I’ve had a rough couple of weeks. Of course, I am referring to my life and environment. I’m not confused in many people have a much more rough time in life then I do. But let me get back to this story. Since I have been retired I have felt guilty about not working for a wage. I’ve mentioned this on prior blogs. And so I try to keep myself busy by taking on projects such as building a 50 foot long deck around my pool. I have in the past made furniture developed a tree farm and got busy with some sort of task. In my case I needed and use a lot of different tools to complete my task.
About two weeks ago, things started to happen that made it hard to complete any task. For example, my 13 inch plainer quit working. It is a Rigid plainer and it was under warranty. So I took it to the Home Depot as I was directed to and I was told that it would take about a month and a half or more to have it fixed and return. Well, this stopped all of the furniture making projects that I had. But not to worry, I have a hand electric plainer. So I went out to the deck area by my pool, and started to plain down the boards I had cut from another down pine trees so that the surface of the area would be smooth. I got about 99% done and the hand plainer overheated and quit working.
During that same period time I have been using my John Deere utility tractor to move the trees that I cut down to the area where I cut them into planks or post. Actually I use my John Deere tractor for a lot of different functions. Then in the middle of a task, my tractor quit working. When I went to turn the tractor on there was no starter action. This was very distressing for me. The last time that I had to John Deere utility tractor taken into John Deere dealer my bill was over $400. The part that was replaced was $.80 and the labor to replace that part was $400. So the thought of having to take the John Deere tractor back to the dealer was extremely stressful. I do have some mechanical skills, so I was able to take the starter off of the engine of the tractor. I called the John Deere dealer and asked what I knew starter for the small Yanmar diesel engine would cost. The service manager looked up the part and exclaimed over the phone, wow that is really expensive. The starter price was $950. The service manager suggested that I might go to a local starter company to make sure that the starter did not work.
I traveled 25 miles to the starter store. As soon as I walked into the store I liked it. It was a small building with literally thousands of starter and starter parts spewed over the shelves and the floor. There was a sign over the counter in the stated there’s a $10 charge for us to look at your equipment which will be included in the price of any part you buy. The owner of the store, who was busy with another customer, went over to me and asks what I needed. I told him that I was afraid my starter was no good and I might have to buy a new one. He took the starter over to the bench and fired it up. To my delight the starter fired right up. He told me there was nothing wrong with the starter and that there was a small electrical line that came from the ignition switch that was not working. I sat and listen to the shop owner as he explained how the starter and those electrical lines work. I truly appreciated his time and letting me know how things worked and then asked if I would him 10 dollars. He just smiled and said no, you don’t owe me anything. I walked out of the store very happy that my starter worked and very appreciative of the owner and store. While the owner was enlightening me about the starter he asked me if I use the tractor often. I told him yes I use it every day. He asked me what kind of business I was involved in. I told them I was retired. He replied, and you use his tractor every day? I smiled back at him and said yes I use it every day.
It took me over two weeks to get the tractor working again. It ended up that it was an electrical problem from a relay switch off of the fuse box wall. To be able to figure that out I had to get the schematics of the electrical drawings for the tractor from the John Deere store. As it turned out two of the relays had gotten so hot that they started to melt and disconnect wires. I then went back to the electric hand plainer and found that it had overheated so badly it had melted some wires which I replaced. So far the hand plainer is working well.
When I relayed the story to my wife she replied by saying that the reason most of my tools and the tractor were having problems was because I use them like a business would. Most people retired will use the tool or the tractor once a week or maybe even once every 3 or four days. I use them every day at work him hard.
Again I relayed the stories to one of my sons, who also remarked that the reason these things break down is that I use them so much. Unlike most retirees rather than using them on occasion I worked him hard as if I’m in a business.
This same son asked me if there was some kind of deadline that I had to meet on any of my projects. Of course I told him that there was no deadline. After which I realize that I do push myself to get things done as if I was still working at a job and there is a deadline. Right after that conversation, I hooked up my boat and I went fishing. Luckily, the fishing was great and the weather was great.
Now that I have my tractor working again and my and plainer working again I feel obligated to get back to work. I suppose it’s because I do feel guilty about not working at a wage paying job. The reality is that my PTSD makes it impossible for me to actually go back to work. No one is going to hire an old policeman who would carry a gun and has PTSD issues. The liability for that is unbelievable.
So my thought this week is that I need to reevaluate my priorities. Even though I think I take time to smell the roses I still have some issue with being retired. I think that while I was working my goal of being retired had not been fully thought out. As crazy as it sounds, I have almost all the things that I want. So it is not about the money or where I live or who I live with. It is just about the issue of not working for a wage which includes deadlines for projects.