A project is a thing of beauty in your mind’s eye. It’s the implementation of it that’s the bear. Yesterday’s project was repainting our sauna. It looks like a little house – about 9′ by 15′ with a peak that you need an extension ladder to reach.
The project started out hopeful and cheery like most projects do. Using red paint helped. Looks new. Going fast. Lots of jokes between me and my painting partner. This is great – we’re going to be out of here in an hour.
Dry wood sucking up paint like crazy. Very hot sun and hotter wind that blows the paint off our brushes on to our arms. Weeds in the way. And so are the remnants of a Northwest Indian tribe totem pole which fell over in a Lake Superior storm about ten years ago. (Is this an odd story yet?)
Anyway, so we’re getting tired and very hot. Painting partner sees a little hornet’s nest. Good reason to skip the two slats right below. First shortcut. Last side has the weeds and the totem which of course we shouldn’t move out of respect to its what? imminent total deterioration? Second shortcut.
Now at least one of us is nearing heat stroke. Spectator saunters over and suggests we just paint the bare spots. “That’s crazy. It’ll look like polka dots.” The sauna was already red, so I actually considered that option. The two of us are now slapping paint on the last side wherever we can reach and starting a little chorus of “nobody’s going to see this side anyway.” Which is perilously close to a really defeated “who gives a crap, haven’t we worked hard enough, the rest of it looks ok, let’s just bag it.”
And I realize that this surrender to good enough happens a lot when two people are working together. It’s like cutting class — it’s contagious. What the heck? We could be drinking a beer and admiring the front of this damn sauna – where it actually looks pretty good. If one person isn’t a high quality hardliner, two people will talk themselves into doing just enough to get by.
Does it matter? Sometimes. Not everything needs to be perfect. But some things do.
Jan Wilberg Janice Wilberg