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The Broken Things

A summer without air conditioning is another opportunity. At least that's what I am telling myself as temperatures climb to near triple digits. And as multiple malfunctions gather around my family and me like ants at a picnic. Broken things are opportunities, I tell myself.

We have plenty of opportunities. Because things have a way of breaking around here. They stop working, malfunction, give out. Or they deflate. I don't mean to sound narcissistic here, but I am beginning to have a complex. My kids believe I am--we all are--jinxed.

The latest nonsense started with a flat tire last month, on my daughter's car. While we were at Discount Tire getting hers fixed, I got one on mine. The next week I got another. And the week after that two. In the same day. One screw in a front tire, one in a back. That was about the same time the air gave out. It was the middle of May.

The poor guys at Discount Tire. Their warranty program wasn't designed for someone like me. But hey, it's a great way for them to get to know a regular customer, like my daughter Rachel, a barista, gets to know her coffee loyalists.

I detest that little triangle sign with the exclamation point in it.

Living on a gravel road is a great way to make friends though.

But a person can't blame all things on gravel. The gravel may have been to blame for the clogged air filter and the crack across the windshield but it wasn't to blame for the two dead batteries, or the corroded connector cable I thought was an alternator issue, the one that kept shutting my car off when I was far from home. Or the loss of brakes--both the front and the back--without any warning whatsoever, or the car I borrowed that locked on its own with my keys and phone and granddaughter inside in the heat. It wasn't to blame for sump pump that stopped working and the subsequent fire I was told could have been imminent had I not had the fortitude to unplug it or the new water tank we have been told we need too. Along with a new, operable garage door and front gate and various other things that have given out.

All within a few days.

Each day I have to decide what information I will share with my husband. Each day, as I recently told my mother, I can't plan for a thing.

Each day is another opportunity.

So when I check out at Costco and the register breaks with my purchases and I watch a team surround it as if performing surgery, even as the line grows longer behind me and the lady behind me grows impatient, and I hear how strange it is, because "this has never happened before", I take it personally, I'm sorry to say.

And then Rachel comes home and says her coffee shop was hit by lightening and the drive-up intercom is now broken and the roof is leaking too and she laughs and reminds me I stopped by for a latte earlier and I just shrug.

Is it wrong to wonder though?

And that's not all. The animals are broken too. Like the goat that jumped the fence to run through the neighbor's yard and the other that stuck her horned head through the fence along the road to get stuck and the other small one who put her head through a cinder block when no one else was home to help me free her but a 10-month-old, who I kept in her car seat with the car running in order to deal with the situation.

Technology never fails apart from the animals here. The parallels are obscene.

Opportunities, I repeat.

To pray. To trust. To be patient. But most of all, to be grateful. Oh, so grateful. Because, you see, there are a lot of broken things here, but there are even more that aren't. And we will have air conditioning again. July 10th is just two weeks away.

Two more weeks.

To be honest, I think everyone in Kansas should have to spend a summer without air conditioning, or at least a week or two. It really does make a person thankful for everything. Because right now, there is nothing else I want, besides good health for us. Just good health and air-conditioning. The two really go together. And when I have it again, I will be more than content. How much more will I have when cool again!

Then, I will have the world!

Actually, it would be great if the wi-fi was fixed then too.

#milkandhoneylandbook #milkandhoneyland #brokenthings #reallife #reality


Kansas City, Kansas l jm@jmhuxley.com

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