I have to say that despite the fact that summer seems to have arrived, the sun is shining, and I just returned from a fun little trip to Toronto. Despite the fact that I’m well, and happy with my life. Not to mention happily retired with no real financial worries… and no exams to mark, a situation which fills me with gratitude every January and June. Still, despite all this, I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately.
|I’m in a funk despite waking up to this every morning.|
Partly it’s just the wear and tear of day-to-day life. I found my trip to New Brunswick last month stressful. And since I’ve been back it seems that on the home front all sorts of little things have been going wrong. Small stuff, like my new washing machine hasn’t been working properly. Then my printer stopped working. Then my desk top PC started acting up. I had to take it for repair, and for two weeks I’ve been blogging on my i-pad mini which is a pain in the neck… literally. And now it seems to be performing poorly. I’ve googled articles on how to fix it and have done all they suggest, and everything else I can think of, but I’ll have to take it into the Apple store… when I get my big computer back. You see? All small stuff. But somehow I don’t seem to have my normal level of resilience to weather the small stuff. I’m usually calm in the face of frustration. Just not lately.
Other things that should have gone well, have not been doing so. Three weeks ago Hubby received in the mail his approval from our supplemental health insurance carrier to change one of his heart medications from the generic to the brand-name. He’s been suffering side effects and his cardiologist changed his medication in hopes of alleviating them. Drugs for seniors are covered by the provincial government in Ontario, but only for the generic, most cost effective, formulations. Our supplementary health insurance would pick up the difference in cost, which is considerable, but we had to jump through a few hoops to get it approved. And we were relieved when he received his letter and could finally get that prescription filled.
Ha. Or so we thought. I’m not going to go into a long-winded explanation here, let’s just say that things did not go as planned. And since I’m better than he is at methodical analysis, careful reading of fine print, and then patient discussion of same… I made the phone calls to track down what was what and why. Five phone calls to our insurance provider, four to the drugstore, over three weeks, each call resulting in my finding the “answer,” and Hubby returning to the drugstore, to be told each time that the insurance company had given the pharmacist the exact same reason for not covering his prescription. And finally, on Monday, I tracked down the problem, and the solution. Which it seems everyone knew all along, except us, and which no one told us. Not one person in all of those phone calls. The insurance people said the drugstore should have told us and vice versa. And everyone I spoke to seemed to think that it was not their job to actually help us solve the problem… just their job to tell us exactly, and only, what they were and were not allowed to do for us. And that is what really, really bugs me. No one anticipates that the person they are “helping” might not be as conversant with the details of their job as they are. Still, Hubby has the new medication now, so that’s good. Yah.
In the meantime, a few days before my much anticipated trip to Toronto, my vertigo, which I battled a number of years ago, came back with force. My head pounded, and I was dizzy, staggering about, feeling bobble-headed, as my sister describes it, as if I’m balancing a huge, lead-filled balloon on top of my neck. I saw our doctor; Hubby had to drive me. I’m fine. And the dizziness abated mostly, in a day or two, except for one bout at the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit caused by all the visual stimuli and the repeated head turning. So the dizziness is mostly gone, but the accompanying headache still lingers. Sinus issues, we assume. Allergies and pollen-filled breezes the problem, I’m sure. But it’s making me cranky, and more impatient than usual. And at times a bit shouty, even, and then teary. Sigh. Poor Hubby.
Then the night before I left for Toronto, I received an enormous, and surprising, phone bill for the time period covering my visit to New Brunswick. I won’t bore you with the detail, but I will say that after we purchased our new i-phone a few months ago, I spoke to three separate people making sure I knew exactly what my plan covered, and what it didn’t. We are newbie i-phone users, and we didn’t want to be caught unawares by a huge bill when we were in South America. Sigh. It seems I didn’t ask any of the three people I spoke to at Rogers the right questions, or ask them to define their terms. Until the other night, when a lovely young man at the Rogers help line got an earful. As I said, I’ve been a bit shouty. I’m happy to say that he did feel it was his job to fill me in thoroughly and try to get some of the huge bill reimbursed. And he added long-distance coverage to my plan at no extra cost. So thanks for that, Jesse.
