1 August 2012

Apparent disasters and growing older

One thing I notice as I get older is that disasters (smallish ones, at least) don't seem as disastrous now. When I was a child and a teenager, bad things seemed overwhelming and felt as if they would be permanent. Now, having been in and out of some of life's tough times, it is comforting to know that usually things are never as bad as they seem.

Often, in fact, it turns out in retrospect that it was a good thing that such-and-such happened!

Today's event would have put me in a bigger spin once upon a time. We've been preparing for our woodburner to be installed for months. We had a polished concrete hearth made, and I did all the calculations on how big it should be according to the manufacturers rather scanty instructions, putting lots of effort into it. The hearth cost $650 and we really like the way it looks. Amazing that just concrete and pebbles can look like this! Granted, some of the pebbles are marble.

The strip down the side is where the wooden floor was cut away - it will be covered by beading.
The woodburner was to be installed today and the installers arrived and admired our hearth. But a few minutes later they told me it was too small. The woodfire we're getting has a matching hearth, which I didn't like, so I had ours made using the same footprint plus a bit extra.

But then they showed me where the instructions say that if an alternative hearth is to be used, it needs to be bigger. Much bigger.

I did not cry.

Later in the day, after some coming and going by the retailer we're buying the woodburner from, the manufacturers have declared our hearth safe and fine for their product. Phew. But if I had read the pamphlet properly the first time, we would have had an enormous hearth that we didn't really want and would have cost more. So it did indeed turn out for the best!

I know that doesn't always apply. Watching the Olympics has been to witness high emotion, much of it low when after years of blood-and-guts training an otherwise perfect gymnasts falls, or a judo fighter doesn't quite make the grade. And personally, I can think of several much worse things that could happen that definitely would not turn out to be OK in the end. But for most of life's downs, it ends up being not too bad.

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