On Starts and Stops, Freezes and Flushes

Fireside thoughts on a chilly night…

Dan talked about the futility of making resolutions at his last yoga class before New Year’s Eve; “How many good things have come from when you have lost something?” he asked the class. “You lose your car keys, your wallet, you lose a loved one…it never feels very good, does it? We always resolve to lose something at the New Year; what about gaining something instead- gaining fitness, gaining love, gaining prosperity?”

Yoga Dan…

I know he’s my husband and I’m a tad prejudiced, but I have to admit that sometimes I hero worship him a bit when he comes up with stuff like this that makes a lightbulb turn on in my brain. All these years my resolutions have been about losing something…weight, bad habits, weight, bad feelings, weight…That didn’t always go so well. What if this year I shift my mindset? What if I focus on gaining good health, instead of beating myself up for the weight I’ve put on (that I swore I’d never gain back) after an emotionally tough year that included a hysterectomy, surgeries for my husband, stressful world events, and the loss of people and animals that I loved? What if I gain good habits instead of setting myself up for the failure of just trying to lose them? What if I truly focus on the good that could happen?

Dan and Shiva having a moment…

I began the New Year determined to get back to a healthier lifestyle after cruising through the holidays like Starvin’ Marvin on crack. I was all prepared to go low carb- if I saw one more cookie or Hershey’s Kiss wrapped in shiny Christmas wrappers I would scream (or my jeans would scream, that is). I shopped carefully and stocked the cabinets and fridge with healthy foods; I made a crockpot of cabbage soup and bought turkey bacon and lots of eggs. I vowed to continue my daily yoga (today was day 73!) to manage stress and help keep my back healthy, and to begin adding in more cardio. I was ready!

And then the cold weather came. Really cold weather by Alabama standards, with lots of wind that knocked down large tree limbs and took the wind chills down to single digits and sometimes zero degrees. Weather too cold to take Sophie on long walks in the ‘hood and that just made us want to hole up in the house by the fire. That wasn’t the problem, though, as I used the time to get lots of work done to prepare for school starting. The problem was an exposed pipe between the house and guesthouse…the pipe that we forgot to plug in the warming tape for….the pipe that burst in two places, even though we’d set the water to drip in the sink up in the guesthouse. Yep, the Gaineys were once again without running water in the house.

Brrr! Sophie is over the cold weather, too.

This wasn’t our first rodeo; over the Christmas holidays the plumber was at our house so much that he became like a member of the family. Bless his heart, though, he reminded me of the carpenters from Green Acres, the ones that took forever to finish projects and never quite got things right. We had him on speed dial- not something you really want to have to do, but living in a hundred year-old house keeps you open to such things. We called him back when we saw the water gushing down the hill outside of my bathroom window…at least he already knew the plumbing lay of the land.

This meant going back to the YMCA for showers on frigid mornings in this week that I officially started back to work in my new role of Associate Chair, no laundry, no clean dishes, no flushing…and no cooking. The first day I did pretty well food-wise as we ate out. The second day….well, the second day turned out to be a comedy of errors. I felt like I was swimming upstream trying to gather everything I needed for getting ready at the Y and getting out the door and to the office.

I’m an early bird, but by the time I’d taken care of animals and tried to answer some of the work emails that were already piling up, I was running late. The healthy omelet that I’d planned to get at a diner on the way to work turned into racing to pick up jugs of water and egg and cheese biscuits for Dan and I after the Y so that I could race to the office. Lunch was no better as Dan picked me up to race to Lowe’s to buy plumbing fixtures for Vernon the plumber to install for the other job he was still trying to finish. More drive-through fare, eating food that just didn’t feel good to eat.

I worked until well after five, almost afraid to hear the news from Dan about his day working with Vernon, especially after I got his text when I’d written to let him know I was running late:

When I came in the back door, there was no Sophie to greet me, the Shop-Vac was out, and there was a large square hole cut out of the wall in the hallway with the pipes from Dan’s tub showing through. I heard voices downstairs, so I headed down with fingers crossed to find Dan sitting in the sunroom by the fire with Vernon and another plumber who’d been called in for reinforcements. For you Green Acres fans, let’s call him ‘Ralph’. They were talking and laughing- and settling up the $1600 bill for the day. Dear God. I am in the wrong profession…

As they finished up, I gleefully started a load of laundry, cleaned Dan’s coffee pot, and fed Sophie. We had water! Unfortunately, by that point, Dan and I were just over the day. Carbs be damned, we popped pot pies in the oven to hit the easy button and headed to the sunporch with a Sazerac to talk and laugh at the absurdity of all the plumbing issues and craziness, reminding ourselves that even if the day had its challenges, we still had each other, a warm and cozy home, and food to eat- even if it was the ‘wrong’ food. A lot of folks don’t have that.

And, hey, tomorrow is another day. Life happens, and one of my New Year’s resolutions is to gain the ability (see what I did there?) to not be so rigid when surprises pop up. I’ll hop back on my better eating plan in the morning- and I’ll shower in my own shower. And the sound of a flushing toilet has never been so beautiful.

7 thoughts on “On Starts and Stops, Freezes and Flushes

  1. I absolutely love Dan’s philosophy, about “gaining, rather than loosing”, to start
    the New Year. It makes so much sense, when you think about it, in that way!
    With all of the Gainey adventures, you are certainly “gaining” mental fortitude,
    to say the least!
    Your sense of humor inspires me, to do better, when life has it’s way with me…… 💕

    1. Catherine, I really appreciate that. My mom always said that her sense of humor got her through life, and I’ll always do my best to follow in her footsteps. That being said, I’m sure hoping things will calm down a bit. 😊❤️

  2. How apropos to focus on gaining in the new year! I’m sorry you have had a rough start to the year. It sounds like things are on the upswing. My wellness coach reminds me of the 80/20 rule: 80% doing the right things and then 20% allowing wiggle room so you don’t have to beat yourself up over a pot pie or a chocolate kiss….

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