Everything in Sequence

My first job was a paper route with my dad, two brothers and myself – mom wasn’t in the picture. We’d wake up between four and five in the morning, head out in the red Datsun 210 Sedan, standard transmission, to pick up a stack of the Wall Street Journal. My dad was the driver and my job was to assemble (rubber band or plastic bag if it was raining), order and arrange the papers into the correct sequence of delivery, then deliver in various methods. Sometimes delivery was run flights of stairs and hallways in the Century Building, San Antonio Savings Building or an apartment building complex. Other times it was the classic hang out the car window, wind and launch method – by far my favorite. I can still feel the wind blowing through my hair, cruising down Blanco Road before the sun came up. When we’d finished, and as dad drove into the morning sunrise, he’d let me shift gears for him – left handed. It’s gotta be one of my all time best memories ever.

Thus began my natural love for synergetic work flow. Nothing says you can conquer the world like the positive emotions that flow out of the perfect execution of a plan that you devised all on your own. You know how it is. It’s like when they say that all the stars align. It’s the same feeling you get when you make every green light on the way home from work on a Friday. Even if it was for $2 a week. Even if it was in the third grade. Even if you didn’t know that you were even doing it.

Dad kept the paper route until the summer of 1982. I’m 50 now and looking back, I’ve worked to devise ways for that synergy to emerge out of nothingness in just about every job I’ve ever had. From washing dishes at the Meatballs Italian Food Restaurant on Bandera Road in Leon Valley, to digging holes under houses for Rite Way Foundation Repair on Hildbrand in San Antonio, to restoring houses full of windows all over the United States. In every case, the process has been the same.

Master a Movement

Master a Sequence of Movements

Master Sequencing Sequences of Movements.

Assembling papers was an art I mastered one movement at a time. Master the fold. That’s a movement. Master the rubber band, a second movement. Master the fold and the rubber band together. That’s a sequence of movements. Master the fold, the rubber band and the placement. Now you’re sequencing your sequences. Before long the entire order of operations becomes one fluid movement – dance-like, rhythmic. Then you combine your dance with someone else’s. Dad drives the car, I throw. The song’s drama climaxes as I hang out the window, wind my throw, launch and hit the target dead on. As the song concludes, the tempo slows, dad presses the clutch, I downshift into second, we pull into the driveway, kill the engine and get out of the car. A new rhythm begins as I pour my cornflakes into a bowl….

As Applied To The Art Of Renewing Classic Double Hung Windows

People with turn of the century homes often wonder where to begin with bringing their windows back to life. The first thing to know is that nobody becomes proficient overnight. It’s a process. Sometimes a slow process that always begins in the same place. Master a movement. Master a second movement. Put those two movements together. Master another one….

Master how to hold the scraper to maximize your force and strength. Master cleaning as you go. Master the proper fold to the sandpaper. Master sequences of movements effectively. Master when to perform paint prep sequences, master when to perform wood repair sequences. And then, when you’ve mastered all that…

Master sequencing people who are mastering sequences of movements.

Be patient with yourself. There’s a lot to master, and there’s always something new to master. If you think you’ve arrived, you are no longer on the journey. You have time. I preach to myself as I tap the keys. There will be some tasks that come along that are really stubborn to get a handle on. That’s okay. You are smarter than the window. With a little grit and tenacity, you’ll eventually get what you have been looking for.