Keeping my cool

Over the years I’ve learned to keep my cool when working on DIY projects. I’m apt to lose my cool when, despite my best amateur efforts, something doesn’t go as planned. It could be a cut in the wrong place, an unlevel hanging, the wrong screw…

Our mood predisposes us to see the world in a way. With DIY that can mean everything is the target of a hammer!

Saturday I was putting up a shelf in the laundry. Rather than a simple shelf with brackets, I had purchased a floating shelf. After 30 minutes searching in Bunnings, that was all I could find!

Let’s say 5/10 for annoyance.

I collected my tools and started checking for studs and power. Beep! Beep! Beep! Something was wrong. The only 9v battery I could find for the stud finder was old and that was the cause. Ok, off to the supermarket for batteries (and I grabbed replacements for the smoke alarm as well).

5/10 is now 7/10.

Returned home. Measured for the shelf. Put in the plaster sockets. Screwed in the first screw 80% of the way. Did the second. The screw snapped in half. And the third. And the fourth!

11/10 at this point. Despite that I breathed slowly and took my time to resolve it all. Removed 2 of the 3 broken screws. Used someo f the stock I had and got the shelf up. It was level right-to-left, but not front-to-back.

Another trip, to a different hardware store – keeping in mind to not let my temper affect my driving – to purchase a bracket to support the bracket.

Here is the final shelf, ready to do what a shelf does. It looks a little wonky in this photo. That’s an artifact of the angle of my camera, not the shelf itself.

Measure once, cut twice

Have you every carefully considered a purchase from a store then when you got home realised there was an aspect you’d missed that made it completely unsuitable?

I do it frequently with trips to the hardware store for screws where somehow I’ve manged to get the wrong diameter or length. Once, I bought the extended edition of the Belinda Carlisle Runaway Horses CD, after I already had the original version. Then asked a friend to buy it for me, forgetting I had it!

Last year I purchased Celestron SkyMaster 20×80 binoculars for stargazing and as soon as they arrived, rushed off to the camera store to purchase a tripod. I’d done research and the shop assistant was helpful, but somewhere along the way I missed the height requirement.

To look horizontally requires me to crouch down a few inches. Looking up, to where the stars are, means tilting the binoculars and dropping the eyepieces down even lower.

It’s meant I haven’t used the binoculars as much as I should have.

The tripod I purchased is good quality and has a very smooth head on it for aiming the binoculars which is great. It’s simply too short at a max height of 130cm. I need something more like 170cm.

This afternoon I’ve been looking at extenders. My fear is that will create too much instability as the binos weigh 2kg and putting them on a taller pole could be too much.

So instead I’ll purchase another tripod and transfer the head across. It’s a waste of money but all on me. If I don’t I’ve wasted money not only on the tripod but on the binoculars I’m not using as well.

Do you over-aside?

I’ve noticed recently a tendency in myself and others to add layer upon layer of explanation when we are talking. Once I saw it, I realised how counter-productive it is.

We think we are helping, but we’re not. Piling up information faster than the recipient can process it.

I park my car a few hundred meters from where I work. I enjoy the walk in the morning, and the time to slow down on the way home.

Succint and tells you all that you need to know about where I park.

I park my car around the corner from work because there is free parking. If I can’t get a park I park in the multi-storey car park where I have to pay. Where I previously worked there were people who paid for parking each day just to be a little closer. That’s something like $1,250 a year and I’ve got better things to spend my money on. Though sometimes when I parked there I’d forget and walk back to where I normally parked. Once I even did it in the rain. Anyway, I park in, what’s the name of the street?. I can never remember.

Adding aside, after aside, only confuses the key message. Keep an eye out for it in your communication and assess its effects on those around you – and you when you’re the recipient.