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

Sometimes Things Work Out for The Best
by James Glaser
April 23, 2010
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Wanda and I moved into our new home last August. Ever since then I have been trying to get started on a woodworking studio for me. One thing after another has put roadblocks in my way. If I wanted to do a steel building on a concrete slab, the building would be up by now, but that is not what I wanted.

I figure this is going to be my last studio, and hopefully I'll get 15 to 20 years of work in it. Working on a concrete floor all day long is hard on your hips and knees. I don't know if building my floor up on piers and having a wood floor is going to be more expensive, but even if it is, the saving of my body will make any additional cost worth it.

"Up on piers," means that my building floor joists will be sitting on twenty three 6x6 inch treated timbers that will be put four feet down in the ground. Each one will have a collar of concrete around it with a couple pieces of rebar drilled through the wood extending into that concrete. Really not that hard to do, just a lots of -----------

I have built a lot of buildings up on posts or piers when I lived up in the North Woods of Minnesota. Some of them have been up for over twenty years now, and their floors are still level. Down here in the South the government does not trust that you will build yourself a safe solid building, so they make you pay thousands of dollars getting a designer to draw up your plans and an engineer to figure out how to build it.

In Minnesota I would pay $30.00 to get a permit, and down here it was $300.00. But down here in Florida they are quick to remind you, "We don't have income tax." That is true, but if a state doesn't have an income tax, then it will get you some other way. In Florida they have higher taxes and fees on almost everything to make up the difference. If you go into business down here, you won't believe all the fees and permits they hit you with.

So even though it was a hassle to get all the paperwork done, and it cost a lot of money, I have my building plans done, and a building permit. Everything takes longer than I would like, but at least now I can see progress and a starting day for construction is close at hand.


There Are Impressive People All Around Us

I stopped at the grocery store last night and while was waiting in the check out line, I noticed the guy running the cash register. I knew him, but couldn't place from where. Then it dawned on me that he worked at a lumber company I bought from.

When It was my turn to check out, I asked him if he had been laid off. He said "No, this is just an extra job." He went on to explain he works three nights a week, and his wife works two. They use the extra money to send their kids to a private school in town. He said he thought his kids were way behind from where he was in their grade when they were in public school. Now, a couple of years later his kids are doing great, and he thinks every hour he and his wife have to work to pay tuition is worth it.

That is an impressive American.

There are a lot of impressive people in Madison, Florida and every other town in America. People who volunteer their time at soup kitchens, and food shelves. Church groups who help young mothers and fathers learn how to be good parents. Big Brothers and Big Sisters. People who volunteer with the Chamber of Commerce. Boy and Girl Scout Leaders. Little league coaches. Soccer coaches. Hockey coaches. Parent/ Teacher Association members.

There are lots more that I can't think of right now, but you get my drift. Good people giving their time and talent to the community, for no personal gain. Those people make America great, and they make America a much better place to live.

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