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Disaster recovery

Today the dishwasher broke down. Not, as would have been far more convenient, on a normal Tuesday or even the Bank Holiday Monday. No, it chose today to break down – Easter Sunday, 2 days away from a normal, working day and with a full house. The lovely out of hours call centre at Bosch can only book us a ‘call back’ for Tuesday and one might question the sanity of employing people just to tell you that. An answerphone message would have done it.

It’s 1.15pm and Danny and I have just finished washing up 10 lots of breakfast crockery and cutlery along with all our preparation equipment; we now have hands like wrinkled old prunes. I don’t know about my metabolic age but my ‘hand’ age must be at least 65. Anyway… I digress.

My real amazement in all of this is not that the dishwasher broke down on a bank holiday, we’ve come to expect that things always go wrong at the worst possible time, no, the real revelation is that I am relatively sane around the whole thing. I have done none of the following things, all of which would have been the preferable option a year ago:

I have not:

  • 1. Cried, yes… I’m nearly 36 and it’s still one of my first ports of call.
  • 2. Ranted and raved about how these things happen at the most inconvenient time and what the hell were Bosch thinking that they can’t even make a machine that lasts longer than a year.
  • 3. Shouted at the poor woman at the Bosch call centre.
  • 4. Shouted at Danny and somehow made it his fault: Unbelievably I do have the capacity to do this despite it being obvious to everyone that he has nothing to do with it.
  • 5. Blamed myself for the fact that in January 2011, when we took out insurance on our domestic items, we chose not to insure the dishwasher (coulda, woulda, shoulda!).
  • 6. Thrown a self-pitying tantrum about how this stuff always happens to us.

Instead I just shrugged my shoulders, called our plumber and suggested that of all the things to go wrong at least we can just wash up the plates, and then we did.

The revelation might seem small to all you calm folks out there who take a broken dishwasher lying down but for me it’s an epiphany. I am not prone to calm, as those of you that read my blog regularly will know, but today there just didn’t seem any point indulging in any or all of the above behaviour.

I must be growing up. Either that or we must just be getting used to running a guest house and thereby understand that on the ‘disaster scale’ of things going wrong a broken dishwasher isn’t the end of the world.

Cartoon about broken appliances

We’ve had our fair share of ‘groan’ moments, just as anyone that lives in a house will have, the groan is distinctly louder when we know that it will effect our guests’ experience of Little Leaf or affects our ability to make breakfast or clean the rooms (a real problem when there’s just the two of you). The reality is however, that with every ‘groan’ moment there’s always been a ‘lucky’ circumstance that’s stopped it being a complete disaster.

I fell off a ladder last year which resulted in me having to lie down for the rest of the afternoon; luckily most of the cleaning had already been done and Danny only had to finish off little bits of ‘my jobs’.

A month after opening the mains trip switch decided to keep switching itself off resulting in one guest having to run through the guest house soaking wet with shampoo in her hair to use her parents shower downstairs, luckily it was one family staying with us in a number of rooms so sharing facilities wasn’t a problem.

Our boiler spent 6 weeks turning itself off randomly, resulting in no hot water or heating luckily this happened during a freak heatwave and heating wasn’t really needed and another luckily, all our showers are electric.

While preparing breakfast for a full house on New Years Day we noticed water pouring through our kitchen ceiling luckily it was a full-house of our friends who, despite paying to stay with us, were more than understanding and very sympathetic.

2 slates fell off our roof in the middle of the night into our courtyard luckily there was no one standing underneath them – not even our neighbour’s cat.

I’ve learned to search for the ‘luckily’ aspect of things, sub-consciously now I quickly find the gratitude in a potential ‘disaster’ situation. After all, this stuff, running a guest house, it’s not life or death is it? We want to ensure that everyone that stays with us has the best possible time but sometimes things are just out of our control and it seems that at last, I have developed some kind of acceptance around that.

Happy Easter everyone.

Leonora Dawson-Bowling says:

Hey guys,

Well done for handling the crises. Don’y forget that when Tim was airing his pants and they fell into your courtyard, *luckily* they didn’t fall in through the kitchen window and the breakfast cooking.

Happy Easter with that thought!

Leo D-B

Little Leaf Guest House says:

That’s so true Maria… No point living in the problem :-)

Maria Aebi says:

Okay, now I KNOW you are the ones we must stay with if we make it to St. Ives. I am the same, alway looking for the lucky part of a situation. This comes from making a conscious decision: am I going to moan about my bad luck (we’ve had our fair share) or think we were lucky it wasn’t worse. I find doing the later makes me a better person to be around, and just makes me feel better!