maybe I am asking too much of someone to be my friend. Maybe I am asking too much of myself to be a friend to someone else. Maybe it is as simple as because the longest I have lived or worked anywhere is 3 years since moving here from the service. I basically just want someone to go do the few “manly” or friend things I can do, or maybe even just come hang out. Things like going to wrecking yards and getting parts, coming to watch me race my one race of the year, coming to hang out or help me while I work on my “trash” car. Hanging out to watch the super bowl or some other sporting event we can enjoy. Maybe it is just me being too much of me and no guy can relate, or wants to try and understand, or is too manly to open up about things I am not really afraid to share such as feelings.

It’s definitely confusing… How do we go about making friends not co-workers, acquaintances, fellow veterans, classmates, or (one of the funniest to me) brothers and sisters at church?

a topic I shared on another website called “Just need to vent, rant, go off”

Ok, I guess some background would be a good place to start. I am a married 33 year old 70% disabled veteran who served in the Army as a tank mechanic from 97-05. Ft. Lewis, WA Buedingen, Germany (Deployed to Iraq with 1st AD April 03- July 05).

I guess I am just really frustrated at life right now. No one in my life seems to even try and understand what I am going through or what my opinion is. All that seems to matter is whatever suits them, or what they want. I have worked hard every day since I was 9 to get to where I am today. Although my wife says she is thankful for how hard I work for the family,(she has not worked since right before our son, who is now 12, was born) her attitude and actions toward things tell me something else.

We were renting a small house out in the country while I was laid off for a year and trying my hardest to finish college and get my associates degree. She would say how hard I was and had worked because we were surviving on $2,000 a month of income with a family of four. Yet she always complained how small the house was, how she hated being so remote, how long it took to get somewhere, and on and on and on…

I graduated college a year ago. After working through some of the major medical debts I was able to purchase what I am hoping is our “forever” house 5 months ago. Now after 2 years of working 100-120 hours every two weeks, work has slowed down to where they had cut our hours down to 80 every two weeks. They also just laid off 8 people, and things do not look much better in the near future.

I am just tired of people and life in general beating me down. I couple months ago I started having more issues with my PTSD and life in general. I started self medicating with alcohol. This only lasted a month at the most and I realized I could not do it this way. I am now going back to a counselor at my local vet center. A week or so ago my wife’s “mentor”/ friend came over and chewed me out basically because her dad was an alcoholic and ruined part of her life. Am I an alcoholic? Yes, and will be no matter if I drink or not. Was I ruining life for my wife and kids? No. I never crossed any lines anywhere close to abuse or anything close to it. Were they concerned about my drinking? I would hope they were, I was using it in the wrong way.

Not sure where or how to end this… thanks for taking the time to read this. I know it is confusing, but such is life.