Tag Archives: Dallas

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

For all my musing about giving Maybe Next Tuesday a chance, it was wasted thought. He turned out to be Maybe Next Thursday, and following a few more texts, became Mr. Maybe Not.
Which is just was well, because, as previously noted, I had too much going on to deal with it.

Friday afternoon brought a request for a job interview Monday afternoon, and I knew that with the movers coming that morning to move my furniture, it was a bad idea, but the recruiter was so firm about 2:30 Monday being the only available time and how perfect a fit the job would be, and I was not in a position to decline, so I said I would make it work.
Saturday I took possession of the new apartment and spent the rest of the weekend moving all my clothes and dishes and electronics over one car load at a time. I thought that the transition would be easier this way—without packing boxes and moving things directly to their home in the new apartment meant no need to unpack on the other side. But by the time Monday morning came around, carrying so many loads down the stairs and going back up again that my muscles were so sore that I felt I could barely walk.

I had originally scheduled the movers to come at 10:30am, but when I scheduled the 2:30pm job interview I called back and rescheduled them to come at 8, and Sunday night I called a third time to confirm the movers would have dollies because I did not rent a truck and the trek from Apartment A to Apartment B was probably about the length of two football fields.

Already a bundle of nerves, I woke at 4:00am Monday to the sound of heavy rain. I lay in bed trying to force myself to sleep, but I realized I didn’t have a mattress bag to protect my mattress from the rain if it didn’t stop. Realizing that my brain was amping up and resistance was futile, I got up and turned on the TV and listened to the weather coverage while scouring the internet for where I could get a mattress bag before 8am.

The earliest to open was 7am at a U-Haul approximately 4 miles away so I took a bath and painted my nails to pass the time until 6:30 and then ventured out into the torrential downpour figuring I would allow extra time for poor rush hour drivers and flash flooding. The streets were flooding and the forecast called for heavy rain to continue on until 11am. As I purchased the mattress bag, the thought of renting an extra dolly flitted through my mind, but the person on the phone had confirmed their movers would have one or two, so I dismissed the thought to my later regret.
I made it home by 7:45 and when the movers did not show up at 8am as promised, I continued to watch the weather report and figured that would excuse up to an hour of tardiness, but when 9am rolled around, they still had not arrived, I called and someone said they were on their way. Thirty minutes later, same story. 10am, same story.

I called back and said if they could not make it by 10:30, I would have to reschedule because of the time crunch. Again I was reassured that they would make it by 10:30. I kept my cell phone on me and started moving lamps and other smaller pieces of furniture that I had planned to leave for the movers.

10:30 came and still no movers. Called again and they said don’t worry, they had gotten held up by the rain but they had added a third laborer to the originally scheduled two and would make up the time. Many frantic phone calls later and after three failed attempts to reschedule because they were booked for the rest of the week, they finally arrived at 12:15pm, swearing they could move everything that fast. By this point, despite all the willpower in the world, my legs began to mutiny and balk at the notion of any more trips up and down the stairs, so I watched frightfully from the ground as each piece of furniture was carried down and over.

Now my regrets sank in even further as I learned that in spite of multiple phone calls confirming they would have dollies, they had none so I found myself refereeing them as they came up with not so brilliant ideas like rolling my round leather lounger on the concrete and one worker trying to support the weight of the dresser with his head against the particle board panel that holds the drawer fronts, causing it to cave, and then —

I came out of the new apartment to see two of them balancing my washing machine on a comforter on the trunk of their Cadillac while the third drove the car very slowly. It was 1:15 and I still had to shower and drive thirty minutes across town for the interview. My heart swung like a pendulum between my throat and my feet as I watched a repeat performance with my dryer. I kicked them out and told them their boss could wait for my call to release their payment.

The world’s fastest shower and change and a few orange lights later I was on the dot for the interview. I said all the right things but I was wound so tightly from the journey to get to that moment that I probably sounded like an auctioneer and the law firm was not impressed. We exchanged to requisite pleasantries and parted ways, and I sent a Hail Mary email thanking them for their time and attempting to hit a few points I knew were missed in the interview, but I knew that job was not to be mine. By Thursday it was confirmed.

