How to sharpen the saw blade?

Table saw is one of the bulkiest and expensive products in your woodworking tools. Moreover, other parts of the table saw are also extremely costly if broken, you also have a headache when you have to spend a large amount of money to repair. 

Fortunately, if you have a case when your saw blade naturally loses the sharpness and quickness that makes it difficult to operate your wood cutting. Don’t quickly throw it out and replace it with an expensive new one. Your saw blade is only worn slightly. You can sharpen it at home and use it as usual. You are curious how to grind it, right? Do not waste your time anymore. Read and find out now.

What material is the saw blade made of?

Saw Blade
Saw Blade

Currently, most of the table saws like the best portable table saw have blades are made of two common materials: stainless steel and carbide. You have to find out what the material of your saw blade is. Because not all materials can be sharpened.

Stainless steel: This material is extremely cheap from only 20 USD. It is equipped in some types of cheap and not famous brand saws. In fact, with this type, I find that you can buy another one without sharpening it.

Carbide: different from stainless steel. This type is relatively more expensive from 40 USD to 60 USD. And you can see in most famous brands

Add: If you see any type of saw blade made of steel, but its teeth are made of carbide. This is the type that can be used for the longest time and its teeth are extremely sharp.

How to sharpen the saw blade?

Step One: Prepare the blade

First, use a brush or towel to scrub all the stains or debris off the wood that remains on the saw blade. You have to be careful not to miss the corner of the teeth. You can soak it into a special detergent to effectively clean it.

Step two: Remove the  blade from its position

After you have washed, you must leave the saw blade away from its position. This action is extremely easy and gentle. You also need to be sure to wear protective gear like a hand to prevent it from being scratched or injured when moving it out.

Step three: Sharpen the saw blade

This step is the central step of the whole process. Use a sharpener specifically for saw blades. You can buy it at any store that sells table saws or hand saw. As the second step, you still have to wear protective gear. Gloves that help you during grinding can blame if the blade is sharp again. And glass will help you avoid metal fragments when you accidentally hit the eye. If shooting in your eyes is extremely dangerous. Next, During the sawing process you should not rush, but be careful from a bit and follow the rule. First, you have to sharpen the front of the blade, one tooth at a time until you find it sharp enough to your liking, then switch to the back of the blade to sharpen it.

Step four: Lubricate and attach more to the saw blade

After sharpening, it can be used for a long time without sharpening again. You cannot skip this step, which is lubricating the oil for the blade. Use a brush then dip it into the oil you have prepared. Thoroughly spread all edges of the saw blade to achieve high efficiency. After the oil is applied to the blade, you need to let it dry for 5 to 10 minutes.

Add: As with hand saws, if you feel it cuts more slowly than usual, you can also lubricate it.

Step five: assemble the saw blade again

Now, you just need to reset the position you just took out. Remember to put it carefully and make sure it is not skewed, which is dangerous for the next saw.

Step six: Run test

Now check the sharpness of the saw blade. Try by a small piece of wood and put it through the saw that you just sharpened. If you see the wood going fast and smooth, your saw blade is already sharp enough. On the contrary, you find it still slow and not sharp enough, Let’s sharpen it again through the steps above.

In conclusion

I have finished expressing about how to sharpen saw blades for people who don’t want to spend a lot of money to buy new saw blades. Hopefully, this article will save you some money to buy one more needed. Thank you for taking the time to read this article.

Power and Hand Tools

Types of wood chisels

Wood chisels are an indispensable tool for carpenters. They help carpenters can carve many shapes on hard materials like wood. And help wooden furniture become more beautiful and attractive. In particular, show the aesthetic eye of the host.

Because of these benefits, the market has a variety of different wood chisels and different functions. Therefore, customers are confused when choosing suitable wood chisels. Understanding that, I will show you some types of wood chisels that are commonly used today through this article. Let’s explore them now

 Bench chisels

The first chisels I would recommend for you to buy is bench chisels.  This type of wood chisel is often used by most carpenters. Because of its versatility, it can be used in many different tasks. Moreover, they’re called bench chisels because they’re usually on your carpentry table. And used for chopping and paring wood. These chiels may have beveled edges or flat, normal edges. The “bevel-edge” means that the sides move up at an angle to allow the chisel to suit more easily into the junction.

