Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Too Tired for More Tires

I have entered into a new phase of my life. Things have been going well for me. I am doing well in school. Thanks to this blog, I have met a fantastic woman. My future looks bright and I look forward to what the next years have to bring. However, choices have to be made in order to keep things on the current track. I have run out of money.

Over the course of the last year, I have sacrificed and put money back to be able to have this summer free and it was well worth it. I had my rent and a few other bills paid up over six months in advance. I had plenty of money in my savings account to carry me for more time than I needed to get through the summer without a job. I have traveled to both the West and East Coast over the summer. I sent my daughter to Puerto Rico for a week. I have been free to do volunteer work and spend time with family. It has been great. However, there was one expense I hadn't considered. When I set up my summer budget, I had not yet met Red.

I am not suggesting that she has drained my money. She hasn't. The things we do together require very little money. We like to visit state parks. We meet in a town halfway between us as explore the sites. We occasionally catch a movie. The unavoidable expense is the gas required to see each other.

Red lives almost exactly 200 miles from me and for a while we were seeing each other twice a week. Sometimes I drove to her. Other times, she drove to me. Often we meet somewhere in the middle. It has slowed a little lately. Not because we want it to, but because we are both feeling the money crunch.

Neither of us have had jobs for the last several months and with no money coming in, the money going out does not get replenished. Red has been looking for work since she got to Indiana and it looks like she is very close to landing something soon. My original plan was to just get through the summer since I have income during the school months, but I didn't quite make it.

In order to continue to see her and pay my bills for these last six weeks of the summer, I had to get a job. Since I only need something for a short period of time, I went to a temp agency. They immediately placed me in a local factory.

Here's something you need to know about me. I am best suited to an office work type of environment. I know computers and paperwork. I am good at it and have an eye for detail. I enjoy looking over data spreadsheets and expense reports. I love crunching numbers and trying to solve problems. What I do not love is physical labor. I am just not made for it.

I have always had this issue. I grew up in a family of hard workers. My dad is one of the hardest working people I know. He worked in coal mines when I was young. He has worn several hats since they closed down, but he was never afraid to get his hands dirty. He can build or fix anything and he does it well. My brother Kyle had those qualities as well. He is insanely gifted at many types of labor and works hard to provide for his family.

As a child, I spent great effort to get out of any type of physical exertion. I hated mowing the lawn, working on a car, cleaning pig stalls or anything else that might cause me to sweat. Even when I would try, the despair would set in very quickly. Once while bailing hay, I seriously considered throwing myself into the bailer to get out of the rest of the day's work.

Considering the importance my father put on a hard day's work, I often felt inadequate. It's not his fault. It's a great quality, but it's not me. I had a professor in college once joke that if he had lived and been thrown into a concentration work camp during the Holocaust, he would have died. He was only half joking. He proudly stated that he was a theologian. He studied and wrote papers for a living. He was exceptional at paperwork and management. A work camp would do him in. I could relate to that.

That brings us back to today. The size of this town does not offer many options with the temporary services. They send people to one of four different factories. I have done factory work in the past and can survive on an assembly line, although I feel my brain dying every time I walk in. Even if the work is easy, I quickly begin to hate life if my mind is not being challenged.

I may take the tires off my car
just so I will never have to see tires again.
The factory I was placed in needed 20 people to help fix an issue they were having. This factory makes tires and there are approximately 45,000 tires on the floor that need to be sorted. As the tires come down the line, they must be pulled off, identified and taken to their proper pallet. Each tire weighs anywhere from 31 to 127 pounds. Add to that the fact that it is over 120 degrees in the factory and I work 12 hours shifts and it shouldn't be hard to guess how I feel about my job.

An hour into the first day, I was seriously questioning if I would be able to see this through to the end. Every place where skin touches skin was chafed before my first break. My muscles ache and I can barely move when I get off work. I can't wear my contacts because of the amount of dirty sweat dripping into my eyes. My glasses are constantly fogged, so I can't wear them either. I am blind, hot, miserable and can't quit because they won't give me another assignment if I do. Despite the conditions, leaving communicates that you "don't really want to work."

