Sunday, July 12, 2020

And she's gone.

I'm in Louisiana visiting Eve and George... attempting to relax and have a vacation.

Or in theory anyway.

Josh starts screaming at Carol... she told him that if he didn't stop the abuse she would call 911. He took her cell phone away. Now for her, this is her life-line... her text to friends, her other son, etc. Ben (her other son) attempted to get in contact with her... after getting no answer to her text, or a reply from Josh that he had taken the phone phone away "for her protection"... Ben had to call the house phone to reach her.

Once he found this out, Ben called the the Kyle Police to handle the situation.

So yeah... imagine 2 or 3 police card at mu house... neighbors must have had a pretty good show... Josh and carol locked the door and refused to let them in... they talked through a window that was open... until the police came within 6 feet of the window to hear better... at which time Josh and Carol felt they were at COVID19 risk and slammed the window shut.

About that time I got the call from the police while at Home Depot getting stuff to fix Eve's sandblasting equipment.

Yeah... that's always a fun phone call to get... when the police call to see what to do at your house. 

Ok... so then Carol tells the police, "Nothing happened... it's all good." This right after both Ben and I had given the police the story as to what life has been like there for her... she basically called us liars... so we had enough. She lied to me and said she was going to fly to Seattle in the morning... I called Ben... he had not booked a ticket... Carol said she was "looking for a flight". We were like... if you didn't feel threatened... you would not be saying that you were looking for a flight. Right?

She was caught backing out of her story... no backbone to follow through... Ben and I were fustrated and tired of the situation. We had a conversation about it.

So that was the last straw... Ben bought a plane ticket, I called my cab driver to pick her up at 5am... and off she went to Seattle.

NEVER to return. I'm done. I'm going to attempt to maintain any sanity I still have.

Josh thinks he and I can live in harmony... I'll give him a shot... but honestly... when I get back I doubt he will last a week. In all likelihood I will end up going to the court to evict him and I'll be the "bad guy" as usual. I don't know where he will go... hopefully he will get some help... but i can no longer "live" like this. I'm not going to do it.

But then perhaps I'll heave peace.

Unless... you know... it's 2020 and a meteor hits the house or I get COVID19, or Yellowstone explodes.

I'm taking bets on Yellowstone for August... yeah?


Sunday, June 28, 2020

Another case of the universe just exploding under me.

2020 hits like any other year and I start off with some optimism that Josh (Carol's son) will find what he is looking for, move on, and that Carol and I can get back to a somewhat normal life, me working to support the house, her tinkering in the garden, a reasonable existence... perhaps some travel, friends coming over after the pandemic winds down... a return to a normal lifestyle.

NOPE

Carol tells me that she feels that she is getting older and needs special care... no doubt brought on my Josh constantly telling her that she is feeble and incompetent. Little things set him off in a major way. She is making soup and sits the spoon on the counter for example... he will go into a yelling spree telling her that she is a "stupid cunt incapable of doing even the most simple things"... because she didn't sit the spoon on a plate instead of the countertop. Then, make her throw the dinner away because she was an idiot and "contaminated" it.

I've tried to intervene... and I need to get him out of the house as soon as possible... the two are deteriorating at an alarming speed. I just got an email from her that she will be leaving me... that her other son Ben who lives in Seattle will be buying a house soon, and will put her in the existing condo with either live-in health care or on-call nursing assistants. Financially he is totally capable of supporting this. Because Josh has deemed her "unfit to live with someone as irresponsible as me".

So that means that once again I will be left alone to face life in an empty house. In a house that I have worked hard to make a home, with a garden that I helped her to make into something that she liked. A place that we painted and worked on to remake it ours... And for what?

I just finished up about a month in San Francisco, and have landed in Oregon for another project. I should be here about a week and return to home. But I don't want to. I just do not want to be there... not with them.. not with all the issues they bring into the equation. 

They are so germaphobic that even after being sequestered there a week, I am expected to text them if I need to use the bathroom so that they can scurry into their rooms and shut the door lest I infect them. And I am not allowed to enter the kitchen so that I don't contaminate it. Even the act of me opening my office door is a major infraction upon their welfare. And now... I no longer care what they think. So when I return... hell will be unleashed.

I haven't been able to be with my dog since about March 16, and we are rolling into July in a couple of days. Their reasoning is that there is a 1% chance I could be a carrier, and there is a 1% chance that Maggie Mae might transmit that to Carol, and subsequently there is a 1% chance she could catch COVID19, and if so, a 1.2% chance that she could die. And because there is a 0.000012% chance this action could kill her... the poor dog must be sequestered in the bedroom all day except to go to the bathroom. It's horrible.
I just got a call from Carol today that Maggie May must be given away... because she is depressed and showing signs of stress. I told them, "NO KIDDING!" Maggie is used to freely roaming the house, coming up to visit me, sleeping at my feet and getting loved on. We often run into my bedroom for a 15 minute nap and cuddle session... then she is used to going down to the sofa to lay in the afternoon sun, and later going into Carol's bedroom to nap. If she wants to go outside, she would tell me... and sometimes be 10 minutes, while other times spend hours out there.


But no... for them this cannot happen. Assholes. I cannot reason with them... Josh has corrupted her way of thinking far beyond anything I can ever hope to repair. And now I don't want to. I just want them out.

