I am sitting here on this cold winter morning eating breakfast and reading about the puppet collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts. How nice for the plumber to come first thing and bring me a much more interesting idea to consider(and I love puppets, really). He has come because there is a back up somewhere from the kitchen to the bathroom to the laundry room, what amounts to the sole extent of our small water system. The plumber is now performing one of his regular rituals; methodically going line by line to solve this timeless problem: where is the block and where is the water going or coming from? The usual suspects: a plug, a vacuum, a volcano. I have no doubt he will solve the problem with our plumbing today. He is smiling, he must think so too. I discuss this philosophical notion he brought to me today. We agree that we both enjoy the logic and surety of the solution to be had on the other end. Of course it's despsicable, blockages are messy. But I am deriving such pleasure from having this rational exercise to begin this day, I think it's a great gift. I know this sounds weird, but before you write me off as just, well, off, consider that joy might be underneath a lot of crap (you knew I'd work it in). Try to forget the false promise of pretty packages, look for daily gifts in and amongst the crap. Ignore the relentlessly perky melodies or worse, the loop of disappointments playing in your head. Focus on a job you might do well today, deliver the gift of a small kindness. Joey just gave me one, and there's the mess all over the bathroom floor to prove it. I just called his boss Bob, owner of Royal Oak Plumbing. I told him Joey fixed the problem and that I'm happy and love his crew. He laughed, said he loved me too. I know, how queer and sappy. Think what you will, this really got my day off to a good start. I have a little painting job for a client's new store that just opened, I'm gonna finish it now and deliver it to her today. I have my crew replacing some workers at another new client's job. I am pleased to have his confidence and determined to do a good job and help him out of a jam. I still have a store to rearrange, the Christmas stuff is still in boxes. It's the hardest part of my day, I'm putting it off, writing instead. The holiday thing isn't really my bag, but I'm working on it. I know in advance what will and won't get finished, I am well aware it's a blockage. I will perform my daily ritual. It won't be cleared the way Joey cleared our plumbing, but pleasure like water, will find the open path. I will do my best to clear a path for joy, no matter how small. And once you get a line cleared for it, even a small trickle of it? Well it's the daily ritual to try and keep it that way. Hell, I'll give you Bob and Joey's number, maybe they can help you too.