Last December, I agreed to take care of my mom's cat for a couple of weeks while she spent Christmas in Winnipeg with my sister.
The plan was, I'd drive back to the city Christmas Eve to be with James, then go right back to Mom's on Boxing Day to continue caring for Daisy Mae.
I took a crate of work-related research with me, excited to use my time alone to focus on a project I've been poking at for years. But here's the thing about plans. You'd better be willing to drop them like a scalding hot frying pan when life shows you a new plan is in play. My first clue arrived at 2:30 am. I woke up shaking with cold and when I checked Mom's furnace, my fears were confirmed. Dead as a doornail.
This wasn't just an inconvenience. A broken furnace in minus 30 temperatures is NO JOKE. Best case scenario? I had less than 6 hours before the pipes burst. So, I got with the program. I turned the oven on. I ran the taps. I made calls.
Saving the house (plus the cat and myself) was the new plan!
The 24 hour emergency service said they wouldn't be able to get to me for a couple of days. Other repair companies weren't available until mid-January.
Okay, new plan!
I found (and borrowed) space heaters and extension cords. Then I started calling every furnace company within a 100 mile radius.
An angel (named Darcy) said he could come that day and repair the furnace.
Except, he found a large crack, which meant it couldn't be fixed. He'd have to order a new unit from his source in the city. Ugh. Okay, new plan!
Darcy looked at Daisy Mae (who was tucked into my big winter coat) and let out a sigh. "I really should take your furnace away because it's dangerous," he said, "but I'm not going to do that in sub-freezing weather."
Instead, he lit it up, tested the vents (to make sure the air wasn't lethal), then left me with a carbon monoxide monitor and a goose-neck lighter.
"That pilot light will keep going out because of the crack," he said. "You'll have to keep lighting it until I can get back with the new furnace. If that monitor goes off, GET OUT IMMEDIATELY!" "Got it," I told him. Yay! We had a plan! And it worked. Not only did I make it through the night, but the next day Darcy drove to the city to pick up the new furnace, which was somehow in stock. Did I forget to mention it was December 24th?
"I don't expect you to work on Christmas Eve," I told him when he got back, mid-afternoon. But he'd already talked with his wife and they had agreed that replacing the furnace was the right thing to do. "Hope you don't mind if I bring my 4 year old over," he said. I smiled. I had planned to be with my James and Maggie for Christmas Eve, but I could clearly see the new plan in view. So, while Darcy and his assistant worked on the furnace, I sat with the sweetest little boy in the world (under a comforter with Daisy Mae snuggled in between), and talked about Thomas the train. Later, we had pizza, Christmas cake and cookies, and some chocolates I found in Mom's cupboard. If you've ever read any of my seasonal blogs, you know Christmas is a tricky time of year for me. Yet, sitting there that night, in front of my mom's Christmas tree (with three strangers who were now somehow my new closest friends), I was able to feel something I thought I'd lost for good. I won't go as far as calling it a Christmas miracle, but it was certainly close, and I'm grateful for the turn of events that made it possible. So . . . when Life zigs when you'd planned to zag, here's some advice. Drop all your plans and GO! Keep your heart open and follow the new direction being offered. I promise there will be immeasurable gifts if you do.
Sending you so much love,
P.S. My good friend and coaching colleague Jaya the Trust Coach, just had an epic change of plans that involved 2 German Shepherds, a trip to ER, and a botched trip to Hawaii. Did everything go WRONG? Not according to Jaya. You can read all about it by CLICKING HERE.