Thursday, October 9, 2014

Seek the Funny Especially When It SUCKS

The willow which bends to the tempest, 
often escapes better than the oak which resists it;
and so in great calamities, it sometimes happens
that light and frivolous spirits recover their elasticity
and presence of mind sooner than those of a loftier character.  
~ Albert Schweitzer

Adapting to and creating your new life in the aftermath of your spouse's (or other close loved one) death (read: Fade Out), you continually encounter unsuspecting moments, situations, or scenarios that ignite flares of emotion-rich memories - - both good and bad (read:  Yahtzee).  Ironically, there are times when even the bad stuff is yearned for - again - because it feels like even the bad stuff is a hell of a lot easier than having to do some things without him/her (read:  Bedeviled).  Honesty and perspective is so much a part of how you'll experience the heat of those flares and move through them without getting burned (read:  Winds).  An important healing goal is to get to a place where you can laugh about it.

Honesty:  In early bereavement, there's very little you're able to laugh about. The seriousness of your pain, loss and sorrow is so paramount, but in time - -  only your own time - -  based on the healing work you set-out for yourself, you can become a light and frivolous spirit and see the humor in things.

Perspective:  The funny is found mostly with ourselves.  Our reactions to the actions within the escapades these newly solo experiences create (read: Tipping).  When you arrive at that point, levity amid the emotion-flare, being self-endeared in surrendering to it, always in retrospection, humor meets you there. 

Invariably for me, it's been the mundane household activities I perceive suck;  those I am either inexperienced with or don't enjoy doing at all that regularly yielded a loud declarative, "This SUCKS!!"  One shot, and onward I went. Sometimes a repeat incident required an escalated expletive,  "Rat Bastard!" was the occasional go to when the former didn't deliver the right punch.  Vocalizing my disdain this way feels good.  A healthy release generalized to the overall place in life I was in.  Sometimes specifically targeted toward Boomer or death itself.   Observing my frequent usage,  I started putting together a top 10 list of the things which for me, absolutely, unequivocally SUCKED having to deal with in my bereavement as a widow.  In creating my list, humor met me there - - as early as number 9...

10.  Hanging Artwork.   I  fumbled and bumbled hanging an oversized piece of art in my bedroom by myself;  it reminded me of the "fun" of setting up house together the first time up north (read: Migration), and the teamwork of assessing it's position.  One holds piece the other checks-out the long view and vice-versa.   Doing this alone sucked.

9.  Tending to found bugs, critters & rodents.    Ewww!  Ewww! Ewww!  I hate bugs, critters & rodents - found where they don't belong - especially when they're dead or dying.  Here in Florida, palmetto bugs are notorious and just creepy.   Boomer was always my rescuing knight.   But when I found a dead mouse on the sidewalk outside my front door, I freaked.  I couldn't do it.  What I could do, however, until my neighbor Dave got home from work to ask his help, was put a towel over it.  Soon after the feral cat who killed it came back, sniffing around to pick up where it left off - whatever that might entail.  I had to do something else, other than pick up the mouse myself of course.  Short on yellow crime-scene tape and orange construction cones, I did the next best thing.  I got a bucket.  I placed the bucket over the towel over the mouse, in the middle of the sidewalk outside my front door.  Kitty continued it's encroachment.  Meanwhile, the wind picked up, "Uh oh, that's not gonna do it."  Next came a brick.  I placed the brick on top of the bucket, on top of the towel, on top of the mouse, in the middle of the sidewalk, outside my front door.  Time lapse:  an hour and a half.    Dave's wife, Dianne, came out, saw my makeshift mouse mausoleum  and asked what was up.  "Oh, I do this all the time," she said,  I'll be right back."   A minute later she came out with a plastic grocery bag, removed the brick,  removed the bucket, placed her hand inside the bag creating a protective glove and grabbed the towel and mouse in one fall swoop.  Time lapse:   a minute and a half.   I wish I had a picture.  Next time, I'll just text Dianne to come over.

8.  Lotioning your own back.  Okay, I know, that's not exactly a household task, but trust me, it SUCKS.  It's not easy to get full coverage by yourself, and for me it was the reminder of our times at the beach (read:  S.S.B.B.)

