What did I do?

Once upon a time — somewhere between the evangelical Christianity I embraced when I was in my late teens and the Catholicism which is my current spiritual path — I studied Zen Buddhism for a while. Parts of it stuck — fit rather nicely, in fact, with the mysticism which is part of the Catholic spiritual tradition.

Other parts I haven’t thought about in years. Karma — the Eastern version of “you reap what you sow” — fits in the latter category. But with the way my holiday trip to visit the grandest of twin girls (and their parents) is going, I have to wonder what god I angered.

My misadventures actually began shortly before Christmas. I volunteered to work on Christmas Day, both because I wanted the moms with young children to be home with their families and because the holiday pay would come in handy since I knew I’d be missing a week of work. (It actually will be more than that because at the last minute the owners decided to close for about 15 hours, and the two employees affected were desperatedly in need of the income they lost, so I gave them some of my hours in compensation.)

However, though I volunteered to work on Christmas Day, I had no intention of treating the day like any other. I decided to bake cookies to give to customers. I started by mixing oatmeal cookies with coconut and chocolate chips. The dough had to be refrigerated, and I failed to resist the temptation to sample it. I bit down on a chilled chocolate chip and broke a tooth — a week before my dental insurance kicks in and at a time when Custer (and most professional offices in the area) were closed for an extended weekend. As a result, I’ve discovered a new diet plan — eating very, VERY slowly — and Oragel’s effectiveness. Unfortunately, it’s only to be used four times a day.

Fate ended up having the last laugh regarding that. Both my niece and one of my brothers brought me Christmas goodies which my trip would prevent me from enjoying, so I shared them with customers on Christmas Day and my oatmeal cookies were frozen after baking for later consumption. In fact, the only cookies I contributed to my goodie tray for work were a few spritz (the old-fashioned, high cholesterol version with real butter and egg yolks, that melt in your mouth).

On Christmas Day, I planned to visit my 95-year-old neighbor who doesn’t get out much but has a sharp mind and is a delightful companion. Unfortunately, I had to go into work early to do some bookkeeping and didn’t get out of church as expected because poor road conditions delayed our priest (who serves three far-flung parishes in Western South Dakota) so that Mass started late. Because I couldn’t leave for a week-long trip without visiting her, my to-do list for yesterday was lengthened.

That, and an impulsively-made decision to apply for a position with the diocese, delayed my departure so that I wasn’t able to go to a movie with Katie as planned. In all honesty, I must blame myself for that. I’m the kind of person who needs to clean the house and do the laundry before taking a trip. If I wasn’t so obsessive about leaving my home in order, I probably could have left before the roads started freezing. As it was, I not only missed the movie, but was also negotiating winding mountain roads at dusk at 45 miles per hour.

Before going to my niece’s home, where I spent the night so that I could catch my early-morning flight, I made an emergency gift stop. I had with me a small blanket for Avery since I will need to fix “Yellow,” the knitted blanket with which she’s slept since she was born, but I had nothing for Paige. At the store I was struck with the brilliant scheme of getting the girls some fingerpaints. For some reason, I thought the cut-off size for liquids and gels in carry-on luggage was four ounces. I was wrong — it was three, so the paints remain behind, (but I do have a cute bear for Paige in my backpack).

While Katie was able to get me to the airport in ample time this morning, a mechanical problem — the toilet didn’t work — delayed the flight so that I missed my connecting flight in Denver. At present, I’m sitting in a small alcove, sipping a strawberry smoothie because it requires no chewing (despite the sign that says “NO food or drink”), writing this, wondering how to kill another five hours before the flight upon which I — Sara, actually — was lucky enough to get a seat, and wondering what I’ve done to merit this series of misadventures.

I suppose it really doesn’t matter. Tomorrow, I’ll see my darling girls and will undoubtely forget all these little frustrations. It’s amazing how the smiles of grandchildren can erase any number of woes!


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