The Perfectionist’s Predicament

I’m a perfectionist. If I tell you that while you’re visiting our home this may cause you to scratch your chin and mutter under your breath, “Why then does it look like a homeless person lives in your desk?”

First of all, how dare you insult homeless people. Second of all, I’m crippled by a fine tuned sense of perfection that immobilizes me so nothing ever gets done.

Imagine this scenario with me: I’m staring at my computer, doing something or other that’s terribly important. Janice tells me that I need to fix the rocking chair. I acknowledge her command by blinking my eyes rapidly and grunting. I admit that the rocking chair does need to be fixed. A screw that holds a brace together broke in half and now the rocking chair flexes on one side when you rock. This causes you to slowly creep sideways down the hallway towards the bathroom. Before you know it, your knees are hitting the toilet and you’re having a hard time following the conversation in the living room. We have a creepy rocky chair. Of course, the creepy rocking chair isn’t a priority compared to whatever I’m doing on my computer at the moment so as Janice’s mouth continues to move I delegate only partial concentration to our conversation. I assume she’s just telling me about how she keeps ending up in the bathroom when she uses the rocking chair. I already know all about that. I keep nodding my head in agreement with what she’s saying. Soon she stampedes across the living room, grabs my laptop, and hurls it through the living room window. I’m shocked but she does manage to get my attention.

“Are you listening to me?” This seems like a trick question.

I pause and then venture a guess. “Yes.”

“Then what did I just say?”

“I should fix the rocking chair?”

“What about after that?”

“Uh…” Every time I try multitasking, my brain reminds me it’s a one trick pony. It can’t pull a cart and jump over things at the same time.

“It’s about time to get that rocking chair fixed. The ladies are tired of ending up in the bathroom whenever they come over for coffee.”

“It’s a natural place to end up when you’re drinking coffee,” I insist.

“But it’s not natural to be sitting on a rocking chair when you get there!” She snaps back.

I start planning my repair job. The screw broke. I don’t want to replace the screw with another one because the brace is only so wide and I may strip out or split the wood. A good solution is to drill it out and tap a dowel peg slathered in wood glue into the hole. This peg method was used to hold barns together in the good old days so it should work for my rocking chair. Then I can stain the dowel to match the rocking chair finish. Of course, both sides of the rocking chair should match and besides, the screw on the other side is likely to break at some point as well so I should replace that screw with a dowel peg before it breaks. This will also help the rocking chair to stop creaking as much. Well, shucks! Might as well replace all the screws with dowel pegs and do the job right once and for all. The only problem is that this project will take days so I obviously can’t fix it today. It’s nearly time for supper.

Janice interrupts my me as I write a mental checklist. “Are you going to fix it today or not?”

“I don’t have time!” I insist.

“It’s one screw! You have boxes of screws all over the laundry room!”

“I need to buy least two feet of 3/8″ oak dowel rod, a 3/8″ drill bit, some Elmer’s water resistant wood glue – just in case we ever leave the rocking chair outside in a rainstorm, some more C clamps, mahogany stain, some sandpaper, and I need to wait for a sunny day because I have to fix it outside or else Adi will sit on it while it’s drying and it’ll get even more crooked and even creepier.”

It bugs me far less to rock on a creepy chair than to fix the creepy chair halfheartedly.

Janice rolls her eyes and sighs. “Don’t you have all that stuff in the shed?”

“Yes but I can’t find it because I didn’t have enough shelves to organize everything so instead of having a halfhearted, subpar organizational system, I have none at all. Of course, then it’s impossible to find a 3/8″ drill bit.”

Does anyone else relate to this or am I off my rocker?



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