A Conundrum of Contradictions

The musings of one born in the wrong decade

>Move April 29, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:53 pm

>It was my friend’s birthday yesterday. The one I’m so critical of (in private) for being lost. And it occurred to me…I’m pretty damn lost too.

Not for the first time, I ask myself what happened to me.

I used to have such fire for life. Futile and often misguided fire, but loads of fire nonetheless. I was opinionated, head strong, knew exactly what I wanted in life. So what happened? I’m a different person now and not one I’m particularly proud of. Compare the me of now to the me of 16 or 20 – it’s like we’re not even related. The things I wanted have all changed: career (or wanting one at all), my ideas about relationships and marriage, from wanting a big house to craving the nomadic lifestyle… I’m starting to doubt if I even know what I want – there’s one thing I’ve “wanted” for 15 years and haven’t achieved yet or put much effort towards, so logically maybe I really don’t want it. ???

I feel like I’m not my own person, more like an assimilated version, a watered down version of the me I could be. It’s no one’s fault but mine. Too many trips down the path of least resistance, letting myself slide, not being honest with me when I needed it (always). I’m frustrated, chaffing in the part I’m playing, wondering why the hell I don’t do something about this mess. Aren’t I always saying if you’re not gonna do something about it, stop bitching? Of course I am. I have no sympathy for anyone who won’t help themselves. Don’t worry; I have no sympathy for me either. This new policy I have about always being brutally honest with myself isn’t a sunny walk in the park. Its humble pie served in huge slices, no whipped cream.

Starting right now, I’m gonna stop talking about all the amazing stuff I’m gonna do, and just start doing. If I don’t move, this will be the rest of my life…and that would be tragic. I’m more, so much more than I’m putting out there. I’m so fucking lazy it’s pathetic. I’m just hanging out being miserable and envying people who have what I want, not doing anything about it and wondering why nothing ever changes. Short answer: because I’m the same. Sucks, but true. It really is all about what’s wrong with me. I’m slacking my way thru my life and now that I can face and admit it – it’s not acceptable.

Get moving…

 

>Thursday

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 5:01 pm

>I feel a bit like I’ve been beaten – too many days of staying up too late for mischief and getting up too early for work. The chiropractor says my knee is twisted (it clicks/grinds whenever I sit, which is usually most noticeable first thing in the morning when I have to pee); his tweaking on it didn’t fix it, not yet anyway. I’m exploring alternatives to steroid-based allergy meds. Right now that means my nose is rapidly getting raw due to me blowing out all the crap the Netti pot loosened up. Fun fun.
Neither the weather nor the gear is cooperating. Parts are on 3-week back order and the wind is strong enough to tear giant holes in the driving range nets. Two hundred foot poles are swaying in the wind like saplings. I wonder if one of them fell, would it crush this house?

We went to watch the movie Date Night after a day of running back and forth across town for errands. It was really funny, though I have to say it’s based on the fears of many married couples: being together so long that you become really good roommates. Things are fine and boring. Scary.

And I’m still waiting for the headline: Purse-toted chihuahua mauls owner’s face off.

 

>Balancing Act April 25, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:32 am

>Earlier today I was standing on the top of a 16 foot ladder; in one hand I had a scraper hose-clamped to an old broom handle, in the other a Vulcan death grip on the nearest rung. It snowed dry paint flakes into my hair, down my shirt, all over Honey at the bottom, and made a professional-grade mess. It got expertly messy once the pressure washer was employed. And just think I could have spent a snail day at the shop.

I have a new challenge. This one is for me… and anyone else like me, but not everyone. I am notorious for having what my hubby calls no ‘middle ground’ – a world of extremes, all or nothing, miserable or ecstasy. My dad called them mood swings like nothing he’d ever seen before (which is funny cuz I got it from him). It tends to make me very literal and hell to argue with. It also can make me hell to be with.

So my challenge is to find balance.

