Friday’s Weekend Column
“You Better Slow Down Boy”

by James Glaser
May 13, 2006

With those words and a cool bottle of water, a women introduced herself to me as I was working on my studio. It was hot out and the humidity was in the 90s, but I thought I was pacing myself. I had been using a hammer drill, and the lady could hear me from her studio. I guess she thought I wasn't taking the breaks she thought I should. She gave me a primer on heat stroke, and told me to repeat the mantra of the South, "hydrate hydrate, hydrate."

I figured I would fit right in down here, as I have always paced myself kind of slow. Slow and steady, always getting something done in the time allotted. That is how I had been working at the studio, and truth be told I was thinking I should kick it up a notch as I wasn't getting as much done as I wanted.

I learned a long time ago to be able to figure out how much I could get done in a certain amount of time. You bid on a few jobs, and you quickly learn that everything takes longer in actual work, than what you believe you can do in your mind. You look at a house and think, yeah I can get that framed up and the roof covered in a week, when in fact it takes three days longer. Yes, you could have done it in a week if everything went just right, but that doesn't happen very often.

Working on this studio is like working on an old house. Nothing is square or plumb. If you are building a wall and you want it to fit nice, you measure the first stud and the last one. You then add or subtract an eighth inch from each cut, depending on which end you start. Concrete floors are never level and old walls are never plumb. My studio building is like any thirty year old structure, it has settled in to the shape it is in, and you have to learn how to work around that. That is why on new construction things can go so much faster. You start out square and plumb, and every multiple cut there after can be the same.

I am down to my last four sheets of plywood, and will have to get another dozen. I need more screws too, and I know I'll need thirty more two by fours to partition an area in the back I can sub-lease to another artist.

I think I have all the paint I need for the walls and ceiling, but I still must insulate the east wall and the roll up door, also I need to install the A/C in the gallery.

I guess it is going to be slow and steady so I don't get heat stroke, which would really slow me down. Many people tell me about taking a siesta in the early afternoon, and I like that idea. Maybe it is being very American to call them a "power nap," but I have been doing that for years. Twenty minutes max of total relaxation can get you enthused for the rest of the afternoon, but fall asleep, and nap for longer, and you are shot for the rest of the day.

This working on the studio is still a lot of fun, and I keep making changes as I see the space in three dimensions. I need power tool space, layout space, work benches, and an area for finishing. Plus the gallery, where I can keep finished things clean. All I see ahead of me is work, and somehow I have to fit in a trip to Minnesota to see family, and figure out what I am doing with the house.

Oh well, keeping a steady pace will get me some where.

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