3 inches too short

I prefer to either fail miserably or to hit a home run. What I hate is to put my all in it, come close to a great job done but realize my effort wasn’t good enough. You know, coming in 4th in the Olympics is more painful than 10th. Maybe this relates to that glory in self thing I wrote about yesterday.

What prompts this thought? On Friday I spent the entire afternoon putting on a new gutter on my house. I knew it would be a stretch for me since I’ve never done that, would be doing it alone, and am not great with my hands. After 4 hours of going up and down my ladder, using an electric screwdriver over my head, I installed 31.5 feet of gutter to my back roof.

It looked great. And just in time since a tropical storm was passing by our area. I enjoyed knowing I had accomplished a task that was difficult (for me).

Then the storm came. The gutter worked great…except it was 3 inches too short. My roof overhangs the fascia board by 3 inches on one end. I neatly lined the gutter to the edge of the fascia board. It’s amazing just how much water runs down that little bit of roof.

I want it to be good enough but the fact is it isn’t. Too much water comes down and puddles near the foundation. It must be changed. It will require I go back up the ladder, loosen the fasteners, slide the gutter over, and manufacture another end piece that is 3 inches longer than the last one I did.

How do you respond to the realization that something you worked hard enough on isn’t good enough? My response is to keep wishing it is good enough. Just don’t go into the back yard and don’t look up. Don’t look out the kitchen window when it is raining. This is the proverbial ostrich response. My second response is to figure out if there is some easy way out. A simple fix. I’ll spend a good deal of time trying this path even though I could expend less energy in just fixing the problem. I just don’t want to give up and admit I screwed up.

I think I’m like this about my sin as well. I see my weaknesses and I’m tempted to ignore or find some creative way to call it good.


Filed under personality, sin

6 responses to “3 inches too short

  1. Scott Knapp, MS

    In high school I was a high jumper in track. Our little NW Ohio league was not all that competitive in 1983, so I was able to take the league high jump championship with a leap of only 6′. When I got past sectionals to regional competition, I again cleared 6′, and went into the final round needing to clear 6′ 2″ to move on to state competition. My first two attempts were nowhere near high enough to clear the bar. On my third attempt, I looked down on the bar as my body was clearing the thing by almost 6 inches! And as I easily cleared the bar with my body, I was betrayed by my straggling finger tips on my right hand…I hadn’t brought my arms up high enough, and a dangling hand nipped the bar as I sailed over it, and it was just enough contact to bring the bar off the standard! My best friends enjoyed being on the field at Ohio State University for state competition a week or so later…I sat in the stands with a few others, bemoaning the fact that I “cleared” high enough to get there, but I was betrayed by “that hand” (not “my hand”, mind you). Now, 25 years later, whenever I retell that saga, I still always mention that I really did clear the bar, perhaps to substantiate in the mind of my listeners that I really did “deserve” to go to state competition that year, were it not for betrayal by “that hand!” It’s hard for me sometimes to take responsibility for my total performance, a part of which are those critical, minuscule things that (subject to Murphy’s Law? Right!?) can and will go wrong.

  2. Oooo, you’re bringing up old memories. I have both kinds of track stories. I was the 1983 indoor High Jump champ for the State of VT (Indoor/Winter). Of course the story includes the fact that it was during a blizzard and only 1 other jumper made it to the trip.

    The other story of that meet is where I was leading in a 600 meter race (indoor also on a 200 m. track) at the 400 meter point. My lead was probably 20 meters. I stopped because I thought I was finished (and I swear that the bell didn’t ring). When I realized that I had to keep going, the lead was gone and I couldn’t keep up the pace and lost by a hair. I should have been the state champ. I should have…

    I guess its time to let it go. 🙂

  3. Scott Knapp, MS

    Let’s make an appointment for 40 years from today…we’ll sit on one of our porches, teetering back and forth in our wooden rockers, regaling one another with our “back in my day….” stories! 🙂

  4. Jess

    Bummer about the gutter…

    On the bright side of things, I think that your description of human nature and its tendency towards “creative reframing” is very accurate!

  5. Scott Knapp, MS

    …but I shudda been there, darnitall! 😦 (sigh)…good point!

  6. polkaspotfarm

    What gets me more times is that if I don’t think I can do it perfectly I clam up and just don’t do it. If I don’t have the time, why do it halfway? Then when I do something and put all of my hard work into it and something breaks or goes wrong, I get to frustrated about it. -sigh-

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