This morning I overslept, slipped in the shower, accidentally punted the cat, and dumped a gallon of water on my favorite rug, making me late to the office and barely prepared for a meeting with a new client I knew in advance I couldn’t help.
All things considered, this looked like a wonderful day.
Since I couldn’t go back to bed and pull the comforter over my nose, I stuck with it anyway – and learned once more that the only guaranteed failure is the decision not to try.
Let’s step back to 8a.m.
The alarm clock jostles me from my fifth hour of (mostly interrupted) sleep. Smallest Cat’s lazy ear-wiggle suggests I can get away with half an hour more, so I reset the alarm and crawl happily back to bed.
After setting the alarm for an hour and a half…
At 9:30 I shut off the alarm and began to prepare for work, marginally more rested but frustrated by my lack of attention to detail. As I remind myself that I need to focus today, I trip over Smallest Cat and crack my shoulder against the bathroom door jamb.
9:33, and I’m 0 for 2.
After getting ready for work I head into the kitchen to grab some leftovers for lunch at the office. Smallest Cat zigs when she should have zagged, and after a short game of kitty-soccer we both make it to the great room unharmed.
At which point, I remember the Christmas tree. If I don’t water it before I leave, nobody will, and I’ll come home to find it shedding needles like a Siberian Husky with a gland condition. I grab the half-empty bottle of tree preservative, dump it in an empty one-liter water bottle and top off the big bottle at the sink. Then I notice the clock. 9:55. I have a new client coming at 11, and I’m not even out the door.
I kneel by the tree and pour water in the stand. When I’ve emptied the bottle, the stand isn’t full. Back to the sink, refill the bottle, dump in stand. Still not full. Wow, this tree is thirsty. Considering I filled the stand last night, I’m more than a little impressed. I rush to the sink again, refill the bottle and return to the tree – at which point I realize I’ve been pouring water between the two layers of the new pivoting tree stand, directly onto the floor. (Suddenly the new stand isn’t so awesome after all.)
I do not say the word I’m thinking, thereby saving myself enough cuss-jar money to buy a gingerbread latte. Or a scotch. At this point I’m not sure which I need more.
After a moment’s pause to plan, I race to the bedroom (with two cats in hot pursuit) to wake my husband with the delightful news that we have to move the tree. Now. When I’m wearing a suit and the tree is wearing….considerably more.
He blinks at me. “Why?”
“Well, I might have just dumped some water through the stand and onto the floor.”
He’s awake now. “How much water?”
“A gallon. Give or take.” (Onto the Persian rug I inherited from my father, which my husband and I both adore.)
Two minutes later we’re on hands and knees, sliding the tree across the rug. (For the record, it didn’t feel like moving an 8′ Noble fir, but I’m guessing that’s the adrenaline talking.) When the wet spot is clear enough to clean he heads back to bed and I start for the linen closet. Three towels and a great deal of stomping and scrubbing later, the wet spot is merely damp. I lift the side of the carpet, throw a plastic milk crate underneath to let air reach the now-damp remains of the morning’s epic fail, and check the clock. 10:20. I’ll make the appointment, but just barely.
As I head out the door, the cats have already started playing in their new cave. I can hear the Bengal sliding on the tile.
I reach the office with barely enough time to make the coffee (Check the link. The last person who even thought Folger’s Crystals in my presence lost four fingers and a kneecap) and consider what to do about blogging before the new prospective client arrives. I already know I cannot help her. Her problem lies outside my area of expertise. But one of her friends is a client of mine, and I agreed to see this woman because she had nowhere else to turn.
Five minutes before she’s due to arrive I pause to adjust my attitude. I’ll admit, I needed it done. I remind myself that it isn’t this person’s fault my morning stinks, and that she deserves the best that I can give, even if I cannot offer much. I consciously shrug off the mental clouds. If I cannot help this woman, at least I can give her a friendly, professional greeting and listen with an open and helpful mind.
So I do.
As it turns out I can help her, and I do, and she leaves the office happy and relieved. Actually, “happy and relieved” is an understatement. If I’m right (and I’m 98% certain that I am) her problem has completely gone away, along with the attendant stress and financial strain. (More than that I will not say.)
With the client gone I finally get some coffee and check my email. I see no fires burning in the work inbox, so I swap to the writer’s mail – and find a response from an agent I sent a partial to last night. Knowing the way this day began, I’m sure I just got whacked (and by an agent I really want to work with, too), but I steel myself for the gut-punch and click away.
It was a beautiful, friendly note saying how much she’s looking forward to reading my work.
11:45 – and the score has turned solidly in my favor. Let this entry serve as my “note to self” and a note to the rest of you too: a day is only a fail if you stop trying. You never know what the next corner will bring. A string of hardships often puts us in the kind of mood that guarantees the rest of the day will drag. I had to work hard to put myself in a helpful state before the client came, but if I had not done so I might not have seen that I could help her after all. If I hadn’t put my work on the firing line, the agent never would have seen it and responded in a way that made my week. (Whether or not her ultimate answer is yes – and I hope it is – the fact that she responded so well to the sample helps me know I’m on the right path.)
So the next time a morning starts looking like “one of those days” – keep in mind that those days sometimes turn out wonderful after all.
Have you had one of those days lately? Share in the comments, I’d love to hear!
Edit: 1:30pm: The lady I helped this morning just stopped by with an unbelievable cappucino-tiramisu cake to thank me for helping her (I refused to charge her for my time, and she apparently wanted to do something nice to say thanks). This day has definitely gone from failboat to EPIC WIN!