Friday, October 30, 2020

Jumble post number 909

Sun, snow, cattle, trees.

Here's a little bit of fun. October 22 was a cool day with a weather front moving in and threatening cold, snow, and ice. It was chilly and rather unpleasant, especially compared to the nice weather which preceded it. I thought it might be nice to show stock tank water before and during the freeze, so I made this video. As if people haven't seen frozen water before!

Here's the next morning, October 23, following a 20-degree overnight.

And then it got cold.

At present, which is the morning of October 30, seasonally warm weather has returned. It's been breezy with daytime temps in the 50's and overnight lows only briefly kissing the freezing mark for a couple of days. Most of the stock tank ice has melted, though I don't have an image or video to share just now. But you get the picture.


I have no idea what I'm gonna do with this post. I've finally got more snow storm videos uploaded but I'm not sure I want to post them. I probably will, but as I write this I still haven't decided.

As I come back to this post I have decided. I'll post the videos but not in this one.


I started back at the widget factory last Monday. As you may or may not recall, I began working there back in June or July. The job entails assembling some of the physical components of electronic security systems, in particular the electromagnetic sensors of door alarms. It's an hourly job and the work is piecework. It's not particularly challenging, but it is interesting on several levels, including the small challenge of assembling and testing parts correctly and quickly.

I took the job for a number of reasons. Back when I started I wanted to leverage some free-ish time and convert it to cash. An extra five-hundred bucks per week would have been welcome at the time and gone into some important-seeming projects. I also like to take a winter job to keep me occupied and away from the feed trough when winter's cold prevents a lot of outdoor work.

In the past that last notion -- keeping busy and therefore away from boredom gobbling -- has been mostly theoretical. This winter it's going to have to be an actual practice, else I will overeat a lot of lard back on my frame. The overeating thing was a bad and long standing habit and the siren song is ever present. Food tastes good and I like to cook. Winter is the time to prepare steaming cauldrons of stewed and braised stick-to-your-ribs delight. I can't afford to go back to enjoying food, at least not yet. For now it has to be fuel and nothing else.

Butt I digress.

The particular widgets I'm working on at present have a numeric identifier which I'll not reveal here, lest the heathen Chinee (who remembers the novel?) commit industrial espionage. Step one (for me), apply mylar tape insulation to the reeds.

Step two, press collars into magnet cases.

Step three, pot the reeds in plugs with hot glue and insert in cases.

Step four, test.

Step five, press plugs.

Step six, thread on armored cabling.


There are a great many variations on the theme, more than enough to keep several hundred Kimballites industriously employed for 40-plus hours every week.

For me the daily grind begins with a 0400 wakeup. I have to be on the line and working at 0600. Gettin' off time is 1430. At 0930 and at 1415 there are 15-minute breaks, which I use for intense micro-workouts. I employ a disused external stairway to do inclined pushups, pullups, and HIIT step running.

It's good core work and fantastic cardio. The endorphin dump that comes from driving my heart rate up to 150 and making my lungs roar is pure delight. On my 30-minute lunch from 12-12:30 I power-walk a two-mile course south on Oak Street and back. Near the middle of the thing I run up smokebong hill. The steps add up and calories get burned as I keep my legs strong.

Many of my coworkers think that working out on break and at lunch is a strange and curious thing; that I am a strange and curious dude. They are correct from their perspective and correct from my perspective as well. My routine suits me for many good and valid reasons, but that doesn't mean it's not strange and curious, or that I'm not a strange and curious dude.


Monday marked eleven weeks. It was a tough day.

I've read in a number of places that anger is one of the stages of grief. Only a few days ago I was wondering if that would be true for me or not. Two days ago I noticed that I was quite irritable and angry. Angry at nothing specific, and not angry at my dear sweet Alexzandra. Just angry and approaching "bite your head off" territory.

So I guess I've hit the anger stage.

It's easing a bit, and I suspect that's the way it's supposed to go.

Going back to work at the widget factory was harder than I imagined, carried more emotional content than I expected. Perhaps because when last I assembled widgets, she was still alive. Her last text to me at work, just after 0600 -- "I miss you already.....I hope you have a wonderful day my love. I slept so well with you holding me....."