Now that I have finished whining, there are some good outcomes to this as well.
  1. This paycheck will allow me to continue to see Red for the rest of the summer. 
  2. I can look my dad in the eye confidently knowing that I am doing man's work. 
  3. After four days on the job, I have lost 38 pounds.
  4. I now have a use for the baby powder that has been my bathroom for the last four years.
Four more weeks of this and I will be back in the world of being a student and tormenting small children. That's is what I'm made for and am good at. I can't wait for September.

50 comments:

  1. Four days? 38lbs? Really? Can I work there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may have exaggerated that part a bit.

      Or a lot.

      Delete
  2. Replies
    1. Thank you. I think I figured out the clothing thing on the third day. Denim doesn't work in that kind of heat.

      Delete
  3. That sounds so awful. I hope the next four weeks go by fast for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have had the same hope. I keep trying to find a happy place in my mind.

      Delete
  4. Aww, I think what you're doing is romantic. I'm sure Red is appreciative.

    The good definitely outweighs the bad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She is. She even came by to help with my achy joints. Big perk.

      Delete
    2. (I wish I could help ease your achy joints after every shift.)

      Delete
  5. Hey, whatever lets you see your lady, right?

    It sounds like hard and tedious work, but you can do anything for a summer!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After a few days I realized I could do it. It will work.

      Delete
  6. A tire plant! Besides the hard work, I can just imagine the smell. Molten synthetic rubber is one of my least favorite smells! To endure that horror, Red must be an exceptional gal. (and i know she is, i'm just saying.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can still taste the rubber for hours after I get off work. Honestly, if it weren't for the heat, it wouldn't be too bad. I still wouldn't enjoy it, but I could ride it out. The heat is the worst part.

      Delete
  7. Even though we have done all we can to spend as little as possible, I still feel guilty that you have to do this hard labor on my account. It'll be nice when we are both gainfully employed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't feel guilty. Besides money it probably does something like build character and stuff.

      Delete
  8. I work in a factory in the shipping area. The good thing about this is the mix of physical labor and office work. I do enough office/computer work to satisfy my desire to keep my mind exercised while doing enough physical work to keep me somewhat in shape.

    ...But the pay sucks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The mix would be nice. My mind is the hardest keep occupied. I have to be able to think or I go nuts.

      Delete
  9. This post made me exhausted! Wish it would also do wonders for the love handles I have acquired this summer!!

    I commend you - there are so many people that just wouldn't do a 'dirty job' because,for whatever reason, they felt it was 'beneath them.' It reminds me of when my Dad was laid off years ago (he is/was a computer guy - systems analyst) and he went to work as a maintenance guy at an apartment complex...pulling weeds and cleaning up after nasty people, every day. From that day forward, I had a completely new respect, on top of what I already felt for him. Your Dad should be incredibly proud of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good for your dad. I never could understand why someone who needs a job would turn one down. I have worked many jobs I hated. I may not have stuck around very long, but I am willing to do what I have to do.

      Delete
  10. Brett............ ugh! I'm with you on the manual labor outlook - except I would take it a step further and just not do it! Still, awesome that you're managing it anyway - and great that it means you'll be able to see Red more :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hate it. I can do it, it just makes me miserable. It is worth it.

      Delete
  11. I feel you Brett! I work in the same kind of heat. Although my job isn't very physical other than a lot of walking during the 12 hr shifts.

    But it says a lot about your character and your feelings for Red by putting yourself through that instead of going without for another month. I bet you've never been more excited for school to start?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That heat is the worst part.

      Red is well worth worth it. And you're right. I can't wait for school.

