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Where have all the builders gone

Old 01-22-2015, 09:12 AM
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I think the biggest reason that people aren't building as much as they use to .... is simply the availability of the many ARF's that are out there. If the ARF's of today, were available 25 years ago, many of us (the 50 + crowd) would probably not be the builders that we are today.

Bob
Old 01-22-2015, 09:47 AM
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The hobby reacts to market forces. If there is a huge demand for kits, more kits will be available at some point. I'm amazed at what some of the older kits sell for sometimes. I've passed on some at auctions not knowing what the true value is. Last time that happened I saw a glider and thought, meh...i'll do 60 on it. I think it went for 75...the buyer turned around and sold it within a week for $600.00. Turns out it was some unique Hobie Hawk. That hurt!
Old 01-22-2015, 10:25 AM
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Rick thanks for that comment. Posting pictures of something you have built only shows what one guy has done and in some cases how long it took to build it. Skills, time on hand, money, work space all play a roll in the building part of it, dedication, desire and attention span plays a lot larger roll when it comes to building. Just because I enjoy it so much doesn't mean I can influence another to do it and get the same joy I do, after all I have been doing this kind of stuff my whole life (working with my hands) and loving it. Not to pat myself on the back but I have built some pretty incredible things with my hands and that is part of the reason I enjoy this RC plane building because it continues to challenge this old brain of mine and gives me something to do through the winter months. Now the best part is taking it to a flying field watch a few guys drool all over it, talk about it, fire it up and fly it, the thing that makes it special is that you made it and others enjoy what went into it also.

Things have changed over time, it has nothing to do with time in a day, that has never changed and is a poor excuse, however prioritizing things in life are the facts of life and a hobby might not fit right now but can be seen up the road of life as something one may like to do and I do see where guys retiring and getting ready to have mentioned that hear and there. What I find sad is the joy of building here is pretty much of little interest and that doesn't drive the interest part very well to do a build thread these days. Pretty stupid question I have asked here, there is no good answer but some will try.

Leroy
Old 01-22-2015, 10:43 AM
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different strokes for different folks...nothing sad about that.
Old 01-22-2015, 11:03 AM
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Would I rather spend my life being just a spoon fed consumer for all of my wants and needs, or would I rather spend my life learning how to create my own things..?
The creators, the innovators, the craftsman...are all people I admired as a kid.
Compared to other "motor sports", this hobby [designing, building and flying] is the one that captured my interest because you get to see pretty dramatic results from your efforts [not all good]...for a relatively small amount of money.
IF no one else after I'm gone is interested in spending their time like I have chosen to do...I could not care less.
The truth is, there will always be a certain amount of folks who share these common traits and interests. It's in their DNA.
Old 01-22-2015, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by combatpigg
Would I rather spend my life being just a spoon fed consumer for all of my wants and needs, or would I rather spend my life learning how to create my own things..?
The creators, the innovators, the craftsman...are all people I admired as a kid.
Compared to other "motor sports", this hobby [designing, building and flying] is the one that captured my interest because you get to see pretty dramatic results from your efforts [not all good]...for a relatively small amount of money.
IF no one else after I'm gone is interested in spending their time like I have chosen to do...I could not care less.
The truth is, there will always be a certain amount of folks who share these common traits and interests. It's in their DNA.
These people that you speak of combat, are the ones that make everything else possible for those that are not craftsman, innovators, and designers. Almost everything we fly has been influenced, and brought to the level of performance through the motivation of competition. IMAC is a great example. Thankfully, we still have several events that require the modeler (entry) to have built the model. Scale and CL stunt come to mind.
Old 01-22-2015, 12:17 PM
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VG... I am glad to hear that IMAC has that rule.
To these guys, building your own machine to compete with is part of the whole process...especially if they award points for appearance.
Old 01-22-2015, 01:07 PM
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Actually, IMAC does not have a BOM rule as far as I know. But I am glad that they still exist in other areas of competition. I always get a kick out of the RCers reaction at my club when I tell them there are several events that do not allow an electric starter!

I am mostly a scale pilot now, and half of your score is appearance. Granted, they do have some ARF classes, but that is just to get the newbies feet wet. Scale is a building event.

I am sure there will be many posts to follow now, claiming they have no use for competition. Other than the benefits that they take advantage of as a result from competition.
Old 01-22-2015, 01:08 PM
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Another thought. Building is a creative art, and the satisfaction from taking a bunch of balsa and working it into a replica of a real airplane is hard to beat. Some people have the artistic drive, some don't. And like in sculpture, some have the talent and some don't. I confess that I am in the second group, but I like building.
Old 01-22-2015, 01:18 PM
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Here is my two cents. There are way too many distractions in this complex world and these distractions compete with the amount of effort and time required to make these beautiful projects.

