Productivity in Unexpected Places

This past weekend I had planned to get some work done on both of our family vehicles. I was going to check the brakes on my van, replace the throttle position sensor, and further investigate a rattling sound around the serpentine belt. I also wanted to replace the inner fender liner on my wife’s car. Suffice it to say, none of what I planned, actually went to plan.

I started my weekend by stopping by my parent’s house so that my dad could look at the inner fender liner of my wife’s car and offer his opinions. As soon as I got there my mom invited me to have breakfast with them, I accepted. This meant that I spent about an hour longer at their house than I had intended to. Meaning I would get started on my planned tasks an hour late. Yet, my time wasn’t unproductive. In general, spending time with people is important, but it is even more so when those people are family. The three of us had pleasant conversation as well as in-depth and thoughtful exchanges. Taking time to learn about life from those who are more experienced and have a different focus than you is beneficial. I may not have started on what I had planned to, when I had planned to, but I still did something productive. Plus, I had some very tasty food!

When it came time to jack up my van and take a look at my brakes I made an unfortunate discovery. The designated jacking points on my van, all four of them, were rusted beyond use. I also noticed significant rusting along what I believe to be areas of the frame. This left me perplexed as to how I could safely lift the van so I could remove a wheel. I decided to shelve the project and move on before I did something thoughtless in an attempt to force progress. This lead me to my basement workshop where I began reorganizing and removing items to make room for adding a bathroom. When I was doing this I decided to take two large, metal, electrical boxes I got from my dad and hang them on my wall. I would add shelves to the inside to turn them into cabinets. They already have a water-tight seal around the door, so I knew they would keep the sawdust out. I made good progress in installing them and have decided to add a third box. The project even included some problem solving as the wall I am installing them on leans outward. It leans outward because it was apparently built that way when the previous owners tried to make the basement look nicer. I wanted the boxes to be vertical so that things I set on the shelves wouldn’t roll or slide back. This meant I had to add spacers behind the boxes to fill the gap between them and the walls. I didn’t get to do what I had originally wanted to because of the rust on the van. However, I was still able to make progress in a different area I had not yet considered working in.

This weekend helped to remind me that just because things are not going the way I had planned for them to go, doesn’t mean my time will be wasted. There are forces other than me working in the universe.

Have you ever had a situation or project that didn’t go as planned but allowed progress to be made somewhere else?


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