I have long-lived my life by the principal of, “it is better to ask forgiveness than permission”. Though several years ago, I had a realization of how theologically wrong this thinking is, it’s been a hard habit to break. Over the past few years, I’ve developed a hobby of sorts – cruising Craig’s List for “treasures”. And I have a garage full of “treasure-projects” now… in fact, I have some under my deck as well. It makes some of you laugh, I know. It does not make my husband laugh.
Several weeks ago, I came across a guy selling giant wooden cable spools for cheap (sometimes they sell for $$$). Turns out, he was in the next town over so I made arrangements to pick up – only they didn’t fit in my van. I had the kids with me and we were driving, and I said, out loud, “If I could only think of someone who has a truck… well, I mean, your dad has a truck, but he doesn’t exactly like my game… who else…” and I went through the list of people I knew who had a truck and would be amenable to my ideas. And I thought of Josh. Josh has a big ole’ diesel truck just like My husband’s, except an automatic. So I asked him if he’d be willing to do me a favor and pick up these spools. I told him my husband didn’t’ know – and he said, “oh, good. I like being an ‘enabler’” Turns out, Josh had knee surgery, so couldn’t drive his truck. But was perfectly willing to let me borrow it, so I asked him to come along. I climbed up in his truck and he handed me the keys and I started her up – diesel engines are LOUD. We drove over to pick the spools up – while en route, I asked Josh if I was making him nervous. “Not at all,” he replied. (Be sure to tell my husband!) We picked up the spools and brought them home – now usually I do these things while my husband is at work, but the only time the spool guy could meet was on a Sunday afternoon. Hubby was home working in his garage. “there’s NO WAY he’s not going to hear this truck coming up the driveway”, I laughed as we approached. But as luck would have it, he did not. We rolled the spools (which fit perfectly in the bed of the truck, I might add), out of the truck and into the backyard, Visible from the driveway, to be sure. He never came out of the garage. In fact, he didn’t’ say a word about it that night. I thought, “There’s no way he didn’t see them… is there?” Nothing the next day, either. Then, on Tuesday, when I came home from work, he gave me a great big hug (out of character, for sure). As he hugged me, he whispered in my ear: “would you PLEASE quit bringing $hit home! Please! You’re killing me”. LOL, I laughed and said that I could not make that promise. Haha. Well. That was before the grand-daddy of all projects. ( I do have plans for the spool(s) – and may have some more coming… shhhhh).
On the following Saturday, Hubby was working, so I decided it was the day I would buy the raw materials to finish my basement. We started it about 12 years ago. Hubs did. He made a spare bedroom (which has now become our oldest daughter’s) and a suite for my mom – and it’s beautiful. The rest of the basement was concrete floor and studs. Several years ago, when the kids were starting to have friends hang out, we covered the studs with black sheets – which was better than studs, but still tacky. I decided it was time to finish it. But I also knew that I have limitations. And I decided it wasn’t worth the hassle of a conversation about it, so I just figured out a way around my limitations. LESSON 1: WHEN YOU HAVE LIMITATIONS, YOU MAY HAVE TO BE CREATIVE ABOUT ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS.
I knew I couldn’t’ carry a 4 x 8 sheet of drywall myself. And the thought of taping/sanding, etc, was daunting. I had been thinking about the project for a while, and checking out materials that I thought could be used – I decided I wanted to use brick paneling and make it look like an old exposed brick wall. “don’t’ make it too dark” someone warned me. So off to Home Depot I went because they had the brick paneling with the white grout. When I got there, after I wandered the parking lot for a cart, I asked the man in building materials if he would cut paneling for me. He said, “No”. So there I stood in Home Depot, pulling out my cell to call Lowes to make sure they’d cut it for me. I would have gone to Lowes first anyway (have ALWAYS liked Lowes better) but their brick paneling had black grout and I was afraid it would be too dark. “Yes, you will cut it? Ok, I’m on my way,” I said, and hung up. LESSON 2: SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO COMPROMISE THE SMALL THINGS, WHILE KEEPING YOUR EYE ON THE BIG PICTURE.
I went to Lowes and got my lumber cart and entered the paneling aisle. It’s an aisle I know well, because it has all of the fancy moldings, etc, that I have used on other projects. I found a paneling that I liked (actually, two different ones, for different walls) and started putting it in the cart, one sheet at a time. A customer walked by, looking at something further down the aisle, and then turned around and came back to help me load the rest. God bless him. Then, I took the paneling to the cutter and asked if they would cut it at 32″, leaving a 16″ piece – that way, it was small enough to fit in my van and small enough for me to handle, but would still span the 16″ studs in the basement. They cut all of the paneling – all 16 pieces of it. Then, I paid for it and wheeled my cart to the car. Ok – wind gusts of 35 mph that day in Pittsburgh. Have you ever picked up a thin piece of paneling in a windstorm? I can imagine that was quite a show! I wrestled about 3 pieces into the van when another nice man stopped over to help me. God bless him, too. He said, “Boy, you are sure a strong and independent woman”. I looked at him gratefully and said, “well, maybe, but I sure needed YOUR help.” LESSON NUMBER 3: DON’T BE AFRAID TO ACCEPT HELP, even if you didn’t ask for it.
