The previous day, I'd battered away at the keyboard and got all three of my articles finished so that I could spend Dave's birthday reading a chapter of chemistry and making a big pot of chili. I'd invited a few friends to come over around seven and bought one sheet of wrapping paper with cars on it to wrap a book his brother had sent. When it comes to cooking and cleaning and decorating I'm useless, hopeless, just horribly untalented, and David knows that and loves me anyway, although he did gingerly suggest that we all go out to a restaurant. But we have a House now and I'm going to be a Wife so I insisted on hosting. I was going to make cornbread. To go with the chili. And assemble a makeshift chip n' dip with a collection of small bowls and a cutting board.
When I got home, I spread everything out on the kitchen table, checked the clock, and congratulated myself for timing everything so perfectly. Then my editor called and asked where the rest of the twelve articles were that I'd promised to write. Suddenly my blood went cold and my face got hot and I realized I'd confused two different assignments and was about 12,000 words short of finishing my work that had been due six hours ago.
When it comes to estimating the amount of things that one can accomplish in a given amount of time, I can be straight up delusional. But even I understood that I wasn't going to write my articles and make dinner happen and straighten up the house and hang the little banner I'd bought in four hours.
Now, I don't think I would get fired if I didn't do the work but I also wouldn't get paid, and that would present its own set of problems.
A few minutes of this nonsense went by and there was a knock and the dog bolted from her bed and went careening toward the door. There stood my friend Kelli, holding a sled that she had borrowed and was there to return. She took a look at me all slouched and pathetic, then looked passed me at the house torn apart and the table cluttered with a deconstructed birthday meal still in a cans and boxes, and she said, "I'll do it."
Meanwhile, everybody was eating the chili and telling me how delicious it was, and what was the secret ingredient? Poblano Peppers, I lied. Outside the snow was falling thick and heavy, and we bundled up and went sledding with the neighbors on our steep, curving dead end road. By then I was happy I'd hung up that little-kid birthday banner because the whole night started to feel like those fabulous little kid birthday parties, you know, "Cake and Sledding at David's!" or whatever, except that when we found out that school had been cancelled for the next day we all took a shot of Vermont gin.
And here is where we transition into Mystery Prize Monday! This week, tell me (tell all of us) something beautiful that has happened to you lately. You may interpret beautiful in any way you'd like. Please, remember my flu status, propped up in bed with a headache, watching the sunlight creep across the wall during the infinitely long and aching day. Tell me something really lovely, so I can pretend for a moment that your life is my life.
This is a very important Mystery Prize. My friend Maggie from Washington state is raising money to buy her little boy a diabetes alert dog. The fact that a dog can be smart enough to detect fluctuating blood sugar levels is astounding. You can find out more about Maggie, Angus and their efforts to bring home Bruce here.
This week, the winner of the mystery prize, chosen randomly from amongst the comments, will receive a letter, a little something sweet in the mail, and a donation in their name to Angus and Bruce. As always, thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for everything.