Cambrian: Slice of Life

Every so often, the best laid plans get hit from all angles

It’s the new mantra for the Tanner household: “Plans change.” No matter how carefully a person, a governmental agency, a big wig or a small fry plans out a day, a project or a life, those plans will change. It’s guaran-damn-teed.

The house painting, yard sale or carwash you were going to do? It rained. 

The shoo-in candidate? He lost. 

The development you were going to build? People hate it and aren’t shy about saying so to agencies that issue the permits you’ll need to do the project.

How about at home? The car you were going to drive? Won’t start or has a flat tire. The eggs you were going to scramble? Someone else ate them. The essay you were going to print out? Your computer ate it. 

It’s life. Get over it.

But sometimes, changes cascade like a roomful of stacked dominos in an earthquake. Everything happens at once. You feel like the piñata at a quinceañera party or the donkey that everyone’s pinning the tail on.

An example: We were preparing for a joyous mini-reunion with a son and daughter-in-law, three adult grandchildren and one significant other.

The weekend was to include Grandson Penn and his longtime sweetheart, Denielle, who had never seen the house we live in now, even though we moved into it more than six years ago. 

They’d planned to visit before, of course, but … you know the drill about plans. A wheezing car, snow on Donner Pass, job deadlines or financial shortfalls can derail travel plans in a flash.

To prepare for our guests, Son Brian and I launched into our customary before-company routine, straightening up, stocking up, plotting menus for the gourmet meals that are such fun to fix for foodie visitors.

Then, phooey! Grandson Dylan discovered that, while ticket prices for plane rides from Portland to San Jose were uncommonly reasonable, the cost of renting a car to get from San Jose to Cambria was not. 

One domino down.

Granddaughter Tina’s sudden pinched nerve in her neck meant she couldn’t drive north from Ventura. Ouch!

Two dominos.

Son Richard and wife Robin suddenly bid on a new house in a hot market, and had to stick around Reno to see if they got it (they didn’t). 

Those Tanner dominoes were toppling right and left.

What could be worse?

Then a crisis domino! Our overstuffed side-by-side fridge stopped working! Awk! No lights. No cold. No ice. No nothing.

What’s worse than having your peace and quiet disturbed when you hear the low hum of a refrigerator motor? Not hearing it.

I’d promised myself for weeks (months?) that I’d spring-clean the refrigerator. But not this way! Not now!

Brian and I frantically schlepped groceries into ice chests and a backup fridge and freezer (which were already stuffed, thank you. Think Fibber McGee’s refrigerator, if you’re old enough to know what that means. Envision me with my butt firmly pressed against the fridge door to get it shut.)

At 4:45 p.m., I made pleading phone calls to remarkably sympathetic folks. Idler’s set a repair call for the very next day, which is extraordinary scheduling. Electrician Gary Gowdy rearranged his own schedule and confirmed that power was getting to, but not through, the fridge’s controls. Idler’s repairman Efrain Duenas poked, prodded and found a dead circuit board. 

It had to be ordered. From Sacramento. 

That was Friday. Rob Bouse at Idlers ordered the part shipped overnight, and pledged to drive it to wherever Efrain was … on Monday. 

Penn and Denielle were due Saturday.

As our plans changed at hyperspeed, so did the weekend’s menu. The culinary highlight became sushi and tempura at Goshi’s on Sunday night. Cooking was a treasure hunt … “I know we had that. Where did we put it?”

Despite the hurdles, we had a wonderful weekend, with plenty of time to get reacquainted with Penn and Denielle, to really discover who they are as adults. Let’s face it, the rather frenzied other brief times we’ve spent with them in the past decade — at do-it-themselves wedding and graduation celebrations — didn’t provide opportunities for long, cozy chats.

Plans change. Always. So, what’s next?

And about that carwash. Do you suppose if we schedule it soon, it might bring us rain? Really? It’s worth a try.