Through tough times, Joe says, he kept his sanity by coaching basketball and soccer for elementary and junior high kids. He's always believed in the spirit of team sports. It teaches you to interact with people, to prepare for the real world, he says.
But he wasn't working, and Becky knew her husband was unhappy. She told him to stop the self-pity, that she didn't know him anymore.
He wasn't the man she had married.
"There are those who dream and wish and there are those who dream and work."
Joe came across that saying this year on his smartphone's motivational app and wrote it down. He taped the paper to his bathroom mirror so he would see it first thing in the morning.
It was time to get his act together. He could no longer wait for a president to make things better.
In 2008, Joe and Steve started their own business: S&D Flooring. They thought they would save people money by cutting out the middle man. They'd lay down hardwood for $3.50 a square foot instead of the $5 many companies charged.
"The flooring thing was a bit of a gamble," Joe says. "When it was good, it was really, really good, and then, suddenly, it wasn't there."
As the economy began its painful downward slide, S&D Flooring floundered. Housing construction slowed, and no one had money to spend on luxury items like hardwood floors.
Maybe they could have marketed themselves harder, Joe says, trying to come to terms with what he saw as failure.
In the end, all that Joe and Steve were left with were a website and thousands of glossy business cards.
At first, he was optimistic the economy would pick up again and business would get back on track. He thought Obama would be able to turn things around.
Many of Nevada's long-term unemployed are like Joe: people who lost work, put their faith in a new president and then gradually lost hope as money got tighter and tighter.
Obama and Romney both know that well and have visited the state several times this year.
Joe has voted for Democrats before: Clinton in his second term and Al Gore in the controversial 2000 election. He has to think hard to remember how he voted in 2004. It was that close for him.
"I think in the end, I voted for (John) Kerry," he says. He and Becky had both been impressed with Kerry's running mate, John Edwards, long before scandal ended his political career.
In 2008, after Joe's flooring business went belly-up, the choice seemed clearer.
"I think Obama inherited a lot of problems," he says. "We're still living in the Bush years."
But work didn't come his way, and as Obama wrestled with Republicans in Congress to pass a stimulus program and health-care reform, Joe found himself mired in gloom.
"I had a failed business," he says. "It hurt inside."
Joe's kids noticed that Daddy was spending a lot of time in front of the television. "American Pickers" is his favorite show, but he doesn't even remember what he watched, just that he spent hours numbing himself.
He applied for a furniture showroom sales job once but felt he wasn't hired because of his tattoo. It shows Wolfman and Frankenstein drag-racing motorcycles through a cemetery and runs the length of his right arm. The man who interviewed him kept staring at it.
At first, he thought he would try welding and visited Truckee Meadows Community College to find out about enrolling in their metalworking classes. He ended up signing up for a five-week course this summer that helps first-time students -- many of them first-generation or low-income -- prepare for college.
The first day, he came home and threw his books on the table. He told Becky it was too hard. It was embarrassing sitting in class with kids his son's age. He didn't even know how to type. How was he going to get through English, one of the core requirements?
Becky said she would help him with anything he needed.