Let us also face the fact that builders are a special breed. The world is not filled with these types of people. I get depressed if I am not creating something. I want to creat unique creations, I don't want to be like all the rest. Many people strive to be accepted into the flock, I fly away from it.

Over the years I have been a builder and a collector. RC is a dangerous hobby because not only does it cost a small chunk of change, but the plane can be destroyed in a second. If not destroyed, damaged enough the it will require too much of my creative time to bring it back to where it was. Time not being used to creat more unique creations.

ARFs are okay, maybe, when you don't want to care about the model and just want to fly in any condition, at any location. For me, an ARF doesn't give me that great feeling of, "WOW" look at that beautiful thing. One thing I have noticed is that making a scale airplane look and fly scale is a difficult thing. Often the speeds are not scale due to weight or engine sizes, not to mention weather conditions. It is hard to justify spending years building something if in the end it is not scale like.

In any case, my plan is the build and build and have molds and planes that I can build from and or lfy when I get older.

Congradulations to all you who prefer to invest in the art of CREATION!

Imagine trying to make a living where you have to explain how your creations are different and are of high quality and how that is different than the Chinese ARF tooth crown being done by the dentist down the block. Build it to last!
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Old 01-22-2015, 01:30 PM
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Leroy, although a picture may only show what one guy has done, I think those pictures can serve to inspire some to stretch their skills. In some cases it may be to just try building a kit, in others, to try a complicated scale build from scratch. Years ago, I built a Sig Somethin' Extra with a custom FG cowl on it. I still get people asking how I did it, many who have never tackled fiber glass projects but are willing to take the leap.
I started with an ARF trainer, then a kit trainer (I was tough on trainers!), on to harder kits and then some plans built planes. At some point I had developed enough confidence that I realized that I could probably build anything I set my mind to. I attribute some of that confidence to those who have gone to the trouble of documenting their builds. So, to those of you who have taken the time to document a build here on RCU, I humbly thank you!
Rick

PS, still waiting for that picture of your Skywalker Leroy, don't be shy.
Old 01-22-2015, 01:35 PM
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Sometimes builders just move on.

I started kit building in 1972, at the age of twelve. Goldberg Falcon 56 Mk. II, Titebond glue, and that new-fangled Monocote iron-on covering. A terrific guy who was a cabinet maker mentored two of us one evening a week for the six months or so it took to finish the plane, which I crashed and rebuilt many times. Over the following years, I left and returned to the hobby a few times - lots of distractions: school; girls; cars; girls; guns; women; marriage; kids.
In 1988, I married and gained three boys in the bargain. Within six months it was apparent that I could spare both the time and money to engage in the hobby again - and needed the creative release. Two of the boys learned to fly, and half the garage became a workshop. That grew to 540 sq ft attached to the home we built in 2004, later to be replaced by a 1320 sq ft steel building. I became a high school teacher in 1996, and created a summer class that engaged at-risk students in designing and building R/C planes. In 180 hours, students went from never having seen a model airplane to successfully flying a model that they had designed and built. Over the course of several years, about 160 students worked in 3-4 person teams to design and build 44 prototypes - and 43 of them flew.
In 2004, the wife suggested we "buy a couple of Harleys". We gained a wonderful shared activity, but I went from flying 44 weekends a year to 3-4 times a year. By 2010, I had a huge shop, a large fleet of models, and a much larger inventory of kits, ARFs, engines, wood, and hardware than any of the local hobby shops. I was President of two local clubs at the same time. It became a source of stress - my life and other interests kept me from enjoying the hobby, and I needed to eliminate it completely. I was a R/C-aholic, so keeping one would not work out. I had a custom 14x6' cargo trailer, 70+kits in the boxes, a dozen ARFs nib, and 30-40 flyable airframes. Probably close to 100 engines from .049 to 50cc, a couple hundred servos, two dozen 2.4 rxs......
I put it all up for sale - $5500 for everything. The Ebay seller The Rocketman contacted me about flying out, renting a big Uhaul, and hauling it all back to sell it - but we failed to close a deal. I had dozens of people email me wanting to buy individual items, so I finally gave in and listed it all separately. The UPS store set me up a commercial account, I bought a huge roll of paper and a box of packing tape, and away it went. I packed and shipped 2-3 times a week for almost two years, sold the trailer locally, and sold or gave away all the planes. Called one of my friends who scratch builds and gave him several hundred dollars worth of wood and a vacuum-bagging setup. Gave away several models to deserving folks locally, and boxed up a lot of servos, engines, hardware, and a couple of kits for a guy who builds trainers for his club to let newbies try out with. Put about half the money into guns, and took the wife and the Harleys to Alaska and back with the rest.

