Friday, March 09, 2007


Flexibility is so important to keeping it together and staying productive, sane, and content. I can plan and plan and plan, and then actually do and do and do, and sure enough in the middle of getting things done, something unexpected happens.
Yesterday I knew the weather was going to be squirrelly. I saw the prediction for one to two inches of snow, I knew that the last prediction for one to two inches turned into about three to four. So although I prepared for my meeting downtown I also prepared to cancel it. And cancel it I did, for the third time in a month. Yes, I was disappointed, but I was also a bit uncomfortable being at International Square when the schools might close early.
Being flexible, I chose to spend the morning at a nearby Starbucks instead of the one I’d found downtown. I sat with my hot chocolate, wrote a scene in my novel, did some planning to figure out how much I need to write a day to hit my (self-imposed) deadline. I was in the zone, deep down in my rabbit hole, about to switch gears and work on something else when my cell phone rang. I saw the exchange, knew it was probably one of the preschool teachers, and figured she was calling to let me know they were closing school early.
I answered the phone and got an unpleasant surprise. My daughter had a low-grade fever and was complaining of stomach pain. The teacher suggested it might be that nasty tummy bug going around and finished with, “She doesn’t look good.”
Two and a half years ago, I would have been convinced that the fates were against me and that I was perfectly justified in blowing off all my chores for pleasure since pleasure is fickle and fleeting. Yesterday, however, I was able to shift my emotional gear quickly and I jumped out of my rabbit hole of chocolate and writing and dashed off to CVS for some Gatorade before heading off to school.
Mercifully, Ana had not vomited, was not lying in a feverish heap on the sofa in the school clinic. After a brief chat with the teacher, I took my little girl in hand and walked her to the car, lecturing her on the perils of licking cars and floors and eating snow. I told her about Flick and how Schwartz had dared him to lick the flagpole. Licking stuff was bad for you, I explained. Flick got his tongue frozen stuck to the flagpole and ended up with a big boo-boo on his tongue. We went home, watched that scene from A Christmas Story, while Ana fed her lunch Cheerios to the dog. Clearly she was not well, but she was in decent spirits so I had a hope that I was not going to spend the next 24 hours mopping up vomit.
Somehow I got through the rest of the day, squeezing in teaching a piano lesson while Ana napped (a miracle!), and clearing off the driveway before dark settled. This morning, I was debating with myself whether I should send Ana to school if she looked bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, when the phone rang. It was Ana’s bus driver, politely informing me that preschool was closed because of the two-hour delay. What delay? I thought, while I mechanically thanked him for his news.
Of course, I should have seen in coming, the two-hour delay. But I figured if the snow ended by nightfall, the roads would be fine. Ah, well. Time to make another mental shift. I went into two-hour delay mode, minus the usual snow shoveling since I’d taken care of that the night before. And now I am ready for a day of writing, housework, and piano lessons. I only wish I knew what was for dinner.

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