I was too tired to think about Maybe Tuesday, so I guess I was relieved when he didn’t reach out until Thursday night, and asked if I had plans for dinner. I said I was too tired to eat but had left over pizza in my fridge if I changed my mind later. That was the last I heard from him. In retrospect, I should have probably realized that “What are you doing for dinner?” was probably a precursor to “would you like to have dinner together?” and I had unthinkingly shot it down quite effectively. I could mourn the loss of opportunity, but then, I go back to – if he didn’t make an impression the first time, probably no big loss the second time.

I didn’t lose much sleep over it.


Curse You, Madam Butterfly!

Curse You, Madam Butterfly!

An illustration of Madam Butterfly – aka the butterfly rash on a lupus patient’s face…

In times of stress like I’ve dealt with this week the scarlet butterfly alights on across my nose and cheeks, filling my sinus cavity and skin with blood and fluid until it bursts through my skin leaving an unsightly oily rash and scabs. It makes me feel…undateable, unlikeable, an object of other people’s pity, concern, aversion and curiosity. It’s not enough to be physically painful; it sits on my face like the elephant in the room just trumpeting with all its strength for someone to break the tension by acknowledging it.

I look back on my charitable event and feel guilty for Batman, because he was a nice boy and we had dated for about six weeks and I wanted so desperately to be attracted to him because he treated me well and was willing to spend four hours outdoors in the 92 degree heat kneeling and standing to take pictures with kids in spite of a horrific case of rheumatoid arthritis he’d had since the age of five. I never said anything about it, but I secretly could not stop looking at how the RA had deformed the shape of his fingers and hands and wondering if my lupus would do that to me over the next thirty years. It was really such a small flaw in comparison to the man he was, and I wished that I had been brave enough to not let it bother me, as I hope someone will one day overlook it when it happens to me.

I had been learning to cope, doing pretty well keeping Madam Butterfly at bay with my medications and coping techniques to handle stress and avoid lupus triggers, but this week I got screwed by that company that so little appreciated the efforts Batman and Marilyn and I had put into tying for first place that day because they didn’t process my termination paperwork in a timely manner, so Blue Shield of Texas had cut off my health insurance before I received my COBRA benefits package right in time for three big doctor’s appointments that were part of my Benlysta infusion treatment and me needing to refill some of my prescription medications at the pharmacy.

I spent almost two whole days on the phone with the COBRA plan administrators begging them to process my benefits elections and payment and start the reactivation process with Blue Shield in time to prevent me from missing my infusion date, while trying to fit in half a dozen job interviews and calling about half a dozen appliance repair places to find someone who could reconnect my washer and dryer at the new apartment next week, completely failing to pack a single box to prepare for my apartment move tomorrow.

To quote Thomas Paine, “these are the times that try men’s souls.” I’ve not really ever had the luxury of being able to be weak and rely on other people to help me through my problems, and this was no different. I couldn’t count on the former employer to help me because they were so inefficient they caused the problem in the first place, and there wasn’t really much that any friend or family member could do to help in this particular situation, so all I could do was keep making phone calls and praying that God would put the right person on the other end of the phone who would actually listen and lift a finger to help me.

I have inherited from my father the trait of being a worrier-fixer, which means that I am the person who looks forward and sees all the things that are ahead that can go wrong to try to prevent them, and automatically feels compelled to suspend all emotion until I have a plan and have put everything in motion to save the day. It’s not a bad trait all around. To everyone else, I am the strong, survivor capable of handling anything and making it look easy so rarely anyone ever thinks I could possibly need help. I am always their rescuer and thus I must not need one of my own. If only they knew how much my stomach and my mind twist in knots and I writhe with frustration whenever people say, “You’ll figure it out; you always do…,” or “you’re a survivor. Things always work out for the best…,” or heaven help me, “God has a plan.” All those kindly words of encouragement people think they are offering me just ring in my ears as what they mean to me: Damn that sucks, but I don’t care enough about you to help.

