Need Some Advice about Shop

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Forum topic by Dallas posted 03-10-2014 05:55 PM 1587 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2457 days

03-10-2014 05:55 PM

Well, it seems things don’t go bad one at a time.
Last Friday my boss came and told me I had to quit doing any work in my shop because it was raising the electrical bill too much. Hunh? I haven’t used the shop more than about 4 hours total since November.
Yes, the electric bill is up. I live in a 50 year old house with little to no insulation and electrical rates have quadrupled or more in the 7-8 years since he lived here, let alone the fact that the house is falling down from broken joists on one side.

Oh, well. Just add t to the fact that my physical condition is deteriorating. Along with the cardiomyopathy, the congestive heart failure seems to be getting worse. My blood pressure won’t stay in iny one place for long enough to decide how to work with it.

So, the thought occurs to me: Should I pack up my shop and put it in our storage unit until we find a new place to live…. (Yeah, we have a feeling he wants us gone, but isn’t man enough to say so or say why), or should I just put it all up for sale?

the trouble is, after his wife died, he cut our raise that we had worked 5 years to achieve back to the small wage we got here originally.

We had hopes things would get better and used what bit of savings we had to try and hang on here until they did. Now it looks as if ‘getting better’ ain’t in the cards. After paying hospital bills, (WOW! whudda thunk a unit of blood could be so expensive!). Dr. bills, ER bills, radiology, hemotology, etc. we are now broke, or nearly.

I suppose I will never get better as I can’t seem to get any firm information from the medico’s, so I guess I’ve answered my own question.

Thanks for letting me vent. No one to talk to here anymore. Being alone with my thoughts sucks at times.

Ya’ll have a great day. It’s been fun.

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

20 replies so far

View danofpaco's profile


118 posts in 1886 days

#1 posted 03-10-2014 06:05 PM

I’m sorry to hear about your situation, Dallas, I wish you all the best. Could you shift your focus to hand tools to minimize electricity use while you look for a better situation? If you aren’t much of a hand tool user, that might be a nice change of pace and learning opportunity allowing you to continue woodworking while not using electricity…

If you don’t mind me asking, how does your boss factor into your living/shop situation?

Good luck, I hope things improve for you.

-- Dan :: Minnesota

View ex-member's profile


186 posts in 1744 days

#2 posted 03-10-2014 06:15 PM

That all sounds very complex and stressful. I like danofpaco’s idea…switch your woodworking focus to smaller, gentler pursuits and use more hand tools. If your heart’s heaving maybe hand smoothing a new workbench top isn’t right but think of how good you’ll get at dovetailing by hand!

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1827 posts in 1939 days

#3 posted 03-10-2014 06:35 PM

If your health allows hand tools would be nice as said above. Or some carving. Carve some spoons, I just started that when I have glue drying for a large project. You probably know all this already so just ignore.

But I’ll be praying for you here in New Jersey Dallas. Hope all works out for you man

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

View Handtooler's profile


1544 posts in 2102 days

#4 posted 03-10-2014 07:41 PM

Best of luck in your endeavor to find a treatment or cure for the blood pressure problems. I suffered 6 major falls in 2006 because of such fluctuations leading to a mild stroke. Was retied from my last job because of it so came home and found a cardiologist who recognized the problems on the first visit and prescribed medications . Haven’t had an episode since. Please keep your tooling even in storage in hopes that things will work out and maybe even have a better location and job. Sorry boss is such a difficult person to work under and rent from.

-- Russell Pitner Hixson, TN 37343

View bigblockyeti's profile


5106 posts in 1690 days

#5 posted 03-10-2014 07:50 PM

That really stinks! I know it can be hard to transition to mostly hand tools as I know I simply could not at this point given what I’m trying to accomplish most of the time. One thing I did recently was to start transitioning to LED lighting, though at this point I realize such a minor change wouldn’t be enough to get you back into you’re shop as previously. I hope this all works out favorably for you.

View AngieO's profile


1267 posts in 2117 days

#6 posted 03-10-2014 09:24 PM

Sorry to hear about your situation too. I know how it is. I’ve been out of work for a while and I’m a single mom of four. I’ve gotten to the point a couple of times that I thought maybe I would have to sell my tools to pay bills. But then each time I thought of that I would get asked by someone for me to make them something. Being able to sell those pieces here and there is the only thing keeping me going sometimes. Then I realize… without the tools… I wouldn’t have that income at all. So I’ve decided to keep them. .

My electric bill went up massively the last few months as well. And I guess I’ve not been out there using much because of it. BUt.. I’ve realized that the use of the tools is not what is raising the bill. Having the heat on out there.. that has. So I’ve had to leave that off. Then I had the issue of my poly’s freezing up and other stuff. So I had to have it on for that. Sometimes it’s a catch 22… cant win for losing. I will definitely be praying for your situation. Vent away anytime.

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2645 days

#7 posted 03-10-2014 09:48 PM

Dallas, can you get a meter installed for the shop? that would charge the shop to you and you could see how much you are using or pay your part of the bill. Is that an option?

AngieO, try heating a small area for your finishes. Something like a small cabinet or an ice chest. You can heat those with a light bulb and keep things warm enough. I am able to move mine to the garage in the winter. Actually it doesn’t seem to hurt the oil based finishes to freeze.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2940 days

#8 posted 03-10-2014 09:51 PM

I don’t know if any of us are going to make it if the un-informed voters out there do again what they have done for the last two cycles. Surely to God they can see that Mr O-dummas hasn’t got a clue how to do anything except read from a teleprompter.

