Saturday, December 04, 2004

One secret of a happy life

Tiny goals. Micro goals.

I was not looking forward to crawling—on my belly in the snow and the dirt—under the garage door today. The automatic opener had stopped working, with the door in closed position, and that door from the utility room into the garage is apparently no more than a cruel joke. But then putting any kind of door into a Vermont farmhouse with moody foundations is playing games of chance with the universe. Will it open next year? Will it open next week?

I digress. I was not looking forward to the crawling part. At its widest point, the gap is not so very wide, though I have become grateful for its wideness, where once I wished it narrower. There is, you see, no other way into the garage once the garage door opener locks the door closed. How wide is the gap? About the depth of my ribcage, which turns out to be the tallest part of me when I am lying flat on my front, scrabbling in the dirt floor of the garage, trying to remember how to crawl. About the depth of my ribcage if I remember to exhale and flatten, rather than inhaling and scrabbling.

It really wasn’t so bad. I worried ahead, you see. I thought about the possibility that I might be too fat to fit—no problem, just the ribcage. I thought about the snow on the ground and dressed in my ski pants, specially pulled out for their first wearing of the season. I thought about doing the deed one night last week when I first noticed the door was jammed, but I decided it was better to plan for daylight maneuvers. I strategized with others. Their solutions didn’t work, but it made me feel I was dealing with the problem.

Finally, today, I did the deed. It took a whopping fifteen seconds to crawl under the door, maybe five minutes to solve the problem with the door, at least for this time. But my sense of accomplishment is enormous! Tiny goal planned, prepared, worried over and accomplished. I am ridiculously, prodigiously proud of myself.

It wasn’t the only thing I did today. I went to a meeting for work, got more puppy food, mopped the bathroom, cleaned up after puppies. Tam helped me trim puppy nails. It wasn’t even the most time-consuming thing I did today—that was probably my nap. But it was fully and completely satisfying.

Now I have to start worrying for the next time. It really wasn’t so bad, but I don’t want to do it again with several inches of snow and ice narrowing that gap. I don’t want to do it again, say, with the car in the garage. This task, however, may fall into the category of things we do whether we like them or not. My mind’s eye is now picturing the car trapped in the garage, or—I should say—myself trapped outside the garage without transportation. Wait! Wait! That’s too far ahead to worry. With Scarlett O’Hara, I’ll think about that “tomorra.”

Tomorrow—which comes sooner than “tomorra”—I will vacuum upstairs and downstairs (I can’t believe how much I still hate vacuuming) and I will attempt to finish the living room curtains. Cold air off the windows is a motivator. But these simple housekeeping tasks don’t rise to the mythic level of today’s tiny quest.


Robert said...

I don't know, maybe you might wanna fix that joke door. Just sayin'.

Janice said...

I came across your blog by way of 'unlocking the air' to 'Laughing Knees' to 'Beginner's Mind' and to your comment on Beginner's Mind where you mentioned readership.... so I couldn't resist popping by to be a new reader!!
Your dog-family sounds lovely. I'm a dog-lover, too -- we have a sweet border-collie/sheltie mix named Lady who is a supreme joy to everyone who knows her. (If you're interested, and have the patience to comb through archives, there's a picture of her on my blog somewhere, can't quite remember which month, sorry!)
I enjoyed reading your posts -- will stop by again sometime!

Karen said...

Thanks, both. I'm having a metaphysical problem with that door, Robert. Like is it possible to fix it? Or with the fluidity of the garage/utility room foundations, is any stability to be found? There's probably some metaphorical blog to be written about how floating foundations are never really a problem until one tries to install a door that really works. Then again, maybe the stuck door is not metaphorical at all and will respond to some burly Vermonter's heavy boot.