I had a professor in college who decided he was going to work construction during the summer. He's obviously in a different situation than you, but I still liked the idea.
A few thoughts:
1) Read "Shop Class as Soulcraft:" http://www.amazon.com/Shop-Class-Soulcraft-Inquiry-Value/dp/... . I have no idea if it will help.
2) Have you thought about an IT job that requires, say, moving around computers (as colleges must require somewhat regularly), or maintaining systems on ships, or something like that? I have no idea if any of that would work.
3) Could you combine two part-time jobs? An IT job that pays bills, perhaps, with a job doing something else?
I also recommend de Botton's The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work to those who enjoyed it. I read it in a single sitting.
And blessedly, I didn't have to negotiate any subscribe forms at nytimes.com.
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