Saturday, December 22, 2007

Emotional Overload


A deceptively simple word communicating an intricately complex phenomenon.

Maybe a better word for load, at least in this blog, is burden. Regardless everyone understands the meaning. If it is a road or a bridge or a floor or a roof or a truck or some other structure that is carrying the burden then there is this quantity that the structure can support and still function properly.

But exceeding whatever that quantity is causes the structure to fail in some way. Sometimes the failure is trivial and sometimes it is catastrophic and often in between.

We had a lot of examples last week. There are trees all around us that suffered catastrophic failure. Ice accumulated to the point the tree limbs and often the entire tree simply could not support the weight and they broke.

Funny how a limb can look rather small and you think "I can move that" and then you go over and grab hold of it and the weight is just astonishing. Then you have to get the truck and hook onto it in order to move it.

When I was a little boy there was a death at my dad's company. A big tree had fallen from a storm and the men were working on it with saws. The tree moved during the process and crushed one of the men. His name was Wewoka. We always remembered him at various times for as long as I remember us getting together. I suppose I'm the last one now that even knows his name or remembers what happened. I've heard people say "they should have known better" and referring to the men trimming the tree as if they didn't know what they were doing or had made some big mistake. But that isn't true. They were careful men and strong men and tough and they were smart and very good at what they were doing. They didn't make a mistake. Sometimes accidents happen.

There are still people without electricity here in our city. It's been a long time, too. That's another good example of something being overloaded. You put enough ice on copper wires wrapped around steel cables and at some point the cable and the wire will snap. Or in some cases the ice laden wires just ripped the electric service off the house. And the utility contractors won't fix that. Have to get your electrician out to do it.

And if your house is old and the wiring was installed under some old code then the electrician is not legally allowed to fix stuff until the entire rest of the house has been rewired and brought up to the current code. And if you don't have the money to do that, well, it's just tough.

Finally though someone with some modicum of practical sense was made to understand the problem and the city council in its magnanimity passed an emergency ordinance that exempted repairs that were relatively minor. Helped a lot of folks but not everyone. And the ones that didn't get help were the ones that could least afford to do anything about it.

Emotion is some kind of structure that we humans have for dealing with burden. I don't understand it much but I know it is there.

The ice storm and being without power and water and stuff like that for 3 or 4 days added some load to my emotional structure. Then Wednesday there was the disappointment of not closing on the house and worrying that it wasn't going to happen at all. It wasn't' so much for me that I worried but for my dearest Judy. I so wanted to get her that house. She text messaged me that she was getting ready for the 11 o'clock signing. I had to call her just after that and tell her it had been postponed until 4. And then at 3:30 I had to call her again and tell her it was delayed indefinitely.

Thursday was a day of waiting. It reminded me of caregiving. There was nothing I could do that I had not already done. Everything that was going to happen was out of my control. Except that when I was caregiving and we were drawing near the end of life I knew that God was in control and I had a lot of trust that He was competent. Didn't find much competence in house buying, mortgage getting, or ice storm fixing.

Friday morning came and there was no word. So we had an appointment and there was no reason to not keep it. It was nearly 11 when I got the call and was asked to be at the title company at 2. Had to request a cashier's check and go pick it up.

Actually that was fun. Because where I had to go was behind a locked door and I had to punch a bell. And this guy came to the door and said "Are you with the IRS?" and I knew he was kidding. So I said "I need to get my check before the IRS arrives" and he laughed and let me in. And this nice young lady handed me the check and said "Good luck! How great to get a house at Christmas." I thanked her and left and felt a little pressure release.

Friday was crazy with traffic and people were everywhere. I guess they were all trying to buy stuff for Christmas. It is rather ironic that peace and goodwill are in such short supply when people are madly trying to buy a bunch of crap for each other.

Then the closing was high pressure for me and trying to get utilities in my name. I feel like I've been a non-person the last decade. How many times have I had to explain what I was doing and why?

We visited the house afterwards for a few minutes. We were both nearly to the breaking point by that time. And the house was empty and sitting there empty like that in the nearly dark it made the job of remodeling it seem almost overwhelming.

Been up a long time now. But I feel the emotional power returning.


nancy said...

it has definitely been am emotional overburden (i like that word) for you and all your townsmen this past week.
i'm hoping that starting yesterday you will not only find that power returning but lasting as well.

you have given so much of yourself and your life for so long terry, that you deserve a lifetime of happiness now, and i pray you will find it.

great post, thank you. blessings to you and judy this Christmas.

Annie said...

Those trees that bend under the weight of the ice often snap right back upright once the burden is removed.

~Betsy said...

I'm so glad to see this went through for you. You really do deserve your own happiness. Isn't it ridiculous having to explain yourself to the utility companies?

Lori1955 said...

I can certainly understand that emotional overload. I am so glad you got the house. I'm sure you felt during this process that your life was once again on hold. Now comes the moving. I don't envy you that.

Joanne D. Kiggins said...

Powerful post, Terry. I'm so glad everything went through on the house. Hope the energy needs are taken care of soon for all of you.

*(¯`·¸*Chris*¸·´¯)* said...

I can relate to the having to explain about caregiving. While I didn't do it nearly as long as you did, I have had to explain it to some of the bill collectors. Thankfully they have given me a repreive and allowed payments. What do you do, chuck the LO in a nursing home because your credit rating might take a hit? Nadda.
Here's hoping for a happy 08 for you and Judy. New house, new memories to make, I pray life will be gentle with you.