Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sleepless in Perfectionism

I admit to being too much of a perfectionist.  It’s not a good thing when you are dealing with a painting project.  At this point instead of focusing on the beautifully painted walls, I find myself instead seeing every imperfection.  Paint on a door latchplate.  Paint on the tub.  Paint on the carpet as it hits the baseboard.  Not much in any case.  But enough to catch my eye.

I never intended to nickel and dime the painters, but I seem to be mixing into their work more and more, which probably just makes them nervous. 

Yesterday I somewhat casually mentioned my pet peeve of unpainted door hardware to the head guy.   He assured me that all the hardware would be left exactly as they found it.  When we renovated the house 10 years ago, we put in all new hardware -- knobs, hinges, latchplates -- so I know exactly how they found them.

As we were doing a quick inventory upstairs while they were on their lunch break, I happened to look into my green bathroom to see a brush lying on the rug of my bathroom.  That would be the rug they got paint on yesterday.  They are painting the baseboards in there today, but why in the world didn’t they take the rug out first?  And why were they using cardboard instead of drop cloths?

It’s been a long time since I have had trouble sleeping.  But last night I lay awake obsessing about every imperfection I had discovered, knowing full well that at least 95% of them were fixable.  I hate the thought of having to point out the flaws in anyone’s work. 

At this point it’s unclear as to which will win out -- my perfectionist tendencies or the realization that “perfect” and “painting” are not a realistic combination.  I probably need to take a nap instead of dwelling on this work in progress.


Blogger Terry said...

Oh dear. Perfectionism will drive you crazy. Step back. You need a little perspective. Nothing is perfect if you look too closely.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Cyndy said...

Perfectionism is both a blessing and a curse. You'll be more likely to get or do the best possible job, but it's never perfect or good enough. I try to keep my own perfectionism under control, but right now I'm still looking at various wall/ceiling intersections in my house that I painted and asking myself "Can I live with that or should I get up there with my tiny brush and make it better?" My advice is don't be that way in front of them because it might make them do passive-aggressive things. That can definitely happen.

We had some issues that became bigger than they needed to be because my husband would not keep his mouth shut. Sometimes the second you open your mouth they start doing a worse job than they were already doing. We had to fix a lot of stuff later on. Good Luck!

10:39 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Terry -- I traded in perfectionism for a good night's sleep.

Cyndy -- I'm back to letting the painters paint today. If I had been a little younger, they probably would have attributed yesterday's meltdown to "that time of the month." There seem to be no hard feelings. In fact I have just had a delightful exchange with Alfredo about his native Peru as we talked about the food and sights that make his homeland so appealing.

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's when I let my own perfectionism translate into MY high expectations of others that I get into trouble with it (which is more often than I'd prefer!). Glad to read today that things chilled out all around.


2:21 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I'm glad things got better. It's perfectly reasonable for you to point out shortcomings to the painters -- maybe trying to take a helpful, rather than critical, approach would work?

10:21 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

It's hard to let go of perfectionism, to let others do their jobs, however imperfectly that may be. I hope you find peace with it all!

11:09 AM  

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