Wednesday, April 15, 2009

the art of being flexible

I'm not always the best person at changing The Plan midstream. It's ok, I'm fine with my own borderline OCD-ness. It is the difference between kid Delaney, who used to lose her homework every day, and adult Delaney, who loves filing things. If it takes a near-disorder to help me keep my life straight, that's the way I prefer it.

So I make lists. And schedules. And sometimes I relish in ignoring them (see: yardwork plans for last weekend). But mostly, I have expectations for what the day will bring, the week, the vacation, the renovation, etc. And when Things don't go according to that plan, sometimes it takes me some time to adjust. Sometimes it's as easy as saying, "Ok, no biggie, we'll do lunch next week," and going and picking up a sandwich. Sometimes I have to write everything down and look at the big picture and rearrange some post-its and say, "Alright, so we'll switch the night we're making soup so we can meet Emily and Neil at Trivia Night, but this will only work if you drive and we leave my car at Casey's." Sometimes it's a big change, something I wasn't prepared for, and it can take me months, even years, to get past the regret, that tiny pang that something isn't quite right, and it hurts a bit when I remember what that something is.

But tonight is just a little tipover. I was leaving work a bit late, heading home to start dinner (skillet chicken pot pie). Austin was at a meeting in Cool Springs (horrors!) and I was hoping to try to time everything right so dinner was ready when he got home. But as I was pulling out of the Emma parking lot, my car was making a horrible noise and dragging to the right. I pulled right over and inspected the damage: a very flat tire. I know this is no big deal. But truthfully, I don't know if I've ever had one. Definitely not since I've had this car (almost four years) and probably not since college.

I ran through my options, pleased that my first instinct was not panic. I tried to remember what kinds of roadside assistance we still subscribe to (at one point I think I was covered under three different plans). I considered how long it could be before Austin's undetermined meeting conclusion, and if he could be any help to me. I wondered for a moment where Dad was. And then I came to my senses, backed up, and parked the car in front of Emma. And waved down the next coworker to leave the building, and lucky for me it was Chris Wood. First he waved back at me cheerfully, then realized that I was beckoning and pulled his truck around. We proceeded to unpack the spare tire out of the back of my car (I repeat, this has never been done before) and try to figure out the jack. Some of the fellows from the contractor crew who are working on Emma's third floor stopped to offer advice. Then Chris Nelson, aka Carlos Contusion, came out to help as well.

We got that tire changed (I say "we," ha!) in no time, with no drama. And I just kept thinking, over and over, my coworkers are my family now. If we had ended up living in California instead of Tennessee, I would have been able to call the Pros from Dover any time I had car trouble. As it was, I always called my dad. But now I have this vast group of reliable, brilliant, kind and helpful folks that I'm surrounded by every day, and they've become my support system. In so many different ways. It's not like there aren't bad days at Emma. But there are just good people. As I do at some point every day, I thought, "How lucky am I?"

I figured driving home on a donut tire was unnecessary, so I hightailed it to the other family, my FIRST family, and hung out at Casey and Trent's house while Austin finished up his meeting and headed back from the evilburbs. We can just leave it at Carmax overnight. Now I'm rethinking the plan for tonight and the rest of the week. By the time we get home tonight it will be too late to start dinner. We can make chicken pot pie on Friday. Maybe tonight we can go to PM and have crab wontons and sushi bites. I can be flexible with my food scheduling.

1 comment:

Casey said...

Good one! Very interesting. Made me laugh how differently we operate during the day. I'm sometimes absurdly unaware of what's next until I get to it. Like someone will ask me what I have that afternoon or what I'm doing that night and I'm completely stumped. I have to actually look at my calendar to remember.

And glad your other family was there to help with the tire crisis!