Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Gratitude With a Side of Perspective



Creamy Peas & Pearl Onions | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #sidedish


Yeah, yeah, I know, get with the program, that was 6 weeks ago. In fact, not only is Thanksgiving over, so is Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s. 

I had a really tough time this past holiday season. I alluded to it in my December Secret Subject Swap, but wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. Today, I’m putting the story out there, releasing myself from its grip. 
It's a story about stars that did not align. In fact, they were so far out of alignment, they'd need a chiropractor.

Before I tell the story, let me say that I'm a planner. I think way ahead, break tasks down into smaller pieces, schedule them on my calendar (in pencil, so I can work ahead and delete, or if I fall behind, reschedule). It’s not written in stone, but I have everything accounted for, broken down into manageable pieces, and organized. That’s especially important this time of year when, for 2 weeks, everyone’s home. I have a big Thanksgiving dinner to make, as well as College Boy’s birthday dinner, Hanukkah, all of PurDude’s favorite dinners, sides, snacks, and desserts (with plenty left over to send home with him). 

Organization is my key to stress relief. Not only that, but it ensures I get to spend as much time engaged with my family as possible.

So the week before PurDude was to come home, all the shopping was done, some of the Thanksgiving prep was done, the house cleaners would come on Friday, and PurDude would make the drive home on Saturday. Minimal stress.

Oops, spoke too soon.
Gratitude With a Side of Perspective | graphic designed by, featured on, andproperty of www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #blogging


On Wednesday it was freezing cold and windy out, but I was indoors doing my thing, didn’t even notice.

Until Wednesday night, when I very much noticed that it was freezing in the house. That observation was followed by another, that the heat was not coming on. At all.

On Thursday, the company that had installed our furnace 5 years ago spent some time downstairs and, on the way out, told us that we needed a chip in a motherboard (on warranty, phew), that was back ordered for about 3 months. Delete that “phew.”

After me blocking the door (figuratively, not literally), telling them they could not just leave like this, they offered to sell me a motor I would only need until the part came in, to bypass the motherboard, for $1000. Umm, no. But I didn’t let them leave until they literally scoured the country for the part, then got the president of their company involved.

Friday, they tried to install the motor (at no charge). It didn’t work. They had found a furnace in Tennessee, the part would be removed, sent here next day air to arrive Saturday. But I also had to push the house cleaning off until Monday. It was 49 degrees in the house.

Even with the gas fireplace heating the man cave level (didn’t use the wood fireplace on the main level because we’d be tending to it constantly), two space heaters the HVAC company brought us, and 2 we bought, it was very cold in the house, about 55 degrees. An improvement, but still cold.

I tried to keep on schedule with many of the tasks for the 2 weeks of celebrations, while also spending as little time as possible in the kitchen on the main floor.
Creamy Peas & Pearl Onions | recipe developed by www.BakingInATornado.com | #recipe #sidedish
Creamy Peas & Pearl Onions

On Saturday the part did not arrive. And PurDude texted. He was sick, did not feel up to making the drive. Maybe tomorrow . . .
Sunday night, PurDude arrived. He was sick, but he was here. 

Monday, still no part. I was starting to doubt its existence. But it had warmed both outside and inside, so I didn't cancel the house cleaning. Just before they were to arrive, though, I got a text, she didn't have anyone to watch her 5 year old. Then a while later, another text, they were on their way.

After the man cave had been cleaned, the cleaners were heading upstairs when I told them that my son was in his room working, to just skip his room. G responded that her sons were in the car. Now she barely speaks English, so I wasn't sure of what she was saying, but I looked out front and in her car I could see 2 of her kids.

Nope, I couldn't have that. Bring them in.

Which was how I ended up spending my afternoon babysitting a 5 year old. 
After the cleaners left, I texted them.
Me: Deberias estar orgullose, tus hijos son felices, se portan bien, y son muy educados.
(You should be proud, your sons are happy, well behaved, and very polite).
And the answer I got was the gift of perspective.
G: Muchas gracias Karen, seguire trabajando con ellos, y para ellos.
(Thank you very much, Karen. I will continue to work with them, and for them).
Such a simple but powerful statement of parental love, I will probably remember it forever.

