Yesterday, we had a nice time at church, but it seemed to be all downhill from there. (Fair warning: I'm going to talk sports for a while here, but that's not really what this entry is about. Skim if you must, if football really isn't your thing--I promise I'm going somewhere with all this!)
My Cardiac Cats, the Cincinnati Bengals, were playing divisional rival Pittsburgh, and it was a big game--both teams are fighting for a Wildcard spot, and though the boys in stripes lost the first meeting between the two, they only lost by a touchdown and had a lot of opportunities. They're a talented young team, and I thought there was a good chance they could win the rematch in Pittsburgh. I was hoping for a statement game like the one late in the 2005 season when they clinched the division there in Pittsburgh (I was fortunate enough to be at Heinz Field for that one), and I thought there was reason to believe this could be the game.
Lauren needed to work on her computer, so what we'd worked out was that we'd go to BW3's so that I could watch the game and she could use their free Wi-Fi to get work done (I'd have to split my attention between the game and child-care, but that was fine). We arrived just before kick-off, the Bengals held the Steelers to a 3-and-out, and drove down for a touchdown! I got distracted by Thea, then looked up to see that the score had been called back. Grrr. And they missed the third down conversion, so it was field goal time. Okay. They made the field goal, which was a bit of a letdown, but still an early lead. I got distracted again only to look up and see them re-trying the field goal... and having it blocked. Are you kidding me?
Meanwhile, Lauren was discovering that the Free Wi-Fi wasn't working. The laptop couldn't connect, and neither could our iPods. We talked to our server who talked to the manager, but we couldn't get anything fixed. Well, much as I'd like to see the game, we couldn't sit around with Lauren not getting work done! So we headed back to a place we knew closer to home. By the time we got there, the Steelers were up 21-0. ::sigh:: We sat down, ordered some food and beverage... and had similar problems with the WiFi. At least Cincinnati scored a touchdown soon after we got there to cut the lead, then they held Pittsburgh and got the ball back with just a couple minutes left in the first half--great opportunity to pull within 7. Except they couldn't, so they had to punt. Despite an obvious block in the back (I swear the Steelers always get away with ridiculously obvious penalties that anyone else would be called for), the punt-return-for-touchdown stood to make the score 28-7. And, like I said, the Wi-Fi wasn't working.
Oh, and did I mention that every time we walked out of anywhere, it started raining?
Lauren and I were both a bit grumpy, both a bit testy as we went to pick up a few things on our way home. Then we stopped to fill the car up with gas. Now, I have to digress just a bit here. When we drove back from Thanksgiving, I had some trouble getting the fuel door open (apparently because I hadn't turned the car off). I pushed at it, trying to get it to open, and only got it when I thought to turn off the car. Then, the next time I went to fill up the car... it wouldn't open. Period. D'OH! Last night, at the suggestion of someone on an on-line forum, I was able to open it by hooking the release latch up with the driver's seat belt (it's on the floor by the door) and pushing on it at the same time, so I was preparing to do the same thing today to put gas in the car, but when I pulled the latch, it just plain opened, easy as that.
Now, I don't know if it was the unexpected good fortune or the crisp air or what, but it suddenly occurred to me that I was grumpy, that I was letting all this crap drag me down. I mean, really: so "my" football team is losing--so what? I should be too smart and too sophisticated to care that much about any sports, much less professional sports. So our plans didn't workout the way we wanted them too--and our backup plan failed too. So what? What world am I living in if I think that plans always work out just because I make them? Certainly not the real world! I've got a great daughter, a great wife, a great job, a great life. Why, then, should I let myself be brought down by such trivialities?
I got back in the car, surprised Lauren with a kiss, and explained my little bitty epiphany, and the whole shape of our day changed. We both stopped being grumpy and had such a fun car ride home, spontaneously playing with Thea by repeating in chorus every word or sound she made.
"It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue,
and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and
paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can
do. To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. Every man is
tasked to make his life, even in its details, worthy of the contemplation of his
most elevated and critical hour." --Henry David Thoreau