You can buy 5 to 10 wood chisels of this type with many sizes you want. This type of wood chisel has a high price. But of course, its quality is worth the money you spend. Therefore, depending on your ability, try buying it

Mortise chisels

Next, I will introduce you to the mortise chisels. A special feature of this type of wood chisel is relatively heavy and thick. The handle of this type of wood chisel has an oval shape and is made of oak. Help users easily manipulate and use.

This wooden chisel is used with percussion tools to create smoothness and remove excess wood from the wood surface easily. If you want to buy this type, try buying 1/4 ″ or 3/8 ″. Because they are the two sizes that are used popular of this type. Do not worry about the price, this type of wood chisel is extremely affordable. Suitable for most people who want to use.

Sash mortise chisels

Sash mortise chisels is a version of Mortise chisels but lighter. Help you manipulate and use them in a comfortable, flexible way, in addition, it is designed to cut relatively shallow wood. And, these wood chisels will also work well even for deep mortises. Used by carpenters a lot in making windows

Paring chisels

The paring chisel is a long thin blade, usually beveled on the side, this wood chisel is used to smooth the wood surface well and use when finishing work.

Thin wood chisel characteristics help users to flexibly use when cutting angles. And its length helps users to control the most accurate. Help you not get the error when working. And cutting edges are sharpened to a low 15-degree angle to provide the smoothest cut. In addition, this type of wood chisel has a special handle and does not need to use mallet when operating. It is very much loved by carpenters because of its flexibility and ideal length.

Corner chisels

This type of wood chisel is extremely difficult to use and is not suitable for beginners. If you have long experience in using wood chisels, you can use them easily. You also need to know about this type of wood chisel. If you have thought according to long-term carpentry.

This type of wood chisel is often used in the making of wooden cabinets. Corner chisels are used to clean deep corners of the mortise or other grooves. And Each side of the wood chisel is sharpened separately by oilstone

Note: You should also pay attention to some things when buying as follows. Pay attention to the material, the size of the chisel blade and the handle. Are they comfortable when you use them?

The next important thing is the price of chisel wood, of course, genuine wood chisels are quite high but very durable, and when you use it will be better than others. Therefore, depending on your needs, choose a suitable wood chisel

In conclusion

I have tried to show you some types of wood chisels that are used by most carpenters or people who like to do carpentry today. Besides the types I mentioned above, there are many other types of specialized wood chisels such as dovetail chisel, fishtail chisel, slick chisel, swans neck chisel, tang chisel, etc.  If you want to buy yourself a set of wood chisels that suit your needs. Read this article. Hope it will help you

Power and Hand Tools

Digital Caliper Parameter

Introduction

In the woodworking industry, every tool has its position in term of function and usefulness. As a result, the digital caliper has also found its stand on the leaderboard of the useful tool of the carpenters all around the world as the inevitability. For those reasons, this article will be spent to dig into the great benefits it brings to us.

Parameters

For the information about this tool, I can list some:

– Resolution: 0.005” (Usually at this point or around this point).

– Has a large and comfortable to read display. In addition, the LCD readout screen is incredible, and it is also a revolution in the woodworking industry for the measurement process.

– Fraction/inch/millimeter conversion => This is a particular and needed function of the digital caliper because it enhances the reading ability of the human eye to the length of the object.

– Measure range from zero to 6 inches. There is no doubt that the scale here is the standard of world measurement.

– Usually has a large LCD for better visibility. The improvement in the resolution combined with the quality of the screen can bring many benefits to the users in use of the environment such as dark place, outside the sun or just a small room lack of light.

– Accuracy is 0.001″. The perfection of the digital caliper nowadays is outside of the box, and this is a necessity of the carpenters when it comes to the practical works or the big projects which need some kind of supporting in the size of the logs, the detail must be at the top of the criteria.

– Repeatability is 0.0005”.  There is no doubt that this is the requirement that needs to be done by the factory to produce the digital caliper in term of quality, the use and the comprehension of the product.

Discussion of Findings

The abilities of the digital caliper are undeniable and useful up to this time. However, there needs some kind of improvement that is the guidance of the tool that is too hard to be understood by the newbie, leading to the misunderstanding among the final result of the procedure, can cause to some break in the infrastructure of the whole product at the end of the day. On the other hand, the current feature of this kind of product is luxurious enough to some people. For instance, the ip54 digital caliper has the big LCD screen while resistant to splashes, dust, and oil and it can display measurements up to 1/128 inches in four digits decimal and fractional display in SAE mode. If you plan on working on DIY projects, then this isn’t the one for you because it can be a little complicated to use. It is best used by professionals. It is a durable caliper because they made it from stainless steel that is hardened, and it also offers a precision lapping finish.

