|Forum topic by BTimmons||posted 145 days ago||558 views||0 times favorited||17 replies|
145 days ago
Fair warning – significant quantities of rambling and emotional BS ahead. I’m usually very bad with talking about feelings, so when they come out, I can go a bit overboard.
Simply put, the slow plodding pace of my woodworking is a big problem and it’s taking a toll. I’ve been working on this project for a friend (thankfully it’s about 80-90% done now) and they’re eager to get it finished. And by eager, I mean more like “why isn’t this done already”. It’s going to be used for his new photography business and they have an event in early November to do. I looked at the pictures that were taken at the start of this project, and the date on them shows that this has been going on for three months. That is entirely too long.
Last night my wife ripped into me for not having finished the project already. She said that whenever the topic of my woodworking comes up with our friends and I’m not around, the very first thing out of their mouths is that I take forever to get anything done. That hit me like a ton of bricks last night and it still stings. Not because it’s an insult from someone that doesn’t know me that I could simply shrug off because they don’t know what they’re talking about. It hurts, because it’s totally true. This has been ignored in the back of my mind for a long time, but after having spotlight shone on the issue, it’s eating at my confidence and self-respect. I hate feeling like I’ve let my friends down.
So I’ve been pretty angry at myself since then, trying to figure out what my issues are. It’s hard to pin on any one cause. I see several problems working against me.
The design is probably more complicated than it needs to be in some areas, and in other crucial aspects, such as securing the doors in their open and shut positions, hasn’t been thought out enough. So I’m winging it in addition to second guessing myself every step of the way. Why the hell is this taking me so long? At its core, it’s just a freakin’ box. The really tricky joinery with the through tenons was done months ago. Months. This is ridiculous.
There’s my inexperience. I keep making little mistakes that take time to fix. It doesn’t help that I’m not working from a plan, just making it up as I go along. There’s been a fair share of trial and error, emphasis on the error part. The doubt and uncertainty is hard to grapple with. It’s hard distinguishing between a healthy sense of caution and an unhealthy lack of confidence.
And that’s when I even have time to be in the garage! That’s got to be the main problem, just the time to do things. I do the weekly 9-5 grind which leaves nights and weekends. And that time is almost exclusively spent taking care of my wife and daughter. My wife is spending a lot of time at the gym, five times a week on average. She’s been overweight ever since I’ve known her and she’s finally getting it under control. She’s been seriously kicking ass at it, down 40 pounds already and I couldn’t be more proud of her. But that means that on those nights and weekends it’s just me and my little girl at home. And on the weekend, she’ll pretty much make a whole morning out of it. She’ll have her personal training session, do cardio for an hour, then go the store and run errands. That’s three or four hours away from the house right there. My daughter loves being in the garage with me, but she’s not even 4 years old yet, so it’s not like I can actually think or get anything done out there if she’s around. Oh yeah, and she’s at the age now where I can’t count on her always taking a nap in the afternoon.
So the only time I have to myself is either at night after they’re both asleep or in the morning before they wake up. So many times at night I’m too tired to trust myself with tools, and let’s just say I’m not a morning person at heart. I usually have to get up for work at 6 in the morning, but for a while there I would get up early at 5 just so I could have an hour to myself in the garage to get things done. After I slam a huge mug of coffee I’m ready to go. But the motivation and energy to even get out of bed to begin with is the hardest part.
Last night after I’d had time to think about what my wife said, I raised a point about how we as a family prioritize and allow time for each other. I said, “Look. I hold the fort and raise our daughter when you’re working out and I’m totally fine with that. I know this is the most important thing for you right now, and I’m behind you 100%. Whenever you go to the gym, not once have I objected and asked if you can stay home instead because I’d like to work in the garage. And when you’re home at night, sometime I need the ability to go in the garage and get things done, just like you need your time away from the house too. On the weekends I shouldn’t be the only one to ever take our daughter to a park, and sometimes I need a few hours out there to work without any interruptions. Up until now I’ve always tried to work around every else’s needs in the family, but I have my own needs as well. And if I’m ever going to get things moving well enough to make some extra money with my woodworking then I absolutely need time to do it.”
She understood that and acknowledged what I was getting at. After the whole talk was over I see her texting on her phone. I ask if she’s telling our friend about how she’s been cracking the whip, she says yes. I can’t really object. This is mostly my fault, and I need to get better about making time for my work. And when I do have time, I need to more efficient in how I actually use that time.
Well, I did warn about the excess rambling. If anyone actually reads this far, bravo. I debated whether or not to mention this online, but I figured that if anyone has been in a situation like this, it’s the people in this community. So has anyone else had similar problems with confidence in their workmanship and finding time in the shop? How have you dealt with it? I hate feeling like a disappointment to myself and everyone else. I need to find a way past this.
-- Brian in Arlington, TX