Monday, October 8, 2007

Herding Cats

Some of you may know this already but I live in a six-unit condominium in a beautiful Victorian house in Boston. Our Grande Dame is 119 years old.

This summer the spacious, elegant back porches decided to fall off the building. This is a problem. It took us two months of solid, daily work to figure out what to do. The learning curve was so steep as to be perpendicular to the lift-off platform. No one who lives in the building is a builder or a contractor. Every contractor had a different idea about how to fix/replace/repair the porches. We had no idea how to make the decision.

Add to this that no matter what we did, the cost would be at least five figures and more probably six, AND that all six Trustees, one for each unit, had a different idea about what was expensive, what was not, and what was appropriate to spend to fix the sagging porches.

I was the point-person on the project and I felt like I was herding cats most of the time. Ever tried it? Cats are not herd animals, dear one.

Not to worry, I still have my beautiful red hair but it was touch and go there for a while until I let go and let the process happen. I disagreed strongly with some penny-pinching that won out. I was annoyed that people couldn’t be bothered to read or, heaven help me, answer emails. You get the picture.

What I got to let go of was the need to herd cats.

The process continues apace. The contractor and his crew are noisy, enthusiastic and efficient even as I write, and the cats have settled down in patches of spotty Boston fall sunshine for their afternoon naps.

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