KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Monday, February 18, 2008

Break a Leg!

Now I know why in wishing someone luck, people (at least in the U.S.) often say, "Break a leg." It works!

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about how my cabinetmaker husband, Ed, ruptured one Achilles tendon three quarters of the way through. I told you that he'd had a brilliant idea for avoiding crutch use while he's doing work that requires him to be on his feet rather than sitting. Ever seen drywall stilts? People who are putting up drywall and using spackle wear special stilts to allow them to reach the ceilings and the tops of walls. He planned to retrofit the one for his right leg so that it would adapt to the position of his foot, which is casted so that it points down. Then, the theory went, Ed would be able to walk everywhere and still have the use of his hands—no holding on to crutches—for things like holding a lacquer spray gun or nail gun.

Alas, Ed couldn't figure out a way to retrofit the one stilt, so there are no funny photos to show. The stilts still will be handy, once Ed's leg is healed, for when he must work on full-height cabinets that are already installed.

What he's done instead is to use a Dremel tool to shave back the edge of the cast atop his foot and add some padding under it, and then wear a cast stock and an old sneaker that he's modified to widen it to fit the cast. That gives him a flat walking surface; remember that his leg was casted with his toes pointing downward to facilitate the growing together again of the two ends of the tendon. He walks without crutches when he needs to by throwing the casted leg out sideways and then stepping forward with his other leg.

He's already cut and primed five large cabinets that will go inside closets. He'll start assembling them tomorrow with the help of our 13-year-old son Neil. That kid seems to have his dad's talents; he's pretty darn good and focused in the wood shop. When it's time to install the cabinets this coming weekend, Ed will pay our hulking son-in-law, Li, to help him lift, with the aid of a stair-climber hand truck, and install them all. Son-in-law's a veterinary technician, not a cabinetmaker, but he follows directions well. ;-)

And Ed says that he had to injure his leg for his new business to really get going. Before he did so, business was slow. Now, in addition to the two large projects he's currently working on, three more are in the offing, and he has several more bids out.

The moral of this tale: Get yourself in a spot where you aren't set up for lots of work, and it'll come your way immediately.

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