Meanderings #2: Flotsam and Jetsam. Pain and Panic.

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 06-06-2013 11:44 AM 2430 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: No, haven't died, but did go into the light... Part 2 of Meanderings series Part 3: Catching up on Life's events... »

This blog has little to do with woodworking. But it does involve the larger project called Life.

I received some recent emails expressing concern about my whereabouts. To those I have befriended on this site. I give my deepest apologies for falling out of touch and believe I should offer an explanation.

It all started a few months ago. My washing machine started making a horrible sound when spinning. Time researched online indicated that the problem was either due to a bad coupling or a bad washer transmission. The transmission would have normally been the death bell to the washing machine because the repair would normally cost as much as a new washer. I went to the DIY route and found enough online resources to get to the heart of the problem -

An online order of a new gear and pinion and the transmission was fixed for a price more reasonable than paying for repair or replacement.

When performing the repair, though, I had to learn a lesson in anger management. I was in a hurry and was trying to get the washer skin back on. I was in a confined space and the sheet metal got caught on the frame. I gave it a hard jerk but my lower back was what ended up popping and not the sheet metal. I was able to get it fixed but ended up with a lower bulging disk that pressed hard on my sciatic nerve. I had about a week where ice packs and heat ruled my life while I sat with legs propped up on a chair. The back is much healed now but the lesson was definitely learned. Don’t be in a hurry and never lose your temper.

A couple weeks later. I started getting a bad knocking in my vehicle. I knew it was a rod and I had a very short span of time to deal with that situation. Long story short, I have a new car right now, at a time when I really don’t need a new car payment. Still, the vehicle has a warranty that will carry me through till my youngest graduates and financial support to their mother ends and I can breathe a little easier.

But that isn’t the end of the story.

I came home from my new car purchase to discover this in my basement -

I am not used to seeing my wood pile floating along with my tool boxes. I had my sons that weekend and it was the coldest night of the new spring. The boys were patient while I waded in about a foot and a half of water and hooked up my portable pump and ran hose to the outside to drain out in the yard. My house is old and has gravity drains. Roots had clogged the main line and the nearby river system had overflowed the banks on account of rain. As a result, the freshwater and gray water back loaded in my basement. My house is a definite fixer upper and the basement is my home away from home. Believe me when I say that I would have preferred, by some miracle of gravity defiance, for the water to have floated upside down and gathered in the top floor.

So, for the week following, I had pumped out the water and rented a plumbing router to deal with the roots. The furnace had filled with water but the heater was unaffected. The A/C won’t come on and so I have a bit of work to do with a multimeter to find the offending item and replace it. The water heater was flooded out and I had to replace a bit of black pipe and a thermocoupling that tells the heater that the gas is lit and it is ok to continue delivering fuel to the fire. Not much lost in the flood except a few magazines. The wood dried out ok and any rusted tools were only affected on the surface and a couple minutes with sandpaper made everything as good as before.

But the story still isn’t finished.

I was just in the process of regaining my balance and getting over the hump of finances and these mini repairs when I received a letter from the friend of the court letting me know that my ex wanted my finances reviewed for an increase in child support. I won’t waste anyone’s time in aggressive rants against ex wives and any injustices in the legal system. It is just a bit time consuming to go through the hoops required to lay out my living expenses and what I can afford. I will end up paying a bit more but my house and car are secured. I have a good reputation with the court system here and have never been late with any of my child support payments. So all will be good there.

But it has been exhausting.

In this story there is no plea for sympathy. The things I fear the most in life pretty much hit me all at once. House, car, necessary appliances, health, and finance. But, in the end, those fears managed to be worked out. The modern age sometimes distances us from the hands on experiences of living. I think, if nothing else, the challenges I face only remind me of the necessity in being capable and responding directly to situations. Not by making a phone call and having someone else come to my rescue, but in pulling up my pant legs and wading in the muck and doing what I can to directly confront the problems head on. It wasn’t pride that drove me but plain necessity. Ten years ago, before I developed an interest in doing things with my hands, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Challenges exist not to break the human spirit but to ignite and refine it. So the difficulties I outline is not for pity, but explanation for my absence and a reminder that difficulties are only there to demonstrate the growth in our abilities to face them.

As I was pumping the water out and my kids were in their coats under a blanket in the house, my youngest asked me “How are you going to fix this?” It wasn’t a question about “if” but “how” and there was no word about “who.” I can honestly say, that made me kind of proud.

Thank you for your support and concerns.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

11 comments so far

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4673 days

#1 posted 06-06-2013 01:15 PM

well on the plus side

you are still standing

and are now a new man
a washing machine technician
an electrical trouble shooter
a plumber
an hvac and heater repairman
a tool restoration guy

and on the plus side
you have a decent car
your shop is improved
your house is next

and on the plus side
the courts are satisfied
your ex might let you be for a bit
your kids love you
you still have work
you looked deep and found life within

welcome back

now about that simple box ….

