Friday, January 18, 2013

Dealing With Stress

We were living in our first house for only about 6 months. I was worried about money, as young parents will, especially because I had yet to be convinced that we could afford the thing. Yes, all the tax advantages had been explained to me, and I surely knew the wisdom of putting equity into our own home rather than someone else's. But things were still tight.

And I was lonely. We had moved half an hour away from family, and, with an infant and a tight budget, didn't have the energy or the money to drive back to the old home area as often as I would have liked. We made it there for church on Sunday, and the occasional mid-week shopping trip. I hadn't made many friends in town; women my age were mostly working, or lived in the newer neighborhood of town, and we had no contact. Lesson learned; join the church in your community. We did, and we've had friends ever since.

But we didn't then, and I was lonely, and a new mom with a new mortgage. John had just returned from a 3-week business trip to Israel, Germany and Holland. This was the guy who, on our wedding night, as we dreamed and planned, said, "No, there's so much to see in the U.S., I really don't think world travel is something I want to do." (My thoughts on that statement were so un-bride-like, I won't share them.) But he was the first to get a passport, and came home with stories about the fun he'd had, the beauties he'd seen, and, yes, a sweet apology for that wedding night statement. But he was at work this day, and I was thinking about the photos he'd taken that we'd just picked up; remember, this was back in the day when you took your film somewhere to have prints made!

The mail came. In it was a letter from the attorney who represented the widow from whom we had bought our house. The letter said, in effect, "We're sorry to hear of the death of your husband. But there is a tax bill that needs to be paid. Please get us the money ASAP."

I, too, was sorry to hear of the death of my husband. I called him to make sure that things were OK. He verified that, yes, indeed, he was still sucking breath.

And then all the pressure of all my worries pushed in on me so hard that I pushed back...and exploded.

I called the attorney and let him have it. I was upset that HE hadn't filed the proper paperwork to divide our property form a lot she still held next door, which necessitated us paying HER taxes. I was angry that this snoopy lady, who was still fishing in my mailbox to see whether she had any mail still coming there, was also happily making up stories about my life that involved my "missing" husband. I was aggravated--and, yes, I admit how silly this is--that my husband had had the fun of traveling to places I was still only dreaming of; he had even met my high school pen pal, who lived in Amsterdam, and whom I had never met! And, yes, of course, while I was giving this poor man a piece of my mind, the baby woke up from his nap, crying with a stinky diaper.

It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

In the end, the attorney apologized. The tax bill was paid and the property properly subdivided. I have since traveled to Lithuania, Sweden, Austria (twice!) Italy, Germany and England.

Oh, and the "baby" no longer wears diapers. His baby is due in about 8 weeks.

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