Lilac and Lime

Contrasts in colour, contrasts in life – Mary Bruce

Archive for April, 2011

Grant me the wisdom to know the difference

That old prayer about having the wisdom to know the difference between things one can change and those that cannot be changed gives food for thought. Just because I’m in a happier space in my life than I’ve been before doesn’t mean I’ve discovered an amulet that keeps problems out of my life. The last two weeks, today in particular, illustrate this perfectly.

At the bank teller’s window depositing our rent two weeks ago, I made the discovery that about R1000 was missing from my bag. It has been impossible to trace details but suffice it to say that it has made this one of the skinniest months in memory. Fortunately the fridge, cupboards and freezer had been stocked so R100 has had to buy us only bread and milk for three weeks.

The upside includes the kindness of the two service providers I was unable to pay this month. Also the extra creativity required to make meals out of existing stocks and not supplement with new purchases. Kimberley has been unbelievably helpful, lending me the outstanding amount to pay our rent in full.

Then the revenue service sent me notification that there is a refund of a couple of hundred rand due to me which I have to go in to claim. The call centre, Durban and Pietermaritzburg offices all told me that I only need to take in two specific documents. Having located these, I took them in three working days later – to meet the one person in Pietermaritzburg who insists on having an additional one of three possible documents. None of these exist so I am currently waiting for an affidavit posted on the other side of the province to reach me before I can try again. When I explained that the specific documents I needed had been itemised to me a matter of days earlier, I was told “things change”. Although small, this amount would have made a big difference to our housekeeping account this month of all months. Admittedly my sense of humour went walkabout for a few hours.

And then, Today.

Having got out of bed early to make oats to sustain my offspring, they kind of blew up and overflowed in the microwave – so I stopped washing the dishes and washed the microwave instead. Then, emptying some leftover salad into a rubbish bag, the bag slipped and the salad went all over the floor – so I stopped washing the dishes and washed the floor instead. Then, triumphantly reaching the last dirty pan, I ran extra hot water into the sink and it shot in a perfect stream around one of the muffin indentations and all down my front – so I stopped trying to tidy the kitchen and changed my clothes. This was all before I’d stepped more than a metre outside the front door.

Fortunately nothing else of note has gone wrong today – although I did survey all that still had to be done with trepidation as the potential for further problems was significant. I did have a brief bad moment in the loo when it seemed that I was peeing pink – until I realised the cleaning lady was using a new cleaner, and that the time had come to chill.

There has been plenty of laughter this morning too.

Today I’m wearing a purple embroidered tunic over black pants. Having been at work for all of two minutes, one of my favourite colleagues said if only I was wearing matching pants I’d look like I was in pyjamas. This was a bit of a blow but she’s a good sort so I took it on the chin. A few hours later we were in a group discussing a problem that had arisen in our work flow when I teased her about her earlier comment. She looked absolutely appalled and explained that she’d said if I was wearing matching pants I’d look like I was in a punjabi. A number of others in the office are wearing punjabis or saris today and, in context, her comment made a lot more sense than what I thought she’d said. We both had a really good laugh and I changed my slippers around. Not really.

But the point is that when events significant or minor conspire to frustrate one, attitude makes all the difference. I’ll probably ask Kimberley to take on the kitchen tonight to make supper as I burned two fingers in hot oil last night – something we use about once a month, if that – and I don’t want to end off today like it started.

All in all, a good time to ask for serenity and courage.