Well, we got the rest loaded into the van, and I brought it home. Already sore from running a 5K that morning, I asked my daughter if she’d help me take it to the basement. We stacked it up… and then I moved it to a location that I thought would be better should Hubby decide to come to the basement (which doesn’t happen all that often). As I moved it, I dropped a stack of the 16″ pieces down my thighs, and they scraped the whole way down – now I’m brush-burned and bruised. .. and sore… lol .
I decided that I was anxious to start, but because I could only work on it when Hubs wasn’t’ home, I decided to take vacation days on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of that week. The electrician was coming back on Friday, so I wanted to be done with as much as possible. Things were actually going along quite well – I texted a few pictures out to people I trusted to give me good feedback – they told me it looked good. :-0 On Wednesday, Hubs said, “do you think I could take your car on Friday to get the snow tires off? If I do, I’ll be home late. So you won’t have a car.” “Does that mean I get to drive your new truck?” “no” lol Hot dog, I thought – he’ll be late – I can keep working. SURE! That sounded great. And then the weather forecast – 4″ of snow predicted for Saturday. On Thursday night, he said, “I’m not going to take your car, after all”. Dang. Does that mean you’re not going to be late, either? I couldn’t ask that. I just had to accept it.
So on Friday, he left for work, and I got to work in the basement – a whole week has gone by and he has no idea the work is being done. The electrician comes over and works on the electrical while I worked on the paneling some more. He told me it looked impressive so far, and he was surprised how much had gotten accomplished – and he was surprised I was doing it all by hand – yep, hand saw, paneling nails. Jigsaw for cutting out the outlet holes. Outside wall complete. Inside walls in the process, but with the hardest areas left – the part where the stairs come down – because of a piece of drywall that had been ripped off years ago. The kids come home from school – and they’re all excited to see it getting finished. My daughter said, “just tell Dad when he finds out that he could have done it his way 10 years ago! Now we’re doing it your way!” (she also said she couldn’t wait to come home from college to see what other changes I make in the house… haha maybe it will be in her room lol.) So my son goes back upstairs, but my oldest daughter is standing there with me. The electrician had left for a bit to take something to his daughter at school. Then I see it. Two feet on the stairs… and before I knew it, Hubs was half-way down the stairs with a look on his face like, “what the… ”
he stopped, looked around, and went back upstairs without saying a word. The electrician came back a little while later and was working on the outlet in the corner when Hubs came down the steps again – twice in one day. I could tell he didn’t know there was someone else there, so I said, “would you like to meet my new friend?” praying, “God, please let him be civil”. He was. (Thank you, Jesus). Later, I said to him, “Please don’t’ judge the work until it’s finished – and then tell me I did a good job”. (He’s a perfectionist – and good at everything, so I knew he would be tough to please – not to mention that I hadn’t even mentioned the plan to him!) I said, “Please don’t go down there until it’s done.” He said “oh, don’t worry! I don’t’ want anything to do with it!” ha. Perfect. Until Saturday, when he, once again, came down the stairs. “I thought I asked you not to come down here?!” “I’m just checking out the electrical work,” he said. Yeah, right. Ok. Well, after 17 more trips downstairs “not” checking anything out, he said to me, “you know, years ago, I got these oak wraps for the poles.” “I know – they’re in the closet over there” “surprised you know where they are,” he said. (sheesh, eye roll.) “Well, when you get to that point, if you want, maybe I could help you with that” Wow. That was acceptance. Ok, things would be ok. LESSON 4: TAKE CALCULATED RISKS.
I say “calculated” because it’s never good to be reckless. I was reasonably sure that he wouldn’t divorce me over my decision to finish the basement, but it was a risk I took. (I’ve taken that risk several other times in our 21 years – I don’t recommend it for everyone – but it’s worked out ok for us so far). On Saturday afternoon, he even asked me if I wanted to accompany him to Harbor Freight. YES! I love Harbor Freight – and could surely find some tools… but no, I want to keep working here – thanks for asking. LESSON 5: WHEN YOU’RE BUSTED, OWN IT. Don’t make excuses about it.. it just is what it is.
Gain acceptance and move on. In fact, owning your goals is really important; there is no one who will care more about achieving your goals than you do. This includes when things are going well as well as when they are not. You are the only one who can refocus your attention when it is needed.
There you have it – the 5 lessons I learned about achieving goals – hoping this has been a blessing to you! Would love to from you regarding lessons you’ve learned through achieving your goals as well! Feel free to comment below!
Blessings to ya!
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