Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Renovations were begun in the lobby and main floor hallway of our building near the end of this past May. More than three months ago. They're still not finished.

A couple of days ago I met our caretaker as I came into the building and jokingly asked her, "Do you think they'll be done by Christmas?"

Her immediate response was, "Which Christmas?"

All joking aside, this ongoing construction has been an irritating and frustrating time for the caretaker and many of the tenants. The tradespeople coming into the building make a mess and don't clean up after themselves, leaving the caretaker with considerably more work. Many of the tenants association activities have had to be canceled. There seems to be no coordinated planning in how and when things are done. Days will go by without work being done, and then without notice someone will show up and do some work in a place and time that interferes with regularly scheduled services that have been delivered to tenants for decades. I came back from a bike ride one day to find that the entrances and elevators were all blocked off by flooring guys spreading adhesive for new carpet tiles. Tenants wanting to go out or come in had to use the fire stairs from the main to second floor and then use the elevator. That is a challenge for many residents of this 55+ building who rely on mobility aids to get around.

Some of the work that has been done is of very poor quality. Jobs are half done and then left incomplete for weeks on end. One of the more bizarre things was that new flooring was installed in about half the area being renovated - before drywall repair, spackling and painting was done.  Flooring, especially carpeting is usually the last thing to get done. The flooring that was installed is stained with adhesive at many of the joints because too much adhesive was used and it oozed up in the carpet tile joints. I told Heidi that if I were the landlord paying for the work, I would demand that it be redone properly.

Haphazard planning; inconvenient and random, inconsistent scheduling; sloppy workmanship! Is that the best way to go about doing renovations?

As I observe these dysfunctional antics, I wonder if  other people see me approach my personal renovations the same way.

As I examine how I do things I realize that my approach to daily living, personal growth and making changes in my life might look very similar to the inefficiency and poor outcomes I see in our building renovations.

I don't have a fixed routine. I don't keep a detailed, written 'to do' list. I don't plan meticulously, or prioritize. I don't clearly define goals.

Does that mean I'm risking less than desirable outcomes? Possibly, I suppose.

But I also know why I do things the way I do. Staying deliberately flexible reduces stress for me. I know what is important to me and I do have a mental list of the minimum I try to accomplish every day. Routines bore me and boredom quickly leads me into depression. Doing things slightly different every day keeps a sense of freshness in my day to day activity. Having a relaxed environment and pace is calming. An open schedule allows me to be spontaneous and creative. Reduced structure produces reduced pressure which in turn results in reduced anxiety for me. I know that if little, less important things don't get done today, there might be time for them tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, maybe the day after.

The laid back strategy is not a lazy, do nothing or as little as possible approach. It is a way of living that allows me to pace myself, and maximize my daily production without exhausting my energy reserves. It's my personal map to better mental, physical, and spiritual health.

I know what is of vital importance to me and I make every effort to look after those things. I pay attention to important details, but I try to avoid obsessing over them. I am careful to do things in an order that doesn't undo what I've done previously.

My personal renovations continue. I strive for ongoing personal growth. Some changes have happened and others are in progress. A more leisurely pace is producing far better outcomes for me than my past frenetic fretting and spinning has ever done. It's also not self destructive. This 'I'm retired' mentality that Heidi urged me to adopt seems to be working.  Life is good.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Horst, I see the blogs are coming "thicker and faster" and I love "Renovations"...Fantastic...keep up the good work.