Friday, May 24, 2024

7 Quick Takes about Nice Notes, Unintentionally Insulting the Flute Repair Lady, and Causing Chaos in Traffic

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


My 18-year-old is preparing hard for her senior violin recital, and recently had her first rehearsal with the pianist who will be accompanying her.

Overall it went well, and my daughter left rehearsal with a list of things to work on before the next rehearsal, including setting the tempo. 

"Up until now I've been practicing with a recording, so I'm used to keeping up with the accompaniment instead of the accompaniment keeping up with me," she explained in the car on the way home.

Summarizing, I said, "So don't follow the pianist. Just do whatever you want and she'll follow you."

"Right," she said. "Because I'm a strong, independent woman who don't need no pianist."

That probably would've worked better if the pianist had been a man, but I know what she meant.


Our youth activity at church this week was a temple field trip. We walked around the grounds of the temple looking at the various flowers, and then spent a little time on the lawn in front of the temple, making encouraging notes for people.

Then we attached small baggies of candy to the notes and stuck them on the windshields of cars in the parking lot.

We were a small but mighty group, and while we were quietly creating these nice notes for strangers outside the temple, I felt the same spirit that I feel when inside the temple of love and peace and calm. 


My 12-year-old missed the bus, so I had to make an unscheduled trip to drive her to school in the morning. 

Before I'd even gotten home, she called to say she forgot her flute, which she needed because this was their last rehearsal before their band concert tomorrow. 

So I brought it to her and then got another call a few hours later saying "Mom, my flute doesn't work!" 

After that, I disconnected the phone. (Not really, but I wanted to.)


We examined my daughter's flute but couldn't see anything wrong with it, so the next afternoon we brought it in to a repair shop. Luckily the woman was able to fix it right then and there, but she was visibly disappointed in the quality of the instrument.

Let me explain that my daughter breaks or loses about 80% of her belongings almost immediately. We love her but it's just the way she is. So instead of buying her a nice flute, we'd gotten her one that matched her current level of responsibility (and, I hate to say it, the quality of our school's music program). Maybe if she keeps playing we'll get her an upgrade, but for now, the super-crappy flute is an intentional choice on our part.

The flute fix only took about 10 minutes, which the woman at the repair shop said wasn't going to cost anything. When I insisted that we pay her, she waved her hand and said "Oh, I'm not going to charge you for that poor thing!"

Which seems like the polite way to say "You can pay me by getting that thing out of here, it's stinking up my shop!"


On the way home, we stopped at a red light and as it turned green and we were pulling into the intersection, the van's parking brake inexplicably engaged. I disengaged it, and it immediately turned back on. I turned off the ignition and started the car, tried to go through the intersection, and the parking brake ground us to a halt again.

I was stuck in an intersection, with a malfunctioning parking brake that wouldn't turn off, and I was blocking traffic. 

People behind me were getting frustrated and restless. To my left, there was a big semi truck that couldn't make the turn while I was in the way, but I couldn't move. Cars started piling up behind the semi, as well.

The semi driver got out and came over to see what was going on, and instead of being really mad he was actually the nicest guy I have ever met. He kept laughing and joking, and he even offered to push the car to the curb (unfortunately the malfunctioning parking brake wouldn't allow that). Seriously, he was so nice, and for someone to be that nice when I'm interrupting his work day in the most annoying way possible is really saying something.

It wasn't long before the police showed up, and an officer helped the semi back up and take an alternate route and then directed traffic around my car until a tow truck came. Since I was only 5 minutes from home, he offered to give me a ride home. I was like "Sweet, a free ride in a police car on my birthday!" Did I mention it was my birthday?


I never did get that free ride, though, because when the tow truck driver came, he was able to get the parking brake disengaged. I'm aware that to the cop, I looked like a dumb woman who doesn't know how to work her car, but I guess you really do stop caring after 40 because I was just glad that someone got it running again.

The tow truck driver followed me home in case it happened again while driving, but I got it home uneventfully and I'm taking it in to the dealer on Tuesday. We have a third car so I think I can avoid using it again until then. Wish me luck at making it to the dealer.


Though my birthday was a really long day, it was still a good day. The truck driver, the cop, and the tow truck driver were all unbelievably nice and made the situation as good as it could've been. 

I'd worked in the temple earlier that day (which I fully credit for the increased patience and tranquility I felt throughout the whole disaster with the car) where an older lady saw me and asked, "Is it a burden being so lovely?" What a nice compliment, she didn't even know it was my birthday. 

My daughter got her flute fixed in time for the concert and got there on time, even with the unexpected car trouble. My 18-year-old made dinner while I went to the concert and her dad worked on the car (he thinks he knows at least partially what caused the malfunction), and I repaid her by removing a gigantic neon pink thinking putty stain from her favorite sweater after I got home.

I was very struck and humbled by how we can all help each other out and make each other's lives better in a lot of little ways during our stay on this earth, and thankful for the people who did that for me today.

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