SittingWithTheMess

Its-a-mess.
" … moving at the approximate speed of drying paint."

This, too, shall pass, I suppose. The final touches come more like desperate throat grabs, determined to strangle the liveliness out of the effort. Unforeseen complications reverberate through the whole structure this late in the project, after the hip bone's connected to every other danged bone in the body. Tiny discoveries set back the projected end by two days in just four days. My job as the owner/observer remains to provide some relative unflappability. I dare not lose my cool.

One of my Seven Ethical Responsibilities insists that I hold the responsibility to SitWithTheMess. Not IN the mess, for that would simply taint my presence. Not simply beside it, but With it, fully acknowledging its potentially poisoning presence without tumbling to its continuing attempts to seduce me into sitting in the middle of it. The mess might even be my friend.
If it's my enemy, needing me to vanquish it, we're all sunk, for messes are rarely vanquished. Trying to clean up a mess before its finished its messy business usually turns out to be a recipe for making even more mess, replacing the original difficulty with one more knotted and snotty than the original. I try to grow duck feather capable of shedding whatever goo might otherwise try to compromise me.

A very few floor boards gave up their stain under final sanding in preparation for the final Polyurethane® top coat. Sand 'em out and restain. Reapply initial coats and wait. Yes, I know the schedule said we'd complete that final coat by the end of the day, but the schedule failed to foresee this particular complication. We fuss and fume before accepting that The Gods remain in change of the timeline again. Nearer the end, a hot half dozen unforeseens can cause more chaos than a score of them could earlier on. Then, we had nearly infinite contingency. The number of paths to a successful end far outnumbered the number of shocking revelations. Now, with contingency dried up and blown away, we head for the finish line precariously balanced on a single suspended narrow beam. Only one way remaining: forward. Only one remaining contingency: time.

We understand the ancient Roman insistence that one should hasten slowly at the beginning, but we seem to need to relearn each time that we must also hasten at least as slowly toward the end. We hope to avoid an asymptotic ending, where almost becomes the new done, and we may, eventually, manage to experience real doneness, but those damned gods seem determined to deny us the satisfaction. I could worry myself into an earlier grave, but, really, why bother? My worry won't add an ounce of mobility to an effort stuck on that narrow closure beam. We will figure out what to do. We still hold faith that we're nearly there, and seem dedicated to holding that faith regardless of the emerging contradictory evidence. I'll fuss about the delays later. I dare not fuss overmuch about the mess.

I wisely occupied myself out in my soon to be demolished paint shed, scraping and priming exterior crown molding needed for a roof line repair. The boards in mint condition after a century hanging above somebody else's soffit, nary a knot and fine grained, the old paint came off easy enough. I heard the frustration building inside, but chose to stay well clear of the emotional center of the effort. I'm no floor sanding expert and had already spent the prior weekend on my knees painting bead board. I tended to my little side task and let the emerging mess figure out how to manage itself. The Muse, absent for this last furlong, expressed greater frustration than I could muster on site. Fortunately, I'm tuckered from long plodding days moving at the approximate speed of drying paint. I care, and I suppose if properly riled, I could even manage to care less, but I can't see the utility in either caring more or caring less. Completion has adopted its own gravity, attracting the project in mysterious ways, the same ways The Lord is said to work. Maybe SittingWithTheMess requires just a tiny bit of faith, possibly about the size of the average mustard seed.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









blog comments powered by Disqus