Sharon Randall: When plans fall through

Published 7:04 pm Friday, September 23, 2016

If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans.

Old people used to say that when I was a child. I never knew what it meant, but I do now. I said it myself this morning.

I’ve been making plans — both good and bad — for most of my life, only to see them fall apart.

It has happened so often you might think I’d have learned not to bother planning at all.

If you think that, think again.

I keep making plans, partly because it’s fun, but mainly because a lot of things worth doing won’t get done without a plan for doing them. Also, it gives God a reason to laugh.

Take this past week.

I flew home on Monday after three days in Montana, visiting my youngest and his family. It was a great visit. I was tired, but happy, ready to start checking off a long list of things I needed to do before leaving again a week later for some speaking engagements in Redding, Calif.

What was on the list? Usual stuff. Get my hair done. Go to the doc for a check-up. Float in the pool with my husband. Have lunch with my friend Linda. Write a column and finish working on the talks I’d be giving. Unpack, do laundry, repack … all good things.

Then, Monday night, my husband yelled from the garage: “You gotta come see this!”

I hate it when he says that. It’s never good. Sure enough, our water heater was leaking.

Picture a 50-gallon sieve.

He shut off the water and gas. It kept leaking. We stood there watching it drip, scratching our heads, the way you do when you don’t know what else to do.

Finally, we piled towels around it to soak up the water and started making phone calls.

And so it began.

I spoke to our home warranty company. They sent a plumber the next morning, who said, in effect, “Whoa. It’s bad.”

The leak had soaked into the walls. In the garage. And the kitchen. And the dining room. Not only did we need a new water heater. We needed “water removal specialists.”

I spoke to our insurance agent, who sent a team from Stanley Steemer to rip out soggy sheet rock and set up giant turbine fans to dry the wet walls. It sounded like a fleet of fighter jets preparing for take off.

We considered moving to a motel. Instead, we wore ear plugs. We couldn’t hear the doorbell, the phone, the TV or each other. It was like a silent retreat, without the silence.

Also, no hot water meant no taking showers or running the dishwasher or doing laundry.

Luckily, after two days, the plumber set up a new water heater temporarily, to give us hot water while the work is being done. Then he’ll do a final installation. I might kiss him.

The “drying phase” lasted five days. And nights. Then the guys from Stanley Steemer took away the turbines, hallelujah, and told us to call a contractor.

We did. He’s coming soon to give us an estimate on the repairs. I’m hoping the work will start the day I leave for Redding, and end before I get back.

Meanwhile, I’ve checked off a few things on my long list. I have two days to finish it up.

The important stuff will get done, the rest won’t matter.

Maybe I should have that carved on my tombstone?

This morning we awoke to two glorious gifts: Silence and hot water. My husband, bless him, brought me coffee, and set it on the nightstand. It’s a lovely way to wake up, sipping coffee and being thankful.

I had big plans for the day and was almost ready to get started. But as I reached for the coffee cup, it slipped from my hand and bounced across the floor.

And coffee rained about the bedroom to the far ends of the Earth, sloshing a power strip, splashing across my desk and dripping off my nose.


Some days I think I was born just to keep God in stitches.

Sharon Randall can be reached at P.O. Box 777394, Henderson NV 89077, or on her website: