Lessons learned from a paintbrush

I’m a few days late with this week’s blog because I’ve been distracted with my latest project, staining my deck. September is the month I cram in all the summer projects that took a back seat to baseball and the beach.

I still have a bit of touching up left to do on the deck, but for the most part, the two coats of Cape Cod Gray have prepared it for winter and a few years beyond.

It’s funny how your mind wanders while doing repetitive chores, so I started thinking about the life lessons learned during this project.

Procrastination carries a price
I waited until this year, the deck’s third summer, to do the staining. That’s too late. This year’s wet summer led to some mildew, which had to be cleaned and scrubbed. Doing the work last year, or at the end of year one, would have been simpler and easier, a thought that ran through my head over and over.

Challenge yourself
I toyed with the idea of hiring something to do the work. Ultimately, I decided it was worth giving up a couple of weekends to save hundreds of dollars, and I liked the idea of taking on a good size project that would being some sweat equity to my home.

Do your homework
Before lifting a brush, I did some online research, and asked for advice from our painters at work, as well as the sales staff at the store. This gave me a pretty good idea what to expect, as well as alternative choices.

Pace yourself
For desk jockeys, doing 8 or 9 hours of physical labor can take its toll — regardless of your conditioning. The constant kneeling, squatting, twisting, and ladder climbing left me pretty sore for a couple of days. Next time, I’ll spread the work out over more days or weeks.

Quality matters
The stain I used was pretty pricy, but went on very well and looks terrific. Paying a little extra probably saves in the long run, as (hopefully) I won’t need to re-stain for years. Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine just published an article that basically argues that the same holds true for clothing — buy fewer items, but choose better quality — and I suspect for most things.

Reward yourself
When you finish a tough project, do something nice for yourself. After all, you worked hard to meet your goal. As for me, I’m thinking of an iPad …..

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  1. #1 by Maryellen Carew on September 19, 2012 - 11:27 pm

    John, I am beginning to think of you as the philosopher king. I so enjoy your observations about anything you choose to blog about. Love the thoughts about homework. As Hamlet said, “the readiness is all.” Drive safely. Maryellen

    • #2 by johnlamb1 on September 23, 2012 - 2:01 pm

      Thank you! I learned a lot of this stuff from you.

  2. #3 by angieanto on October 10, 2012 - 3:48 pm

    Just discovered your blog. I might get into it as well. Looks great, John!

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