ShareThis Page
Home & Garden

Starting projects is easy, but finishing them is another story

| Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, 5:30 p.m.

I guess it is about time I admit something.

I have a problem finishing projects.

Right now in my house I have successfully dismantled my lawnmower and the downstairs powder room toilet.

I've purchased a combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarm and have taken it out of the box. It is ready to replace the old smoke alarm, an alarm that is probably as old as the house. It would be nice to have a new one. But where's that ladder?

Then there's the new towel bar I've been meaning to put up in the master bathroom. I've got a beautiful piece of mahogany all cut for it. It's all measured out. I've just got to drill the holes, sand it, stain it, varnish it and hang it up. But where are those dang drill bits?

And then there's the dog tie out. I just picked that up recently. Maybe I'll get to it next week, or next spring if we get an early freeze.

I'm beginning to feel a bit like Mark Twain, who once said about giving up cigars that quitting smoking is easy. He's done it hundreds of times.

Starting a new project is easy. I've done it thousands of times. The problem seems to be finishing it.

Do you have this problem at home? Do you start numerous projects, only to leave them scattered about the house in various states of near completion?

If you do, why is it?

I've thought about why this is for a long time, figuring that if I could determine why I'm not finishing projects, it would be a big step toward finishing them.

Here's what I came up with:

One of the main reasons why I don't finish some of these home projects is because I really don't know what I'm doing. That's the main reason why the lawn mower is still apart in the garage. I knew I didn't know what I was doing when I started taking it apart, but I figured I would learn on the way.

That worked for a while until I reached a point where I couldn't get a flywheel off.

I asked my friends at the shop and they gave me a few ideas. And I checked out YouTube, which is a boon for us folks who don't know what we're really doing, and got a few more ideas.

It finally came down to the fact that I didn't have the right tools.

Owning the right tool for the job seems to be another reason why I can't get things done. For example, just when I start sawing that big branch off the tree in the front yard, I realize I need a chainsaw. Or right when I start scrubbing the deck the old fashioned way with a stiff brush and old-fashioned elbow grease, I realize that I need a power washer.

It seems having the right tool is the issue with the toilet in the first-floor powder room because I just can't get this one bolt to move.

But even then, the right tool doesn't always help. Sure, cleaning the deck with a power washer made sense. But how do you get the dang power washer to work? What did my sister, owner of the power washer, do with the instructions for this thing.

That brings me to the deck. No amount of power washing will change the fact that the boards are rotting away. Should I replace the bad ones? Do I have the right tools to do so? How about if I just tear the whole thing down and put in a really nice patio?

I could buy the stone pavers a pallet at a time this winter and store them in the garage until spring. And how hard could it be to dig out the base for the patio by hand. That shouldn't take too long, right? Do I need any special tools to level the ground or stamp down those pavers nice and secure?

I supposed I could just burn the whole place down. What a finish that would be.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me