I am a person who likes to feel in control. When I sign onto things, I like to think I can count on certain outcomes. Maybe I’m rigid.
Case in point: I am the host of a BlogTalk Radio show called The Couplespeak™ Relationship Forum. I’ve been doing the show for more than three years, have interviewed lots of fascinating guests, and have prided myself on being well prepared with an understanding of the issues, and questions that don’t seem totally moronic. What I don’t count on is encouraging callers to use the 877 toll-free line, then having them reach dead air, nada. Or, when I purchase a transcript of one of the shows, I don’t expect it to read like hieroglyphics! What drives me crazy at this point in my life is dealing with products and services like this where all the tech support people are lovely, helpful and earnest, but the technical realities seem to come from the Stone Age!
Am I the only one who doesn’t understand why suddenly the hugely expensive universal remote in the master bedroom no longer turns on the “PVR”? (whatever that is). Or, why the answering machine has decided not to answer? Is it just me, or have you too wanted to throw your fax machine out the window when it takes hours to connect, then suddenly stops giving you a “transmission report”? Not to mention my office microwave which inexplicably now takes two minutes to heat up a warm cup of coffee. Oh, I forgot – how about my wireless landline phone which now magically flicks off of “speakerphone” mode in the middle of a call? Is it unrealistic to expect that if I don’t log off of the Square app on my phone, that I wouldn’t have to log back in after the last transaction thirty seconds ago? Is it too much to ask that if I’ve set my alarm for 8 AM that I could change that to 8:10 if I want to snooze some more?
Am I the only one with such maddening, baffling and pervasive technical difficulties? Am I just too rigid in my expectations, or have I mysteriously landed on another planet?
Indecision is defined by the Merriam Webster dictionary as “a wavering between two possible courses of action.” I define it as “going crazy”!
Today I couldn’t decide what I wanted for breakfast. Then I couldn’t decide what to wear for my day at work. Then I couldn’t decide if I was hungry for lunch, because earlier, I couldn’t decide whether to throw out a two-day old salad or pack it, so I sort of packed it, but then didn’t eat it, because I couldn’t decide if it would sicken me or not. Then I couldn’t decide whether or not to go to an evening professional meeting, because I couldn’t decide if the blizzard was coming or not. After I didn’t go to the meeting, I regretted not going, feeling like a wuss. Later at home, I couldn’t decide whether to watch some TV, read, answer emails or make some calls. So here I am, not knowing why I’m writing this post, half reading the subtitles on the bizarre news I’m not really watching.
Things could be much worse: I could be Crack-smoking Mayor Rob Ford in a fast food restaurant, not able to decide if he’s been drinking and drugging or not, slurring words and shouting obscenities in an offensive Jamaican accent in front of the entire world.
It’s all a matter of perspective!
“All you need to do is to augment the salad.”
It’s what I say to my husband Thom about three times a week when we touch base before coming home from a long day at work. He generally calls and asks what the deal is for dinner on a midweek night. I know he’s exhausted, and won’t be very chirpy about doing anything elaborate for an evening meal when neither of us have given any time or thought to it. So, I tell him this, even when the leftover “salad” now consists of three pathetic pieces of lettuce and a lonely chunk of tomato in the bottom of a giant bowl. (Not to mention the fact that there’s nothing else in sight for dinner). I know if Thom gets home first he’ll add Spring Mix, onions, tomatoes, celery, carrots, pumpkin seeds, nectarines, Feta or Blue cheese and who knows what else to the salad he’s “augmenting.” But if I ask for that beforehand, my sweet natured hubby will get very cranky – and I don’t want to come home to a cranky hubby at the end of a long day with cranky clients.
“Augment the salad” has now become code for any unsavory requests we want to make more palatable, by minimizing them to each other. Last night it was putting the kayak holder on my car in the dark, so I’d be ready for today’s excursion to Newcastle at the crack of dawn. Two days ago, it was re-attaching a rewired lamp to the wall by my reading/writing chair. On Tuesday before going to work I had to “augment” his “salad” by helping him haul and unload a house-sized trailer of brush to the dump (which was then closed!) Two days before that, it was a “five minute job” of helping him take four air conditioners out of their windows and into the garage. The “salad” list goes on and on. It’s a weird, conspiratorial folly we embrace by default.
