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Posts Tagged ‘When life gives you lemons’

Salvaging the Day

In Family, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on June 28, 2010 at 7:59 am

The kids were looking forward to spending the day at a waterpark and sleeping in a hotel room after traveling two-and-a-half hours to tour a time share resort.  My wife and I had no intention of buying a time share, but we were willing to sacrifice 90 minutes for a gift card, free waterpark passes and a certificate for a 2-night stay at Great Wolf Lodge at a later date.  We had no way of knowing that the presentation would end so badly, or that the waterpark would turn out to be a huge disappointment.

The waterpark (located at the resort) was billed as an “indoor / outdoor facility” with a retractable roof.  As we entered the building, my wife and I were shocked to see that the roof was closed on a hot, sunny day.  If they thought that it was too hot, I would have understood, as long as the building was air conditioned, but it was not.  Quite the contrary!  The glass building felt like a greenhouse.  The heat was stifling, and the smell of chlorine and sweat permeated the air.  To make matters worse, there was almost no seating available.

Regretfully, we had to tell the kids that our time spent in the car, and the time wasted at the presentation (a post for another day), was all for naught.  There was no way that we were going to stay at the waterpark under those conditions, and there was certainly no reason to stay in a hotel in an area that offered nothing of interest to us beyond the waterpark.  And while the future stay at Great Wolf Lodge is something that the kids will undoubtedly enjoy, it wasn’t going to do anything to quell their disappointment in the change of plans.

After taking away something that they were looking forward to, I knew that I needed to do something to salvage the day, so I decided to take the money that we were saving from the hotel and spend it in a way that they would appreciate.

Before hitting the road for our return trip home, we took the kids out for pizza to discuss our alternative plans.  Thankfully, the negotiations with the kids went much smoother than the horrific sales presentation that my wife and I had sat through prior to our lunch.

I started by offering to take the kids to a place by our house that has water slides.  When I saw that they were only lukewarm to the idea, I offered to take them to a store to allow them to buy some new pool toys that we could bring to the pool in our complex.  Again, the response was less than exuberant, so I knew that I’d have to up the ante a bit to bring a smile to their faces.  I also knew that one thing probably would get the job done, so I went with a multi-pronged attack aimed at their “hot buttons.”

Our first stop on the way home was at the bookstore that we go to on a weekly basis.  Since our home is already a virtual library for kids, we usually do not buy books when we go to the bookstore.  But I told them that I would allow each of them to buy any two books that they wanted because we weren’t staying at the waterpark or the hotel.

As the smiles started to come back to their faces, I told them that we could have dinner at McDonald’s, followed by ice cream at a local place that they love, and then go to the pool in our complex until it got dark out.  By the time that I had laid all of these options on the table, the kids were more excited than ever.  Suddenly, the long car ride, the annoying presentation, the disappointing waterpark and the lack of a hotel stay didn’t bother them at all.  In fact, they were more excited about the new plans than they ever were about the original plans.  Their smiling faces would have been more than enough for me, but the jubilation in their voices made it even better as they excitedly shrieked…“thank you Daddy, thank you Mommy, you’re the best!”

All told, we ended up spending about half of what we would have had we stayed at the waterpark and the hotel, and the kids ending up having a great day just the same.  As the saying goes…“when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!” Instead of looking back on Saturday with disappointment and frustration, I’ll remember it as a day that we (as a family) collectively shared a refreshing, ice-cold glass of lemonade.

As Edwin McCain sang so eloquently…“these are the moments…I’ll remember all my life.”

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Best Laid Plans

In Inspiration and Motivation, Life Lessons, Pursuit of Happiness on February 26, 2010 at 9:21 am

Life today is infinitely busier than it was when I was a kid.  Perhaps it is because I am an adult with responsibilities, or perhaps it is because the simpler days before the technology revolution left us with more time to live in the moment.  So much of our life nowadays is spent planning for things that we are going to do in the future that the present tends to get short-changed.  And though we don’t give it much thought…time marches on while we continue to make plans for the future.

Because we do not exist in a controlled environment, sometimes even the best laid plans fall apart, due to human error, “acts of God” or some other unforeseen circumstance.  When things happen that are beyond our control, we still have the power to control how we respond to adversity.  There were times in my life when I wasn’t very good at dealing with plans falling apart, particularly when it was due to human error.  Although I still have a tendency to get annoyed when miscommunication or mistakes made by others alters my plans, I am getting better at finding solutions to problems rather than dwelling on them.  As Fraklin Delano Roosevelt once stated “When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”

One of the reasons that I’ve been posting a little less frequently this week to Waldo2010 is because I am in the middle of planning a business trip for one of the ventures that I am working on.  As is the case with any new venture, there have been some bumps in the road.  There have been technological challenges, as well as challenges caused by miscommunication, working on shorter than normal deadlines and even uncontrollable “acts of God” (namely the weather in the East Coast).  So far, each challenge has been dealt with by finding an alternative solution.  As the saying goes…“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.”

By this time next week, I’ll know if the lemonade turned out to be a cold drink on a hot summer’s day, or something that was too sour to swallow.  If it turns out to be the former, it will be a step in the right direction as I travel down the road in my pursuit of wealth.  If it turns out to be the latter, I will continue making more lemonade until it suits my palate.

This experience has taught me some valuable life lessons:

  • Things aren’t usually as bad as they seem when you take a moment to think about them.
  • Life is going to throw you curve balls.  How you react to them is the most important thing.
  • No plan is perfect, but good ones can overcome challenges when met with creativity and desire.
  • And finally, lemonade metaphors make you thirsty!
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