The Monster in the (Tool) Closet

The Monster in the (Tool) Closet

It was a dark and stormy afternoon. As the wind howled through the trees outside, you heard a strange tap-tap-tapping from the cabinets in the hall.  You rose quietly and crossed the foyer to see the bone-chilling sight of five strangers in hard hats who may be trying to rip you off and ruin your renovation! You try to run. You try to hide. But all you can is scream (at the trim guy when he almost trips over the ladder) and cry (to the roofer because you’re so convinced he’s going to cheat you) and shiver (at the paint crew when they smile and wish you a “Happy Halloween”).


Letting people into your space is scary stuff. I understand that. The fear that most people have of construction workers is largely irrational. No matter what sort of ugly urban legend you’ve heard, most contractors are not crooks. They are skilled tradesmen whose professional reputations are built almost entirely on referrals. The ones who get work (including your work) are the ones that are pretty good at their jobs. And they’re generally nice, trustworthy people. That carpenter is your kid’s volunteer soccer coach. The plumber sells Christmas trees to raise money for the YMCA. No one benefits from shoddy work. And while you should never settle for it, you should not expect it.


In order to keep your renovation from turning into a nightmare, you have to be willing to let go and not micromanage out of fear. It’s normal to be afraid of not getting what you want, how you want and when you want it. But letting your fear direct the renovation accomplishes nothing, except getting you all riled up and maybe, just maybe turning you into the monster of the piece.


It’s time to take off your own mask and be honest. The best way to flush out fear is to face it. It’s always fine to bring your concerns to the table, but you should never be afraid to stand back and let your crew do their job.


Happy Halloween!

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