Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Steaming Piles

Did I mention it has kind of felt like the world was (mildly) $hitting on me lately? 

Bear in mind that I readily acknowledge I'm still insanely lucky.  No significant health issues for me or anyone I love.  Great husband who loves me.  Interesting job that I enjoy and that compensates me well.  Yada, yada, yada.  It could be one million times worse.  But at the same time, I hate when people delegitimize how they feel about things.  If something upsets you, even something trivial, something that should be "hashtag firstworldproblems," it does, and you're entitled to own that feeling.  Just because it could be worse doesn't mean it's not legitimate.  I could go on and on about this and still not feel like I'm explaining myself well. 

Regardless, in the context of my good and happy life, in the last month, it's felt like there has been more steaming piles of crap than in the last 5 years combined?  Maybe I'm overstating it, but I've been down and feeling beaten down for several weeks now.  And it seriously all started when we came home from San Francisco. 
The short list of problems, none of which existed as of Memorial Day:
  • I'm homesick.  Not so much homesick, but family sick.  I particularly miss my parents and some of my younger brothers and my nieces and nephews.  My husband has said we can move anywhere I want in the world in 6-8 years, but he is not willing to move right now even if I got a job with a starting salary over $1,000,000 (I think I mentioned this, but he found out while we were in Nepal that he was changing jobs within his organization; he now loves what he does and feels he's making a major positive difference in the world and is not willing to walk away from it for a slew of reasons.).

  • I'm feeling blah about Dallas.  I was enamored with (of?) San Francisco.  It's so geographically interesting with the bay and the mountains.  It's got amazing running trails.  It's got hills that I could learn to love.  It's got tons of people out and about -- eating, doing things, being active, etc.  It's got great weather.  Again, my husband has said he's fine with moving there in 6-8 years, even if we live in a ghetto one-bedroom apartment, even if my brother and sister-in-law and nephew Willard have moved away, even if we have not a single relative anywhere in that time zone.  Just as long as we wait 6-8 years. 

  • I'm reconsidering the decision I've been certain of for more than 20 years -- that I don't want kids.  I think spending so many days with my baby nephew gave me pause.  (I think I mentioned this, but my husband has one grown son from his first marriage, and expressly told me within the first month we were dating, almost exactly a decade ago that he ABSOLUTELY DID NOT want to have children and if I wanted that, we should end things then because he was positive.  So where does this leave us if I have actually changed my mind?  I should mention, however, that I am far from certain I have changed my mind, it's more just something I've been thinking about.  But I'm almost afraid to really consider it because if I concluded that I really did want that, I don't know how we could bridge that divide.)

  • Someone at work who started after me in a different division got promoted above me to a spot in that division (no such opening in my division, absolutely irrelevant to me, says nothing about my performance, just a matter of job openings, but still hurts.  And hurts a lot actually.) 

  • I've been overwhelmed with work.  The furthest behind I've been in ages.  Approximately 6 reports I need to write, 4 of which were due in late April, each of which will take at least 4 days, and likely a full week to research and write.  Reports are one of the most important things I do, and I've never had more than 2 that were past-due, and I usually work hard to do them all on time.  And aside from reports, on all my other 170 cases, tons of other matters that need to be addressed.  Inbox overwhelming.  I feel like if the reports were magically written overnight tonight, I could still work for about a month straight with nothing new coming in before I got caught up.  And it's never nothing new coming in.  2 of the reports I need to write just hit my desk this week (so they're not due for a few weeks, but I really should be starting them now, instead of working on the 4 that were due in the last 2 months, but of course I need to get the oldest ones done first.)  It's like the mail -- the flow of litigation seems to never stop. 

  • As I mentioned, I scratched my eye again last week Sunday.  It's all healed up now, but it was causing a lot of pain and logistical headaches (running with glasses, repeated trips to the eye doctor, etc.).

  • My father-in-law was moved into a nursing home.  This was not unexpected, but still a lot of turmoil and adjustment.  My in-laws moved into one of those "here til you die" places a few years ago.  It has the 3 stages -- independent apartments, nursing homes, and hospital-level care, all on site.  They've been in an apartment but he's been falling a lot so they had to wait for someone in the nursing home to die, and that happened a few days ago, so now my father-in-law has moved into that person's spot.  Ironically, his new roommate is someone he went to high school with.  And in many ways, this is better -- he and my mother-in-law have been married for over 50 years, but they seem to fight all the time in the last 8 or so years.  Some separation and space might help them to be less agitated with each other.  Regardless, it's very clear now that my father-in-law's health is fading.  My in-laws' situation is one of the main reasons we bought trip insurance for our fall vacation.  My husband lives the furthest from his parents but calls pretty much daily and is very close to them. 

