Big projects, little steps

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When I was in my 20s and 30s, renovating my first house, it was not uncommon to see a dozen sheets of drywall and a stack of 2×4’s in the main hallway.  A lot of this was due to economics and practicality:  Not having a vehicle, I was dependent on lumber yard delivery trucks to bring materials home.  It just made more sense to buy everything at once, even if it would take months to use it all up, because then I’d only have to pay one delivery charge..

One house and 30 or so years later, I still do work on my home but the piles of materials aren’t as obvious.  I usually do a just-in-time purchase of several boards when they’re actually needed, but out in the garage there’s a cache of larger items — mostly drywall, which is heavy and easily breakable, something I wouldn’t even attempt to bring home on the roof of my car.  A couple of sheets are left over from a previous delivery; four more are from a batch I picked up on the return trip from the city dump, because I wanted to make the most of the pickup truck I had rented for the day.

Unfortunately, having is not the same as using.  Renovation is a multifaceted, long-haul endeavour with stops and starts and second-guessing and days when you don’t even want to think about drywall or 2×4’s, so materials in the garage don’t get used in a timely manner.

Despite that, the work somehow does get done eventually.  I take advantage of moments of high energy and enthusiasm when there’s a particularly daunting task to do, and the rest of the time goes to prep work that makes the big tasks possible — for example, pulling a dozen nails to make ready for new wallboard.

The struggle will continue as long as there are materials in the garage to use up and projects to work on, but every once in a while I pause to admire the work that’s been completed, and say “I can do this.”

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