      Delete
  12. Wow. Must be true love for all that hard labor! ;)

    And 38 pounds in 4 days? Dang, I apparently need to go throw around some tires!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I threw out a ridiculously high number thinking people would know I was kidding about the weight loss, but it didn't seem to work. I have lost about 10 and I am sure more will follow.

      There is a lot I would do for Red.

      Delete
  13. Remember to drink water and lift with the knees! ;)

    I Totally feel for you. Me and Manual labour are not the nest of friends, but the odd thing is I would happily go to the gym 5 nights a week.

    I don't get it either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I drink gallons of water over the course of a shift.

      I have learned that I like going to the gym once I got into the habit of doing it.

      Delete
  14. What we do for love! That is very sweet and romantic, in an awful, physical labor kind of way :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I may have my motives, but I don't feel romantic wile doing it.

      Delete
  15. Did you make a paper chain to count off the days until September? Do you need more baby powder?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I bought some ANTI-MONKEY BUTT powder. It is infused with calamine lotion. It works great.

      Supposedly, this will only be a 3 week assignment.

      Delete
  16. The first real job I ever had was in the bottling plant of a big California winery. After the first day of hard physical labor I decided to go to college because manual labor just wasn't for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amen. I would be happy to be in college for the rest of my life if it paid.

      Delete
  17. I think you have a great start to a country song. "Your Tires Make Me See Red"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the best joke I've heard all day. Thank you.

      Delete
  18. During grad school I had 3 shitty jobs in the summer, back to back. Morning as a receptionist, afternoons as writing assistant, and evenings as food clerk. I had a 8pm to 2 am shift at Taco Bell. I admit, I quit that job when my students started coming in. I don't mind work, I minded being seen in the stupid hat. Sigh. But good job man, you know if you lose weight like that you're busting ass!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was a painter in the summer time when I was an undergrad. I made a vow to never paint anything again for the rest of my life.

      Delete
  19. This really breaks my heart. The things a man does for love, I tell you. Losing that amount of weight in such a short amount of time isn't healthy. Soon, there won't be enough of you for Red to identify as her boyfriend. You'll drive over to see her, and you'll have to convince her it's really you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I didn't really lose that much weight. I threw out a ridiculously high number thinking everyone would know I was joking. I have averaged about a pound and a half lost each day that I have worked.

      Delete
  20. Very good. Mom

    ReplyDelete
  21. I used to work in a "Fruit of the Loom" plant. Ironically, I can't sew a lick. They paid really well before NAFTA was signed and then after that we pretty much all lost our jobs. By "pretty much" I mean we did.

    Glad to hear things are looking up for you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It looks like this job will come to an end about the middle of this next week. I am more than happy that it will be over.

      We saw some huge cutbacks in this town when that went through as well.

      Delete
  22. Call me crazy, but given that you two have hit it off so well, and Red still has no 'ties' in Hoosierville, wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to have her move to SO IL??
    Or am I way off base here and being a buttinski?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has been discussed, but there are several factors to consider.

      Plus, as much as we would love to get to spend every waking moment together, it is technically still a fairly young relationship. We are trying to keep our feet on the ground and not get carried away.

      Although, we are definitely not opposed to the idea.

      Delete
    2. (I have OCD about not moving *back* to a state I've already lived in. I lived in IL for 7 years. Never lived in IN. I am looking for something still in IN, but closer to Brett.)

      Delete
  23. Replies
    1. I exaggerated a bit. I did average about 1.5 pounds lost each day I worked.

      Delete
  24. Visiting state parks? Well, that’s exciting! And it’s relatively cheap too! Well, about your summer job, I hope you're doing well as far as your health is concerned. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, if you don’t take care of your health, you will end up getting sick. But the good thing is that you have the resources and the time to bond with Red. :)

    Regards,
    Rita McCall

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is well behind me now and I will not be going back. I am very healthy and doing well. Thank you.

      Delete

Leave a comment. C'MON!!! You're already here. Leave a comment. Don't leave me hanging and wondering if any has ever seen these words. I'll rub your feet.