Half Arsed

25 Jan

Today was my MIL’s birthday, so that meant the obligatory visit to the Outlaw’s house to celebrate.  We were all so excited – NOT!  I almost wished that I could look forward to visits with man-child’s family and unfortunately he looks forward to days such as todays with even more trepidation than I.  The story behind it all, the family disfunctionality, is long, convoluted and for another time.  Today it is the story of birthday celebrations, so we played ‘happy family’ and visited.

Instead of buying more unnecessary trinkets as a birthday gift, we offered to spend the afternoon fixing things around the house and garden.  So today it was time to get to work.  First up, the clothes line needed re-stringing – is that the appropriate name for putting new line in the clothes line?  That was followed by removing a wall in the garden that was never finished.  The final fix-it job was to replace all of the door knobs in the house.  All of the jobs that were on the to-do list were there because they were started many moons ago but were never finished, or if they were finished they were done in such a shoddy manner that they would never last.

Now I don’t know if it is apparent from what I have disclosed about myself on this site, but I have some OCD tendencies.  These tendencies don’t apply to everything, but occur most often when I am required to do anything practical, and can range from building with lego to making wedding dresses.  If I am going to do something, particularly something for someone else, I am going to do it properly.  

This is generally a great attribute to have, attention to detail and desire for perfection, but when you are working on fixing someone else’s handiwork it can drive me insane.  The wall that needed to be partially removed is a classic example of this.  The wall is actually a screen that was built by my FIL to divide the back yard and provide a quiet sitting area.  The theory behind it was sound – use a panel of bamboo screening and frame it with timber then mount them, 6 panels in all, in a right angle to provide the yard divider.  Unfortunately that didn’t quite happen.  Almost from the time they were built they were wobbling in the breeze.  

As a part of last year’s Mother’s Day gift, we were called in for renovation rescue to secure them, to make them safer now that there was a baby living in the house.  Well that seemed like a simple request, head to Bunnings and buy some fence posts, sink the fence posts and attach the fence panels.  Right?  WRONG!  Well needing real fence posts was right, random pieces of pipe of different lengths weren’t suitable to stabilise the fence, but finding a finding the correct height for the posts was another challenge.  All 6 panels were a different size, and not different sizes to account for the slope in the land but as a result of the inaccurate measurement of wood used, not to mention the warp in the wood because it wasn’t really suitable for the job at hand.  None of the corners were actually 90 degrees and we had to try and square them up before fixing them to the fence post.  3 of the panels were slavageable so we made one side of the fence.   The other 3 needed much more work and no-one was convinced that they could be rescued.  It was pretty much decided to leave them in their shoddy place and let nature take its course.  

In recent months, nature has taken hold and knocked down the shoddy part of the fence.  Of course it didn’t fall all the way down, there were random pieces of steel holding them at a precarious angle, leaning over the garden.  Fortunately wisdom won and we were advised to remove the panels rather than try the impossible and make them square.  The panels that we, well man-child in particular fixed last year are still securely in place!

The other jobs on the to-do list were similar.  The intent to do build or fix something was there, but the actual doing-it part wasn’t.  I understand that some jobs are difficult, but you need to understand that if you aren’t capable of doing something, ask for help.  Hell, perhaps you could even read the instructions that come along with things – installing door handles shouldn’t be hard, the instructions are step by step and even include marking and cutting templates, why wouldn’t you use them?

Anyway, that brings me to the point of this post.  What is the point in doing something if you aren’t going to do it well?  I don’t mean that everything has to be done properly, although it would be nice, but things that are meant to be used over and over, that are permanent, need to be safe, secure and finished.  

I didn’t want my house to be half arsed, so we had a builder do the renovations for us.  I don’t want my life to be half arsed so I need to make changes to ensure that it isn’t.  I can’t really find the equivalent of a builder to fix the things that don’t work properly, but I need to take a step back and critically analyse what things aren’t quite right and work out how to fix them.  I also need to recognise that not everything can be fixed and decide if I can live with that, or if I need to move on.  

All of this sounds really drastic, like things really aren’t quite right but that isn’t really the case.  My home life is actually pretty darn good at the moment.  The house stays tidy for more than 3 seconds at a time, we have everything we could want and more and even the monsters rock.  I guess my main issues are with work.  Is it where I want to be?  How can I make my time at work more satisfying?  More importantly, what has changed in the last 6 months to make me less interested in work, is it me or is it the work culture?  

Lots to think about over the coming work weeks.  Fortunately tomorrow is a public holiday and we are celebrating Australia Day with a barbeque with friends.  I will leave the thinking about work for another day and just enjoy!

1 Comment

Posted by on January 25, 2009 in all about me


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One response to “Half Arsed

  1. Kay

    January 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

    Agh, I dobn’t envy you the fix-it-ness stuff at all.
    Blame my middle class parents or whatnot but if I can hire someone to do something decently instead of having to watch either myself or my SO attempt to do it… I will.

    The worst example was a “re-wire” job that ended up with two months of no bathroom light.

    Have I mentioned that I am happily divorced? Or that my first post-marriage lover was a house builder/contractor?



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