Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Bulletin Board That Almost Wasn't, The Curtains That Grew, and the 6-Mile Zone

This past weekend, I spent one of the longest hours of my life.

This year, Rachael finally got an official classroom for her to teach music in. Needless to say, she is very, very excited. When Rachael is excited, she is very animated, very awesome to behold, and almost impossible to say no to.

She asked me if I'd help her re-do the boards in her classroom. I asked her how long she thought it would take. She said probably no more than an hour, maybe two.

I agreed.

Several funny things happened as we prepared her classroom. The fact that the 1-2 hours turned out to be more than 6 hours, even with my dad helping for 4 of it, was not one of them.

Sorry, I digress.

Rachael is very creative. She has tremendous talent.

She decided that the boards would look much better covered in fabric instead of with papers. She had previously purchased sheets to do so.

All well.

All fine.

We began to put the red fabric on the first board. This would have been a much simpler task if the sheet was large enough to cover the board.

I asked Rachael if she had measured the board. She said that she had not, but that someone had given the measurements to her. She then said in her guilty-conscience way, that she had not been able to find them while purchasing the fabric, but that she kind of had them in her head, and that she was sure it would be enough.

You all can see how well that worked out.

One of our next projects was to put white fabric over a bulletin board, attach that board to the wall, and then hang a curtain rod on it, over which Rachael would drape some nice red curtains.

All was going fine until I looked closer at the curtains.

Me: "Hey, hon, don't you want these two curtains to be the same length?"

Rachael: "They are the same length."
Me: "Um, no, they're not. One's quite a bit longer than the other one."
Rachael: "Are you sure? I looked at them closely. Even the pictures were the same.
Me: "No, they're completely different. The measurements are different and the pictures are completely different."
At this time, I showed the pictures to Rachael. She took one glance at them and said, "See- they are exactly the same."
I have attached both pictures for your viewing pleasure.

After pointing out the fact that one curtain was significantly shorter than the other, and that it was clearly so in the picture, Rachael decided that we would be needing to buy another curtain that was the correct size.

On to the next project.
We were working on stapling the fabric to one of the other bulletin boards. Now, it's very important that there are no wrinkles in the fabric. To accomplish this, you need to have two people working together. One stands on the back side of the board and staples. The other stands on the front-side of the board so they can hold the board and make sure the fabric looks good before the other one finalizes it's placement with the staples.
I was the stapler. Rachael was the holder/looker.
Working together, our conversation tended to be fairly monotonous.
Me: "Ok?"
Rachael: "Yeah."

Me: "Ok?"
Rachael: "Yeah."
Me: "Ok?"
Rachael: "Yeah."
After doing this several times, I noticed that Rachael's tone had changed. I looked at her. She had that far-away look that indicates she has left this terrestrial plane and is hovering in the celestial sphere know as The Rachael Zone. Just to be sure, I tried again.
Me: "Ok?"
Rachael: "Yeah."
I watched her eyes the entire time I asked her and while she answered. I'm not sure what she was looking at, but it was approximately 6 miles away, through the walls of the building and not even in the same direction as the fabric she was supposed to be looking at.

Each time I said "OK", she was saying "Yeah", as if in a trance, without ever looking at the fabric.
I called her attention to it. She shook herself back to the here and now. We both laughed a bit.
We finished that board and began working on another. We began the process again. Once again, I noticed the monotone, the vacant stare, the fact that Rachael was not even looking in the general direction of the fabric we were working on.
Working together, we finally finished everything.
Rachael shared with me all of her ideas to cover-up the errors that were made through a lack of attention-to-detail.
I'm sure it will all turn out great. It almost always does. Rachael is very creative and this creativity often compensates for her lack of attention-to-detail.
This got me to thinking. Which came first?

Did Rachael's above-average creative ability lead her to quit paying attention to the details, knowing that her creativity could overcome any obstacle?
Or, does Rachael just naturally pay less attention to detail, and so her brain compensated by blessing her with exceptional creativity, kind of like a blind person's other senses becoming enhanced to help compensate for the lack of sight.
Later that day, I expressed my thoughts to Rachael. We talked about it for awhile. She sometimes minimizes the difficulty her lack-of-planning and preparation causes for Her Poor Husband and others, so I told her a story. A true story. I am currently reading the book by John C. Maxwell, titled The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership. He shares this story in that book, highlighting the importance of paying attention to the details.
In 1911, two groups were in a race to be the first to reach the South Pole. One of the groups was led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. The other group was led by a Brit by the name of Robert Falcon Scott. Amundsen paid attention to the details; Scott did not. Amundsen had proper food and fuel. Scott did not. Amundsen made it to the South Pole a good month before Scott. Amundsen made it safely home with all of his party. Scott and all of his party died of thirst/hunger and exposure.
Rachael looked at me. She said, "That's not a good story. I thought the story was gonna be about how one person made it by great planning, but the other was able to come up with some totally new way of doing things, or something like that."

Me: "No, he died. Him and all of his party."
Rachael: "I don't think I like that story."
Now, to be fair, I must admit that the room turned out great. Rachael's creativity once again saved the day. That does not surprise me that much, as I have witnessed it many, many times. Rachael does have some amazing talent. She will post some 'after' pictures on her post tomorrow. You should check them out. Especially the red bulletin board. You'd never know that hiding beneath the carefully placed decorations are gaping holes.
All's well that ends well, I guess.
So, while my title probably fell short of something really original, like The Lion, The Witch, and Wardrobe, you now know the story of The Bulletin Board That Almost Wasn't, The Curtains That Grew, and the 6-Mile Zone.

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1 comment:

  1. I am with Rachael on this one....I don't like the story that you are currently reading...


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