Sunday, January 6, 2008

Mental Remodelling

It having been suggested by our esteemed moderators that we make known to our audience our home improvement resolutions for the Year of Our Lord 2008, I take keyboard in hand cheerfully to comply.

. . . Well, actually, I've never been one for making New Year's resolutions. I favor New Year's Ambitions instead. As far back as high school, that's what I've been listing this time of year. "Find out where the elevator behind the Teachers' Lounge goes." That sort of thing.

Resolutions leave me squirmy. "I will never go out of the house with paint under my fingernails." They're full of "always" and "never" and "every day." Blow that sort of requirement even once, your resolution flutters down into the well of guilt and extinction. Resolutions tend to be all about changing oneself-- "I will stop coveting other people's antique furniture." That's hard to do-- and easy to give up on, by, say, January 10th or so. And there, you've ruined another year.

Whereas Goals and Ambitions-- those are fine, objective things. You accomplish your goal-- "Take wood whittling class"-- and you can tick it off your list and feel really pleased with yourself all year.

And in accordance with my usual custom, I could just set some rehabbing goals and join the merry throng of housebloggers who are listing the projects they want to complete in 2008. But I'm having to face the fact that it's my attitude and methods that've kept me from getting much done around this messy, torn-up house in 2007. And that if I'm going to tick any projects off my list, I'll have to do the hard thing and work on straightening myself out, first.

So with the help of God (gee, I feel like I'm taking my ordination vows all over again), in 2008 I resolve to:

1. Deliberately plan projects in terms of time, money, and materials.

I am so good at going off half-cocked! Do you have any idea how many different means and methods of getting paint off wood that I've invested in the past three or four years? I'll be walking through the aisles at Home Depot or Lowe's, and I'll spot some sure-fire tool or compound on the shelf, and "Oooh! shiny! shiny! That'll solve all my paint-stripping problems! I gotta get that!" And just as likely when I get it home, I find I have a can or carton of whatever it is already.

No. Cannot afford that. I can plan perfectly well in behalf of my architecture clients; it's time I exercised that capacity to benefit myself.

2. Accept my limitations and get done what I can get done.

Yes, I haven't gotten a heck of a lot done around here. And it's largely for the head-on-crooked reason that I somehow feel I should get it all done perfectly, all at once. Or at least, within the next month or so. But I can't. I know I can't. But I still feel I should. So it's just easier to go play computer card games and live vicariously through other people's houseblogs, rather than tackle my own house and, oh, no, "fail" to get the entire rehab done perfectly, all at once.

This "should" of magic-wand perfection is hereby hauled out and dumped in the trash can in the alley. The garbage haulers will charge me extra to take it away, it's so big, but it'll be worth the removal fee.

3. Avoid wasting mental effort and physical energy on projects that are not immediate priorities.

Face it, it's so much sexier to think about redoing the bathroom, which is a five-years-out venture, than it is to actually get downstairs and scrub the dormant mold off the basement walls. It's more fun to look at patterns for curtains, than actually to clean up the woodwork around the windows those curtains might someday go on.

But sexy and fun doesn't get me any forwarder. I spend a lot of time dreaming when I could be doing. "Come to meeeeee!" says the vampire-- but I gotta hold up the garlic and the cross and ward off his decadent, time-and-effort leeching charms.

There's more mental remodelling I surely need to do, but that's enough to tackle for one year!

Next post, I'll deal with what this will mean in terms of actual house projects.

Oooh, goodie, I get to make some New Year's Ambitions!


Sandy said...

I love #2. That would be me! LOL! I have up making new year resolutions a very long time ago.

Skymosher said...

I resolve to not make any resolutions this year.

And I hope you had a lovely Christmas!

Brenda from Flatbush said...

So glad I'm not the only coveter of others' antique furniture with paint under my fingernails! Still working on the hardest bit, that would be 'soul remodelling'...