The best I can do is have them give Maggie May to my friend Wolf to bring to his house... and after I flush my place of their presence, Have him bring her home to me. I am home for often a month or two... then go for a week and rerun for another month. This series of long extended trips is very unusual. So when I go for only a week... he can watch her for me. Mostly at his place, then bring her with him when he gets my mail so that she can run around in HER HOME as she is used to doing.

This is tearing me up inside.

I'm working very hard to concentrate on my work, to be a good employee, to get the job done. Perhaps it is the only reason I am still sane... I have something to focus on other than the deep pit my life has become.

All I can do at this point is keep volunteering for any and all travel to avoid going to "the house" which I cannot at this point call "a home" until I either must return, or they have moved out. I feel that I have enough to remain on the road until August. Instead of flying home after this project, I will likely visit my friends and family in New Orleans until my next project. It is an advantage I have of being able to work anywhere there is internet except for field work. At that point when I do return to the house... I am not going to be the same calm person who puts up with way more than I ever should. I'm not going to take it. I will fight for what is mine... even literally if needed. It may come down to calling the police and having them remove the infestation.

All I wanted in life was a partner to have my back... someone I could trust, a friend, a confidant, someone to work with as a team to take care of the things around the home, both of us working for a common goal of a good life. A partner.

Seriously... is that really too much to ask for?

About the only good news in this cycle is that I was able to learn enough programming and design to create my own world in VRCHAT. It gives me something to focus on that is not painful, and not work related. Being in a hotel for hours on end you need something to break up the loneliness or it will take it's toll on you.


I'm proud of it... and I have a new place to meet with my friends.



Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Another Year... time to catch you up.

May 2020
It's another year... let me catch you up.

Josh

Carol's son Josh was having problems and we decided to take him in so that he would have a place where he felt secure. Unfortunately between a bit of a personality clash between us and the pandemic, it has not been an easy thing to deal with. Time will tell how this will all turn out, but I honestly hope we can work things out and end up closer than we are. In his younger years I tiik him skateboarding, even joining in as much as I physically could... and we worked on projects... I miss that part of our lives.

More recently things have been going a bit more smoothly... but it is still a bit apprehensive for both of us unfortunately.  Life is what it is... and we will deal with it as best we can. I am thinking about doing something for him... and just hoping that he takes it as a gift from my heart. Life... it is complicated.

UPDATE: I tried to buy him an Oculus Quest ($500.00)... the same VR headset that I have. I thought we could play games together and it would help us bond. His response was that I was a selfish asshole and that that the money should be better spent on other things. Why would I burden him with having extra expenditures for games when his money was already tight. that I only think of myself. Needles to say, I canceled the order and will NEVER make that mistake with him again.

Mitch

 Just before the lock-downs started, I was in San Fransisco and found out one of my best friends, Mitch was also within an hour or so from where I was. Mitch had moved to Hawaii and I thought my chances of seeing him again were very slim... but there he was and i had a free weekend.

It was wonderful to see my buddy again... and I made sure I got there early. We had a great breakfast together and hung out until much later. It was wonderful to just be myself again.


We had a great time. He was there because he has a classic VW Buss that he is doing a restoration on.


The place he was at does this exclusively... so it was an amazing place to be helping my buddy work on his bus. He has two huge YouTube pages, and has a running series on the bus as he restores it. I'll be in the future videos as we were doing quite a bit that rainy day.

Me


I have changed a bit, having been under lockdown from March 16 until May 17 I lost 35 pounds, and since nobody was going to see my face... I grew a beard. When I shaved it off... so many people said to grow it back... that I started again. As I type this... it's already pretty close now.

I'm in San Fransisco working on a very large project... and as fate would have it, again I am near friends that I have missed for quite a long time, and I've made new friends who happen to be in the same area or at least close by. I'll keep safe distance, and use a mask... but I am very hopeful that we can get together and catch up, or in the case of my new friends... get to know each other even better.

VRCHAT

I have also made some incredible friends in VRCHAT lately... it is an amazing place with some incredible people if you are lucky enough to find them. I was very fortunate and have met incredible people... funny, smart, and a bit crazy like me.

I've started just doing whatever feels good in this alternate world. Many times I will put on an avatar of a male warrior with two swords... but I will just as easily dress up as a female character such as "Cherry Bomb" who is a roller derby girl... cute but rough and tumble too. I like this freedom and silliness... it is a great outlet for me. And i will get into character too... we have a great time.

This is me... or one alternate reality of me... I like that I can become so radically different in this crazy alternate universe. It is fun, magical, and fairly strange... but I love it!

This is my friend Auran who created the world that we are standing in and the avatar on the left. While we were there in cyberspace this evening, one of the newest creations of hers was reviled... but still in work and  not ready for the public... so I'm not going to show it until ready.  Auran does amazing work... and is a bit of a celebrity in our close knit group of friends.

 This is MondoCat. She is a very caring and loving person, and as genuine as you could ever hope to find. Sometimes we will run around and be giddy and silly, and other times we will sit and talk about the challenges life has given us and share our feelings. She has been a great emotional support for me... I only hope that I have been as helpful to her.

Everyone in this little circle of friends is very supportive... and as it says... AWESOME.

