I did a very small thing this weekend. But I did it complete, start to finish, which is not how I usually do things. Usually, if the starting point a task can be represented by the Sun, then the finishing point is somewhere in the far reaches of our galaxy - out on one of those spiral arms where strange aliens might be listening to our old radio waves and really digging on Glenn Miller. But this time, I actually managed to keep Point A and Point B within a planet or two of each other.
Here's what I did: I went to IKEA and bought a couple of these very cool recycling bins. I won't rhapsodize here about IKEA, but oh me oh my, how I do love that store. That's for another post. Suffice it to say that my dreams of better living get positively grandiose every time I walk through the nearly endless miles of Scandinavian ingenuity on display. But on Saturday I saw these marvelous wall-mounted recycling bins, and I had to have them.
We recycle at my house. In fact, we recycle nearly everything that doesn't contain mercury or pizza grease. It all goes into our big, pretty, city-provided blue bin in the alley. Unfortunately, the staging area for our recyclabes typically is a big messy pile by our back door, which happens to be in our family room. Piles of newspaper, flattened cereal boxes, and crushed soda cans are a beautiful thing, unless they're the first thing you see when you enter the house and the last thing you see when you leave. Yuck.
So I got a big bin for paper and a smaller bin for bottles and cans at IKEA. They're wall-mounted, and we have a perfect place for them, convenient yet out of the way, guaranteed to help our house be not only more green but less of a pigsty. And when I got them home I set them down and realized that a wall-mounted recycling bin must by definition be mounted on the wall - by someone - lest it become yet another piece of crap stacked up on the floor. Gulp. I hadn't just purchased plastic bins; I had purchased a project.
As puzzling as it may seem to you go-getters who live to make plans and then carry them out, there are those of us whose skills in follow-through are somewhat unrefined. We do things half-assed. We start out with good intentions and great enthusiasm, and then either get bogged down in details or become nervous about messing up, or both. And the simplest, smallest plans go awry. And they go unfinished.
But this time I said uh-uh, no way. I was not going to waste this moment of enthusiasm with procrastination, nor insult it with excuses. I was going to by God finish what I started. So I grabbed a level, a pencil, a screwdriver, and a handful of screws. The sofa looked soft and tempting, but I sat down on the hard tile floor and measured and marked and made pilot holes in the wall. And 20 minutes later, I stepped back from my handiwork. And I thought: Damn, that was no big deal.
I love my recycling bins. I love that I installed them myself. And I love that I got it done, not just in the same calendar year that I bought them (which ordinarily could be considered a win in my world), but on the same weekend. Laugh if you want, go-getters; I will savor my tiny victory.