How to Eat an Elephant

elephantI’ve heard and experienced first hand people who attempt to start a project and in the end, it becomes a debacle. Whenever working with people who decide they are going to purchase something that needs work in different areas of the home, I always encourage them to start out slowly and contain the work to one room until it’s finished. Moving from an un-finished home project to another is one of the worst things to do! I showed a foreclosed home several weeks ago which I had been in many years ago when it was on the market. It has changed hands several times since then but I do remember the general floor plan of years before. I was beyond shocked when I walked into that home. Every single room had been altered and unfinished. Walking through that home was like being in a live dream-waking state. The stairway was moved, there were walls on the main floor and second floor that were moved, the window sizes were changed, the kitchen was nothing like I remember it, and even front door wasn’t in the same location! What frightened me even more about the home was that with the moving of all those walls, it appeared that the structural integrity was being compromised. Walking out of the house, my buyer apologized profusely for asking me to even show it to him. Driving away, I felt a great sadness for the person foreclosed on who spent so much time and money and ended up loosing everything. I wished for one moment to be able to reel back time and have a heart to heart conversation with that person before the “re-modeling” began. I have seen this same situation in countless homes over the years to the point that at times I just don’t even want to see another example of such chaos and dis-function. I can still hear my mother saying to me more times than I can remember, “I don’t know how it became that I had a child as fussy as you are.” I think after these long years of understanding each other, she knows now that there is always a right way and a wrong way of doing things. If you do it right the first time, you won’t have to go back and re-do something that was done wrong in the first place. Everyone one in my circle of family and friends begged me not to go forward with the work on my office building because they thought it was beyond repair. Foresight and hindsight told me that it was possible. After over three years of on and off work on the main floor, nearly everyone that visits my office is in a state of delightful surprise because of what they encounter.

Many of them have asked me, “How did you do this?” My canned response has always been, “Do you know how to eat an elephant?”, and they respond, “How?” My smirky response is, “One bite at a time.”