Thursday, February 24, 2011

Doing it Right the First Time

In my stocking, this year, I got a fridge magnet. It read:

Why is there never time to do it right, 
but there's always time to do it twice?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Is it a bad thing that my "style" blares from the bold font of a kitchen knicknack?

A couple summers ago, Mat and I bought a cool (cute) old school (looking) scooter from a couple in St. Albert.  Their house was pristine. Their garage- OMG- their garage!! All walls had those metal cabinets that fit snuggly together; there wasn't a rogue screw, tool or pipe to be seen. In fact, I saw not one drop of oil or varnish staining the scrubbed cement. 

Every time we visited (we ended up there three times) the couple invited us in for drinks. On our second visit it came up that we struggled to finish things. Scooter Man tisked and shook his head wildly, "No, no, no! You MUST finish things 100%. It's imperative for your financial and emotional health." 

I'm not sure what he knows about emotional health, but certainly financially they had done very well.

In the couple months that followed we reflected often on his horrified expression and encouraging coaching- is 100% even possible for our two laid-back, attention deficit personalities?

As we stepped back to assess, we saw that we finish most things about 80%. We take out the garbage- but only to the back gate (then it all piles up in a stinking mess until we finally think to take it the last 20% to the alley). We paint the walls, then grow tired before we finish the sanding and painting of the trim. We put new flooring in the upstairs, and leave nailing on trim to 'another day' which never does come. 

Last year we took on the project of our front entrance way and determined to finish it 100%- meaning every hook needed to be screwed in, back stop installed, bench stained, paint complete, pictures hung. And did it! It took us a couple more days than planned- but we did it.

As we've continued to encourage ourselves towards finishing things (and finishing them well!), I think the most significant obstacle to this is the way we budget TIME. We never give ourselves the time to finish. Projects always go longer than expected, the garbage always is taken out as we're late for a meeting. (Some might say we also don't consider 'cleaning things up' to be a huge priority.) 

This last weekend, I had a hankering for a project. I wanted to paint our dining and living rooms plus add a plate rail and built-in book case. As we planned the budget and shopping list-- we looked at each other. Memory of Scooter Man was shouting in my ear and I took a tentative glance at our kitchen.

It's been 80% done for 3 years now. How could we start another project with the kitchen sitting awaiting some lovin'? So we pulled on our Responsible Adult hats, set our faces to 'grim', and started the nasty job of sanding cabinets, re-jigging doors and adding ceiling trim.

Hopefully this post isn't just a form of procrastination (from the cutting in currently needed on the cabinets). Its a public declaration that: I really will try to finish things better.

Mat does the curse-incurring work of ceiling trim.

The cabinets Mat build (saving some of the base cabinets on the right wall), but the paint has begun to peel. Also a number of the bottom doors never have quite fit. There is some problem-solving required!

The backsplash is wallpaper--- and we always meant to spray it a metallic colour. Then we didn't and its gotten gucky, grey and stained, of course.

The inside of the cabinet Mat is painting was never painted (we even painted 80%!). Now, we're painting it all. The blue is actually an undercoat to be covered with 'navajo white'. We think that if we "distress" or "antique" the cabinets- more on that later- we may not have to worry so much about stripping paint in the future. Maybe?!?


naomi said...

very inspirational!!! I have so many projects to start, but I should probably finish the ones that aren't *quite* done!

Anonymous said...

Remember the bathroom I was sanding in November? Yup, paint supplies still in cabinet under sink, where the diaper pail is supposed to easily fit- I have to time the closing of cabinet door just right (which I failed to do correctly yesterday and in my haste slammed thumb in door!) so it doesn't fall out.For Shawn this at least means I have no grounds on which to demand an insulated skylight (which would prevent the puddles on the floor when ice melts as house warms up in the day). Oh, the things we put up with!!

An Avenue Homesteader said...

It really is relieving to know that we're not the only ones!