Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Hot and Humid
by James Glaser
August 14, 2009

Some people will tell you it isn't the heat in the South that gets to you, but that it is the humidity. For me, it's both. Thursday morning at 7 am I checked the local weather, and it said the humidity was at 98%, and the temperature was 75. By the time I drove to Tallahassee it was 82, and by mid-afternoon it was in the high 90's.

I have been drawing up plans for the studio I am going to build on our new property. I'm excited about building it, but I know it is too hot and humid for me to even think about starting. So, for a while I'll be making the commute back and forth to Tallahassee, and my Railroad Square studio.

Of course, giving me more time in the design phase is probably a good thing. What I plan to do is build a studio like a double pen, dog trot Florida Cracker House of the late 1800's. When it is all done, it will be about 800 square feet of enclosed space in two 20x20 rooms, with another 800 square feet of deck or porch that is covered with a roof.

The Madison County building inspector has been very helpful, and gave me a couple of options for an elevated foundation. I could build on a concrete slab and that would be a lot simpler, but that isn't what I want. I want to be up off the ground and have wood floors under me. Concrete is great for a garage, but if you are putting in any amount of time on a slab, your hips are going to let you know it was a bad idea.

Besides that, wood floors are quieter, you can easily build off of them, and you can anchor your tool to the floor with ease. But the real reason I want the studio up off the ground and looking like an old Cracker home, is that I want it to look nice. It will be my last studio, and I want it special.

So, while I am waiting to get the studio started, there is plenty to do in our new home and its surrounding yard. Wanda and I work in the heat, humidity, rain, or shine spending time every day doing some sort of yard clean up. The place has a beautiful yard, but it has not been tended to for about a year. In a year in Florida, plants can get pretty wild. We trim and cut out what we don't want. We plan and talk about how we are going to plant and grow a formal garden—what we will add, and what we will take away. It's all fun.

Inside the house we are still in the empty-and-put-away-the-stuff-in-the-boxes stage. I think we are going to be in that stage for while longer. We have yet to put any art work or framed photos on the wall. I think once we start it will be fun, but right now we are a bit timid in starting that.

Also, we realize we have too much furniture for the size of the house we have and will have to cull some things—either that, or start an addition. We are both thinking "Florida Room." Florida Room in any other state is a sun room. There is a set of French doors off our living room open onto a slab outside. I imagine the people who built the house were always going to add on, but never got around to it. We will.

It is hard to remember just when things start to cool off down here, maybe late September. Whenever that is, I will be hot to trot on the studio. New studio means no studio rent payment and no commute. Heck, maybe I could give it a few hours a day early mornings.

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