Stressors Rising

by NotDownOrOut

Free clip art. clipartlogo.com

Free clip art. clipartlogo.com

The stress of my daily life sometimes gets to me. My “to do list” has “to do lists.” Tonight you can observe–sort of a “fly on the wall” perspective on the reasons why I feel stressed this evening–too stressed to find relief in sleep.

Let’s run through the top stressors of the day. I woke with shooting pains from my lower back to my knees. I think it was sciatic pain. I did not hurt my back and do not usually have this pain, but I had it this morning when I woke at about five in the morning. It was so bad I had to roll out of bed. Then I had to get back up into my huge four post bed and lie flat on my back and raise my knees to my chest and stretch until something realigned well enough for me to exit the bed again. I walked gingerly until it seemed the pain had passed. By that time, there was no going back to sleep.

I wrote an email to a new friend met online in the blogging world. I thought I deserved to spend what would have been my sleep time on something for myself. It was a pleasure, but led me back to work. I graded papers. This morning I had six classes in some state of operation. I knew I could knock one out today if I tried.

I had to turn in final grades for my law school class. This involved getting them approved by someone else. I got them to her and she got back to me swiftly. Then I needed to submit them. I did that more than twelve hours later.

I had an information session scheduled for this evening for one of the schools for which I teach. Prior to nine in the morning, I left a message for someone at the school reminding the person of what I needed for that session. I am a person who uses checklists. I needed a room number. I needed a list of attendees. I needed packets about our program. I needed evaluations for attendees to complete. The session was scheduled for six in the evening in a far distant suburb. I needed to run some errands as I headed out there and needed to leave early to avoid snarled traffic jams.

The individual that I contacted did not get back to me until almost noon. He needed me to get there an hour earlier to meet with one attendee who could not be there for the session but needed to speak with someone. I agreed to get there at five. The room was scheduled. It had the right services. The last time I did this I was assigned a room that was too small for the expected attendees, lacked a computer, Internet link-up, screen, and air conditioning. I thought things might be going my way.

I originally agreed to do this information session because we had numerous attendees. There were only four people on the list. It was too late to cancel the event. The person who set up the event had forgotten to send the packets to the school for my meeting and it was too late for them to be delivered today. So the person emailed me the materials and I had to print them. He could not supply some of the pieces by email. My printer ran out of toner midway through printing what I did receive. I figured that if I got to school early enough I could print the documents at school. I only needed four sets, right?

I am teaching two online classes. I needed to check in with them to see what was going on. I did, but could not take the time to do anything except check for problems. I have papers to grade. The papers will have to wait until tomorrow.

Last night, right after I left my mom’s house following a holiday dinner with my brother Danny and sister-in-law Lisa, my mom went to bed. Then her doorbell started ringing. She does not always get up to answer it. The person was insistent. When she found a robe and made it to the door there was smoke billowing from the front of the house. Birds had built a nest in an exterior light fixture. The light was off, but the activity somehow produced a fire. There was no hose available on the front of the house.

My mom ran back into the house, grabbed the mobile phone, and ran to her garage. She opened the garage door. The neighbors, who had seen the smoke, started spraying the electrical fixture with water. My mom decided to call my brother instead of the fire department. He is an electrician and lives nearby. Danny and Lisa showed up shortly after the fire was put out. He removed the light fixture and left it in the front yard. He was on his way to work (he works the overnight shift sometimes).

My mom left me a frantic message about the house being on fire, then got on the phone with my sister Kathy, who lives in Maryland and was too far away to do anything except worry–and the two of them tied up the phone line.

I heard the news when I got home, but I could not get an answer at my mom’s house for some time. As I heard the story, the light fixture was still attached to the house and could ignite again. The degree of damages was indeterminable due to it having been dark outside. I offered to come back and stay the night. My offer was rejected. But, of course, I was not off the hook.

I emailed my brother and sister to determine what everyone else knew. No one answered. This no doubt explains the pretzel twist my back felt in the morning.

I left for my mom’s at about one in the afternoon. By that time I knew the light fixture had been removed (bless you, Danny). But I still had no assessment of damage. I took my digital camera along in case I needed pictures for an insurance claim.

I stopped to mail some bills and later realized that I had forgotten to stamp one of the envelopes. Oh well, I mailed it early. It may return for postage before I need to re-mail it.