  • My husband had a car accident last week -- got rear-ended on his way to work.  Fortunately it was by one of the approximately 50% of Dallas motorists WITH insurance, and the guy was totally honest with his insurer about it (admitted he looked away from the road, etc.).  (I assume it goes without saying (since it otherwise would have topped the list of steaming piles of $hit), but my husband was physically fine, a little sore, but the guy who hit him gave him some ibuprofen and my husband took a lot more ibuprofen in the following few days and now seems to be totally back to normal.)

  • And for good measure, let's throw in general dissatisfaction with the state of my body and fitness.  Wanting to lose weight (but not wanting it enough to DO something about it), running slower than I'd like (but injury free), feeling flabby and old in general. 
So the latest addition to the list? 
  • Found out last night that my husband's car is actually totaled.  It didn't look too bad from the photos I saw, but it wouldn't restart at the scene.  It was towed to an auto shop by our house, and we understood from a friend that sometimes cars need to be reset by a mechanic if they are hit hard enough, some kind of fire precaution or something.  So we thought, okay, they reset that, do some bumper repairs, should be good as new within a week or whatever.  Well, no, it's actually totally done.  The other guy apparently went under my husband somehow (I still don't really get that, since my husband has an Audi A4, so it's not exactly a high riding vehicle, and the guy who hit him was driving an Infinity or something like it).  And of course this happens not too long after my husband had finally paid off his car. 
Now what?  Does anyone have any experience with this?  Do you just take whatever the at-fault motorist's insurer (USAA if it matters) offers?  Do you negotiate that?  Do you have your insurer negotiate the offer (or set up a subrogation claim)? 
Man, this sucks.  The last thing we want is a car payment, or even to spend the time car shopping. 
We figured my car would die first (it's still under 100,000 miles, but it's a 2001), and the plan was that I would take his Audi, and he would get a new car.  That seemed good because he really, really, really, really wants to get a Fiat 500.  And if we had the Audi, we'd still have a car that was good for transporting 4-5 people, plus luggage, etc.  My car is a 2 door BMW convertible that technically seats 4, but the backseat is not large and when the top is up, it's almost impossible for my parents, for example, to get in and out of it. 
What to do? 

New car for him?  Fiat?  Something else?  Used car for him? 

When exactly are we supposed to figure all this out and deal with the colossal headache that is sure to be car shopping?  We don't want a new car!  We don't want a car payment!  We want a time machine to go back and make this guy keep his eyes on the road!  We want a paid off, well-maintained, owned by us from birth, Audi!  Wah, wah, wah. 

I recognize that I'm putting a whole lot out here in this post.  Any words of wisdom (or even just good thoughts (save your prayers for real issues, which I fully recognize these are not, except maybe a few prayers for my father-in-law)) on any of the above-mentioned piles of $hit would be appreciated, but what to do regarding the "totaled" car is the most urgent pile of $hit and is particularly in need of advice/words of wisdom. 

Thanks friends. 


  1. "I hate when people delegitimize how they feel about things"

    THAT was going to be what I said after reading this ... sometimes it is good to just dump it all out there. There is a lot of crap going on and it really is important to own your feelings.

    The car thing sucks ... we're going to be buying Lisa a new car at some point this summer - with her new job, longer commute, and driving the unplowed roads of Pennsylvania she needs something better. But we too have been without a car payment and aren't relishing having one again - because we'll also be keeping both of our current cars so the boys have one.

    It also reminds me of how we have had both of our cars 'just about totaled' over the past few years - my wife was slammed by someone who ran a red light texting while driving, and then my son (who had his permit less than a month) hit a patch of black ice and ended up in a tree ... I think especially with my wife's car we'd have been better off if they'd just killed it off :)


    I'm sure you have thought about this already, but when I read through your post again today it didn't feel random at all, but rather totally connected. There feels to be a single theme, which to me reads as: you are stuck and not in control of your own destiny, and you don't like it.

    Think about it - someone else getting a promotion isn't about you, but it can make you feel indirectly slighted especially in a certain context. And that context is ...
    - You miss your family, but getting more time with them is out of your control and moving closer is off the table.
    - You are not a fan of where you live, but moving at all is off the table.
    - You are struggling with the conflicting feelings around missing family and the new baby and possibly wanting a child of your own (more on that in a second).

    Add to this repeated eye issues (frustrating) and the general sense of dissatisfaction with your fitness, running pace and so on - which might be viewed as an outcome from overall general dissatisfaction.

