Looking Forward

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My excitement levels over an anticipated birthday have somewhat tempered over the years. I went from an excited kid waiting for that telescope (that never came) to an expectant teenager hoping for something other than clothes (I’ve since outgrown that sentiment). As an adult, birthdays became reasons to go out and celebrate. Today, whether it be mine or other people’s, I still enjoy birthdays. Who doesn’t with all those offerings of cake flying around? The reasons to look forward to a birthday may change over the years, but for most, it is something we look forward to celebrating.

Looking forward to things isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it’s equally incessant younger brother, “I can’t wait” is not all that bad either. As humans, we look forward to many things throughout our lives – Christmas, graduations, vacations, weddings, summer, and weekends. As time moves on, our anticipatory list seems to expand to include things like retirement, hip replacements, and seniors discounts – none of which I am currently experiencing.

Our entire lives are summed up in that one little phrase, “I can’t wait until…” When we are young, we can’t wait until we become teenagers, after that, we can’t wait until we can legally partake in those vices we wished we’d never started. Once we’ve entered into the adult world, we can’t wait until certain uncomfortable, irritable things are over. Equally, we can’t wait until beautiful, joyful, fun experiences start.

Most often, the anticipation of these things are great fun, but it would seem we spend so much of our lives looking forward to other things, we forget to look at what is right in front of us. Instead of yearning for the end of something that is not enjoyable, we need to re-evaluate what is happening around us in the present.

I for one, have forgotten how to live in the present. Perhaps I never knew. Maybe living in the present would open up a new world of opportunity. Maybe, I would see the forest and the trees. Maybe living in the present would save me from wishing my life away; hoping for the future, yet fearing its propensity to be full of what ifs at the same time. Maybe, at the very least, living in the present would allow me to remember where I parked my car.

My story does not end here. There are many unknowns ahead of me. Although I cannot bring myself to say that I look forward to getting older, I can now look forward to the new unknowns in my life like an old friend coming for a long overdue visit. Then, of course, there is the “careful what you wish for” thing, but that’s an entirely different post.

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Renovation to Innovation

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I am not a handy kind of girl. What I mean is things like carpentry, plumbing, and drywalling do not come naturally to me. (I have left out electrical because some things should really be left to professionals.) I do not have that inherent handy gene built in. I have never followed any carpentry or handy type courses, nor have I had the luxury of having this type of information passed down to me by more learned acquaintances. I have learned everything I have needed to learn, thus far, from the Internet, YouTube is my usual go to. Yes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video? That, my friends, is priceless.

Of course, videos have their downfalls. As much as I try, nothing I ever do looks exactly like what the person does in the video. It is somewhat irksome because trying to emulate someone takes practice, and I only have one wall to fix or one toilet wax ring to install. Believe me, you do not generally want to do things twice just for the sake of practice, and that last one? Let’s just say my gag reflex, in certain circumstances, is quite healthy and leave it at that.

You may be wondering what if the information in the video is wrong, or worse, not conforming to code? Code, by the way, is a manner of working where best safe and environmental practices are followed to ensure provincial and federal standards are complied with. Personally, I think “code” is code for follow this way or else you will pay dearly later. The best thing to do is learn if there is a code related to the job as needed. If you are building a hat rack, for example, there is no building code to follow. If you need to install a guard rail, then yes, there is a code for that. Shortcuts may be tempting, but I would strongly advise against them.

Generally speaking, my projects have gone fairly well, with maybe the exception of mudding drywall – It really is an art. I can never seem to get it done in one go. It generally takes about three coats of drywall compound to get to the finished product; mudding, smoothing the compound, drying time, sanding it all down, and repeat. Seems pretty straight forward, but I always seem to need to go beyond the traditional three repeats for one reason or another. However, when things go wrong, usually innovation kicks in.

Case in point, I once had a friend help me with an entryway wall that was positioned over a stairway leading to the basement. Once done and painted a nice “Lemon Thyme” green, it looked great. We were all quite happy. The wall did look 100 times better than it was, and I am profoundly grateful for the help. Problem was, once we connected a light, it revealed that the wall had many issues; predominately the joint across the middle resembled the infamous grassy knoll from which Kennedy was said to be shot. Lesson learned: use a light on the wall to determine where any defects may be. Our short-term fix was to use a painting to cover up the flaws that were highlighted by the lighting. The long-term fix is, well, so long-term that I hadn’t really given it much thought.

That pretty much sums up my adventures in the home renovation arena. A Mike Holmes I will never be, but at least I am not afraid to give most things a go. Besides, those little flaws that no one really knows are there? We’ll just keep those to ourselves.