Sunday, June 05, 2005

Punching An Actual List

I’m not much of a “List Guy” normally. I know that I’m going to do a project and I just work on it in a more organic nature, rather than putting pencil to paper and making up a list. On smaller projects it is obvious what needs to be done first, and I just do it. The kitchen was a little more involved, so I made an actual List of Priorities in the order they should be done. This was a first for me.

It worked well to get the scope of the job down. It was such a big job that it seemed overwhelming and I was having trouble getting started. There was so much to do I really didn’t know where to start. The List help prioritize things, but to be honest I never really looked at The List after I made it. Obviuosly, The List System still has some flaws. I looked at The List last night for the first time since I made it. It is a Word Doc and the creation date was December 11, 2004. Almost 6 months ago!

The List below is as I wrote it in December. There are many things not on The List that were already done before I made The List. When I re-wired and re-plumbed I ran wiring and plumbing in the kitchen so those things were done (some ended up changing). When I first bought the house I was soooo broke I spent the first year doing things that only took the sweat of my brow and very little money, like stripping wallpaper and flooring, and removing partitions, so that was all done.

In many ways it helped that I didn’t have any money at first. I was able to live with the house for a while and those things that needed to be done sort of revealed themselves rather than me deciding right off the bat what I thought needed to be done.

Money was very tight when I first bought the place. When the inspection report came in during escrow it said the house needed $40,000 worth of work!! That was just to bring it up to snuff. That had nothing to do with cosmetic stuff. The report didn’t even have major stuff like roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing, or HVAC. The roof was only 6 years old and structurally the house is solid as a rock. Electrical and plumbing sucked but they were functional. There was just sooooo much neglect. The big-ticket items on the report were the two porches had problems and the 2 story addition was, well, it was basically rotted and falling off the house. I didn’t want a couple of slack-jawed yokels with a Sawzall to come in and bang out $40,000 worth of work during a 60 day escrow. Besides, the plan was and always has been to remove the addition anyway.

Instead of putting 20% down and having all the work done before escrow closed I did everything but hawk my back teeth to come up with a 50% down payment to buy the house “as-is”. That big wad of cash, along with my stellar credit rating (825 – Thank you very much) was enough make the nice bank lady happy enough to spot me the rest of the cash to get the place.

Anyway, back to The List. As I said, The List System still has some flaws. I suppose if I’m going to make The List I should at least print out The List and review it more than once every 6 months. That will be something to work on in the future. Those items on The List that have an “X” by them have been finished, and those that have a “/” are partially completed. That is 6 months worth of work.


X Get trim milled
X Rebuild dumb waiter door
X Rebuild Dining room wall
X Frame 2 Stained Glass Windows
X Enclose Porch
X Install Window
X Move backdoor
X Enclose Parlor wall
X Reroute lighting wires and install new light
X Open vent and line chimney
/ Repair and paint and ceiling, walls, & bead board
Build cabinets for sink and DW
X Install gas line for stove
/ Remove old floor and install new floor
Repair salvage cabinets

4 comments:

Jocelyn said...

I used to be more of a list person myself, but sometimes you're right, you just know what needs to be done next- it's right there in front of you.
What is really amusing is when we've made a "schedule" and put dates on it when each segment will be done. It is truly funny how you think that something can be done much quicker than is actually possible. In the end, all that matters is that the job gets finished and is well done. It's not a race. I am pretty sure when I retire, I'll have a nice home to enjoy if fate allows!

And sometimes lists can be immobilizing (though you don't seem to have that problem) because they are overwhelmingly big!

Anonymous said...

I keep a punch (honey do) list. It's not so much a plan as a reminder of all those little things I keep forgetting which would actually make the job complete. It's funny how after working hard all weekend and then coming up short of actually finishing, by next weekend I'm willing to live with it undone.

Greg said...

[quote]It's funny how after working hard all weekend and then coming up short of actually finishing, by next weekend I'm willing to live with it undone.[/quote]

Hmmmm, living with an unfinished kitchen with no sink or stove is not really an option. I'm not sure what type of "project" you're talking about but IT AIN'T a kitchen.

Todd said...

Wow, sounds like you have a lotta work to do, but that house is gorgeous! Not many people would bite off all you have, but I admire balls like that, campadre!

Sounds like you need a list just to be able to sleep at night. I used to be like that. Sometimes they just help you feel more in control. Othertimes they keep you from wasting time or having to tear out work.