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When is enough, enough?

short story of life

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#1 rust addict OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 03:51 PM

  When is enough , enough? Whenever people ask me "why do you collect and repair old things that you really don't need", I do know the answer.
  When I was a young boy about 6 my Mom and Dad had enough of each other and parted ways. I had a older brother and a younger brother but I don't think anyone ever explained at that time the reason for Dad leaving, all I knew is he was gone. I don't really remember much of anything before about age 10 but he was still not there. Yeah, a couple weekends a month and a week or two a year was all we saw of him but that wasn't even enough to get in a good talk. My older brother was the 'smart' one and my younger brother was the 'baby', I was to become the 'man' of the family. Since Mom was barely high school educated and pre- women's liberation in the 50's women stayed at home and did not work, needless to say the family income for the four of us was uh marginal. Christmas was always getting clothes that we needed, not what we wanted, the best birthday gifts always came from one of the neighbors, a good dinner with real meat was once a week. There were no video games, even touch tone phones were unknown, skates had steel wheels and we invented the 'skateboard', T.V. dinners were on tin trays and were cooked in the oven, my game room was whatever Dad had left in the garage when he left us. He was big on electronics and so I used his old ham radio parts as my instrument panel when I played astronaut. The tools were the ones he left behind because they were the ones that were never needed. Rusty saws, broken hammers, dull screwdrivers, some rusted pliers and a 'monkey wrench' or two was about it.The best thing he left me was a decent bench vise. My best times were spent finding some kind of 'thing' to dismantle. I don't mean just take apart, I mean dismantle down to the basic parts. I remember finding an old garbage disposal and had it apart down to the copper wire windings inside the motor armature. Of course all of the usable parts, screws, bolts, nuts, wiring, etc. were sorted and put into the glass jars that hung from the lids under the shelves my Dad had used before hand. I shorted out more that a few plugs trying my hand at electrical engineering and am lucky that whenever I got a shock I was never locked on to whatever I was touching at the time. If I liked it and could drag it home I was bound to either try and get it working or totally piece it out. Of course when you can completely gut a garbage disposal it isn't that tough to remove and install one (I think I was about 13) for Mom because a real plumber was too costly. Besides, I got a new project to play with, my goal was to fix the old garbage disposal. I couldn't for the life of me understand why anyone would want to throw out such a cool toy and not just fix it. My theory was that if man could make it, I could fix it. There lies the curse. From then on I was the fixit man of the house up to the time I moved out at 18 and again when I came home because something was broke, up to the time Mom remarried. When #2 was over I was called again whenever something broke. Mom never remarried but has had a few live in partners and they could usually help out and hire a 'professional'. Of course during that time on my own I was fixing cars, bikes, lawnmowers, hot water heaters (I had a house, married, raised kids and step-kids, worked a career, divorced, retired and now am happily un-wed) but still fixing stuff. My career as a cable maintenance tech. for a major telecommunications company made me a troubleshooter and fixed things  e v e r y  day. I had tools in my hands all day every day, even on weekends at home, and still do. Tools are my toys. It really doesn't matter what it is, if it's broke I will try and fix it or dismantle it to the point that I now know what it's guts look like. I have fixed things no man has the need or right to fix. Even if the thing costs twenty dollars new, I will spent an entire day fixing or modifying it (remember I'm retired). Here comes a result of the 'curse', I have boxes of parts, motors, wiring connectors, hoses ,tools, fittings, belts, lights, components of all sorts, any thing I could not fix and dismantled and tossed the unusable pieces. The 'curse' = no more room. My daughter has mentioned to me the T.V. show "hoarders". Now I do have some real collections of knives, old glass, brewing equipment, tin signs, etc. I do not have too much stuff, I just do not have enough room. If someone was to have ,say, 10 chickens and lived in a one bedroom apartment that would be considered animal hoarding, now if that same person lived on 5 acres there would be no name calling a hoarder. I just ran out of room.
    Now the reason for all of this explination of the 'curse'. I presently have a chain saw that I bought new maybe 15 (or more) years ago. I still have the original case, the tools, the instruction manual, the sharpeners, etc. I have kept it working like a fine tuned up town fiddle. It doesn't get a whole lot of use, I live (91724) in a , I don't even know what it's considered out here any more, but most people only know chainsaw because of their gardener. Well I was doing a job and it was slowly fading out on me, would cut out, not rev. up, harder and harder to start. I did all of the troubleshooting, cleaned air filter, changed fuel,reset air/fuel mixes, replaced the starter rope I broke trying to restart the thing, new plug, cussed, but no go. Next step is to open it up and look at it's guts, when I got to the carb., there was some gunk in there but the diaphragm and gaskets were brittle. Yeah, I think I got it under control now , =curse. According to online sources those parts are discontinued. Thank goodness for the internet (in my pre-internet years I would already be cutting gaskets from cork, leather, cardboard or whatever I thought it needed) luckily I found a source for the gasket set. Yeeha! I thought. Waited for a week for the parts, finally got the thing together after trying to remember the order it came apart, all back together now no spark, =the curse, tried all kinds of ways to monkey with the mag., looked for info on line, called people, but either there was no information available or people could not understand why I would even want to try and fix an 'old' out of date chainsaw when there are so many new ones available. The small motor repair places out here do NOT have parts graveyards. If something comes in for them to fix and the parts are not available to fix it, it goes for scrap. No old saws, no used rebuilt saws, no care to fix what isn't current. I defintely live in the wrong time/ space continuum. My first thought, =curse, was to tell them to give me all of their scrap saws, I need a new project to keep me occupied, oh yeah =the curse, no room. Remember I am retired, sometimes called unemployed, I can't really see the need to spend a bunch of money on a new chain saw when I need just one small piece to fix the one I loved for so long. If I could only get that piece, =the curse. I can find a used part fort the $40.00 plus shipping, or I could get an entire saw like mine from craigslist that may or may not be working for $65.00. The = curse. I know that if I get the parts saw from craigslist and the part I need is good and get my saw running again I would still feel the need to fix the craigslist saw. Then I would be back in the same predicament, =the curse.
    When is enough, enough?