I have other worlds and friends that I also meet sometimes as well. Not quite as tightly connected, but we will say hello, chat and run around together having a great time. In tis world you can feed the ducks and geese. In others you can climb, swing, or just hang out.

It is usually a party every night... and so much fun that often during the day I can hardly wait to just be crazy with my friends. When my eyes get heavy we always hug and say good night... usually to the chant of, "Awwww... you just got here!"




So this is my little rag-tag group of misfit friends... and thay are all AMAZING!

Friday, March 1, 2019

2019 - So many changes. More on the way... hoping for the best.

So many changes since Eve left in 2017... I just didn't think to do any updates. Honestly... I'm not even sure if anyone reads these anymore... but I'll update it anyway. I have had an extremely busy year or so... often out in the field for a couple of months at a time... which was really taxing on me. I moved Carol (my second wife) here awhile ago... and she has been settling into the new life fairly well. At least my life (when I am home) has been more even keel.

Lots of work on the house


After Carol moved here I had to start doing work around the house... things had really fallen into disrepair as Eve was getting ready to leave and stopped doing things around the house. I had to replace much of the wood on the front where vines had dug in and rotted some of the lumber.

Carol working the garden.


Carol has been a trooper with doing garden work... really making some changes throughout the property. It has been great to have her here to help get things back on track. The yard looks so much different now... in some ways that is good, in other ways a big part of my former life has faded away.

Arizona
I did a lot of field work in Arizona... and I saw some incredible views. Some of the trips were amazing... I got to go places that most people never see. Much of the equipment is high up in the mountains... sometimes half a day just to drive there. Sometimes... you just can't drive.


 
 
So it was a very busy summer in 2018... and the momentum continued into the fall. At times I worked 18 and 20 hours a day over a week at a time. I really had very little time for myself, to do things around the house, do videos, whatever. That was very stressful after awhile.

At one point Eve and I got together for a week in New Orleans as I tried to help her get her shop together... as nobody there would or could get her machines operational. So I took a week and went there to help her out. In New Orleans you are either "in the clique" or you are not.. and if you you are not... people are not about to do much for you. They will say, "Oh we should get together..." but no... not gonna happen. A fact I am well aware of having lived there almost two decades.

In the long run... her first year there didn't go well... she was hemorrhaging money and none of her equipment was set up. So perhaps I'm just a nice guy, an idiot, a dreamer... or all the above... so I went there to set things up and help her out. I still do love her and care about her... to a fault.

Eve's Garage
She really tried to make the place a home... but as nice as parts of it looked, without her machines she was unable to sustain her craft. We also had some good time together... we still love each other... just that she can't seem to make it work with me... and I'm not going to tear up my life to move back to New Orleans... I spent what felt like a lifetime there...

New Orleans Riverboat
Eve's Workshop
He has an incredible workshop... 30x30 feet... built to work on trucks. So I spent a few days getting her CNC machine other things in working order. It felt good to help her out, and it was nice to spend some time with her without any arguments or fights. I wish it could have been like this all the time.

I'll be honest... it was like we went on the vacation that never happened... but it was a fairy-tale... not really sustainable... it really pulled at my heart because it was what I wanted... to do things with her... to be myself... to be creative... all the stuff that makes me who I really am.

At one point... she thought that perhaps we could work something out... I could spend some time there in New Orleans, and some time at home in Austin. She came to Austin to talk with Carol... I was hopeful that perhaps somehow it could actually work out. Perhaps the two of them could get along and both get what they wanted... for Eve, independence and to do her art... for Carol security and a place that she knew was her home.

Eve and Carol
I was hopeful that things would work... most of the day went very well... but then it all fell apart badly. It is so very unfortunate. And sad. We all have so much potential... I have things in common with both women... and both need me in their own way. But it is like fire and gasoline... they just don't mix very well. I really tried... it was a foolish endeavor... but then I suppose that I am a foolish dreamer at heart.

The really sad part is that it could work out... My first wife Terryann and I are great friends. Carol and her get along great for the most part. When Terryann has issues... her and Carol talk... and Carol is always finding little things to cheer her up. So yeah... I thought that could happen with Eve. Sadly... it did not.

At Terryann's for Christmas
 Carol and I go there to Terryann's for Christmas... we have a great time. It all works out. And in the summer, they come here and we go to the river. So I really wanted to work something out between Eve and Carol. It just won't happen... Eve neither likes Carol nor Terryann... even though both women have honestly tried to include her.

Eve's Booth at the Bethany Lutheran Church

Eve had her booth for the Christmas fair... same as in the last eight years... and needed help setting up and doing the event... so I was happy to come help her out... As much as I griped about it in the past... I really did enjoy showing off all her crafts. And we typically had a great time laughing and joking. I was happy that at least that did not come to an end... at least not this year.

Christmas Spirit
But after the event was over... we spent some time together... and it was just too difficult for her to handle. In her eyes... I should move to New Orleans into my own place... separate from her... and come to visit. But that is not how I imagine my life.

Sleeping in a separate bedroom... sure... I snore like crazy... but a separate house? At this time in my life? Pick up everything and move again? Pack up everything I own... leave and relocate Carol again... take on all the finances associated with that, and cause that kind of heartache?

No.

Just no.

