Rick Astley, DIY, and relationships…

Shout out to my friend Kevin for Rick Astley being stuck in my head for a week. It’s a corny song by a one (or maybe two) hit wonder…but some of the lyrics are thought provoking. We’ll get back to that.

I am building a shelving unit. From scratch, with no design sheet. I saw it in Crate and Barrel magazine and said, “PSSSHTTT. I can MAKE that.”

Uh huh.

I have put together my share of build-it-yourself furniture from a box. And I helped my uncle make my entertainment center last year. Clearly, those activities qualify me to start with a sheet of birch wood and make a bookcase.

Uh huh.

The first challenge is my lack of appropriate tools. The circular saw with an 18 tooth blade wasn’t effective, nor was the SawzAll. The jigsaw would have worked, except for challenge #2 – lack of appropriate workspace. It is hard to cut small pieces on a straight line while balancing the wood on the edge of a sawhorse. In the driveway. While it is sprinkling on the electric tools.

Having pushed through those obstacles, I started construction yesterday. Again, the unsuitable workspace problem arose. How does one attach shelves to a board without a large table or workbench, without clamps, with only two hands? I started in the garage, then moved to the basement where there is a chest freezer. Right now the unit is on the basement floor. All the shelves are attached but the whole thing is very crooked. It turns out not all the pieces are exactly the right length. Who knew 1/4 inch could make such a difference? ? After this break , where I vent to you, I will go back with the tape measure and level, and the revision process will start.

I could take it apart and put the pieces in the scrap wood pile. Just give up and try to find an easier solution. Maybe overextend my budget and order from Crate and Barrel. Or go a local store and find something which I may or may not like but which will be “good enough.”

It’s a choice we face pretty often, isn’t it? We start something – a job, a bookcase, a new business, a friendship, a diet, a marriage – and we have so much enthusiasm.

Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…

Some time goes by and the initial enthusiasm wanes. We face situations for which we don’t have the proper tools. Maybe we don’t even recognize that insufficiency, and wouldn’t begin to know how to fix it if we did. Where would we possibly get different tools?

Or the workspace is inadequate. We need a better job, a bigger house, a faster-working diet, a spouse or friend who knows more/has more/listens better/acquiesces more readily.

I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling…Gotta make you understand…

That’s the problem, isn’t it? I want to tell you how I’m feeling. I want you to understand me. I don’t want the expense of new tools, don’t want to bother with revisions. If we have a problem, you need to fix it. If this boss doesn’t treat me right, I will keep finding new jobs until I am happy. If this diet doesn’t work, I will keep buying new books, subscribing to new services, acquiring new equipment until I find a diet that requires no lifestyle change and no effort.

Does this sound like anyone you know? Look in your garage, basement, closet, heart. The evidence of broken commitments is in all these places. You remember – the project/equipment/idea/person that started out as the “greatest” and became an annoyance because the details were more complicated than expected and you simply couldn’t be bothered.

What we fail to recognize is the toll that kind of behavior takes on us. Sure, I could go out today and buy a bookcase. But I would know that I gave up as soon as the build-my-own project hit a snag. I would remember that for a long time.

Never gonna run around and desert you…never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye…

We fail to recognize that every time we give up on someone, every time we break a commitment to marriage or friendship, every time we block someone from our life, we leave a mark on our own heart.

It is a difficult paradox to navigate. We live in a throw-away society. And yet, we are created to be pack animals, to help each other, to love each other. So while some of us believe it is easier to throw away and start again, in all areas of life, that is a fallacy. Only hard work yields a treasure. “Good enough” never really is.

Think about it.

Back to the basement I go. There will be a follow-up report!

A full commitment’s what I’m thinking of….

Tee hee…you know you will be singing it for days!