Friday, November 15, 2013

Building a Roof

"We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are." -Tobias Wolff

I will be upfront and honest with you. What I am about to describe would not have been possible for me fifteen or twenty years ago. There would have been an attempt but I simply was not the same person back in those days. But I can also say that I had my moments this time as well. So please bear with me as I tell you my tale of success.

It all started a few weeks ago, the story I am about to tell you that is.

We are new, or at least newer, homeowners after eighteen years in a much older home. Our new home has a great yard and a great deck off the back of the house. the one thing we decided to do was look into building a roof over part of the large deck. This would provide us with an open area to sit even during the rain and still enjoy the outdoors.

Plans were discussed with a friend on how we could build this new and amazing roof to enhance the deck area. All that remained was to contact our homeowner's association for approval and then pull the proper county building permit. This was going to be a "piece of cake" especially after I had spoken with a very nice man named Joel with the planning department.

I had drawn up a reasonable set of plans that would show the simple nature of the roof, how it would blend in architecturally and no other complications should ensure. Then off to the county offices, papers in hand to meet with the correct people.

After a mistake, on my part of waiting in the wrong office, I met with Joel and we drew up a quick hand drawing of the lot showing house location, etc. This was so simple he said, it should be "piece of cake."

It seemed most everyone in our county of nearly one million residents were applying for a building permit this day. But I waited patiently for my turn with the "Development Plan Review" person. When my name was incorrectly pronounced as Jocelyn instead of Joseph, I didn't respond at first. When I realized it was my name being called, the lady was clearly not happy that I could not interpret what she was saying.

Hang on I said to myself, you are almost there.

Alas, the moment we sat down I knew this was not going well and she immediately didn't like the hand drawing. The same one that the very nice man named Joel in the Planning Department had drawn for me. To shorten my story, I would need a scale drawing, two copies to be exact. It seemed that her having a bad day was going to be mine as well. And I was nearly ready to let that happen. It was on the tip of my tongue, but I held it in check.

As I left the office, she said with what seemed a smirk, "...hope to see you again real soon." I responded "...hope that your day gets better and thank you for helping me."

Yes, there could have been a scene. I could have thrown a temper tantrum. I could have allowed whatever was possibly making her day a bad one, my problem. My attitude was going to stay above the line and it did. And maybe, just maybe by keeping my attitude in check, having a bit of grace for the woman with the red pen, I helped make her day slightly better.

The next day I returned with the paperwork requested. It was a new day, new perspective, and new optimism. I breezed through the "Development Plan Review" (different lady), the "Storm/Water/Sewer Plan Review" and with a slight bump in the actual "Building Permits" only one final stage remained. I would need to speak with the "Building Inspections" folks to clear up a small issue with the existing deck.

Well over an hour wait and closing time was nearing. I was sure inspectors were out and the very nice lady at the desk offered to contact one of the gentlemen over in the offices. There were only three minor questions, but I was determined not to leave until I was certain all was complete. In a few minutes, a man walked through the door to greet me.

We both smiled and laughed a little bit. My first response to him was, "the circle is now complete." the man greeting me was Joel, the very same person I had started my odyssey with. Life is good and we shared a few laughs, got my questions answered and left very happy in spite of any bumps.

We can choose to allow circumstance to get the better of us. We can choose to allow others to dictate how we feel.

Or we can choose to overcome circumstance. We can choose to determine how we are going to feel.

Persistence and attitude, they are for you to determine, not someone else. Build a great attitude over your life to shelter you and those around you from the storms of others. And stay inspired folks and have a great day.

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