Of Hammers, Life Soundtracks, and the dreams I will see

More wall building today at the BBQ place. This is like my favorite part – building walls defines the place. You see the shell of it, how it’s going to lay out, etc. Plus all the rest of the trades need the walls up so they can do their part.

Building walls also allows me to endulge in one of my odd passions: hammers. Really, I’m not joking. When I was looking at my Archeology degree, you could see the evolution of tools along with the evolution of society it’s self – as we grew, our simple tools became specialized. Something as simple as a hammer now comes in a ton of flavors, all specialized for a single task. Instead of basically being a sharpened rock on a stick (the axe) it’s much more interesting. With the introduction of metal working, for instance, a new hammer came into existence just to handle the job. When metal nails became common, the claw hammer (what everyone thinks of when they think of a hammer) became. Even that broke into two specialized groups – the Task Hammer (general use hammer) and the Framing Hammer for (looping back to the begining of this) building walls.

One of the hammers I’ve never personally owned is the Framing Hammer – never have I had the need to build enough walls at one time to add it to my collection. Now I have one – a big one 🙂 18 inch hickory handle, 28 oz head. Big honkin’ hammer. One of the laborers I hired to help move some stuff watched me use it, and started picking on me “That’s not a framing hammer – you’re just using a sledge hammer one handed!” But there’s a reason for using it – long handle means a high velocity for the hammer head, and the weight means you sink the sucker on the first real swing. You also don’t get a solid grip – you hold the hammer with two fingers (thumb and forefinger) and the rest of the handle rests on the other three fingers. When you swing to sink it, you clench your fist at the last moment, adding even more power to the swing. So it’s “tap, tap, BLAM!” to sink a 16 penny counter sinker nail.

It’s interesting to make another parallel with the development of tools – you use a framing hammer exactly the same way the SCA swings a rattan sword, and the same way you swing a real sword – two fingers hold it, and you clench during the swing. Just as the axe became the hammer, the techniques to work with maximum efficency evolved from the techniques for effective weapon use. Suppose that also means never fuck with a guy who’s holding a framing hammer properly either! 🙂 I know – I’m a geek, I find how society evolves from what was to what is way too fascinating some days. OK, well, most days 🙂

And it goes deeper than that – even with each of the specialized hammers, there’s a different technique for using it properly. Hammer and forge is an overhand strike with a firm grip on the handle, no last minute clench of the hammer (same with a 4 lb one hand sledge hammer. Which oddly enough is floating around in my truck for some inexplicable reason – how the hell did that get there?!) Tack hammers for fabric are used completely from the wrist, almost a dainty motion. It’s cool, I think. Sure, I could obsess of screwdrivers instead – but ya, know they really aren’t as specalized, and aren’t nearly as interesting as a parallel to society. I’m sure someone would debate that point, but, eh.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but, I love music, deep down in my soul love music. The entire day can just be… completely redefined by hearing the right song at the right moment. Hell, at the perfect moment, it can even make you re-evaluate your life and what you really want out of it. But every once in a while, something stands out – a soundtrack for the day, or even for a week. Molly Hatchet came on today while I was making a run to snag some food, and it really made me think of the things I’ve lost, dreams wise in the last 6 months.

“Just one more morning, I have to wake up with the blues
Pull myself outa bed, yeah, pull on my walkin’ shoes
Climb up on a hilltop, baby, see what I can see, yeah
The whole world’s fallin’ down on me, right down in front of me

And I’m hung up upon dreams, I’m never gonna see yet
Lord help me, baby, dreams get the best of me yet

Pull myself together, gonna put on a new face, yeah
Gonna climb down from the hilltop, baby,
Lord, get back in the race”
-Molly Hatchet, “Dreams I’ll Never See”

(I tossed it on my profile, if you’ve never heard it before)

I think that summed up part of what had been going through my head recently. When I lost the house, I had to have a place to live, and graciously Meredith and Lance gave me a place. Life kicked into survival mode – every action that I took was all about making it through the next day money wise. Then the next two days. Then the next three. Until I’m where I am now – which is thinking about the next month. It’s far from recovered, and I’ve yet to kick into “Thrive” mode where I get to enjoy it.

But it does mean that I can start setting targets again. I no longer have the dream of living out in the country with Heather and raising horses. But I kinda threw the baby out with the bath – there’s not a damned thing in the world that says I have to abandon living out in the country again some day. I don’t much care for living by myself, but, it would do my heart good to wake up every morning setting on 20 acres (hey, I wake up alone every morning, so, why not at least do it someplace I’m going to enjoy it more 🙂 On Sunday I helped my (ex) father in law move stuff around at the farm, and as usual he bought supper when we were done, and I chatted with him about the idea of some day buying a piece of his land (he’s got 180 acres) and plopping a house down. He let me know that just because I’m not married to Heather anymore didn’t exclude that idea from happening. (And that I’m still allowed to bring people out to ride horses if I like) Oh, it would be a couple years before that could happen, of course – right now I could go out and buy a tent to put on that land, but that’s not a good substitute for a house 😉

This puts me in the mood to slowly start putting things together in my head again, to decide what it is I want to set as my goals for life again. Sure, I’ve got the projects I’m doing and the production company, etc. – but those are business. Some things have to be for ME.

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