Conclusion

The main feature of this kind of tool is just amazing based on the comments of the users all around the world as well as the professors’ opinions. For those reasons, the digital caliper should be targeted as a reliable tool for the carpenters at the very beginning of their career.

Power and Hand Tools

Paint sprayer and its advantages

Paint sprayer or paint spray gun is a device that helps you finish your house painting, wall painting, decorative painting … faster. Save your paint time even if you’re not good at painting. When using paint spray guns, You do not worry about uneven paint colors. Moreover, the Spraying Machine also plays an important role in the construction field, it helps to replace human labor and bring work efficiency many times higher than traditional painting.

The high demand and continuous improvement of the manufacturers help the market of paint spraying machines become more and more diversified and modern. But in fact, there are many people or families who do not know much about the advantages or types of paint machines today. Therefore, in today’s article, we will answer these questions for you. Let’s explore it.

Advantages of paint spraying machine

Firstly, save maximum time and effort: Previously, the work of painting using human power was mainly, it took a lot of time but the work efficiency was not high, Therefore, the paint spraying machine was born to overcome all these drawbacks. Since the machine operates on an automatic mechanism, it is only necessary to pull the trigger and the paint will flow continuously and smoothly on the materials such as walls, fine art furniture, … easily. According to research, a paint sprayer can work equals 10 employees when they work hard. So that you do not need to “pay” too much time, and effort to scan the paint manually anymore, the utility of paint spray gun will help you solve all that.  In addition, when investing in paint spray guns, you will save significantly more than the cost of hiring workers.

Secondly, the painted surface becomes smooth, beautiful, quality: When we paint traditional crafts, the paint surface will not be really smooth, smooth, the quality of the painting will depend on the skill of workers. With an industrial paint sprayer, it will create an even, smooth, perfect spray surface.

Thirdly, More safe and convenient: Paint by hand will be more difficult when working in the high places like dozens of buildings. Because you will have to bring lots of tools like paint buckets and other necessary tools on scaffolding, not to mention that will jeopardize the safety of workers. When using the spraying machine, you will not have to bring any other tools, just make sure the power cord of the long machine is able to work quickly and utility on a large scale.

Fourthly, it helps to save fuel: Paint sprayers can save 15-20% of paint. The paint sprayer will give less dust to the paint, the paint will stick to the product surface in a maximum way, helping to save fuel costs.

The final advantage, Rich and varied models: On the market today there are many types of paint sprayers to choose, with many different designs, origins, and prices. For portable paint sprayers, the price is very affordable, it usually falls in the range of 40USD to 130USD (Depending on the quality, the model you want). As for industrial paint sprayers, there are many price choices, from several 1200USD to more than 13000USD. Depending on the construction and the need to use to choose a more suitable product.

Some notes when using:

  • If using a paint sprayer for a while, you need to check the oil for the machine to ensure its use and avoid reducing the life of the machine. Because if you don’t add more oil, the machine will be more likely to operate poorly, with low performance.
  • Carefully clean the machine after each use because the paint is extremely sticky and difficult to clean if left for long.
  •   The paint spraying machine should be shielded during use, which helps to avoid dirtying the machine and sticking paint if unfortunately spray paint is shot in many places. However, you also need to ensure the coolness when using the product because if it can get hot. It will affect usage performance.
  • The power source should be suitable to ensure the best quality of the painting process. Avoid using too high or low voltage power to avoid damaging the machine and affecting its use.

In conclusion: With such outstanding advantages, industrial paint sprayer deserves to be trusted for widespread use by many families. Please choose for yourself a paint sprayer. I am sure you will not regret buying and using it.

Power and Hand Tools

Hoarding: One Woman’s Manifesto

How many of you watched “Hoarders” on A&E? Be honest! I bet most of you. I have. It’s like looking at a smooshed kitten on the side of the road—you can’t help stare at the horror even though you’d rather stab your eyes with toothpicks to keep from seeing it.

Thankfully the docuseries ended in 2013 so we’ve all been spared further heebie jeebies. Until the next equally disgusting reality show comes along. “Dating Naked” on VH1 looks promising. (Is “reality show looks promising” an oxymoron? Are you a moron for watching it? That’s on your conscience…mine is clear.)

