Now that my heart transplant is behind me and my recovery is almost totally complete, Michelle and I have started looking to the future. One of the things that we have decided is that the house, where we currently live, will be our home for at least the next ten years. We had toyed with the idea of selling and down-sizing, even possibly relocating to another area. Yet, with the new lease on life that we have recently been given, and the cold, hard reality that staying right where we are is the better financial move, relocation has been taken off the table.
Every decision has consequences and the decision to stay put came with many. First and foremost, we needed to bite the bullet and move forward with some much needed improvements to our house. Since we have decided to stay, we are now looking at our house as a major part of our retirement plans. In ten years our house will be almost totally paid off. Thus, when we do make the decision to sell, more money will remain in our pockets as we move on. Along that line, if we invest into making improvements to our house now, we will increase the value of the property down the road.
Two years ago we had totally remodeled the inside of the house and now the outside needed work. Because we are staying in this house for, at least, the next ten years, we felt that it was time to pull the trigger and get the work done. One of the projects was our front porch. It was simply a stamped concrete pad that had a big crack running through it. It had been painted in the past and the paint was missing in some places. Thus, we decided to resurface it with brick pavers that would match the pavers on our lanai. We called three companies and compared prices. We selected a company and they scheduled a time to come out and do the job. Since it was only a front porch it would only take them a day or two to totally complete the project.
Being that I am in no way “handy”, I merely told the contractors what we wanted and asked for their best price and time frame. I didn’t even know what questions I had until the day that the contractor, that we had already selected based on their answers to my two questions, showed up to start working. The first thing that they did was unload a pallet of pavers into our front yard. When they arrived I looked at these beautiful one inch thick pavers all stacked up, ready and waiting to be installed on my front porch. It was then that the fear of a very important question came over me. If the sidewalk that leads up to the front porch and the front porch are currently the same height, adding one inch pavers to the porch would create a one inch step up from the sidewalk. This one inch step up could be very hazardous, not only to us, but also to anyone who would come to our front door – delivery drivers, neighbors, friends, etc.
When the man arrived to start working I knew I had to ask my question. I couldn’t have a one inch step up to my front porch, yet, I felt stupid that I hadn’t asked about this detail before. What if the plan was to have a one inch step up? What if I had to cancel the job because of this oversight on my part? Maybe I should just keep my mouth shut and hope for the best? For the life of me I couldn’t wrap my head around how there would not be a step up from the sidewalk to my front porch. So, I girded my loins and I walked out and asked the worker if I was going to have a one inch step up from my sidewalk to my front porch. He smiled, undoubtedly because he had answered this question many times before, and said “No step”. He informed me that when he was done there would be a smooth transition from the sidewalk to the front porch.
Well, now my curiosity was peaked and I had to ask him how this would be accomplished. He directed my attention to my front yard and pointed out a large hand held circular saw that had a blade on it that resembled the teeth of a Great White Shark. He informed me that he would use this special cutting tool to cut away my front porch far enough to slope the brick pavers up one inch from the sidewalk to the front porch. I was dumbfounded. It never dawned on me to physically alter the height of the porch in order to accommodate for the one inch brick pavers. I had been so focused on the heights of the two surfaces being constants, unable to be changed. Thus, I never considered the possibility of lowering the height of the front porch. When he was done we had a nice, gentle, one inch slope from our sidewalk to our front porch. No tripping hazard. No chance of being sued by the Amazon delivery driver.
Isn’t that just like us humans? We get so fixated on a problem that we never step back far enough to see the possibilities. I was so locked in to my perceived reality that the heights of the porch and sidewalk couldn’t be changed. With that as the basis of my thinking, there actually was no way that I wasn’t going to be dealing with a one inch step. When the whole time my sense of reality was incorrect. How many other times in my life have I fallen victim to this type of closed thinking? How many other times have I made decisions based on what I perceived as reality and it was incorrect? Dear God, help me to see outside of the box when it comes to problem solving. Help me to question my perceived reality in any situation to assure that I am making the best decisions!