My year in a brief review

I guess like many other people, as this year comes to a close I have been taking a look back upon the last year. I however, unlike most, will be as honest and blunt as possible. I have never really done this before, not really even to myself let alone somewhere else. If I compared 2013 to 2012 I would say overall it was a better year, but only marginally. Some areas of my year improved, while others fell. The areas that rose were my job (better workplace and better pay), my emotional state (always a tricky one with me, but overall improved), I am not going out and drinking as much as 2012, I have had no issues with gambling (unlike 2012. Yes the last 2 are probably connected), my relationship with my son ( after being gone the first 5 years of his life and working on that the last 8 we finally have a good relationship). The areas that seem to have fallen are my work hours (swing shift instead of days), the state of my vehicles (totaled a descent car and bought a lemon), and my relationship with my wife (although going to counseling since last March). last, but not least, there is my PTSD. It has long reaching effects, but overall I would have to say it has greatly improved. I have only had one nightmare in probably the last 6 months. In 2012 I had one about every other week at best. So I guess counseling is helping in that area at least. I could continue writing quite a bit more, but I guess I should wrap this up. I guess like most years of my life this past one has been what seems to be a roller-coaster. It has had its high and low points and next year will probably be more of the same. Till next time. Joe


Merry Christmas

Although this time of year gets, whats seems to be, more difficult for me, I do want to take at least a minute to say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who actually takes the time to read this. Here’s to the new hope of a new year, may you have many good things this holiday and throughout the next year.

the darkness

Something I just came up with… Not a lot of time spent on it, but it does at least express the way I usually feel.

The darkness around seems to never end

How much I would like to have just one true friend

No matter how hard I try

All my efforts come back to haunt me, I don’t know why

I have struggled and struggled this much is true

I know I struggle with each day, I, at least will admit it, will you?

If you can think of an obstacle that I have yet to face

I will award you with no prize for first place

Each and every time I think I might be headed in a positive way

Life smacks me upside the head and has something different to say

All of the sayings give most people at least a temporary hope

I have struggled in so many ways and for so long I am simply a dope

To actually have hope and dreams seems to fit most

Not for someone like me, someone who is trapped like a ghost

No matter what I do it turns out to be wrong

My life seems to be a sad country song

I am so tired and frustrated I cannot even describe how

The hope in life feels like it was beat out of me along the way

I usually wonder how I will make it through today

The darkness is usually damp and feels cold

There seems to be no visible light, I am tired of trying to be brave and bold

To start the day is probably the most difficult part

Maybe all that life has whipped me with has also stolen my heart

The heart I used to give each and every day

Now is more difficult that words cannot even say

Till next time… Joe

welding tips vs sanity Part 2

455 is the magic number of welding tips that has since inspired me to write again. At least for now there are no other orders of more welding tips in sight. Thank goodness for a holiday work week! I know no matter what one does for a living, there are good days and bad, but after the last couple of weeks I feel myself on shaky ground. Last week did turn out to be a little better than I thought. Although there was a few issues on some parts I had made previously, my productivity sheet numbers well still very acceptable for the week. This week started out a little better thanks to easier parts that I have made a few times before.

Today, after the holiday weekend, I finished the first 455, had a couple small different orders then guess what happened. An order of 20 of one type of welding tip, and wait for it, another order of 455. Yes the manufacturing industry, as a whole, like to daily prove that the more you can repeat something and get the same result the better you are.  A guy I worked with once said it best when he said that jobs like this were like being in a primate center. They make you feel like a monkey could do it. On simple jobs, maybe, but thankfully for those of us in the industry most jobs are more complicated than that. They usually require more than could be taught to a monkey or machine. But when you have to do the mind-numbing jobs such as these you just say to yourself “welcome to the primate center” and make them as best you can and try to keep what may, or may not be, left of your sanity.

Most would say that routine is a good thing. I would tend to agree. It’s just sometimes routine can be mind-numbing. Routine things such as breathing, your heart beating, and digesting of food is good making hundreds, if not thousands, of welding tips is a totally different story. Don’t get me wrong, I am very thankful to have the job I do and it’s the best job for me since getting out of the Army. Jobs like welding tips are best described like being in the shower for 4-12 hrs. Lather, rinse, repeat is very similar to load machine, push button, retrieve and de-burr parts, repeat. Such there is more to it than that, but there is more to a shower than rinse, lather, and repeat.

A few quotes I found at

Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t the fine line between sanity and madness gotten finer?George Price

Truly great madness cannot be achieved without significant intelligence. Henrik Tikkanen

When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane. Hermann Hesse (1877 – 1962)

Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy. Janet Long

Sanity calms, but madness is more interesting. John Russell

I think that maybe in every company today there is always at least one person who is going crazy slowly. Joseph Heller (1923 – 1999)


Till next time, Joe

giving thanks?!?!

I, like many others, would say I had a nice holiday weekend. I however probably notice more than most people even think about. Sometimes this can be a good side effect of PTSD but usually it does not help much.  I am sure I am not the first one to realize all of my points, but it was however the first time I ever went shopping during the infamous Thanksgiving weekend. Or as some like to call it “black Friday”, even though it now lasts at least through the entire weekend.

We, as Americans, give thanks for the countless things and people in our lives, only to rush out the next and trample people over socks, a TV, or other possessions? Sure I went out, but I also was not disappointed when the person in front of me got the last one of the things I had come for. I also did not throw a huge tantrum to the probably minimum wage employees when I could not get a tablet for my ten year old. Seriously? When did a ten year old need a tablet so bad that you waited in line out in the cold, only to come inside and wait in another line, then cause a huge scene when you didn’t get what you came for? I have never went out because I have hated crowds, waiting in lines, and numerous other reasons, but seeing people out this weekend really makes you wonder.  I went for a few reasons, none of which was to push and shove, trample, or even yell at someone else. I mainly went to see how I would handle a situation that I am usually very uncomfortable in. If I happen to get something on my list, great, if not I can get it later and the “discount” is not worth the rest of the stuff. Do people not realize that most of the discounts you can get another time of the year, and it may be better, i.e. televisions. Or they actually jack up prices then take the discount off the inflated price. Heck actually raised prices on black Friday. Everything we had on our “wish list” went up anywhere from a dollar to five for one item.

Why is it year after year we, as a culture, fall for all the advertising gimmicks and risk life and limb for more stuff? Maybe it’s just me, but there is not one “thing” in a store I would risk that for. People yes, but things no. This raises another question I have had… How come when you hear of most of the mass shooting you hardly ever hear of anyone trying to take out the gun-person? Maybe it’s just me and my training and experience, but that was one of my first thoughts when one happened in my local mall awhile back. I would venture to guess it is like most things now days, and boils down to sear selfishness. Not sure where exactly I started off on this one, but it is time to wrap it up. Just try and think of something, or someone else this holiday season as we all hustle and bustle through the crowds and traffic jams that are sure to be around. Till next time. Joe