I was a career construction welder. Mostly Structural, but I have welded some pipe here and there. I got into construction as a means to the end of having a farm. I was young, so I was thinking about Dairy as I could do it all for the first 10 years and afford to hire help after that. From my regular job at home to construction, I went from practically killing myself for $30,000 a year to $70,000+ and only working 7-9 months a year in just a couple of years. The ex wife lived well while I lived on bologna sandwiches. I never got my farm after 10 years.. At that point, the marriage was a joke and I filed for divorce after I came home to find my house payment was two months behind. I lived cheap the next 10 years and was ready to "retire" to my farm. I had the cash for 80 acres in Arkansas, but I wanted to work another 6 months to a year to have money to fence the 80 acre property I had identified and have a couple of ponds built.
Then we lost my dad in February of 2015. I came home and stayed with Mom for 4 months until she kicked me out. (LOL). She assured me that she was going to be ok and that I could go to work without worrying about her being alone. I went to St, John's Pennsylvania to work on a 6-week job for a company I had previously worked an 18-month job. I was hoping to catch another 6-month job they had upcoming in Ohio. I would normally not travel so far for such a short job. After the 6 week job, I was told that I would get a call for Ohio within the next 4-6 months. That was NOT what I wanted to hear. As luck would have it, as I was driving home and got a phone call from a buddy who was running a job IN PENNSYLVANIA. He asked where I was and I explained that I had just got laid off and was heading home from Pennsylvania. His next word were, "Turn the truck around!" He said he had 6 months of work and he needed me there now. (This was Monday.) I told him I could be there next Monday as I had a couple things to do at home.. So after the first 3 months up there, we got the word that the second job with the same company that was 15 miles up the road had been cancelled. (That's Construction.) I went home for a couple weeks and decided to run back up to PA for a long weekend to see a woman I had met while there. She went to work Monday morning and I started driving home. Since it was just me and Mom now, I called her to tell here when to expect me getting home. (My house was about 20 miles from hers.) She told me to not get upset or rush home, but that she was in the hospital. "Stop at your house and get a good night's sleep, then get up and call me so you can pick up a few things for me at my house."
I got to the hospital Tuesday morning (November 2015) and Mom explained that she had been diagnosed with lung cancer. I am lucky I had savings as I didn't work for about 18 months while making my truck payment, mortgage AND keeping the power and water on at my place. The doctor assured us that after a treatment or two, she would feel normal and would be able to drive herself to treatments. Yeah, that didn't happen. Chemotherapy was ROUGH on her.
So now I drive, cook and do anything she can't do. I had to quit two jobs because her health would require me to take long spans of time off. I got a local job as a fabricator two years ago. I build platforms, handrails, robots or anything the engineers can put on paper and send to us. Its not nearly the money I earned in construction, but It give me money to pay my share of the bills and buy a little cryptocurrency along the way. (Its still a fire sale as I type this.)
I am waiting for an email from a local community college. I think I am going back to school for Mechatronics/robotics as I see automation as a nationwide trend as minimum wage is set to be raised. I have a garden, but I didn't have time to properly tend to it. We worked 60+ hours a week since January.. I get a few tomatoes, but the rest just isn't going to happen this year. Mom helped me can 4 quarts of tomatoes last weekend. I will have at leas that many ready this coming weekend. We would like to put up 40-50 quarts, but the rain and lack of attention by me has severely knocked back this year's production.. I am going to try to write a little daily..