If you’ve read my previous post about challenging yourself (and did something about it) you may know the predicament I’m in. I decided to tackle all my flaws at once. My list varied between eight and ten things I wanted to improve; the problem was I didn’t really know where to start or even how to go about fixing it all, especially something as elusive as being angry, which I am way more than is good for me. Since I’m a focus-on-one-thing-at-a-time kind of girl when it comes to life-altering stuff, you can see how I wasn’t getting very far. Knowing what I know about me, we came up with a plan to achieve what I want by playing to my strengths (maybe more correctly, strength): focus on one thing with everything I’ve got – and put that focus towards the pursuit of balance.

I can be peeved without blowing up or happy without letting a little hiccup ruin it. I can stop being defensive every time someone questions me, and remember my very good line about not being a doormat. Evening the keel will help in all the areas I agonized over for a week. Ultimately I’ll be calmer, happier, mentally healthier, and more flexible about life’s insanity. The more level I am the better everything will be around me: my marriage, my work environment, myself in an empty room. (Try being with yourself in an empty room – it might drive you crazy).
(I hate to quote a line from a show I won’t admit I watch because it’s full of real people I despise, but I will anyway because it’s so fitting…) And so it is.

 

>Cracked…Gently now April 23, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 7:47 pm

>Sometimes the answer is no.

Sometimes the answer is simply you can’t win. Doesn’t matter what you do or don’t do, try or don’t try, things come out wrong. Not specifically wrong, just generally wrong. Conflict inside breeds conflict outside. The head and the heart can’t agree, logic and illogic take up the usual stances; it all feels old yet the topic has changed. Or maybe it hasn’t. Maybe it’s the same battle as always just fought a different way on a different day.

Does it matter?

There’s discord; the ever-struggling balance for harmony has been disrupted. I feel old and tired, frustrated and sad, and very much like the foundation of all I know is cracked. Dangerously cracked. Do I patch like hell or risk tearing down altogether and starting fresh? It’s a much heavier decision than it sounds – I can’t afford to get it wrong. The cracks are never from just one thing either; it’s usually four, or six, or nine all at once, demanding priority and all being equally important. Time doesn’t heal all things; you have to work at them over time. Big difference.

So what if there is no time?

What if you need years of healing in a week or less? I’d say you need a little magic and a lot of faith. Maybe a week of free time to focus on nothing else. To not think and just do, to change who you are, down to all but five things, and become someone better. Right now.

Expectations are terrible things; they breed monsters in the night. I know many a good thing that’s been shattered by someone’s overblown expectations. This situation could be no different. Delicacy is definitely required.

One of my recent fortune cookies said not to let unexpected situations throw me…I’m still working on that one. Among many others.

 

>Tickets are Toast April 20, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 7:55 am

>I give you an example of perspectives…

The background:
Last night (Saturday) a client came to pick up her chandelier. She’d just come from the Montgomery Gentry concert out at the air base, where she’d gotten to go backstage, take pictures with the singer, and been given 6 tickets to the final Brooks and Dunn concert tomorrow night (Monday). She gave two of them to me. I called home real quick to make sure Honey wasn’t working that night and we could go. We were all excited.

My (rather overwhelmed) perspective:
This morning I go to work and get a call from the client. She’s all in a panic; some story about her mother took it upon herself to call the sister and got the sister on a plane to Vegas thinking that she has tickets to see this concert. Those would be the tickets the client gave me. And she wants them back. She says she’ll make it up to us, take us out to dinner, but OMG she’s gotta have those tickets back. So I tell her fine, no big deal. I send Honey a message saying tomorrow night is canceled, long story, she wants the tickets back.

Honey’s black-n-white perspective:
She gave us tickets; they’re ours now, Hell No she can’t have them back. Indian giver!

