I’m working on a bathroom project these days.

It should have been something simple.

It’s not a full remodel…it’s just tearing out a short wall, rebuilding the wall, sheetrocking and taping and finishing the new wall, replacing the door with a sliding barn style door (that I’ll build), and generally cleaning up the mess and making it all look pretty again.

What a pain in the rear.

The railing has to be level for the door to slide correctly.  The railing needs to be level to look right against the doorway that has to be level to look right in relation to the railing. The railing mounts have to be up high enough over the door frame that the door I’m going to build covers up the whole door opening.

The ceiling isn’t level.

This whole old mushroom house must be sinking down into the earth or something because nothing in it is really level.

To top it off, the ceiling isn’t only “not level”, it’s also not straight.  It curves down into the corner.

You don’t see many ceilings that curve down into the corner.

I’m glad that I don’t see that very often.

Anyway, I’ve got to figure out how to scribe a 2×10 so that it sits flush with the ceiling, comes all the way out to the precise “very edge” of the wall so that it covers up a small hole in the ceiling drywall, and then cut it down on the bottom of the 2×10 so that it sits (level) at the top of the door frame and acts as the top piece of trim on the door because we don’t have enough head room to put the railing up like the instructions specify.

I should just tear out the old ceiling, shim the rafters to make it all level, put up new sheetrock, tape and finish the new level ceiling, and start fresh.

But I don’t want all the rock wool that I know is up there to fall into my eyes.

I want to avoid making the simple job more and more painful.

Gnnnnhhhhhhhhhhahhhhhh.  FNNNNNNIIIIKKKKKKKKK.

When I put the trim up on the interior part of the door, the railing wasn’t a concern.  That part goes on the outside of the door.

The top of the door is level but the ceiling isn’t level.

So everything looks crooked even if some of it’s level.

When Jenny saw that, she said, “The pros say to just eyeball it and make corrections as needed for it to look right.”

Cool.  Solutions.

“The pros”.  Where are they when I need them?

I was going to write this blog about compromise and appearances and “going along to get along” and reading each and every situation we come into contact with…and adjusting accordingly for the most harmonious outcome possible.

But then I started to think that the more obvious and pressing lesson this whole shebang was teaching me is that sometimes even if you try to do the right thing…even if you try to “level up”…if you don’t have something good to start with, the whole thing is bound to look a little bit “wonky”.

No mattter how much eyeballing you do, it’s never going to be right.

And let’s say you get it close to right.

Let’s say you get it so right that everyone else who looks at it can’t see the defect.

You are always going to see that one side is a little lower.  You’re always going to remember that shim you put in so it didn’t creak quite as badly. You’re always going to remember what you did to cover up the defect.

You are the author of this debacle, and you see every hidden compromise that you made to try to get “almost right” to look correct in a reality that’s a little crooked.

There is a victory supreme in taking something weird and making it workable.

That’s a good feeling.

I think my wife would agree that with hard work and optimism, you can take something weird and make it workable.

(Look how she puts up with me.)

But good grief.  Why couldn’t that ceiling have been a little higher and more level?

And I sure could have done without those weird dips.

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