Open Doors & Launch Windows

Remodeling a front doorwayIt started simply enough. Repaint the front door. Flacked varnish revealed bare wood, but closer inspection uncovered serious cracks.

So, no simple mask and paint this time. Instead removed the door and prepared for a major strip and rebuild before painting. And, once the door was off, decided to redo the sidelite styling we never liked. Also should have been simple enough—remove a little siding, shift the window mounting slightly right, recover and paint to match the door’s new finish. Piece of cake. Not exactly.

After the rip and tear committed me, I discovered an unmodifiable window mounting. More rip and tear. More discovery. More rip and tear. More surprises. In three fold the time I could’ve repainted, I succeeded only in morphing the front entrance from functioning door to gapping hole extending from the studs on either side and vertically from top plate to bottom plate.

Clearly this project demanded way more time than originally planned. But that happens. Normally, I’d parse it out over selected evenings and weekends. Unfortunately, I picked the wrong part of normal to allow the outside inside. Winter’s coming. In a couple weeks night temperatures will routinely dip below freezing. Rain and wind will follow. So now, not a week from now, but now is my window of  opportunity. I set aside all other activity, doned tool belt and goggles, and got to work.

Spacecraft blasting offReminds me of going off-planet. We can’t blastoff just anytime. We not only have to wait for the right time, but when that time arrives, we have to go now, not later.

For example, the launch window to get to the ISS comes once per day, and that time shifts 23.5 minutes earlier each day. Launching any other time adds hours, even days to reach the rendezvous point and may require enough extra fuel to preclude the mission altogether.

Going someplace farther out gets a bit trickier. If we want to land at a specific place on the Moon, suitable launch windows present themselves only about 10 days out of a year. And launch windows to begin the most energy efficient flight to Mars occur every 780 days. Getting to an outer planet like Jupiter demands even more planning.

Terrestrial life presents similar openings, times when we have to put-up or shut-up. The two-part trick is to recognize the 5-second windows of opportunity, and then to act.

Honest apology at the right time reconciles a marriage. Deferral lets it die.

A phone call at intuition’s tickle hesitates a needle. Dismissal’s silence permits an injection of trouble.

Woman changing car tireStopping to help fix a flat gets a single mom to work on time. She keeps her job and makes rent before the deadline. Her son, spared one more frantic move, decides to stay in school after all.

Fortunately, life’s most important launch window continues without interruption. We can embark on new life, or not. As long as we have breath, our “time is always here” and “now is the day of salvation.”

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