There’s a Jewish folk tale that’s worth a read these days. The basic premise is that a man, unhappy at home with his wife, goes to his rabbi for advice. He’s told by that wise man to bring his cow, goat and chickens inside their house to live with them. Of course, things get dramatically worse as the animals wreak havoc on the small home. He goes back to the rabbi complaining at a higher pitch. He’s told to take the cow back out to the barn. You’re getting the gist of the solution, right? No doubt you can figure out the rest as well as the happy ending to the story. Until freedoms are taken away, we don’t appreciate what we have.

I’m speaking of the recent hurricane which did enormous damage throughout the northeast, particularly Connecticut. Those of you who lost electricity, WiFi, and air conditioning likely felt gratitude when they were restored. Did it also alter your view of sheltering in place? I may not have a kitchen, but I can get online.

I’m still without use of my kitchen as the renovation has been extended for several more weeks. I was a good sport for weeks 1 and 2, but increasingly grumpy as it has expanded into the second month. I’m back in my apartment now after being gifted beautiful homes to stay in during my exile. I might have extended my stays in either location, but you and Dorothy know, there’s no place like home.

I’m still without a stove, a sink, or full use of my kitchen as I await the fabrication of my new countertops, tiling and final paint job.

Reading this fable reminds me of all that I have to be grateful for. I’m sleeping in my own bed surrounded by art and familiar furnishings. There is running water, albeit from the bathtub and bathroom sink. My dishes dry in the bathtub.

As I write this, an organizer is putting things back into my hall closet and pantry which had to be emptied for the electrical work. I’m strategizing where to do my art projects, what cold foods to appreciate, and when I might sneak out of town again to enjoy the company of friends and family and a hot meal.

I’m also creating an advent calendar, using September 15 as my kitchen completion date. It will feel good to make x’s for each day I’ve gotten through, noticing when the ones past are fewer than those yet to ride out. I will reward myself with nurturing baths (after removing the dish rack), outings and healthy take-out meals from places like Dig Inn, for example.

How do you get through challenges, even those that will be rewarding in the end? I’ll take any suggestions you’ve got. Two friends had renovations that got shut down with the shut-in. One has been out of her apartment since January. The other was washing her dishes in the shower. Knowing that it could definitely be worse, I’m calming myself with these tales as the days go by.

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