A project management term I’ve learned since being in the corporate world, scope creep is that pesky tendency of projects and tasks to increase in size, budget, and/or duration before your very eyes. Sometimes it’s the result of slowing the pace and spreading the timeline, other times it’s because you totally didn’t like the cheaper flooring options they had at Menard’s so you had to increase the project budget to account for those nicer looking 6 inch tiles in ‘sahara sand’. (hypothetically).
All of these augmentations have two things in common: 1) they sneak up on you from out of nowhere 2) they always sound like a really good idea at the time.
“Well, while we’re staining and finishing the floors we’ll need to circulate outside air. We have a large fan that could fit in this window but it’s blocked, so we should probably just un-install this old window air conditioning unit that’s in the way and put the fan here.”
And then poof: 30 minutes into the grand ‘sand, stain and re-finish the original hardwood floors‘ project, we’re not sanding, staining, or re-finishing anything. Instead, we’re knocking a rusted, non-functional, eye-sore of an AC unit out of our dining room window.
Those two relate, right?
I think this is DanO’s dad’s – the soon to be grandpa – first photo appearance on here! Internet, DanO’s dad. DanO’s dad, internet. He knows everything, ever about house projects. He also makes a mean loaf of homemade bread.
Oh, I left out a third thing scope creep culprits have in common: halfway through, I inevitably ask myself “How did we get here?”
Like in the story of the laundry room renovation basement stairs rebuild:
(Grab a blanket and snuggle up; this is a good one.)
One upon a time, I was pregnant and really zealously ambitious. I was also crying a lot for unclear reasons and DanO was in his 20th week of trying to keep me calm at all costs.
One time he even drove to Red Robin in a snowstorm to get me a Bleu Ribbon burger, but that’s another post altogether.
I had just emerged victorious from the “we can handle cloth diapering!” debate with DanO, and I had my eyes set on the “now momma needs a new laundry room in which to wash these CDs” battle. I requested asbestos free flooring, a counter top, a sink basin, and “new treads on the basement stairs”. Some of the old ones were warped and slanted and a little unsafe, in my opinion.
Somehow, “new treads on the basement stairs” translated into “entirely tear down the old stairs, change their positioning, re-design them to have a better slope, and rebuild them from scratch”.
I think somewhere along the way we began dealing with scope creep’s uglier, worldlier older sister, “scope sprint“. But it still sounded like a good idea at the time.
So, one Saturday morning, we awoke to find ourselves with no basement stairs.
Cue: “How did we get here?” and a teary-eyed “Where is my counter top? ::sniff:: All I wanted was a @#%&$ counter top!”
Yes, I actually said “at sign, pound, percentage, ampersand, dollar sign”, in case you were concerned that something less innocent came forth from these lips.
But my man, you guys, my man rose to the occasion. Like that one time with the Red Robin burger, but better.
He formulated a plan. Circled his prey. Stared down his opponent.
Then began whipping it into shape.
Using big, manly power tools.
Big, loud, manly power tools that require the use of ear-plugs.
Earplugs that meant he couldn’t hear me as I cat called him from the kitchen window.
Which I totally did.
Et voila! A stair stringer formed by DanO’s very hands (with the use of a circular saw and brute amazingness). Then there was evening, and there was morning – the second day.
And then there were stairs and preggo saw that it was good! They are so sturdy and so fabulous and so DONE.
Well, technically they’re not done-done until we hang drywall on that framed wall to the right and put up a railing on the left. Oh, and we also installed two stair lights, wired up the switches for the four recessed can lights in the laundry room, ran power to the new task lighting over the (not there yet) counter top, and framed out a new under-the-stairs closet for storage.
Wait, how did we get here?