Monday, March 21, 2011

Retirement

I have no lofty goals.  I come and go as I please.  If I want to I do and when I don't, I don't and it all pretty much doesn't make any difference.  I live on a one-third acre "farm" in the city and not in a particular order, I have my greenhouse, my shop, the garden and little plunge pool, two cats and my daughter's dog to keep me company.  For three more years, until her retirement, I see my wife sporadically, without schedule, a ghost sometimes.
     I don't play golf and am happy to have discovered a hobby that people pay me to do.  I am a welder.
I don't work on automobiles or trailers, I have no love for cars nor anything with an engine.  I am not a fabricator, seldom work off blue prints or do any kind of production welding.  I play.  I have a welding table but seldom use it.  I weld off an easel, a vertical frame in my shop about eight feet tall and as wide as I like to make it.  I weld like a painter, stand back and look and weld, adding this and that until I like it.
    Fourteen years ago I had never seen a welder, didn't know the mystery of joining steel together, making one from many, creating strength from small pieces.  It was all a gift from a friend.  Just like that one day I came home from work and at the entrance to my shop there it stood, everything to get started.  A small welder, a mask, a cut-off saw and even some scrap steel!  And a note:  "Happy birthday, you will like this!"
Wow, it was a lot of money, maybe $400 or so, but more than that it was a present from someone who really knew me, maybe more than I knew myself!  No directions came with these and I admit I had a slight fear of being electrocuted.  No one really knows how electricity works!
     I practised every day.  I had seven people working for me at the time, two or three jobs always going on at the same time.  I owned the construction company and I grew to hate it.  It is difficult to get out of something you have been into for over thirty years.  Building things, causing things to happen, running a crew is all I knew how to do.  That summer I was in my shop welding for two hours every day before I went to work.  It is an amazing process, mixing atoms of steel.  It is not like gluing at all and it doesn't have the limitations of wood.  It has, well it has the strength of steel!!!  It changed my dreams and what I thought about.
    You can learn to weld in five minutes but to get good at it takes practice.  And then to learn what goes together and what clashes with the design takes experience.  Trial and error, but nothing goes to waste. You just cut it up and do it again!  I eventually got pretty good at it and developed a "name" at least around here.
   This has all become a part of the equation to my retirement, a little welding, some gardening, pet the dog, squeeze the cats and now I have taken up painting and that is a whole other world that I am having fun with!
You can find a lot more HERE!

3 comments:

PAMO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AutumnLeaves said...

How neat to discover the artist within! What an awesome friend you have, Jerry.

Barbra Joan said...

Jerry, I've heard your 'story' before but never tire of it.. You have everything and more that you need to have a beautiful life.. Enjoy it! BJ