Wednesday, April 11, 2012

One too many loose screws...and other lessons learned.

As previously mentioned, spring cleaning is underway in the Johnson home. Our first day "on the job" proved to be... adventurous? Eventful? More than I asked for? And we've only made our mark on ONE BATHROOM. Bless me, what does the rest of the house have in store for us? But within the chaos of transpired events, there was a very important and crucial lesson that I think the Lord needed me to learn. One that woke me up at 2:00 am this morning and kept me awake until 3:45 am. One that I feel strongly to write down for my children...and for me. I know this blog is for keeping friends/fam/peers updated and marking the funny, insignificant/significant moments of our lives, but I also feel it will be a great "book" for posterity to read and get to know us better...and hopefully, receive some kind of "wisdom" from the crazy lives we lead.

After making my list for the master bathroom and already spending 2 hours and a lunch break on accomplishing the items I had written, I decided to tackle the shower drain. Some (including my dad) asked why I needed to even worry about it. But, I was determined, especially after the log (and I really mean LOG) of gross, putrid, ickiness I pulled from the sink drain. Plus, I had cleaned out a shower drain before. All you have to do is unscrew the drain lid, pull it off, clean it, and clean the drain inside. Easy, right? Brandon (working from home), brought me a screwdriver with the right size tip I needed. As he handed me the tool and watched me take off the first screw, he made the comment "Make sure you don't loose the screws, okay? Be careful that they don't fall down the drain." Feeling slightly annoyed and that I needed to let him know I really "knew" what I was doing, I slightly rolled my eyes and said "I know. I know." And wouldn't you know? Just as I finished that last word, I pulled off the final screw with the drain lid and "Pop!", the screw falls off the screwdriver and right into the murky depths of the drain.

I slowly looked up at B and he said "What? Did you loose the screw?" All I could say was "I did." He asked "Did it fall down the drain?" "It did." I was waiting for it. You know, those words we all hate to hear, especially when we've made such a big deal in the beginning that we're right and awesome and so good at what we're doing, etc. etc. etc! Those words that start with "I told you..." But, to my surprise and a little relief, B gave me a half-laugh and proceeded to ask if I could get my hand down the drain. Then he tried getting his hand down the drain. Then I went to the garage and pulled out the box of old nails and screws, trying desperately to find something to replace my "mistake". Nothing.  Feeling hopeless and defeated, I called my grandpa (the plumber) for advice on what to do. He told me to go to Home Depot. If they didn't have what we needed, he gave me other plumbing supply stores we could try.

At this point, my first piano lesson was set to arrive in 30 minutes. I put some "real" clothes on, grabbed my purse and the one remaining screw and drain cap and headed down the road to Home Depot. After wandering around for a couple of minutes, I finally found someone who could help me. Unfortunately, he wasn't as "helpful" as I would have liked and told me I should buy two different types of screws that we looked at because he wasn't "sure" which one was right. Although a bag of screws is less than $1.00, I was already feeling guilty for the stress I'd caused my patient husband and being familiar with his "frugality", I knew he, himself, would not buy 2 bags of screws, only to try and find one that worked, etc. But, I was running out of time, so I grabbed both bags, headed to the self checkout, and ran to the car.

I got home just in time for my lesson to arrive. As my student sat down, B rummaged through the Home Depot bag and asked if I had the baggy with the screw and drain cap. I told him I did and it should be in my purse. He looked in my purse and said "No, it's not." Feeling a little agitated, I responded "Honey, it's in my purse! It should be right there." He looked and looked and looked, but nothing. We tore apart the Home Depot bag, dumped my entire purse upside down, and B went out the car to scavenge, but nothing was found. I told my student to keep playing and I grabbed my phone and called the local Home Depot. I finally got to the Customer Service line and explained my situation and asked him to see if I had, by chance, left the baggy there. The guy on the other end looked at the Self Checkout, the garbage, the Lost & Found, but he came up with nothing. We decided that, after my lesson, B and I would head down there together and re-trace my steps.

It's pretty obvious by now that I was quite frazzled. I kept waiting for B to say something or give me a huff or exasperated sigh or SOMETHING. I mean, not only had I "lost" the screw down the drain, but I pretty much lost the drain.  I told B I would wait in the car for him as he changed his clothes. Feeling so frustrated with myself, I became snippy and impatient, even after just 5 minutes of waiting. What was taking him so long? Didn't he understand I have another lesson in half an hour and we just need to get this taken care of? *grumble *grumble. Just as I was about to honk my horn, he stepped out the door.  As we headed down the road, my "defensive driving" seemed a little worrisome and B asked if I wanted him to drive instead because I "seemed" a little upset. Of course, this only led to biting responses "I know how to drive!" "I'm not upset!" We pulled into the parking lot. I quickly walked the path to retrace my steps. We talked to the girl at self-checkout. We talked to the guy that helped me find the screws. We talked to the lady over Customer Service. We walked the aisles and the parking lot. NOTHING.