Will I ever build again? Probably not. I have a nicely-equipped workshop at the new house (moved last year) where I can do almost any wood or metal project. I like repairing, modifying and accurizing guns. I weld quite a bit, and the five acres we have seems to always provide me with inspiration for a project or two. The wife always has a woodworking project or two for me, and I still work more than full-time.

I enjoyed the challenges of building, and the sense of accomplishment when I made things work. It is, however, a solitary endeavor that consumes a substantial amount of time. I prefer to spend that time with the wife, the family, and the friends I have and have yet to meet.

Trent (formerly known as "Teachu2")
Old 01-22-2015, 01:45 PM
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I really enjoy building, although I think it's going away big time. I know of at least a couple shops that specialize in R/C aircraft and they don't have a single kit in stock. Not a one. They'll order one for you if so desired (they say) but I've not tried them out on that.

I'm very interested in plastic models and the same thing is happening there. The hobby as it was is going away, and fewer and fewer places carry kits. It used to be every department store and drug storee carried at least a few, but no more. You have to seek them out and know where they are. Yet the qulity of the kits coming ut for those who DO build is staggering. Amazing detail.

My greatest concern is that those of us who do like to build siomply won't be able to anymore, as plansd and balsa will become so hard to find. I've recently started to try to get as many good plans as I can as they could be hard to find in the future as well. RCM plans is gone and they took some great stuff with them when they folded, alas.

Maybe I'm just an old curmudgeon, but I can't help but think that people are just getting lazier. maybe that's wrong and unfair, but the otjher day I watched a young fellow press a button to close the tailgate on hi SUV, and it took five times as long as it would had he closed it himself. But would he? I don't think it ever crossed his mind!
Old 01-22-2015, 02:00 PM
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The most valuable thing we have is time. We only get so much - and we don't get to know when it will end.

If you were suddenly taken ill, and the doctor came in and told you that you only had three or four weeks left to live, how many of you would rush home to finish that scale model?

How many hundreds of hours did you spend creating the last beautiful model that you crashed on it's maiden flight?

How many of us have denied our loved ones time to go work on our toy airplanes?

I enjoyed building, too - many nights way too late. Sure, I wasn't out at a bar cheating on my wife - I was at a bench, cheating her out of time.

Sorry if that stings a little....
Old 01-22-2015, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by yel914
Leroy, although a picture may only show what one guy has done, I think those pictures can serve to inspire some to stretch their skills. In some cases it may be to just try building a kit, in others, to try a complicated scale build from scratch. Years ago, I built a Sig Somethin' Extra with a custom FG cowl on it. I still get people asking how I did it, many who have never tackled fiber glass projects but are willing to take the leap.
I started with an ARF trainer, then a kit trainer (I was tough on trainers!), on to harder kits and then some plans built planes. At some point I had developed enough confidence that I realized that I could probably build anything I set my mind to. I attribute some of that confidence to those who have gone to the trouble of documenting their builds. So, to those of you who have taken the time to document a build here on RCU, I humbly thank you!
Rick

PS, still waiting for that picture of your Skywalker Leroy, don't be shy.
All that's true as it's the rout many of us went but that's another story. Rick I looked at your gallery and you have some worth while work of your own so be an inspiration to others and cuter loose. As for me, I have tried to inspire others with the builds I have done here, you never know if you reach others though and for the lack of interest on my present build I have my own lack of interest just doing it and it may well be my last one. There was a time when this was a lot more fun but there has been a lot of changes since I got started

I'm not the big time builder some of you are but what I have built is not junk and they are as good as the picture shows. In the order I built them

Leroy
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:53 PM
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I dont build kits, anymore because of ARF's,,but I do like Special planes.. Id like to find a builder,, who has the time,, to build a nice 100" ish T-28,,if anyone is interested... you build,ship to my door, and I pay...lol... I just dont have time to start another project... rebuilding the Evil Spacewalker right now... So its gonna have my attention for the next couple months...
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Old 01-22-2015, 02:54 PM
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Here's a kit that I just finished building. Didn't take a lot of time, but still needs some fine details addressed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hcDGbnlfvA8
Old 01-22-2015, 03:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Gray Beard
Well, I kept getting PMs asking questions on how I build a plane from plans and use templates so I tried to do a thread on how easy it is. A couple posts into it the topic turned into the poop question from Star Trek, in this case people got fixated on what type of glue to use to paste the paper templates on with. I answered the question but it kept going. If people are that stupid they can't cut and build there own kit. I let it fizzle out before it got started.
Dont let it get you down Grey Beard i watched and learned alot from your build threads and still use some of your building tricks to this day ,thanks BTW . joe
Old 01-22-2015, 03:36 PM
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There is a builder HERE! 1- Bridi Deception, 2- RCAIIR's Illusion, 3- Top Flite 1/7 P51B, 4- Ziroli 70" P-47, 5- Bob Smith T2A, 6- Scratch built Miles Reed " Instantaneous"
The two pattern birds are ready for clear coat now. The Jug is getting ready for color. The P-51, well that has been laying around for a while.
I have build threads on RCU.
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Old 01-22-2015, 04:12 PM
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Stikum....I don't argue with you, and I agree, You may feel that we are cheating on our wives while we are building our projects, but if not in the mode of creating and stretching ones brain and imagination, then possibly we are cheating ourselves.

