Fridays Weekend Column
We Work For Them
by James Glaser
They used to be called Public Servants, but today they no longer even pretend to serve us. I'm talking about government workers. If you have to go to city hall or the county court house, you are going to have to take off some time from work.
You ever sneak in there on your lunch hour? Well their lunch hour is at the same time as ours, and only a skeleton crew is working. They are the people with the least seniority. Most likely they will say that you will have to come back after lunch to find out the answer to your question.
Why isn't the court house or city hall open on Saturdays? Government workers could have Sunday and Monday off, and those who they are supposed to be working for, the rest of us, could get our business done with our government without losing time at work, for some, without losing pay.
My dad used to say that if you worked for the city, county, or state, you didn't get paid all that much, but you never got laid off. Well times have changed. Government workers still don't get laid off, but now they get good pay, a lot of times, great pay.
There are 16 million state and local government workers in the US, and there are several million more federal workers. They all get every holiday off. Most get every weekend off. Yes I know they work hard, they pay taxes too and I know we need them, at least some of them, but I still think some or many of them could work on the weekend so that the rest of us could have access to our government without taking time off work.
Is that too much to ask? I guess it is.
Wouldn't you know it, now that I have electricity in the shop, with an outlet right below the air conditioner, the weather has taken a change and it is nice enough to work with the windows open. I do have my track lighting installed, and they light up with the flip of a switch. I have three eight foot florescent lights above my work table, and a lot of my extension cords have been put away. I still need power run to the tools, but things are looking up. Every day I am excited about getting down to the studio. At about noon the sun quits hitting the east side if the building and I open up the overhead door, turn on the lights and pull the cord on the open sign. I still need a good sign outside, but every day a few people stop in to see what I am doing. It will take time, and really few people can afford my work, but they will come around.
Pricing what you make is the hardest thing to do. The piece I am working on now will have about three weeks of labor in it and a couple, maybe three hundred dollars in materials. Right there you have priced most people out of the market when you are selling a non-functional piece of art. If I was making boats, or guns, every working man in Tallahassee would be a potential customer. It always amazed me up north when a guy with three kids, a house payment, and probably a truck payment too, could take a week off work and come up hunting. Some guys would have a thousand dollar rifle, every do dad that Cabalas sells to get you that deer, and then he would have a week of eating out and going to the bars. No, I never figured out how they did it, but every hunting season was a real shot in the arm for the Northern Minnesota economy.
My 42 inch fan is working out good. I have it pointing out the back, and it sucks air from the front, through the shop and out the door. In theory it is taking all the sanding dust with it. I am now building a short wall with a hole the size of the fan in it that will fit in the ten foot wide door in the back. I think that will focus even more of a pull of air through the shop.
I feel good about what I am doing. The house up North hasn't sold, but it will some day. I have Jimmy Martin going up there to turn off the water and I am debating about heating the place. There are pros and cons about not heating. . . mostly cons. Actually the only "pro" is that you aren't paying out any money. There are about 60 cabins around the lake that shut down for the winter with no heat, so I guess I'll be all right.
I guess it is only natural that I'll worry about the place until it sells. Then when it does sell I'll have to think about buying a place down here. I guess everything will happen in good time.
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