Janice Crow

I’m Workin’ on a Building…But Not a Doghouse

Staff writer Janice Crow – Singer – Songwriter

Scrolling through some old stuff in my computer documents file I ran across something saved as “Shopping List”. I assumed it was groceries or a list of gifts to buy at Christmas, but instead it was a forgotten list of home improvement items from a 2010 bathroom remodel. I hadn’t thought of it in years. I had made it to give the contractor to be sure he knew exactly what I wanted. No confusion. “Oh”, I thought, “that’ll come in handy for when we redo the second bathroom….sometime before I’m ninety.” (Nothing happens fast at my house.)

I started looking over my list that was neatly arranged on the typewritten page with columns and headings that read “Item”, “Description”, “Price” and “Store”. The first item I directed him to buy was floor tile….specifically 12 x 12 Montagna Lugano, Lot #6398-09 by American Marazzi. I further instructed him, “Please do not confuse with Montagne Cortina which is similar – but wrong.” The price was $1.68 per tile (we spared no expense) and it was available at Home Depot. I am surprised I didn’t note the aisle and bin number. I’m not at all sure how my control “freakedness” missed that.

Next I told him to buy floor grout (as if he wouldn’t know), but make sure it was Polyblend #382, the bone color. The price was unknown, but it too was available at Home Depot.

Now I needed wainscoting, 4 x 8 sheets of Plytanium 1.6 OC Pine Plybead Classic Item #289 11/32” thick beadboard by Georgia Pacific at $21.47 per sheet, available at Lowes. Of course, I left it up to him to supernaturally discern just how many sheets of said wainscoting was needed. Fortunately, he had taken measurements.

All that stuff was ordered by the contractor, at my request (Bruce has been granted absolution) ….because I’ve done so many home improvement projects (insert snicker here) and I’ve seen HGTV a million times. (How hard can it be to choose the correct thing, right?)

Bruce had volunteered to paint the beadboard a semi-glossy white before it was installed because it would save us a few bucks. He started on the first 4 x 8 sheet and noticed that the wood was way more rough and splintery than either of us imagined it would be. It was awful. Sanding just gave him skinned knuckles and not much else. Then, too, the wood seemed to suck up the paint like a dehydrated man in the Mojave. Another coat of paint made no difference. It was not at all what I wanted to see. He held off painting the other sheets, thankfully, until the contractor came back and said, “Well, see, I wondered about that when you asked for that. That’s an exterior grade. I don’t think that’s the look you’re really going for.” Uh, no. I subsequently learned it was really good for siding doghouses. Doghouses?

He went on to say that he thought he knew what we needed and he would take care of it, which he did. His guys showed up the next day with the appropriate materials, installed the correct wainscoting beautifully and even capped it off with finish moldings that I didn’t even think about. Note to self…..leave home improvement to the professionals.

Yes, this is an embarrassing admission. Had the contractor not stepped in, I would today be sporting doghouse siding in my new bathroom.

I wish I could tell you that’s the only instance of that sort of thing I’ve ever been involved in; but sadly, I think a bunch of my prayers over the early years of my life were in the same vein – “Lord, here’s what I want and here’s how I want you to do it, and here’s who I want involved, and here’s where I want it to occur and… .and if it’s not too much trouble, can you do it before noon on Friday?” Then, when He didn’t answer the way I wanted Him to or went “off script”, I was disappointed in Him. How idiotic of me! How many times was He protecting me from my own silly choices?

One of the best things my mother ever taught me was this: “If God ain’t in it, you don’t want it.” She was right. There is no telling how many times I have asked God for something having no idea that what I was asking for was so much inferior to what he had for me if I would just trust Him and wait. I think I’ve finally figured that one out now.

So, what is the outcome? Patience and peace, my friend. God knows what I need and He knows what it will take to achieve it and make a beautiful thing of my life. His timing is perfect and I don’t have to wring my hands hoping He’ll do it right or settle for substitutes or low grade anything.

No more shopping list prayers. As the old gospel song says “I’m Workin’ on a Building”….but it’s not a doghouse.


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