Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Put on your big boy pants and deal with it.

A couple weeks ago I had a bad week, but it reminded me of something from 15 years ago that brought a smile to my face. First, the week.
The night my son came to visit, I went to the airport to pick him up. The person staying with my wife had a dog phobia, and was afraid of our harmless but frisky 10 pound Bichon Frise. I put him in the garage with water and a bed. He must have barked for 5 hours, because I came home to an anonymous note in my mailbox saying essentially "don't mistreat animals or we will notify the authorities." It was signed "your neighbors."
Later that night the wife had a seizure that looked like a stroke, thus began a 4 day hospital stay.
A couple days later a collection agency told me that someone with whom I had co-signed for a Verizon cell phone 4 years ago had defaulted. And I had until 8 PM to fix it, and believe it or not, I did. But damage done, Verizon had already reported it to the credit bureaus. They said they wrote me 3 times in June/July warning me but I never got any letter--in truth it was during my wife's 2 month stay in ICU at MUSC Hospital in Charleston, and I was rarely home--but I had someone pick up the mail and I don't see how I could miss 3 letters? I doubt they ever sent them to my address, probably to the Las Vegas address of the other individual.
Next day I received a complaint and a visit from the Home Owners Association about rust stains on the house from the well-water sprinkler, and weeds on the edge of the pond behind the house (we rent, I could never afford to own this place). The complaint was from a neighbor who knows the problems we are having, but hey, why talk to people when you can complain to the HOA.
Maybe the worst thing was that after 6 months, Sheila succumbed to smoking again, even with COPD and spasms; we had a big blow-up there, but at least it gets her out of the bed because she has to smoke outside.
OK, so short of a pity party, I just felt pretty deflated. Then I remembered an old trick I used to use in the military, write down what's bugging me today, and put it in a letter. Pull it out in a month and see if the problems are still there, or if I still think of them as problems, and write next to them what happened. Usually, things aren't as bad as they seemed. Last time I did it, I left the list in a desk and forgot about it. A year later, the guy using my desk found me and said the list helped him immensely, especially the last entry. That entry read "I have no one to talk to."
That particular problem stemmed from the job I found myself in, where the circumstances don't allow you to open up to people about everything eating at you without serious fallout. It was a "no one understands" kind of comment. It was the only entry I continually put on the list without an answer, because I could never think of one. It was always there--but this time, I was tired of looking at it and had written next to it "Just deal with it." The guy who found the list said he felt the exact same way, and felt better because he knew someone else understood. It dawned on me no matter what you're going through, somebody understands.
The corollary is that somebody always has it worse, which I never forget.
So, here's the update.
We sold the barking dog (we had an add in the paper even before the barking episode), thank God, he was a lot of work; and I don't know who complained, but I've calmed down and it won't happen, at least over a dog, again.
The wife didn't have a stroke, and they changed her meds in the hospital and she seems to be doing better.
I wrote Verizon challenging the credit report, I'll let you know if I can ever recommend them again.
I was pissed about the HOA complaint, but rust remover worked, and a few hours at the pond actually did make it look better.
Lastly, Sheila does smoke, but only a couple cigarettes a day. I was not prepared to divorce her over it. It's an addiction, and one of the worst. Only time will tell how it affects her.
As for having no one to talk to? Well, there is this blog.

1 comment:

mvorpal said...

To Anonymous, who was kind enough to comment on this post with a nice story about how she found this Blog by searching for "Put on Your Big Boy Pants...," and how she made a DIY success with hubby and the hot water heater. Apparently when I change/correct a blog, it drops off the comments that went with the unedited post. I just wanted to say thanks for your comment, which I cherish; and I'll be more careful in the future.