Hey Ya’ll, it’s the ARM Dude here. A couple of weeks ago my two daughters were exchanging emails when they decided to include me in the loop. This is what the email I received said “Dad can make letters? Is this true Dad?” Well this definitely raised my curiosity but it was also confusing. I didn’t know if they were trying to get me to blindly admit to not being the sharpest tack or if I was being recruited for some type of special project. Surely it must be the latter because they read my blog. I have to write words to tell these stories. It would only make sense that I know how to make a letter. Scrolling down to read their previous exchange revealed that it was indeed the latter. My youngest had suggested to the oldest that she ask me to complete a small project for her.

The project involved making some large letters that spell the name of the baby daughter she is carrying. Apparently a common thing to do in nurseries is to place the baby’s name on the wall by hanging these letters with pretty little ribbons. They can be painted or stained to match the color or theme of the décor. I had a pretty good idea of what she was wanting because I have seen similar letters above my granddaughter’s bed when visiting my youngest. I felt confident enough in my understanding of what she desired to respond that I would be happy to do this for her.

Now I have been married to the momma of my babies my entire adult life. That is just long enough to know that it is not safe to assume that I know exactly what my wife wants when she asks me to pick up something at the store or to complete a project for her. Left to make the decision on my own will most likely mean that I will make the wrong choice. This is not a good thing because I have disappointed her. Not only that, but I get to live with her and experience this disappointment repeatedly until I can mediate a peaceful resolution. You got it, I am going back to the store or I will redo the project. Don’t get me wrong, she is a sweetheart and far better than I deserve. She just expects that I will get clarification from her if I am not sure what she is requesting. Based on these lessons learned I knew that I needed a lot more information from my daughter before I could start work.

I began the process by peppering her with questions. I covered all of the bases. Size, style, finish, placement, and material were addressed. Her response, “Wow, that is a lot to think about. Let me get back to you”, indicated she was a bit overwhelmed. A couple of days later she called and asked if I would stop by so she could show me some samples she found online and to show me the wall where they would hang. When I visited her she showed me the samples while explaining that she wasn’t fond of any one particular font. However, she preferred the less formal styles that look like they may have been printed by hand. I measured the area and then I placed various sized objects against the wall so that she could have a visual aid to use to help me determine the proper size or scale to use. Perfect, they need to be in a freehand style that is slightly smaller than the picture frame on the dresser.

I am ready to get started now because I am confident that I know what she wants and that I can do the work. First thing first, I head straight to Home Depot to buy that 16” scroll saw that I have had my eye on for the last year. I know, I know, I have some other tools that would have done just fine but I had a 10% off anything coupon that was about to expire. This was just the push I needed to execute the purchase. Besides that, the way that I figured it, as fast as my daughters are spitting out babies I am sure to use this tool a lot.

The actual making of the letters was quite easy. I printed out some templates, traced them out on the mdf board and then I used that new scroll saw to cut them out. Next, I rounded off the edges with my router before applying a coat of primer. I delivered them to her the next day. Her excited response let me know it was a job well done.

I left her house that day with the feeling of success. My daughter and I had communicated effectively in order to achieve a common goal. She had not taken offense to all of my questions. She even engaged me in a consultative manner. This helped her be equally as confident that I would be delivering a product that would meet or exceed her expectations. Together we had avoided disappointment. We had also negated the need for any costly problem mediation steps. I am digging the results so much that I believe I will follow this model with the next prospect that calls me wanting to buy software. Do ya’ll think it will work?