Great Friends
Carol loves it here and has made wonderful friends. She says it is the best time in her life so far. I work hard... and to hear her call for me to come down because she has made lunch... how could I not like that? I have a life that works for me. It is not perfect... but I'm not fighting nearly every day either. And people have told me that I seem much less stressed too.

Maggie
We have a great little doggy now... and she makes life great... very loving. I mean... yeah... I miss the cats... but you know... I doubt they even realize I'm gone. They have Eve all to themselves... and you know... cats... right?

But yeah... I've had some rough times. My friend Mitch ended up moving to Hawaii this last year. As you may recall... he was the first person to come to me after Eve left... he helped me to start over. I doubt he will ever know just how much he helped me.

Jerry and Mitch at the river
I really miss him coming over to do some unusual project together... or just hanging out to make a GoPro video. It really saved me... kept me active. Between him moving, Eve leaving, and being on the road over 288 days... it took a toll on me... the stress of it all was nearly unbearable.

Chicken Parmesan at Nautilus Diner, Timonium  MD.
When I'm in the field all my rooms and meals are paid for... and when you look at the inside of hotel rooms for weeks on end... you need some comfort... unfortunately.. food... so the weight took a big hit... it jumped up about 40 pounds or so... and now I have to work it off. So yeah... rough year... and this year could go either way.

I'll stop for now... but hopefully it won't be quite so long until I do an update again.

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Keep Positive... don't forget to have fun sometimes.

Going through some of what I have had to deal with lately... you need to stop once in awhile and remember to stop and have a good time. This video was taken last September... we only just got around to doing the edits.



This one is from Mitch Bergsma's channel... we sure had a lot of fun! I could barely walk the next day... but hey... you only live once... and bruses heal.


Get out there and do dumb stuff!

Saturday, June 3, 2017

May 30 - Trim The Trees - Reboot the Garden

While Eve was at the house, she liked everything to have a "natural" look... so basically I was not allowed to trim back the trees or underbrush. When she left... I decided to start clearing it away, and to remove those branches and plants that threatened to damage the fence.

Additionally, having an HOA to deal with... the green algae and dirt that accumulates on the outside walls, mailbox, and fence needed to be removed. I had heard people complaining on FaceBook that the managers have been issuing $100 per-week fines for not having it cleaned up... and my neighborhood was next on the inspection list.

I did some major tree trimming... and called on some friends to help remove a big portion of it. Unfortunately... instead of getting there in the morning... they came about 2:30pm... so we only had enough time for two trips.

I'm really hoping they can make some more... with the traveling I'm doing... I really don't want to come home to a bunch of notices and fines. If I have to... I'll call a landscape company and have them do it... but that is going to be very expensive. I'd rather help my friends with some money before dropping major cash to someone I don't know.



Well... I guess I'll have to see how it all plays out.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May 19 - Cry, clean, and move forward day.

I woke up, looked around my room... which looks pretty much the same as it has for the last seven or so years... then I opened the door and stepped into what felt like a vacuum. It hit me pretty hard... pieces of trash and a former life scattered about.

My friend Mitch Bergsma offered to come spend some time with me... and I was so glad he did. I really needed to be with someone as I started over again... and he did an amazing job helping me to clean and make an otherwise empty box back into a home.

I still have a very long way to go...it is going to take months to totally rebuild and get everything finished. Amazing how many little things creep in and effect you.

But as for getting started... I really needed to get my head in a better place... divorce and separation are hard to go through... good friends really do make it easier.





Thanks Mitch... I really appreciate you!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

May 18th... Moving day

Today is a rough one.

The moving truck is here... and they are loading all of Eve's stuff to take it to New Orleans. Eve will be leaving, and my life will be changed forever. Again.

Eve started packing early in the month... the house slowly changed. Pieces of it's personality fading with every little bit. It was becoming less and less familiar every day.



Now today... everything changes... every minute it becomes more and more empty... more lonely.



One one hand a blank slate... on another... an empty shell of a former life.

Ouch.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

May 2017 - The Big Change

It's May 1st today... and in only 18 days Eve will be moving out to start a new life in New Orleans without me. It's surreal... one day I am traveling along thinking that I will be with this partner for the rest of my life... that at long last, I will retire and grow old with someone I care about.


Then, everything is suddenly in a state of change... my life as I know it won't be the same.

My surroundings once familiar are now hard to deal with... I have to work on not letting depression take over.


Eve is getting ready to go... to migrate to New Orleans. For her it is like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly. Being with me she became more creative... or more correctly I suppose, explored her creativity with more passion. Things went well until she discovered New Orleans... then no longer was Texas a viable place for her... and for me, moving there was not an option.

I lived there with my first wife Terryann... and for a short while with my second wife Carol. At the time I was very happy there... but now I have rivers to swim in, builders, creators, and supporters to allow me to be the person I want to be. Going to New Orleans just wouldn't be the same for me. And, as it was pointed out to me by Eve... she just doesn't have the same feelings for me as she once did. She wants to be friends... but as for lovers, mates, or even just living together... she feels that her creativity would be quenched.

I honestly wish her happiness... I am hopeful that she finds what she is looking for. It is hard to accept that no matter how hard I tried... it was never good enough. That I just could not give her what she needed here. When she saw this house, she fell in love with it... even though I didn't really want to live in an HOA, I thought... "This is really what she wants... and nobody has ever considered her needs first before."

