I am feeling cranky today. After some good beginnings with our carpenter and his crew, yesterday we went to the house, and were shocked by some very poor work on the wood floor being done to fill in where the doors were enlarged. Cracks, a big cut joint between several boards right in the middle of the door. I didn’t take a picture of that. But the other day I had taken a picture of a few other un-finishings. Like this mark over the windows that were installed–a deep scratched groove in the drywall. There are three such marks below and two above.
We don’t have any touch up paint for this room’s color (the sellers left some paint cans from other rooms in the basement.) So does this mean, really, that we’ll have to repaint the entire room?
There was also a mistake in the placement of a grab bar in the bathroom, and while it can be moved, the place from which it will be removed will now be marred, and the bathroom wall is either wallpaper or a sponge-spackled paint finish that we don’t have the ability to duplicate.
When I contract with someone to do work that we cannot do ourselves, it creates in me a sense of vulnerability. When things come up, I ask myself all sorts of self-doubting questions: Am I being too picky? Should I have said more? What can we reasonably expect? Can we assume they’ll finish up the work nicely, or do we have to raise the issues as we notice them? Should I have held up our second payment check to make sure these issues were dealt with? (We are doing the work in three stages, so it didn’t seem unreasonable to make a second installment before everything was totally done on this stage–But?)
I did call the carpenter shortly after we noticed the poor job on the flooring–this was being done by a member of his crew–and he interrupted the work and has said he will fix the issues we raised.
I hate to be in the mode of criticizing other people’s work. But I do expect people to do a good job. This is only a small “easy” job for them apparently, but it is the home we hope to live in for a very long time. I want to look at the improvements we made, and feel happy about how beautiful they look.
I was thinking about all of this this morning, and trying to figure out how to get into a better mood. I remembered some advice that Sarah Susanka wrote: “Every situation contains within it the food and fertilizer for our flourishing, but the only way we can find this out is by being obedient to each set of circumstances that present themselves–to fully engage whatever arises to the best of our ability and to process any reactions and judgments as they come up, without editing or suppressing anything.”
She went on to describe her discomfort with situations of confrontation, how she hesitated to share her direct feelings for fear of angering someone else. How important it was for her to begin to notice that pattern and uncover what came up in her, so she could learn to be direct–to deal with the difficult and uncomfortable as it arose. Yep. That resonates.
So I blog to notice what comes up for me, to give it some attention–to be able to say, I am afraid to demand of others the level of perfection that I demand for myself. And I am afraid to confront others about their mistakes. I don’t want to make anyone angry or uncomfortable. But I do have it within me to confront–if I can get through the resistance to having to do it, the wish to avoid it. It wasn’t what I wanted to have on my plate yesterday or today, but there it was. Here it is.