The English Patient

Red Oakwood and Drill… check!

June 7

Patience. Something I have little of and probably the most essential aspect of building my Etsy store.

For example, at this very moment, I am fuming, because I was just about to go outside to start drilling holes into a new sign. Alas, I have misplaced a bag of stuff that includes my drill bits and zip ties. Where the fuck did I put that bag?? I’m SURE I packed it when I left Matt and AR’s apartment. It must be here somewhere, or in my car. But I’ve checked both places three times and I can’t find it.

And that’s a thing with me. I have a tendency to “lose” things. I like to think of it as misplacing things. I mean, I better have fucking misplaced it because I’ve already spent a shit ton of money!

OK. Relax. Breathe. It’s fine. The bag is somewhere. This does not need to be wasted time. I can write. I need to write for the blog anyway. So here I am.


These signs are not going to be made overnight. The more I learn during this process, the more I see the value in taking my time. Because sometimes when I rush, I make mistakes that I can’t undo. Which is fine; this is a learning-as-I-go kind of thing, but when mistakes equal money, it gets a little stressful. And the whole initial point of this thing, was because it was a stress reliever! Something fun and hands-on that I enjoy. So I have to keep bringing myself back to my intent.

I had a very successful trip to the Home Depot yesterday. As always, I feel like a kid in a candy store when I first walk in with my little list of things I need to buy. Today, I’m buying wood, a drill, and a drill bit that can make 1-inch hole.

I walk over to the drill aisle, and am immediately overwhelmed. I have no idea which drill I need. What brand? How much is too much? Can it hold any size drill bit? I am so ashamed to admit this, but there are a lot of women in orange aprons walking by me, and I opt not to ask them. I realize this as it’s happening and yell at myself. Then of course, an older man walks by and asks if I need help. As always, I answer with a resounding, “Yes.”

Unfortunately, I can’t really understand his broken English, and I have no idea what verbiage he’s using when speaking about drills anyway, so I’m still feeling lost. Ironically, he asks a girl to help us. She is not in an orange apron, because she actually works for DeWalt (a drill brand). She’s probably in her twenties and very knowledgable about drills. So basically, she’s super fucking cool. She quickly shows me a good deal on one of the drills and when they both realize I can’t drill a hole as big as I want to, she shows me something called a switchblade, which is specifically made for drilling big holes! How wonderful. This is all working out swimmingly. I thank both of them profusely and make my way to the wood aisle.

Again, who am I kidding? I have no idea what I’m looking for or how to find it. All I know is, I want really good hardwood. Not the cheap stuff, because now that I’ve used the cheap stuff for me first two signs (I mean, not totally cheap, it’s not plywood… it’s decent), I’ve experienced how difficult it is to drill holes in different parts of the wood. And it’s much more likely to split when drilling all the way through. And not to sound like a wimp, but my wrists get really tired when it takes 10 freaking minutes to drill one hole!

So I once again find someone who works there and tell him I need good hardwood. We go down an aisle and he shows me some birch. It’s precut so I can just grab it and go. “We have some other wood, but it’s not cut.” Which one is better? “Oh, the other kind, yea. It’s gonna be more expensive though.”

That’s what I want. Take me there. Let’s do this. The young man asks me about what I’m doing and I tell him all about it. He’s very sweet and interested. We pick out a nice piece of pure bond red oakwood and have it cut into four pieces.

I cannot even explain how excited I am about a few pieces of wood. It’s bizarre.

Once home, I bring each piece of wood out back, to the shared area of the apartment building, and sand each one. An older man walks by. “Wow… that’s a nice piece of wood.”

I am like the proudest parent ever when I smile at him and say the most genuine thank you I may have ever said. I didn’t even know you could compliment a piece of wood, but yes, it certainly is a nice piece of wood.

2 thoughts on “The English Patient

  1. I totally get what you mean regarding losing things. I had a similar experience this weekend while playing Scuba Instructor. Long story short, I walked back and forth from my hotel room to the car 4, yes count them, 4 times before I realized that what I was in a complete panic about was actually in my hoodie front pocket all along. I never made it to the “breathe” stage. I was running late in the first place and at 5AM with no coffee yet, panic set in and derailed any hope of breathing……..Ugh, 20 minutes of my life I will never recover.

    Anyway, its awesome to hear your enthusiasm about your signs. There’s nothing like that “Proud Parent” feeling of an accomplishment.

    Keep, it going! You’re doing great!


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