My needs are pretty simple... I need a workshop and an office to call my own where I can think and work things out. Beyond that, everything else is trivial. So I thought I had finally made her dreams come true. It's hard to realize that...no. I didn't. That she would rather move away and start a new life than continue on this path with me.

At this point I can only work on looking forward, being a gentleman, helping her transition out, and staying focused on my work do that I don't get overly depressed.

The next two weeks I work hard... on the third week... my world collapses.

On the fouth week... I guess I start to rebuild.

Again.

A third time.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

October/September 2016 - Another Major Life change

I haven't posted on here in a very long time... the last year has meant a great deal of traveling. After Eve had her gallbladder removed, she underwent many changes. Unfortunately one of them was that she lost any desire to be with me as a husband and wife. She wanted to "just be friends"... to live together but interact only as I would with anyone else.

I thought this would dissipate... and I honestly tried to do for her what I thought she needed. I supported her artwork, I took care of all the bills for the home, and I pretty much tried to give her time to heal. I am only human... sometimes I got upset... tried to hold it in... but that never really works.

We would argue and fight... I would really try to get past it and "give her space"... but it never seemed enough, and I never quite got it right I suppose. One day, I made a post on FaceBook just saying what was on my mind, what had happened, how I felt. It was a stupid thing to do... and her daughter pointed it out to me... that it seemed like an attack more than anything else. I took down the post... but the damage was done. Eve never forgave me for that.

I tried for the remainder of the year to do the best I could, to give to her, to support her... but on Labor Day Weekend we went to lunch... I could see that she was not happy... and I tried to cheer her up. I asked her what was wrong... and she started to talk about how much she loved New Orleans... how much she wanted to be an artist there... how she was going to move there.

I had lived in New Orleans... and I had moved on... I like it here in Texas... I have my friends, my events, robotics groups, so much stuff to do. Swimming, in the river is something that relaxes me when I get upset... very important for my mental health. And I have tried for the last few years to get Eve to come with me... but she no longer takes trips with me... she stays at home and works on her crafts.

I noticed that she had said, "when I move" instead of "if I could move"... and I asked her about that... her reply was one that I was not expecting. She said, "I am not happy here, I am not happy with you. I don't want to be here, and I don't want to be with you. I want to be in New Orleans... that is where I am meant to be... I am going to sell my art there and make a living. I thought you would come with me, but I see that isn't going to work... so I am going to leave you and live there by myself."

I was not expecting that. I thought that we would be together forever... I honestly did.

I bought this house because Eve thought it was charming... it is, and we got a great deal on it... but still... I bought it for Eve... to show her I loved her enough to do anything to make her happy. I promised myself that no matter what... I would care for Eve and provide for her. And in my heart... I feel that I have always worked to do that.

In her heart, she feels that I am oppressive... unyielding... an angry man.
A man that even if I were to move, she can no longer live with.

I cannot change her mind, she will not forgive me of past wrongs. Her mind is fixed and she will move as soon as she finds the means. For her it means taking everything of hers to Louisiana, getting a house, and starting over alone. For me it means watching my love drive away, and leaving me with an empty house and empty dreams. To start over... the end of a third marriage... and at 56,  to an uncertain future, and to an empty and lonely house that was once a home.

She added so much here... her CNC, the sandblasting shed, her artistic ability and creativity, doing the craft fairs, the garden with the soft sounds of wind chimes. The whole charm of the home... all the paintings and photographs, her garden and landscape, and all the memories of all that we had done, starting over together... and now it is done.

I cannot walk down the stairs or through the yard without holding back tears. Every nuance... every memory. I don't hold the anger... or I try not to... I always try to start every day fresh. I suggested that perhaps she could get an apartment there... gather her sales orders... come home and work on them, then return. An unusual idea to be sure... but then we could retire together in the home we had built for each other.

But it is not to be.

I must get ready to face the next chapter of my life alone. Possibly the only thing in the world that really frightens me... nobody to lean on, nobody to console me, no more running downstairs to say, "honey...look what I created!" And even harder still... nobody to come up here almost evey new day and say to me, "look at what I made today!"

No smiling face in the morning ready to go for coffee... nobody to hold... nobody to share my everyday with. Nobody to argue with, to remind me to go to the gym... to live with me.

Wow... we got married the Christmas of 2013... so this is 3 years in... the shortest I have ever been married. And as a side note... DO NOT EVER get married on Christmas. For the rest of my life... every Christmas Eve... I will remember standing at the wind chime tree promising to care for her forever... every Christmas... every year.

I hope that I can get through this.

I must.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Update - October 2015

I have really been busy as of late... adding all sorts of new CNC skills, making changes, etc. I also migrated a lot of my CNC stuff to my main web page. This way, I can put all the CNC related stuff into one repository that people can find a bit easier.

Take a look: http://askjerry.info/ Hopefully, I'll have more interesting stuff here soon... it all depends on how busy I get at work.

I seriously doubt anyone is reading this... I mean... I think I got my last comment like 2 years ago. Oh well... it's a place to put down my thoughts I guess. Even if I'm the only one reading it.

