Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Dream Bites the Dust

"Wintertime is a Razor Blade,
that the Devil made...
It's the price we've paid for the Summertime"
Joe Walsh - Collage / 1969
I know it might be a bit early in the season for that quote, but it's already snowed and supposedly more is on the way so I think it's appropriate for right now. It's been an exceptionally crappy month, weather and otherwise and even though we've got some month left it don't look like there's gonna be any relief on any front, anytime soon. We've had something like 21% sunshine for the month and unseasonably cold temps, even for this time of year. It don't do any good to bitch about it I know cuz it's gonna be what it's gonna be, but I'd sure love of another week's worth of July right about now.....the ole S.A.D. is really kickin' in this week.
Well, there's an empty stall in the garage tonight. The folks that were here several weeks ago to look at the wagon finally sent a guy with a truck and trailer over to pick her up and take her away. To say I had mixed emotions about the whole deal would be a fair statement I guess. The practical side of me knows that we need the money and that I just didn't have the time, resources or room to restore it to it's original glory. It sat in the garage all summer and I never picked up a wrench once. The not so practical side of me has wanted to restore a car all my life and I really thought when I brought the wagon home that now was the time. Obviously I was mistaken. The money I got for her will be gone long before the pain of admitting defeat has subsided. The practical side knows that I've still got a great looking '56 that needs attention and if I had money to spend on restoring a car I should spend the cash on it. I've also got the bike to take me places so I'm not without my toys, but still......the not so practical side of me was bummed to see her heading off down the road on a trailer to a new home. I guess I'll just have to tough it out and deal with the fact that it's just one more thing that I ain't gonna get accomplished in this life. Time to move on.
The whole experience this past year with trying to get the house fixed up to sell it and move out in the country and the realization that there just ain't much around here in the way of country to move to along with the fact that everything is so damn overpriced that even if we couldn've found a place to move to it would've required too much of a sacrafice in all the other areas of life really has left me pretty much permanently pissed off. It's been a dream of mine since I was a kid to have a big house out in the country with a barn and room to roam, but I guess at some point you've just gotta say screw it and wave the white flag. At my current age I've pretty much missed the boat for making any big changes in life without some type of divine intervention so I probably should just count my blessings and shut the hell up.
Time to get some sleep.

Monday, October 09, 2006

My, People come and go so quickly here....

