“Failure is a detour, not a dead-end street.” – Zig Zigler
If you haven’t been yet, go to failblog.org and thereifixedit.com. These are funny sites full of marvelous pictures of misspelled signs and botched attempts at doing and/or fixing things. They are also the story of the state of most of the Clark possessions currently. Yep! All things Clark/Sinn-Clark need some attention, but where to begin?
We were rockin’ along all fine and dandy, stuff falling apart around us, lives happily held together with duct tape until recently, when our two Estonian student boarders showed up for the summer and, in the course of getting them settled, we slammed up against just how much disarray has descended on us during the past few years.
In our defense, Mr. Clark was out of work for 15 months, which put a damper on maintenance projects — at least the ones that cost money. And, it’s not like we were expecting the Estonians; they just sort of showed up (see last week’s column) so we didn’t have time to get ready for them. But still, it has been a real eye-opener, how far we’ve let things slide…
For example: Day One with the Estonians — they need bikes to ride. Sure! We have two bikes we’re not using, so Mr. Clark pulls them out of the back shed (the one with the roof falling in…) and they are covered with cob-webs and rust. Not to worry, a good washing and some WD-40 and the Estonians are on the road…Day Two, the Estonians decide they want to stay with us for “a week or so.” So, up we go to the kids’ old rooms to show them their new digs. Ouch! Our daughter’s room has become my photo business shipping department/Christmas decoration repository, while our son’s room remains a shrine to his high school and college accomplishments. The Estonians opt for my son’s room — to share. “It will be more cozy and less lonely that way,” they say, politely.
Day Three, let’s all go to the Wal-Mart. Oops! Two of our three cars don’t have air conditioning and the one that does, has no windows that roll down. Nice! Remember not to go through the bank drive-through in that car - take one of the ones without A/C, but don’t try to get out of that door – it’s broken, too. Back from the Wal-Mart, let’s get the Estonians set up with a shelf in the fridge. Oh! Don’t forget to put extra paper towel on their fridge shelf, as the ice maker in the fridge hasn’t worked right for months and it spits water onto the fridge shelves regularly…
Day Four, leave a note, “Please be sure the door shuts behind you so the dogs don’t get out.” That’s because the ancient door catch on the front door doesn’t work very well, and, did we remember to tell you? Sometimes that old door knob will come right off in your hand. Good luck getting in or out then…No worries; just call Mr. Clark or I and we’ll come fix it.
Day Five, let’s do some wash. Well, the washer is old and can’t really handle a full load anymore without making a funny noise; the dryer is even older, with even a louder funny noise, so instead of one load, you’ll have to do four…Day Six, clean sheets for the bed? Nope. We don’t have spares, so we’ll have to do a load of wash in that old crappy washer, then dry those sheets in that older crappier dryer…You didn’t want to get to bed before midnight, did you?
And, on and on it goes…Day Seven, the Estonians’ day of rest from their arduous educational book selling schedule. “We’d like to do a hot tub,” they say. “Fine!” is my response, only to discover that the hot tub, which has been working fine until now, is broken and now has no jets. “That’s okay,” they say, genuinely. “We can enjoy the water without bubbles today.”
Wow! It’s amazing how okay it’s all not okay can seem until strangers show up and your hospitality is tested and you slam, pretty quickly and intensely, into what a mess your material life has become…I guess we’ve got some hard work ahead of us. I’m actually a little excited about the prospect - just think how great it will feel once we begin to get a handle on things again…Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” I can hardly wait to see what comes next!
Lorin Sinn-Clark is a Winder resident and award-winning columnist for the Barrow Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.