Jerry

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Home Sweet Home - Installed the HOME switches and tested them.

I am really excited about today's post. I've had the milling machine since about 2001 or so... and this is the first time I have completely retrofit it with a full set of automatic homing switches. I got some magnetic sensors which are impervious to dust, moisture, noise, and all the other "stuff" that usually would interfere with being highly accurate.

I can now tell the machine to find "HOME" and it will automatically move to the proper locations... not only that... but it has an amazing accuracy of about 1/75,000 inch or so.

That's 0.00075 inch or about 0,01905 mm give or take... a piece of paper is 0.003 inch. (0,0762mm)

I was hoping to get it within 1/1000 of an inch... so I'm very happy with this!!!


Video - Home Sweet Home - January 6th, 2015

Be sure to leave a comment!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

CNC Stuff

I've been doing a few things since getting my CNC mill running again. A month or so ago my friend Mitch was saying that he had a gear on his scooter that he needed to get off. The problem was that it was seized up pretty tightly with no real way to hold the gear without damage while he broke the nut loose.

We took a bunch of photographs and such, made a bunch of measurements via email... and I cut a part. It was a horrible failure. So... when I had the chance, I went to his place and took more measurements, tracings, and pictures... then made a new part. I honestly totally forgot about it until I saw this post for this video...


So it worked... yeay!

I need to come up with a project so I can teach Mitch some machining... just because I think it would be fun to do.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Eve needs emergency gallbladder surgery

Last Monday we got up like any other day, and Eve said her tummy was really hurting badly.

She asked me to run to the HEB (local grocery) to get her some things to make her feel better. When I go back she didn't look so good... and she said she needed to go to the hospital. I figured she probably had something bad to eat, she thought she had an ulcer.

It didn't take long for them to realize that she had a huge gallstone and that her gallbladder was damaged beyond repair... it needed to come out.


The surgery went very well... but she was still having some issues... they ran some tests and determined that she had another stone which had fallen into the duct between her liver and lower digestive tract... she needed a second surgery to get that out.

To cheer her up, I made a little video for her...


The second surgery went very well... and within a couple of days she was able to come home. We were home about 1/2 hour and she decided she wanted to go grocery shopping... so off we went.


We are both glad things went well... she is still recovering, but she is already feeling much better.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Mill - First big project (In a long while.)

My friend Wolf came over last night... he wants to build a CNC machine from scratch. He wants to be able to cut foam with a hot wire... all under CNC control. He drew up the first couple of parts... one of which is a plate about 10x11 (254x279mm) inches made from 1/4 inch (6mm) aluminum.

 
The part as laid out in Aspire Software

When we laid it all out, we took into consideration the mill's maximum 11.5 inch movement in then Y-Axis... but we didn't account for the overall size of the sheet. So when we tried to move to the area for the outside cut, it would hit the mill. We had to make all the drill holes, then the inside cut.

For the outside, we had to cut the bottom, move the head forward, then cut the top. We learned to be more careful in laying out the parts... but we managed to get it all done in one evening.

Here it is on the milling machine... I have the inner-hole cutting file shown on the control computer. It worked flawlessly and finished the part nicely.

Wolf and the finished part.

We have several more to make... so we are feeling pretty good about the project so far!



Sunday, July 13, 2014

It's Alive! - After 6 years, the mill is back online.

It has been an eternity since I left St Louis to start my new life here in Texas. My milling machine was carefully packed in grease and sat for about 6 years in my old garage before I had the space and resources to get it down here to Kyle Texas.

I've been bringing the machine back slowly... doing it right.

When I first made the conversion to CNC back in 2001, I pieced it together as best I could... but there were a lot of things I wanted to do differently. This time... I took my time and worked out how to do each part properly. I want the machine to be capable of more than it was, I want it safer, accurate, and smarter. Right now it's better than it ever was... but I still need to add automatic home position, and error checking.

In the past, if a driver failed, I had to quickly hit the emergency stop, and figure out how to reset everything.  When I finish the new electronics, it will automatically stop and save it's position so I can make repairs and take off right where it stopped. (or one command line before that.)

But for now... I was making several weights for the iGlide when I noticed some were drilled improperly... instead of throwing them out... this was the perfect opportunity to test out the mill on some solid steel.

How did it do?

Take a look and see!


I think it's running very nicely.

Keep checking in... I'll be giving a tour of the workshop and showing all our additions and tools.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Milling machine Progress #2 - Getting the machine back online.

I bought a Dell Optiplex computer for $99 and wired up an interface for the milling machine. I also got the parts that I ordered in the last update... so real progress is being made.



Once I get the final axis wired up... I should be able to mill some parts. That could happen as early as tomorrow if I am up to it. Been working quite a bit lately... I may just want to take some time off to chill out. Guess I'll have to see how I feel in the morning.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Milling update #1A - Minor progress.

Just a minor milling machine update... I connected the PC and got the spindle (main 3HP motor) to come on/off under computer control. I also got the wet/dry coolant relay working under computer control. I'm running LinuxCNC:  http://www.linuxcnc.org/

I connected up the X-axis and started running tests on it... it was behaving badly... moving fine in one direction, failing in the other. Running okay at moderate speed but failing and stalling at low speed. I decided to try another driver so I pulled one off the A-axis. This time as soon as I touched the shaft it went nuts. (Actually a good thing.) It told me that there was a loose mechanical connection. 