Me: What am I supposed to do now? I know this is gonna get ugly – these are not the kind of people who take ‘no’ for an answer. So I call the client and say look, I should’ve talked to my husband first, he doesn’t want to give them back. As expected, she breezed right past that like I didn’t say it. She said we gotta have those tickets, we’ll go to the house and pick them up – for the record, I was smart enough to say flatly I wasn’t giving them my home address – and of course she was right down the road from the shop and was headed to see me. She wants me to explain everything to my husband, all the back story and make this happen; I call home.

Him: No! It’s not our fault or our problem. I’m gonna burn ‘em.

Me: Really, what am I supposed to do? These people are coming to my work expecting to get their way, I can’t leave and I don’t need a scene right in front of the counter and possibly customers. Besides, this is personal, not business. I’m on the phone with Honey in the back office when they arrive. By this time the tickets are ash in the bbq out back, a bombshell I’m not man enough to drop, I’ve spoken to both sides at least twice – I’ve omitted a lot of the yelling swear words for this post – everyone is pissed off except me (my turn comes later). I say a small prayer and step out front. I tell them the most expeditious thing would be for them to speak to my husband directly and privately. I take them into the office, close the door, call home, and let all Hell break loose.

Him: hehe, bring it. (I think).

Me: Honey spoke to her. Once he said he’d burnt the tickets she passed the phone to her husband, who had already lost his temper, and at a certain point said he was an FBI agent and would call the venue to have the tickets invalidated, if we wanted this to get ugly.

Him: Would you like their number?

Me: Dear Lord, here we go. I’ve been staring at the wall with a blank expression this whole time. The husband loudly says, do you want this to get ugly? I say, are you talking to me? He says yes; I say no. He says I better talk some sense into my husband and hands me the phone. I say hello very sweetly, knowing there’s no sense to be had from this mess. I hand the phone back; shortly after it’s slammed down and they storm out. I say ‘I’m sorry guys’, to which the husband snaps: no you’re not, if you were you’d do something about it, and slams the door in my face. In all honestly, my very first thought after that was: you don’t know my husband.

Deep breaths. Call home.

Him: That went well. His voice tells me he’s smiling. If you’re going to argue morals, remember you gave those tickets away and they are property of someone else. The morally correct thing to do would be solve the situation by buying replacements – basically the exact opposite of everything you just did. You don’t ask for gifts back (that’s ballsy at best), you don’t get nasty when the answer isn’t what you wanna hear (rude), and you definitely don’t try to strong-arm me into doing what you want (go fuck yourself!).

Me: I spend the next hour on the phone. The client called twice. Between those calls I was on the phone with Honey. They want to bring back the three amazing fans I found for them and the chandelier from the night before and they want it all credited to their Amex. (In theory to punish me for not bending to their will). I paused, momentarily considering how wise it would be to tell them about our “all sales are final” policy, if that would be poking an angry bull with a stick, and went for it. I said they could get store credit or exchange them. Her husband said he’d contest the charges with Amex. I said ok, or he could take it up with the manager on Tuesday, it really wasn’t up to me. He made some snide comment about how that wasn’t up to me either, how convenient. We hung up. By this time Honey is practically giddy. The tickets were free – easy come, easy go – and he made it so they couldn’t win, which is more infuriating than losing. I’ve been cool as a cucumber since the angst was deflected off of me and I’m starting to see the clear picture now. These people are shitty. The client calls again. She’s a little friendlier and conversational now, almost chatty, and she’s trying to figure out my husband’s irrationality. They don’t believe for a second that the tickets are burnt. I say if he says he burnt them, I believe him. Now she says her husband isn’t gonna do anything, there was a little more discussed confusion on their side, and we hung up.

I call the manager so he’s not blindsided if they come storming in on Tuesday.