Last year my husband lost his corporate drone job and we decided to downsize so we could lead a more frugal and “real” life—and so we could afford the occasional Americano from Zanzibar’s. We went from a 2,300 square-foot home to a 1,400 square-foot apartment. If you want to see an example of what the opposite of our “cottages” look like, take a read through Sharon Hughson’s recent blog post where she let her readers into the world of Portland’s Street of Dreams.

We had to get rid of a lot of stuff, including entire rooms and an entire floor (like a library, fourth bedroom and basement) most of which we’ve realized a year later we really didn’t need.

The point is, I do not hoard. I can get rid of useless, unnecessary crap with the best of them. With the exception of my one vice. My one obsession.

The reading list on my Safari browser.

It is enormous.

It is ridiculous.

It is out of control.

And I blame you, you Internet bastard.

Like most people, I have a bunch of blogs I read, authors I follow, websites I like, and I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest. Unfortunately, I follow, friend or circle some kickass, generous people who share good shit.

On any given day, I can easily add ten to fifteen tidbits of I-can’t-live-without-you knowledge to my reading list. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider I’ve been active online only since late February, that’s about…

180 days X 10 items added per day = who the hell am I kidding

I know this isn’t any huge revelation, in and of itself—I’m a writer and writers like to read. We all have gazillions of books in our TBR (to be read) piles.

But my obsession goes beyond my physical TBR pile and Safari reading list.

It’s Safari bookmarks too.

I have an odd system for which pieces of info I put where:

  1. Reading list items are entertaining, quick hits that I’ll eventually delete once I’ve read them. Kind of like articles in People magazine, but much higher quality, of course.
  2. Bookmarks are more like reference material in the Smithsonian or Chicago Public Library (which was named the nation’s best urban public library system in a recent German university study): tomes that will enrich my life and that I’ll go back to time and again.

But then somewhere along the way it got all mixed up and I just started shoving links any old place that sounded good at the moment.

Why, if it’s so easy for me to let go of tangible objects, do I feel compelled to keep all these digital tchotchkes?

Because I’m afraid I’ll miss out on a critical piece of information.

I have this feeling that if I just read one more blog post or website article about what it takes to be a better blogger, author, wife, mother, etc. then I’ll unlock the magical key to perfection and easy street.

But what I’m finding is I rarely go back to read what I’ve saved and, most importantly, put it to use.

I’m like a squirrel collecting nuts in the fall.

At least those little bastards go back to their stashes and actually use them.

squirrel with nut

This guy knows a good thing when he finds it.
Photo Credit: Pieter v Marion via Compfight cc

All this information hoarding is making me anxious—like that squirrel would be if he knew he had to cross six lanes of traffic to get his booty home.

It also makes me feel like a failure. I have all these digital delicacies just waiting to be scarfed up and then purged into a suitable receptacle (otherwise known as my brain) and I’m not doing jack with them. And you know what they say: A brain is a horrible thing to waste. Unless you’re eating it. Not like Hannibal Lecter. More like the French.

My one consolation is that at least my hoarding doesn’t involve turning my house into a giant litter box or making it smell like Uncle Ted died in his BarcaLounger thirty years ago and nobody took him out.

So today I’m making the case that the Internet must stop creating content.

Just stop it.

You’re like a frickin rabbit. Or a trillion of them.

There is already so much that even if the average person read a gazillion blog posts, articles, etc. per day for her entire life, she’d never get through it all. That’s a statistical fact…kind of. Just look at this sweet infographic and you’ll see I’m not exaggerating.

Much.

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“The View From Here” Guest Post: On the Brinks

Today I’m guest posting over at Jennifer Hall’s blog Dancing in the Rain, for her The View From Here Guest Series.  I’m so grateful to Jennifer for this opportunity to join the ranks of some fabulous writers/bloggers. Jennifer’s series is in the spirit of the Charles de Lint quote she displays on her page:

Don’t forget—no one else sees the world you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.

The story I tell is about the stuff that’s in our Brinks lockbox, the loss of my grandmother and how a life change made me realize the importance of not letting those people important to me “slip through my fingers like water poured from a cold glass on a nightstand.” 

Jennifer’s series is coming up on its first anniversary in a couple of months, and I for one hope she continues it beyond then. Even if she doesn’t, Jennifer’s work is worth a read (or three or twenty or a hundred) itself…don’t miss it!

Please take a read through my post, and pop back on over here and let me hear from you.

