I’m sitting here at home, listening to the sounds of home renovation. The best part about it? I’m not the one making those sounds.
Don’t get me wrong–there’s a lot about renovation projects that I enjoy. I really like having the chance to look back on what i’ve made and see how much progress has happened. At the same time, to get that all done is a real struggle. Last year involved so much planning and research and reading, in addition to all the actual work that had to get done. (If you’ve forgotten, I was working on framing out the second floor of my garage, with the goal of one day having a second bathroom, a bedroom, another living room, and a loft office up there.) I was in a constant state of uncertainty, always just a step or two ahead in my research from where I was with the actual construction.
These dormers? There’s no way I would have been able to do them.
Well, scratch that. I’m sure I could have done them, but it would have taken an awfully long time. It would have involved me working on staging, high above the ground. And if there’s one thng this world needs less of, it’s me with power tools, high above ground. I look at all the work that’s going into these dormers–the angles, the way it all gets tied into the existing construction. Installing the windows, the siding, the flashing, the roofs, the shingles, the drip edge. Keeping it all level–or as level as can be in a house as old as mine. (Try finding a level surface in a house built in 1841. I dare you. You might find a few, but with so many different “levels,” it’s really tricky to figure out which one to use as a basis for new construction.)
So I’m very happy that I chose to have someone else tackle this job.
Which sums up other areas of my life, when I think about it. Take writing. It’s been over two years since Vodnik came out–feels like even longer than it is, really. And I’ve considered self publishing a few novels in the meantime. I’ve got some lurking around, after all. Why not send them out into the world to see if they can find some happy homes? But then I think of all the other things I’d have to do to get them out there–the copy editing, the cover designing, the page proofs, the marketing, the schmoozing. There’s so much there to be done, and I’d really rather let the professionals handle it. They’d do a better job than I could do, in less time than it would take me.
And the nice thing about books is that, as opposed to hiring a construction crew, they pay me. (I wonder if I could convince my contractor to do that? “I’ll let you put dormers in my house . . . if you pay me $2,000.” If only.)
This is the same way Denisa and I have ordered our marriage, come to think of it. We both specialize in different things, and we often let the specialists tackle each job. So when it comes time for tech support or brute force, I’m on the hook. Gardening and cooking? Typically falls to Denisa. I’m not saying it’s like that 100% of the time–sometimes she’s got to muddle through a tech job or I’m the one making dinner–but by and large we each do the things we’re best at. The jobs get done quicker, and the end results taste a whole lot better.
I’m not trying to say this is an eternal principle everyone should follow. There are times you have to jump in and figure stuff out on your lonesome without waiting for other people to step forward to do it for you. But when you can and it makes sense? Letting specialists do their thing is a wonderful approach to life. So for today, I’ll just sit here tip tapping away on my keyboard, doing what I do best, while I listen to other people doing what they do best.
Until next year, when I probably ignore this entire piece and go back to doing it myself again (with some help from friends.)