Yesterday morning I was in the shower, washing my hair and thinking about what I should do with my day, and thought, "I'll check in with (my office cohort) R and see how things are going." And I'm getting dressed, and the phone rings, and it's R, calling to check in with me. Maybe wet hair acts as a thought transmitter? We talked until my elderly cellphone battery was almost dead. He says the office is much less stressful now that the cast of characters has changed, and a lot of work problems have resolved. He's concerned about my stress level. R is a big, burly, bald, tattooed, Harley-riding, martial arts doing manly man, errant subcontractors quake at the sight of him, because they don't know that inside he is one big ol' worrywart tenderhearted marshmallow. His protectiveness has been triggered - I'm going to be fine, though possibly smothered a bit. He's such a sweetie, one of the few upsides of going back will be working with him. That, and of course the paycheck. I won't say I'm really looking forward to going back - that would be stretching the truth to the breaking point - but since money does not magically appear in my bank account and I don't want to change jobs and then put the house on the market three or four months later, this is the best option.
Pop Culture Reality TV Rant saved since Sunday - is it me, or did Extreme Makeover Home Edition really scrape the bottom of the barrel with their "families in need" this week? For those who don't watch this show, it's one long commercial for Sears and the home builder of the week in which the homebuilder's crew builds a house for a family in need. Generally the need is significant - a handicapped child or parent, serious illness, widows left with five young kids and then the house burns down, definitely tear-jerking schmaltzy stuff, exploits tragedy, but the families volunteer for it and get a nice house out of it, and it's hard to begrudge them any of it when you hear some of their stories. Though I do feel sorry for them when I think of living with some of the over-the-top theme rooms the designers install for the kids - indoor fire trucks, c'mon - or actually, I feel sorry when I think of how many hours it will take to rip all that silly crap out when the kid is sick of it six months later and it's impossible to make the bed or even find his socks.
But this week's tragedy? A divorcee with four kids, who had to move in with her parents because the house she was going to rebuild is a falling-down wreck. Yep, we are down to the point where a bad marriage will get you a new house, so run over there and sign up! Girl and I were doing other things and it was on in the background, but I did catch the mother saying her marriage had been bad for "8 or 10 years" (yet two or three of the kids appeared to be under 8) and finally she just had to get out. Okay, fine, happens to millions of women, the smart ones don't continue to make new kids with the alleged asshole. Then we saw her in a dance class, or something. It was just a befuddling story. I admit I didn't sit down and listen to every word of the explanation, because the premise had already struck me as stupid, but exactly what made her different from a million other women who have been through this? We changed the channel, because it was shaping up to be a "talk back to the TV" episode and I'm supposed to be all Zen and thinking low blood pressure.
I snarkily told Girlchild that if they've gotten this hard up, we should submit our story - her father died of cancer, her mother had a brain aneurysm, I'm just a poor lil widow with an insecure job and an income barely enough to keep up with expenses, trying to fix up the house to sell to move to an area with more opportunities.
We could send them this picture of Dudley with those big worried eyes - this dog is worried about having a roof over his head! Please help his mommy and grandma! Girl pointed out the flaw in this scheme - we are the types who deal with our own shit, we don't expect other people to step in, it's just not in our nature. And we don't see ourselves as very different from anyone else. Spend 2 years hanging out on the oncology floor talking to other families, it's a cure for your own self-pity. We cope, and we do what has to be done, and that's that. I'm happy because I can do what has to be done! I'm so damn naive, I thought everybody did this, but now I realize that I've been an idiot.
Next up on the home improvement list - paint the hall bathroom. That can be an evening project, there's plenty of light in there for painting and a door I can close to keep nosy terriers out. Though if Ty Pennington wanted to come help me with this, I'd buy the beer.