I suppose this post could be the sequel to "If You Teach a Girl to Fish." The guy pictured above wearing safety glasses and using a circular saw is my buddy Doug, literally the aider of damsels in distress (because that day when I called him, his response was, "Any time I have the opportunity to aid a damsel in distress, I'll take it").
Four years ago I bought a beautiful, custom built drafting table on craigslist.com. I'd been looking for just the right drafting table for years, and when I saw this one, I fell in love. I drove to Apple Valley, plunked down $200, and carted it away in my truck. The following winter I wrote The Dogs Who Saved Me while sitting at that table every afternoon. Problem was, though, it was just a few inches too tall, so I could never quite get comfortable sitting on a stool or standing up.
Two weeks ago when I had a new floor put in the family room, I called Doug and asked if he would come over and help me move furniture back in place so I could function in my house again. This prompted his damsel in distress response, and he appeared an hour or so later, helping me not only with the furniture but the TV and computer as well.
The drafting table had been moved to the patio during the flooring job, and when Doug asked if I wanted to bring it in, I explained my issue with the height and asked him if he thought it would be feasible to just chop a few inches off the legs. This time his response was "Get a taller stool."
In the end, though, he went home and returned with a saw, a router, a fancy ruler and some other fascinating stuff, and went to work.
I will confess here how envious I was as I watched him. When I mentioned something about the "boy skills" he possessed, he referenced his experience with Wood Shop in junior high, and that hurt just a little. I had asked counselors in both junior high and high school to put me in wood shop or auto shop classes but was told those were "all boy" classes. Times are different now, of course, and girls are certainly not discouraged from taking vocational education classes at the high school where I teach, and I'm glad for that. I love wood, and the idea of having both the skill and tools to build something lasting is a very compelling one to me. Alas, I'm relegated now to standing on the sidelines and watching. Hmm. Perhaps a wood working class might be placed on the agenda as an activity after retirement.
Less than an hour after Doug began, we were carrying the drafting table back to its spot by the window in the family room. We set it down, and I shook it. Absolutely amazingly stable. No wobble. Ahhhh, the perfect workspace.
When I'm writing, I often do so with a notebook open and also the internet open as well, especially if I'm working on a blog post. (In this post already, I've double-checked my accuracy on "circular saw" and "router," and I grabbed the link to the previous post.) The drafting table gives me lots of space for all that plus room to stick a lamp and a few pencils and a cup of tea. And a cat, on occasion. I have illustrated some of this in the photo below (sans cat). A removable sheet of glass covers the surface of the table, so I can place things under it—such as the outline of the children's book series I'm currently working on.
Having the table just right is a small thing in the larger scheme of my life. But... workspace to a writer is much like a classroom is to a teacher; you kinda need a place for all your books and pencils and stuff.