The shots you don't take

Wayne Gretzky, hockey hall-of-famer with an asymmetrical face, once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

I used that inspirational quote to get the entire family out into the yard 2 Sundays ago to watch the SpaceX launch at 9:16 p.m.

“Guys, you can’t see it if you don’t come outside and look up.”

They came.

We stood around in 50 degrees and looked up in a southeasterly direction. We laughed and chatted as we stared at the sky. We stood there long past 9:16. We saw nothing.

So you miss a certain percentage of the shots you DO take, too. I was disappointed that night in how many people saw the launch that were not in my backyard. When I bemoaned our situation to Todd, he said, “Missy, when was the last time all 6 of us were together in the backyard looking up at the stars?” And then I realized that we hadn’t scored a traditional goal, but we had scored nonetheless.

These are the moments I’m trying to snapshot–emblazon like a woodburned plaque–into my mind. I don’t want to forget. Because in 212 days, my oldest son will graduate high school and begin his tentative journey into adulthood. And while he is a quiet, introverted kid who keeps to himself a lot anyway, the dynamic of our family will change. It changed a good bit from 2001 through 2008 as we added kid after kid and adjusted to the drama in our growing family. It changed again as the 2 boys inched toward adolescence and again when Andrew moved into his own space downstairs and the boys learned to love living in rooms by themselves.

But then it sort of stabilized inside our house, with the changes coming from without. My mother declined and then died. My dad remarried. My dad and his wife suffered their own health scares. The outside was brittle and ever changing. The inside stayed the same.

Until now.

Until soon.

I’ve been savoring and trying to live by the “take your shots” and “do the next right thing” mentality, hoping I’ll be ready when my boy moves out.
Hoping I’ll be ready for whatever.

In the meantime, I’ve been reading the books leftover on my bookshelf because I bet my friend, Melissa, that I could indeed finish all of my other impulse buys before my next impulse buy. Her response was to gladly accept my terms, remarking, “Easiest $10 I’ll ever make.”

Sigh. It would be easier to pay her $10 and move on to the list I have going on my phone of the books I will soon buy. She even baited me by handing me a Barnes and Noble Gift card for my birthday. I am persisting and trudging on through some pretty rough 2019 choices. Because it’s the next right thing. And because I hate losing.

In my attempt to read what was already in front of me, I picked up the latest issue of my Writer’s Digest magazine and read the cover article about an author named Dani Shapiro. She’s written a memoir called Inheritance that I very much intend to buy. Someday. And she has an author website at danishapiro.com. After listening to her podcast and visiting her website, it occurred to me: Every author has a website. Their name. Their website. It’s practically a requirement that an author build a social media presence and get a website. Now to be fair, I’m not an author. But I want to be. Someday. Maybe about the time I’m allowed to buy a new book.

Because I’m a forward thinking wannabe, I attempted to secure the domain name missysnapp.com. No one is named Missy Snapp (other than me), so imagine my shock when I discovered the domain name was already taken. Who would want want missysnapp.com? What in the world.

Todd looked it up but couldn’t tell who owned it. It was privately registered. The other Missy Snapp was a guarded person. So we decided it was probably worth paying a broker service to try to get the site for ourselves. It was $69.99. On top of that initial cost, I had to choose my minimum and maximum offers for the domain purchase. I was already in deeper than I wanted to be. I had tried to back out of the broker service and it was too late. Non-refundable. The best they could do for me was to offer me negotiating tips. Their top pro tip was that most sites sell for between $500-$5000. So, bid accordingly. Yeah. That’s a fat no. This is missysnapp.com. let’s keep it in perspective. So I offered $30 in the low range and $50 as my max.

And then I waited.

I didn’t think much more about it until Friday morning when a phone call came in from Phoenix, AZ. I was 90% certain it was a recorded woman offering to help secure a new warranty for my van and I answered in a fairly snarky tone. I caught the fella off guard.

“Oh, hello, may I speak to Missy Snapp?”

“That’s me,” I replied, knowing it couldn’t be a solicitation if they knew me by Missy.

“Uh, hi, this is Brett from GoDaddy Broker Services and you were trying to buy the site Missysnapp.com, correct?”

“Yes, that’s right,” I answered. “Hi.”

