I am definitely sweating the small stuff. Maybe because there’s so much small stuff every single day in my post-fire life that added all together, it becomes sweat-worthy. I spend hours and hours – no exaggeration – on the phone dealing with services, insurance, and more. In the first week of my post-fire life, I have 67 e-mails in my newly-created ‘House Fire’ folder. Oh yes, I still have to go to work every day as well as deal with all the pre-fire aspects of my life. I’m not getting good cell phone reception in the extended-stay hotel room, so I end up making lots of calls at work. I’m über-conscientious about billing that time to my personal and vacation hours, which are rapidly disappearing. I try to take as many calls away from my desk as I can because I’m sure my cubemates are sick of hearing about my life. I’m sick of hearing about my life, too.
Life in the extended-stay hotel, while providing the quiet solitude I need, is also irritating. One of the three overhead lights is out. I request a replacement three times before giving up on it. The DVD player remote doesn’t work and neither does the ice-maker. The dryers don’t dry and when I mention this, the clerks just ask whether I cleaned out the lint trays. I end up hanging all my damp clothing up in my room to dry overnight. The synthetic upholstered couch and faux leather chair are uncomfortable and so slippery that I keep sliding off the furniture. Small stuff you might say, but it’s unrelenting.
The evening clerk, the same one who checked me in so inattentively, has forgotten or ignored my information about the insurance company paying my bills and has put a hold of $350 on my card. This isn’t small stuff to me because I have no extra money at the moment. I’m more than irritated now and approach the day clerk, a young woman in her 20s. She is more sympathetic, acknowledges that her colleague screwed up, and promises to rectify the matter. She even volunteers to call my credit union, so the hold will be removed immediately instead of the few days it usually takes. Great, thanks. Later at work, I check and the hold is still there. I call the clerk and she informs me that the credit union insists that I call them first. Why didn’t you let me know? “I didn’t have your number.” My number is in your records. “Oh, right.” aaaaaaah!
I try to be philosophical, remind myself that this is all temporary. I focus, instead, on the positives from the last few days. I visit my son at his dad’s house and see him cooking one of his favorite meals in front of a gas stove, totally nonchalant, as if he had not experienced a gas fire at a stove 10 days previously. When I tell him that all our electronics will have to be replaced, he looks up hopefully. Does this mean I’ll get a new laptop? Yep. Well, that’s one good thing. He looks quite elated as he continues cooking, and that makes me happy, too. And for a little while, I stop sweating the small stuff.