This is a Test. This is Only a Test.

I’m starting to suspect I’m being tested on how to handle crises better. My hubby’s job has been requiring a lot more travel over the past few months. And lately, every time he goes out of town, something bad happens.

In January...

The day after he left for Europe, I heard a weird thumping sound as I drove my son through the neighborhood to his bus stop.

“Do you hear something?” I asked my normally observant son.
“It’s just the snow, Mom.” He responded confidently.

Why I take a 14-year-old’s word for stuff always amazes me, but I do. I thumped my way back home, aware the sound had grown even louder, and discovered I’d been driving on the rim of my flat-as-a-prairie tire. Blast it! Car stuff is SO not my area.

I called AAA crying, certain I’d destroyed my rims. As I waited for a tow truck, I gave myself a mental face slap and focused on the positives: at least I could wait in my warm house; and I had the insurance to cover AAA, as well as a new tire. When Mr. Tow Truck finished up, he thanked me for my positive attitude. I was feelin’ pretty cool.

Then, along came February...

This time, the day after hubby left my computer was struck by a virus—actually three viruses in 10 days. (For that whole story, click here.) Once again I cried in frustration. But ultimately battled the viruses and won thanks to the computer repair shop owner’s tips and advice. it's March...

Hubby left yesterday. Mhmm. Worst one yet, people.

I haven’t had a job interview since, oh…1993, I think. Well, I had one today. I was nervous, and spent hours preparing. I saw the kids off to school, and planned to hop in the shower immediately to meet my tight time schedule. Turned on the shower. Ice cold. Not getting hot.

Oh man, maybe that pilot light thingy is out, I thought. In a panic, I called my good friend.

“Can I come over and use your shower right now? I’ve got no hot water!”

She didn’t even hesitate. “Sure!” (Is she awesome or what?!)

I grabbed my towel and supplies, racing over in my pajamas. I showered quickly and was just leaving, when my friend said, “Do you know what’s wrong with the hot water?”
“No. I figured it’s the pilot light thingy.”
“That happened to us once, and it wasn’t the pilot light. The hot water heater actually broke and was leaking all over the basement.”

Uh-oh. Could the situation be even worse than I'd imagined?

I hustled home, raced to the basement and sure enough, water all over the floor--the heater spewing it out like a fountain.

Great. Just great.

Just once, why couldn’t the crisis be something like, “Oh no! Ashleigh’s entire soccer team needs their hair French braided this morning!” Or, “Uh-oh, we need two dozen brownies baked, by 10:00 a.m.!” Something I know how to handle. But no.

I called my plumber (Louie da Plumber--seriously!) and got his voicemail, “Louie, it’s Holly, and--” at this point I burst into tears, leaving a garbled message which even I could barely understand. I didn’t even remember to leave my phone number. He called me back seconds later. Through my sobbing and sniffling, he talked me through shutting off the water.

Even though he had a late morning appointment, just like me, he dropped his youngest daughter off at school and came directly to my house, arriving on his white horse—er truck. He followed me to the basement, making jokes the entire time, until my tears were dry and I was able to laugh again.

Thankfully, Louie was able to correct the problem. He even ran to the store, purchased a part, made it back, fixed it and finished without either of us missing our appointments. I told him I thought he was an angel, and he just laughed and rode away in his white truck.

Louie da Plumber ROCKS!

As I drove to my interview, I reflected on the fact that despite all these negative things that have been happening, I’ve had many moments of thankfulness come out of them. This time I’m grateful I had a close-enough, sweet-enough friend that I could use her shower on mere seconds notice. I’m grateful to have such an awesome, wonderful, caring plumber as Louie da Plumber. With everything that’s happened, God has really supplied what I’ve needed as I’ve needed it. And that ROCKS too!

I don’t know what next month will hold, but I’m really hoping the crisis is something along the lines of, “Oh dear, does anybody know a writer? We need one, stat!”

Image by: Anosmia

"But I Have Plans!" She Wailed

Guess what I did yesterday. Sat on my butt the entire day. Reading.

As much as I love reading, and sitting on my butt, I did not do this by choice.

I’m pretty sure the majority of moms out there can relate to what I’m about to say. (Except the really cool, balanced ones--and if you’re out there, please contact me immediately, I want all your secrets!)

Most moms aren’t very good at just sitting and doing nothing. Most of the time we’re multi-tasking. We’re folding laundry while we talk on the phone. We’re cooking dinner while quizzing our kid for an upcoming test. We’re sitting in the same room with everybody but we’re going through the mail, paying bills, filling out permission slips, signing school progress reports. Moms in general don’t get the whole, put-your-feet-up-and-take-a-break deal.

And for me personally, since I began freelance writing more steadily, I’ve gotten worse. I sort of realized I was becoming a bit of a work-a-holic, but shoved the thought into a dark corner of my mind where I felt it belonged. I didn’t want to sacrifice family time, friend time, or workout time, but without doing it intentionally, I instead sacrificed me time.

Whenever I pray for God to give me guidance about stuff, I typically add the caveat “…and God, puh-leeeze bonk me over the head with whatever you’re trying to tell me. You know how bad I am with the whole ‘still-quiet-voice’ thing.”

Well, a while back I was barreling along at top speed, when I developed a foot problem. Even though I knew it would help immensely if I stayed off my feet a bit more to let it heal completely, did I do it? No.

Then, I damaged my biceps muscle shoveling landscape rocks this past summer. Did I stop lifting things, allow others to help me, and just let it heal. Nope. Ended up overdoing it and having months of physical therapy instead. Like the Energizer Bunny I keep going and going. Pushing my body to keep up with my plans.

This reminds me of that scene in the movie Evan Almighty, where Evan is saying to God "…you have to understand this building an ark thing really isn't part of my plans here...” And Morgan Freeman, playing God, just bursts out laughing. “You have PLANS!! Baaahh, ha, ha, ha, ha!!!”

Well, since I obviously hadn’t gotten the message the first two times, this past weekend, I got bonked. But good.

I have absolutely no idea how it happened, but all of a sudden my right knee is giving me incredibly sharp, shooting pain whenever I try to bend/unbend it too far. My hubby, who has had three knee surgeries, wrapped it up like a burrito and had me sit with it elevated on an elaborate array of pillows yesterday. All day. From the time I got up, until the time I went to bed. I sat.

I read one of the Twilight series books I’ve been dying to read. Every so often I’d feel twinges of guilt, thinking I really should do a bit of work on the writing projects I have due this week. Or I’d pause to moan about what an inconvenient time this has occurred. (Like there’s a convenient time to damage your knee.)

Then I’d sigh, settle myself more comfortably against the pillows, squelch those feelings, and read some more. It’s not like there was anything I could do about it anyway. Unless God sent a miracle healing my way.

But maybe that’s exactly what He did. He probably said to Himself, “Okay, this chick really isn’t getting it. She wasn’t kidding about needing to be bonked over the head.” Boom. A forced R & R day. And you know what? It was so relaxing. I’m pretty sure the last time I spent that much time sitting on my butt reading a book was when I was in middle school.

So this morning, my knee is still wrapped, and I’m scheduled to see the orthopaedic knee surgeon on Thursday. Even though this would be an incredibly inconvenient time to have knee surgery. (Like there’s a convenient time to have knee surgery.)

But after my day of rest, I’m actually feeling creatively recharged. I’m ready to work. So people (especially you multi-tasking moms out there), I’m telling you now: take breaks. We’re supposed to. Don’t wait to get bonked over the…knee.

Image by: TomSaint11