Bare Wood

The last twenty percent takes eighty percent of the time … it’s the story of my life.

I’m surrounded by bare wood, both literally and figuratively. Aside from being a great name for a nudist Rolling Stones cover band, “bare wood” is the term that applies to projects that look finished but have only just begun. It’s inspired by the new shelves in my pantry.

These are great shelves, replacing the plastic-coated wire grids that grow like kudzu in suburban American homes. Custom built to fit our pantry by a carpenter … not a handyman, a real carpenter that would hand-plane wood planks from trees if we wished. It’s the exact thing we wanted.

So the carpenter is paid and gone. And the pantry still sits empty, with bare wood shelves mocking the tomato cans and boxes of kosher salt that sit on the dinner table.

Yes, the shelves are completed … but the pantry isn’t done. Holes require spackle. Shelves require paint. Small hooks need to be installed. Less Porter Cable, more paint brush. In home improvement, much like life, the big work isn’t really the big work.

I have so many things in life that are bare wood. One more shot before I edit the video. A few last edits before I post the photos. A few more articles before I launch the new website. Just moving in the direction of what I want in life doesn’t get me where I should be, but I’m so much closer than the people who never moved.

In some cases I have reasons for a project being on hold. In most cases I have excuses. Stupid excuses.

The pantry improvement was something Suzan and I talked about doing for years. One day we just did it. Hiring the carpenter meant we had to have the pantry empty by a certain date … old food was thrown away, items that shouldn’t be in the pantry got relocated, dozens of paper shopping bags got recycled. Just the act of moving in the direction of what we wanted broke through all of the inertia that kept us from the goal.

Now we have to deal with bare wood to get it done, unless we like digging through the dinner table for corn starch and baking powder. We hired a carpenter, not a painter. So it’s up to us to make bare wood go away.

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