Lemons or Lemonade?

I’m sure you have all heard the expression, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.  The meaning behind that old adage is that being a victim of any given circumstance is often a choice.  For example, let’s say you win $1000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket and before you can blow that money on something fun, your car breaks down and it costs $989 to repair it.  There are two ways to look at this…

  1. We can play the victim and react with a negative attitude of, “Every time I get a little extra money, something breaks!” or…
  2. We be thankful and react with a grateful attitude of, “Every time something breaks, I get a little extra money!”

See the difference? 


Life has served us a big dump truck of lemons recently and we’re having to make a whole lot of lemonade with it.  We had some water damage to the hardwood floors around an interior chimney.  This damage occurred in a small room that we never use.  The floors were covered with a large area rug, so we did not know the extent of the damage until we moved all the furniture out and rolled up the rug.  It was bad.  

Years ago, we had the underside of our floors sprayed with closed-cell foam.  The guys who sprayed the foam on the bottom of the floor also sprayed it on the brick surface of this interior chimney, from the floor all the way down to the foundation.  This plugged up all weep holes and effectively sealed the masonry structure so that water could not escape.  Over time, water accumulated in the structure and had no where to escape until it reached the top of the foam.  Then it had an escape path over the top of the foam, beneath our floors. 

To shorten this story a LOT, suffice it to say that Nationwide sent an engineer down to determine the entry point of the water and his ridiculous claim is that our crawlspace is excessively damp and this “dampness” somehow managed to penetrate through 6 inches of closed-cell foam and a layer of asphalt roofing paper to warp our hardwoods and rot the subfloor beneath them.  This “engineer” never even examined our crawlspace, but none-the-less, Nationwide has denied our claim based on his report which has led me to hire my own engineer and a lawyer.  We will settle this in court, but until then, I must make these repairs myself and pay for these expenses out-of-pocket.  How much?  I don’t know, but ServePro, who specializes in water damage repairs, estimated the costs at approximately $23,000.  That’s a LOT of lemons!!!!

So how do we make lemonade from that?  It would be so easy to despair and very difficult to view this as anything but a major catastrophe but, it’s quite simple.  Changing one word does the trick….

From:  This is a major catastrophe.

To:  This is a major remodel.


For years my wife has been wanting to open the den up to the adjacent room by tearing out a built-in entertainment center and bookcase.  Sounds simple but doing this would require tearing out existing crown molding, patching the ceiling, re-routing electrical wires and HVAC ductwork, tearing out baseboard and existing hardwood floors, patching sheetrock, putting trim back up, putting new floors down, and repainting everything.  This was a job I did not want to undertake, not only because of the costs involved, but also because of the time and effort.  But now I must do it, so we are shopping for new floors, picking out new colors, new rugs, and new curtains.  We are planning on whitewashing the brick and building a floor-to-ceiling mantle in the den as well as hanging a new exterior door to boot!

The point of this story is that this “tragedy” that should have brought us “despair” has turned into an “opportunity” that is bringing us “joy”.  You know what month this is?  That’s right!  It’s November and you know what holiday we celebrate in November?  This year, count your blessings.  Look for something positive in everything life throws your way.  Choose to be thankful and grateful.  They are the two key ingredients in the recipe for happiness.


“It’s not happiness that brings us gratitude.  It’s gratitude that brings us happiness.”  ~ Anonymous

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