How’s the holiday season treating you thus far?  Are things going as expected?  I’m pretty confident that I can channel the majority of your responses.

The unexpected. Gasp!  It breaks our plans. It messes up our schedules. It bends our brains and spirits from those perfectly sketched outcomes.  Those outcomes that we’ve painstakingly crafted in our minds.

If you’re anything like me, you’re more likely to remember and dwell on those unexpected things that cause drama – those that throw that preverbal wrench.  However, we rarely take inventory of those unexpected wrenches that positively add to the amazing toolbox of life experiences.

During a recent run, my mind drifted to taking inventory. I quickly reminded myself of three recent unexpected events.  How about these wrenches?

Wrench # 1 – Banana Bread

On the Sunday following Thanksgiving, it was clear that our grocery shopping plan for the week had gone awry. We somehow accumulated eight over-ripened bananas. This is the natural result of leftover pie claiming victory over a piece of fruit.

On her way out the door for a day of Christmas cookie manufacturing, Jennie jokingly added making banana bread to my to-do list. It found position right between unclogging the bathroom sink and changing the oil in the snow blower.

I truly have no business in a kitchen aside from doing dishes, making coffee, and finding a beer in the fridge. However, with a little extra time on my hands and a little help from YouTube, I managed to create a loaf of banana bread.

Banana Bread
My first (and likely only) banana bread

YOU made banana bread? Really?”  This was obviously unexpected.

How did the judges assess the loaf?   They gave me a five and six respectively on a 10-point scale. The six briefly morphed into a nine when attempting to butter me up for more iPad time. Totally expected.

Wrench #2 – Turkey Trot

I ran the Festival Foods Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning. Not being in training mode, I went into this race without a racing mindset.

Show up. Run five miles. Eat.

That was the extent of my plan.

I started the race feeling miserable. The first mile felt heavy and sluggish. Then we hit an ever-so-slight downhill, and it all changed. My legs started to turnover with ease, and my attitude shifted into a new gear.

2016 Turkey Trot race results
2016 Turkey Trot race results

My finishing time was 30:04. I somehow won my division and placed 20th overall – on a day I had no intention of racing.  This was very unexpected.   A shot of needed confidence heading into the 2017 running season.

Wrench #3 – Football + Family

On an absolutely crazy weekend packed with countless events, we foolishly looked to squeeze in a game at historic Lambeau Field.  Jennie and I planned to attend with some friends, but then life happened. With two extra tickets on our hands and two young football fans in our house, we called an audible.

We didn’t tailgate quite as planned. We didn’t make it through the full game.  Instead, we created unexpected family memories.

Some wrenches clearly bust our knuckles and cause havoc in the many machines of our lives.  Other wrenches tossed our way end up being the exact fit for that rusty bolt. We just need to wake-up and notice. It’s about taking inventory.

What wrenches are in your toolbox of unexpected life experiences?

I hope you find a nice, shiny set of Craftsman under your tree this year!

Family at Lambeau Field
The fam @ Lambeau Field

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2 thoughts on “Unexpected: 3 Recent Wrenches

  1. I like your Turkey Trot wrench. As for my wrench this week, I found a plastic bag tucked into a pocket of winter jacket. As dog lovers know, one carries these on dog walks. Having lost my Forever Dog 1 year 4 months and 26 days ago, I was thrilled, touched and delighted to find a clean remnant of our two to three daily walks for her wonderful 13 years in my life. I knew today would be a good day because of that. Happy Wrench in Your Toolbox Day!

    1. Hey Tricia – Dogs are so precious to so many, and a constant reminder of what’s most important in life. I’m glad your wrench was shaped as a doo-doo bag to foster such great memories. Thanks for sharing. I’ll be sure to give our dog an extra treat and belly rub today!

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