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Sick day

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Being a sole proprietor working alone in the shop or at the computer – or both, in my case – can be lonely, but you don’t get sick often. That’s the good news.

If you spend most of your day working alone you avoid coming into contact with people carrying a host of communicable diseases. Like the common cold. I used to average at least one cold a year, maybe two, but since becoming a full-time woodworking writer I’ve had exactly two colds in the last six years. But last weekend I interacted with hundreds of people at three Living History events, the last of which was a history camp for grade-schoolers, scientifically proven to be the most unclean life form on earth. Sure enough, yesterday I came down with a cold, my first in three years.

I don’t know how colds affect you, but in addition to sneezing, coughing, and raising the price of Kleenex stock, colds make me very stupid. My brain fuzzes up, making such simple tasks as tying shoes and using zippers problematic. (Those two, in particular, are so easy to get mixed up.) Add cold medicine to the mix, and I’m a walking accident waiting to happen.

Needless to say I don’t touch shop equipment when I have a cold, but even out-of-the-shop work suffers. I did a chair sketch yesterday on which I put two left armrests; finalizing a project cut list turned the myriad fractions on the list into an art form. Sadly, that art form resembled something done by Jackson Pollock.

Fortunately, I have plenty of nonshop work to keep me busy until I get a bit more unstupid. In the meantime, whatever I mess up now I can always fix later in rewrite.

But what do you folks do when you’re sick? If you’re the only one in the shop, how do you handle a time of illness when you really need to be working, but realize that machinery isn’t the best thing to be around? And even if what you need to get done doesn’t involve shop equipment, do you find that you just can’t do your best work when you’re sick? And, if so, how do you work around it?

I think everyone reading this would like to know. I know I would.

Till next time,


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