“I’m about to learn a life lesson,” has been my mantra lately. It’s the words I whisper to myself while I count to ten when I’m frustrated or confused. Usually it means that I’m predicting a hard lesson coming: how to communicate differently, how to be more direct, how to ask for help, how to accept a failure, how to be patient for long periods of time, how to take criticism, how to count to ten (or diez) instead of crying.
Yesterday, I had a small but pretty hilarious, analagous life lesson moment that I have to share with you.
Flashback to about a week ago…I have been struggling to organize my stuff in my room. It’s got lots of great closet space, but it’s difficult to utilize the space without shelves and/or boxes to prevent my socks and toiletries from fraternizing with my teaching materials, etc. However, shelves and boxes are hella expensive on this budget!
One day after my morning run, I passed the fruit/veggie store as they were unloading produce for the day. As they stocked the fresh papayas, piles of bright tomatoes and green bananas, they tossed the wooden crates to the curb for trash pickup.
Perfect! I thought. I could sand them down a bit and have a great shelving system for free! I quickly snatched up the cleanest two crates and hiked home to start my DIY project.
Both crates perfectly fit the stacks of books and journals I needed to find space for, so I packed them in and set them on the floor along the wall to wait for me to rearrange the furniture. Success! I was using available resources to find solutions to local issues. What a Peace Corps Volunteer!
Fast forward to yesterday…the time came to move that well-packed crate of books. With a little grunt, I shoved the crate and dragged it across the room to unload it…only to leave behind a trail of sawdust and ten thousand wriggling termite babies! I frantically pulled all the books out of the crate, horrified to find these squirmy monsters in the spines and between the pages of my important Peace Corps handbooks and resource binders! My brilliant project, my little success, turned out to be a hidden catastrophe that bites, literally.
I jumped up and started stomping on the bugs, threatening the little horrors in my newfound Spanish slang. A broom, several dousings of Raid and a mopping later, my life lesson finally drew to a close and I was able to sit down and get a belly laugh out of the situation.
Life lesson? …Pride comes before the fall, and sometimes the prettiest projects come with hidden consequences, so choose carefully and be prepared to learn from a mistake.
And always have harmful chemicals on hand.