This Year’s Thanksgiving Post Brought To You By A Man Named Carlos

squirrels-with-pumpkin-pie(I feel like It’s worth mentioning that this photo downloaded to my computer with the title “Squirrels with pumpkin pie.” I’m sure SOME squirrels prefer pumpkin pie. Most, though, seeing as how squirrels are big fans of nuts, probably prefer what this pie actually is… pecan. I’m also not convinced these aren’t chipmunks. Oh, internet.)

Most days my husband comes home and says, “How was your day?”

This is usually a more difficult question to answer than one might think. Do I go with “Fine,” and leave it at that? During the course of a day, there are good things and bad things that happen. There are also a whole lot of neutral things that don’t justify a good or bad rating. They just are. So what’s the tipping point of good to bad that makes one day good, the next day not? No one ever has a 100% perfectly amazing day where not one thing goes wrong. No one has a 100% terrible day where EVERYTHING is wrong and there is no good.

Last night as I drifted off to sleep I thought about the day and how if someone were to say “hey, was this a good day or a bad day?” the answer could be either.

This is where perspective comes in. Yeah, yeah, the clichés about gratitude and half empty cups get overused. There’s a reason for that, though. There are some things that are inherently great- a new baby, winning the lottery, falling in love. There are others that are bad- death, cancer, heartbreak.

Yet even in those seemingly clear moments, the attitude of the person can change what’s good or bad into something very different.

I have seen people find the negative in the midst of total blessing, and I have seen others shine a light of hope and faith in the depths of sorrow.

Here’s how yesterday went:

It’s so cold! This is going to be a loooong winter if it’s this cold and it’s not even December yet.

I got a text from a friend cancelling lunch plans.

I went to the UPS store to mail off a box filled with Zoe’s old Barbie toys including her Barbie motorhome to the woman in Nebraska who bought it off of me from Ebay. She had paid $11 for the items. UPS told me it would cost me $160 to ship it. This was going to kill my perfect seller rating and I was going to have to deal with an irate customer.

All the stores I checked were already out of the extra Christmas lights I needed.

Parker was misbehaving so badly on the way home from school that I had to ground him from the computer for a day.

When I got home I almost stepped on dog poop because one of my neighbors let their dog poop on my lawn and didn’t clean it up.

My husband spilled an entire glass of water on Zoe’s homework and our brand new carpet.

Later Zoe spilled her ice tea all over the kitchen table.

She also disregarded our command to get off the counter and knocked sugar all over the newly refinished kitchen floor.

Parker commandeered the remote and we all had to suffer through “Adventure Time.”

During dinner we got a knock on our back door. One of the guys putting up our Christmas lights had discovered large amounts of natural gas shooting out of the side of the house from the meter area.

Our house was in danger of exploding with our entire family in it.

The fire dept showed up and the cutest one wasn’t there.

They turned off our gas which meant no stove, no heat, no hot water.

The guy from the gas company showed up with a van that had no equipment on it to repair the leak. He informed us that the guys weren’t answering his calls because they were in the middle of a contract vote, no one was happy. We were second on the list  for repairs, but if they voted to strike and the repairman with the parts couldn’t get to our house before midnight, we were out of luck.

Our house got colder and colder as I waited up for the second repairman. I couldn’t even take a bath because Nathan had used up all the hot water in his 20 minute shower.

It was almost midnight when they finally arrived to fix the problem.

It turns out the leak is from cracking because our house is settling- great. How many thousands of dollars is THAT going to cost?

I went out to greet them in bare feet and stepped on a slug.

What a rotten day!

perspective

Here’s how yesterday went:

I woke up in the morning to sunshine and frost of the rooftops. It was beautiful.

I went in to get Parker up and he snuggled up to me as I carried him downstairs.

After getting the kids off to school, I drank my coffee, took a warm bath and read my new Janet Evanovich book.

I got a text from my friend cancelling our lunch date, which meant I was to avoid the humiliation of having to wear a Washington State University t-shirt in public as a result of the Apple cup bet I lost last year when the Cougars upset the Washington Huskies.

I went to the UPS store where a very nice guy had to break the news to me that my package was going to be absurdly expensive to ship to my buyer. Thankfully, my quick refund of her money and heartfelt apology was graciously accepted.

I was able to locate 2 boxes of Christmas lights that weren’t exactly what I needed, but they were hidden in the back and they were the very last 2- how lucky is that?

I came home to find that the guys we were able to hire to put up our lights for us were already halfway done. They always do such a great job.

I got a message from my husband that a man named Bill was on his way to purchase the four-wheeler someone gave us for free 6 years ago- for $200! Now I have so much more space in my garage and an extra $200 dollars in my pocket. (Oh and they’re the new bills that look crazy. Since he got them out of the ATM, they were sequential. I’ve never had two sequential brand new hundred dollar bills before)

Thankfully Zoe noticed there was dog poop on the grass before I stepped in it, and I was able to clean it up before anyone else did.

I really love my new floors and carpet. And even though it was stressful having it done, they turned out so nice and the insurance company paid for everything!

Dinner turned out great, and I was fortunate to have just finished sautéing the green beans when one of the guys putting up the lights- Carlos- knocked on the door and let us know he had discovered a gas leak. We are so grateful that he was there and realized it. We are lucky our house is still in one piece and so are we!

The fire dept showed up so fast! They were able to turn off the gas so that we were no longer in danger. Fire fighters are so great- always there when you need them.

I called the gas company, and the fire dept had already alerted them and had a technician on the way to our house. What amazing customer service and rapid response time!

The technician was unable to fix the problem, but he got us on the repair list so we were second in line.

Thankfully the gas co employees approved their new contract and avoided the strike! What a relief for them and their families- especially this close to the holidays.

These guys showed up to repair our gas line  at nearly midnight- their dedication and willingness to come out and make the repairs so we would have heat and hot water saved us from a very cold night. It’s so great to know that they are willing to do whatever it takes. Hope their contract pays them well.

My husband said, “The leak happened due to settling under the house. The good news is at this rate eventually the driveway won’t seem so steep.”

I drifted off to sleep with a roof over my head and heat flowing through our vents.

What a great day!

My wish for all of us this Thanksgiving is that we are able to see the blessings for what they are and the trials for what we can learn from them. When we focus on the positive or the negative, we usually find exactly what we’re looking for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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