Then I got tested on it all.
It so happened that my husband went out of town on Wednesday, for several days. That evening the disposal got clogged. This is the sort of (icky) thing that falls in the realm of his job to deal with. But he wasn't here to fix it and I was bummed about that. (Why does stuff like this happen when he leaves?) I left it over night, woke up Friday and decided to try to fix it myself.
It worked! I thanked God.
Riding high on that success - as well as the fact that I already had dinner fixed in the crock-pot, the Olympics opening ceremony was that night, and we were forcasted for snow - I had a terrific day! One of those happy, efficient, exciting, successful days.
But just before dinner that evening, my washing machine stopped working. Mid-cycle. Full of sudsy water and wet clothes. And Rick wasn't here.
I was tired, hungry and really didn't want to face this. But I knew I couldn't leave it or I'd have a mildew mess.
I checked the breaker switch, it was fine. I pulled the wet clothes out into a laundry basket - water went everywhere. I searched the garage for a shop-vac and extension cord and began sucking up water. Every minute and a half I had to carry the heavy vac out into the cold air and dump the dirty water. My back started hurting after about the 3rd trip.
Then the shop vac started shooting water out the side - turns out I didn't have it clamped back together fully. It made a bigger mess than it was cleaning up.
At this point I sat down and wanted to scream. Or cry. Or quit. Or do all three. (Did I mentioned I was also PMSing?) I was extra frustrated because it had been such a good day up until now. I felt it unfair for this to ruin my good day - as if I would welcome this problem on a day that wasn't going well.
But I knew what I needed to do. I decided to give thanks to God instead of complain. I thanked Him that the broken machine was all I had to deal with. I thanked Him it was the washer and not my central heat that broke. I thanked Him that while this would be an unexpected expense, and Rick wasn't here to help me with it, Rick was gone because he has a job. And that job will pay for this repair.
I got up, called Best Buy where I had bought the washer 5 1/2 years ago - the washer with the 5 year warranty that had just run out - and scheduled a repair man. Then I finished cleaning up the water. Got a hand-truck from the garage and lugged my sopping wet, extra large load of clothes down 3 doors to a neighbor's house who let me use her machine to finish the load. And I sat down to a hot, tasty meal with my kids. Afterwards, we snuggled up under blankets on the couch and watched the Olympics.
It was a good day.All this back breaking work reminded me how great it is to have a washing machine with running water in my home. No trips to the laundry mat - or worse, to a nearby river to wash by hand. It reminded me that I can deal well with a lot more trouble than I tend to walk around thinking I can. And finally, it reminded me that gratitude is a choice. It's an action. A stance we take, regardless of our circumstances.
And I discovered once again that the beauty in taking that stance is our problems somehow become much more manageable.