Okay, that's simplistic, I suppose, but it really does ring true, doesn't it?
I have very little time for people who can't learn to deal with stress. Stress is simply a fact of life -- it's not about how much of it we have, it's about how we handle the stress we're given.
Everybody wants to believe their stresses are bigger, heavier and harder to cope with than the next guy. Everybody but me, that is. I'm well aware that my stress is probably the status quo. Or maybe even less than what others are facing.
So what's up with me today, stress-wise?
My older sister Sue just called sobbing. Pretty much she talked for around half and hour and sobbed the entire time. She keeps saying she can't get hold of herself. I keep telling her it's okay to feel bad and okay to cry about it, as long as it doesn't turn into hysterics.
Here's the thing...
...Sue's somewhat suicidal.
She's 62. She's too young to be talking about wanting to die. She says she doesn't want to be like our parents, who always spoke about wanting to die when their health got really bad. Hey, they were in their 70's, which is too young to feel that way, too...
(I smile when I think that some of you reading this will think 60 and 70 are old. I used to, too, I guess. But once you hit 30 you realize that those numbers start rolling past you pretty fast!)
Why is Sue upset? On Monday she got the results of her recent 'day of peeing' urine test. (Gathering urine over a 24-hour period for testing.) Her kidney function was last time at 40%, but has now dropped to 21%. She needs to go in to see a renal specialist. I don't know if we're talking dialysis, or not.
She recently finished declaring bankruptcy. Her attorney (the slime) just tried to charge her an additional $500 above and beyond his original cost (which was pretty damned high to begin with).
She's too ill to work and is retired. She personally has no income at all. She's been trying to get medical social security. That's been denied once and the lawyer (a different one) will finally be getting the case to court this July. (We originally hoped it would go to court last June.)
She had a high profile, high paying job (six figures) before retiring. If you google her name you can readily see the impact she made on this world. But she feels worthless now because of her inability to do anything. Her weight and related health issues make it hard for her to even get up and move around -- do laundry or cook. She mainly sits and watches TV or sits at her computer and plays online games.
Candy and Nicole [still part of Sue, really]
Her 30-something daughter Candy and seven-year-old granddaughter Nicole live with her. It's crowded and they don't always get along. But Nicole brings Sue an amazing amount of affection and attention most of the time. Candy finally got a job in January, after being off work (using Sue's money prior to the bankruptcy) for almost three years. Is she working now? No. She needs an emergency hysterectomy and is in terrible pain from a cyst (not the first) on one ovary. No work means no income for the three of them to live on.
They've finally decided they need to give up their house, a mobile unit on the river in a mobile park. Sue loves that house and the location and is very upset about the necessary move.
I could go into various details of her health woes, many of them are quite TMI. But I'll skip that for now...
She's got some good reasons to be crying, anyway.
(I've now talked to her numerous other times, by the way. I may be going over to her house to work on one of the computers -- or I may not.)
Marilyn and I try to help with bills, but we've got quite a few of our own to worry about. Sue's mobile plus space rental is more expensive than our monthly house payment, so there's no way we can help with that!
Yesterday my cousin Linda (the one I often talk about) phoned. She was about to be evicted from the house (apartment?) she's been renting. She wanted to see if we could put her up here for the next two weeks...
She was upset that she was way behind with her rent -- and that her boyfriend (whom she lives with) is back on drugs and not working. (I didn't realize he had a drug problem, as she'd never told me before this.) Aside from owing their landlady money, the woman is (understandably) upset about Barron's drug use -- and the people he has hanging around the place.
When I told her 'no' about staying here, she asked for money for a motel. I told her I needed to speak to Marilyn and she'd have to call back.
Why can't she stay on our couch for a few days or weeks? First, because she steals. She used to take care of our mom (in-home caregiver) and she admitted to stealing both money and jewelry. (She hocked the jewelry to get money to gamble with.) Secondly, this is the busiest time of year for us (the month-long festival starts next week) and we don't want anyone here and under foot right now. (That might sound selfish, but we keep odd hours and so on and need our home to be a haven from what goes on at work!)