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#2 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 04:28 PM

When it isn't any fun anymore. I'm trying to clean out some of it but it is hard. You didn't mention all the people that used to expect you to fix things for them for no charge. I nipped that 25 years ago. I may consider my time to have no value to me but you better not try to say it isn't worth paying me for it when I do work for you. There are a few friends I will do things for but not many anymore. Good Luck,
Rick


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#3 chieffan ONLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 08:32 PM


Amen to thatboyscout862. They are not really your friends when they expect you to do something for nothing unless it works both ways. For the last 15 years I have owned this property I have let the Farm Manager & farmer use 30' of my property along a fence line for access to and from their field to put in and take out the crops. Different Farm Manager bought out the older retiring one and then the problems began. We had a hard 4" rain this spring. It was still raining lightly when a lo boy with a big excavator unloaded on the road and drove down along the fence line. Then a big skid steer. They were rebuilding a creek crossing and were told by the Farm Manager they could use my lawn for their access. Then they haul 15 large dump truck loads of big rock down to the creek. When all was done I had two deep grooves in my lawn. We finally settled on $300 for damages. Now, I am no longer a nice guy. After they spent about $25K on that crossing they are going to pay be $300 a year for use of my property to access their crossing. If they don't like it, tough. The post are in place and the cable is ready. This is one time a nice guy is not going to finish last.
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#4 grattone ONLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 08:34 PM

Seems like to me if you do it for no charge they get to where they don't even say thanks any more. That means a lot most of the time.


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#5 JBRamsey OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 08:54 PM

You should get more than 300 a year and write up a contract covering damages.
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#6 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 09:19 PM

You are quite a writer. Once I started, I could not stop until the end. I don't normally read some thing that long. It was very good, but you had a difficult time at some points in your life. Sad to hear, but it sounds like you made out ok. Some of your story relates to me, I was all ways the type , that I would try to fix it, or make it, or buy used, before I would buy new. That I learned from my father. I figure, that if it's broke, I can't make it any worse, so I try to fix it, and some times it's amazing how may things can be fixed. Thanks for the story, Noel
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#7 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 14, 2015 - 09:47 PM

I am a fixer not a throw away guy. I buy quality tools and equipment on the thought I'll use it for years.

My wife gets mad at me because I fix things. I've fixed her hair straightener 3 times now. She gets mad because she just wants to spend 100 on a new one.

I am helping a buddy do some drywall workm. I stopped tonight and picked up some tools. I got a nice stanely utility knife for 4.99. My buddy's son was complaining about the cheapo china utility knife his dad bought. I told his son that's why you pay extra and buy an American made item. Also that supports American businesses. That stanely utility knife if taken care of I could give to my grand children.

That Chinese knife broke after cutting 6 pieces of drywall.

Edited by toomanytoys84, July 14, 2015 - 09:49 PM.