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View littlecope's profile


3136 posts in 4834 days

#2 posted 06-06-2013 01:18 PM

It never rains except when it pours, David!
As you’ve said, these trying times either make or break us
and define and develop who and what we are
or what we are to become
Anger happens easily, but to my knowledge,
never helps or solves anything…
Chin Up Brother!!
Remember, in ten or twenty years,
these will be the Good Old Days!!

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View prattman's profile


447 posts in 3450 days

#3 posted 06-06-2013 02:00 PM

+1 on what David and Mike said.

-- Everyone calls me Ed or Eddie , mom still calls me Edward if she is mad at me.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4368 days

#4 posted 06-06-2013 02:22 PM

I admire your perseverance, David. I also salute you for learning how to do things with you hands. Regaining your footing is solely down to you and those around you, well done.

Oh and I sympathise on the back trouble front. I have been off work for three weeks now, having trapped a nerve shifting heavy stuff there. I can go some way to feeling your pain.

Remember ‘Tubthumping’

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View sras's profile (online now)


6515 posts in 4461 days

#5 posted 06-06-2013 02:22 PM

Ooof! Life could be a little nicer and hand these things out one at a time! Sounds like you are through the worst of it – here’s to better days ahead.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 3946 days

#6 posted 06-06-2013 03:48 PM

hey David sounds like you have been going thur the ringer of this old world ,and yes it could be worse , anger is normal and you have every right to be , .i see you have keep your self intack and have battled thur this storm , it will pass and better days are ahead ., looks like the water didnt get to the motor of your tools thats a good thing , keep your head up and this will pass , Xes are sure a pain in the ass ,as speaking from a few myself one day as you said it to will be in the past ,i pray for you to have strength to make it thur my friend ,i know how taxing theses stroms of life are ,sometime i think there must be a honing devise on me waiting for me to get a bit ahead and zap me down but the truth is we all have this . and this to shall pass ,i have the upmost respect for ya my friend ,you have always been level headed and you did keep it thur this mess too. hang on David its just another day in paradise

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View Don W's profile

Don W

20277 posts in 3900 days

#7 posted 06-06-2013 03:50 PM

It’s often said what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Lots of strength gained here.

-- - Collecting is an investment in the past, and the future.

View Gary's profile


9425 posts in 4765 days

#8 posted 06-06-2013 06:02 PM

WOW… Wish I had some words of wisdom that would help. I don’t. But you sure made truth of the old saying
“when the going gets tough the tough get going”
I had problems with my HEX wife too, years ago. At least that time is past for me. Hope your time comes soon

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View oldnovice's profile


7764 posts in 4700 days

#9 posted 06-06-2013 07:44 PM

All I can say has been said above … !

When my oldest son was a baby he was having a number of serious problems we spent a great deal of time in the UW children’s hospital and one of the other parents said “if you think your child is sickley, look around and you will find so many others much worse”.

So hang in there the best is yet to come!

-- "Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -- Aldous Huxley

View Roger's profile


21055 posts in 4136 days

#10 posted 06-06-2013 08:40 PM

Holy moly… I feel for ya David. Like the old saying goes, when it rains, it pours. Hopefully, things will get better very soon for you.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4497 days

#11 posted 06-07-2013 05:12 PM

Infrastructure, at the personal level, needs maintenance and upgrades just like the nation’s infrastructure.

But you would think that your calamities were synchronized by some avenging gremlin! It’s as though the evil empire was mounting a multi-front offensive.

I think that you are definitely suffering from having to handle everything by yourself. If I were single, I would be doing some massive downsizing, because there is no way for me to handle everything outside my job… least at my age. However, it seems you rose to the occasion, and have once again repulsed the devil’s minions.

It’s interesting that you have gained in general handyman abilities as well as woodworking abilities these last few years. There was a time when I was in high school that I started doing some repair work at home, although my father’s general abilities were quite extensive. But he worked a lot of hours at a modest paying white collar job, and didn’t have the time and energy to do everything. In the first 15 years of my working career I did a wide array of handyman activities. Nowadays, I do less of the general handyman chores, we hire out more, and my wife has picked up some abilities. Her time spent managing and assessing the living arrangements for three generations is her most important contribution.

Is it time to start grooming the kids to contribute?.......(-:

We all seem to go through spurts of creative activity in our hobbies and recreational pursuits. But then the necessities and fundamentals of life come along and take up our time and draining our energy.

Reality is highly overrated. My fantasies seem much more attractive at times….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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