Thursday, December 13, 2012

blessed, really

It's inevitable that as soon as I think I've got a real strong grip on things around here, seams start busting apart.  Take, for example, Team Testosterone's pants.  I hate to shop, but I love that they're at a PS (parochial school) where they have to wear uniforms because that makes clothing them wicked easy.  Yet lately, every time I look at them, one's got a hole in the knees of his pants.  This morning I went through all their closets and now I've got a mending pile two feet high.  Enough to get me through a viewing of Love, Actually.  And I'm reminded to be thankful Team Testosterone is healthy enough to run and fall down and tear through the knees of their pants.  I imagine there are plenty of moms praying for children to roughhouse, and that makes me feel grateful for mine.
I have to mend holes, which is why I think there's nothing goofier than buying pants with holes already in them.
I had grand plans to catch up on editing and the loose ends of Christmas preparations this week, but I got called in to sub so those plans got shattered.  My plans got wrecked, but obviously the teacher who required my help has bigger problems than a list of errands to run.  Our biggest health concern around here these days can be fixed with tissues and Tylenol.  And I'm reminded to feel glad for the extra spending money right around the holidays...just in case.
funny thing about money and how it can slip through your fingers
Last night I had it going on!   Homework was done, house was tidied, laundry was sorted and ready to get handed out to its rightful owners.  I had book club and plans to pick up my book buddy by 5:00, so at 4:00 I headed out in the Momvan for burgers so Team Testosterone could dine in style.  While driving into town I ruminated on the State of the Household Budget and felt pretty darn lucky how we were ending the year.  Now if I can just make it through the next couple weeks without any impulse buying, home repair or car trouble...  Feeling on top of the world I ordered, pulled into the drive thru lane and turned off the Momvan to wait.  After the two cars ahead of me drove away, I turned the key in the ignition.

And nothing happened.

Flustered, I turned it again.  clickclickclickclickclick 

Naturally a girl's thoughts turn towards her car battery in this situation and I tested lights, radio, windows and all worked just fine.  The drive thru people came outside to see what was wrong--why wasn't I pulling ahead for my family pack of cheeseburgers (plain, 2 with only pickles thankyouverymuch) and fries.  They tried starting my car and even popped the hood.  I suspect they knew about as much as me about cars because they closed the hood after remarking that "everything looks clean under here."

Breathe.  Reach for cell phone and dial Al, my car guy, and ask for a tow.  Head inside to wait after turning on emergency flashers.  Appreciate the kindness of the crew at Tom's Drive In who tell me they'll remake my order after the tow truck gets there so my food is hot when I'm ready to leave. 

While I sit near a window and watch the traffic pass, the irony does not escape me.  I call my book buddy and tell her I won't be picking her up, but I hope to join everyone later.  I think about the State of the Household Budget and how there's a lesson about counting chickens and boy, could I go for some chicken tenders about now because I can smell them in the air.  I skipped eating earlier in the day to save up for the night ahead, so it all smelled good.  Up the road I think I see flashing lights--my tow truck?  No, the gaudy lights of the truck stop at the intersection, Christmas lights maniacally blinking blinking blinking.  I'm lucky.  This could have happened in worse places, like a parking ramp downtown when I was ready to head home after book club, long after Al's shop was closed for the night.  I'm lucky, I have extra money to get whateverthefrickiswrong fixed.  I'm lucky I have a place I can call and know they'll take care of me.  I'm lucky I have a cell phone.  I'm so blessed, really.

hot, savory fast food deliciousness that tastes just like chicken
Eventually Dave showed up, Al's right hand man, a tall skinny guy who reminds me of Mr. B's namesake (a childhood friend who died too soon) and he used his superior mechanical knowledge to get the Momvan started.  The crew at Tom's brought over fresh, hot food for my children.  Dave followed me back to the shop and handed me the keys for a loaner.  In the spirit of being behind the wheel of a Buick, I drove home five mph under the posted speed limit with hot food and not terribly late for book club because the laundry could wait until later.

Dave, who is kind and good and drives a tow truck
I'm thankful for perspective, for God's power to spin my attitude and thoughts in the right direction, especially when things don't go the way I plan.  I used to be that angry girl who'd stress out and scream and freak.  I'm blessed, really, to have become someone who can breathe, step back, keep calm and carry on.


  1. Oh, perspective is so key, especially right now when everyone's too busy and nerves are on edge. I'm glad you were able to get through a very trying day and hope the next days are better.

    I love your writing. "... tastes just like chicken" and "In the spirit of being behind the wheel of a Buick, I drove home five mph under the posted speed limit" - great stuff!

    Tom's Drive In sounds like a class act.

  2. Thank goodness you broke down there and not in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal.

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  4. Great spam, today --just poetry :-)

    Such a good thing the momvan knew the best place to break down :-) I suppose every once in a while life wants us to stop and realize how lucky we are.

  5. I'm loving the spam poetry, too. It's so deep.

    In those moments when I am already frustrated and one more thing happens, like, say, getting stuck behind a slow-moving Buick, I remind myself that I am there for a reason. Every moment of every day, I am right where I am supposed to be. I can't say I always look for the lesson but deep down I know I get it.

    We are blessed. And sometimes the blessing is a reminder of how blessed we are.

  6. I'm humbled by this post. Because I can promise you, there's no way I would have been so gracious if my car had broken down.

  7. Way to find the positive in the negative. Hope it isn't anything serious with the momvan. Now I could go for a Tom's pizza burger.

  8. Wow, a drive through lane is definitely one of the top worst places to break down. I'm so glad you had so many nice people to help you! And that you got to go to book club after all.

  9. Yep! It is all about perspective. I try and remind myself that on a daily (hourly) basis.
    Wonderful post! :)

  10. good story! our attitudes are so important in how we handle life! hope your van is ok...

  11. I have always been glad that I live in a country that school uniforms are the norm............and yeah how we handle things that pop up in our life makes a big difference sometimes getting all upset and bent out of shape makes no difference so why waste all that negative energy

  12. You've got the right attitude and isn't it wonderful to know that there is so much to be thankful for? It's nice to meet an equally minded soul.

  13. An excellent story of Counting Your Blessings! It helps to be reminded that it can always be worse. I'm like you ~ I usually feel very lucky, as there is no shortage of sad stories out there.

  14. It is hard to remember sometimes, but when you compare with what it COULD have been like...... it makes things seem much better!

  15. I'll have some of what you're having...not the fast food, but the perspective. The grace sliding into calm.....the realization that blessings happen even in the midst of car eff-ups. At my age, this should be a given (just turned 50) but I find my original personality traits are not softening as much as I'd hoped they'd be at this point. What's a girl to do? Prosseco kids moving out will be that hard won cherry on top.

  16. Way to keep thinking positive. I hate when car problems pop up!

  17. I just love you, right down to the way you gave details on the number of pickles on the burger. Story wonderfully told!

  18. It's really all about your perspective, isn't it?


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