Skip to content →

Struggle, hope, and rebar


  • Jim,

    I’m very glad to have you around. I apologize for not returning your message earlier. I’ve been very busy lately. Some of my work has been good, a lot of it a pain in the ass.

    To answer your question: I have not been at ironwork lately, but not because I don’t want to. When construction slowed down a few years back, I started teaching history and Western Civilization at Johnson Community College during the school year and working iron in the summer. Being back in the academic environment, I got back into writing my dissertation and decided to finish my doctorate.
    Believe me, there’s no more nose-grinding work than finishing a book-length academic work. I missed working last summer due to researching and writing this stupid dissertation. I busted my ass. I wanted it completed so I could work iron this summer.
    I thought I had it. But like all things academic, it just keeps going on and on and on. I went to the graduation ceremony in May, which should have been the last of it. Unfortunately, I still have revisions ahead and it looks like this summer is fucking blown, blown, blown.
    The saddest part of it all is that Clarkson is doing the bridge rehab on I-35 right through my neighborhood. There is nothing more cruel than having to drive under that fucker every day and not be up there–welding, rebar, whatever. I go to sleep at night wishing I was up there on the third shift.
    The good news is that my eleven-year-old son had a three-week break after school. I used the time to finish my second book and get it off to the University of Nebraska Press for publication in the Spring. I had worked on it on and off throughout the last year. But I never really had a time when I could go through it from start to finish and consider it as a single piece. Instead, it was a chapter here, a few paragraphs here, so I’m happy to have had the time. It was good work, too, far better and soul fulfilling than academic work. I look forward to seeing it on the shelves.
    I want the dissertation completed and degree in hand by January. That way, I can teach and get myself ready–welding certs, safety updates, new piss test, etc. Then, I can put together some steel next summer.
    After that, who knows. I’ll be looking for a professor job and working with the union. Academic jobs are had to come by these days, nearly impossible. I might just wind up doing what makes me happiest: writing, teaching, and building bridges in the summertime. We’ll see.
    I’d love to hear about how your ironworker career is moving along. The last I saw you, you were working with Genco. Are you still there? Still a rodbuster? What about family?
    I look forward to catching up.
    Patrick

Published in Uncategorized

Comments

We all want to hear what you think.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: