The old-time whisky drinkers in the crowd will get the hint in my title: taking things “straight” in this situation could be a harsh dram to swallow. We have a landscaping project pending at our new home that was stalled last year because of the early onset of winter. Although our grounds are now dry and able to be worked, I’ve been having to push the builder to get back on track with this job and other unfinished tasks. I have a project-management spread that looks at how much executive oversight should be applied to ensure smooth progress of the work effort (in other words, whether or not to “chase” the contractor). I performed this spread using the RWS Centennial pocket edition, with reversals. Here is the spread:
The first three cards (Knight of Cups, 5 of Swords and 4 of Cups) show the overall “complexion” of the situation. The Knight of Cups conveys our emotional investment in the project; we are anxious to get it done but the contractor seems a little too blase about the whole thing. On balance, it would probably be best to keep our cool and not get too pushy. However, the 5 of Swords suggests that the work will only get moving at sword-point, so we will need to continue prodding them. The 4 of Cups implies that the activity will be frustratingly lackadaisical, with no real urgency behind it. Not an encouraging prospect for success.
On the “kick them in the ass” side of the equation, the quintessence card for Cards #1 and #2 was the Star, giving hope that all will work out for the best if we stay attentive to business. The 9 of Pentacles looks like “success assured.” Regarding the Knight of Pentacles, I find it interesting that the two court cards that might be most closely connected with land management – the King and Knight of Pentacles – are both present, but at opposite ends of the spectrum. Here the Knight is reversed, making me think the landscaper could get sulky and drag his feet if squeezed too hard.
On the “cut them some slack” side of things, the Hermit as the quint card for Cards #2 and #3 tells me they most likely will pursue a prudent course of action if “given their head.” But the Lovers reversed shows that they could make a few decisions that aren’t in our best interests. The King of Pentacles makes it clear that they will do their customary workmanlike job if we trust them to do so.
On balance, the Lovers reversed is the most worrisome card here since the builder already has his money for the work so there is no incentive to hold the line on cutting corners. If we don’t pay attention, the old cliche could come into play: “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than for permission.” I believe we will be best served by remaining engaged in all aspects of the project, but with finesse in the Ronald Reagan sense: “Trust but verify.” In either case, it looks like the project will reach a successful conclusion, with only a small amount of ill-will on the contractors’ part if we crowd them a bit too much, but potentially greater dissatisfaction for us due to questionable decisions by the landscaper if we leave them to their own devices. We will need to stay on top of this.