Thursday, November 03, 2011

Cold November Rain

Well, I'm on a roll here, posting twice in one week!  Unfortunately, it's mainly due to the fact I've come down with a massive case of tonsillitis and had to take the day off.  I worked all week with it but when I woke up this morning I was just feeling too bad.  The fact I had burned my chest badly again, got something in my eye, so it was swollen and matted up, and got my back acting up again from lifting that heavy steel just didn't help matters either.  And it was going to rain and turn cold, which it did.  I'm waiting on them to find the drawings for my next project so today would have been a sort of slow day anyway.  I hate to sit down here out of town and not get paid but sometimes you just gotta look after yourself or you sure will get run down and injured.
I know from the above description it might sound as though I'm on death's door and I do feel like I've had the hell beat out of me.  It's going to take me a few weeks to recover from this excursion when it's over.  All of this has really opened my eyes to how radically I have changed my life since being laid off this last time and how differently other people live.  It's not that I got soft from not working.  I think the well project proves that!  It is just a completely different type of life due to being so much in the city I guess.  As I've mentioned before, I have tried to eat right while here, and I do for the most part.  I buy partly from a local organic grocer and bring food from home but it's not the same always because I can't cook much.  I get a lot of good natured teasing from the guys about my lunches and snacks and it is worlds apart from some of that stuff they eat! *shudder*  They would die, I guess, if they saw how I eat at home, where I can cook!  Now, I do try to cook several meals over the weekend and bring much of it with me to eat during the week but it doesn't last long and I end up eating out once or twice a week, sometimes more.  I have to be careful to avoid the city water down here.  It is putrid and has given my stomach hell since I've been here.  I finally figured out what was doing it and strictly use bottled water, or bring my water in jugs but it was tough back when it was hot because you have to have cold water and they fill our water barrels with the city water.
The air here is awful also.  There is a stench over everything as soon as you enter certain parts of town and it really gets to me.  I'm so used to my fresh country air.  Plus, for some unknown reason, it seems that 80-90% of the population smokes in this town.  I have found it rare to go many places without smelling the stench of cigarette smoke and that stuff really bothers me.  That and the fumes from welding mess my sinuses up and have caused the tonsil issue.
Well, I didn't mean for this to become a whiny post and I'm sorry if it sounds just like every other post I've done since being here.  I have just been surprised at how much of a struggle this has been for me.  Not the work but the cultural and social parts I guess.  No one lives like I do.  It's hard to find recycling facilities and fresh, natural food.  Wal-Mart and smoky bars are the big spots to go!  The ladies that work at the hotel where I'm staying hold me in curious regard and one has been brave enough to ask me a few questions about what I do.  (Due to the hi-viz shirts we are required to wear we are all branded to the public as construction workers and many people avoid us.)  From their attitude it seems that maybe they were never taught women could do anything but be secretaries or clean. God help if she ever asks me about how I live at home!
My superiors at work hold me in a curious regard also.  They know I didn't ask to come here.  They know I have not enslaved my self to a life of servitude (debt) and therefore don't have to work for them.  They treat the guys like crap but they know they can only go so far with me or I'll tell them to cram it.  And they know I will too.  Interesting the extent of the freedom no debt gives you.  I do my job and I do it well but I can't help but be a little smug about it and flaunt the fact they don't own me. LOL!  Not much though.  I still remember the company ours used to be and out of honor to the guys I tow the line, for the most part.
The bottom line is this job has served to reinforce the idea to me that this type of life is nowhere near what I want or will have.  There are malls and shopping for anything you would want around here but it holds nothing for me.  I admit I have bought a few nice pieces of clothing, on sale, because I got down to not having much in the way of nice things, but other than that, I just mostly stare at the windows and wonder how people can be so obsessed and excited over a new purse?  A life of stifling, frustrating hard labor where you only get 2 days a week to do what you enjoy is out also.  I want to enjoy every day.  I used to enjoy this work; we all did.  We talk about how fun the jobs used to be.  Micromanagement, bureaucracy, disposable society and the death of common sense has killed all that.  It has however, brought to life some images for art that I have had floating in my head for years that would never quite crystallize.  They are very clear now.  That has been very interesting and I am excited to get home for good to start producing these works.  They will be unlike anything I've shown ya'll before.
So, it has been good and bad, as most of life is.  I am making some money though and am actively searching now for the stove I want, as my main goal from this is to finish the kitchen.  I should be ordering cabinets before too long also.  If I get that and get to work with my fellas on a big project one last time then it will be worth it.


