If your house is a “no-whining zone” then you should skip this week’s blog. I had a miserable week and I want to vent, thank you very much.
I took my cats to the vet for their annual shots and check-up, which I absolutely hate because I can’t explain to them why they are being tortured. I finished putting together my tax information for my accountant, which I absolutely hate because I’m horrible with finances and reviewing my tenuous financial situation always makes me feel like a completely inadequate failure. I had a heart-to-heart with my AAA insurance agent and discovered that if I don’t start paying more into my permanent life insurance policy it will disappear in five years, which is a magic trick that befuddles me. Why is it called permanent insurance? I now have to pay more every month to keep it going. Since I don’t have anything of value to leave my children, the life insurance policy is important. (I mortgaged the house to buy Boardwalk, in a universe where Boardwalk equals college tuition. So my children inherit a house owned by the credit union.)
Then I went to the periodontist as recommended by my dentist. For nearly two hours I had everything about my mouth measured and duly noted, including depth measures of every tooth, how far I can open my mouth measured with a ruler, fingers stuck in my ears to feel how my jaws move, and having my taste buds individually counted. I was asked if I grind my teeth in my sleep. How should I know? I’m asleep. By the end of this performance, I had a whopping headache. The periodontist informed me that I need to have gum surgery and that I should come back in a month to receive his full assessment, to include, I’m sure, how much it will cost me. I am livid, since I have spent my entire life taking excellent care of my teeth, which look fine, but apparently are not. No fair.
The last straw was a call from my so-called publisher. While I was out having my annual mammogram (which is a laugh a minute), the publisher left me a lengthy voice message. Let me backtrack here for one second. I have been in contract negotiations with the publisher for the past month. Last week he emailed me that he would forward a revised contract for me to review and if it looked good then I could sign it when I meet with him next week while I am in the Bay Area on other business. (No contract appeared.) I was to receive half of my advance at the signing. So. Phone message. He regrets to be the harbinger of disappointing news, but his publishing company is not going to publish the winner of the Fabri Prize anymore (that’s me) and he is transitioning out of that role. The prize committee is searching for another publisher. They still intend to publish my book as the prizewinner. But they apparently do not have a publisher on board to do it. I paid a consultant $112 to review that contract and give me advice. My cousin, who is an intellectual property lawyer, took time out of his busy day to review the contract and give me advice on what is now a dead contract. I will have to start from scratch with a new publisher at an as-yet unidentified point in time, which I do hope arrives, but there are no guarantees.
Apart from the fact that I am dreadfully disappointed about the probable postponement of publication of my book, and am left wondering if in fact it will ever be published at all because I have no ink on a contract, I was depending on that advance next week to help me through the end of slow-season for grant writing. I have a vet bill to pay. I owe taxes. I have to have gum surgery. And I still owe three more payments on my son’s college tuition for this year. Peace of mind shot to hell. No fair.
Then I got an email yesterday that a friend’s dog, who was a sweetheart, was to be put down yesterday morning. She had a long and illustrious life. Sixteen years old. A well-loved doggie. Not fair that dogs have such a short life span.
And to top it off, last night , just as I was about to kiss this week good-bye and go to bed, my cats found a mouse in the kitchen. I hate mice. We have not had any mice since we moved off the Ranch. First time. This is a stucco house that defies every attempt at hammering a nail into it, and somehow a mouse found a way in? Can mice chew through rock? Since there were no remnants of mouse in the kitchen this morning, I am to assume that there is a dead mouse somewhere in my house. I will figure out where in a few days when it starts to smell. Now I must add the cost of an exterminator to my list of upcoming expenses that I can’t pay.
Today is the beginning of a new week. Perhaps I’ll go out to the garden and putter. I’ll call my lovely children and have a chat. I’ll watch the football championships with my adoring husband in my comfortable home with my youngish and healthy cats purring in my lap. I’ll make a nice dinner and count my blessings. Because I would hate to squander a beautiful day, a privileged life. I am reading Greg Mortneson’s Stones Into Schools and I am in the middle of the section about the 2005 Pakistan Earthquake that destroyed the Kashmir. Thousands buried alive and crushed, mostly schoolchildren who were inside school buildings. Villages leveled. That is really not fair.
Yesterday my friend Phyllee gave me a card to put on my desk. It says “Expect Miracles.” There are truly many others who need a miracle far more than I, but I have faith that there are enough miracles to go around. I pray for the strength to continue to recognize my good fortune and in light of that to allow life’s losses and disappointments to pass through and empty down the drain of time.