Moving Rooms: Structural, not Surface

Now that DC and MC are getting older, we’re beginning the inevitable process of moving them into the same room in the house. Yes, this involves bunk beds. No, we haven’t bought them yet. But what we have done is swapped out MC’s current room (the guest room) with DC’s current room. DC has been ecstatic about the move, of course. She views it as a major upgrade. Her last room only had one window. The new one? It has 4.

Ironically, MC is also ecstatic about the move so far, mainly because the room she’s moved to used to be DC’s room, and that (by default) means it must have been better than where she’d been sleeping. (If only all global disputes could be solved so easily. Everybody in Ukraine moves to Russia, everybody in Russia moves to Ukraine, and everybody gets an upgrade. Hmm . . . Maybe not . . .)

Of course, Denisa and I (being the busy people we are) have had a limited window of time to do this move. Saturday was the day the bulk of it really had to happen: we needed to transition the office/spare room into a real bedroom for DC. Why? Because DC had already moved in there, and she was treating the room as hers already. (And by definition, anything that exists in your room is fair game for you to look at, play with, alter, etc. Including computers and office equipment, apparently.)

We mapped out a plan of attack: ditch the old office chair and desk that had been there (putting them in the front yard with a “FREE” sign on them usually does the trick), exchange the contents of the two closets, move the futon, throw away the old computers (they would be recycled), and move a book case or two. Plenty of work for a few hours on a Saturday. It went off without a hitch, for the most part.

The biggest problem I found was my incessant need to actually clean and sort things. I had to keep telling myself over and over: “Structural, not surface.” The goal wasn’t to make things look prettier. The goal was making them work. If I’d focused too much on the surface level looks, I’d never have had time to get all the changes done that needed to happen that day.

Really, this is the same way I approach my early revisions. I can’t worry about little things like descriptions or grammar or spelling or wordsmithing. I’ve got to focus on getting the big pieces of the puzzle into place. Otherwise, you get everything just so, only to have to turn around and mix it all up again the next moment.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like this is a pretty overarching principle. Focus on the big things first. Get those taken care of. Once they are, you’ll have time to go back and fix the little things later on. It works for budgeting, priorities, home renovation, landscaping, relationships . . . Is there anything this doesn’t apply to?

Possibly cake decorating, I suppose. Something where all that matters is the looks, not the taste.

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