Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Carol of the Shelves

It's not even noon, yet and so far today I've picked up around the house, shoveled the sidewalk, ran an errand outside the house and hung some shelves in my kitchen window. If I'd done nothing other than hang the shelves; if I do nothing else today with the remaining 12-1/2 hours, I would consider the day a success because of the shelves.

When I moved in to my house in 1996 I thought a few shelves in the kitchen window would be a pretty place to grow a few plants, display some pretty glasses or bottles, etc. And the window has remained barren since that thought first crossed my mind. There isn't even a curtain or a valance in the window. In fact, it's not a window at all but a piece of plexiglass screwed in and duct taped to the wall - it doesn't even have a window frame. (Odd, I know, but I don't care to get explain right now. I have another purpose to this post.)

Today I decided to finally do it. Since I'm unemployed, I have some spare time on my hands. However, since I'm unemployed, I don't have spare cash in my hands. Therefore, I purposed to use various materials (aka "junk") sitting in my basement. I used some scrap pieces of wood, some old rusted screws, etc and hung the shelves.

Since I did not use quality materials and my home repair skills are below basic, the workmanship is not great - in fact, it's laughably shoddy. But I'm proud of the result. And there's the problem - or at least what I think is a problem. (Please comment and let me know if this is or is not a problem.)

The pride in the job is not the issue. I completed a project that I'd wanted done for almost 14 years and I didn't spend a dime. I used my time and my money well - something for which I'm not always noted. But as I was looking at the poor workmanship I thought it would have been a lot better if only I'd asked someone who knew what they were doing to help me. Why didn't I? Is there another kind of pride at work here?

I think I didn't ask because, since I'm single, I feel I'm supposed to be self-sufficient. I'm supposed to be able to do these things on my own or at the very least hire someone to do them. I don't want to impose on anyone - especially for something as trivial as shelves. Those around me have spouses and children to care for. They have their own homes to maintain. And if by chance they do have some free time, they should spend quality time with their families, not hanging shelves in my kitchen window.

As I think this through, I see-saw back and forth. There is truth on both sides. And there are lies, on both sides as well. Where's the balance? What am I missing?

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