Thursday, July 9, 2009

It's About Timing

I blame Sally. She exercised extremely poor judgment in going off to work today, leaving me alone with sharp objects that plug in.

Let's back up a step. On Tuesday I spent a couple hours mapping out on paper every piece of drywall we needed for the kitchen project. I was the very model of efficiency and economy, getting all of our pieces out of five gypsum wallboards. It was almost elegant. We even had a little bit left over, in case we made a mistake. And what are the chances of that happening?

Last night we cut and mounted the first three pieces without incident, making us happy and me overconfident. I decided to proceed without Sally this morning, hoping to surprise her with my progress. I set up our work area in the driveway, and began by transferring my paper maps onto the sheet rock territory. It was then that I discovered my error. We were working backwards! We had started cutting drywall from the wrong corner, requiring me to reorient my maps. I did so, skillfully, and then began cutting my own pieces. The first cuts, which represented completion of yesterday's work, went fine. I then made three, ten-inch cuts into the large remnant, allowing for a "tab" to repair the ceiling where a can light had been.

Just after I made those fateful cuts, it hit me: I had the whole thing upside down! Though upside down doesn't come into play with regular shapes like squares and rectangles, it makes all the difference in the world with large, irregular pieces cut for the ceiling. In the next few moments my efficient, economical, skillful, almost elegant world spun off in a new direction, leaving me disoriented, frustrated, and angry. Why didn't I see that before making those little cuts that have ruined everything! Why? Why?

Just at that moment our neighbor across the street walked over to say hello. We've lived here for more than five years and he has never so much as stepped off his sidewalk in our direction. "Hello!" he said cheerily, walking up my driveway, as I tried to mask my devastation. "I hear you're really quite skilled!"

He left out efficient, economical, and almost elegant. I kept the words that came to mind to myself, and showed him the neo-kitchen. I returned his pleasant conversation, all the while wishing he would go away and let me suffer in peace. Quite skilled, indeed.

Our neighbor finally wandered back across the Great Divide known as 34th Avenue, and, having thought better about cutting drywall on my own, I've put the tools away until Sally gets home. Though writing, like carpentry, requires some measure of planning and precision, the computer comes equipped with a delete key. I wish I my circular saw had one.

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