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Suicide is a Homonym

Not long ago I found out a man I used to work with was diagnosed with ALS. In my day job, I help employees who have disabilities and need a leave of absence or help performing their jobs because of those disabilities. Naturally he called me.

He was the exact opposite of how I’d be if I just found out I had a protracted, terminal illness: calm, plan-full, laughing, resigned. Although, he did tell me a secret: “I have a wife and daughters, and I have to be strong for them. But when I’m in the shower, that’s when the tears come. I do my best crying in the shower.”

We talked about the company’s different leave of absence programs, medical plans, life insurance, and short- and long-term disability benefits. He told me he hoped he would realize when he was no longer able to work and “bring value.”

“I don’t want someone to have to force me to leave.”

Of course, I wondered what would I do if I were him. And the answer came to me without hesitation, like an eager understudy waiting in the wings.

I would commit suicide.

Not right away.

Not while I was still relatively healthy.

Not while I could still take care of myself.

But right before I felt like I was becoming a burden on my family.

Just before I felt like I didn’t have control over my life anymore.

I knew this because of the man I’d watched die a few years before.

A documentary called “The Suicide Tourist” featured that man. His name was Craig Ewert, and he had ALS. When I say I watched this man die, that’s exactly what I mean. He traveled to a clinic in Switzerland called Dignitas, and with his wife by his side, he drank a lethal cocktail of drugs followed by a chaser of apple juice. A few minutes later, he died.

John Zaritsky, the Canadian director, received a lot of flack for showing the actual moment of Ewert’s death. But he had a good reason to do so: “It would be less than honest if we were to make a film about the process and not actually be able to see the ‘hole in the hat’ as it were,” he said. “We would be left open to charges that the death was unpleasant, cruel or wasn’t even done willingly. People can judge for themselves.”

And I did.

Watching Ewert’s life end, seeing the exact moment he stopped living, was scary and intimate and heartbreaking. But it also seemed…right.

It made me think of my grandmother who had died of lung cancer more than twenty years before. When my parents cleaned out her dresser after she died, they found bottles of morphine in the bottom drawer. At the time I was horrified. I couldn’t imagine the amount of suffering she had been going through (or anticipating) that she would resort to taking her life.

But when I talked with my former co-worker that day in June, it all made sense.

Then Robin Williams happened.

And I realized “suicide” is a homonym.

People’s opinions of and feelings about suicide appear proportional to the person who took his or her life: a child or teen, an adult with mental illness or an adult with a terminal medical illness. It seems like most agree on the below:

1- Most human death is sad to someone, and those left behind experience varying levels of grief for hundreds of different reasons specific to each person’s life experience.
2- Teen suicide is probably the most tragic and the one that tends to stir up similar emotions in people. If you’re older than eighteen and still alive, then you’ve been a teenager and you know what that experience is like. What’s so agonizing about teen suicide is that they haven’t lived long enough to know from experience that things do get better, even if it’s just a minuscule amount. Like maybe they’re able to make it down one hall at school without getting called a name, or pushed or shoved, or they’re able to hang out on social media for one afternoon without being harassed, or maybe they learned one effective coping skill.

After those two premises and specifically as it applies to adults, suicides are not equal. There is a huge discrepancy in how people react even though the types of adult suicide have more in common than most people will admit:

People develop a condition and seek treatment.
Sometimes it’s successful, sometimes it’s not.
When it’s not, people suffer.
When their suffering reaches a level they can no longer bear, they do what they need to to end their suffering, either actively or passively.

But what’s most striking about adult suicide is the way people respond to the underlying factors that drive people to it.

In the days and weeks after Robin Williams’ death, there were thousands of people talking about mental illness and how important it is to ask for help, to seek treatment, to fight the dark demons that call you to take your life. Suicide hotline numbers were everywhere. People came forward and admitted how close they had come to becoming another statistic.

This happens every time someone well-known takes his or her life.

But where is everyone when your neighbor or your co-worker or your brother or your husband take their lives?

Where are the 5k runs, ice bucket challenges, Lollapalooza-sized concerts and colored ribbons before people kill themselves, while they’re suffering and struggling to get better?

It seems most of us can get our heads around people who have cancer or ALS wanting to end their life before their suffering is too much to bear. So why don’t we feel the same way about those with mental illness?

Let’s be honest. We’re furious with people with mental illness who’ve committed suicide because we think they were weak and didn’t fight hard enough, or they were cowards and took the easy way out, or they were selfish and didn’t consider those they left behind.

