Stay Calm and Get Cool

178738264-800x500My maiden name was “Little” and I do my best not to sound as though I am related to the chicken of storybook fame who has the same moniker. I’m also quite aware that all of my first world problems are minuscule compared to the troubles that people face in most parts of the world. Still there are times when life becomes a bit too hectic for my taste. Of late events are certainly trying my patience and tempting me to complain a bit about falling pieces of sky. I’m determined not to go there, but if I am certainly feeling a bit more stressed than is healthy.

I’ve managed of late to work my way through worry about one of my daughters who received a troubling diagnosis in her most recent annual physical. After multiple tests the original problem was downgraded to one that must be watched but doesn’t carry the dire predictions that her doctor originally thought were certain. I heaved a welcome sigh of relief upon getting such encouraging news and chided myself for surrendering to so many sleepless nights while the process was playing out. A physician for whom I worked many years ago once cautioned me not to brood over medical conditions until the final word has been set in stone. He noted that far too many people let their anxieties run wild, all for no reason. I have tried to follow his instructions but it isn’t always easy, especially when a loved one is involved. I’m thankful that the worst of the concern is now past.

Within days of hearing of my daughter’s difficulties my oven caught on fire. Had I not been in the room and also had a fire extinguisher at hand I suspect that my kitchen might have burned down and perhaps even my entire house. I had to feel grateful that I was able to minimize the damage, but purchasing a new oven was not exactly on my priority list. I tried to laugh at the accident, find a replacement and move on from the irritation. I must admit that I love the sleek new look of the one that I found and it bakes at a very even temperature. I’m sure that I will enjoy having a more up to date appliance, so I don’t want to dwell too long on the expense.

I’ve written of my do it yourself disaster on my lovely pave stone patio. What should have been a quick cleanup job has turned into a weeks long attempt to remove the gray haze from the bricks and restore the color that had turned to gray after we used the wrong product to fill in the crevices. With the concerned help of two friends who read my blog I managed to find some experts who have guided us in the correct ways of eliminating the blemishes. It is going to take many weeks and a great deal of patience but we are already seeing amazing results. I feel certain that we will one day be laughing at the whole episode and wondering why we ever even thought that we might have to live with a monstrosity of our own doing.

Just as I was beginning to relax and breathe again we noticed that the air conditioning unit for the upstairs of our home was blowing hot air. Since I live in one of the most hot and humid cities in all of the United States air conditioning is almost as necessary as air and water, even though there was a long ago time when I lived in a home that had nary a cooling system beyond the built in attic fan that circulated a continuous stream of hot air through the rooms all summer long. The days of living in such primitive conditions are long past for me. I don’t know how many days I would be able to endure before crying “uncle” if I had to return to open windows and fans. So of course we had to call the repairman and his news was as bad as it could be. We must replace the unit with a new one.

I suppose that I saw this situation coming. My system is after all seventeen years old. Central City Air has been keeping it on life support for several years now. For a number of three hundred dollar payments we have made it through the hot season again and again. I suspect that the old unit just couldn’t hold up any longer. It was a valiant and dependable help for more years than most. It’s now time to lay it to rest. The trouble is that the pain of bringing a new unit in could not have come at a worse time. I’m bleeding from the cost of repairs and it just doesn’t feel good. My dreams of doing things that are far more fun are fading away. My funds are instead providing dental work, surgeries, new dishwashers, dryers and such. Oh the joys of growing old in an old house!

I know that I should not even think of complaining. I realize that I am blessed. I am as spoiled as any American. We have a bad habit of whining about things that no doubt seem trivial to someone who lives in a house with a dirt floor and no plumbing or electricity, wondering where to find the next meal. My problems are nothing compared to theirs and yet here I am griping. Still, I know that if I allow myself a moment to vent I will ultimately be just fine. We certainly don’t have to be perfect all of the time and I am taking this opportunity to be briefly woeful before returning to my cheery optimistic self. I understand far too well what real troubles are and this isn’t it.

One shoe drops and then another. Things break and we decide whether to replace them or not. It is hardly the end of the world. My life is so good that I sometimes wonder why out of all of the people on this earth I have been so blessed. I certainly did nothing to deserve my good fortune. It just seemed to happen and I have benefitted greatly. I will get through this inconvenience just as I always have for all of my life.

Sixty years ago I woke up to find that my beloved father was dead. I truly believed at that moment that my family and I would not survive without him, but we did. About fifty years ago my mother endured a mental breakdown that was as frightening as anything that I have ever experienced. I wondered how I would be able to help her through her terrifying illness, and somehow over the next forty six years I managed to find her the care that she needed to lead a fairly normal life. A broken air conditioner is trivial in comparison to such things. I am a rock, a warrior, a mighty woman. With my husband by my side and my friends to offer advice and help I will conquer anything. I’m ready to stay calm and get cool.

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