I have a love-hate relationship with deadlines. I mean, judging by how often they are preceded by swearing, you would think I loathe them, but that doesn’t seem to stop me from imposing artificial due dates on my house projects to motivate me to get my ass in gear. This results in a lot of “you need to take a break” from people, and I’m all, “Actually, I’d like to finish off this graceful swan-dive to rock bottom right now if you don’t mind. Thanks.”
The more time I spend working on projects in this house on my own, the more I’m realizing it’s all just part of the method to my madness. Riding the waves of adrenaline, forcing myself into tight deadlines, refusing to ask for help (or asking for help specifically to motivate me to do it by myself before help arrives). And, yeah, let’s all take a moment right now to feel sorry for the two guys who had the misfortune to cohabitate with me in the last decade, bless their crazy, patient little hearts.
I recently stumbled across this interview with Jack White of the White Stripes, and this quote really hit home:
Deadlines make you creative, but telling yourself you’ve got all the time in the world, all the money in the world, all the colors in the palette, that just kills creativity.
I feel like I live this every day, with my house projects, ideas, photography, writing (mostly late at night), and there’s truth to it… when I have all the time in the world, I don’t get half as much done. But I’m also beginning to understand that there is a balance between what I can accomplish on my own, and what I want to accomplish on my own.
Hey, you know what I don’t want to do anymore? Paint trim.
I want to finish building my laundry room doors, and build cabinets for the upstairs bath, and install hardwood in my hallway, and frame in new closets in the master bedroom, and tear out carpet, and make a great big piece of art for the kitchen wall. But “paint trim” is not on that list, so guess what? I’ve hired a painter to do it.
Yep. Little Miss always does it herself is bringing in professional help.
I spent about twelve minutes having mixed feelings about this, about why I’m taking perfectly good money–that could be put towards the purchase of a panel saw–and am giving it to a guy (who is not charging me $5k, by the way, but still) to do something I’m perfectly capable of doing. But you know what? The painter is coming in eleven days. So I had an honest moment and asked myself what I would realistically accomplish in the next eleven days if left to my own devices, and the answer was “start a lot of new projects to procrastinate painting trim.” (Do I know myself or what?)
Alternatively, I can pay a painter to come in and paint the ceilings, windows, wainscoting, and trim (followed just a few short days later by a visit from Meryl and Chris from Picardy Project for the Renovation Road Trip) and now I’ve created a pretty crazy deadline to get this list of stuff done in the next two weeks:
- Finish patching all the holes in the Pink Parlor ceiling
- Purchase and paint all of the planks for the upstairs hallway to install with Meryl and Chris
- Finish prepping and paint the upstairs hallway walls
- Move any necessary electrical for the lights upstairs
- Figure out which room is the guest room and make it habitable
Oh, yeah, and…
- Sand down the floors in the parlor and entry before the rooms get painted (which, if my past experience with these floors is any indication, will take a good sixteen passes with the sander)
Because I’m crazy. But seriously, how’s that for motivation?
Yes, I’m spending some money that I don’t actually have to spend, but the end result is that in less than a month, this room…
And this room…
Will basically be done.
As in, uh, I can put actual furniture in them and stop tripping over paint trays on my way to the shower every morning.
So I’ve stopped thinking of it as paying someone to do something I can do myself (painting) and starting thinking of it as paying for something I don’t have and apparently can’t conjure out of thin air at the moment (motivation), which actually gets me pretty amped up for the next couple of weeks and where I’ll be at the end of them.
I’m still battling a stiff neck and a little bit of a cold, but you know what? I really do believe that when the odds are stacked against you, that’s when the good stuff happens. (It’s also probably when hospital visits happen, but I’m going to stay positive today.)