Life Face First: Negotiating One Calamity at a Time


Problem Solving 

“We’ve a problem,” I said to my husband Brian.

He didn’t look alarmed. We’re used to problems. Who isn’t?

“Is a pet sick?” he asked in a monotone. “Is there nothing to cook for dinner? Is the washing machine broken again?” The last one seemed to alarm him slightly.

“No, I fixed it,” I replied.

“You fixed it?” he asked incredulously.

“Yes, I fixed it,” I sniffed, somewhat annoyed that he thought me incapable of fixing home appliances.

“How?” he asked me.

“Prayer,” I said simply.

“You’re kidding.”

“I’m not. I prayed. It started working. And if we’re smart we won’t question why it’s working, and we’ll just be happy that it is working. We need a win.”

He shrugged. “We’ll take it, I guess,” he said somewhat doubtfully. “One win for us. 8,000 wins for whatever is usually against us. So what’s the problem this time?”

“We need to pick out new chairs for our home office redesign,” I began.

“And that’s a problem?” he interrupted.

“Let me finish.” I continued, “We need to pick out new chairs for our home office redesign, and our taste is top-of-the-line mid-century modern but our budget is college curbside grab-and-dash. We need to reconcile the two.”

He considered this a moment. “Mid-century modern grab-and-dash? We find a high quality furniture store, pick out our chairs and dash them through the door without paying?”

“That wasn’t quite what I meant,” I said wryly. Leave it to Brian to try to solve all our problems with humor. It’s a family flaw.

He grinned and relented. “Ok, let’s try shopping for chairs online.”

“But we can’t sit in them. How will we know if they’re comfortable?” I asked. I have chronic back problems, and a comfortable chair is a necessity.

“We’ll read reviews,” he said with more optimism than I felt.

After an hour of searching, I gave up. “Every chair I like has reviews that either claim the chair is the most comfortable thing they’ve ever sat their rear on, or it’s a medieval torture device evilly designed by Satan for the advancement of human suffering. There’s not a single chair that makes everyone happy.”

“Well that’s an unrealistic expectation,” he said.

“What is?”

“To find a chair that makes everyone happy,” he replied. “Very few things in life make everyone happy.”

“True,” I replied.

“So what do we do? Do we pick the ones we think look best, fit within our budget and go for it?” he asked.

I shrugged. “What do we have to lose?”

“Not much,” he replied. “This website has a great return policy. Besides, if the chairs and there’s a problem, you can fix it.”

“How?” I asked him.

“Prayer,” he grinned.


Nora Blithe

 Nora Blithe is the author of the syndicated humor column “Life Face First.” Read her blog online at