Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A Penny for Your Thoughts


Will Work for Pennies

My DIY reality this week is all about pennies.  Not the kind I used to purchase penny candy when I was a child, or the bright copper ones I put in my penny loafers forty years ago.   My pennies these days are 12d’s, 8d’s, 6d’s, and everything in between.

As I pounded in several hundred nails over the past few days, I had lots of time to think about such things as the medieval system for classifying nails.  This is my brain hot-dipped, galvanized, common, shanked, ringed, sinkered, and bright box nailed.

So why are they called 12-penny nails… those three and a half inch nails that are giving me blisters and hammer elbow?  It goes back to how many pennies were needed to buy 100 nails back in the 1500s.  It turns out that the letter “d” after the number is an abbreviation for the most commonly used Roman coin (the denarius).  The number refers to the length of nail.

If I’m doing the math correctly, which is never a given, twelve pennies bought 100 nails back in the day.  I paid 445 pennies for 96 ring-shanked nails this past weekend.  Kind of made me long for the days of yore.  Can you picture it?  Me in a toga, eating figs, tapping in twelve denarii worth of nails? 

In the process of building a studio addition onto my mountain cabin, I am learning invaluable lessons that go beyond the importance of purchasing and using the right nails.  It seems each stage of the building process needs a different kind of fastener.  Early in the process I was tempted to use screws to make parts of the job easier and faster to complete.  It turns out that would have been a big mistake.  Screws don’t have the sheer strength provided by 12d nails.

Isn’t that true of building a life also?  Finding the strength that matches each phase of the process of becoming?  Just as I used the right kind of anchor hardware in the foundation stage of this do-it-myself project, I seek to live a life anchored in ways that ensure the stability to weather any storm.  

Isn’t it amazing that something we often take for granted, nails and pennies, are essential to building something lasting?  I invite you to join me in creating something worth every single blister.  As Squidoo's Home Renovator Contributor, I'm looking for a few kindred hammer swingers.  Please stop by today.  I'll give you a penny (worth at least $4.45 with inflation) for your thoughts.

16 comments:

  1. I always enjoy your life lessons, RW, and the ways you present them.

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    1. Thanks, Susan. Sure means a lot to me to have you stop by and absorb these thoughts and lessons. Priceless!

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  2. I always love your amazing way with words! This is certainly a nail lesson, as well as a life lesson, that we could all benefit from reading and taking to heart. I had no idea about the origin of nail classification. As we are surrounded by a world of change, I actually feel secure in things that do not change. And, yes, I can imagine you running around in a toga, eating figs and tapping in your nails. Women who survived in those days had to be strong and determined. Yes, you have proven over and over that you certainly could have worn the toga, built a home and reinvented the wheel if you so desired :)

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    1. I might try the whole toga and fig thing today while working on my construction project. I'll have to tie rocks to the hem to keep the wind from exposing things that aren't meant to be on public display. Thanks for the gift of your words and affirmations. Worth so much more than any quantity of pennies.

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  3. I don't have a hammer to swing, but I have lots of cleaning solutions up my sleeve to keep our homes clean, green and healthy. I'm right there with you on building an new start and giving it a good foundation. I spent a lot of sweat equity the past two months ensuring the safety, security, stability and happiness of my new home! And I feel good! Awesome post, Diana! Your wisdom and insight is priceless!

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    1. I so respect and admire all that you are accomplishing as you build your now and your future. You have lots to feel good about. I feel good as I read about your new beginnings.

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  4. Funny, about the ancient history: When I was a little girl, working with my kid-sized hammer next to my dad, I asked why they were called ha-penny and 3-penny or whatever nails. He told me that's how much a hundred weight cost back when they first started selling them in hardware stores. At least, that's what my little girl brain heard and remembered. So good to get the straight scoop now that I'm grown-up and have half a chance to remember it.

    But it's what you say about life-building that sinks the nail for me. Weathering a storm often means we get lots of sticking-out parts ripped off, doesn't it? It smooths us down like a rock. I know, having weathered lots of storms, and expecting a whole lot more, now that I and many of my loved ones are well over the big 60 hump. It's a little terrifying. How many rough edges do I have left? Will the next big one break me in two?

    So I think of you and what you said, and I hope that, whatever storms you are weathering right now, you have all the shelter and supports you need. Will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

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    1. It seems the explanations merge. When I buy hardware these days, it is often sold by weight. The history is not mutually exclusive. I appreciate what you share here about storms and the toll they can take.

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  5. That's a photo I want to see--you in a toga with figs, hammer and nails! What a fun way to share the history of nail-names while pulling us into your DYI world. And your foundational life analogy is solid. A studio? Can't wait to see the results after all the hammering in done.

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    1. Maybe for Halloween I'll be the DIY toga queen. :-)

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  6. I do enjoy your writing! If something can be learned from pounding a nail, I am happy to sit and read that lesson. Next time I pound some nails, guess who I will be thinking of? LOL Seriously, thanks so much for your lessons, knowledge and your awesome chronicling . You the Wo-Man!

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    1. You the Par-Tee of the comment box. :-) Always enjoy your visits and comments.

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  7. Find a penny pick it up..then all day you'll have good luck..... I'll think of you and your wonderfully written analogy of nails and pennies and building something solid and lasting (whether it be a building or a solid part of your life) every time I see a penny (or nail...LOL) to pick up. :) Well done, Diana.

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    1. And I'll have that little penny ditty playing through my head all day as I pick up nails. :-) That's a whole lot of good luck given the number of penny nails I am handling.

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  8. No, don't long for days of yore, Diana, as your pennies are worth their weight in gold, just as your thoughts on life. I've no doubt that whatever storms blow in you will wield your hammer with the strength of Thor.

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    1. I'm feeling mightier already after reading your thoughts, Ruthi. "A pound of nails is worth a pound of cure." I shall live in the moment and feel its power surging through me.

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