Looking at When Push Comes to Shove

I had tried (but the pandemic interfered) to make Advent and then Christmas Day a less rushed season. Usually I have the majority of my shopping done by Halloween. I then concentrate on decorating, baking, and gift wrapping. This year was not going to cooperate. I had already tossed the expectations aside by Halloween. Still I was clinging to the notion that all would be done in an efficient and calm manner. I suppose it is silly of me to have thought that clinging to an anvil on a sinking ship would save me. So in no particular order I give you the “in the crosshairs” list of disaster:

⊕ The Christmas lights that worked last year wouldn’t light. I even went through them bulb by bulb making sure they were seated properly and all accounted for. No luck. I had to resort to the old lights that are short strands and tangled and blink uncontrollably which annoys the bejesus out of me. Sparky finally found the blinky light bulbs and replaced them, which pushed them over the edge. They died. We had to use the outdoor lights that are a big woven net designed to toss over shrubs. It is ugly. It worked but hanging the ornaments was a new kind of difficult.

⊕ I bought gifts online despite last years fiasco (the shoes that never arrived until after Valentine’s Day). I went so far as to have envelopes ready to stuff with some cash in case the gifts didn’t arrive. They did make it before Christmas but I had to wrap in a hurry. That meant stuffing them into gift bags – never mind that they were the leftover bags from a kid’s birthday party…

⊕ Speaking of gifts, I bought the wrong cable for a phone. What I got was a charging cable. What I needed was a data transfer cable. Who knew there was a difference. I had to take it back. It was a nightmare even with a receipt and an unopened package. Of course there were none of the right cables available. This resulted in a flurry of phone calls to locate the proper one which resulted in part of the above.

⊕ I decided to bake some cookies I’d never tried before that were featured in the Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Yeah. No. I suppose I could have sent them to neighbors with infants/toddlers as teething biscuits. Even dunking them is milk wasn’t enough. It was suggested that I could line a large compote bowl and add some pudding and refrigerate for a couple of days in hopes they would soften. I opted instead to toss some out for the crows and squirrels. They sat there for a week and finally after a rain and a little snow they disintegrated.

⊕ The above cookies were for the church cookie sale. I made different cookies. I burned the first sheet, then the second sheet, then I got the 3rd sheet to come out. By then I had run out of time to participate in the cookie sale. My sons came over for dinner and polished off the remaining cookies. I seriously thought my cookie mojo had fled 2020. Then saintvi came over for our annual cookie baking frenzy. She made pfefferkuchen and snowball cookies aka OMG cookies. Her cookies were delightful. I made gingerbread cookies (not as good as hers) and tried a Red Velvet cookie coated with Oreo crumbles. After the first batch I got the hang of it and they actually taste good!

⊕ I finally got a flier for my retirement gift (date of retirement 6-30-2019). I poured over the items and looked blankly at Sparky. Asked his opinion. Still couldn’t decide. I narrowed it down to the 2 pc. Samsonite luggage set, the Kenneth Cole leather messenger bag, or the Mammoth cruiser 20-qt cooler. I decided to go with the messenger bag. I had to order online (of course) and the messenger bag was no longer available. This caused some additional gnashing of teeth. I finally selected the Samsonite luggage – which was not available. Ended up getting the 3 pc Elite luggage. Amazingly it was ordered and arrived in 6 days. I am pleased!

⊕ I received 3 masks from the university. I really liked them. I had to repair the ear loop on one. Then I lost another. The last mask was my least favorite and don’t you know I misplaced it too. So I was down to just the one. As I was moaning about it I discovered a missing one in the pocket of a sweater. Still didn’t have the one I liked best. Then as I was walking in the parking lot at Goodwill I found one just like the one I lost. Well, not exactly, the one I found was muddy and one ear elastic was broken. Since I know how to replace the elastic I now have a full set again (after washing on hot and drying on hot too)!

⊕ I let Sparky use my sewing machine. He wanted to make his own design of mask. It is ridiculous. It has big padded triangles on each side of the nose, in a cross between a regular mask and a neck gaiter. That aside, he completely discombobulated my machine. He released the pressure for the feed dogs and tightened the thread tension to the point that the needle was bowed. I’m shocked that the needle didn’t snap off. He is now banned from touching my machine. I had to unwind thread from the bobbin assembly after cutting it out of the machine and extracting the loose bits with tweezers. I know this is a first world issue but it was still annoying as all get out!

⊕ My last disaster was my failed attempt to recover all my files from the crashed flash drive. Sparky and I with the help of several professionals spent days tried to recover data from the flash drive. Instead I worked like a dog to find any copy of my poetry. I managed to copy them to the cloud. All 13 years worth. I recovered a couple stories I’d written. But the poetry compilation that was supposed to be done for my Mother for a Christmas gift was gone, gone, gone.