I usually write about the weekend simply because that's when most stuff seems to happen, but today was a life changing day of sorts, on both a global and personal level, although it may take awhile to determine exactly what the changes are that are going to happen. Back in March, about the time I started this blog, I started a new job working for a couple of brothers (Joe & Ken Nowak) who'd put together a good company thru their own hard work. It's not what I'd call a dream job by any stretch, but I'm doing something I like, the money ain't bad and to be in Michigan these days and be able to say that is saying something. Manufacturing jobs in Michigan these days are going the way of the dinosaur at an ever increasing rate of speed and Nowak Machined Products has been able to grow and prosper in spite of the dismal econmic climate in this state.
Anyhow, today started off like any other Monday until about 9:00am when we got notified that Joe had had a heart attack. Well, while that's serious stuff so many people nowadays survive and go on to live normal lives for years after, that while we were worried, we just figured he'd be away from the plant for awhile and then after the recoup period be back out on the floor. That worked for us until almost lunch time when we heard the plant superintendent get paged to come to the office right away and then a minute later the chief engineer got the same page. We looked at each other but didn't say much until just a couple minutes later, when the super came over the P.A., obviously crying, asking everyone to meet immediately in the lunchroom. By the time we got there we'd already found out that Joe was dead. Killed from a massive heart attack that took him almost immediately. the paramedics couldn't get his heart restarted.
Although I've only been there 7 / 8 months and didn't really know the guy all that well, I liked him. He knew his stuff and was no dummy. I was kinda stunned by it all. I'd just spent awhile BS'n with him Friday and when we parted he said we'll see ya Monday. People were told they could leave if they had to......people were crying all over the place, people who'd worked for him for 5, 10, 20 years or more.......I really didn't know what else to do but go back to work, but the amount of work that got done was minimal as we spent the bulk of the afternoon discussing things. It came to light later in the day as to what happened....
Two months ago Joe's wife was disagnosed with breast cancer and has been doing the chemo treatments. That's been a cause for concern around the company and you could tell without too much work that the stress of that situation was wearing on him a bit. This morning Joe had taken the wife to the doctor for her treatment and as they returned home, pulling in the driveway, he had his attack. The car proceeded to crash into the boat parked next to the driveway and then plow into the garage before it came to a halt. In just that blink of an eye he'd gone from the caretaker of his sick wife to the one gone before. My heart goes out to his wife who has had no doubt the worst day of her entire life. It's my understanding she's staying with friends while the details of what's to follow gets worked out.
From a purely personal and selfish level this makes me wonder what will happen to the company. Will someone step up to take his place so we can continue on or will his brother say screw it and put the place up for sale? For a short period of time here I felt like I'd found somewhere to stay indefinitely, but today that's pretty much all changed. I will be looking although I'm not making any moves until I have to....sick of starting over and over and over again. the reality of the situation is that at the very least things are going to change quite a bit at Nowak. For now I'm gonna sit tight and see what happens, maybe I can help out someway that's not obvious as of sincere condolences to the entire Nowak family and to his wife in particular. The suddeness and finality of what happened today has had more of an effect on me than I wouldn've thought possible. I also didn't know until today that he was only 50. I had thought that he was several years older than me for some reason.
On the global level......just heard this afternoon that North Korea had set off an underground nuclear explosion. That's not a good thing and puts us all one step closer to the possibility of the earth becoming a smoking cinder. Sooo much negative energy in the building of bombs that will do nothing but kill millions of people for no good reason. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about what could happen if that lunatic decides to blow one up above ground. It just makes no sense to poke holes in the bottom of the boat you're sitting in.........there's no where else to go if we trash this planet....why even build bombs like that in the first place? Insanity is what it is....pure and simple.
On a lighter and Chris went up to the campsite Saturday and spent the day mowing, raking, stacking firewood and just organizing stuff. It was a beautiful, sunny fall day with temps in the high 60's. We decided to stay over night so after an afternoon of work we went into Ludington for supper and to hit the grocery store for breakfast fixings. By the time we got back to camp it was already starting to get dark. Only 7:30 and the light was disappearing. I got a fire going and for a couple hours we sat around the fire. Chris decided it was bedtime about 9:30 so he headed for the camper and left me, Bailey and Mercury to tend the fire. There was a mostly full moon rising in the eastern sky and the light from it shone down on our little meadow opening in the woods and filtered thru the trees. As it climbed higher in the sky it lit up the night enough to walk around without any need for a flashlight. It was one of those times that I wish you could put in a bottle and save for when you need something to calm the inner termoil. I managed to stay up until midnight and then decided it was time to call it a day.
Sunday morning I was woken up by a big silver and black dog who obviously was trying to tell me that he had to go outside and do his business. Chris woke up about the same time I did and he stayed at camp and got a small fire going while I took the dogs and went for a walk for about an hour. I took the same route I'd taken Labor Day weekend and tried to photograph the changes that had occurred in the last 5 weeks. There was color but it isn't at it's peak yet. By the time I get back up there again it'll probably be past peak. After the hike I fired up the stove and made us all a breakfast of smoky links and pancakes. After the dining experience was complete we started cleaning up the campsite and putting stuff away. It was almost noon before we turned off the water, locked the doors and headed for the highway. I have hopes of making one more overnight trip yet this month but that of course depends on how the weather cooperates. Today the weatherman is saying we'll have snow flurries Thursday or Friday so it sounds like I'll have to hold out hopes for the weekend after this one coming up.
Don't have a whole lot else to say after the events of today.....just another reminder that the best way to live life is one day at a time and to do your best to make each day count. Rest in Peace Joe. I hardly got to know you and now you'll be missed.

