Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Fred Said

So, the bathroom...this past week's work should have been to frame in around the tub so that the tile guys can come in and do the surround. White subway tile, by the way; a little more spendy than the usual 4x4 square, but worth it given the age of the house. Perhaps I shouldn't be so worried about aesthetics. But perhaps I'm almost 40 years old and it's OK to want what I want.


The tub is shorter than the actual opening allowed for it, if you look at grout marks on the wall from long ago. To keep from moving all the plumbing so that the tub would be centered and THEN framing around it, there's about a foot between the back edge of it and the wall. Now, the last tub was in the same spot, and the solution was to bring the wall up to the edge of the tub. No big deal, but of course I can't keep my fingers out of it. I thought, wouldn't it be a nice thing to have a little shelf/seat at the back of tub...a place to sit whilst shaving one's legs? A spot to place my liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner? I mentioned this to Fred earlier in the week, and he let me know that it sounded like a good idea, but that he'd need to come look at it with me. (Just because I can visualize something doesn't mean that it'll really work.) That made sense to me, but he didn't come Thursday and he didn't come Friday, and he didn't call to let me know that he couldn't come those two days.

Now, this ties into my general anxieties and insecurities. I mightily resisted the urge after school on Friday to call and make something of a fuss. I usually believe that people are doing the best they can, and if something doesn't happen, there's probably an understandable reason why, even if I don't know the details. That being said, I also tend to feel like I'm at the bottom of way too many lists, including my own. As I've worked to raise myself up a few notches on mine, I feel more sensitive to perceiving that I'm so far down on other's. I walk a tightrope on this...not wanting to be a demanding harpy, but also needing to know where I stand. I decided to wait until Monday morning to call again.

Well, Fred called on Saturday afternoon, wondering if I was available to check out my bathroom idea. I was, as I didn't go very far from the couch. He came right over, we figured out a way to make it work (it involves a small piece of solid-surface material on the seat-a horizontal surface-to eliminate the problems of water pooling on a tiled and grouted surface). It also means some logistics for the framing, which Fred couldn't know until he saw it. I'll get what I want, just not on my schedule. And Fred assures me that this is my week for work...generally, that means I'm at the top of the list for the week. (Hopefully the tile guys will agree. After the tile goes in, the rest should be pretty quick: vinyl sheet floor goes down, toilet and sink installed. Done. I think.)

I have had many situations where my anxiety causes me to rush into something that I regret later. Not huge regrets, mind you, but ones that could be avoided if only I'd held myself steadier for just a little longer. At least to the point where I won't cry and instead can state my needs in a clear and calm way. For instance, not calling Fred in yelling haste on Friday, and I still got the result I wanted on Saturday without the drama. Too often I feel like I must do something NOWNOWNOW and it soothes the anxiety temporarily. But then I'm left feeling rather ashamed that I behaved the way I did.

How do you know when something is worth getting worked up over? I spend a large portion of my day being more patient than most, as an elementary schoolteacher. Am I just wrung out of patience by the time it comes to my personal stuff? Is my perception of what's important so screwed up that I don't know when it's OK to strike hard and hot, and when it's better to stay steady? When does staying steady turn into being a doormat? Is it possible to stay steady and still take care of myself? Why don't I have the confidence to make a decision and not second-guess myself for the following week? (I'm almost not exaggerating there, depending on the situation.)

These feelings aren't all about a bathroom, of course. I know that compared to a large percentage of the world's population, the fact that I have running water in my home means I am very fortunate indeed, even if it doesn't include a very convenient shower. But lately, I seem to assign the same importance to matters like this as I would to matters of grave concern. I don't seem to know the difference. Am I just inventing drama for my own weird entertainment? Is my life so empty?


Anonymous said...

Hey, you sound a lot like I do! And I'm not sure if I have any good answers for you. I think that our reactions to situations in our personal lives might be different than in our professional lives (and I'm thinking out loud here) as getting upset at the office might cause me public embarrassment, loss of a client, or even loss of my job - although there have been quite a few times when I would have felt justified getting angry with someone there, I breathe, relax, count to ten, smile, etc... But I don't know, although I'm certain our lives aren't empty. :)

By the way, great choice on the subway tile.

Anonymous said...

Maybe its that there is so little in this world that we can control and make right, it makes the things we can possibly control seem really important. (I know there was a better way to word that, but I think I got close to my thought.) Also, I used to think when I was younger, that once I was grown up, the self doubt and insecurity would go away. Nope. What age did give me, though, was the ability to (sometimes) step back and realize that when something makes me feel insecure, its not always about me, and if I wait it out- like you did- it usually works out and my insecure fears were unfounded.

Enough deep thought- its gorgeous out and I have goaties to hug! Glad your bathroom is coming together.