Friday, November 16, 2007

But (conjunction) makes an imperfect ending to good intentions

I hate the word BUT. It ruins an otherwise perfect sentence. I've hated it since I was a child, because that is when I first learned that "except"-ional word changed the meaning of all that went before it: "Your room is very neat, but you still need to do your closet." or "Your chores are all finished, but you still need to do your homework before you can go out." When I grew older, I heard things like, "You look great, but you that blouse isn't frilly enough." You know what I mean, don't you? Your teachers & parents used it when correcting you; your boss used it when evaluating you. Your spouse used it when commenting about a meal, clothes, makeup, and hair. Today, I will have used it to make pronouncements on two otherwise perfect days. One of those days occurred last week and one happened yesterday. You see, both days started out perfect, BUT they ended otherwise. Let me begin by saying the end of both of these days should have ended with me attending a class I need and enjoy. The instructor/moderator is a best selling and gifted author, Bonnie Hearn-Hill, who mentors us fledgling writers with tough love, precise insights, and the type of hands-on instruction we could not receive anywhere else. Most of her students have gone on to careers as authors, editors and freelance writers. So, to miss her class is a personal tragedy. My BUT for these days resulted in a missed class. Those misses cannot be recouped, because I did not learn what was discussed those two nights, and was unable to share the triumphs of other classmates, all of which have become dear friends. So, what happened? Day one was a perfect day, full of the possibilities that all would be accomplished with pleasure in a timely fashion. So it was, Angela and I had set ourselves the task of cutting limbs off trees that were infringing on our neighbor's yard. Our trees are in the 70+foot range, so cutting off limbs for two 60ish women is no small undertaking. However, our progress was prodigious, limbs came off, no one was hurt, and the dumpster filled quickly, as did the excess pile next to it. We worked together like the two long time partners we are, making the work fun even though it was difficult. It was a perfect day, BUT when we stopped to clean up, I made a serious mistake. I lay down for a "short" nap. I woke about two in the morning. My compassionate mate let me sleep through the evening. Nice, BUT, I missed my class. Yesterday, a like thing happened. Again, it was class night, and I planned to go. However, the otherwise perfect day took over, and the night was lost. We began with a day full of projects. We have guests coming for the holidays, so tasks that must be done have resulted in a fairly tight schedule, especially now that we are watching our granddaughter. It's amazing how much time a baby takes, isn't it? They can disrupt a whole day while all your plans go awry. Anyway, I can't use that as an excuse, because Thursday is not our day to babysit. Instead, we plowed into our lists, helping one another hold this, hold that, and help carry and whatnot through the day. Angela was working on painting cabinets, me on house cleaning and other smaller projects. The day wound down with our day's lists nearing completion. It was then the BUT happened. Both of us discovered a needful thing was missing, without which, our tasks could not be completed. That meant a trip to the store. Of course, we did not find what we needed at our first two stops - where we expected to make quick purchases and return home. The process ballooned into a search, which last much longer than planned. Time ticked by, and night fell. Frustrated, now, and feeling rushed, we hurried home and delved back into our projects. About the time that hunger began to gnaw at me, Angela finished the laundry room with a "Tada," meaning I was to come admire the handiwork. I did, BUT my sense of joy of another task removed from our to-do list was dashed when I realized it was 9 p.m. A perfect day of accomplishements, BUT I'd missed a class that was important to me.

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