Porch Ceiling +

Painting can take a long time when it’s done by someone who really cares about what they’re doing. My contractor/husband joked as he was prepping the porch at the end of last week, filling nail holes, sanding, and caulking that, “the effing carpenter always leaves a mess for the painter to fix.”

If you’re just tuning in, Tim is both the carpenter and the painter, which is why, when he made his carpenter complaint with great mock seriousness, I burst out laughing. He’s also the electrician, and the plumber, and the framing guy, and the roofer on this decade-long project, for which the exterior trim work is almost literally the icing on the cake.

Forty Years of Experience, and . . .

Of course, there are other things that might slow one’s progress when painting a front porch besides excellent attention to detail. Such “things” might include situations in which the painter/carpenter, who’s been doing this sort of work for over 40 years, is distracted and gets stymied by setbacks like falling backward off the stepladder (because he lost his balance while looking up, for the second time in 2 days, ignoring his wife’s admonition when she witnessed it on day one, that he move the ladder when the overhead work got too close to vertical, thus avoiding the type of circustance in which his dizziness is more triggered).

Another example of something that might cause painting to move more slowly would include improperly setting up a sixteen-foot 2×10 on the saw table (which had nothing to do with the porch – it was for a side project), thus dropping one of the very heavy cut sections onto the top of his foot.

Gratefully, no serious damage was done in either instance, but both incidents, understandably, more or less shut down progress for each of the days on which they occurred.

Yet Progress There Was

And it’s looking beautiful (despite the clutter):

Porch ceiling painted_LI

The Brief Saga of the Ceiling Fans

We went and picked ceiling fans a few weeks ago. I was happy to not have to be particularly picky for a change. After all, logic told me, they’re outdoor fans. They don’t have to be fancy. They just need to be functional, and not be at complete stylistic odds with the house’s exterior architecture.

Tim disagreed vigorously with the style I chose, but we came to a cease-fire position and picked them up last week. Cease-fire, that was, until he hung one.

The style itself, surprisingly, wasn’t at issue, though. The ceiling clearance was. And normally, cutting the downrod wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but in this case, due to the way the wiring was done, it was an issue, and, even if he could have cut the downrod, he couldn’t have cut it short enough to put the blades at a height he was going to be able to abide.

So that fan has taken up temporary residence on the dining room table. I’m thinking today might be the day it goes back into its box.

Porch fan on dining room table

Tim went searching online and found a similar style, outdoor rated, but low-profile, so they’ll be closer to the ceiling. They shipped yesterday. No clue when they’ll arrive, but I’m hoping it’s before we leave for vacation in a week and a half.

And the Bathroom Doorknob

The bathroom doorknob arrived right when it was supposed to last Friday. It’s been sitting on the credenza in my office ever since, exactly where you’d expect to find a doorknob.

Another thing on the list of “stuff I hope gets done before vacation.”

bathroom doorknob in its box

If You’re Going to Post About “Authenticity,” at Least Try to BE Authentic

A year or so ago I saw that someone I knew posted an article on LinkedIn about authenticity in the workplace. I think I’m an authentic person. Authentic in the way that I don’t care to pretend to be things that I’m not. Authentic in the way that if something were to go wrong on a team I was leading, I would take the heat – in the way that I would never “throw someone under the bus.” Authentic in the way that I speak up when someone in my world needs defending, or when something difficult needs to be done or said. Authentic in that I’m not afraid to admit when I don’t know something, or to laugh at my own expense when I’ve done or said something idiotic. Authentic when I apologize.

There’s a reason I still remember that this particular individual posted an article about authenticity more than a year ago. Want to take a swing at what that might be?

Yeah. This particular individual was one of the most inauthentic people I’d ever encountered in 30+ years as a professional. Someone so not in touch with their own motivations as to be actually laughable (at least now – not so much when this person had the potential to have a material impact on my livelihood). Someone who sadistically enjoyed getting someone to think they might be “in,” then shredding them behind their backs. Behaviors you’d expect to see in an adolescent with an identity and confidence crisis, but not in a 40-something professional. Not quite bullying, but almost worse, because it was never done to someone’s face. It was all a game to this person, and they were good at it. Seemed to actually take pride in it. I know this because I’d hear about it from others who were privy to the “shredding” that would take place later.

In my corporate career, I learned that, as difficult as it was when something would go wrong, it was always better to ask the hard questions – to figure out why – to understand where I could have done something differently or better. That was never an option with this person because they would never tell you what they really thought.

I try to pay attention to my own reactions and emotions – to understand what drives me in moments of stress – to understand what scares me – so that I can recognize when a negative emotion might be dictating my words or actions. I am far from perfect in this respect, trust me. But the older I get and the more I focus on this loop of self-reflection, the better I know myself, and, I hope, the better person I’m becoming because of it.

In some ways, I feel a little sorry for this “authenticity imposter” I’m writing about, because I don’t think they have the emotional or mental capacity to understand the value of self-awareness. They’ll spend their entire life playing games, but as a result, they’ll never have the joy or peace of mind of being genuinely close to anyone – to trusting anyone. Because they’ll always wonder if someone is doing the same thing to them.

I don’t know why I still let it bother me, but I do, though I’m hoping that writing this finally purges it. Perhaps a part of it was that this person was a woman, and seemed to direct her insecurities, which is pretty much what this kind of behavior boils down to psychologically, at other women. There were countless other encounters: with other people, with entire corporate cultures for heaven’s sake – which I survived – for better or worse – but at least none of them were posting articles extolling the virtues of authenticity in the workplace.

Perhaps it’s just the hypocrisy, but I don’t think so. I think it’s because she is just one small example in a universe too-full of the same cycle of b.s.: lack of self-awareness leading to bad behavior, leading to an inability to trust, leading to childish gamesmanship, leading to people getting hurt, leading to more bad behavior. The patterns apply equally in our personal lives and in the corporate world, which is why we need more examples of authenticity out there. Not just people who post about it.