It appears winter has finally left the Midwest for good. The snow is gone and mild, comfortable temperatures make my favorite outside activities – jogging and grilling – much easier and more enjoyable, and I find my wife, Kyla, and I are looking for just about any reason to spend time in the great outdoors.

There’s only one minor downside to this year’s impending and abbreviated spring. As a homeowner, April serves as the month in which proposed projects around the house are transformed from an abstract idea to a concrete reality.

On the docket for 2014 ranges from great (repair and repaint a shed in my backyard) to small (replace the screen for the sliding glass door in the three-season room). We’ve already decided to invest in a new gas grill instead of a new refrigerator, so the latter won’t be acquired for another year. That choice was made easy because a state-of-the-art grill costs less than half the price of a well-made refrigerator. That and our Smokey Joe charcoal grill… well… let’s just say it’s seen better days.

No matter what I accomplish in a given year, there’s always more to buy, repair, and replace once the ensuing spring rolls around. A few years back, our high-priority spring project involved the construction of a new patio. The old one had two features almost anyone who saw it noticed immediately: it sloped toward the back of the house and displayed an alarming number of cracked and crumbling areas. Three springs later, our new patio is one of the nicest features of the property.

A year prior, the most important purchase was a new furnace and air conditioner. To say I was less enthusiastic about procuring them than I was the new patio would be a massive understatement. However, improved and more efficient heating and cooling was the most significant need at the time. That meant the Schmidts had to wait 12 months for a new patio.

Creating and maintaining a comfortable home environment requires my wife and I to plan, prepare, and prioritize both consistently and effectively. We constantly keep our lines of communication open as we seek to recognize the difference between what we need and what we want. We also try to determine what we use, what we don’t use, what we should use more, and what we should use less. More than anything else, we strive to be honest with ourselves and one another about what we can afford right now, in the near future, and several years down the road.

My thoughts on the several spring projects on tap at the Schmidt house this year coincide with others related to upcoming Surgical Products webinar I will moderate this week entitled “Planning Your OR Renovation In 5 Easy Steps,” sponsored by Berchtold. What I realized is a similar experience takes place when you are looking to make improvements to your home space or OR space. Tough questions must be asked and answered, and no project – great or small – will be successful without a properly-formed plan that’s the end result of an effective thought process.

Are you considering an update of an older operating room? Are you looking to overhaul an OR space to achieve certain operational goals such as improving surgical output or offering cutting-edge procedures? Join us on Thursday as a panel of experts and clinicians outlines the process of renovating a surgical suite that will maintain peak productivity while minimizing disruption and bringing an OR back on line in less than two weeks.

As always, thanks for reading (and watching).

What are your thoughts? E-mail me at or respond on Twitter @MikeSchmidt_SP.

Register for Thursday's webinar here