I tightened the screw and it worked flawlessly... but I noticed the encoder flexing badly. I needed a shaft coupler...  they allow the shaft to flex slightly without changing rotational movement.

I looked at McMaster Carr and found one... $22 each... then decided to look on Amazon. found a better one... $6.35 each. I ordered 4 of them... but they will take 17 to 22 days to get here. 

(I can wait... don't want to... but it will be worth it.)

 
I also ordered 4 magnetic switches at about $7.50 each. These won't care if they get grease or oil on them... and will detect metallic objects up to 11mm (0.4 inch) away. I'll have to come up with some kind of mount... should keep me busy until the shaft couplers get here.

 I'll set them up as homing switches. It will allow me to have the milling machine automatically detect the end of travel and not allow someone to run the machine farther than it is designed to go. It hasn't had that feature before... but Eve's mill does... so now I'll have it too.
How many guys have to compete with their wife to have the better CNC machine??? 
Crazy huh?

 Next update should have more video... stay tuned!


Saturday, June 7, 2014

June 6th - Mill Progress #1 - Testing 3-Phase Power

Wolf came over today and helped me connect up the 3-phase power converter. Not only does this beast need 220 volts... twice what is normally found in an American household... but instead of one power line... one phase... and a ground line... this monster takes THREE power lines.

The converter makes the other two and feeds all three to the mill for power... 3 horse power in this case.

How did it go???


I think it went well!

Next up... set-up a computer and wire up the electronics.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Getting the Shop Ready - Making Changes

This weekend while Eve has been at work, I've been in the shop all day moving things around to make the place more usable. Even though there is now a massive milling machine in the heart of the garage... I was able to make more room for use to walk around and use the tools.


This is a view looking back at the rear wall. I have been doing some insulating so there is still some stuff on the floor by the Laguna mill. You can walk in the back door, have access to all the tools on the table, reach the supply shelves, and walk to the mill, grinder, lathe... and newest addition... refrigerator. 

I still have several boxes of stuff to go through... and likely I'll be selling/giving away more stuff. I need to turn this into a workspace where we can start making things for the Etsy page, craft fairs, etc. I also want to get to where my friends can come over and work on projects with me.

This is the view when you walk into the back door... nice wide isles... and you can actually reach everything. Still a bit cluttered... but I'm going to take a rest... see a movie,  and work on it during the week.

I'll add more when I make better progress. Looks like I may need to work on the air conditioner as the lightning strike seems to have taken it out as well as the Laser Engraver mother board. It also seems to have taken out the LED night nights and controller.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The mill has been successfully moved!

It's been five years in the making... but the milling machine is finally moved from St Louis to Kyle, TX. I'm really happy about that. I still have a great deal of work to do putting the electronics back together and getting it all calibrated. But overall... very happy and excited. It was an epic trip... we had delays, engine problems, and more delays... but all said and done... it's home.


I'll post more when I get the electronics up and the new computer loaded and calibrated. I'm hopeful to have some really cool projects in the near future. A special thanks to my friend Riley for all the help, putting up with me, and for doing a great job. I also want to thank Mitch Bergsma for loaning me a second GoPro camera to do the time-lapse videos... that really made the video great.


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Moving the Mill - 3500 pounds, 890 miles - The big haul

It's moving day... we are pulling the mill from the spot it has been since 2002 and moving it 890 miles from Overland, MO to Kyle, TX.

Driving from IL to MO with the new trailer... nice view.

We needed to buy a new trailer because U-Haul won't allow the larger ones to go cross-country. Eve was very helpful in finding a great deal... I owe her a lot for that. So, $830 later... a new trailer.

The main body of the mill... the rest is in the truck.

The trailer is rated for 2,900 pounds (1315 Kg) but the whole mill and electronics weigh 3,500 pounds (1587 Kg) so we had to tear down the mill into "smaller" parts. Size is relative...  the motor alone is a "holy crap this is heavy" part... but compared to the "block-o-iron" that is the mill body... it's lightweight.

Seriously... did I just call a 75 pound (35 Kg) motor lightweight??

A 1989 truck pulling a 1987 milling machine... old school, epic, and awesome.

So the adventure begins... I'm in the hotel waiting for Riley to wake up... seems he needs more than 4 hours of sleep. (The slacker.... kidding!) But here was the mood last night when we finished loading up...



Hopefully we can get everything there in one piece... the trailer is 98% of it's rated weight. But they told me that it actually has a 3500 pound rating... but if they specify anything over 2900, it has to have it's own brakes. The trailer is fully refurbished... new bearings, wheels, etc. So... the adventure begins.  (It's the VERY LAST thing I had left in Missouri... whoo!)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Traveling Man - Lots of stuff going on...

I'm going to Virginia tomorrow... was supposed to go home, but I got a last-minute repair job call.

I know my boss is wondering why I groan a bit when I have to go from a programming job to a repair job... but I have my reasons.  When I program, I need a second monitor... so I have one suitcase with a monitor and my ever-present GoPro just in case I see neat stuff to video... and one suitcase with a week's worth of clothing and such.