So, how do you “augment the salad” in your marriage?
It all started as a benign thought: Wouldn’t it be nice to actually see the news, not just hear it when I’m getting dressed in the morning? The old dinosaur TV was good for one thing – it was so big and wide that I could put my whole breakfast on top of it while putting on my makeup at the sink. I could even fit my morning coffee there! But alas, as I heard about all the craziness in the world on the news each morning, the reception was so bad that it was hard to make out who the nuts were – too much static.
So off we went, (I co-opted my unsuspecting husband into my TV caper), to find a nice new 32″ flatscreen. Because I’m fussy, of course it had to have 1080 P (or whatever letter of the alphabet they give for the most pixels. Up went the price and the search. But what a deal at $299! Put it in the cart, please. But wait! $299. doesn’t give you squat for sound, so let’s just add a soundbar with a built-in boombox, so Dave, next door, with his $35,000 home theater will be impressed. What’s another $149. (reduced from $279. as an “open box” item)?! Put it in the cart! But speaking of “cart,” how’s the whole new contraption going to fit on the teeny antique side table the old dinosaur sat upon? Nope. Gotta go get a new “cart”. Up till 3 AM researching carts on the internet. (I’m fussy, so a new one would have to match our bedroom furniture nicely, not one of those chrome monstrosities). Finally find a TV stand to the tune of $400., but oh, such a perfect match, and what another great deal at a 20% discount! So in between clients, off I go to get the stand. In the meantime, we realize the old TV cable box wasn’t HD compatible, and the new TV is of course HD, so off my husband, Thom goes to deal with Comcast for an upgrade. That was almost the end of Thom, dealing with customer service people in China to pick up a new box one mile away from where he works. Of course they screw up and turn off the cable service in the whole house, so Thom comes home to NO TV ANYWHERE, NOT EVEN THE DINOSAUR TV. (And on a Friday night with Thai takeout, Thom wants his TV!) After 3 hours of intercontinental wrangling, the service is back on, I walk in, overflowing with the new additions to our family, and I now sit here wondering “hmmm….. $770. later, why was it that I had to actually see the news?”
Have you ever had days where everything you try to do seems to get complicated by red tape or bigger problems?
Try this on for size:
I go to get a routine “balance and rotation” at my local car service place for my practically new (28,000 miles) car I’ve kept in great shape. It ends up requiring new brakes and more complicated fixings I can’t even comprehend, to the tune of more than $300.! (and 3 hours waiting time, not 45 minutes)
I proudly paint all the trim on the back of the house after carefully matching the color to the existing one, only to find it’s mysteriously WAY bluer and more glossy than the previous color, so now it looks like we’ll either have a two-tone trim, with windows and doors and upper floors one color, and the ground floor another color, or I’ll have to re-paint the whole side of the house.
I do my 23rd BlogTalk Radio show, only to discover that the crackling sound of someone eating corn flakes has gotten worse. I don’t eat anything during shows, so I’m not the culprit, it must be the USB port, the Skype connection, or my headset. This mystery has still not been solved….
I get notified of some possible fraudulent activity by some sociopath on my main business credit card, so I have to spend the next week contacting all the billing departments of all the vendors I do business with of the change to a new card. In the process, I discover that not all the passwords on file jive with the ones I have recorded, so that’s another several hours! (Not to mention all the websites that don’t work properly…)
I get notified of an enormous “quality credentialing” process I need to be on file with, which requires me to dig up every detail of my professional life back to the time of the cavemen. (“When did you start and stop using your maiden name, when did you start and stop hyphenating it with your married name”?) Mind you, I have trouble remembering what year I graduated High School, let alone the specific days when I graduated from college and grad school, and what their numbers and faxes are! This requires a trip to my office to actually look at the degrees on my wall.
Then, as I do the bi-annual transfer of clothes from and to the attic (5 huge boxes), I discover that it will take me until next winter to get the whole job done. So what if I’m wearing sandals in February…
And, my favorite pair of cozy, black jeans has totally disappeared. (Probably the same bandit who took off with my credit card number, or the same wiesel who changed the color on the paint can!)
All I can say is two things:
1. Thank God for my clients with their “normal” problems!
2. Nothing is ever easy!
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