Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tools of the Trade

After considering my last post, the thought occurred to me that readers might think that I was not REALLY serious in describing my training session yesterday? I need to assure you that I was indeed. After all, retirement will hopefully last as long or nearly as long as my working career. I went to high school and college to prepare myself for the working world but unfortunately there is no formal training for retirement. Quite the opposite. I have found that the business community in general has a rather poor view of retirement and certainly doesn't make it easy for the average person to achieve that status much less be knowledgeable about it when the time comes. People who want to succeed in retirement need to take matters into their own hands and self train to be prepared.

Realizing the amount of time that I could devote to the hammock, it is reasonable to make sure that my knowledge level of this apparatus is adequate to serve my needs.....and since it's blistering hot outside and I'm not gonna do any of that "catch up" stuff that was on my list....I thought that I might like to share with you some "Tools of the Trade".

Used to be, I thought a hammock was a hammock. I was young and immature, without a clear vision of the future, so what did it matter to me? As I grew older I began to realize that this was a wonderful device and there were a multitude of different types of hammocks. I certainly didn't want to be a "jack of all and master of none" type so in recent years I have decided to focus my efforts on two basic types. I just don't have time enough to master all of them!

I have narrowed down the types of hammocks that I use to two. The first, is one of the most common of types in North America. It's the one I have used for years and am still training on and is referred to as a Pawley's Island hammock. The name comes from the small coastal island in South Carolina where this design originated. It is constructed of knotted rope and has wooden stretchers on either end to provide a relatively flat and stable bearing surface. While the learning curve is not terribly steep on this model it can still take years of practice to master all of the intricacies of this versatile design.

Some common accessory items are a pillow....and on the really expensive models, an automatic cold beverage delivery device, sometimes referred to as a wif

Some of the less desirable features are that it is a pretty static platform. That is, it needs a couple of posts or trees or something to support it and the associated hardware to attach to the support devices. The cold beverage delivery device requires a TON of maintenance and is very expensive but that's true for any type of hammock that has this accessory.

The Pawley's Island hammock is not really very portable and for that reason, I employ one other type of hammock. This hammock was designed to travel. It has with it, it's own support system and can be set up in less than a minute. It doesn't have the wooden stretchers and is a little more unstable as a weight distribution platform. That negative is balanced by the fact that it is much lower to the ground and chances of injury due to falling is m
uch less.

One other important point is that the portable
hammock has a continuous platform, a piece of fabric, and does not have the integral cooling or drainage holes that the knotted design of the Pawley's Island design offers. This can be a big negative if the user is not able to handle platform manipulation and a beverage at the same time. A spilled hot or cold drink does not drain automatically as on the Pawley's Island design but rather accumulates at the low point of the occupied platform....and you know where that is!

I'll quickly comment on two other hammock designs with which I have some experience..... Fortunately my experience with the jungle hammock is somewhat limited but I could never really get the hang of this device.... I suppose it was the snakes or the bugs or the fact that every time I was in a position to sleep in this contraption there was always someone in the vicinity trying to kill me.

The final hammock is the chair hammock... and the only comment I have on this design is... "What's the point?"

I hope this information is helpful to those who may be in or near the position of retirement. I also hope that
my friends and acquaintances can now see why it is that I am so serious about this matter?

Thanks for visiting.

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