Letterpress List No. 81: Jacked Up

One of the cool things about the Typecast Press printshop is the high ceilings. See, when you’re moving heavy stuff around a crowded storage area, it helps to have access to the airspace above things. All you have to do is — oof! — lift it — grunt! — high enough off the ground — ugh! — and you’re home.

Keeping an item aloft is not as hard as getting it there, in Shop Boy’s opinion. (Of course, be sure to save enough energy to lower it — oof! — back to — oh, man! — the ground afterward. Whew!)

It’s like at our house, which has 10-foot ceilings but one very skinny hallway between the kitchen and dining room, with a favorite old (frail) cabinet taking up half the width. This was a tea cabinet from Mary’s grandmother’s home that was in terrible shape when it arrived. (“You’re kidding, right?” Shop Boy said to Mary at the time. She doesn’t kid when it involves Grandmama’s memory. And Shop Boy should tread lightly here as well, seeing as how I was the first Yankee allowed into the family, thanks to Grandmama’s nod of approval.) Mary’s dad helped fix the old piece, while Mary and sister Melissa repainted flourishes on the face of the thing.

Perhaps most importantly, Mary’s mom made molasses bars with baking ingredients like those that would soon be housed in the “new” cabinet.

Which is now nice. But no less in the way.

So Shop Boy is constantly boosting chairs, baskets, boxes, upright fans and the like to the free airspace above it, walking carefully past and lowering the item to the floor.  (“Going the other way around” means either a.) walking out the front door, down the sidewalk, out to the alley behind the rowhouses and in through the back gate or b.) past the wacky dining room chandelier, two steps down to the front hall, up a curving flight of stairs past Mary’s favorite artworks, down a looong hallway and finally down a really tight, turning set of back steps to the kitchen.

The truth is, it gives me a little thrill to boost stuff above my head. And some day, if Shop Boy’s lucky, I’ll be a little old man unable to do stupid things like this anymore. That will make me cranky. (Just warning you ahead of time.)

Anyway, as we’ve discussed, I like moving impossible-to-move things. Always been like that. Shop Boy isn’t Superman or anything — more like The Blob. But I’m just strong enough, and clever enough, that if you don’t watch me, I’ll have that heavy thing over there over here before you can say, “Go get some help with that thing. Are you crazy?” It, ahem, helps to wait till Mary’s left the room.

So we know my fetish. Sue me. Shop Boy’s comfortable with who he is.

Here’s what scares me: Lately, I’ve heard Mary talking about getting a pallet jack. How we need some come-alongs and maybe a johnson bar.

Excuse me?

It wasn’t so long ago that Shop Boy had to teach her how to pry open an ink can without jabbing a screwdriver into her opposite wrist, and now she’s talking about doing some light rigging?

(Bruce Baggan, if you are reading this, please: Save me!)

Oh, nothing too heavy, she assured me. Just some paper that got delivered the other day. (Whew — false alarm, Bruce. We can leave the machine moving to you and yours.)

Shop Boy: “How much paper?”

Mary: “Oh, it’s just the poster board that I ordered. But you should have seen the trouble the guy had getting it onto the loading dock.”

Shop Boy: “How much paper?”

Mary: “Well, there was a minimum order …”

Shop Boy: “How much paper?”

Quick math quiz, folks: 550 kilograms equals X number of pounds?

(Yeah, Shop Boy cheated too. Aren’t iPhones great?)


The sheets are about the usual 22 inches by 36 or so inches, I’m guessing. And they’re stacked 5 feet high. Sitting on a pallet with reinforced feet! Minimum order? Yikes.

That’s a lot of printing.

But we’re assembling designs for a couple of late-fall, um, selling events, and I guess Mary just wanted to be sure not to run out of paper.

Shop Boy’s thinking that she can relax.


Letterpress List No. 81

I’ve almost forgotten how to do this list thing. If you’ve missed Shop Boy’s little exercise in mix-and-match musicality, sorry to have gotten out of the habit. If you hate it, sorry, but I’ve missed it myself. How about an hour’s worth of music to, uh, size up and ponder what to do with a 1,200-pound stack of paper by? At least until the pallet jack gets here.

Seven Nation ArmyThe White Stripes/Jack White (I could use the extra hands.)
Do It Again Steely Dan (Go back, Jack. We’ve just found a new home for the stack.)
She’s Got the JackAC/DC (OK, enough. Besides, this is one song that even AC/DC fans would agree is just a touch too much.)
Touch Too MuchAC/DC (That’s more like it.)
DreamsVan Halen (Higher and higher. Not David Lee Roth-era VH, but not bad.)
Yankee RoseDavid Lee Roth (Ah, I feel better now. “A bottle of anything and a glazed donut … to go” always hit the spot. Did Shop Boy mention that Grandmama lived 22 steps from a Krispy Kreme? Ooh.)
Reach for the SkySocial Distortion (A Yankee? Really…)
Runs in the Family Amanda Palmer (Of Dresden Dolls fame. Mary calls it polka music. She’s no fan. More for us!)
Elevate MyselfGrandaddy (Bouncy b.s. Dude protests a bit too much about staying musically pure. Fun, though.)
ShoopSalt N Pepa (“Straight up, wait up, hold up, Mr. Lover.”)
Straight UpPaula Abdul (Again, sue me.)
Save YourselfStabbing Westward (From Mary’s former jar-opening technique.)
Real Live Bleeding Fingers Lucinda Williams (Saw her recently here in Baltimore. She can still bring it.)
Scar Tissue Red Hot Chili Peppers (OK, we get it, Shop Boy. Great song, though.)
Purple Haze Jimi Hendrix (Excuse me while I kiss the sky.)
Pump It Up Elvis Costello and the Attractions (Ooof!)
Bombshell Powerman 5000 (Don’t drop it.)
Dude (I Totally Miss You) Tenacious D/Jack Black (Genius or garbage? Either way, it’s cool with Shop Boy.)

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