I have lost just about every thing I worked for for the last 40 years. Just was lucky enough to have a farm to sell and inherited half a house to have a place to start over. No damn fun starting over at 64 however. But, we will see.

I wish you luck, and hope you can hang on for a while longer. I really think things will get better in spite of the ignorant progressives trying to destroy everything that worked in this, the greatest country on this planet, so they can replace it with a bunch of stupid theories that have been proved wrong thousands of times all over the world..

View Roger's profile


20923 posts in 2773 days

#9 posted 03-10-2014 10:03 PM

I know how you’re feeling. They, the electric companies have us over a barrel. January and February’s bill for me, was thee highest ever here in the state of KY.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 2660 days

#10 posted 03-11-2014 12:36 AM

Dallas, I’m so sorry to hear of your ongoing health and living problems I’m putting y’all in my prayers as I can’t think of anything else I can do.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View fuigb's profile


477 posts in 2927 days

#11 posted 03-11-2014 12:53 AM

Dallas – sounds like the boss is an unreasonable, controlling, passive-aggressive piece of work. If it were me I’d wait until he left for town to fill up on vinegar and then fire up the saws.

Good luck, truly.

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18250 posts in 3645 days

#12 posted 03-11-2014 01:01 AM

Sorry to hear this Dallas. Only you can decide what is best for you. Are you old enough to start SS?

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2045 days

#13 posted 03-11-2014 01:09 AM

Dallas, you’re not alone – there are a lot of LJs rooting for you and any other LJ going through difficult times.

Go with your gut, if you think he wants you gone, you’re probably right. But hang on to the lifelines you have. If that’s woodworking then do whatever you can to keep it part of your life.

Praying for you,

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Dallas's profile


3599 posts in 2457 days

#14 posted 03-11-2014 01:33 AM

Thanks all, All the well wishes are much appreciated.

To answer some questions: I don’t think this is actually about the electrical use. We got a print out from the Co-op and it shows the usage in Kwh was no higher than the year before and even with the rate hikes the costs were in line with the previous years costs by month.
That leads me to believe that my employer wants us gone, but doesn’t know how to fire us and save his dignity.
He also has no idea how to run the park as he has never had to do that in the 25+ years they’ve owned it.
He is good at the structural stuff, mostly, but some of his repairs make my worst temp fixes look elegant.
He’s always had the attitude that we are his personal servants and that we serve at his beck and call.
I pissed him off one year when he wanted me to repair a window AC from his house that needed a new impeller.
I refused to sit on the ground in the 110°F sun and break the machine down and told him to take it to a dealer.
Even if it had been from the RV park It shouldn’t have been my job since we were hired for “office work, grounds keeping, minor electrical and pluming repairs and to assume the duties as the managers of the park” so the owners could be retired.
Since I had tools handy, I took on more jobs rather than have the owners pay repairmen to come in. A money saving move to help them make a bit more profit, and I wasn’t doing much anyway.
Since then I have put in 32 new 50/30/20 amp power pedestals, all wired through underground conduit with 2/0 – #2 wire depending on the distance from my main panels.
I dug all the trenches for the conduit by hand except for the last 10 sites, those I got to use a trencher for because there was no sewer to hit.

I have come to the conclusion that if I cannot use my wood working tools, I won’t be able to use my construction and maintenance tools either.
I am slowly clearing out my little shop and taking it to storage. Hopefully I can get it completely empty and clean before the end of the month.
We no longer have an RV, we sold it a couple of years ago because we hadn’t moved it more than 5 miles in 5 years. We put the money in the bank and have now used it on medical bills. bummer.
I will keep enough tools here onsite to do my normal jobs, but my welders, chainsaws, weed eaters, compressors, air nailers, impact wrenches, wrenches, hammers, saws, etc are all going to storage.
With any luck my disability will be approved soon and we’ll have more than the wife’s Social security check.
Maybe by April we can afford a place to rent, although the wife will have to go back to work doing something. If not, I have a tent a coleman stove and a lot of bedding. We can find a campground at a state park to pitch a tent in.

Good news, on another note, Blood pressure yesterday and most of today was running a bit higher than normal, about 208/138 with a pulse of 108. Tonight after enough meds I got it down to 139/99 pulse 82.
I have to think posting here is a help.

As for putting in a sub panel and meter head, yeah, I actually have the parts to do that, including the meter head. But I won’t.
As I said before, I will no longer do anything here that is not part of my job description. I have the furnace in the house turned down to 65° and both of us stay bundled up all day and night.
If his weed eater or lawn equipment breaks, I will no longer repair it, which I have done for the last 5 years. If a tree falls, (and they are going to), it will lay where it is until he buys a saw and cuts it up and hauls it off.

If he thinks I do nothing now….. Hah! Just you wait, ‘Enery ‘Iggin’s, Just you wait!

-- Improvise.... Adapt...... Overcome!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

28973 posts in 2308 days

#15 posted 03-11-2014 01:38 AM

There’s always someone here to talk to. Your shop is more than a place to make things, it’s therapy and a source of relaxation.

Saying that the electric bill goes up in the winter is like saying that the river rises when it rains. Well duh.

Hang in there sir.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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