Just Do Your Best and a Bunch of Hot Air

My perfection often leads to procrastination or frustration, depending on whether or not I take action. After at least five months of having the box in my basement, I decided to take action and install my son’s ceiling fan.

My six-year old son moved upstairs when he was four, at the arrival of his little sister. Hot air rises and its finally getting warm in the mighty Midwest.

Procrastination resolved, box open and a free few hours on a Sunday afternoon, I began the install. My house is old. Not historical-registry old but old enough to be one of the first of the 50’s suburban sprawl and of the age when they didn’t clearly mark hot and neutral electrical wires.

Well, nap time for my two-year-old daughter didn’t go quite as long as I had envision, nor did prepping the mount to ensure it was stable enough for a ceiling fan. Pause the project for snack time.

Enlisting kids in projects is an art itself. Most of the time they will be proud to be included but sometimes it can set your project backward. Snack ended, and I managed to enlist my daughter for some “help” while I continue installing the fan.

Then enter another interruption. There was dinner to prep and the grill to start and enter yet another break in the project. And here enters my lesson of letting go of all expectations. See, I expected to have this fan installed in the two-and-a-half hour window of my daughters nap.

And then when it finally came time to test the light and power, the breaker was set off, and I was set off. Enter frustration.

I’ll spare you the demeaning words I used on myself, the call for help made to my electrical engineer of a father-in-law and the feeling that I should have just paid someone to install it.

All of this expectation comes from the fact that I’ve had previous experience in installing a ceiling fan and that I set a bar of how quick I should have completed the project. But the wise words of my son came back to me when he reminded me to do my best, words I’ve used during times of homework strife.

All we want is for you to do your best, dad.


After a two-day interlude and another few hours of hiccups, the fan is up, running smoothly and helping cool my sons room. I had done the best I could.

There’s a saying, “Your responsible for the effort, not the outcome,” that comes to mind. See, every ceiling fan project or every piece of homework or every situation is a little different. But if I put in effort and let go of my expectations, maybe I can get rid of the frustration. Does that actually happen to people?

If any of you have been able to rid yourself of such frustration, let me know how you did it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s