Would you say the same thing, aloud or in your head, about the cancer patient or the one with ALS?

Of course not.

And don’t you dare think that people with mental illness don’t know that.

People with terminal medical illnesses have options regarding ending their lives:

  • They can talk to family members and friends about their wishes and plans (even if it’s just declining further treatment).
  • They can address that elusive “why,” although it’s rarely necessary.
  • They can prepare their family members and friends for the inevitable even if the inevitable comes sooner than anyone had anticipated or wanted.
  • They can orchestrate their funerals and life celebrations.
  • They can make financial arrangements for their family.
  • They can check things off their bucket list as rapidly as they want without the worry of setting off alarms.
  • If they live in or travel to certain states or countries, they can have medical professionals help them to make sure everything is handled in a controlled environment.
  • They can surround themselves with their loved ones when they leave this world.

How many of those options exist for a person with mental illness intent on ending her life?

You can argue that people with mental illness aren’t in any state to make rational decisions, to think about the fathomless depth of the consequences of their actions. Katie Paul succinctly sums up many of those consequences in her raw post “10 Things You Should Know Before You Kill Yourself.”

But in the end, their level of rationality doesn’t matter because the world does not exist where they could talk about their desire to end their life. They don’t dare.

And if they do, what do they get for their honesty?

In many places, it’s a 72-hour hold in a psychiatric facility. With other people telling them what their options are. What they can and cannot do. Coercing them into treatments when in their bones they know the only “treatment” that will end their suffering is one they have to administer themselves.

With no one around them.

With no help.

With no ability to plan for all the contingencies or to ready their loved ones for the inevitable.

Without being able to say goodbye in a meaningful way or at all.

I think about Craig Ewert who left the living world surrounded by people who loved him and supported his choice to end his life when he felt it was the right time, even though they were crushed that they would soon be without him.

And then I think about Robin Williams.

Alone.

And I have to ask: Who are we to quantify a person’s suffering?

Can we really say that a person with a mental illness who wakes up every day and only sees more hours, days, months and years of agony is suffering less than a person with cancer who knows she has two months to live?

Really?

When we talk about people who are dying from a terminal medical illness, we talk about their quality of life. We understand and often even advocate for their right to say, “I’ve had enough.”

But when the conversation turns to people with mental illness, we talk about the quantity of their life, about keeping them alive for as long as possible because it’s the “best thing.”

For who?

Maybe if a world existed where people with terminal illnesses of any kind, including those of the psychological variety, were looked at in the same way it would be different. Yes, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act has been around since 2008, but we still live in a society where if you can’t see a person’s illness then she must be faking it.

I cannot tell you the number of times in my job employees and supervisors have said to me, “She doesn’t look sick.” Is it any wonder with that type of attitude people remain silent? Until that thinking is annihilated, thousands of people with mental illness will continue to turn to palliative measures like illegal drugs, alcohol or suicide.

I know the medical community in general doesn’t consider mental illness a terminal illness, but that’s nothing short of negligence and denial. Look at the numbers. More than ninety percent of people who commit suicide have been diagnosed with mental illness.  And the number of people with a terminal or chronic illness who are diagnosed with mental illness is also high, anywhere from twenty-five to seventy-seven percent.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t offer help to those who want it.

We should.

But we need to listen to what kind of help the person wants. Even if that “help” means ending their life.

And why don’t we do that for people with mental illness? It’s because of the suffering we’ll feel when they’re gone, because of the fear we have imagining life without them, because we don’t feel strong enough to carry on.

Sound familiar?

But nobody thinks or says that the left-behind are cowards, selfish or weak.

This is the post I’ve been referring to in my last two “Over Coffee” posts (here and here). This is the one I’ve been scared to write, the one I’ve been avoiding writing because I’ve been imagining the reaction people might have.

I know it will anger some people. I know some will say I’m advocating suicide, that I’m being irresponsible for suggesting that it’s okay for people with mental illness to take their lives. I know people will say that if I lost someone to suicide I’d feel different. I might. I don’t think there is anyone who can say with a hundred percent certainty how they’d react to a specific situation if they hadn’t yet faced it.

I also knew that no matter how I prefaced this post, how much I tried to clarify what I meant or to explain my rationale, I wouldn’t be able to get it right for everyone. And I’m at peace with that.

