Monday, November 8, 2010

A Lesson in Persistence:

or rather an Anti-Lesson... When I got up yesterday, the hubby was sitting on the sofa. He was supposed to be at class and I was surprised. I wondered if I'd been confused about the time change (or he had)—all those things that go through my head when things aren't as expected.

“Car won't start.”

Damn. “You could have taken a cab or something.”

“I didn't think of a cab. I just knew a bus would take me an hour and a half.”

Now while that's true... had he taken an hour and a half from the time he discovered the problem, he would have only been a half hour or forty-five minutes late... when it is a three hour class... I was a little annoyed he hadn't tried harder.

And then he starts rattling off all the OTHER things he can't do because the car doesn't work.

He can't get the money order for his test (the certified nursing assistant test is Wednesday). He can't GET TO the test and has to cancel at least 48 hours ahead. We are out of bread; we need something for dinner tomorrow.

And I start responding. I can pick up the money orders. TO ME, the post office is in walking distance, so I'll get them. I will get bread on my walk today (the grocery ALSO being in walking distance in my mind). Take a cab to your test.

Finally, I yelled. The defeatist attitude won't solve anything. You deal with the car and make a list. I can solve every other problem.

This has been a theme in our marriage. My husband is not just realistic, but debilitatingly so. Every problem that might come up he thinks of and worries over. And any WAY of getting anything done that wasn't the ORIGINAL PLAN can't possibly work. You see, he is borderline depressed and probably PAST borderline anxious (did I mention the OCD?)—not on medication—the side effects aren't worth it, as we can deal with almost all of it through having a regular routine, but when something like this throws a loop in his plans, MAN does he adjust poorly.

There is a not-so-bad ending. My neighbor helped jump the car and followed him to a place where a diagnostic said it was just the battery. He bought a battery and replaced it, and we are back on track (except he missed his 3 hour class and poo pooed all my 'get notes from this person or that person'--finally it comes out he can just go to another section of the class this week—he just needs teacher permission *rolls eyes*) The lack of problem solving BAFFLES ME.

But it also occurred to me that the fact these things are second nature to me, and are just what I DO, is why I will make it in this writing business. Anybody like him... computer dies and you have to rewrite 2 chapters? Forget it. I quit. First reader doesn't understand my MCs motivation? No point publishing. Nobody will get me. Rejection letter? Guess I'm not good enough. When in reality, we just need to keep AT IT. Obstacle? Go around the damn thing! Every problem has a dozen solutions and if you can come up with just ONE of them, you can move forward.

So to anyone inclined to have a personality like Glum (from the Gulliver's Travels cartoon, and somehow I think I might be the only person who ever watched this) 'we're never gunna make it'--be sure and surround yourselves with a couple instompable optimists who are willing to kick your butt when you need it.

ALSO!  Burrowers, Books and Balderdash posted our Contest for November yesterday--a selection of images to write drabbles for, and the winning drabbles for each image will be FEATURED on our Burrow Website as part of our countdown to New Year!  So go look, get inspired, and write a drabble!


Ted Cross said...

I am sure you are going to make it, too. You have the right attitude, persistence, dedication.

Cold As Heaven said...

I guess it's all about improvisation, and how to deal with unforeseen (is that an English word?) problems that come up. People are different and react differently to that kind of challenges. For someone who's a little bit depressed and anxious, yelling does probably not work ... I guess you know all about that already, no need to say.

Cold As Heaven

Old Kitty said...

Oh dear! I guess we all deal with crises in our own very special way!

I would hope I do so positively and calmly (yeah right!! LOL!!) but I do try!! :-)

It's the giving up that would probably upset me.

Guess it's the Cancerian trait of getting the pincers out and using them effectively when backed against the corner!!!

Take care

Alison Stevens said...

As frustrating as that sounds, you definitely have the right attitude. Writers are good improvisers, you're a born natural. :)

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Yes, that kind of thing would drive me nuts, too! I think there's definitely a common thread of persistence and thinking outside the box in people who write.

Hope things look up!

Rachael Harrie said...

Love your positive attitude! I know who to come talk to when I'm feeling bleh about my MS :)


Anonymous said...

I have a son like this. He is Binary all the way and anxious, so I have an idea of what your are talking about.
I'm glad you have a positive attitude. I know many writers who stopped writing because of a bad critique. I have a feeling that wouldn't happen to you. Keep writing.

Hart Johnson said...

Thanks, Ted!

CaH-YES, Unforeseen is a word in English, and your the second Norwegian to ask me *wink* I don't yell often, but with the school I think I've proven I know how to succeed and I've really had to push fairly often because he is so inclined to give up.

Jenny-you're right on that cancer thing! We have the persistence that changes continents one wave at a time.

Alison, WELCOME! I don' think I've seen you before.

Elizabeth-it definitely helps (there's a box? *snort*)

Rachael-cheerleading and butt kicking at your service!

Cold As Heaven said...

Norwegians tend to be somewhat slow about the unforeseen >:)

BTW, I agree with you regarding school and pushing. I had a very tough start myself in the first semester in university, banging my head into calculus and linear algebra. I had been away from school for two years (one year as teacher sub n elementary school, one year military service), and had to start repeating stuff from high-school curriculum. Fortunately, I was able to push myself, because no one else did. Your man is lucky to have you pushing >:)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sometimes I get stuck like that, but I can usually work myself through the problem.

