Learning As I Go

I have a personal issue where I can’t accept that it takes time to learn things.  In my profession, I’ve been doing it for over 20 years, so I just sit down and do it, I don’t have to think about it.  When a problem arises, it’s usually something I’ve seen before, so I just fix it like I’ve done a dozen times before.  It’s not quite like that with home improvement.

It’s not that I’m new to it, since I’ve been screwing things up for decades, but it’s that I don’t do it regularly enough to really get a handle on the cause and effect, or of the proper steps to be successful.

Take the simple task of painting a door.  Sounds pretty easy; put paint on a door.  But to do it right, you should take the door off the frame, remove the hardware, then paint it.  No problem.  But to do it better, you should clean the door up and sand it down first.  Well… ok.  But if the door is dirty, stained, or marked, you should prime it first.  Well, this is a little more subjective.  What is “dirty”?  And my paint is supposed to be “paint+primer”, is that good enough?

So I removed the door, stripped the hardware, sanded it, then painted it.  The result wasn’t all that great.  Ok, so I need a second coat of paint.  Next day, put on a second coat.  Still not good enough.  I should have primed it.  Plus, a seam of old paint had to be sanded off.  A waste of two days and two coats of paint.

I’m looking forward to the day that I have a proper routine and just do it right the first time, instead of having to constantly redo my mistakes.  However, I believe that if you don’t see the result of doing it poorly, you won’t know why you’re doing it the right way.  So, this must just be an expensive, time-consuming training exercise.