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Morgan: Tests for the peaceful soul
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My husband may laugh at what I'm about to say, but I'm going to say it anyway. It's my column. He somewhat regularly observes frantic behavior on my part, but at my core, I can say with some confidence that I am a calm person with a solid spiritual foundation. I know what's important and what's not. I try to practice love and forgiveness, understanding that one must "practice" everyday. Despite my efforts at regular practice - oh, some people and situations do try me - I'll never be perfect and not even when I reach those Pearly Gates.

Still and all, life's little irritants can test the best of us even if we profess to have a peaceful soul. We should see these blips as nothing but passing distractions and guard against letting them create a permanent dour outlook on life. Let me just say I've been tested of late by these "little" things.

First, the air conditioning in my seven-year-old Prius went out, and for lack of time to get it to the shop and leave it, I rode around for a couple of weeks in a vehicle set on "bake 450 degrees." Not fun. Fortunately, when I did get the car to the shop, it wasn't the compressor - a costly replacement - but only a need for some extra coolant. I dodged a bullet there.

As the days have become warmer and warmer, our Border collie Sonny's summer skin allergies have ratcheted up. The vet tells us - not so consolingly - they'll get worse every year. Sonny's absolutely miserable, and so are we, watching him scratch as if digging to China. He'll soon be bald. If your dog has the same problem, try applying compresses soaked in vinegar. They seem to dry up one patch of irritation, but the dastardly stuff just moves to another location. Keep at it.

It's a sick thing, but I always look forward to getting our city utility bills hoping for proof that we're being adequately conservative with our power and water usage. Our most recent bill showed that for a billing period when we weren't even at home for 10 days, our water and sewer usage came close to 60,000 gallons of water. Yikes! I called the city immediately, and a crew came to check the meter. They didn't find a broken meter, as we hoped, but rather a water leak on our side of the meter. So on top of paying an outrageous utility bill, we have to pull money out of thin air to fix a gushing water line buried in the yard. This does not make me happy.

You may recall our household includes two cats that, as kittens, adopted us. Cats are fond of attacking and killing unsuspecting birds, so I stopped putting out birdseed to lessen the chance any birds could lose their lives on my watch. Still it's happened, I am sorry to say, and little dead bodies have been found on the doormats on the porch, proof, supposedly, the cats are "doing their job." The back door was left open the other day when we came in from the porch, and shortly, one of the cats trotted in and laid down a not-yet-dead bird in the kitchen. If the neighbors weren't already awake that morning, my instinctive screams did the job. Luckily, my husband was here to handle the situation. If not, I would have moved out lock, stock and barrel before he returned.

Finally, I come to my refrigerator. It's all of six years old, and it was said to be a top-of-the-line product when we bought it. The company's motto was: "The quality goes in before the names goes on." We can confidently say the motto should have been: "The name goes on before the quality goes in." In fact, they forgot to include any semblance of quality when they made this abominable excuse for a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer. I can't count the number of service calls it's had over the years and was well advised by one of the repairmen to buy a renewable warranty policy. The manufacturer is losing money on my policy, and well it should. The latest failure was the fan in the freezer. When it was finally replaced, after two diagnostic service calls and one actual repair call, the technician was barely on his way before the whole thing stopped working, both sides. Just plain quit. I was not practicing love and forgiveness when I placed another call for service. So how've you been lately?

Barbara Morgan is a Covington resident with a background in newspaper journalism, state government and politics.