05 Nov Person-and-a-Half Projects
Lots of boat projects are what Dave calls “person-and-a-half” jobs or “third hand” projects.
You know, the ones where it doesn’t really take two people for much of the work, but every so often you need someone to hand you a tool or a part, hold something in just the right place, shine a light, go get something, check something in the instructions (or online) . . .
And usually it turns out that the second person was actually doing something of their own, and is a little grumpy at suddenly being summoned. Or, once they put down their project, may expect to be more involved and may even start offering suggestions . . . that isn’t necessarily wanted.
Dave and I are by no means immune to this problem, but we’re getting better at anticipating and planning for these times. I don’t mean to sound like we’re perfect – we’re not.
First off, we’ve come to realize that we can’t both be working on “high priority” jobs unless it’s the same one (such as the bottom job). Only one high priority project at a time.
We try to let each other know if advance if we think we’ll need their assistance along the way. And yeah, the one taking the lead on the priority project has precedence and gets to say “I can only lend you a hand when I’m already taking a break from my project.”
We’ve found that letting the other know in advance about how much help is likely to be needed (and when, if it’s a long project) goes a LONG way in reducing the frustration.
Then the person who’ll end up as the helper can work on something that fits with how and when they’re likely to be interrupted. And while it probably won’t be one of their priority projects, they won’t be quite so frustrated at the interruptions and will still be working on something (drives me nuts to feel like I’m just sitting and waiting).
For us, this is the critical part – finding a project that you can work on around your “help times.” Typically, it’s something without a lot of thought or holding something just so. And you have to be nearby. Organizing and cleaning are the top two candidates.
For example, Dave had to do some maintenance on the drive leg. He’d read about how to do it and watched some videos. He thought there were definitely some places where he was likely to need an extra hand, and a few more where he might – but I didn’t know this and thought it was something where he didn’t want interference.
Consequently, when he said he was going to start on the work, I said fine and that I’d go ahead and start scraping the bottom. Dave said that might not be the best project for me to work on, since he was likely to need me and it’d be hard for me to come quickly if I was all dressed in protective clothing and under the boat. Instead, I chose to organize all our owner’s manuals – something that I could easily drop to help him.
And yeah, sometimes we have to negotiate a bit. Say when he may need my help on a project, but I need to get an article written.
And if there’s a sudden emergency, then it’s all hands on deck, no questions. Just please, only one emergency at a time.