When I don't fly my real sailplane for quite some time, I get really edgy. If I am really edgy, what kind of a husband am I?

I also feel that way when I am not working with my hands to create a unique creation. For me, what else is there that makes me feel like I have actually done something meaningful.

Raising a a family and spending quality times with loved ones is equally important, but I don't want to spend time with myself unless I fell good about myself and if I don't want to spend time with myself, I am sure the family would not want to spend time with that person either.
Old 01-22-2015, 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Stikum
The most valuable thing we have is time. We only get so much - and we don't get to know when it will end.

If you were suddenly taken ill, and the doctor came in and told you that you only had three or four weeks left to live, how many of you would rush home to finish that scale model?

How many hundreds of hours did you spend creating the last beautiful model that you crashed on it's maiden flight?

How many of us have denied our loved ones time to go work on our toy airplanes?

I enjoyed building, too - many nights way too late. Sure, I wasn't out at a bar cheating on my wife - I was at a bench, cheating her out of time.

Sorry if that stings a little....
You took the words right out of my mouth Stikum.

I used to build too. I love those detail kits from Yellow Aircraft. I consider myself as an expert builder. Now a day, I prefer to build and fly aerobatic composite ARF models once in a while. I still have an unfinished Yellow P-40E that I converted to P-40K variant. I modified everything to match with the full scale; from panel lines to rows of different type of rivets. I spent countless hours on the internet doing scale research. It still need detail rivets for the under-wings and it should be ready for final painting. I started this kit in 2009! I haven't touch it for a long time for the exact reasons you listed.

- eye sight is not as it used to be for building in great details.
- too many long nights building instead of spending time with the wife and kids.
- spent too much time on building instead of sharpening my 3D flying.
- seeing too many beautiful scale models crashed.
- spent way too much money on a scale warbird and too afraid to fly, too expensive to sell to anyone, sad too see the new engine rust away.
- health is deteriorating because of sitting in garage instead of exercising.

I will finish my P-40K to the level of details that I have intended one of these days. It will probably never get airborne. I will probably won't have the heart to sell it once it is finished.

But I still love to fly. I spend most of my time practicing 3D flying now.

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Old 01-22-2015, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Stikum
The most valuable thing we have is time. We only get so much - and we don't get to know when it will end.

If you were suddenly taken ill, and the doctor came in and told you that you only had three or four weeks left to live, how many of you would rush home to finish that scale model?

How many hundreds of hours did you spend creating the last beautiful model that you crashed on it's maiden flight?




How many of us have denied our loved ones time to go work on our toy airplanes?

I enjoyed building, too - many nights way too late. Sure, I wasn't out at a bar cheating on my wife - I was at a bench, cheating her out of time.

Sorry if that stings a little....
Building may be THE hobby for many of us. I would rather build than fly. My dad and I built everything together. Rockets, plastic models, railroads, along with construction projects around the house. No family time was lost because of our hobbies. That is why it is important to pair up with someone that will enjoy the hobbies with you. I love traveling to contests. So for me, flying is preparing for competition. The girls in my life have always loved the trips as well. The hotels, restaurants, new friends you make etc. That is what this hobby is for me. Building, and competition. It has introduced me to some of the best friends and people I have met from any other facet of my life.
Old 01-22-2015, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Stikum
The most valuable thing we have is time. We only get so much - and we don't get to know when it will end.

If you were suddenly taken ill, and the doctor came in and told you that you only had three or four weeks left to live, how many of you would rush home to finish that scale model?

How many hundreds of hours did you spend creating the last beautiful model that you crashed on it's maiden flight?

How many of us have denied our loved ones time to go work on our toy airplanes?

I enjoyed building, too - many nights way too late. Sure, I wasn't out at a bar cheating on my wife - I was at a bench, cheating her out of time.

