Saturday Morning Musing

I enjoy arts and crafts. Always have. As a child, I enjoyed gluing stuff to other stuff and cutting up things (many of which I was not supposed to). While I didn’t make much of note prior to college, I really found myself enjoying theater carpentry. It was so much fun to build sets or props! I may not have loved every single second of my job working at the theater, but it is the only job I miss having so far. I learned a lot of great skills there and went from someone who couldn’t cut a straight line even with a straight line to follow to someone who could take a picture a set designer gave me and turn it, plus a few hundred dollars, into a set for a musical. I really wish my college laptop hadn’t died, because then I’d have some pictures to share along with today’s post.

After college, my opportunity to build things has been somewhat lessened. I don’t have easy access to all of the tools, work space, and scrap lumber that I used to, so assembling a pantry and bookshelf out of scrap wood and set pieces that were destined for the trash is no longer possible. Neither is easily building a coffee table you can dance on. Over the past almost 5 years, I’ve been collecting power tools and presents and finances allow, so I’m finally ready to start making stuff again! Or, rather, I will be once I’ve got an air-compressor and air-powered nail/staple guns. Well, actually, I suppose I could just screw everything together. Staples and glue makes for easy destruction, which is probably a bit more important for theater than if I’m making a nifty gaming table.

Outside of theater carpentry, I haven’t done much crafting. Pottery would be fun to learn, as would anything to do with metal. Metal is a bit expensive, though, and the resources it requires are a bit more than an extension cord and a garage. I’d need a real workshop and proper protective gear if I wanted to learn to weld anything. Interestingly, though, there’s apparently a workshop around where I live that I can use if I’m willing to pay $100 a month to become a member. It’d include training on all of the equipment they have, access to a work space (or “maker space” as they called it), and a ton of like-minded peers who’d be happy to give me pointers if I was attempting something beyond my skill. I’d love to sign up, but $100 a month is most-certainly not in my budget.

Honestly, after budgeting and doing taxes last week, I feel like I’ve got less money than before. That doesn’t really make sense because now I actually have a full understanding of my financial situation. It is actually better than I thought it was, though not by much, and that joy was mitigated by the fact that I, for the first time in my life, owed taxes. I’m not sure how, since I haven’t compared this year’s filing to last year’s yet, but I’ll hopefully figure it out soon and be able to prevent it in the future. In the mean time, I just need to tighten my financial belt a little more and see what room I can make between my expenses and my income for extra loan payments on my car.

Which, you know, is going to make it hard to buy things I don’t actually need like a bunch of lumber or an air compressor and nail/staple gun. It is hard to justify building a fancy and extravagant gaming table when my “fun stuff just for me” budget is $30 a month. At least there’s other stuff I can do, like create a sand mold with my girlfriend as a date last weekend and then, this week, go watch a bunch of molten iron get poured into it. Having never seen anything like this before, I’m super interested to see it happen. The biggest question on my mind is how viscous the liquid metal is. The thing I made has a lot of small details and I’m concerned they won’t come out. And that I did a shit job of making sure it was all level and neat once I was done. I’m probably going to need to get an angle grinder or a dremel to clean it up. That’ll be tons of fun, though!

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