⊕ I have red hair. I’m Irish. I lost my temper. It usually takes a lot to get me to my flash point. But when I get there, it is like tossing a lit match into a barrel of gasoline. I suppose it is okay in a way. There were no casualties and more importantly, no witnesses (other than God). I got it out of my system and like a good belch, I felt better immediately. Yet I have residual shame for my lack of self control for losing my cool over (ready for it?) defective toenail clippers. I attribute this to the train wreck of 2020.

Yet. When push comes to shove I am thankful. My litany of disappointments, tribulations, perturbations and little catastrophes is just that a list of trivial events. The big stuff is still wonderful. I have my Sparky who is devoted and loving (even if he is a danger to all sewing machines in this hemisphere). I have my sons and extended family who are safe and well and being prudent. The work I’m still doing is enough to keep me occupied but not so much as to interfere with my nap time. I have food, shelter and toilet paper. I’m hopeful for 2021. There is opportunity and possibility around the corner. All in all life is good. And when push comes to shove, I’m grabbing my rose colored glasses and enjoying what is, what I hope will be and giving thanks for what was.

46 thoughts on “Looking at When Push Comes to Shove

  1. I hear this year but have little hope for next year. I qualify as does hubby for the vaccine but no word when it will be available to us. Maybe by tomorrow I will have hope for next year. 🙂

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  2. This year has been difficult enough for me to have a LOT of talks with God about my view of life. I have had SO many more blessings than sorrows, to the point that I feel a bit guilty with all of the people who are dealing with the kind of hardships that I have had in former times. I tend to spend more time in prayer some days. I thank God for the good things! I pray for mercy and healing, too.

    Your story about how Sparky messed up your sewing machine reminded me of the debacle that taught me to adjust tension by using paper napkins as scrap (it works perfectly!).

    Your story about your masks was very much like my waiting for seasonal masks I’d ordered and got 10 days before Christmas (sheeesh!). I’m grateful for first world problems, most of the time.

    I like the analogy of a good belch and an angry vent, hehehe.

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    1. Oh Dodi it has been a dreadful year (and one I do not want to repeat) but next year is an opportunity for improvement in so many areas. All things will work themselves out and what hardships and heartbreak we experience will be taken care of in God’s time. I feel that I’m among the fortunate and blessed. I need to “pay it forward” so that is what I’m trying to do. I did adjust the tension and I know about the paper napkin trick – Sparky was having trouble and just started turning knobs and pushing buttons! It was a near disaster! I got masks for Christmas and then found a couple on the ground in various parking lots – a little washing on hot with a good detergent and drying in the dryer on high heat and I now have 3 new masks to add to the rotation! I’m glad you were amused by my little temper tantrum… Better out than in as Shrek would say.

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  3. Poor Val 🙂 you navigated from Charybdis to Scylla : the not coopering bulbs , the gifts, the phone cable, hard cooking of cookies, retreat gifts to choice, Sparky at the sewing machine , the titanic disaster of your poetries lost with computer etc…. And despite of all of this you keep your good mood and you succeed to make us smile with the help of the sweet Sparky and the children.
    Have a happy year 2011 with good bulbs, good gifts , good cookie making, a good sewing machine and finding again the poetries for your mother
    Love ❤
    Michel

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    1. Thank you Michel for all the well wishes for this next year. Already my cooking baking mojo has returned. And I’ve recovered the poems so I count that as a good thing. I’m elated that my posts have brought you some smiles! A Joyous New Year to you and yours!

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  4. I am Irish, too. I don’t anger easily, but when I might be capable of murder. I wish I could send Sparky my sewing machine. It is one of the things in the last year that almost drove me to homicide. He would be totally free to destroy it in any creative way he chose. I’d just celebrate. And Christmas.

    I just don’t do it any more. It’s still there; it still touches my life, but I keep my distance from it. I buy presents early and get rid of them the Monday after Thanksgiving. My favorite part is Christmas cards (making, selling, sending and receiving them). I’m palpably relieved on December 26. I think I “got over” Christmas in 2001 when, to distract Americans from 9/11, they started Christmas music in stores in September as if shopping would be the cure to that. And, like sheep, people “bought” it (ha ha). As for the “real” meaning of Christmas? I think that spirit needs to be part of every day of our lives and doesn’t have anything to do with poinsettias, trees, presents, etc. It’s not easy, though, and people probably need the reminder. ❤

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    1. Although you might cheer Sparky on in the destruction of your machine, I was less pleased when he tried to ruin mine. I didn’t realize you were Irish – I though the majority was Swiss. I’ve got a very long fuse which is good considering the red hair and Irish background puts me in the “dangerous” category! I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to murder anyone – just maim… I agree that the spirit of Christmas should be a part of everyday living. However, like the seasons, it is good to celebrate the changing times and a little ceremony and tradition helps. Some folks just don’t get Christmas and generally equate it with conspicuous consumerism, over the top generosity resulting in economic hardships come January, and those secular displays of elves and reindeer… We will always have some sheeple in our midst (sadly).