Tracy Walshaw said...

I'm realizing that my problem has been discipline (I blogged about it today!) so I think nanowrimo is going to help with that. Um, if I could get stupid WORD back on my computer and get going. I'm only a week behind. ARGH!!

But here's to butt-kicking friends, who are there when we need em to push us along. :)

Terry Odell said...

Around here, my frustration is with the Hubster's procrastination streak. He can't do anything right away. He'll say, "it's on my list" when it would take ten seconds to make a phone call, or look something up.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Cold As Heaven said...

Terry: Your husband is just like my wife's husband >:)))

Carol Kilgore said...

Some people don't have good problem solving or coping skills. But, boy, are they ever necessary in writing. Along with persistence. Keep him moving :)

Colene Murphy said...

Awe. He needs you to balance him out! I'm like you. Got to find a way. Got to be a way. Can't quit because of one thing! Glad to know it makes a good writer. :)

Jessica Bell said...

You're a real tough cookie so you'll get through it!!! :o) He sounds a bit like my man. LOL every problem has to be fretted over before anything is done about it!

PS: have you heard my good news?

Simon C. Larter said...

I'm of the just-frackin'-do-it-already camp meself. (Surprise!)

This, of course, means that I get overloaded with all kinda crap at work and home and end up needing copious amounts of alcohol to deal with it and then I don't write as much because I'm exhausted and also drunk. But, y'know. I get things done, so there's that.

Hart Johnson said...

CaH-very good that you can push yourself--I think it's a helpful quality.

Alex-I figured you could work through it!

Tracy-I know you are not alone there! I can get sucked into online stuff, but at least I normally write longhand--I have a lot of friends who get distracted and don't get to it!

Terry-I am the person at my house--I don't procrastinate the WRITING, but the other stuff? I'm terrible. (CaH--my husband's wife as well!)

Carol-TOTALLY necessary! (in fact i sort of love having to get creative in the writing)

Colene-it's true--and in other domains I need him to balance me (like reminding me now and then we have children) We are each our own case of extremes and do need each other.

Jessica-by tough, I hope you don't mean chewy... seriously though--there are clones of him everywehre, so you might have one. And CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU!!!

Hart Johnson said...

Sneaky Simon--you slid in there! Yes--I do a bit of that, but the drinking doesn't stop the writing... and I have made a point of being unreliable at home...

Jan Morrison said...

hey Tartlette - argghh! I say. I'm pretty much a pitter patter fly atter myself - the guy is a deliberate sort. Sometimes we just have to stop and look hard at each other. We agree on the main stuff but when things go awry it is tough to be working with a person from another planet, nay another galaxy.
keep on keeping on and I'll do the same...

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Determination to stay the course no matter what, huh? Some men are so stubborn. Not that they can compete with us women!

Talli Roland said...

SO true! This industry is chock full of rejection, and if you're defeatist about it, you will be defeated. It's all about moving forward, despite any setbacks!

SY said...

wow where would the world be without women... great post.. kick your husband in the ass.. that's the way to solve all your issues.. good luck

Martin Kozicki said...

Like your husband, I enjoy routine. I like predictable. I like spontaneity, too, when I can reasonably foresee the outcome won't be wasted time or disappointment. But when something comes along and throws a wrench in my plans, I have that initial panic mode, usually followed by a "OK, but I still have responsibilities, so let's figure out a way to NOT fall behind as that will only add to my frustration."

Chicken Little's sky is falling. Eyeore asks why anyone bothers. The Little Engine That Said "Aw, Forget It." Pick your stereotype. As a man, knowing I have others who depend on me helps me snap out of it pretty quickly, but my wife certainly helps. She lets me throw my initial tantrum, lets me proclaim the world is ending, and then she reasonably assures me the sun will rise tomorrow.

Sounds like Glum gets stuck in the panic mode a bit longer than I do, but it also sounds like he eventually breaks free. Knowing a good marriage is a partnership of two people who enjoy building one another up, this will likely improve over time. A wise person once told my wife that a good husband can save her life, but sometimes she has to save him from himself first.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

This must be why opposites attract – to balance each other.

I think living overseas where things seldom went the way I thought they would helped me realize there are always alternative solutions. I still might have a moment or two of panic before I remember to take a deep breath and carry on - while my husband never seems to get flustered.

LTM said...

Fantastic, fantastic post! That is exactly how I approach "problems" (no surprise, I know). When an obstacle appears, sit down and think. Slow down. Breathe.

If only I could convince hubs to do this... and he's not even OCD~ ;p

Rayna M. Iyer said...

No surprise at all that I approach most problems the way you do. When I was younger, I used to often sit down and have a really good cry to get the disappointment out of my system and then deal with it. Now I can jumpstart the crying phase, and just get on with it.
And it is so annoying when the hubby goes on like this. I have married a man who will deal with problems by ignoring them till the last possible moment, and then mentioning them. Had we been able to discuss them a bit earlier, how much easier things would have been.