Sorry if that stings a little....
Glad I don't have a wife that requires all my time, she was always happy knowing where I was, garage building cars or the living room building models.
Three years ago I had just finished taking photos of a plane I did a review on, at the time I was having a massive hart attack, went into vee fib three times. The night I was sent home from the ICU I had another one. Even my doctor doesn't know how I survived.
Once I was feeling better I went out to my shop and started building. I felt like I was running out of time so I built several planes for friends to give them as gifts to remember me by.
My wife has never felt left out, well, maybe a couple times during a build of a sand dragster but you can't be with people all the time, you need time to yourself.
I could start building in the kitchen I guess but if she wants to see me she just comes out to the shop. Football and NASCAR season she is glued to the TV anyway. I no longer spend all my time out there, once the sun goes down I come in.
After 40 years of marriage I think we have it figured out. In that 40 years there have only been two fights, one I don't remember and the other involved Bass and Beer.
She also used to send me out the door with a gun in my hand so I could spend some time protecting the county against an invasion of Saber Tooth Quail and would place her order in to what flavor of Ducks she wanted. During the season I hunted 6 days a week.
We dated for 5 years so there wer no surprises when we got married and I chose very well. We compliment each other, we don't suck the life out of the other.
Old 01-22-2015, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by sierratango
Stikum....I don't argue with you, and I agree, You may feel that we are cheating on our wives while we are building our projects, but if not in the mode of creating and stretching ones brain and imagination, then possibly we are cheating ourselves.

When I don't fly my real sailplane for quite some time, I get really edgy. If I am really edgy, what kind of a husband am I?

I also feel that way when I am not working with my hands to create a unique creation. For me, what else is there that makes me feel like I have actually done something meaningful.

Raising a a family and spending quality times with loved ones is equally important, but I don't want to spend time with myself unless I fell good about myself and if I don't want to spend time with myself, I am sure the family would not want to spend time with that person either.
I understand and agree - but it is about maintaining balance. EVERYTHING in life involves tradeoffs - and perspectives are different for each person. There was a time in my life when I could afford to spend hundreds of hours a year on model airplanes. My time was worth less to me then than it is now, both financially and emotionally. I don't regret most of the time I spent in the hobby - it made me a better father, teacher, husband, and man. However, as my life progressed, my time became more valuable - and the balance shifted. I had gleaned pretty much all the life lessons I could out of building models, and other interests had crowded the enjoyment out of the hobby for me. My time was better spent elsewhere, and when I finally made the decision to leave the hobby it was a great relief.

Now I use my creative energy to improve a firearm, or make an attachment for my tractor, or replace a light fixture my wife doesn't like, or run a new electrical circuit for $75 instead of paying an electrician $500 for two hours of work. Instead of flying, I'm at the range with the wife, or a grandkid, or a friend. Or on my Harley, sometimes with a grandson on back (the wife rides her own) and riding to the coast for lunch. My building skills make me a pretty demanding carpenter ("good enough" rarely is) and I have a whole lot of tools.

Many of the skills I developed modeling transfer to other activities. I have yet to go to the range and destroy a couple of guns, though....
Old 01-22-2015, 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Gray Beard
Glad I don't have a wife that requires all my time, she was always happy knowing where I was, garage building cars or the living room building models.
Three years ago I had just finished taking photos of a plane I did a review on, at the time I was having a massive hart attack, went into vee fib three times. The night I was sent home from the ICU I had another one. Even my doctor doesn't know how I survived.
Once I was feeling better I went out to my shop and started building. I felt like I was running out of time so I built several planes for friends to give them as gifts to remember me by.
My wife has never felt left out, well, maybe a couple times during a build of a sand dragster but you can't be with people all the time, you need time to yourself.
I could start building in the kitchen I guess but if she wants to see me she just comes out to the shop. Football and NASCAR season she is glued to the TV anyway. I no longer spend all my time out there, once the sun goes down I come in.
After 40 years of marriage I think we have it figured out. In that 40 years there have only been two fights, one I don't remember and the other involved Bass and Beer.
She also used to send me out the door with a gun in my hand so I could spend some time protecting the county against an invasion of Saber Tooth Quail and would place her order in to what flavor of Ducks she wanted. During the season I hunted 6 days a week.
We dated for 5 years so there wer no surprises when we got married and I chose very well. We compliment each other, we don't suck the life out of the other.
I did not intend to imply that mine demands my time - she doesn't. In fact, she was completely supportive of my hobby, and even suggested I get back into it after we married. She was insistent that we get the shop built at the new house ASAP, because she knows that I enjoy working in my own shop. She doesn't even complain that I don't keep it as clean as she would.

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