Watching Paint Dry
Go slower, you’ll go faster. That’s a saying in our business, and it is a truth that you will realize over time. It’s the rule of rushing things. They end up wrong, and errors are costly. They are especially painful when you have to do something over, and the timeline only grows longer, while what was once the pleasure of doing ebbs away, along with the frustration.
It’s the pain of being in between. Maybe it’s appropriate for Advent, a time when it seems like everything hoped for is on a holding pattern. A lot has been written about the wait that comes with Advent.
Personally, I think that waiting adds an element of anticipation, that can make waiting a bit delicious. Once something has arrived, you might realize that the savour was in the hunger all along.
I am in a curious in-between right now in my life. It’s a big renovation project, a room do-over that grew and grew and has taken the better part of a year. It had to encompass a lot of imagining into the future, wondering what materials would look like together, would they harmonize? What kind of wood? What kind of stone? Built ins. How would they work with the room, and how would you manage the electrical? All things to be considered as you hope and dream and anticipate.
The last stage is particularly painful. I have literally been ‘watching paint dry’ for a few weeks. The built ins are painted white, and that means the challenge of doing them in my basement shop, one component at a time, because I don’t have room for more. Even with a sprayer, there is a lot of sanding in between coats to take out dust nibs, imperfections and to level the surface. It’s a tedious cycle, spray, sand, level, spray again, wait for paint to dry. There’s a reason they have that cogent saying about waiting for paint to dry. It’s a painful thing to watch in real time.
There is however, nothing to remedy this tedium because rushing it will mean making a mistake and having to sand and spray all over again. Then another few days waiting for paint to dry, yet again. I can see the completed unit in my head all put together and lighted up, and it is that vision of completion that keeps me going.
I am also in a strange pause in my life in general, that I realize is not so bad. My kids are mainly raised, but still at home and I selfishly like to have them around. The two older are back from first leg of post-secondary education, waiting and planning what comes next. They are impatient. They want to get on with their lives. They don’t want to be at home forever.
Similarly the youngest is itching to be out on her own, to get a taste of the world and work on her dreams. She is still figuring out what that might be. We are all in a strange holding pattern, all of us together.
Midst all of this, here we are approaching Christmas and I am making a lot of necessary plans with my other half. She is the thick-and-thin kind, and after twenty five plus years, there has been a lot of thick and thin. I am grateful for the continuity. It lends grace and perspective to the whole timeline of living and seeing another Christmas come and go.
Still, it is a good time to take stock and assess. All in all, we have two cars that are our own, and in decent running order, the bills are paid, fridge is full, parties are being planned, and we are sitting in a warm room by a nice fire. You could do worse. The kids are a pleasure. They make you busy and they have their own things going on like all kids. Each one has her own virtues and flavour, enough to make it all interesting. So far so good.
I guess advent is about the waiting as much as the arrival. It’s the pauses in between the notes that add punctuation. There is nothing to do now but sit and watch paint dry, and… perhaps be grateful as I wait for completion in the fullness of time.
A good friend of mine has sagely stated that in life, you need three things. Something to do, something to look forward to, and someone to share it with. I have all three so I guess I have won the jackpot. Yes, so far so good. I am watching paint dry, waiting for the fullness of time, and it is a beautiful thing.