Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Sometimes, life is overwhelming. It's easy to get so caught up in all the things you have to do and all the deadlines you're asked to meet that you lose sight of one of life's most important truths:

Any day that you have a dry basement is a good day.

This time a week ago I was kind of an emotional wreck. I felt life had me boxed in. Trapped. Every second of every moment of every day planned out in advance with no time to enjoy life. By Tuesday night, I had told my husband that I felt ready to crack from the pressure of working full time, being a mother, being a swim mother, cooking, cleaning, maintaining an older vehicle, and dispatching the stink bugs and chipmunks trying so hard to invade my home. The kid had just shown me her right shoe, which was suddenly falling apart, and that one extra unplanned chore in an already busy week sent me over the edge.

I need a break. I can't keep this up. I'm burning the candle at both ends. 3-dimensionally. There are so many ends, and oh, they're all alight.

But God, or Fate, or Karma, or just plain dumb coincidence, has a sense of humor. And 24 hours later, I stood in a flooded finished basement, sopping towels at my (wet) feet, thinking about what an idiot I was that days before I was stressed out about just needing to run the sweeper down there.

Oh, what I wouldn't have given in that sopping-wet moment to be able to solve the problem with just 30 minutes and a Dyson.

It was pretty bad, but as is so often the case, could have been so much worse. We're out some of our saving-for-hardwood-floors money to pay for water restoration and the problem that necessitated the water restoration. And we still are not completely sure that we solved the problem, so simple tasks of daily living like running the dishwasher, getting a shower, and doing a load of laundry cause multiple trips to the basement to make sure we don't once again have a river running through it. Yet nothing of great monetary or sentimental value was lost. The carpet and drywall dried out quickly with the help of a couple of experts and do not have to be replaced. We can even be semi-happy about a couple of the side effects. The malfunctioning bi-fold doors that separate the laundry room from the finished room, which we have hated and fought with since the day we moved into the house, got just wet enough that we feel justified throwing them out and replacing them. And nothing compels you to scrub a concrete floor like a little standing water, so my laundry room floor now glistens and smells of artificially-scented lavender and chamomile.

Truth be told, this watery setback could have been a blessing in disguise. I realize now how ridiculously petty I was being getting so stressed out and worked up over the small tasks of life that everyone has to do. How self-important I was, feeling sorry for myself that I have a house to clean and a family to cook for and a kid who swims and outgrows shoes. It's a cliche to say this, but only a cliche because it's so very, very true--I should, instead, be over-the-top grateful that I have a house to clean, and a family to cook for, and a kid healthy enough to swim and outgrow shoes.

Because sometimes life hands you a pretty bad hand. And you wish your life could rewind to the day before, back to busy and normal.

While I am in no way glad this happened, I am glad for the relatively painless wake up call it gave me. I need to learn to recognize when my life is good and appreciate it. While I am busy whining and complaining and feeling a nervous breakdown is nigh because a headlight just went out on my car, there are others who, in that very moment, are losing their most treasured possessions to fire or natural disasters. Who are holding vigil at the hospital bedside of their beloved spouse. Who just got that call from their child's doctor, the call that changes the pattern of their lives forever. Who would give anything, anything, to have the most stressful thing they have to deal with that day be tracking down the correct auto part and a skilled person to install it.

So thanks, I guess, to God, or Fate, or Karma, or Coincidence, for not making your wake up call louder.

And please...don't try to contact me again for a while. My basement carpet would really appreciate it.

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