Monday, October 02, 2006

When It Rains, It Pours...

Some serious storms came thru the area this morning. It was 10:00am and still almost as dark as night because of the cloud cover. Wish I coulda been at the beach watching the light show. Lots of lightining and thunder. Temps in the high '70's today. More thunderstorms tonight both North and South of us and more predicted for tomorrow. This is more than likely the last batch of thunderstorms for this year. That's one of the many things I miss during the winter.....a good ole thunderstorm and the smell of the rain. Anyhow, here's the update for this past week.
It seems the bill for summer has come due in the last week or two. Just one thing after another goin’ wrong, messin’ up……..time to strap in and hold on for the bumpy ride for awhile I guess. The wedding took what little cash that we had in reserves and the week after I find out that the motor in my daily driver is going south on me and the fix for that is a new motor. That’s 3 grand I don’t have for a motor that I need to get somehow. I’m hoping I have the wagon sold…..a guy and his wife were here 2 weeks ago and gave me 50 bucks to hold it until they could get back with a trailer but so far they haven’t followed thru. The guy called last week and I was under the impression they were coming this past weekend to pick the car up but that didn’t happen. The pisser is that now, even if I sell the wagon, the money won’t go towards the reason I was selling it in the first place, it’ll go towards the new motor for the van. Then, on top of the motor, last night I went out to close up the windows in the van and pop....the drivers side window mechanism gives out and now there's no way to get the window back up without another infusion of cash. So if they eventually do come and get the wagon....the cash I get in return is already spent plus some to keep the van functional enough to get back and forth to work. It's not like I want to buy a new vehicle either, even if I could afford the payment I'm not real impressed with the new vans or the gargantuan pickup trucks they're trying to sell us these days. I'm not sure what I'd get if I had to.....not interested in some overpriced, gas guzzling SUV.......don't need a huge 4-wheel drive Pickup....I've never been anywhere yet that I needed more than two wheel drive to get me where I wanted to go.....and I've been a ways off the beaten path.
Not much at all to report for this past week. Rainy and cold pretty much sums most of the week up and when I tell you that my own personal vision of hell is being cold and wet you can pretty much guess my enthusiasm level for the past week's weather patterns. The weather for the weekend was suppose to be crappy and that fact along with the fact that I needed to get the garage doors up before it snows forced me into the decision to stay home for the weekend and do something constructive.
So, fairly early Saturday morning, after making breakfast, I gathered my tools and my ambition and set about taking apart the old door. the son-in-law Adam came over (Ri came too) and from about 10:00 until they had to take off for work, we worked on assembling all the hardware for the new door. By the time Adam had to leave we had the door mostly up and I spent the next couple hours finishing up the details. By 7:00pm I had a fully functional garage door that could be raised and lowered with the use of only two fingers. I was impressed that we did it and that it worked so well when we were done. The rest of the evening was spent watching "The Green Mile" for the 23rd of my favorite movies for some of the same reasons that The Wizard of Oz is a the time it was over so was the day. I tried reading Email but couldn't even stay awake long enough to do that so I gave it up and got horizontal.
Sunday was spent assembling and installing the 2nd garage door. This time I was on my own, but having been thru the process once, things went much quicker. I didn't get started until almost 11:00am and was done with a second completely functional door by 5:00pm. After a couple raising and lowerings I deemed the project complete excepting a bit of tweaking that I'll do in the next couple days and the lnstallation of lock assemblies on both doors which I'll do in the next week or so. l Eventually hope to have garage door openers installed, but that's not going to happen before next spring, along with a paint job for the exterior of the garage which it is painfully obvious it needs now, with the new doors for contrast.
Not much else to say about the last week. Today the weather was warm and summerlike with the storms, but by the end of the week it's suppose to be back to more seasonal temps and weather. We're hoping for some nice autumn weather and sunshine for next weekend so we can spent a couple days up at the campsite, getting some details taken care of before we have to batten down the hatches for the winter. We'll see how that goes.
Time to head for dreamland now.