Bad, Good Enough, and Excellent

Years ago, Dr. John Merrow of Harvard, produced a series of PBS programs on American schools, in which he categorized schools as bad, good enough, and excellent. Those categories can be easily be used to evaluate my week. The roofers came to repair my warrantied roof and skylight leaks. They supposedly resealed the skylight but said the one on the roof was a stucco issue. My favorite painter garage mates repaired and sealed. They conquered my dry rot problem.

Since I’ve known these boys since they were in kindergarten, I took them to lunch, where they regaled me with horror stories about a subcontracting job they’d recently done for Arizona State University. They were to repaint dorm rooms, which had supposedly been cleaned prior. My boys are custom painters, who do excellent, exceptional work. (I know; they painted by entire 4,000 square-foot interior.) They spent hours cleaning, before they could paint. When they finished the first room, they said to the supervisor, “This room was so filthy it needs another coat.”

The supervisor replied, “It’s good enough.”

When they entered the next room, they spent the first half-hour sweeping up thousands of dead cockroaches–one-half black trash bag full. They looked at the walls that ere obviously stained with vomit and other unknown body fluids, and they told the supervisor they were terminating their contract.

The supervisor replied, “I’m surprised you lasted this long; custom painters rarely do. And by the way, that was the custodian’s room; he died in there about three months ago.”

Excellent, good enough, and now to the bad. The moment Friday night’s monsoon began I heard plop,plop, plop. Yes, the skylight was leaking above my island cook top. As the stormed raged, water began to stream all over the island and kitchen floor. The ceiling bubbled, as I captured over 2.5 inches of rain in my scrub bucket. Bad is truly not a “good enough” adjective to describe my assessment. Trust me, I’ve spent most of the day collecting words for my Monday call to the roofing company, deleting expletives along the way. I wouldn’t want to be the receiver of my wrath.

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