“Ok, hi,” he said. “I’ve done some research into this site and it looks like it’s registered to a Todd Snapp who lives at your same address.”

He paused.

“What?!” I exclaimed. “Are you serious?”

He was. Quite serious.

“So you are telling me that I paid you $70 to buy me a site I already own?”

Unbelievable.

“Well, that’s actually why I’m calling. I’m refunding $69.99 back to your account. We decided not to call Mr. Snapp and get in the middle of all that.”

“I appreciate that, Brett,” I said. And at that point, we said an awkward goodbye and I hung up.

It had been a rough morning, getting the kids off to school. That morning deserves it’s own post but won’t get it because many persons would be harmed in the telling of that story. The broker’s news was a welcome wade into the ludicrous pool and I feel safer in a world where there is only one of me. Todd had no memory of purchasing the site and no idea why he did so privately. Maybe just so we could have fun buying it twice. And get some free “y’all should really talk more” counseling from GoDaddy.

As things stand now–this moment–I’ve misplaced the book I was 20 pages from finishing, I’m waiting for my $69.99 refund, and I’m dreaming big dreams for the future of that website.

And I’m thinking: In a world where you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, sometimes you take the same shot twice.

The Next Right Thing

I’ve been thinking about Frozen 2 quite a lot lately. No one wants to admit this less than I do. I hated Frozen 1. Olaf was the only thing worth watching and even he could not save that movie for me. But the second one had some merit.

There is a scene in the second half of the movie where Anna is separated from Elsa, who has serious issues, for the 27th time. She feels hopeless and isolated and inadequate. But luckily, she has a fabulous voice and can write songs on the fly. So she belts out a little tune called, “The Next Right Thing.”

I’ve seen dark before, but not like this
This is cold, this is empty, this is numb
The life I knew is over, the lights are out
Hello, darkness, I’m ready to succumb
I follow you around, I always have
But you’ve gone to a place I cannot find
This grief has a gravity, it pulls me down
But a tiny voice whispers in my mind
You are lost, hope is gone
But you must go on
And do the next right thing
Can there be a day beyond this night?
I don’t know anymore what is true
I can’t find my direction, I’m all alone
The only star that guided me was you
How to rise from the floor?
But it’s not you I’m rising for
Just do the next right thing
Take a step, step again
It is all that I can to do
The next right thing
I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
This next choice is one that I can make
So I’ll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing
And, with it done, what comes then?
When it’s clear that everything will never be the same again
Then I’ll make the choice to hear that voice
And do the next right.

I’ve heard the expression, “Just do the next thing,” and have, to some degree, lived by it. Sometimes life is too big. Too dark. Too intense. And when we try to take on the big picture and make sense of it, it can be too much. After my mother died, her dear friend said to me, “How do you eat at elephant? One bite at a time.” I don’t eat elephants and I didn’t turn her into the ASPCA for cruelty to elephants. I took it metaphorically and have had it hanging in an accessible place for 2 years now.

Do the next thing is good. But it’s not the same as do the next RIGHT thing. You can eat the elephant one bite at a time, but does the elephant need to be eaten? Is that the next right thing? Sometimes it is. When it is, take it a bite at a time. But sometimes there’s a little more to it than that. And that’s what I’ve been chewing on for weeks now.

I won’t look too far ahead
It’s too much for me to take
But break it down to this next breath, this next step
This next choice is one that I can make
So I’ll walk through this night
Stumbling blindly toward the light
And do the next right thing

Anna was struggling with the grief of silly animation. I struggle with an array of different obstacles and the tangle of emotions that come with each, some sillier than others. In those moments, under those obstacles, I sometimes allow the emotion to sit down on me and keep me from moving forward and producing. But when I push aside the heap of clutter I don’t need and focus on the next right thing, the answer is clear. The next right thing is almost always clear.

Figuring out the next right thing is assumed within the lines of the song. But it’s that other component that really trips me up. Do the next right thing.

Today I embark upon a New Year. Not a new me, exactly. There is no word of the year or unattainable list of pounds to lose or wisdom to gain. I’ve been there and failed at that. I’ll keep plugging at the same things I was plugging at before.

For me, for now, there are only two questions:

What’s the next right thing?
and
Am I willing to do it?

Happy New Year, friends.