Saturday, July 16, 2011

It's All About The Attitude

Just returned from the most fantastic trip of my life.  Almost 3 weeks of amazing sights in Europe.  Meeting terrific people, making new friends and rekindling old ones, namely my sister in law Mary.  She lives in Frankfort, KY and has a fantastic blog:  http:\\

Mary usually goes along with my crazy ideas & agreed to join me in the South of France for the French General Chateau Getaway.  We decided to take advantage and do a week in Italy beforehand and about 4 days in Paris afterwards.

More to come on the trip, but here's the meat of my post today.  After arriving back in the states on Thursday, to Mary's house to rest before driving me and all my luggage back to NC, I had what I'd call a"Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Very Bad Day".

The next dreary morning, after loading my tiny but lovely Boxster with all the treasures from Europe (We had to remove everything from the suitcases and leave those behind), I kissed my inlaws goodbye and headed out.

The drizzle became heavy rain and I was on the highway exactly 10 minutes when my temperature gauge freaked.  It was running very hot.  I pulled over and called the best mechanic in the entire husband, Doug.  He makes MacGyver look like a chump.

He gave me clear instructions: await  my brother in law with water in hand to fill the empty reservoir.  By the time heros John & Mary showed up, it was really pouring.  We had to wait until we could actually see the reservoir, but after about 30 minutes, I was off again.

Twenty minutes into my second take off, it was back on the side of the road for me.  Still overheating. Time to call AAA.  Unfortunately, I had no idea where I was, and could see no markers anywhere near, so 90 minutes later, the wrecker was still trying to find me in the crazy down pour.  Eventually I did make it back to Mary's.  Me and Bella Boxster weren't going anywhere and Doug was on his way from NC with our trailer.

So what did I do when I walked through Mary's door, cold, soaking wet and still exhausted from our 10 hour flight the day before?  In my strange sense of humor, I busted through the door and yelled, "Luuuuuccccccyyyy....I'm hoooooome!"  Mary and I had had a good chuckle over it.  My whole family was nervous and worried.  Me?  Who was actually having to live through the glitch?  I was cleaning out my purse and texting my daughter in the downpour waiting on the tow.

You see, Mary and I had several good conversations over the past three weeks.  With each other and with our new acquaintances we met on our trip... about attitude.  How it makes or breaks your day, week or even year.  You can have a fantastic day or a terrible day, it's all in how it's perceived by the most absolute decider in this universe: YOUR attititude.

Doug drove straight through without sleep to be there by 8AM on Friday.  He wanted to turn around and head right back.  All in an effort to get me home with enough time to rest, recover from jetlag and hit the ground running for work on Tuesday.

Now the laughter starts.  The car barely fit on the trailer.  Doug had to climb out the window to get free.  Then get something to reach the window up button so that we could close the window, we didn't want rain to get in.  John got a hanger...perfect.  But wait! The key would then remain in the "on" position, which would drain the battery, eliminating the ability for us to get back into the car to get it off the trailer when we got home!

Armed with a yard stick and salad tongs they finally manuevered the key off and just as we were about to yank out the key.."WAIT!"  John yelled,"How will you ever get it back in to the ignition?"  Bless you John for thinking ahead!

Off we finally went, going the long way home because there were wrecks and delays the shorter way. 

About three hours into our trip, we heard this bumping sound.  Flat tire on the trailer.  No problem.  Put on the spare.  Easy enough.  Doug commented that the spare appeared to be a bit dry-rotted. Those would be ominous words. He had the tire changed in under half an hour.  Back on the road again. 

Just as we came across the NC border and dusk was setting we heard another big bump!  What?!!!  This could NOT be happening agan!  But it was.  Spare fell apart.  Now the situation struck us:  No more spares, no exits nearby and it was going to be dark soon.  We quickly analyzed the situation, I would call AAA, Doug would get the trailer lifted on the jack to have it ready. 

News Flash: AAA doesn't cover trailers and the three numbers they gave me were either out of service or didn't carry tires.  I checked our GPS for a Walmart, and we found one about 10 minutes away.  Ok, sounds simple: disconnect the trailer, take the truck and get a new tire.  Now the negotiations began.  Doug insisted I go, I insisted he go because I just knew Walmart wouldn't have the right size, width, hole, whatever and then we'd be right back to square one.  He would know what to do and I wouldn't. 

He got sassy.  I got sassy back.  He demanded we both go.  Leave my Porsche on the side of the road?  No way, no how.  He tried cajoling, intimidations & scare tactics (don't I know anyone could happen by??....), but in the end a Hillbilly is just no match for a determined Portuguese Pigmy (as he so often calls me).  Time was awasting. 

See, it wasn't just that I really like my car, but it had all my beautiful European treasures in it!  Hats and ribbons dug out of a 100 year old hat factory, my new Prada bag...Oh no, I couldn't leave it behind.  I'd sat in it during a terrible thunderstorm for more than 2 hours the day before and I'd be damned if I'd leave her now.

Faced with my refusal to be bullied, he stormed off in the truck.  I know he was worried about me, but I felt completely confident that I would be fine.  Naive?  Maybe so.  I had a blanket, my cellphone, some french candy, my camera and my kindle.  I could last a couple of hours for sure!

Not certain how long it was, it felt like no time at all, he was back.  Tire?  Didn't have the right size...I KNEW IT!!!  Doug had to rig some other kind of tire that was a different size and not for trailers but he'd make it work.  On the road again, just about 5 minutes later, we pulled into a closed weigh station to check the tires and double check the lug nuts.  The new tire was burning hot.  Not a good sign.

Doug had been awake at this point for almost 35 hours.  It was time to call it quits for the night.  Even though we were only 2 hours from home, it would be dangerous to continue.  We agreed to find a hotel, get showers and rest.  We would get up in the morning and reconsider our situation in the light of day after some sleep.

So we did.  We were refreshed, rested and reasoning better the next morning after breakfast and coffee.  When Doug checked the back trailer tire, he discovered it was 20 pounds too low.  What a difference air makes! ;) LOL.  A few hours later we were pulling down our driveway calling an end to our exciting adventure.

The moral of this long story which struck me afterwards was that never during the 12 hours of our "spirited" trip did we lose our perspective.  We didn't blame anyone, we didn't curse each other, the day, my decision to drive the Boxster in the first place, or God, or even think, "Why is this happening to us?", as so many others would. 

We told ourselves we would laugh about this afterwards and it would be something we'd look on fondly.  Doug commented that using the tire irons were giving him exercise and I commented that AAA hasn't made any money on us this year.

That's when it really hit me.  It's why he and I usually relate to one another so well.  We don't panic or get overly excited when things happen.  We usually have ever present optimism.  I'm not saying that we haven't faced hardships, or grief.  I'm saying that if we keep our perspective and know down deep that there will be sunny days ahead, it makes the dreary ones seem less dark and serious.  We are confident that failure is never an option and we'll forge ahead.

So how did I look at the situation?  I was on my way home with my honey and best friend, from a lovely 3 week trip abroad, with my cute Porsche undamaged, we were safe, physically unharmed and had a fun story to add to our memories.  It could always be so much worse.  Wow, it really is all about the attitude!

Do you believe it?  Would you be doing the same?  I would love to hear your "bump in the road" stories and what you've done to keep perspective and what it's done to your attitude!


It's All Sew Pretty Wonderful said...

Lovely blog and your article is great!

Mary said...

Hey there, just checking...I think I fixed our comment page! your blog is wonderful!