About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Blessed Problem

I've come to a realization regarding one of my big issues with the world today. Actually, I think that this is a problem that has been lurking in the world far before my time, and will continue far beyond my time, and I'm stunned when I realize that there are some folks who are completely unaffected by it. Meanwhile, other people, like me, are somewhat constantly caught in the grips of this affliction, and can never fully escape, although we might from time to time find ourselves unencumbered for a short while...only to be fully ensnared again in short order.

This issue is one that saps your energy, disrupts concentration, makes it very difficult to make decisions or to gain traction on any project(s) that you might have on your To Do list. It also utterly disrupts any daily routines that you might have.

It's not wholly on the negative, though. There's a constant learning curve that you find yourself on; I do like to learn new things on a regular basis. Learning new things seems to me to be a necessity for having a fulfilling life. It seems to me that if I'm not learning something, some small part of me is falling into atrophy. Of course, I'd like to have some control over the things that I'm learning, and due to this condition of mine, I don't seem to always have the control that I'd like in that respect.

The issue? The condition? Affliction? This thing of the world...of the human condition...that is so challenging?

It simple: there are just too darn many interesting things in the world. Every time that I look around, something of interest catches my eye, my attention, and my mind. It doesn't matter what I might have been doing, or intending to do, something crops up in the course of the day, and like a raven to a shiny bauble, I'm ensnared. Off I go to study that new thing, or to do something that I had no intentions of doing, and those things that I had intended doing are left undone.


This is what has kept me from frequent writing out here, from reading things that have long been on my list, from undertaking projects that I'd like to undertake for pleasure and entertainment value, and all other sort of minor goals that I'd like to see accomplished.

I signed up for a wood turning course recently; I've been longing to learn how to turn wood for years, but there was always something else to engage me. I'll have to sign up for that again, as it was cancelled.

I traveled to the US Northwest for a week at the beginning of November and there were nearly endless things of interest there. In flight, I typically read, and I had loaded up my kindle with a couple of books (I'm a very slow reader!) that have been on my list to read for a long while. However, two magazines caught my eye; they were as shiny as shiny gets. National Geographic, both: 50 of the World's Last Great Places, and one that focused on historical figures like Ben Franklin and Leonardo DaVinci. I read the second, but haven't cracked the first.

I've been thinking of joining Toastmasters, which is a group that helps you to hone your public speaking skills and be more comfortable talking in front of others. This is helpful in all forms of communication, whether that's at home, in the office, or in front of those live groups.

I've been asked to participate in the Ad Com in a professional society that I've been a member of for 10+ years.

As I looked for resources on learning wood turning, one person to whom I reached out suggested that I join the somewhat local wood turner's social club.

Waiting for doctors to attend me and mine, I have finally read a couple of Shakespeare's plays (A Midsummer Night's Dream and Twelfth Night). I've started reading The Bronze Eagle, by
Baroness Emmuska Orczy. There's just plain too much of interest to read!

I can recall back in the early 90s, when the company that I worked for was downsizing by offering what I would call exceedingly attractive severance packages to workers. I know a few workers who received over 2 years' salary to NOT return to work. But there were some who were on the proverbial fence. Of near-retirement age, and offered a severance package that would pay them essentially a year or more...seems like a good idea to me.

More than one voiced a concern, not about finances and how they might meet monetary obligations after they are no longer working, but rather about what to do to fill their day. Even today my jaw drops at this "problem".

If I retire, what do I do every day? How do I fill my time?
Really?!? That's a problem for people? Am I the only one with interests outside of work? Are there really people who can look at the world around them and not find *something* of interest? I remember my boss back in that time was  fellow who had many legitimate hobbies, plus a relatively new grandson. What do you do with your day?

Spend time with your grandchild.
Do some wood working (which he did like to do)
Fix the house
Hike (or walk)
Volunteer your time (food pantries, libraries, school systems...the list goes on and on)
Talk to your wife
"Talk" to your wife :)
Learn how to cook

My personal list seems to me to endless. How can anyone not have any idea of what to do with their time if they're not working? This notion boggles my mind, especially since I can barely concentrate long enough to get one project completed before something else grabs my attention and asks to be considered. Most of my project are about 80% completed at best.

I still have one cabinet to complete for the kitchen that I remodeled about 5 years ago.
I never put all of the screws in the deck that I built 4 years ago. And there's a railing that needs to be added now that we've changed a window.
I've been cleaning and organizing my workshop; that's about 75% completed, and I'm wondering when I'll get back to it.
There's some trim that's not quite completed in the bathroom that I remodeled...I don't know...9 years ago.
It's pretty close to winter here and I haven't made a "home" for our kayaks in the basement. Time's running out for that one!
I've always wanted to be a published writer, and I do have a book about half written. I started writing it right after I got married more than 2 decades ago. When will that get finished?

Then there's what the future holds:
I have a few ideas for businesses: something to keep retirement entertaining;
I'd like to take some cooking classes (There's a weekend-long grilling course in the Smokey Mountains (I think) that I've long wanted to attend);
More wood working classes and projects;
I've been thinking of another blog that would concentrate on reviewing products from a reliability, functionality, usability perspective;
More writing;
More reading;
I've always thought that there should be a radio show dedicated to what I call "should have been classics" - dedicated to the thousands of awesome songs that have been recorded but that have never gotten air time;

Every week I get another thought on things that I'd like to be doing.

With all the stuff that the world has to offer, am I the only one that has trouble finding the time to do things (like blogging) and complete projects? I'll try to be better in the future, but dog-gone it, there's just so much to do, and so little time!


  1. It's almost paralyzing...there are so many things to do, so little time to do them, which one first???

    1. Indeed! Three categories: "Have to", "Ought to", "Want to". Do all the "Have to" (eventually), many of the "Ought to" (regularly), and some of the "Want to" every day!

  2. I know exactly what you mean. Time is like money- if you have it, you'll spend it. But "how" is the question. I've been out to pasture for 5 years now and not done a quarter of what I'd planned. There's always too much to do. (I can never understand being bored.) We have to make priorities for our time, and do what's most important. My issue is what must be done vs. what I'd like to do. And then there are the the monkey wrenches to contend with- I've withdrawn from all "group" activities because it's near impossible for me to get out to places, so that was easy. But there are always things going on in which I have a part, however independent that part is, and always more to do. I don't know what to tell you except you aren't alone, STG. The Things To Do: Time and Energy ratio will always be unbalanced in my life.

    1. Thanks, Austan. I repeatedly learn that we are none of us ever alone in any of our feelings or misgivings. That includes you! :)

  3. When my father retired he said that he didn't know how he had ever had time to work. While my retirement wasn't voluntary (medical issues) I know exactly what he meant. My days are full, sometimes too much so. I rarely complete a to-do list, without adding several other things (which I hadn't even considered). Consequently I rarely do finish my to-do lists. Which is, as you say, not entirely bad.

    1. This is a bit of wisdom that I hear quite often from retired folks. Once in a while I do hear the other side, but this is the predominant message: when did I ever have time to work?!?

  4. When you get this wood turning thing down, can you make me a lure? "bombers" are about 7" long and weigh 4-8oz. they must, of course, float. now get on it!! chop chop!

    1. That would be an interesting project! I'll put it on my list of things that I want to do! :)