Linda's called me several times since, still asking for money -- including this morning. Unfortunately we've given her cash on several occasions, which apparently gave her the idea that we'd always be able to pony up...
Marilyn's Dental Situation
Tomorrow Marilyn has to go in to see some sort of dental specialist to have a root canal done. She's already been to her own dentist and one specialist for them to attempt the root canal. (More than two hours of drilling the last time). She also had to make time in her way-more-than-busy schedule for a consultation about tomorrow's appointment (yeah, it's that big a deal).
The procedure tomorrow will cost $1,000 -- payment due while we're there.
(Linda? Hello! We've got some money worries of our own right now...)
Marilyn's been suffering with this tooth for some time now. She feels ill and dizzy frequently. I worry about her driving, but there's not even a chance she could avoid it. She has to drive all over town to meetings, etc. Unavoidable.
The discomfort from the tooth is currently pretty constant, but she rarely mentions it, or complains. She just carries on doing her job...
Bad Smells (and the causes)
Yeah, the car's leaking. Probably a seal didn't get fixed right after the accident and repair. But there's no time to take it in right now! At this point it will have to wait until after the festival. There's a BAD odor (probably from the carpet getting wet where we had a milk spill -- yeah, my latte -- in the past). She has to have people ride with her quite a bit this time of year (meetings, events, etc.), so I'm treating it as best I can. (No cars provided for staff this year -- the festival lost their car sponsor.)
Our cat has been peeing on Marilyn's bed. I know that sounds like small potatoes, but there's no way we want to replace her king size mattress (or could afford to right now). I've spent hours at the laundromat (you can't do king size comforters at home) and have cleaned and sprayed. Our wonderful neighbor came over to help me turn the mattress so the smell (if there still is one) would be down (and on a different corner of the bed) -- hopefully keeping the cat from repeating the offense. I don't want to contemplate getting him put down right now, though I know we might have to if he remains incontinent...
-The Front Porch- (which also means the hallway on the other side of the porch, the kitchen and even my bathroom...)
The front porch smells of cat spray. Some of the local strays were spraying out there. My fault, for putting out leftover cat food for the poor starving things... (Interestingly enough, Marilyn never minded it or blamed me. She said we were brought up not to waste food, so why would we want to waste cat food, either?) Good heavens, the smell! And with the weather getting hotter we're dying smelling it. So I'm treating that like crazy...
-The Utility Room & Marilyn's Bathroom-
Plus the weird random smell that comes and goes in both our utility room and Marilyn's bathroom, which are side by side. It's been especially bad recently. Usually I can treat the utility room sinks (the washer empties into them) and also treat Marilyn's jacuzzi tub for mold and that does it. Not this time...
Marilyn's schedule currently?
We had the new event on Sunday. Saturday was a full work day for both of us. Then we went to bed around 12:30 pm and got up at 3 am for the duathlon. That wrapped up around noon. When Marilyn got home I was sound asleep. (I'd biked into St. Johns and up to the first tower on the bridge to watch the bike riders cross. I was worn out.) She was freezing from standing in the park, so she got a hot bath and laid down to nap, too.
Monday she worked until almost 8 pm. Yesterday she worked until almost 8 pm. Tonight will be far later, it's judging for the court. Often that means no lunch break (today she has a working lunch) and maybe only a break or two all day to run to the bathroom... (Yesterday she called driving her blazers to the dry cleaners her 'break.' Right.)
-More Money Concerns-
Marilyn is ready to give up her own raise (probably only 3% -- but she hasn't had a raise in four years now) in order to try and keep her assistant on full time after the festival ends. (She's currently a seasonal hire.) Marilyn has the Foundation on top of her regular work, plus the brand new event that took place this past weekend, the duathlon. (Nobody was wishing her good luck away from work. It was like they didn't get it that she had this event to worry about, on top of everything else.)
-The Other Cat-
Our other cat is slowly dying. She gets skinnier every day, poor thing. I suppose she'd due to die soon, as much as I hate facing it. It's enough to think of losing her after 12 years without realizing we might also have to have the male cat put down after 14 years. (sigh)
My own schedule? I just finally wrapped up the last of the parade script this morning, thankfully. Heavy deadline, as we needed to send it today to TV to start writing their own version of said script.