I arrived at my mom’s house to find her standing outside studying the situation. It was not too bad. But her Internet connection was down (again). I went inside and restarted the router and got the connection restored. I need to come back tomorrow and replace the router. This was about my fourth trip for this purpose in the last couple of weeks. One can never receive enough emails containing jokes about old men, pictures of dogs and cats, or rants about political issues.

My mom told me that she had gone out that morning for a meeting at the senior center. The mayor came to answer the seniors’ questions. After my mom got home she realized one of her mobile phones was missing from its cradle. It turned out to be sitting atop the hood of her car. It likely was left there last night when she was done calling Danny about the fire. Evidently she drove with a steady hand. It was still there after she drove to the senior center and home. This is what sometimes passes for good news in our lives. The mobile phone did not end up on some road with a single lost shoe. We take our blessings where we find them.

Just smoke damage. I think we'll live. I'm not sure about the birds.

Just smoke damage. I think we’ll live. I’m not sure about the birds.

We discussed the need for a new light fixture. We will try to get one Wednesday when I come to replace the router. My father was an electrician, too. We cannot possibly go to the Home Depot to pick up just any old fixture. We will go to an electrical supply warehouse. I will need to measure the current fixture. My mom is certain it was tough to find the original (burnt) choice. Danny will install it if we can find one.

The birds did this!

The birds did this!

We discussed other bird nests on the property to determine if any of them could also start a fire. I found myself praying for serenity. What do I know about these things? There are reasons I do not own my own home.

I left for the information session. I made good time despite all of the road construction. I went to the computer lab and printed four sets of information for the four attendees listed on my sign-up sheet. I scrounged in the school’s lobby for brochures to complete the packets.

I helped three students with their resumes and cover letters. Then I graded some more papers. I wanted to try to make a doctor’s appointment for August, but no one answered the phone at the hospital. I will have to try again tomorrow. It will be the fifth or sixth time I got to that project too late in the day.

I write a newsletter every two weeks. I read news stories looking for ideas for my June 10th issue. I made a list of ideas to pursue and located some background research. I receive about seven different news updates per week. I read their stories to see what others in my field were buzzing about.

I am also recruiting for law firms. I identified some people to contact later this week.

I went to the room where the information session was to be held. The person who had to meet with me early walked in behind me. She was early and said she only had fifteen minutes to speak with me. It turned out she was not one of the four people whose name was on the sign-up sheet I had received. I gave her one of the four packets I had made. Now I was one set short. I did the presentation and answered questions, setting a new record for speed. It usually takes at least one hour. She turned out to be very interested in the program so stayed a little longer than she planned.

Then I set up my audiovisuals and headed for a copy machine. The administrators saw me about to pay for photocopying and insisted I let them copy for “free.” This sounds like a time-saving offer, but it turned into a networking exchange that ran long.

Not that any of the four expected attendees showed up at six. At quarter after six I was prepared to head home. No one had showed. Of course, as I prepared to shut down, one person arrived. I redid the presentation. She also was very interested. We spoke for an hour.

Then I left the building as it started to rain. I drove an hour and forty-five minutes back to my house in sometimes blinding rain. When I got home I submitted my grades online. I reviewed another student’s resume. I checked my six email accounts. I made something to eat. I spoke with a friend whose life, she thought, might be more stressful than mine.

I answered emails from students who would like their grades faster. I checked in at wordpress.com. I answered an email inquiring about a paper graded and not returned because the document was not named to include the student’s name–despite the fact that my course materials instruct students to use their names in the names of documents submitted online.

The thunder and lightning outside got so bad that I had to stop touching my computer for awhile. Then I decided to blog because I felt so stressed. I knew this would help and it has. It has convinced me that anyone would be feeling stressed under the circumstances. I am not going to worry about what I did not do today.

I am reminded of a song for children that no doubt explains why people like me seem old way too soon.

I Know An Old Lady
I know an old lady who swallowed a fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a bird,
How absurd to swallow a bird!
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cat,
Imagine that, to swallow a cat!
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a dog,
My, what a hog, to swallow a dog!
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.
I know an old lady who swallowed a goat,
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a cow,
I wonder how she swallowed a cow?!
She swallowed the cow to catch the goat,
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog,
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat,
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird,
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her,
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.

I know an old lady who swallowed a horse,
She’s dead, of course!!

http://www.timmyabell.com/music/lyrics/ol/oldlady.htm

I hope your day went better, but will not be surprised if you tell me that you, too, find yourself overextended. If you have any tips on avoiding this condition let me know! Tomorrow I will refuse to swallow the fly!