Later that afternoon, having had time to think things through, now I’m pissed off. When you give something away it no longer belongs to you, nor do you have any claim to it…possession being nine-tenths and all. There are two of us, Honey and me, in this marriage so if I say yes and he says no and we can’t compromise, then we stick together whether we agree or not. They think that because they gave them to me and I said yeah sure you can have them back, that his opinion means nothing. Or that I’m gonna stomp my foot and say “you will” and override my husband because they want me to. (Haha, nice try). I realize I’m younger than them, which automatically equals ‘kid’, and they’re so used to throwing money and weight around (possibly doing the flip-flip to other people with the so-called FBI badge) that they’re used to getting their way, but they’ve never come across someone who truly doesn’t care. That would be Honey. And they’ve never had to fight irrationality – that will make you crazy if you think about it too long.

So Honey was right. I couldn’t see it until I was basically removed from the situation. He said I was thinking about it from a customer service standpoint, which I was, but the truth is if they bring everything back…I lose about $14 dollars. So live and learn I guess.

I am not a door mat; you will not walk on me.

 

>Personal Challenge April 18, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 8:32 am

>If this keeps up I’ll have to rename the blog “Parking Garage Confessions”. I’m currently in the rat maze known as the Palazzo parking garage. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before. There are pillars where there should definitely be none, spaces tucked in between pillars and in tiny corners, and very few signs. I drove in the same circle three times, exited once (by accident), got back in (luckily), came to a dead end (charming), and finally found the ramp into the basement, where very luckily someone was just leaving (Thank you Lord). This is shock-creted hell – the whole place feels like a very large afterthought. At least there’s soothing music playing.

So I have a challenge for you: look yourself in the face, admit your most hideous flaw, and accept the consequences. Now spend the next 23 days doing everything in your power to correct that flaw.

Sounds simple right? How bad could it be? Well that depends on your acceptable level of human decency – most people’s is pretty low. I figured, at least until last Wednesday, that just about everyone else on the planet is a hypocrite – why should I be the only one going against the flow? Because I should. Because being a hypocrite shouldn’t be accepted as part of the natural order of things. Because we all hate other people when they do it, then we turn around and do it too, but somehow that’s ok.

Maybe you can admit your flaw. The twist is accepting the consequences. Most consequences involve harm of some sort to someone, usually your significant other or the people closest to you (i.e. family and friends). Since I’m using hypocrites as an example…it means you won’t do what you expect others to do, which implies you’re somehow better than them, and it breeds resentment faster than rabbits or dust bunnies. Hence the consequences being people think you have a superiority complex and don’t want to hang out with you. It also means you have to acknowledge and accept that fact as no one’s fault but your own. Not so easy after all, huh.

In theory, 23 days is how long it takes to develop a habit, good or bad. So if you can be conscious of your hypocritical self, and correct that behavior at every turn, in 23 days it should be second nature and viola! You’re a better person.

I will be the first to tell you this exercise sucks. When done properly, it’s an emotional rollercoaster with a lot of steep drops, too many to comply with the laws of physics. But nowhere is it written that there’s nothing wrong with you. We tell each other and ourselves that all the time, but it’s not true. We’re flawed, damaged, savage creatures that are excellent at pointing the finger and blaming someone else. You can be better than that.

Still too easy? Try admitting your flaws to someone you love, whose good enough not to argue with you or try to comfort you in any way. Once you’ve conquered one, do another, and another. Better yet, do them all at once; make a list, get in touch with how shitty you really are, and then change, become a better version of you.

Maybe I’m onto something…or maybe there’s no air down here and my brain is slowly cooking. Your choice.

 

>Quack April 11, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — summerv @ 9:22 pm

>I got into a high school argument at work today. The temp kid stole a sale, I called him on it, he responded with some smart ass remark, and I lost my temper. I did manage to get the brain-to-mouth filter back in place before saying anything really damaging, but there was swearing involved and now I want to punch him in the throat more than ever. With any luck, he won’t show up tomorrow. If he does, I’m gonna have to apologize for losing said temper, mostly to make myself look like a better person than I am to my superiors, not because I’m sorry in the least. Honey told me never to argue with an idiot – you can’t win and you have to stoop to their level. The duck theory worked great until then. If anyone should happen upon a woman muttering “quack” under her breath, don’t panic, that’s me.