Rita said...

You are something! I know I could not do the job you do. Your endurance is fantastic. You've found your way to what you really want. I know so many just barely making the payments on everything. I so want to share and say you don't have to do this. But they look at me as if I must have been given the silver spoon or large inheritance or something. Hey, it was one day at a time. All is paid for. Do I have every thing I want, no. Do I need everything I want, no. My checks are small now but every thing is paid for and I don't need a lot. I'm happy. And feel I cannot express how happy I am for you to soon be back in your wonderful home for good. I am praying for your tonsils, eye, and back to recover quickly. I know you probably at some point have to get back out there to help finish the work. Take care.

Anonymous said...


It is true that life ia a journey that everyone must take for themselves. What you have found to be important in life now is different than what you thought right out of school. Keep your head up, you can see the finish line. I'm headed up that way next weekend, can't wait to get away from work awhile.


Floridacracker said...

I forget exactly where you are on this job, but my lasting impression of Tennesee is one of smokers everywhere.

Really friendly people and really smoky.

Take care of yourself. I catch flack about my healthy lunches from the kids I teach.
They don't yet realize that teenage metabolism doesn't last forever.

Chieftain of Seir said...

I was (still am compared to most guys in the trades) young when I worked commercial construction for a brief period of time. Hard work was something that I loved. Strong like bull, dumb like ox as the saying goes.

But I was suckered into the work by the fact that the first few jobs were close to home. Pouring concrete all day to make a factory floor was a blast. But traveling was something I just was not cut out for. To work hard all day is all fun and games (at least when you are young and healthy). But to work all day and then have no life was not something I could take.

I still find the work fascinating and I am glad I am still associated with it tangentially. But every time I start to get jealous of the crews that I work with, I start hearing the stories of how little they get to see their families and how much they drink and I remember why I could not hack it.

edifice rex said...

Hey Reet! thanks! I appreciate all that! I know a lot of people like that too but it's hard to talk to them sometimes. a lot of people think you're bragging or some such if you say you're not in debt and don't see you are just trying to get them to think outside the box.

Hey Barry! Yeah, it's so funny how our views and goals can change so radically during our lives. Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

Hey FC! yeah, the young guys i work with don't either! lol! I am actually working way south of TN but I guess a lot of the southern states are pretty smoky. bleh.

Hey Chieftain! Man, i know exactly what you mean! we talk about the very same thing at work a lot. Being out of town changes the whole thing! I feel bad for a lot of the guys because they feel they must do what the company asks them (go out) in order to support their family but then don't get to see their family. It's a helluva Catch-22 for them.

Swamp Dog said...

It must be hard to leave your slice of heaven and go in and submit to being under the boot of "THE MAN". But at least you have the right attitude of not wasting your money on usless Foo-
foo, but can visualize what you are doing this for. I too am at the point in my career I could quit, but I always start thinking "what if?", and I decide to keep going. Unlike you once I quit, it will be over, no going back. so I keep saying one more year then I'm done, but the pols in Washington keep things so messed up I'm scared of what this economic mess could turn into. So I just keep pluging along, trying to get more self-sufficient, trying to survive until I can get comfortable with the thought of not working. But what about Social Security you ask? Yeah right, keep holding onto that pipe dream for all of us not already drawing it. I can do math, I know that is a ponzi scheme ready to collapse. So harden your resolve and keep your eye on your goals and tough it out until you are at peace with your decisions.

Island Rider said...

Sorry, I missed this earlier. I was back in Guatemala. Talk about a lifestyle check. Seeing how hard those people work for $1.00 a day makes me realize how much I take for granted. Now, there's some water that can make you really sick! Hope you are feling better by now.

Curmudgeon said...

Yeah, I'm suffering a bad case of hiatus and don't feel like doing anything. No crutches, no brace and I don't feel like looking for a job, or writing for that matter.
Those environment things can mess you up. The wind is blowing like crazy and the air is full of dust here. The air pressure changes and dry air give me a migraine like you wouldn't believe. John Prine said "Toss my brain in a hurricane" He was singing about where he wanted his body parts to go when he died, and that's how I feel. I don't think your whining.If you are you're in good company. Miss ya, sorry I haven't written.

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Annie, this is not whining to many of us who share similar thoughts about how the world and many folks are going downhill. Things hold too much value for many people and they have forgotten what 's important.