Hello, and welcome to summer! More than that, welcome to a short workweek! There’s a good chance that you think today is Tuesday, and if that’s the case then it’s quite possible you’re still drunk from the weekend. Your clothes might smell vaguely of barbecue sauce and charcoal, and your nose is probably peeling. You’ve barely started being productive this week, and already the weekend is fast approaching. Basically the only way this week could be any better is if – oh wait, nevermind. You just got my newsletter. Perfection is now yours!
And perfection is now mine as well. I just finished building a bookshelf worthy of its very own picture on Pinterest. It is my sincere hope to die having never posted anything on Pinterest – but if I ever change my mind, this will be my first pin. It’s made out of galvanized pipe fittings that I spray-painted in my driveway, and it’s so rustic-chic-trendy that it should spontaneously sprout sayings like ‘Live Laugh Love’ and ‘Where There’s Wine, There’s Happiness’ in little chalkboard cloud bubbles. The only thing it’s missing is a repurposed hubcap and some artwork made out of old ropes.
I’d like to blame my wife for forcing me to make this thing, but that wouldn’t be entirely true. She did want me to build it, and ‘tenacious’ is hardly a strong enough to describe her when she gets an idea in her head. I’d also like to blame my sister-in-law, who first gave my wife the idea; and while I’m at it, I should also blame my father, who built his own Pinteresty bookshelf before I got around to making mine. But really I have only myself to blame. I made the mistake of saying, “I think that would look nice in our house.” I didn’t realize I was signing myself up for a construction project – but then again, that’s me being stupid. I should have known.
I’m sure you’re working on some projects right now, both personal and professional. And while I don’t know exactly what they are, I do know how the process is going to go. Let my bookshelf be your guide.
Everything Will Take Longer Than You Think It Will
Idiot that I am, I thought I’d get this thing done in a weekend. That was before I realized that Home Depot doesn’t stock enough galvanized pipe to build an entire bookshelf and supply local plumbers with the galvanized pipe they need for, you know, its intended purposes. I suppose I could have mapped out how much I needed ahead of time and then ordered it online on www.pipesforbookshelves.com (it probably exists) – but then that would have taken a while to arrive, and anyway paint takes a long time to dry, and you need to spray-paint those circular suckers from like six different angles before they’re fully coated, and I could go on but I won’t. The point is, you should do your best to estimate how long something will take to complete, but don’t be surprised or overly frustrated if your projections don’t match up with reality.
You Will Run Into Unexpected Problems
For reasons too complicated to go into (but probably rooted in my imperfect understanding of carpentry) I couldn’t screw this thing into the wall until it was fully built. That meant putting it together a row at a time, then hoping it wouldn’t fall over. Then at the end, none of the supports lined up with the studs. So I had to screw everything in with toggle bolts that are a pain in the butt to use. Then the shelves near the bottom were pulling away from the wall, so I had to do the same thing to them. On the plus side, this thing is so secure that you could climb on it. You could probably drive a truck into it and it wouldn’t move. Which means I’d better like it for the rest of my life.
Anyway, everything we do has a tendency to spawn unforeseen problems as we pursue our goals. There’s almost no way you’ll be happy about that, but try not to let it frustrate you too much. Because…
You Will End Up Loving Whatever You’ve Created
I like my bookshelf. I get a stupid, childish pleasure out of staring at something that I made all by myself – even if I copied the design from something on Pinterest. And I’m positive you’ll feel the same way once you’ve powered through the unplanned-for time and trouble between your idea and its successful execution. Most of the things we strive for throw difficulties at us along the way. But our brains have an amazing ability to forget those tough moments once we’ve arrived at our goal.
I hope this helps put something into perspective for you this month. I also hope this inspires you to build a bookshelf that you will curse at repeatedly during its construction. And I also also hope that you don’t actually smell like charcoal. If you do, take a shower immediately. Use the breakroom sink if you have to.
I mean it.
Thank you for sharing this story. The reminder that everything doesn’t always happen according to the project plan.