It takes a lot of energy to dislike someone, but sometimes it is worth the effort. It is not easy being a consultant. One client required me to shout “unclean, unclean” as I passed through the hallways. Maybe that is why I leave newspapers scattered around the floor of my desk, so nobody can sneak up on me without me being able to hear them.
I have a knack for complicating simple things, but the voices in my head tell me that is better than simplifying complicated things. Either way, I appreciate those of you who continue to play along. Just remember, if you choose to dine with the devil it is best to use a long spoon.
You’ve probably figured out that I am never going to be asked to substitute host any of the home improvement shows. I wasn’t blessed with a mechanical mind, and I have the attention span bordering on the half-life of a gnat.
I’ve noticed that projects involving me and the house have a way of taking on a life of their own. It’s not the big projects that get me in over my head—that’s why God invented phones, so we can outsource—it’s the little ones, those fifteen minute jobs meant to be accomplished during half-time of a football game, between pizza slices.
Case in point—touch-up painting the trim in your house. Can, brush, paint can opener tool (screwdriver). Head to the basement where all the leftover paint is stored. You know exactly where I mean, yours is probably in the same place. Directions: grab the can with the dry white paint stuck to the side, open it, give a quick stir with the screwdriver, apply paint, and affix the lid using the other end of the screwdriver. Back in the chair before the microwave beeps.
That’s how it should have worked. It doesn’t, does it? For some reason, you get extra motivated, figure you’ll go for the bonus points, and take a quick spin around the house, dabbing the trim paint on any damaged surface—window and doorframes, baseboards, stair spindles, and other white “things”. Those of us who are innovators even go so far as to paint over finger prints, crayon marks, and things which otherwise simply needed a wipe down with 409.
This is when things turn bad, just as you reach for that slice of pizza. “What are all of those white spots all over the house?” She asks—you determine who your she is. if you do not have one I can let you borrow mine. You explain to her that it looks like the way it does simply because the paint is still wet—good response. To which she tells you the paint is dry—a better response.
“Why is the other paint shiny, and the spots are flat?”
You pause. I pause, like when I’m trying to come up with a good bluff in Trivial Pursuit. She knows the look. She sees my bluff and raises the ante. Thirty minutes later the game I’m watching is a distant memory. I’ve returned from the paint store. I am moving furniture, placing drop cloths, raising ladders, filling paint trays, all under the supervision of my personal chimera. My fifteen-minute exercise has resulted in a multi-weekend amercement.
This is what usually happens when the project plan isn’t tested or isn’t validated. My plan was to be done by the end of halftime. Poor planning often results in a lot of rework. There’s a saying something along the lines of it takes twice as long to do something over as it does to do it right the first time—the DIRT-FIT rule. And costs twice as much. Can you really afford either of those outcomes? Can you really afford to scrimp on the planning part of IT? If you don’t come out of the gate correctly, it will be impossible.
Back to my project. Would you believe me if I said I deliberately messed up? Maybe I did, maybe I didn’t, but the one thing I know with certainty is that I now have half-times all to myself.