The trouble with being a worrier-fixer that is the child of another worrier-fixer is that you quickly learn that sharing your problems with your worrier-fixer parent is that he can quickly become your worst nightmare because he automatically emotionally takes on your problem as his own to solve, and quickly rehashes the fears that you’ve already had and rationalized into the category of “not helpful to dwell on,” making you second guess your judgment for dismissing them to focus on usable facts to try and come up with your own solution, and will compound it by taking it personally or insisting you haven’t heard their concern and taken it seriously when what you really need to do is come up with a plan and move forward. So turning to mom and dad for support was a known nonstarter.

Luckily for me, God did offer me some help in a man named Jim who answered my eighteenth call to the COBRA Administrator’s customer service line after getting blown off by dismissive customer service women who didn’t understand that untreated lupus in a stressful period like this causes severe pain, partial paralysis and mobility impairment. I had to beg for a fax number from one of those women just to get my election form in to their office without having to wait for the regular mail to make it to them, and pay online or over the phone to expedite the process? We’ve never done anything like that for anyone before. You should just wait. It will all be reinstated retroactively.

But my savior Jim, he was someone who could listen and think outside the box, so he was willing to do the legwork to step away from his desk to – gasp!—talk to the election forms processing people and make sure they received my fax and YOWZA! He actually walked further down the hall to talk to the IT department and get them to put a dummy payment in the system so they could activate my online registration so that I could pay online while he was on the phone with me and then let them drop the dummy payment once my real payment was made. And then, wonder of wonders! he actually called and emailed Blue Shield to ask them to reactivate me in time to save my infusion appointment based on the information he could provide.

As a woman, it pains me to admit this, but Jim was a breath of fresh air and the women I talked to—they could have given me as much concern as if I were complaining about being forced to miss an appointment with a dermatologist to get acne medication. So much for our reputation as the fairer sex, known for our inclination to nurture and care for those who depend on us.

With all this week’s medical drama added to the aggressive quest to find a new job and prepare for my move, I probably wouldn’t have a word to say on this self-proclaimed dating blog, except that the world works in mysterious ways and a would be suitor I had met via Match.com and exchanged texts with briefly before leaving him long forgotten decided to text me out of the blue to ask if I was still available.

It was a bit of an awkward approach because I hadn’t thought enough of them to program his name in my phone so I had no idea who was texting me to say, “I know we haven’t been in touch in almost a year but I just wanted to reach out and say hi. In the last year I got pregnant and married.” Which naturally led to my confused response – Congratulations on the big news. I’m sorry but I don’t have your number programmed in my phone so I am embarrassed to ask-who are you?

Apparently in a bout of eagerness and being all thumbs, he had meant to say, “I was wondering if you had gotten pregnant or married since we last connected.” After a picture text and a few remember we talked about such and such-es my memory started to be jogged, and he asked if we could finally set up a date.

I was torn. My first instinct is that if I didn’t think enough of him a year ago to program his name into my phone or go on a date then, then I probably would come to the same conclusion this time. I told him that I was tied up with my move this weekend and wouldn’t be available, and he immediately offered to summon up some buddies and a truck to help with the heavy lifting.

I told him not to concern himself about it because I had already hired some laborers to move my stuff and would rather have it handled by insured professionals than save a few bucks by relying on friends to get things down two flights of stairs and about 100 yards down the sidewalk to the new apartment and winding up upset or screwed if something was dropped or scratched.

But he was so eager to continue to offer to help me that it makes me take pause. Here I am having spent an exhausting week trying to solve a butterfly summoning load of personal problems and fuming that until I found Jim in the eleventh hour, there was not a soul who could or would offer to help and here I was in a manageable pinch with someone eager to offer more help than I had considered wanting or needing? The Greek deities must be laughing at me right now, and I must consider the question – is that worth a meal or a cup of coffee to meet this guy in person to see if he is worth letting in?

I’ve got too much to deal with right now to think about it that hard, so friendly opinions are welcome. For now, I have left this potential date as “Maybe, Tuesday.” I’m not sure if Madam Butterfly will have flown away by then…