Whoever said this has never done a house renovation while living with their in-laws. If builders are from Mars, we must live over in the planetoid Farfarout. We are at 120 days and counting on our project and despite me saying there was light at the end of the tunnel, I’ve realized that was one mirage in a series of recurring mirages. Does everyone have this same experience? Seems like they do.
After a Friday meeting where I ended up screaming at our contractor in the street in front of our house (no exaggeration), I was reminded of this Tim Ferriss podcast with world-renowned spiritual guru Jack Knornfield and I had to smile.
Here is what Tim said regarding his construction project:
I’ve been contending with, and I believe you have some experience with this – contending with what should be a very simple construction project of a cabin up in the mountains.
And it has been delayed and delayed and delayed, and there have been cost overruns and cost overruns and cost overruns, and promises made, promises broken, expectations set, expectations missed. And a friend of mine called with a whole new slew of problems yesterday related to this place. And I lost my shit, for lack of a better term. I mean, there are many other things going on simultaneously. But I got really pissed, and I was like, you know what? This extending the olive branch of being understanding gambit is not working with these people. I need to take out the baseball bat and pull old Tim off the shelf, who was just this juggernaut, head through brick walls, and be like, listen, fuckface. If you don’t do A, B, C, D, and E here, well, these are gonna be the consequences. And then I’m like, well, wait. I’m supposed to be compassionate. But how do I not be a pushover? And it turns into this big, dramatic play inside my head.
That sums up the way I feel, having a neverending “dramatic play in my head”. At least I’m in good company.
Here is what Jack said about his project:
I had the same experience, where we had a big remodel of our house when I was, some years ago, raising my daughter and in my first marriage. And we were supposed to go and teach and travel in Europe, and this guy, he was a good contractor, but everything, of course, gets more expensive, and you gotta do this. And it kept getting slowed down. And I said, “You were gonna get this done so we can make these decisions. We’re going to Europe, and it’s not happening. You’ve gotta hurry up.” I do that like three or four different times, and it doesn’t happen. Finally, I go in. I get pissed, and I say, “Listen, you said this, and our contract was gonna be done by then. And if you don’t fucking get this done by that time, I’m gonna haul your ass into court and sue you, because I need this down. And I’m not gonna pay you the goddamn money,” blablabla.
He looked at me, and he said, “Oh, you really want this done, don’t you?” I said, “Yes.” The next day, there was this huge crew. It starts to get done. And I realized, okay. I’ve been sort of talking meditation speak, yeah, nice to get it done, he was a fucking contractor. And I just had to speak contractor-ese. Get the goddamn job done, or I’ll haul your ass in. Okay, I get it, yeah. I’ll send a team over. And that’s all it took. So, but there’s something playful about that as well. It’s not that you can’t – I’ve seen the Dalai Lama get angry at people. It’s not that you can’t use that power and that understanding when it’s necessary. You can get very strong or forceful. And you don’t have to judge yourself unless you hurt people.
I hear similar experiences from others I talk to as well.
Things have moved slightly forward as you can see from previous posts but only very slightly.
We’ve tried being positive, tried being laid back, tried project managing, tried micro-managing, tried speaking “contractor-ese”, you name it. We feel like we’ve tried everything at this point and we will keep trying until we get there.
During a sleepless night last night worrying over the latest setback, my wife reminded me that we’re good people and our actions reflect that. She said we’ve done the best that we can and that’s what we have to keep doing.
“Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.”Og Mandino