Having access to her texts is a precious thing, but looking back at them is hard. So I don't know whether it's a good thing or not. I suspect it is, and this will become more bearable as time goes on. But right now it continues to be hard.

She continues to sweetly visit my dreams each night. Makes me smile, helps to make everything okay.

I do and will continue with the whole livin' thing though. There is enormous joy and beauty in my existence. Life throws wonder and happy at me every day, and God continues to do His God thing for me.

What a ride.

Be well and embrace the blessings of liberty.


  1. evert,
    Just finished reading the Corpsman Chronicles in between patients. Very entertaining and kinda like those potato chips, you can't read just one....
    Going thru previous posts, see you carried the shield. I do as well, in 40, the answer in search of a question round. Was a part time LEO for about 5 yrs,our dept switched from 9mm and I grew fond of it.

    1. Thanks Penrose.

      I like the .40 shield for edc. It's a good round with a lot of pop and fed. hst's perform quite well in my experience. My shield is a surprisingly good shooter; the little short pipe doesn't adversely affect accuracy and if I do my job I can shoot playing cards at 15 yards all day.

  2. Yellow Mylar Tape! I must have used MILES of that stuff in high-school doing about the same thing you're doing. One of the products the little company made was reed switches epoxied into a bobbin that had a coil wound on it. The yellow tape was used to start and end the winding on the bobbin, and then a wrap of it was placed over the winding to protect it, as it was quite small wire, like hair. Probably #30-something sized wire.

    I was the Olympic Champion of bobbin winding at Rockdale Electronics, as the other kids I worked with (all members of the high-school Ham Radio club) would struggle to get a hundred or so bobbins wound, and I could do about 400 of them in the same time.

    Got myself a 15-cent-per-hour raise, from $1.75 (min wage at the time was $1.50) to $1.90/hr, making my high-school friends envious and angry. My first lesson in Office Politics 101!

    Hey, kids, if you weren't so busy goofing off, you too could have wound many more bobbins than you did! Also my first experience with "Pay for Performance".

    You're working through the stages of grief, and doing as you should. She will never leave you, and keeping that in mind should give you some comfort, I hope.

    1. Ah, what a great story drjim. You were a bobbin winding monster! I can assemble 200 of the above pictured widgets in about 6 hours. I'm still developing muscle memory for some of the trickier steps. Taping is tricky. If you do it right you have 1/8" overlap on the longitudinal application which holds everything in place correctly and ensures proper insulation. Do it wrong and you lose your overlap, try to stretch it and you grind the switches together breaking the glass. I only broke one switch today. Progress!

      I get a great deal of comfort from her continued presence. I know in my heart she'll never leave me. I really miss her though. Something I have to endure. My life is still 10-zillion times better than it was before I met her. She made it all come together and mean something special and important.

      Thanks very much.

  3. The texts are treasures you will cherish for a lifetime.

    1. Thanks Skip. I know that to be true and I have faith that it's true. Right now it's true, but those messages ring the "she's dead and never coming back" bell particularly hard. It's just what it is. I have faith that the hurt will scar over somewhat with time. Hurt aside, I am so blessed to have hundreds and hundreds of text messages and dozens of notes and letters and several thousand pictures and videos. For all that I sometimes lash out at "stupid phones and computers" I am immeasurably blessed to have those keepsakes.

  4. Thanks for the spy photos from Acme Widget factory. It is amazing that these are made in the USA instead of Chineeland. Even more amazing to find they are made right there in downtown Kimball City whew I would never have dreamed of finding any manufacturing.

    The one down side of working there, unlike Lucy at the chocolate factory, is that you don't get to literally "eat" your mistakes.

    I trust you have all those wonderful text, etc memories backed up in multiple places so if a device dies it won't take your memories to the digital graveyard too.

    Stay healthy around all those other workers.
    John Blackshoe

    1. You're welcome! It is pretty cool that a relatively small manufacturing business from Kimball Sity would have found a long term profitable niche. Some of the employees are third generation, and that's pretty cool too.

      I'd be dead in a week if I worked at the chocolate foundry. The company eats the mistakes up to a point, but you're expected to learn and improve or move on over to the chocolate foundry. ;-)

      I do have multiple backups, and backups of backups. They are treasures.

      I'm alive, fit, and healthy enough that I'll easily survive any form of influenza I bump into.

      Thanks John.