7.  Garbage disposals and ALL things plumbing.   How?  What?  Oye!  When the appliance goes wonky, it's a predicament moment of high order, paired with a foul aroma that makes you say, "Crap, this SUCKS!"  But wait, set the stop watch; one call to the trusted handyman, who just happens to be in Home Depot at the time, picks up a new disposal for you, swings by within two hours.  Twenty minutes later, problem solved, a new disposal wasn't even needed.  Plus, you learn a little trick to trouble shoot in the future easing future anxiety, got a new electrical switch at the expense of a mere $20, plus a fun 15-minute conversation on running and cycling, because your handyman use to do triathlons.

Next came the mystery plumbing leak.  The water bill tripled over a two-month period.  I don't take that many showers.  The utilities company alerted me after doing a meter read.  Meter?  What meter?  Where? I was overwhelmed, I needed a plumber and didn't have a clue.  I texted my friend Nico, a contractor, for a trusted referral.  I made immediate contact and the plumber was two blocks away, saying he'd be over in 30-minutes.   He found the problem in what seemed like 30-seconds, the toilet pump seals in what was Boomer's bathroom had rotted and was stealthily leaking.  He swapped it out right there.  Instructed me to go to the city with my bill and the receipt for the repair to receive an adjusted credit.  Done.

Okay, maybe that didn't really suck after all.  That was some powerfully effective manifesting magic happening; oodles of gratitude all the same.  Proving it's all perspective and attitude.   A woman can get use to this kind of attentive service.  I'm totally cool with it.  What did suck, briefly, was my fear and the panic that I didn't know what to do or what the problem was and Boomer wasn't there to guide me.   Now, I've got trusted resources that I can go to, or maybe take a plumbing class...not.

6.  Probate.  Blah! (read: P.T.S.D.)  One ridiculous moment rendering a "Rat Bastard!  This SUCKS!" switch up was an email from the probate attorney, billing $250/hour, making  this grammatical choice, "...Thank you for your patients..."   I momentarily lost my mind along with my "patients."  Let's review the distinctions...

Patients:  (noun) a person receiving or registered to receive medical treatment.
Patience:  (also a noun) the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.  

I'm grateful I kept my cool patience, in writing anyway.  As a consultant, I've also changed my billing rates and structure; my fees are far too low for using good grammar.  By the way, sarcasm is also a highly effective healing tool.

IT Guy-in-residence -  2002
4.  All Things Technology - I am wise.  I am smart.  I am a willing learner.  I am tenacious and resilient.  I am articulate.  But did it really need to take 4 days to figure out how to reconnect my smartphone to the Casa SMO wi-fi?  Evidently yes.  Because if it doesn't sparkle or come in an array of colors, shapes or offer physical activity/endurance, it's outside my innate wheelhouse of talent or skill; plus, I do not speak in algorithms.  My late-beloved masterfully played the roll (enjoying it too) of on-site IT support director in our domain.   Now I have a son-in-law, who's already proven his value, via respectful on-call help desk support (read:  Fins).

3.  HVAC.   "Rat Bastard!  And I froze the last three consecutive winters?"   While having annual maintenance on the air conditioning, I exploded into a silent furry, mostly at Boomer,  when I learned the system also functions as a furnace and the thermostat was incorrectly set.  Sarcasm again aided my venting wrath.  Mr. know-it-all said we didn't have a furnace, so we froze, I froze - - unnecessarily.  Huzzah!  This winter will be a another cornerstone of change.  Let there be heat!  It will be a much warmer winter.  Yes, Florida does indeed have a winter.  And yes, it does get cold - - relatively speaking.

2.  Hardware Repairs.  When the shower towel rack needed to be reattached, things got creative and looked a little kooky.  Fingers crossed this girl has the goods to make it stick.  Plan B:  take a friend up on their offer to handle it for me.  Plan B worked way better.  Lesson learned - - I AM an outsourcer, and perfectly o.k. with it.

1.  Zippers.  "Honey, can you zip me up?"  "Honey, can you unzip me?"  The loving help, no matter the direction, to the back of my dresses.  I wear alot of dresses.  In the first few go arounds in the widow-state zippers suck.  Time for a wardrobe change.

Shout it out, let it rip, feel better - - funny will always meet you on the other side.  Humor is potent medicinal healing when your mourning.  Worked for me.

I felt angry toward my friend.
I told my wrath.  My wrath did end.
I felt angry toward my foe.
I told him not.  My wrath did grow.
~ William Blake

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