It’s Never a Problem if You’re Ready For It

Good morning! I hope your day is starting off nicely.

Today I slept a little later than normal. That happens when you don’t use an alarm clock. I still woke up with plenty of time to get the day started. I just had to change things up a little. It’s like stepping in the shower and finding out you’re out of shampoo. You improvise. Body wash isn’t the ideal way to clean your hair, but it works in a pinch.

No, I didn’t run out of shampoo. I always keep a spare bottle on hand because I know how that works. You can feel that the bottle is getting a little lighter, but every time you pick it up, there’s still more. In fact, a lot more than you’d thought. Then one day you give the bottle a squeeze and it makes that disgusting bodily sound that never fails to get me in trouble at dinnertime. Or any other time. I’m just saying.

So, you reach for the spare and toss the old bottle aside. If you’re lucky, you remember to throw that one in the trash. Otherwise, you’ll find another reason I tend to get in trouble. Hey, it’s not my fault we don’t have a trash can next to the shower. And by the time I’ve opened the new bottle, the old one is a distant memory. There’s no eulogy or proper burial. Life just goes on.

It’s that way with a lot of things in life. Something unexpected happens, something that could disrupt your day (or longer), but you still have other things to do. You can’t just bring everything to a grinding halt because one thing didn’t go as planned. You pick up the pieces, adapt, and get back into action. If it’s an empty shampoo bottle, it’s no big deal. Other things may require a little more effort.

There will always be something that doesn’t go according to plan. That’s why most cars have a spare tire in the trunk. Not all – apparently some of the newer ones don’t have a spare. Not even one of those little donut tires that’s good for 50 miles on baby-smooth road if you keep your speed to a turtle’s pace. But at that moment, you’d take anything reasonably round that’ll bolt onto the axle.

Do you keep spare light bulbs around the house, or do you run to the hardware store every time you flip the switch and nothing happens? Do you keep food in the pantry that you probably won’t eat this week? Do you buy an extra bottle of vitamins before you run out? Have you ever bought ten pieces of poster-board to get ahead of kids who never mention that school project till the night before it’s due?

Okay, I may be alone in that last one. But my grandson was notorious for coming up at 8:00 in the evening and telling us he had an assignment due the next day and if we didn’t run to the store and buy him a piece of poster-board, he wouldn’t be able to complete his assignment and it would be all our fault. I always loved that little shift of blame. Seriously?

And sure, I could have told him tough luck – take a zero, because you knew this assignment was due a week ago and didn’t say anything until now. But you know, it’s more fun to just hand him a clean piece of poster-board and say, “Here – now it’s all on you. Get to work.” I won’t say he learned a thing from that, but it still made me feel pretty resourceful.

Sometimes, we have to anticipate the unexpected and do something about it before the need arises. Take vitamins before you get sick. Eat sensibly while your favorite pants still fit. Save money when you have a little more than you need (does that EVER happen?) Check the air in that spare tire every now and then. And the next time you go to the store for a bottle of shampoo, pick up two.

In the movie “Road House” Patrick Swayze responded to a question about drunken bar patrons by saying, “People who go out looking for trouble usually aren’t a problem for somebody who’s ready.” Some of life’s greatest challenges are little more than an inconvenience if they don’t catch you completely unprepared. You may not expect them at that very moment, but at least you’re ready.

This isn’t to say you should go through life waiting for the sky to fall in. Enjoy each moment and make the most of it. A spare tire won’t keep you from any particular destination. But if something happens along the way, it’s nice to know the trip isn’t over. The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared.” Think ahead and you may never have to look behind. A challenge is only a problem if you’re not ready for it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved

Perseverence (and Coffee) Can Make Everything Right

Good morning! It’s Hump Day! I hope your week is going well.

Every morning, as I make my rather large cup of coffee, I have to run it in two batches – the first is 12 ounces and the second is an additional 8 ounces. It’s simply because my coffee maker doesn’t have a mega-cup setting, and I’m not about to start my day without a mega-shot of caffeine. Those who work closest to me can fully appreciate that.

But after the initial 12-ounce run this morning, my coffee maker decided that was it for now. I waited patiently, and then not-so-patiently, and still it wouldn’t reset itself for an additional brew. I finally gave it the computer-style reboot (pulled the plug) and it decided to work, after I reset the time and all those other fun things. I hope this was just a fluke. I kinda depend on this thing to start my day.

It’s just part of my routine. We all have one. As I get dressed each day, my dog is waiting outside my bedroom door, just to be sure I’m not going back to bed. I go to the living room, sit in the recliner, and he props up across my left leg for a morning hug. Then it’s outside for him, and when he comes back, he gets his morning vitamin and eats his food while I make a mega-cup of coffee. Every day.

We do these things so automatically, we rarely even think about them. Unless the coffee maker decides to test my aging heart, in which case I have to improvise. Or panic. It could have gone either way. We improvise first, and if that doesn’t work, we panic. Can I get an amen?

When an animal does something without thinking about it, we call that “natural instinct.” Okay, I’m not sure dogs have a natural instinct to start dancing around at 7:30 every night because the human is supposed to give them a treat at 8:00. I’m not even sure it’s a habit. If you want my opinion, he’s spoiled. But I only have myself to blame for that.

And how did 8:00 become the official hour for a treat? Because the human (me) did it a few nights in a row at the end of a particular TV show. It’s funny how habits are formed. I didn’t intent do make that a nightly thing with him. It just worked out that way.

I think it’s a little amusing – it takes us about three weeks to form a new habit. If there’s something you’re desperately trying to change, do it consistently for 21 days and it’ll become a part of your life. But, since every years of a dog’s life equals seven years of a human life, that means it only takes a dog three days to form a habit. I walked right into that one.

So, what happens when I go to his favorite cabinet and the bag of treats is empty? He understands “all gone,”, but he doesn’t understand “Daddy forgot to buy some at the store last week.” It’s treat time, and there’d better be something in that magic cabinet. If not, then open the refrigerator. There’s cheese in there. He’s not stupid.

Sometimes we have to improvise. And that’s not always as easy as it sounds. It’s time to start cooking dinner and you realize the roast is still thawed. So, tonight we have grilled cheese. Problem solved. But when you get halfway to work and the car starts flashing that dreaded “check engine” light, you don’t have a lot of options. That’s when even the most devout atheist begins to pray.

As I stared at the coffee maker this morning, I began to wonder if I’d have to start my day with a half-cup of coffee, and how my wife would feel when she had to start her day without. We don’t have instant coffee in this house, so my only Plan B is to stop by the gas station on the way to work. And I’m sorry, but that’s just not a truly acceptable substitute.

Things will happen to mess up the best of plans. You’re on vacation and you hit a detour. The hotel you’d planned to stay in is full. You get a flat tire on the way, and finally arrive at Wally World only to find the park is closed. It happens to the best of us. But somehow, you find the resolve to keep going.

Anybody can breeze through an easy day and come out looking good. It’s how we handle those not-so-easy days that makes us who we are. Just take a step back, assess the situation, and re-focus on the goal. There’s always another way to get there. All you have to do is find it.

That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!

© 2019 Dave Glardon – All rights reserved