I make lemons out of lemonade. I will work through an ugly situation and make it better. I might cry and fuss and complain loudly that there is no hope, but I always gather myself up and find a solution. Always.
We moved to Colorado in 1999. We knew where we wanted to live, having lived there once before. While dreams of cabin among the pines come to mind, we had to consider school districts and proximity to work. Driving on ice on “cold reporting” days is no fun and we wanted to spend the least amount of time possible on that worst of winter tasks. We picked a house plan, my husband flew out, picked out the house and the lot. He took pictures- lots of pictures- and I was relieved to see a flat square of sandy earth, perfect for my dreams of a pond and flowers and vegetable garden. I played with design ideas on paper down in Florida during the months until we moved.
We drove up to the house we chose. But the lot….
The builder had graded the lot into a steep hillside so the row of homes behind us had a view of Pike’s Peak. Our backyard felt like it was in a pit looking up at others’ walkout basements.
I cried. A hill. My plans were shot. We could not level the lot.
We moved in and I felt trapped and angry when I should have felt nothing but happiness moving in. We were in a sea of homes, an ant farm. Gardening was my outlet and it seemed denied to me.
I built a garden anyway. 20 feet deep, 60 feet long. I packed the upper half of the yard with raspberries, a rainbow assortment of iris, dwarf apple trees, gooseberries, currants, old garden roses, herbs, mock orange, grapes, sunflowers, lilacs, daffodils, alliums, serviceberries. A small path was laid and a park bench was tucked on a level spot.
I even got my pond. A whiskey barrel, a few plants and goldfish, on the tiny porch outside the backdoor. I made it happen.
And so it has been. When my daughter was a year from finishing high school, so close to becoming valedictorian, my husband wanted to make a career change. An opportunity came up several states away. Misery. A dilemma. If we all moved, our daughter would lose what she had worked to accomplish. If we didn’t move, my husband would miss out on the new job.
The situation was lousy. No winners. A bag of lemons for someone.
I found the answer. Sell the house. Have my husband move to the new location. For nine months, I’d rent an apartment within the school boundaries, “camping” with a few pieces of furniture.
We’d visit once a month. Call every day. People said it would be bad for the marriage. I saw lemonade.
Roughest winter I ever spent in the ugliest apartment. But my husband’s last trip to Colorado was the sweetest day- he was there to hear our frail daughter with a strong voice give her speech in the field house in front of thousands. And the following day? A joyous celebration of movers and a car packed full of a family together again, headed towards a new life in the desert.
A horse nobody wanted? That kicked when anyone tried to shoe him? Made him a riding horse, learning to do his feet myself.
A son who did not fit into a school system? A daughter whose academic needs were ahead of the curriculum? I taught from home and other parents were sending their children to me for lessons.
If I can’t find a door, I look for a window. There’s always an answer and I will always try and find a way to make something good out of a bad situation.