Attitude makes all the difference

This morning at White Feather Farm: our generator

Several years ago, we had a huge storm here in the northeast which took the power out for days. As I recall, the temperature hovered around 30 degrees (not cold for us) but by the second day, our house was also that temperature and things that we took for granted, like being able to flush the toilet, were no longer functional. We kept expecting the power to come back on, but the forecast by Niagara Mohawk was not good. At 5 a.m. we bundled up (even more) and headed to town for coffee.

Luckily the West Village Market had coffee, heat, WiFi and working bathrooms! I was feeling optimism and appreciation….until I went on-line and started looking for a generator. We had talked about buying one before but never got around to it. Now I, and every other person in the northeast, was looking and there was not one to be found.

We headed back home. Many times, when Jack and I hit a “crisis” situation, I am the one who can keep an optimistic attitude. I know the power that attitude and emotions have to line us up with good solutions. But I forgot all this that morning. I did not even feel a drop of hope inside…could not pull up one positive thought and wasn’t trying. We drove past Endee Electric, and Jack said he was going to stop in and see if Bob knew where we could buy or rent a generator. I said, “Jack, don’t bother him now. He has probably been out all night on calls.” Jack drove past and then stopped and said, “I am going back. It will only take a minute and I really want to”. I was annoyed. I imagined myself sitting in the car for 1/2 hr while he chatted with Bob, coming out no further ahead.

I sat in the car wondering if we should check into a motel, if the cats would be warm enough, if the pipes would freeze, if the basement would flood without the sump pump…all sorts of negative thoughts took over as I sat in my gloomy little space.  Jack came out of Bob’s a few minutes later and got into the car, turned to me and said, “Bob has one generator left and he is coming by at noon to hook it up.”

I was stunned, delighted, and so grateful that I had been wrong….that Jack had not joined me in my bad attitude but kept his balance.  He had never felt as pessimistic as I did during this situation, so he was able to find a solution that worked.

We lost our power again last night at 1 a.m. and Jack immediately hooked up the generator and then stayed up most of the night,  to make sure everything was running fine. As we talked over coffee this morning I noticed that he wasn’t upset that he lost sleep or that there was yet another storm… he said he was feeling such gratitude for having a generator. I agreed. I was also feeling gratitude for the generator, but even more than that, for his attitude on that winter morning a few years ago.

13 thoughts on “Attitude makes all the difference”

  1. Hi Mary,
    Some people will read this and think it’s too much Pollyanna. Several years ago, that would have been me. Not anymore.
    I am a cancer survivor since 2001. Last year the docs saw something on my PET scan in my lung. Every single doctor I saw told me that the cancer had returned. Deep down, I knew it wasn’t, and I held fast to that. Surgery proved me right. That was when I truly realized that attitude takes you wherever
    you’re aiming it. You are spot on, here.

  2. Another post that hit home for me . . . as your writings generally do. You’re so good at that, Mary. Having someone to provide another perspective on things when you are down is one of marriage’s biggest pluses (other than love itself), don’t you think? Sounds like you chose a fine husband!

  3. Mary, what I love about your blog is the little daily reminders of the importance of attitude and perspective. We all get down at times and it just helps to have a positive place to go to lift up that foggy veil. I am a retired hospice nurse and learned so much from my years caring for the dying, it was such a privlege to be a part of something so intensely personal. However I was not without my fears… I took care of many end stage dementia patients and thought of this as the worst possible thing that one could succumb to. One day, another nurse described her patient as pleasantly confused and a light bulb came on, as sad as this disease is, there can be moments of “pleasantness.” It still makes me smile. Thank you for your work here. Terri

    1. I love the “pleasantly confused” too! thank you for sharing

  4. Mary, I loved this post. We all need to hang on tight to that attitude of gratitude. Thanks for the reminder. My day has just been readjusted, courtesy of you.

  5. Thanks….so smart to get a generator…! 🙂
    Need to hear the positive “attitude” (or at least not! negative) today. Drinking only liquids as I prepare for an upper GI and colonoscopy in the hospital tomorrow….NOT looking forward to these next two days, of course.
    BUT I can consider other perspectives: I’ll get thru this day hour by hour (done it before) and tomorrow the procedure will flow along okay with caring nurses beside me as I’m “out”, 2 diff friends will take me and pick me up…dog will be cared for by friends as he gets his bath..iinsurances will pay for it all, and maybe I’ll find out why I’m anemic (so tired) and maybe the GERD problem can be solved …just took myself off Prilosec (diarrhea & other problems) but find I can’t eat too much at one time (that’s not all bad)…
    Anyway, the quest is on…and I’ll enjoy my little home (as you are doing in one MORE storm in the NE).
    Blessings all, Karen

  6. Great story. Thanks for sharing. We also lost electric last night at the same time. As I groped in the blackness for a flashlight, I had a moment of FEAR, followed by a moment of GRATITUDE for my eyesight which, all too often, I take for granted. My daughter came downstairs with a big flashlight; we found and lit the many (usually for decoration) candles. I said, “well, aren’t we lucky, this is the first time all this long winter that we’ve lost electric!” I went to bed, and was woken by the electric heater and bedside light in my bedroom. More to be grateful for. But, I have thought this morning of some of the homeless people (“60 Minutes” T.V. last night) and am praying for them. And, I will be very, very careful to wear my ice-cleats when I go out to free my frozen-shut garage.
    No Pollyanna here – just choosing an attitude of gratitude.

  7. From Bedlam Farm to White Feather Farm—WHEEEW!
    As I read these posts this morning, from 3,000 miles west, I am sending buckets of blessings and surplus gratitude to all you robust nor’easterners. Not only do I thank you for the daily reminders, I visualize waves of warm sun embracing you and all those you touch with your inspiring and thought provoking words. My meditation today is melt, melt, melt… my wild finches are tweeting that, too! Spring is nigh.

  8. So glad I found out about your blog, via Jon Katz. His Bedlam Farm blog is always a delight every morning.
    I think It would be nice to have more pictures from you. I loved your picture of your feet, by the way.
    Love your posts. You seem like a very likable, down to earth person. This southern girl likes your blog. Thanks for doing it.

  9. It’s a good thing we don’t all end up in the negative hole at the same time. I’m always grateful when my sweetheart can throw me a rope. And vice versa.

  10. Wow Mary – great post of why a good marriage is so valuable. My husband and I do the same things to each other. We each bring a different perspective to solving our problems. This time you gave up, and Jack did not. Another day it could have easily flipped the other way.

    That’s why we are married – doing it together makes a big difference to the joy and survival of the Game of Life.

    Hugs & kisses


  11. in 2008 I embraced the Buddhist life..imagine my joy when I discovered their residence was ‘just down the street’ and how great to have my own personal monks to go to with questions. It also make me smile that my monks live in a condo and all have cell phones tucked into their orange robes! Makes perfect sense…they respect the past and live in the day! My computer crashed and I was complaing to Bhante and he said to me, “Nothing is forever” at first I was annoyed, after all his computer was working! But as time goes by, and life keeps happening, that is now my mantra, “Nothing is forever” be it a stubbed toe or an annoying neighbor or just a bad day…… I realized one day, that…. I am happy! And content, and what has changed the most in my life is……….me!

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