Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So You Think You Have the Market Cornered

Have you ever met one of those people that think they have the market cornered on problems? No one could possibly have as many problems as they do! I think we have all probably known people like that, and in most circumstances, probably many.

I'll give you an example: I live in Southeastern Connecticut and for the last two days, we have had record amounts of rain. I'm talking 10" of rain or higher. The ground has been pretty well saturated and there was just no where for the water to go, so guess where it went? You guessed it... into our basement. We had 2-3" of standing water - what a pain in the ass! We have been working for the past two days to clean it all out and I'm glad to say that we are once again "high and dry."

In the midst of all of this, there was some drama between my MIL and SIL. Not fun. It's a serious issue that needs to be discussed but the timing couldn't have been more colossally bad. In this case, it really never rains but it pours.

Here's my frustration though and the point of this post. ( Be honest, you were wondering if it was coming, weren't you??) Everyone has problems. Yes, they are relative and some people really do have more serious problems than others, but we all have them. No one has cornered the market - not the martyr who takes on everyone's problems and then wants to whine about it, not the one who creates 99.9999% of their own problems and then wants professionals ( ie lawyers) to fix it for them, not the extremely overweight person who won't accept a modicum of responsibility for their own unhappiness, no, not even the military wife who never puts her big girl panties on - we ALL have problems.

The real question in this life is not whether or not we have problems because I have already stated, we all do. It's how you handle those problems that count. Taking on so many problems that rightfully belong to other people so that you are so overwhelmed you can't function properly wouldn't be a great way to cope. Leaving your difficulties to lawyers to unravel is probably only going to get you more problems. Blaming others for your decisions and choices never allows you the ownership of those choices and the ability to affect real change in your life. Wanting your life to be other than it is and yet doing nothing other than wishing and hoping, well, in the words of that 60's song "won't bring him into your arms".

Problems have to be faced. Head on. There has to be a PLAN of action for addressing the problem. Have you noticed yet that I am big on plans? Most of mine go awry but it gives me the illusion of control over my own life. Yesterday we faced our problem by marching into three inches of water and getting our hands ( and everything else!) wet. One thing that this life has taught me, there is always a curve ball. Tragedy is always one second away, and you won't always be able to be ready for the things that life throws at you; however, the good part is that you decide what to do with the pitches you are given.

Don't let the martyrs, the whiners, and others bring you down. Live your life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cruising Along

Last week was my 11th wedding anniversary, a topic I am usually quite loquacious about, but apparently not this year. The day came and went without a peep and while I had a wonderful anniversary with my husband, I felt uninspired. Strange for me, but it happens.
Today my husband and I are preparing for another anniversary. 11 years ago tomorrow he rejoined the Navy. I can remember it like yesterday. I was pregnant and he had a job offer from Lockheed Martin and this interview with the Navy. I never suspected that he would choose the Navy over Lockheed. I can remember him laying out all his reasons like it was yesterday. He told me that the economy was cyclical, which of course, I understood well. He said that he was worried about a time when things would be very difficult in the future. It was a future that I could not imagine, but in retrospect seems almost prophetic.
I hear on the news every day how things are getting better and I wonder why I can't see it. Don't get me wrong, thanks to my husband's foresight, we are comfortable enough, but I'm not blind. I see the struggles of my friends and neighbors. Gas is on the rise - again. I'm sure that before the summer is in full swing, we will be looking at $4 a gallon again. The cost of everything seems to be on the rise...
11 years ago, I railed against my husband's decision. I hated the Navy and all the time it would keep my husband away from me. But 11 years later, I am so thankful for the life the Navy has given us, the places we have seen, the lessons that it has taught. I never thought I would say it, but sometimes the right decision isn't always the obvious choice.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

It Never Rains....

but today, it certainly has been pouring. And I don't mean the rain.

My day started out with a phone call. Unless it's my friend Bronwyn who I usually chat with over morning coffee, starting my day off with a phone call is usually never a good sign. This call was from my father's accountant. We have been trying to get my Dad's taxes done for the last time. Not only was this call "not good", I'd say it was the phone call equivalent of Fat Man and Little Boy.

So, the accountant asks me if my Dad paid his estimated taxes quarterly. This was his custom, but in the days after his death, the checkbook was lost. Not a huge deal, the people at my dad's bank are great, and I felt certain that I could get the information from them that I needed. It would just take a little more time and effort on my part.

Sadly the questions didn't end there. The next one was, "Do you have his 1099 from Social Security or the Air Force". My answer? No, I sent you everything that I received. Well, we need that if we don't want to risk an audit. ( And let's face it, who the hell would want to risk an IRS audit? Not I....) So now, I also had to call the Social Security Administration and DFAS to try and resolve this ongoing umbruglio. This day was getting uglier by the second.

So, I hung up the phone with the accountant and proceeded to begin the various rounds of phone calls I now needed to make, starting with the social security administration. When someone dies, you have to call the SSA to alert them to that person's death, which of course we did. However, what the amazing government employees who comprise this fine institution fail to tell you is that once a person is reported as deceased, they will not forward 1099's. Oh no, survivors have to go to a SSA office, with death certificate of the deceased, their own birth certificate, and two forms of photo id to request a copy of the 1099 in person. That would have been great to know when I first reported my father's death. You would have thought that they could have mentioned that.

I was unable to get in touch with the Air Force today, so I have that yet to look forward to. The fun just never stops. The high for the day, at least the awesome ladies at the bank were able to get me proof that my Dad did, in fact, pay his quarterly taxes. Like my Dad always used to say, it can't rain on the same dog's ass everyday. Tomorrow has to be better.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Boys VS. Girls

It seems like there is a lot of this going on in my life right now between my reading groups as school and he current Navy "hot topic" of allowing women on submarines, it seems like the battle of the sexes is everywhere I look.

I took on another reading group discussion for my daughter's 5th grade class. It is quite interesting actually as one group is all girls and one group is all boys. What a difference there is between the two groups, and also in the selection of books to discuss.

My girls are discussing "Every Bird that Sings". This is the story of a young girl whose family owns a funeral home and about dealing with life's changes and challenges. The story is very Southern and the characters have unique names. My ladies were all a-twittter wanting to give themselves Southern names, name our discussion group, tell me about all the people in their families that have died and so on. It's a lively group and they all have a lot to say and contribute. The challenge for me will be keeping them on task. They have a lot of energy and a willingness to discuss,maybe all most too much. The book they choose makes you feel and discussing it will require discussing how you feel about it. My girls seem more than up to the task.

The boys, on the other hand, chose a book called "Code Talkers" about the Navajo code talkers of World War 2. They were all very serious and very focused on their choice. They seemed very interested to learn more about World War 2 generally and the code talkers specifically. They were very excited when I told them I had found part of the code on the internet and would bring them in some samples. A few of them said that they wanted to learn more about World War 2 because of a video game that they had played.

I am really looking forward to the next couple of months and spending time with these children. I hope that I can bring something to their lives that they will carry with them into their future endeavors.