I was in fourth grade at Holy Family School in Sauk Centre, Minn. I was shy at that time in my life and my teacher was a nun, Sister Janine; a nice but strict teacher, in my opinion.
We were about to get our scores back from our spelling test the previous day. I really liked spelling and considered it one of my better subjects and couldn't wait to see the test scores.
Sister Janine walked down each row very methodically placing everyone's spelling test and score back on their desk. I was pretty confident I did well. That was confirmed when she put my sheet on my desk, I scored 95 percent, 19 out of 20. When my eyes raced to the one word I had wrong, I turned red with embarrassment.
I spelled "shirt" wrong, missing the "r".
I remember being so embarrassed and wondered if she was going to send me to the principal's office for the word I did spell.
Fast forward to two Sundays ago. My wife, Jennifer, and three children were returning home at 10. in the morning from church and my wife opens the door into the house and says 'oh no.'
She had started the washing machine before church, and the mechanism that tells the machine when to stop the water had failed. We had water gushing out of the washing machine, across the kitchen floor, down through the vents, through the basement sheetrock and onto the basement floor.
We were overwhelmed.
We threw towels down to stop the water from expanding its territory in the kitchen and turned the water off to the washing machine. I went out to the shed and grabbed the Shop-vac to start cleaning up the water. Jennifer went downstairs to inspect where the water was going that was running down our vents.
We were both visibly frustrated and mad. We had plans to do something fun as a family that day and that obviously wasn't going to happen. We had to clean up a house that had two rooms soaked with water.
After we stepped back and thought about the predicament we were in, we dug in and went to work. Jennifer purchased a dehumidifier and I soaked up the water with the Shop-vac. Our children had the fun job of standing on the wood and walking to the end of the board to start pushing any moisture out that settled in between the wood and the floor.
Within a couple hours our job was done. It was just a waiting game from there. We had to wait to let the dehumidifier suck out the rest of the moisture and have our insurance company come and evaluate the situation.
In both instances - spelling the wrong word and the water damage in our house - my initial reaction was probably too intense. I overreacted to the circumstances.
I spelled a word wrong that maybe Sister Janine got a chuckle out of. The water problem just happened and there really wasn't any way to stop that. It could have happened when we were gone for a day, which would have been much worse.
Either way, both problems really weren't that big of a deal. The floor turned out fine and nothing came out of my spelling mistake.
The reason I share these stories is that fall harvest is a hectic time for farmers.
Many of you are losing your help around the farm - your children - to either high school or college. The days are getting shorter and you are getting busier with more calves and the fall harvest.
Top this off with the calving problems or equipment breakdowns that happen at the worse time and days can be very overwhelming. It's frustrating when plans go awry quickly and you don't know when you are going to get everything done.
My advice is to step back for a couple minutes, think through the situation at hand when you are not as frustrated, and then proceed. Most times when things go bad the situation isn't as bad as it seems.
Overreacting and getting frustrated doesn't really help any situation. Trust me, it didn't with Sister Janine or the kitchen floor.
Have a safe fall harvest.