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  5. Great post, Muri, which tells us so much more than your recent trials. For instance, despite adversity you retain your delightful sense of humour. Still smiling about a good belch………
    I have no doubt 2021 will be another year that will not follow form. I also have no doubt that you will circumnavigate it with a sense of fun, one foot in front of the other, dragging Sparky and your loved ones along kicking and screaming with you. Cheers!

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    1. Many thanks for the generous compliments and comment! I’m glad you enjoy my levity as this year has been one that if we don’t laugh we’ll be crying. You have paid me back in kind – you are chuckling about the belch and I’m laughing at the image of me dragging my family into 2021! I wish for you that your New Year celebration is filled with fun and the new year arrives festooned in hope!

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  6. This year Christmas was different. Between covid and never being hard it was tough to get in the spirit. I rely more and more on online shopping. So far the only things that have gotten lost is printer ink and flame resistant clothing for Wrangler.

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    1. Yes, this year was quite the odd one. I hope this new year is easier that the last… You can’t live without printer ink!! And the fire retardant clothing is important too – we want Wrangler to be safe! Hope it comes before you have to get back on the road…

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      1. Thanks. Printer ink came in three weeks later after making a fiesty phone call. FR clothing still waiting 15 days after delivery. If it is not here tomorrow the company we bought for will ship another next day air at their expense.

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        1. Hehe! I’m of an age that if I were to be at all feisty I’d be called a Karen, heck I get called a Karen anyway and I’m nice! Give the company that is slacking on the FR clothing “what for” and keep Wrangler safe – those hazardous loads are nothing to sneeze at.

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    1. Hehe! The Irish temper is usually in check – you really have to worry more about the Irish sense of humor…. I was really thinking I wasn’t going to get any retirement gift other than the one the department gave me. So that was a pleasant surprise!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words – I figure we have to laugh or we might just drown in tears… I’m so pleased that you got a giggle (though I can’t quite visualize you giggling – maybe it was a chortle?)

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  7. In writing about my September camping trip, I realized that part of what went wrong, other than every little thing that could, was that my Covid attitude magnified them. Starting from a position of resignation, the little irritations just piled up until I wanted to have an excuse to blow my top. Unfortunately, I still haven’t learned to curse creatively (something you pointed out as a worthwhile field of endeavor) and so, my exasperation continues unabated. I have noticed that baking, or cooking of any kind, is not a good activity for the tightly wound, especially if it involves knives. I’m still feeling some sympathy for your crows and squirrels – what a cruel prank!

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    1. I’m glad that you are inspired to curse creatively – G.B.E.B. (pronounced geebeeEEbee) stands a one of my grandmother’s favorites. It is short for Great Balls of Elephant Dung. This is usually used as an exclamation. Of course my favorite (borrowed from Sparky’s best friend’s mother and reportedly the WORST curse you can use) is Ding Dang Donuts! We take our expletives seriously in this family… The cookies were not meant as a prank. I just figured that the squirrels who regularly gnaw through black walnuts could handle the cookies. The crows around here have been known to peck at the same walnuts so I didn’t think it would be a problem for them. They were not enticed to even attempt the hockey puck cookies (they were not burnt nor were they black – just petrified).

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  8. Good Lord, what a year you had! What a year many people had!! My own 2020 was a bit benign-I did something novel; I stayed home for the longest period of time since Winter, 2013. Sparky’s turn at the bobbin was about as successful as mine would have been-you’ve been forewarned! I am sorry to hear of your loss of poetry. Your verses show the skill of a Past Master. Once again, may 2021 be of a lighter energy than this departing Year of the Collective Job (the Biblical kind, not the labor kind).

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    1. Yes it was a year that will go down in infamy. I weathered it well enough. Sparky is banned from touching my sewing machine and when you visit I’ll be sure to steer you away from it at all costs! I appreciate the compliment re my poetry… As for this coming year, it is the Year of the Ox so hope that brings some stability to the world….

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  9. I am so sorry it was not what you expected or needed. I’m especially sorry about the lost files. I actually don’t think this year for us as a family was any worse than many previous years. As a country..yes. Hugs and prayers.

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth but I’m pretty sure that my problems paled in comparison to most other people. I’m hoping (and praying) that this next year will be better in every way.

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    1. Thanks Ann! I want to think the best of people and generally they will live up to (or down to) my expectations. I keep my expectations high and am not often disappointed.

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