Monday, December 05, 2011

Everything is as it should be

The universe knows. It just does. I'm convinced now more than ever, after this weekend.

We learned last week was that a major component of this year's addition to The Christmas Display would not be delivered in time. As many of you now know, we added a train this year. Not just a little choo choo that chugs around the track and looks good. We added a friggin' train. One that children can ride on. And adults. Many of them, all at once. It's really, really cool.

M has worked on this project for over five years. Five stinkin' years of painstaking research and planning. The man doesn't move quickly on projects half this size, so he really did his due diligence on this. Given the financial commitment, he wanted to be absolutely certain we were getting exactly what we wanted, and that it was a good value.

This year, we finally decided to pull the trigger. It was time to order the train. The locomotive and track came from one vendor, the cars from another. We wrote a bunch of checks and consulted calendars and arranged for help from the elves. The cars were done first; M and Dad drove north to pick them up with Dad's truck. They were then shuttled to a local powder coater here in STL that M found (also through a ton of research). The guy was great, and the cars were done quickly and looked phenomenal.

M started leaning on the other vendor, who started floating excuses. It was his busy season. His cost of materials went up. He was upside-down and we caught him between price changes. A bunch of malarkey is what it was. M continued to remind him of our deadline of December 3. The guy promised, "Next week." Well, "next week" continued for about a month. He blew the first deadline and M rolled with it. Then he blew the second, and the third, and M started to panic. Frequent calls and emails, trying to push the guy into action from thousands of miles away. More excuses were floated. The welds weren't coating right. The steel had a defect. It was always something.

We got down to last week and really started flipping out. He had to ship it by Wednesday night for there to be any chance of making it here by Saturday, and even then we'd be cutting it close. And crossing our fingers that the damn thing worked right out of the crate.

Wednesday went by with no call from the vendor, no email. Thursday started ticking by...still nothing. I lost my shit several times and started making plans for an Internet jihad against the vendor. M kept cool, and talked me off the ledge. I kept thinking that maybe the guy figured out that he was about to royally blow it and was trucking it here himself. Nope. He shipped it Friday. The day before our big party. When there was absolutely no chance of it arriving in time.

M said, "Hey, look at it this way...if we were going to be missing something, I'd rather it be the locomotive. We have track, we have cars...we can always push/pull the kids around the track." I didn't see the glass as half full like he did. I saw it half empty with a hole in the bottom and several hundred pounds of steel and humans with no horsepower.

I really struggled with my feelings over this. I was so angry at this vendor. We had given him plenty of time (M built in a whole month for cushion, after all, and he still blew it). We had paid up front (and trust me, this thing wasn't cheap). There was no real excuse for the delay other than he. f*cked. up. Which is pretty unacceptable for me.

Last week I had a kindness club meeting. I tried to think of the man kindly, and found it damn near impossible. I searched for ways to try to get over it already, try to calm down. Intellectually, I knew this wasn't the end of the world and that in the grand scheme of things it was really nothing to be too worked up over. I watched how M dealt with it, and wondered how he could be so calm, when I wanted to call and ream this guy on his behalf. I was in full mama-bear mode: don't f*ck with someone I love. And that's exactly what this vendor had done. He let down my boy.

Finally, late Thursday, M got me to laughing. I can't even remember what he said, but it did the trick and before I knew it I felt much better. I resigned myself to having our show without the main attraction, and we set to work on changes.

Saturday night, with nearly 80 people standing in freezing cold between rain showers on our front sidewalk, I served as a locomotive and debuted our train (with Zozer as passenger) to our guests. I smiled as big as I could and let out a hearty "CHOO CHOOOOO!" as I pulled. And then I chugged a bit. I heard laughter, so hopefully my stint as a locomotive went over okay despite the fact that I've never taken any acting classes.

Then, after the show, the sky opened up and it began to rain again. And it didn't stop the rest of the night. Which meant that even if we had a locomotive, no one would have been out there to use it anyway. It was God and the universe saying, "S'okay, kid. Everything is workin' out just fine."

The party was a lot of fun, and while I'm sure people were disappointed that we didn't have the locomotive, it didn't keep them from having a good time. The house was packed, and drinks were flowing. The pool table was loaded down with food. I showed off my architect and our house plans. I heard laughter and saw lots of hugs. Most people promised to come back sometime this season and see the locomotive, which is now scheduled to be here tomorrow.

Looking back, we'll laugh about The Year the Locomotive Didn't Arrive, and remember all the really, really great stuff that happened despite its absence. My friends and family surrounded me and made me laugh, and reassured me that I'm loved and that no matter what, I won't fall, because they're all here to catch me.

Hopefully next time something happens, I'll remember this, and will be better equipped to handle it. Trust the that everything is unfolding exactly as it should, and that we are all exactly where we need to be right now.

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Anonymous Tifferz said...

Everything was fantastic! Its kind of like the party bus with no AC situation, something to always think back and laugh about!

9:35 AM  

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