You know the fabled “Chinese curse” that wishes “May you live in interesting times?”
Well, it’s been an … interesting week. One bad shock, one good shock, and another incredibly affirming shock.
The bad shock
A week or so ago, I found a blue card on my front door from the water works board, saying that they had re-read my water meter and found it accurate. This was odd. In the 20+ years we’ve lived in this house, they’ve never done this.
On Monday afternoon, the monthly water/sewer bill arrived. I opened it. I nearly had a heart attack.
My normal water usage is less than 4000 gallons per month in the summer. This bill was for ninety-seven thousand gallons. In one month.
And to make it worse, the bill is set up to be paid automatically.
After I started breathing again, I called the water board and had a hold put on the payment. There’s obviously a huge leak somewhere, although it’s not leaking in the house and we were totally unaware of it. The customer service rep told me to have a plumber find and fix the leak, then bring them the invoice for a bill adjustment. She warned that they would not remove all the charges, but a significant portion could be adjusted.
The good shock
By this time it was close to 5:00 pm. I called a plumber whom I had used several years ago, hoping that he was still in business and would answer the phone. The man I dealt with was no longer there, but the new owner listened, whistled, and promised to see me first thing in the morning.
He was as good as his word. He found the leak location in approximately 2.4 seconds. The line from the water meter to the house had cracked, and all that water was running underground, under the driveway, and into the creek behind the house. We had never noticed it.
The good shock? His estimate to dig up and replace that line was just over half of the crazy-ass water bill. His crew will be here on Tuesday.
The shocks of affirmation
As some of you know, my personal life has been … problematic over the last 18 months. I fell down a flight of stairs and suffered a traumatic brain injury which has taken a long time to recover from. Almost exactly one month after my fall, my husband suffered a stroke. Between the two of us, health issues took precedence, and I let a lot of my web consulting work slide.
In addition to that, about six weeks or so ago — I didn’t notice exactly when — GMail starting flagging a great deal of my client email as spam or trash, so that I was missing a lot of inquiries and didn’t even know it. I suspect a number of people just gave up trying to reach me.
This past week, though, two of my long-time clients persisted doggedly enough, through enough different channels, to get hold of me on the phone.
One of them wanted to ask me to help build a new WordPress theme for her site. She told me, “There is no one else I want to work with. I can be very persistent in getting what I need.”
The other is someone I have worked with for several years. He called basically to ask what was wrong — that not answering email just wasn’t like me, and was there anything he could do to help?
When I explained a bit about what had happened and added that I hadn’t felt it was proper to talk about it to clients, he said something that will stick with me for a long time: “Kate, we work with you because of who you are. When something this major affects you, we aren’t going to jump ship because you’ve hit a rough patch. You take care of us. Let us help take care of you.”
Good thing I had tissues handy. I totally needed them. (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Andy.)
The key to weathering shocks like this isn’t in stiff-upper-lipping my way through panic, or by metaphorically curling into a ball and hoping it all goes away. As one of my beloved teachers says: “Spirit. Mind. Action.” Figure out what can be done about the problem, call in your Tribe and your friends and allies, and take steps to fix it.
There is always a way.
Shooting stars — other stories that caught my eye this week
The University of Waterloo (Ontario) finds that drawing a list instead of writing words helps improve short-term recall. (I’m not so sure about that… was that a bunch of broccoli I drew on my grocery list, or was it a misshapen mushroom?)
An oldie, but just as useful as ever: If you’ve run out of ideas for your blog, look over Alexandra Franzen’s list for a spark of inspiration.
Looking for healthy meal ideas? Recipes are less useful than formulas, in my experience. Here are a week’s worth of fast and simple-ingredient meal combinations based on the Mediterranean diet.
And one more, because this has all my favorite flavors, and it’s what’s for dinner tonight: Mediterranean Chickpea and Feta Wraps
If you’ve ever wanted to wear the solar system, here’s your chance. A glow-in-the-dark dress with all nine (yes, nine, including Pluto) planets. Now if we only get Chiron and Eris added in there…
What’s up in the sky next week?
- Solstice (longest day in the Northern Hemisphere, shortest in the Southern) occurs on Tuesday/Wednesday June 20/21.
- New Moon in Cancer occurs Friday, June 23. This is a good time to start something new, in your business or your personal life.
- Saturn, Neptune, and Pluto are in retrograde motion. All other planets are direct.
A wonderful weekend to you, and may the stars shine brightly.