On Tuesday, I insisted PurDude see a doctor. He was walking back in the house with a dx of acute sinus infection and middle ear infection, and a big bottle of antibiotics, just as the wizard working down in the basement got the heat going.

Slowly, very slowly, the stars had realigned.

As usual, on turkey day, as we went around the table, I had a lot about which to express my heartfelt thanks. Mostly the usual, but this year (and forever more) I have a few more things to happily add to my thankful list.

I’m always thankful for my family, for our home, for the precious time we get to spend together.

But this year I'm more appreciative of a clean house . . . although maybe in the future without the babysitting duties part (hope that sounds more exhausted and less ungrateful). 

I'm thankful for schedules broken apart coming back together again. And for perspective, wherever it may come from.
And for heat.  
And antibiotics.


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Creamy Peas & Pearl Onions        


Printable Recipe

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1 bag (12 oz) frozen peas
1 cup frozen pearl onions (about 12), halved
2 oz mushrooms, sliced
1 TBSP cooking sherry 
1/2 cup mascarpone
1 tsp dried chives

*Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8 X 8 or 7 inch round baking dish
*In a saute pan over just above medium heat, bring the vegetable broth, salt, and pepper to a boil. Add the bacon, frozen peas, frozen pearl onions, and mushrooms. Cook, stirring now and then for 5 minutes. 
*Add the sherry and mascarpone. Stir until the mascarpone has melted, then allow to boil for 3 minutes.
*Pour into the prepared baking dish, sprinkle with the dried chives, and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.


  1. Thank you for sharing. Your cleaning lady and her kids (and your graciousness) really spoke to me.

    1. She is a really good person, I'm lucky to have found her.

  2. Most people would throw a fit about the babysitting but I know how you are with kids and knowing you helped her as she helped you. We all need to help each other more if only to gain perspective of how lucky we truly are.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving! Donna

  4. Sometimes, the gift of 'perspective' is the greatest gift of all! Thank you for this glimpse, Karen. It's life-changing!

  5. Warmer for sure,
    I allowed a girl putting down my new flooring to bring her two year old daughter. She had not showed up and put me off and I was ready to fire her. She explained she had no babysitter. I agreed for her to bring the little girl. She did not as me to babysit and that was the best behaved two year old I have ever experienced.
    My maid has on occasion had to bring her son. He is older, but very well behaved. Donna

    1. I don't mind it under unusual circumstances, but wouldn't want it to happen often. This little boy was a great kid, but he was a handful.

  6. I do know what it's like to lose your furnace in the ice cold weather (it happened to us in 2021) but we didn't have all these other disasters. You showed your grace and strength in handling it all. It's too bad you had to stand on the necks of those heating people - they seriously wanted you to spend $1,000.on a motor you would only need until the part came in?

    1. It was a struggle, all of it, and Iknow that if I hadn't been assertive with the heating people it would have been worse. And I'm so glad to have gotten my son here and to a doctor. It didn't look like it would for a while there, but it did all finally work out.

  7. Amen.

    What is it with kids coming home from working out of state and they have sinus infections and ear infections? Happened to us at Thanksgiving.

    I'm glad your stars realigned, and you got to enjoy the holidays once the house warmed up.

    1. Really? You too? How strange. Good thing both kids had their moms to take care of them as they got better.

  8. Glad to hear that things improved as time went on. Everything happens the way it's supposed to.

    1. I suppose it's true that everything happens the way it's supposed to, but sometimes we really need everything to happen the way we planned.

  9. That was nice of you to babysit. I'm a planner but not that much of a planner but I hate when things don't go the way they are supposed to.

    1. Yeah, I can deal with a blip or two, that's life, but when everything falls apart, I'm not happy.

  10. Glad everything got sorted out eventually. Whenever I'm tempted to grumble I think of how hard life is for others. I can see how the cleaning lady's choices and your own choice to be kind, could make a difference to an already meaningful day!


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