MY CALENDAR WAS CLEAR on Tuesday. So was my wife’s.
No grandkids to watch that day. So, I could write all day long. My wife could study for a nursing certification class that started on Wednesday.
Yeah, well none of that happened.
Tuesday started to fall apart on Sunday. We had planned a family pizza party on Monday, to celebrate my wife’s birthday. The three-year-old grandkids would help their grandmother bake a birthday cake.
But at least three of the four grandkids got sick. I can’t remember for sure how many because my head is still spinning.
Neither sick-kid household wanted to contaminate the other…or get contaminated by the other.
So, my wife and I planned two parties. By “my wife and I,” I mean my wife.
Runny nose grandson helped his grandmother bake a confetti cake. He poured in the ingredients. He helped run the mixer. When he turned it off, the mix looked beautiful. It was smooth and colorful, ready for the oven. He sneezed directly into the middle of the cake.
Is it true that 350 degrees F will bake those germs to death?
I wasn’t sure, so I ate a piece of cake from the corner.
That evening I needed to run an errand. When I got into our 2010 Toyota Prius, it acted like a toy car. I sat there, pushed the button, and nothing happened. I thought the key fob died. That would have been cheaper.
I have a battery jumper kit so I jumped the 12-volt battery. That was the problem. I would need to take the car to the shop on Tuesday, the date that was clear on my calendar.
I called the dealership at 7 a.m. on my clear day. They got me in at 8:30. I brought a notice we got from Toyota for a software update. No one told me it would take two hours to update the little car.
So, I sat and tried to use my phone to paraphrase some of the Gospel of John for the Casual English Bible. That didn’t turn out so well.
Got home late to the morning party with our sick-kid family number two. I took pictures of the granddaughters in my homemade studio. It’s something I had been wanting to do, because I get better pictures that way.
While I was just starting to show their mom the results, the other sick-kid mom called. She was stuck at Target with a dead alternator in her car. She has roadside assistance, but while waiting for a tow truck she needed someone to relieve her hubby who was home watching the sick and sleeping baby. Dad needed to go to work.
Well, doggone, I left the party. So, I don’t know anything about the quality of the cupcakes I would eat later or the temperature at which they were baked.
I sat in the home of my sick and sleeping baby grandson. A border collie hounded me to throw a toy bowling pin so she could retrieve it. Over and over. She would make me do that until Jesus came, if the two of us could live that long.
I tried to use my phone to paraphrase some of the Gospel of John for the Casual English Bible. That didn’t turn out so well, either. And I got dog hair on my shirt.
By the time I left to go home, the second party was over and the sick-kid family was gone.
It was possible that the gent fixing the alternator wouldn’t be done in time for mom to pick up her other border collie from the vet and her now-recovering son from daycare. She would probably need help around suppertime.
That’s what happened. The guy took five hours to fix it. And in the process he unhooked a radiator hose, allowing air to get into the system. We had to deal with that the next day in my driveway.
There’s more I’m skipping because I’m starting to blur and I figure you’re wondering what’s the point.
Halfway home I sat at a stoplight and thought, “Well, this is one dead day.”
Within almost an instant, I had a second thought. “The dickens it is.”
I didn’t know what that meant. I just knew it came to mind, so I figured I needed to think about it.
Here’s where I landed: This is exactly the kind of day we’re built for.
My wife put it another way: “Now we know why we had a clear day.”
We didn’t get to do some of what we planned. But we did all the important stuff.
- My wife got her second birthday party.
- Our car has a new battery.
- The dealership made a wonderful profit.
- One household of sick kids has a new alternator.
- The auto parts store and the driveway mechanic made a wonderful profit.
One granddaughter also got four deflated rubber balls reinflated after I got home in the afternoon. I was supposed to do that at the party, but the mom forgot the balls and had to go home to get them during the party. By the time she returned, I was gone to sick baby grandson’s house. Grandma delivered the aired-up balls in the early evening, before the snowstorm hit.
As I thought about the day, I remembered one of the warmest moments. (And in spite of all that happened, there were many, I eventually realized.)
I was walking out the door of the home where my sick baby grandson was still sleeping and trying to recover. The wood door and storm door were both open and I was half in and half out.
From behind me I heard my daughter say, “I love you. I appreciate you.”
I said, “I know. I love and appreciate you, too.”
How could a day like that be a dead day?
As for today, I’m scheduled to write this afternoon and all day on Friday. If I’m not writing, I’ll think I should have been.
Until I’m nudged to think of something else.
As it turns out, it’s harder to control our life if we love people. We plan a direct route on the autobahn, with no speed limit. And we end up pushing a baby buggy in a dog park.
The autobahn has its place. But there’s something to be said for the scenic route and for the love that takes us there.
Such a beautiful and funny story, Steve!
I’m glad you can already laugh at your misfortunes. It usually takes me at least a week.
I hope it’s okay that, even though there’s not one biblical reference in it, this might well be one of my favorite of your blog posts. God bless.
Stephen M. Miller
Thanks, Steve. I don’t know why it is that some of the stories I most hesitate to tell are often the ones
Thank you for this!