Motivation

When Nick and I were in college, I did a little construction work with him for his buddy, Jeremiah. We went to vist an older guy who lived in Moscow, ID. His name was Rod or Rodney and he had been working on building his house for 30 years. We were going to his house because he had some old windows that he didn't want and was going to give to Jeremiah. Now the guys had dealt with Rodney before. He was an extremely paricular man--basically he embodied the word "perfectionist". He also had a very healthy sense of safety; my family calls it a "voice of caution". When Nick and Jeremiah were carrying the heavy windows to the car, Rodney would scamper along next to them as fast as his arthritic joints and the frozen ground would let him offering up sage tidbits such as "Lift with your legs!" "Do you need gloves?" "Watch out for that lump!" or "Careful! Careful! Careful!". Now all of these things would be considered helpful under the right circumstances, but they came flowing out in a constant, steady stream from his mouth. When he would run out of new things to say, he would repeat the good ones. My presence on this particular mission was to distract Rodney so Nick and Jeremiah could work faster. It was 25 degrees out and they wanted to get the job over with. I tried valiantly, but Rodney responded to my attempts at conversation with a kind, "Im sorry miss, but I need to supervise these boys..." and he would hurry off while calling out, "Careful! Careful!" He was a really nice man, he just had a certain way of doing things and he wanted things to be done right. To do it right, it needed to be done his way. That was why he was building his house when he was 70 years old and had been working on the same house for 30 years. He had started it with his Dad and after his Dad passed away, he wanted to finish it and do it in such a way it could honor both of them. And that house is the most perfect house there could be. He would plane down every surface to make sure it was flat, even the framing. He would counter-sink every nail. He paid Jeremiah $14,000 to install lead flashing on his roof, while he inspected every piece. Nick and Jeremiah spent weeks planing the plywood sheathing on the side of the house before they put the building wrap up. Rodney and his wife spent a month sanding their front door so it would be perfectly smooth. And the most heartbreaking part? He and his wife were living in the house and had been for 25 years. There was no siding on the house, no insulation, carpet, walls or anything. And this is in Idaho, were it gets into the single digits in the winter. He and his wife spent $1400 a month in the winter to make the house a liveable temperature. They have been living out of boxes for 25 years.

I don't understand that. Maybe it is my lack of motivation or maybe I just don't care enough but it sounds exhausting to need things to be that perfect. Nick and I are driving over to Pullman right now to visit some friends. Maybe we will swing by Moscow and see how Rodney is doing. I really hope his house is done and he and his wife are enjoying it together. We'll see...