I have many character flaws which I’ve enumerated on this blog more times than I care to remember, so I’m not going to reiterate them all just now. I plan for this entry to be a “Yay Me” posting, but I don’t want anyone to misconstrue that I in any way am not regretful of being, at times, self-indulgent and materialistic. I have been both of those, not to mention whiney and sarcastic.
Anyway, I’m not going to talk about that. I’m going to talk about this character trait of mine that is equal parts blessing and curse: I’m adaptable.
Seriously, plunk me in any situation and, after an initial phase of shock or anger or sorrow, I’ll figure a way to be happy there. I will adjust my attitude, my goals, and my point of view. Depending on the gravity of the situation, it may take a few hours or days or weeks or, in a few extremely drastic cases, months – but all in all, nothing thus far has landed me in a state of total despair.
I’m very good at gleaning the lesson in each of these disasters, adjusting my behavior accordingly and moving forward.
I know on the surface this is a good thing. It’s what keeps me going and prevents those around me – particularly my kids – from being frightened. No one seems to rally around here until I gather my sanity together and start cracking jokes.
The downside to this is that wherever ugly situations come from, whatever negative energy feeds off the mistakes I’ve already made and turns them to disaster (I’m not in denial about my own part in situations that go horribly wrong) keep ramping up the consequences, in spite of the fact that, as I keep telling Them (It…whatever) “I get it. I understand. Now STOP!”
It’s gotten to the point that more than one person has asked me why I’m not at this point screaming my head off, demanding justice and retribution for having to continually endure the consequences of decisions I didn’t make and situations I knew nothing about.
The answer is that I don’t know why and, as I explained to my eternally patient sister-in-law Mrs. Dark Garden, what can I do to let Them (It…Whatever) know that I can’t take anymore? I mean, I can’t do any differently from what I’m doing and It keeps throwing stuff at me. I keep trying to have a nervous breakdown or a heart attack or anything to tell It: “Back off, Jack. She’s hit the wall.”
I write all this by way of being honest and also by way of explanation for the fact that, while most of my readers know that we’ve endured two foreclosures and are going through bankruptcy, my posts are, but for an exception of a few, positive or downright frivolous.
There are those, in fact, who are offended that I don’t have an entire wardrobe of sackcloth and ashes or that I don’t walk around flaying myself while continually reciting a prayer of contrition. To them I can only apologize that I’m still alive and, therefore, require the sanctioned food, clothing and shelter and even have the nerve to want the food to taste good, the clothing to fit and the shelter to be comfortable. I know that’s too good for the likes of me but, again, sorry.
To these same few, I am also sorry that I’ve managed to adjust and be happy in these circumstances. It’s not that I don’t recognize the gravity of the situation. It’s that I have a life to run, whether you happen to think I deserve it or not.
The fact is, one of my ways of coping, or adjusting – whatever you want to call it – is to embrace where fate has landed me. You can believe this or not, but I’ve never been a frivolous shopper. All our financial resources went toward building a house and being unable to sell the one we owned to begin with (along with other factors). But I don’t have boxes of “stuff” or closets full of clothing. I don’t even have gadgets and electronics.
The point I’m trying to make is that now that our financial resources are so much less than two years ago and significantly less than when we realized the Housing Bubble was about to implode, there isn’t a whole lot we have had to change to accommodate the shortfall. Certainly we’re living in a smaller house, so we had to make that adjustment. And it doesn’t matter anymore if steak is on special or not – it’s not in our budget and we don’t eat it. It’s not a big deal (and, again, I’m sorry that I’m not in tears over this loss and, in fact, have rather a good time finding increasingly cheaper meals).
Anyway, one of my ways of adjusting to my current situation is to do the same with the rest of my life, even if it strikes some as rather pathetic. The reason I say this is very specifically for Dark Garden at this point. Whenever confronted with a challenge that most people would solve by spending money, I get a real kick out of finding a way to do it by laying out little or no cash, even when it’s justified.
Okay, for instance (still with me or have most of you clicked on by now?): We arrived at this house with one of those toilet bowl brush wands onto which you attach disposable brushes. The refills for these things are prohibitively expensive, not to mention adding to the accumulation of more waste to enter landfills.
So I knew, once my stock of refills ran out I was going to switch back to your standard TB brush and caddy, both of which could be purchased for the price of what one box of refills would cost. For a cleaner I decided on good ol’ bleach.
I’m sure the dollar store had a perfectly serviceable brush and caddy, but then not only would I have to pay a buck for the brush and a buck for the caddy, I’d have to specifically travel to the dollar store.
So during one of our CVS trips, having accumulated $16 in cashback bonuses, I was able to purchase a toilet bowl brush along with the soap we had originally gone there for: 66 cents. But that didn’t get me a caddy. (There was a brush with a caddy there, but it meant I’d have to pay over a dollar.)
So I present my toilet brush and caddy.
Now, I know that, upon seeing this, Mr. and Mrs. Dark Garden will show up at my door with a toilet brush and caddy. It will be top of the line and better than they would buy for themselves.
This is what I mean: a toilet brush caddy made out of a milk carton is not, to me, pathetic and I’m not posting it because I want you to see how poor we are. I can afford a toilet brush and caddy. But think of it – we are recycling! And I’m posting it because it makes me happy and to show you how clever I am.