Why does it take 2 hours to set up 3 palm trees?

We worked on a new set design this week, which is supposed to be a modern day interpretation of 1st century Israel, kind of a fishing dock feel. However, it was seriously lacking something.

Today Albert and I were at Lowe’s where I discovered they had 8′ palm trees for $10 each! This was exactly what was needed.

We went back home because we had our car. Albert had to go run other errands, so I took the van back out and got the palm trees. Then I went to church to set them up. Since it was kind of last minute thing, I did it myself. But it sure took a long time.

Afterwards, I was scratching my head as to why it took me 2 hours when I only had to set up 3 palm trees. Then I realized the process I went through:

  1. Pick up first palm tree and take it from the van to the door (because I’m not strong enough to carry multiple trees without dropping them or getting blown over by the wind).
  2. Repeat #1 two more times (3 palm trees total).
  3. Unlock the door and pick up the first palm tree and put it inside the door.
  4. Repeat #3 two more times.
  5. Lock the door because I’m the only one at the church.
  6. Unlock worship center and go to electrical room.
  7. Unlock electrical room.
  8. Turn on breaker switches.
  9. Unlock AV room.
  10. Turn on light board.
  11. Turn on the lights.
  12. Reprogram the lights because they were wrong from last week.
  13. Haul palm tree #1 onto the stage.
  14. Repeat #13 two more times.
  15. Haul cinder block from back room to raise one of the palm trees.
  16. Repeat #15 two more times because I can only carry one cinder block at a time.
  17. Go upstairs and get some styrofoam plates so when the trees get watered it doesn’t drip on the stage.
  18. Go downstairs and set up the palm tree on the styrofoam plate.
  19. Realize that the plate is too small.
  20. Go to the kitchen and find larger paper plates.
  21. Realize the water will soak through the paper plates.
  22. Find some foil and tear off 3 pieces for the 3 plates.
  23. Wrap the foil around the plates.
  24. Put each plate under each tree.
  25. Go to the kitchen and get a pitcher of water.
  26. Water the first tree slowly to see how much water it can hold without dripping out and filling up the foil-lined plate underneath.
  27. Realize I didn’t get enough water so go back to the kitchen and get some more.
  28. Water the other two trees.
  29. Scrounge in the back room to look for burlap from our other stage design, so I can wrap the ugly pots the palm trees are in.
  30. Find one piece of burlap.
  31. Climb on the cabinet to reach the other boxes high up to see if there is fabric in there.
  32. Go to back shelf to find fabric. Discover the fabric is a mess.
  33. Pull out the fabric and refold/reroll it so I can actually see what all is in there.
  34. Find second piece of burlap in a box underneath the fabric shelf.
  35. Can’t find the third piece of burlap but find a piece of denim.
  36. Go out and wrap the trees’ pots with the fabric. Looks much better.
  37. Rotate the trees so they  look balanced and full from the audience’s point of view.
  38. Realize the leaves crash into a piece of fabric hanging down.
  39. Go to back room and find a long stick.
  40. Get a stool and move it over to the fabric.
  41. Use the long stick to poke the fabric in place.
  42. Do this multiple times because can’t get it just right or the fabric keeps falling down.
  43. Clean off the stage so I can take a picture.
After doing this, I have come to a couple conclusions. In order for things to go faster:
  1. It’s much better to work with a team of people. I thought putting up 3 palm trees would be a piece of cake and I didn’t need help. I did do it, but it just took a long time.
  2. I need to lift weights so I can carry more stuff.
  3. I need to grow another foot or two so I can reach stuff.
When you don’t have the strength or height to get things done, you just use your brain. And take a long time.


A Yee

Angela Yee is a professional designer (graphic design, stage design, interior design — angelayeedesign.com) and teaches leadership skills at strategysketchnotes.com.

4 comments to “Why does it take 2 hours to set up 3 palm trees?”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.
  1. Glen Nielsen - January 22, 2012


  2. Dorothy (vicar of vibe) - January 22, 2012

    1) So, where is the picture? I want to see it.
    2) I spent the same amount of time this morning to hang 3 banners.
    3) I totally have to agree with your 3 conclusions.

  3. Carmen Lin - January 23, 2012

    It took you 2 hours to set up 3 palm trees. But it took me time and patience to read your blog. It’s not boring, but rather humorous. Maybe you can do weight lifting to strengthen your arms, but I doubt if you can grow another inch, not to mention a foot.
    Next time, try not to do too many things at one time. It’s better to work with a team!

  4. A Yee

    A Yee - January 27, 2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.