Then Tuesday I received the call that my PC was back from repair. I was so relieved, and drove to pick it up right away. It would be just like a new computer, I was told. Back home, I plugged it in, connected all the stuff that needed connecting, and turned it on. And sat there. Mystified. WTF. And then, instead of doing what I would normally have done, fiddling around, trying to figure things out, patiently downloading and searching out desk-top short-cuts for all the programs that were no longer there… I just picked up the phone. Then I picked up the computer and marched it back to Best Buy. “Please restore everything the way it was when I brought it in,” I said. “Yes, I know now that this is what you meant when you said it would look like a new computer. I understand you didn’t know what programs I had on it once it had been wiped. Yes, I see that. But this is not what my computer looked like when I first brought it home after I bought it. And that is what I need it to look like. I don’t have the time or the patience to fiddle around to install everything. Here is a list of what I need. Yes. Tomorrow will be fine.” I’m pleased to say that I was not shouty. Maybe a bit shirty… but not shouty.
I’m also pleased to say that I wasn’t shouty with the restaurant where a friend and I hosted a retirement dinner last night for another friend. Where I made a reservation weeks ago for their private room, and was asked to call back a few days before the party with exact numbers. And when I called to tell them we would be twenty-four people was told (for the first time, I might add) that they could not accommodate more than twenty. And then was forced to listen to the owner whinge that large groups are so troublesome this time of year. “You have to understand our position,” she said. Well, actually, I don’t. But I listened because I’d never find a place three days before the party, and I really, really wanted her to squeeze us in wherever she could.
So you see, what with things not working out as planned, and things just plain not working, and what with incorrect information, or insufficient information, or just plain old obstreperousness from the people who are supposed to be helping… not to mention feeling a little unwell… I’ve been in a bit of a funk. As I said.
And it sort of culminated in a rather fraught moment the other day. I was on my exercise bike and Hubby came down to the basement and said, “Suz. What do you think we should do about dinner?” And I replied… or barked actually… “I DON”T KNOW… OKAY?” And then he said, “Are you going to cry?” And I said, “Yes.” And then I did. Sigh. Poor Hubby.
I think that somewhere in all of this I had reached the limit of my problem solving ability. And problem solving is usually my forté. I was reminded of my friend Julie with whom I taught for years. When we were having a stressful week, she’d always say: “This is one of those weeks when we’re going to have to dig deep.” I had dug deeply and reached the bottom of the pit, I guess. I was also reminded of an interview I heard on CBC radio a while ago. About the idea that we all have a limited amount of decision making ability. And sometimes during a very busy, very decision-y day, we use all that ability up. And that’s why people make poor decisions at the end of a stressful day. Decision fatigue. It’s a thing. You can read a very interesting article in the New York Times on that here.
But, you know, all this problem-solving, decison-making is just day to day living in our modern world. I get that. Our very privileged first-world world. Where we filter through multiple layers of “please hold” and “press 8 for whatever” before we reach a person who is unable or unwilling to help us. Where we have to know all about what we are trying to get help with before we can get the right help. Where it seems we had better be armed with lots of information, and researched detail before we do most anything. And where it seems so rare to find someone who feels their job is to put themselves out for others. To really help.
That part bothers me most.
|“Now you listen to me, young man.”|
The shot above was taken just before I left to march my computer back to Best Buy. Almost make-up-less, and loaded for bear. So to speak. Not willing to take you-know-what off anybody, nor to put up with any “you have to understand our position” bull. The poor young man who served me was really nice and helpful after all.
Ha. Did he dare be otherwise?
So what’s got you in a funk these days, my friends? Do you ever feel unaccountably low on problem-solving, decision-making resources? Having to dig deep just to get through the week? Please tell me it’s not just me.