Because some things are worth saying. And this is one of those

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UPDATE: To Friend or Not To Friend

Don’t you hate it when you get sucked into a juicy story and for whatever reason you don’t get to finish it? It might be a movie, an “accidental” eavesdropped conversation or an article in your dentist’s waiting room. You’re left thinking, I wonder what happened?

Well, never fear. I won’t do that to you. This post is an update to one I wrote a few posts ago about the “problematic” Facebook friend request I received.

I asked for advice on how to handle it and got one of three responses from everyone who commented:

  1. Don’t accept it; you don’t need that kind of friend.
  2. Accept it, but keep your guard up and un-friend if necessary.
  3. Do what you want, but know that the person probably has a different memory of that time.

And the winner was…none of the above. At least initially.

A day or two after my post went up, the friend request came down (or I was technologically inept enough that I couldn’t find it anymore).

I’ll admit I breathed a (cowardly) sigh of relief. I hate loose ends, and I thought this end was tied off as tight as the suture knot Kelli Landers uses when de-nutting stray cats in Tawna Fenske’s Fiancée for Hire. (Hot, hilarious book by the way, “fuzz nuggets” included!)

In my senior year of high school when my friend told me god and her were homies, and I couldn’t have her without him, I took it for what I thought it was—the big belief brush-off.

So I couldn’t imagine why she’d casually toss a friend request over the wireless wall at me, and loosen that knot in the process.

When her friend request disappeared, I was glad I didn’t have to decide what to do. But I was also stumped—I couldn’t understand what brought her back around to my block after all that time.

Like I said in my first post about this conundrum, while I don’t overtly advertise my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) online, people could figure it out by reading through a blog post or two. Everything I put online is public. She could have seen that nothing had changed with me, spiritually speaking, which also appeared to be the case for her from what I could glean from her Facebook page.

What could she possibly think we’d have in common after all that…yucky stuff?

Apparently a lot more than me. And, as I found out, for a very good reason.

A day or two after the friend request disappeared I found a message in that mysterious “Other” file in my Facebook messages folder. I had just read another author’s Facebook post about checking that folder occasionally and what a creepy experience it can be. I was in the mood for a bit of creepy so I checked.

And there sat a message from my high school friend.

It wasn’t creepy.

It wasn’t what I expected.

And that, my friends, ended up being the most wonderful thing of all.

I hate to be wrong. Ask my husband.

What I found from reading my friend’s message is that neither she nor I were right…we simply had different memories of that time.

First of all, she said she’d read my blog post, and felt totally surprised and horrible. Her memories of our friendship involved lots of laughing and fun, and almost nothing to do with her church. She barely remembered me coming there and thought it was only for a short time. She didn’t remember me leaving the church abruptly or why, and she didn’t remember cutting off our friendship.

She thought we just drifted apart after high school when she moved away for college and I went to Australia, and she was sad about that.

Her timeline was even different from mine—she remembered us continuing to be friends after I stopped attending her church. All my recollections of our friendship came before that.

She apologized for anything she may have said back then that gave the impression we couldn’t be friends.

I told her it appeared we had two different experiences of our senior-year friendship, which of course we would—we’re two different people who looked back at the world through two different pairs of eighteen-year-old eyes.

I told her I had an idea of how she might be feeling, being suckered punched by my singular walk down memory lane. I told her that I had a co-worker/friend who sprung something similar on me a few months ago.

“Diane” told me about a comment I’d made to her when we first worked together ten years earlier that had crushed her. I told my high school friend that like her, I had no recollection of that comment, and I felt horrible that what I’d said had affected “Diane” in that way—and that she’d carried it around all those years.

“Diane” and I often had lunch together, we’d hang out at each others’ houses and our kids played together. And to think “Diane” had this awful memory of me in the back of her mind…

Ugh.

I told my high school friend I thought “Diane” was incredibly brave for telling me. Granted “Diane” didn’t write a blog post about it, so the mortification factor was kept between the two of us…

It was through the retelling of that lunch with “Diane,” that reminder of how horrible we can feel when we have no realization that we did anything to feel horrible about, that made me toss a friend request back over the wireless wall to my high school friend.

She accepted.

And I accepted that even with a rift as wide and ragged as the one I perceived between us, we could put our differences, and our different memories, aside and be friends. Again.

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So, what about you? Can you think of any of your relationships that were built or broken by a difference of perspective? What would you have done if you were me, now that you know the rest of the story? Do you agree with the Marcus Aurelius quote? Or have you had an experience where you’d argue that there most certainly was a “truth”?

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