I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately. One thought is how I wish I’d paid more attention when he was doing DIY home improvement when I was young.
It wasn’t totally my fault. My older brothers showed no interest in hands on activity, and I think by the time I came around Dad assumed I would also not care. Also, he tended to get really frustrated when he was doing work, so it wasn’t the best time to be around him.
When I bought my own house, I had a lot to learn. My dad helped, but he couldn’t be there for everything. I learned a lot on my own, and eventually got pretty good. Dad would look at my work and be very complimentary, which made me very proud.
Before he passed, and I was visiting the house, I would inspect his work. It turns out that his work was kind of slapdash, similar to my first few projects. Over time my efforts looked increasingly professional. It was strange to feel superior to him about this, but I did.
As I was reflecting on this yesterday, it struck me that I have become something I never thought I’d be: a kind of perfectionist. I have to qualify that a little, because my aesthetic allows me to cut corners and make mistakes into design choices. Still, if you told me fifteen years ago that I would be capable of producing the kinds of designs that I have made, I would have been pretty impressed with myself.