    The baby issue is certainly ... um, huge. Because of the situation, it is unclear if you can even be honest with yourself, let alone with others, particularly your husband. And that sets up a pretty dismal cycle - because the person you would generally use as your intimate is suddenly off-limits. And because you have obviously already thought about the 'end game', you know this is a very different subject than my wife and I talking about 'should we try?' 20+ years ago - because that was about aligning timelines and worries and priorities, not a fundamental diametrically opposed viewpoint.

    As for whether the internal struggle about the baby is manifested from the other things or the other way around .. no clue. It might be impossible for you to untangle at this point, but it is ultimately pretty important stuff. No one ever wants to be in the place of 'if you REALLY want / don't want a baby ... it will cost you your spouse, marriage and current life'. Ugh.

    So while you entered into this glossing over your stuff ... it is really some pretty fundamental and serious sh!t :(

    1. Thanks for the very thoughtful comment. It was a whole lot to put out there in the world. And you likely have a point that it's a lot of frustration with things out of my control. I've been thinking about it and trying to remind myself that where I am is largely a product of my choices -- things I had control over that put me on my current path. And if I really want to make changes, I'm part of a team and my husband is at least open to talking about a lot of things. The car thing is well on its way to resolved (just have to wait for a check now). The workload is getting better with some solid headway today. The homesickness has been alleviated a bit because one brother came to visit this past week, and I think I might be heading to a baby shower in July for another brother, which will be nice. It might just be my first real big downcycle in life, and maybe it will be swinging up again soon. At least so I hope.

  2. Wow. This is all serious stuff...and so much hitting all at once. While I never had a car accident that bad, my insurance company went after a person who hit my parked car & took off. They put a lot of work into finding out who did it and making sure their company paid for everything. Your insurance company should fight for you. They should also give you a rental car until everything is figured out. With moving, would your husband consider asking if he could work remotely? So many companies are moving toward remote workers these days. With the baby, have you considered volunteering at an organization like Big Sisters? I know it's not the same, but you'd get to influence a child's life in a meaningful way while you work through your thoughts on whether you'd want your own. Good luck with all this! Please keep us updated! No matter how big or small, I think writing things down & talking through them with others is so helpful.

    1. Thank you Jennifer for your kind comment. The immediate problem (the car) is resolved after a miserably long day of car shopping. We'll be stuck with a car payment, but the interest rates are good and my husband really likes the new car. I love the working remotely idea, and it works for me, but it's not an option for him (he's a detective), so we are in Dallas for the foreseeable future, I just need to make the best of that. I really like the idea of volunteering with kids. It's particularly intriguing for a couple reasons. First, since I've never really liked kids, it's something I've never considered. And second, since I've never really liked kids but I do seem to love this one particular baby, it's probably good to spend time with kids and remind myself that they grow up. Part of me is a little worried I'd be like that Octo-mom or something -- obsessed with babies, not really into kids. And besides volunteering, I'm thinking about trying to plan more stuff with my local godson. That's more kid time, and if it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and uncomfortable, that's more good info to have. Your comment also makes me think big picture, making a difference, etc. I love my job, but maybe there are other options that would be more fulfilling...

  3. Yes! Own your feelings! That really stinks about the car accident. I really don't understand how insurance companies work and I work for one. I don't think health insurance is much different from auto. Just this morning I saw that one of my diabetic patients had a claim for diabetic shoes denied. Why? It would take me just as long as her to reach someone who might be able to answer that question. So frustrating!!

    There is so much emotion in your words and I'm glad you were able to get it out. I understand a lot of how you're feeling about where you are living. I long to live elsewhere, but I have two other people to consider. I know it's mostly on me to find an amazing opportunity in a desirable community that we just can't pass up or we will be here until we retire.

    I'm often told I will regret not having a second child. After Carlos was born my husband and I were never on the same page at the same time in our desire to have another child. I always had a personal biological clock stop date of 40 for a number of reasons and my husband was aware that I did not want to get pregnant past 40. Last year I turned 41 and I feel as though we've closed the door. Every now and then I hold a baby and wonder. I know my experience is entirely different than what you're going through, but I really admire you for writing about it. The mom in me feels that tugging on the heart strings as I read your words. I wish I had inspiring words of wisdom, but all I can offer is a big virtual hug. I'm sending positive thoughts that at the very least the accident business is resolved quickly in your husband's favor.

    1. Thanks friend, I appreciate the virtual hug. Insurance is a mess indeed! We ended up getting an amount for the car that seemed fair. It was more than bluebook, but of course less than it was worth to us, but it is what it is. We're just putting it behind us. And I'm lucky that for now, even though my feelings on the biggest questions are very unsettled, my husband is at least entertaining discussions. It makes me teary how he can sometimes be so sweet about wanting me to be happy.