Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Rule of Threes.

I am a cheap, stubborn, irrational male.
I know this about me.
And if this does not surface every time I act or open my mouth, it ABSOLUTELY surfaces when it is time to tackle a home improvement project. Take "The Floor", for instance. I hated the idea of paying someone to do what I could do myself. So I sold this idea to my then pregnant wife, took a week of vacation, and started work on what was intended to be 900 square feet of glorious porcelain floor to replace our hideous green tile.

Now, 7 days sounds like a gimme for this project, and ample time to complete, despite never having taken on a project like this big, having no help, and lacking the know-how, patience, and experience to make such a thing go smoothly.

I spent 7 days hand-chiseling up the old floor.

You see, in addition to being cheap, stubborn, and irrational, I am a bit of a moron. I'll spare you the play by play of "The Floor", it is enough to know that it took...8 months. And in the end, with the birth of our son looming, I ended up paying someone to come in and finish it in 2 days. Now sure, I ended up saving about $2000 in the process, but what did it ultimately cost me and my wife? 8 months of arguments, frustration, and exposed concrete foundation....during a pregnancy.

That brings me to today's lesson learned...The Rule of Threes.

  1. Every project will cost you 3 times as much as you think it will, if you do it yourself. You may still save money, but it wont be as cheap as you initially thought.
  2. It will take a minimum of 3 times longer than you set aside.
  3. Your husband/wife will have, at minimum, 3 things to say that are eventually taken as nagging, hurtful, critical, or generally disapproving.
  4. The project will require no less than 3 trips to Home Depot. If you do choose to do these projects yourself, buy the ENTIRE STORE on your first trip, and return what you don't need. Don't kid yourself, they are gonna hate you after a while, but you will be happier.
In the end, the ultimate lesson to be taken from this what your spouse wants. If she wants to pay someone to do the work, save a little longer, and pay that professional with a smile. Your wife is gonna LOVE you when the job is done quickly and well by someone who works hard and then leaves her new beautiful home. She's gonna love you easily 3 times as much.

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posthumous pointer
To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one's self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - this is to have succeeded. - Emerson