On A Lighter Note: With gratitude

"I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom" – Anonymous

candle flame 521 (photo credit: Courtesy)
candle flame 521
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Everyone has said at one time or another, “This was a terrible day. I just want to crawl into bed and start over.” To tell you the truth, I’m sort of a glass-half-full sort, so it takes a lot for me to make that type of statement. In fact, I often take issue with people who are always moaning about something or other and whine away their days instead of grabbing life by both shoulders and demanding some good stuff.
The day in question began with the night before. I was in the middle of blow-drying my stunning, recently styled and chemically straightened tresses when the electricity blew.
This didn’t shock me because our building – though impressive from the outside – was constructed in the famous Pal-Kal method (remember the Versailles catering hall disaster).
And that’s the good part. Every time someone sneezes or suppresses a belch in our building, the pipes leak or the hot-water tank blows.
Making my way down the hallway toward the fuse box, I looked like a dead ringer for Patty Duke in The Miracle Worker. Arms flailing and feet shuffling, I gently massaged the 40 switches to locate the one that had tripped. But lo! They were all standing at full alert. Clearly, the problem was in the building.
For the next 40 minutes, neighbors walked in and out of one another’s apartments carrying candles, lit cellphones and flashlights, offering each other updates on the latest non-news from the electric company. The one sabra in the building was hiding because, apparently, some of the Anglo residents were pounding on his door, demanding that he get tough on the phone with the utility company since, unlike the rest of us, he doesn’t speak with a funny accent or say thank you every time he is put on hold.
With no heat, no lights, no computer, I lit a bunch of Shabbat candles in a few mismatched candelabras on the coffee table and invited the children to join me for a fun “camp out” in the living room. The silence was deafening until I heard the tip-tap of little paws prancing across the tiled floor. Apparently our dog, Jane, felt sorry for me and crawled under the quilt and into my armpit for the warm and toasty night ahead. The battery-operated kitchen clock read 8:27 p.m.
We awakened at 5:10 the next morning, with every light in the house ablaze. Before I remembered the fiasco of the previous night, I began shouting, “Who left on the lights? Of course! It’s only me paying the bills! Don’t worry; I’ll get another job!” Loyal Jane peered out from beneath the covers, perked her ears and stared into my eyes, waiting for me to discover that I was yelling at no one for no reason. And when she muttered a half-hearted “arf,” I translated it to mean “Get a grip.” The cold was nearly unbearable, but I fought the evil inclination and went out for a quick 30-minute run. Only upon my return did I notice the blinking phone light, indicating the two calls I’d mercifully missed the night before. It was only the law firm dealing with Route 6.
For the edification of the reader, they claim that I owe them about $1,000 for two bills that I never received because they were sent to an address that I never resided at. The last time I spoke with a deceptively friendly collection agent named Shiri, she suggested that I pay the bill and try to get reimbursed from the Transportation Ministry. What does she think I am – American? My 16-year-old began carping that she had no clothes, we had no milk, she had no time, she had no life. After I asked her if she wanted to go out to dinner later that night and maybe do a little shopping, she perked right up and said, “I love you, Mommy!” Another parenting milestone.
Showered and dressed, I was already running a little late for work when I hopped into the car, anxious to make the 9:30 meeting dealing with staff morale. Sliding the key into the ignition, my eardrums were assaulted by the piercing screams of some rapper, words completely inaudible due to the sheer volume of the inserted CD. Fearing that I might need a shot of digitalis, I punched in the alarm code, turned the key and listened to the engine gasp, weep, plotz and die. I did it three more times before realizing that the passenger door had been left open by one of my offspring after a late-night feeding frenzy at the local sushi house.
Now that I’m engaged to marry a macho sort of person, I made the requisite damsel in distress phone call, asking for a boost to the engine. And because he isn’t yet my husband, my Chuck Norris look-alike appeared in a flash.
Wielding a mighty set of cables, our hero got that motor purring like a Manx cat in no time flat. He also disappeared in no time flat, shouting express instructions to leave the car running for 20 minutes.
Fearing death by carbon monoxide poisoning if I stayed in the garage any longer, I returned to my apartment, made the call to the office that effectively canceled the meeting, got into bed and watched Dr. Phil tell someone to buck up and face the music. Having forgotten about the car, I observed that Ellen DeGeneres can’t stop dancing and have come to understand that the CSI lab operates 24 hours a day.
I can’t exactly say how much time passed before my older daughter came into my room, stared at me as I lay under the blankets surrounded by four baskets of unfolded laundry, and asked if she could borrow the car.
The car! Thankfully, it was still there. Thankfully, the motor was still running. And I was suddenly feeling very thankful that I have a car, even if some lawyer and I play weekly phone tag. Appreciative that I have a home, even if occasionally the lights go out. And downright weepy that I have baskets of laundry that need folding because I have the means to wash soiled clothing. I also felt quite grateful that I have a wonderful job to go to, even if I have to get there a little late due to a morning filled with silly glitches.
I gave my daughter the car because I could, and I hopped into a cab to go to work. As I got out and crossed the street to the building’s front gate, the sky opened up and began to pour blessed rain on my aforementioned hairdo. The only thing I could do was laugh.
Rain! Another reason to say thank you.