Eventually, I conceded to defeat. I grudgingly told B we should look at the shower drain caps they had here and just buy a new one. As we looked at the ONLY 2 they offered, B pulled out the measuring tape he had in his pocket. I asked him if he had measured the drain cap before? He told me that's why it had taken him a little longer to get out to the car, because he wanted to be prepared. A little pang of guilt hit me because of my impatience while waiting for him in the garage.  We soon realized that neither of the products would work and B asked if I wanted him to call my dad for advice on where to get a replacement. I sadly nodded my head and imagined my dad's reaction when he found out what I'd done.  To my utter shock and surprise, B explained what had happened over the phone to my father, but instead of even mentioning my name at all, he used the words "we" or "us".  After all I had done, he still refused to place blame or point the finger.

We walked back to the car. As I pitifully open the door, B gets my attention. I look up to find him holding the baggy with the one screw and drain cap and his eyes as wide as golf balls. I might have said a little curse word. B thanks my dad for his help and explains that he just found the missing pieces that had wedged themselves between the passenger seat and car door. As we get buckled in and start the car, the tears start to flow freely from my eyes. To say I had a complete meltdown would be pretty much accurate.  I could feel the tension headache starting and I just kept asking myself "Why? Why? Why?" I reflected on the past 2 hours and all the little prayers I had offered in my heart. I questioned why the Lord didn't intervene and help us find the missing pieces BEFORE heading back down to Home Depot, or BEFORE I was so rude to my husband, or BEFORE stress completely took over my body and I turned into a raging monster.

As we returned to the house, I fell down on the couch and tears continued to come. As tenderly as he possibly could be, B grabbed my hands and pulled me close. Out of all the things that could have been said that day, at that moment, he chose these "You've had a really hard day. What would you like for dinner? You deserve a really good meal."

There are times in my life I can recall where certain principles of the Gospel are so exquisitely taught and learned. Humility, forgiveness, unconditional love, patience, and understanding. These crucial Christ-like attributes were on the Lord's list for me this day and they were taught and found within my own eternal companion. Almost ALWAYS, it is easier to criticize, demean, argue, place blame, gossip, and hold grudge. Almost ALWAYS, it is harder to live the higher law and follow Christ's example...even when it comes to those closest to you. There are so many things Brandon could have said or done...things that I, being the offending person, did myself. Instead, he chose to do better, be better, love better.

In the early hours of this morning, I went over this experience many times in my head. The spirit strongly encouraged me to pay attention. To my children, my hope is that you will recognize the importance of being a disciple of the Savior in ANY situation and that you will use this example as a reminder of that. Even more, I pray you, too, can find a companion that will have finely tuned these attributes in their own lives, as to provide a way for charity, friendship, and joy to abound in your relationship and home. Also, remember the Lord, in His infinite wisdom, has provided you with at least one solid parent. The other is a work in progress, sometimes a complete mess, with one too many "loose screws".  Hopefully this will change by the time each of you arrives...or at least by the time you graduate high school. No promises can made at this time. :)


  1. What a lucky girl you are Megan! B is soooo sweet. Sometimes we have to learn things the hard way in order to really remember that they're are engrained! Sounds like one of those times. I keep looking for the "like" button on your blog. he he

  2. That sounds like Brandon. Whenever I read your stories of the wonderful things he does, I try to make a mental note to act that way, when I get married (if that ever happens, haha). He's a great example for me too! Don't sell yourself too short, though. You're going to be a very "solid" parent, and your kids will be lucky to have such wonderful, amazing parents.

  3. I honestly don't know where Brandon gets that from - neither Carl or I is particularly patient. I also agree with Shane, Megan you will be a fantastic mother! One more thing, I think you should send this posting into the ENSIGN. It would make a great article! Carl and I love you tons!

  4. Love you Lori, Carl, and Shane. We have a WONDERFUL family. P.S. Shane, B is the greatest blessing in my life and you are def going to be that for a wonderful, amazing, beautiful woman! The Johnson men don't disappoint! (Hey, I should put that on a t-shirt.) Aubri, you are awesome. Thank you!