This evening I headed over to Capitol Hill to get a mat for an Etsy print I needed framed. It was a great experience - the gentleman helping me, DJ, was quiet and intelligent, but also enthusiastic about the choices I made. He loved the frame, which was clearly inexpensive and from Target (and yeah, me and my big mouth, I totally told him that's where it was from in a weird confessional way), and thought it looked great with the mat color I picked. It was such a good experience, and so inexpensive, that I decided to get another print framed. This one was small, but such an odd shape that I hadn't had any luck finding a frame that could work. So I selected a simple white, wood frame, and a mat that complimented the image, and plain glass.
$70, and I'm assembling it myself.
I knew framing was expensive, but wow! But, also wow - what a great trade to learn. You need space, and specialized equipment, but if I could learn how to do that, that would make a great Plan B. Have you seen this article that's making the rounds right now, from the New York Times? It's called "The Case For Working With Your Hands." I like to think that's not something I've ever needed convincing about, that I've always valued work, and trades[wo]men. If it was ever something I was elitist about, all traces of snobbery have disappeared since dating Cam. He's always made his living as a mechanic of sorts - he's worked on cars, motorcycles, and boats, and now, on hydrogen generators. He's got more career mobility than I'll ever have, and I really admire the knowledge he picks up along the way and how he's constantly building upon that base, and using it to solve new problems. Everyone does that to a degree, of course, but nothing I do gets our DirecTV wired through the air ducts*. Cam took one look at where the TV needed to be mounted, and where the cables came through, and made it happen.
I have said for a long time that building and decorating cakes for Baskin-Robbins was quite possibly my favorite job. I learned a ton, and I've recently been chipping the rust off those old skills, baking cakes for friends. So far, so good, and I'd be lying if I said I'd never entertained the idea of chucking my career (after much more practice, of course) and hanging out my shingle as a baker.
Dipping my baby toe into the world of framing, though, gave me another idea (a fantasy, really). How cool would it be to apprentice with a framer, then open up a shop? I love the design aspect, of picking the right mat and frame and detail for a picture. But as appealing as that all sounds, I'm equally intrigued by the tools of the trade, necessary for cutting wood and fitting corners and sizing glass.
I'm not really someone who has dreams about what I'm going to be when I grow up. Gross as it sounds, I already got what I wanted. I got - and have - my dream job. But lately, I'm starting to get glimpses of what my next life could be like. It's a relief, really, because between getting said dream job and now, I've been a little worried about the "what next," about how to have goals and dreams when I got what I really wanted at 25. How exciting to see there's still a path ahead of me.
*On a side note, there was one home problem I should have been well-equipped to solve, and I failed miserably: wiring my record player to play through my stereo. I carefully plugged everything in, from turntable to preamp and out of the preamp into the stereo... And it sounded AWFUL. Distorted and loud and just dirty. I should have realized hey, it sounds like this is double-amplified, a problem I know how to solve when dealing with my recording equipment for work, but nope. I got a new stylus, Cam and I grounded the crap out of every stage of the setup even though it didn't sound like a grounding issue, and I even got a new, fancier preamp in case that was the issue. And then I turned to my genius friends, the audio engineers. They all thought of the same question instantly: "Hey, is there a preamp already built in to the record player?" Duh. Yes. So now I have not one, but two useless preamps. But hey, I can listen to my vinyl again!