-The Weather- (and the impact on the festival)
Did I mention the weather? (smile) We're having good weather this week, but have been in the middle of rain, wind and cold before that. Many of our festival events rely on good weather (at least weather that doesn't include rain) in order to do well. Unfortunately we need certain weather-reliant events to do well in order to break even -- or heaven forbid -- make money. The festival has had a few tough years, too, I'm afraid...
Well, that's the 'stress list.' (Pretty much, anyway.) Admittedly, some of it doesn't really 'belong' to the two of us, if you examine it closely. Even if I am the support system for Sue (and often Linda, too), that doesn't mean their stress is actually my own.
Anyway, I'm still smiling. And Marilyn and I chat about these various issues while she sits at work coding bills and doing other necessary paperwork. Say, isn't Special Events a glamorous field? (smile)
I'm sure Marilyn will be considering going home tomorrow after the dentist as a 'break,' too! (Even though it's going to be a tough procedure, at best, and she'll probably feel sick and be in pain.)
We promised a friend that we'd try and go to "Revenge of the Sith" on Sunday -- a late birthday celebration (our friend's bday was May 16). That would be fun, but I fell asleep briefly when we went to "Kingdom of Heaven" the Sunday before last, so... (grin)
Well, that's a bunch of things you can certainly call stressful, though most of them are small things, really. (Like dealing with the various odors of car, bathroom, utility room and porch/hallway/kitchen. Funny, really bad smells don't seem small when you're coping with them...)
I'm sure a lot of it seems like a bigger deal because there's so much of it at the same time. Take three small things and look at them together and you tend to see one big thing, instead. Human nature!
Marilyn's also bothered by not feeling well enough -- or having the free time -- to work out right now. She's dedicated to her fitness and it shows, believe me! It was interesting to hear how men (and women, too) reacted on our Vegas trip when we told them her age! In one instance we had to take out her driver's license to prove she was 50. (smile) But tons of other people called all of us there (a group of 13 women besides Marilyn) liars when we'd say we were celebrating her 50th...
Anyway, our chins are up, as always. We're pleasant to interact with and we stay positive. I talked and talked (and talked) to Sue (several times) until she seemed better.
We'll find the time to be there tomorrow when our yard man, Hector, is sworn in as a U.S. citizen at long last. (They want us to join them for lunch, but we'll be taking off to head to the dentist, instead...)
I managed to bolster my computer tech when I talked to him yesterday. I'm going to try and find time to take over some little gifts to our 12-year-old neighbor girl, Laura. She was hit by a truck and almost killed. She and her dad, William, are new to the neighborhood. He's a nice guy. (I haven't met Laura yet, as she's been in the hospital most of the time since they moved in here...) I think their situation is one of those that can put life in perspective for you.
For that matter, look at cousin Linda, who will be on the street tonight. How will she be able to go to work tomorrow (yes, she has a job) when she's been sleeping on the streets? What will she do for food? I'm hopeful she'll go to a shelter -- or that her mom or sister (Nancy) will step in and help. I'd do something more direct, but Linda doesn't actually live in Portland proper. She's in a suburb that's quite a ways from here....
I offered to go over to Sue's and take her to coffee (even though we can't afford it). I offered to fix lunch here and have her over. But she decided she'd rather stay home and lie down.
Well, I'm off to work on all of the various odors, yet again! Then I hope to get a bike ride in to work up a good sweat.
More later. I've had several posts I've started but never managed to finish and share.
By the way, fandom has been very good to us, lately! Marilyn and I are enjoying the various lists we either belong to or moderate over at Yahoo! Groups. We've got some delightful fandom friends (on and off line) who are fun to interact with. We've been writing fic, doing moderation duties and working on our website -- all good, good things.
Feedback has been good, too.
And we're both back trying to be active here at LiveJournal. (Or as much as we can this time of year, anyway!)
Time to 'get going.' (Isn't that how I started this whole thing? grin.)