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#8 TAHOE ONLINE  

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Posted July 15, 2015 - 07:35 AM

You sounds like my father, he was born in '30, depression kid with 9 siblings, 3 step siblings and the wicked step mother. Dropped out of school after freshman year, went to work, then moved out when he turned 18 when step mom asked for all his checks. He and his brothers learned to do everything on their own, their father helped teach them some. Dad didn't do much as atuo mechnical, but he could build anything out of wood,concrete, drywall. He didn't have to sand his 3rd coat of drywall mud, he had it down to a science. He never threw anything away, "someone might need this someday", I think it was from his depression days. My mom never pitched anything either, we are finding bills/receipts frorm the 50's she still has.

Anyway, I got the genes I guess. I hate to pitch anything that I "might need" someday. Speaking of chain saw, I have 6 now, only 2 run and both of them barely run. I try to fix any old stuff I can, I drive 17-18 yr old cars and keep them running as best I can.

I can't answer your question, "when is enough, enough" although as I get older, maturing in my spiritual life and seeing what's going on in the country right now, material stuff is becoming less important.


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#9 boyscout862 OFFLINE  

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Posted July 15, 2015 - 07:49 AM

I am a fixer not a throw away guy. I buy quality tools and equipment on the thought I'll use it for years.

My wife gets mad at me because I fix things. I've fixed her hair straightener 3 times now. She gets mad because she just wants to spend 100 on a new one.

I am helping a buddy do some drywall workm. I stopped tonight and picked up some tools. I got a nice stanely utility knife for 4.99. My buddy's son was complaining about the cheapo china utility knife his dad bought. I told his son that's why you pay extra and buy an American made item. Also that supports American businesses. That stanely utility knife if taken care of I could give to my grand children.

That Chinese knife broke after cutting 6 pieces of drywall.

One little clue in the attempt to understand women is to look at our chromeosomes. Men have "XY" and women have "XX" chromeosomes. The extra little tail that changes the "Y" to an "X" is the shopping genes. Women love to "shop" and feel the power of spending money. Unfortunately it seems to make many of them more susceptible to wasting money. In my opinion, most women look better without makeup. The fashion and makeup industries just ripoff most  women for huge sums of money. Aren't you glad that we have a sane hobby? Good Luck, Rick                                                                          


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#10 Cvans ONLINE  

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Posted July 15, 2015 - 03:50 PM

  Enjoyed your story and it put me to thinking. 

 When you have beat your head against the junk wall until it hurts, that's enough. Big difference between junk and stuff. Stuff is important articles used to complete a project. Junk is something that is in the way and hinders completion of a project. Big difference.

   Your story sounds like my life and still is BUT I hate junk. When I have to step over it, it's time to do something. Last summer I got rid of a lot of junk that had been collecting for decades. I'm retired also. It finally dawned on me that if I needed it I probably couldn't find it anyway. After throwing away the junk I haven't used for 20 years it's much easier to find the stuff that I do use. I've also found that selling stuff is kind of rewarding. It's really rewarding to have someone ask how to do something and your able help with just the stuff they need. I try not to fix what they brought to me broken but explain to them how to use the stuff they were given so they can do it themselves. It make me feel good to see the light come on when they realize they can fix it. 

P.S.

Your not helping someone when you allow them to take advantage of you. 


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#11 LilysDad ONLINE  

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Posted July 15, 2015 - 04:50 PM

Years ago, my mom told me, "if you haven't used it in a year, your not going to use it". I just wish she had told my wife.

 

Now, a year might not make sense for shop stuff, but you get the idea.


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#12 KennyP ONLINE  

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Posted July 15, 2015 - 06:31 PM

Years ago, my mom told me, "if you haven't used it in a year, your not going to use it". I just wish she had told my wife.

 

Now, a year might not make sense for shop stuff, but you get the idea.

I am NOT going there again!


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#13 toppop52 ONLINE  

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Posted July 15, 2015 - 06:58 PM

My rule of thumb..."If some is enough, more is better and too much is just right!"


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#14 rust addict OFFLINE  

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Posted July 16, 2015 - 02:23 AM

Don't take it like I was complaining, I really do think I prefer to be the  way I have become.


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#15 Canawler OFFLINE  

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Posted July 20, 2015 - 02:25 PM

After throwing away the junk I haven't used for 20 years...


I find 15 to 20 years is my happy medium when it comes to junk I haven't used. If I haven't used it in that time frame, I'm probably not going to and it's time for it to be sold or thrown away.

To the first post, are you sure that Stanley knife wasn't made in China? It's been a really long time since I saw anything Stanley that was made in the USA.




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