When even my daughter chided me that our house was not unpacked after almost three months I knew it was time to buckle down and get it done. I am the hold up. Our living room and dining room have tile floors that make the rooms cold, noisy, and well, shall we say unattractive? Melanie and I decided the answer was wood laminate floors. Having been taught to be handy around the house by my father I figured I could install them no problem. Yeah right …
Have you ever laid flooring? It is not as easy as it looks. The dining room took more than ten hours to complete. But at least we had a place to eat. The living room, which is bigger, took about the same amount of time. Experience was useful.
Why was it so difficult? While showering my aching muscles it hit me. Laying the floors is a microcosm of life. Here's why:
You have to keeping searching until you find yourself and the right set of directions. I spent hours just figuring out how install the flooring since the directions did not make sense and the techniques in videos I found online did not work. Three false starts and a fortuitous call to Lowe’s customer service later, at least I knew what needed to be done. It turns out that was the easy part.
- You come into this world not knowing who you are and what you are supposed to do. Lots of people want to tell you, but many times they do not have any better direction then you do. Much of life is trial and error. Face it and move on.
You need to have the right tools and know how to use them. A miter box and back saw are fine for cutting base molding, but an electric saw is what you need to cut wood laminate. Kneepads are a must. I have the bruises to prove it.
- My friend Bill Gross, who coaches real estate agents, insists that they know how to fill out the basic forms without hesitation or needing to read them. If you are a Marine, you better know how to use your rifle and field strip it, in the dark.
Just get started. Most of the time I spent studying the directions would have been put to better use working on the floors. Trial and error taught me much more hence why I got more efficient the more flooring I laid.
- You can read the directions a million times but until you put them into practice you will never get anywhere. In fact, you probably will not know if you have good directions until you try them out.
You are going to make mistakes. My perfectionism caused me huge anxiety. While the defects stare at me, the people who have seen the floors do not even notice them.
- Blunders and failure are as much a part of life as breathing. You can avoid them, but only by never attempting anything new.
Most of life is grinding it out. The work was mind-numbingly boring: fitting pieces together, sizing boards correctly, taking apart some of the finished work to redo it correctly. But since I wanted the prize of nice floors, monotony was the price.
- The breakthrough moments in your life will be few and far between. And they will be surrounded by a massive amount of hard, routine, work. Setting goals is the fun part. Reaching them requires disciplined daily action.
Life is not always on the square. When I completed the dining room I found out one end of the room was about an inch and a half wider than the other and the floor was slightly bowed. Hence one of the reasons the flooring did not set quite right.
- Some people refuse to play by the rules. Often you do not find this out until you have already been burned. But if you did the job with integrity you can walk away with your head high and a sense of accomplishment no matter what damage the other person did.
Emotional release has its place. I confess to an inappropriate amount of pouting and self-pity. Who wants to be beaten by a bunch of floor boards?
- You have to let out your frustration and anxiety. While you cannot throw a fit in your workplace, I bet if you threw a pep-rally at the office with every body screaming for 15 minutes productivity would skyrocket.
You need a true friend to help you through. If Melanie was not there to help me calm down and get back on the right track those floors would still be in the packages.
- What is the point of life if you cannot share your triumphs and frustrations? A spouse and several friends are best, but at least cultivate one close friendship.
The floors are done, the rooms are much nicer, and there is one blogger who is very glad to get back to writing.
Do you agree with my life lessons?
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