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Annoyances are easy come, not so easy go
VITAL TRIFLE, BY LAURI GROSS
Annoyances are easy come, not so easy go
Sometimes 24 hours can be defined by how many things were annoying that day. Into each day, a little annoyance must fall, but it's worthwhile to look past those to whatever didn't annoy us instead.
It seems, once we eliminate something annoying, we tend to focus on the next annoying thing we must fix, rather than be glad that other thing has in fact stopped being annoying. To make sure I appreciate what is no longer annoying in my life, I made a list, which I will now share:
Our clothes dryer used to leave brown streaks on our clothes. I couldn't put anything light colored in there unless it was something like car-washing towels so it didn't matter if they came out of the dryer with brown streaks. We got the dryer repaired, and now the brown streaks are a thing of the past. I like to remember those brown streaks, so I can appreciate that the dryer is no longer annoying.
We used to have a terrible problem with Japanese beetles every July. Despite conventional lawn spraying and the use of beetle traps, we had relentless swarms that defoliated trees, shrubs, herbs and vegetables in no time. Now, we use a combination of nematodes, sprayed by an organic lawn-care company, and milky spore, which I put down myself, and we have no beetles! Every July, I stop and remember the beetles, so I can be happy that they are gone.
Our garden hoses used to leak at every joint. We tried copper fittings, snap-together fittings, new hoses, new washers, etc. Nothing worked. Turning on a garden hose at our house meant getting sprayed by leaks till you were wetter than your intended target. Now we have these things called Gator-Hyde Hoses. These hoses don't kink, and, so far, no leaks. Every time we turn on a hose and don't get wet, we smile.
The garbage can in our kitchen is concealed behind a cabinet front, on a slide-out rack. Ours was never made right. It was always loose and ill-fitting. We glued and repositioned the hinges and whatnot over the years, but it was still never quite right until we came up with a plan to finally make it all fit correctly. A couple of angled repair brackets was all it took to make our garbage can no longer annoying.
The fronts of a couple of our kitchen cabinets always seem to hang loose on their hinges. Tightening them required just a couple quick turns with the screwdriver, but, until I decided to keep a spare screwdriver actually inside the cabinets that get loose, I never remembered to tighten the hinges. Now, since the screwdriver is right there, I grab it and tighten the hinges in two seconds, and the doors no longer flop.
The top of our kitchen table used to feel loose on its legs, making the whole table wobble. It really made me crazy. I asked my brother to take a look at it. He is a civil engineer and a furniture builder. He took one look and said, "They discovered the correct way to attach a table top to its legs about a thousand years ago, and whoever made your table didn't do it right." He went to our basement and, using our old table saw and some scrap wood, fashioned perfectly fitting wedges to fit up under the table top in each corner to give the legs the support they were missing. No more wobble!
We used to have to practically wash our dishes before putting them in the dishwasher, or they'd come out dirty. Now all I do it push the "heavy wash" button before each use, instead of the "normal wash" button, and everything comes out clean.
We used to have a comforter cover (aka duvet cover) on our bed. The comforter inside the cover was always lumpy, because I could never get it to lay flat inside. Now we have a quilt instead. No more lumps.
When a backache goes away, I try to remember how much it hurt, so I can be happy when it is gone.
My daughter's car used to smell sickly sweet, due to an air freshener she kept in there. It gave me a headache. She agreed to get rid of it, and now I can sit in her car pain-free.
We used to have to take our dog out in the yard on a leash, but now that he is trained on his Invisible Fence, he can run free. Much better.
The muddy weather means wiping copious amounts of mud off our dog every time he comes in from the yard. On rare mud-free days, I remember the mud, so I can be happy it's not there.
Our Internet used to crash all the time. Little by little, our Internet company upgraded connections, replaced our modem, straightened out some wires, etc., and finally it is now pretty reliable. Every day it doesn't crash, I try to remember to appreciate it.
I just reread this list, and it seems that, in most of these cases, it took money to make the annoying things go away and make me happy. Does that mean money does buy happiness? Sounds like a topic for another column.
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