Thursday, May 1, 2014

Take My Advice Because I'm Not Using It

I did a terrible job of taking my own advice this past week. You know how I'm always saying that people should see the humor in stressful situations, don't worry be happy, this too shall pass, use your inside voice, blah, blah, blah?

Yeah, well sometimes there isn't an ounce of humor in a situation, if I don't worry no one will, this too shalln't pass soon enough, and I'll use whatever voice I want thank you very much, blah, blah, blah. I am this close to recanting my entire life philosophy, all because I lost my cool with an appliance store.

Last week was supposed to be the week that my kitchen renovation was finished. It would have only been a month overdue. The new and improved finish date was April 21, and the closer it came, the more hopes I pinned on that day. By the time I woke up that morning, I was thinking there might be a parade in my kitchen's honor right down Pine Street and maybe Jay Z would come by for a cup of tea, with water boiled on my new six-burner Wolf rangetop.

It has been a rough four months. Not having a kitchen is hard. I started this process back in January with what I thought was a youthful, cheerful optimism, but what ended up to be an immature, dumbass denial of the facts. I was cooking dinners in a crockpot that was twice the size as the mini-bar sink in which I cleaned it. The little pieces of food stuck to the bottom of the crockpot (probably chicken. It was always chicken) were larger than the sink drain and I had to often stick a coat hanger down the drain to unclog it. That was on a good day. On a bad day we went out to a restaurant and overspent and then fretted about the expense.

So yeah, it was a rough four months.

When things started to come together and the punch list got smaller and smaller, I got more and more excited about the kitchen being usable. The last piece of the puzzle was the delivery of our new appliances. The kitchen wouldn't be completely done, but it would be perfectly fine for cooking in. You can cook with boarded up windows, no shelves in the cupboards, and wires hanging down from under the cabinets, right?

The appliance delivery team arrived at 11 a.m. Twenty minutes later it was clear that they weren't going to be able to deliver my new refrigerator because of a string of mistakes by employees of theirs who were either on long-term disability or had quit.

I try to be like my mom, really I do. When my mom would get jerked around by a business who disregarded her patience, the worst that would happen is she would get on the phone and use her Mrs. Laney voice. This is Mrs. Laney, she would say, starting out in a high voice and ending low and stern. When we heard my mom on the horn saying This is Mrs. Laney, we knew - uh-oh - someone was careless enough to tick off the nicest woman on the planet.

My nephew was here when I called the appliance store owner and while I thought I was coming across as really badass, he says, yeah, no. "You said in a little voice, 'Really? You can't do it until next Wednesday?'"

So the result was that I flipped out angrily enough that I regret sounding like a raving lunatic, but not raving enough to get any result from it.

The point is, I stopped taking my own advice. I stopped finding any humor in my situation, even getting my sleeve wet every time I turned on the mini-bar sink to wash a dish. I spent less time laughing at myself and more time plotting my revenge on contractors. And I know from listening to my own speeches that no good can come of that.

I did try to remind myself to laugh. And also to remember what my son told me once, when I was over-the-top frustrated with a Philadelphia Holiday Inn desk clerk who would not give me the room that was comped me by Delta airlines.

"Just remember, Mom," he said. "Tomorrow at this time you'll have gotten your room and you'll be the same nice person that you are. Tomorrow at this time that girl will still be working here and looking for a ride to her GED class."

My kids got their positive outlook from me, but they didn't inherit a thing from their grandmother, that nice Mrs. Laney.


If you like Diane's humorous take on moving, you'll love her book Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves.

No comments:

Post a Comment