When I go on a repair job, I don't need the second monitor... but I do need test equipment, spare parts, stuff like that... and my usual suitcase for clothing and such.

So what happens when I have to do both jobs on the same trip? 

I become Mr. Pack Mule.


Yes... each one of them is just under 50 pounds. MY original laptop is having issues... so I have it and my new one... plus the one for the test equipment... yup... three laptops. Gotta pull each one out and put it into a bin at security... that's gonna look like a small parade of trays with my shoes, phone, etc. I plan to get there early.

The Mill - The saga continues...

I tried to get the milling machine shipped next week... I raised the price, had an interested party, then all I needed to do was click "BOOK" and it would have been locked in. Before making it final, I asked if he could do the pickup between the 19th and 22nd because I would be in Missouri... He said he was broke down right now, and could I put the mill on a palette so he could pick it up tomorrow.


REALLY??? 
Just put it on a palette...

Well... IF I owned a forklift and could put it on a palette... I could put it on a trailer and take it myself. (Which is what I will have to do now.)  I never heard back from him again...

I just got a BID REJECTED message and that was it.

So... Plan-B.

I'll get some TX friends, buy an engine hoist... and do it myself. I think I see a YouTube video in the works. Yeah... pretty sure. More on this adventure later... I'm taking some friends to dinner to discuss when I get back.

Ya gotta plan ahead when you are going to move 3,200 pounds (1450 Kg) of equipment.

Whoo!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A reflection of 2013 - posted a bit late.

I started writing this around November of 2013, but I never clicked the "Publish" button so it sat here until today, May 4th. Now I suppose it is a bit of reflection as as much as my thoughts for that time as it is still relevant; and I thought it should be included as part of my ramblings.

 In June I turned 53, and on my birthday, June 12th, my aunt Sandy Clark... my lifelong mentor, guide, and friend suddenly had a fatal heart attack and was gone. It reminded me that life is a temporary thing, a gift that we only experience for a relatively short time in the eternity of existence.

 I met a new friend around that time, someone who would become a big influence to me. He is a fellow YouTube videographer... and to put that into perspective, where I had 200 subscribers he had almost 80,000. His name is Mitch Bergsma, and this is his YouTube channel.

 He is very active whereas I found myself doing less and less. He motivates me, and I guess I inspire him when we build and create. It is an odd mix...he is 20 years my junior... but somehow it works. 

An example is when we went to Jacobs Well in Wimberly, TX. It's a very deep hole... 30 feet at the main column with a cave at the bottom. I would not have imagined myself free diving to the bottom... and yet I did.


I think we all need someone in our lives that does that... pushes our limits a bit more, drives us to be better in life.

I have found this drive and energy in Eve... we fight constantly... but in the wake of our arguments it forces each of us to look at things with a better perspective... and in the end, that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

I love her... honestly I do... and I'm hopeful that through it all we both become better people from the experience. So far, my life has been evolving each passing year... generally not as smoothly as I would like... but always for the better as we move through the years.

2014 - I got Married (again!) And the mill is ready to ship... what a great year!

Hello folks... is anyone really out there?

Lots has happened since my last post... I got married again... 3rd times the charm right?


Another big event is that I am now in a position to get my milling machine down from St Louis. As fate would have it... I needed to go to St Louis for work... so while here I prepped the huge machine for shipping.

Before Prep Work

 After Pulling the motor and prepping.

The machine weighs about 3,200 pounds (1450 Kg)... yes folks... that's 1.5 tons of fun. The garage door is 81 inches tall (2.05 Meters)... with the 5HP motor and Z-axis mounted... 95 inches (2.4 meters) it was NOT going to fit through the garage door. Taking them off just got it down to size.

78 1/2 inches tall. (About 2 meters)

Nothing about this machine is small... here is the power supply for the machine... it has a 220 VAC to 70 VDC system. I had it running from 115 VAC and was getting about 30 VDC for the motor drives... but on the reinstall, I'm going to go for FULL POWER and even higher speed. (Scary stuff.)

Power Supply

It took three of us to get the motor unmounted and on the floor safely... it weighs at least 60 pounds (27Kg) by its self, the biggest issue was getting the belt off the V-belt tension unit and lifting the motor off the mounting plate. (See below)

 Motor Mounting Plate

To do it, you have to stand on top of the mill, put a steel bar through some chain rings, then lift the motor while a second person uses a screwdriver to work the belt of the pulley. Then you and a partner have to lift it off and balance it on the head of the mill. The other person shifts position to the front of the mill, and you heft this motor up and over... handing it down to the two people on the ground to receive it. (Like I said... nothing on this machine is easy.)

Motor (Left) and Z-Axis (Right)

Afterward I decided to lay the Z-Axis on the bed and wrap with packing plastic to keep it from getting beat up. I wrapped the motor as well as possible too to protect the spring plate and pulley assembly too. 

All prepped and ready to go. Motor in foreground wrapped in plastic.

I manually turned the screws and cranks... still feels fine... everything still moves smoothly. I guess my packing EVERYTHING in a thick coat of grease worked well. Once I get it shipped home, I'll have to strip everything on the mill down, and while doing that, I'll rewire it and install new limit switches and other safety features. It's gonna be a HUGE project... so if you like machines... stay tuned.

 Hummm... I should do a video... or two.