Friday’s Weekend Column

by James Glaser
May 6, 2006

I can remember hanging sheetrock on a vaulted ceiling while standing on two sections of scaffolding, and getting up the next day to do the same thing. This week I am putting ¼ inch plywood on a ceiling only eight feet above the floor, and it is killing me.

The truth is that I haven't put up any sheetrock for ten years, and even though the plywood weighs about a forth of what sheetrock does, the screwing it in, is the same. After that first day of work my shoulder started aching every time I lifted the drill for another screw.

I was going to use sheet rock, but locally they wanted $19.50 a sheet, and even at Home Depot and Lowes it was $12.50. I ended up with the plywood because it was less than ten bucks a sheet, and I needed thirty sheets. I'll end up painting it white, and I think it will look just fine.

Monday I loaded the thirty sheets on a cart in the store, and then loaded them into my truck, then unloaded them into the studio, and ended up getting one sheet on the ceiling. There are ceiling joists every sixteen inches, but whoever put them up didn't plan to cover them. It didn't matter which side I started from because no joist came out on eight foot intervals. Even if I cut the first one to fit, the next eight foot section was still off. I think I have 17 sheets up, and today my body told me to stay home.

My back aches, and my arms hurt, I have a cough, and my nose is running; all in all I am pretty miserable (my girlfriend says I'm pitiful) but I am happy that I got as much done as I did. It wasn't just the cost of the sheeting that got to me. Five pounds of 1¼" screws came to over seventeen dollars, and the paint was on sale for $88.00 per five gallon bucket. Now I know why new houses cost so much.

After I get the ceiling sheeted, the walls done, and a partition wall between the gallery and the work studio, I can paint everything. It sounds easy but there are many other things I need to do too. I am moving the stairway from the front of the shop to the back. I have to box in all the pipes, and do some wiring. Then I can start painting, white on the walls and ceiling, and forest green on the floor. I'll have to do a fair amount of insulating too.

Now I Know How the Indians Felt
When the White Man first came to the Americas, they killed many Natives with the new diseases they brought with them. Well, I have noticed that I get sick down here in the South a lot more than I did in Northern Minnesota. Maybe the forty below zero weather each winter kills a lot of germs, but I think it is more likely the lack of population. I could go five years up north without getting the flu or a bad cold. Down here it seems like I get something every four to six weeks.

I think it is new germs that haven't made it up North yet—germs for which my body has no immunity. Back in Northome you could see some flu or cold race itself around our town of 280 people, and if you liked you could stay home for a couple of weeks and avoid getting it. Down here, one trip to Target or Dillard's, and I see more people than I would see up north in six months. So it stands to reason that there are more types of flu and colds in this population, and my body hasn't figured out how to fight them off.

All this week I worked like a dog, and would come home being ready for a shower and bed. I think being run down opened me up to this body flu I have now. I am hoping it is the twenty four hour variety.

Working on the studio is really fun. I get to put just as much work into it as I want, and I want it to look great. So, maybe by the time I am done with all the work ahead of me I'll be in better shape.

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