Sunday, November 06, 2005

An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure

A number of weeks ago, I painted the walls in my foyer. I stripped off the age-old wallpaper to discover the bright pink paint underneath. There was a layer of sizing over the pink paint. I washed off all of the wallpaper paste, but was not sure whether or not I needed to use primer over the sizing. I consulted my friendly big box retailer "associate". Not to worry, I was told. Just paint right on over it! Sounded like good advice to me. I could save myself both time and money. I could start enjoying the fruits of a great paint job in short order.

My paint job looked great! Cross that baby off the list! There was lots more work to do before Thansgiving. On to the living room! On to the dining room! But I would step back to admire my wonderful foyer transformation. One day I noticed some cracks in the paint and the pink paint peeking out underneath. Each day, the spiderweb cracks appeared in more places and expanded in size. It was soon clear that I would have to start all over again. It was also abundently clear that I had saved neither time nor money. In fact, it was going to cost more of both than if it had been done properly the first time.

My cracked walls developed shortly after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The lessons of the cracked walls seemed to mirror the lessons of Katrina. Preparing the infrastructure properly is of fundamental importance. The piece of work below the surface is often the most important piece of work we do. Crossing our fingers because that part doesn't show is a dangerous game.
If you think it is neither quick nor cheap to "do it right the first time", you better believe that it is more expensive to do it over. We need to build our infrastuctures to withstand the tides of misfortune. Be very leery of any advice that tells you that you can paint it, build it, or go to war "on the cheap"!


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