Saturday, March 15, 2014

back on the grid

... and my back, and my hands, and my feet HURT.

Twice a year, High Point, North Carolina hosts an International Furniture Market for vendors and buyers of furniture from all over the place (in case you didn't "get" that from the words just before "for").  It's a huge boost to the economy of this struggling town, and for people like me who don't have a "regular" job.  I just spent the last four days leading a crew of art unpackers.  It's not that the work is HARD, by any means.  It IS physical; there's breaking down big crates and removing the individual pieces, and then removing the cardboard corners that protect them from each other, and then removing the staples that held the corners, then placing the sorted pieces around the showroom, stacked vertically against the carpeted walls WITHOUT sticking them to said walls by way of the velcro in the corners.

In seasons past, we've worked in a nearly-complete, carpeted showroom at the top of the escalator, with artwork already all over the walls, so we'd know where to put the new stuff.  We've unpacked and inventoried anywhere from six to nine crates in any one season.  We've had three or four six-hour days to do it in, and we've made decent money doing it.  THIS season, we're starting from scratch in a showroom that's twice as large or larger and has concrete floors and NOTHING already on the walls other than carpeting.  We unpacked TWENTY-THREE crates over the course of four eight-hour days.  I put in the most hours, followed by Stephen, followed by a girl who just got a real job at the same time, so she worked for us every morning but also had to leave EARLY every day, followed by my sister-in-law, and rounded out by a guy who had WANTED to work two hours at the end of every day but only worked the first one.  What a help he was!

We, the real team, got very good at what we had to do.  We had one tool we called "Magic" because it truly was.  We used boxcutters and screwdrivers and pliers.  We cut into our own hands when the tools slipped.  We gave ourselves paper cuts from the cardboard corners.  We walked back and forth across that concrete floor so many times, we could probably all do with a couple of weeks' worth of chiropractic adjustments, or at the very least, a weekly one-hour full-body massage for the next month.  We made note of frame damage.  I was in daily contact with the bossman via phone, text, and email, and I logged hours, progress, damage, and anything else.  I'll be referring the chick who got the full-time job as the foreman for the fall season, because WE will be in California, and she was really good.  Plus, she was the one that brought in "Magic."

Right now, my hands are swollen and tingly.  My feet and back are just sore.  Can I soak for a week?  No... I still have a little "admin" work to do so we can all get paid.  That feels good to say.  And I'm back for all y'all.  Didja miss me?

1 comment:

  1. I totally missed you. Sounds like you had an amazing time. Your descriptions had me hurting right along with you. I'm glad you got to work even if it was back-breaking. You really have a talent for painting with words. Good post.


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