I accept things I cannot change.
I don’t expect other people to subsidize my lifestyle.
If things aren’t working out, I find a way to make new choices that I can tolerate.
I don’t take out my frustrations on others.
*** Those are just a few replies that I didn’t say ***
It’s been another tough week. The homeless elderly friend appears to have received her mental health meds, as there is more reasoned behavior and less screaming and hysteria. But… she is still getting on my last nerve.
This week, I am trying to make plans for boarding her elderly blind dog with another friend, and it’s been very hard to track down the other woman.
After 3 unanswered calls to this other friend, I finally asked C if they were still talking after their last couple of blow ups, and she assured me they were. So, I made the mistake of asking C to have her friend call me when next they talked, as it was almost time to begin preparations for my long weekend trip, and I needed to ensure C’s dog was cared for in my absence. (Of course, C had forgotten completely that I am going away next week and panicked and became demanding and controlling. Ugh. I am so over this drama).
Anyway, in the middle of what was supposed to be a quick 10 minute daily call, C launches into the next dreaded opening line. “Hey, can I ask you a question?”
Not only no!, but hell, no. We don’t make the same choices or even follow anything near the same rationale anymore, so I can see the conversational landmines appearing ahead.
”I’d prefer you didn’t, C.” was my diplomatic reply.
”What do you mean by that?!” She challenged.
”Whatever I say, I’m pretty sure you won’t like my answers, so I’d prefer not to play this game.” was my worried response.
”Well, I am really angry at my social worker, and I want to complain. She won’t take me back to the shelter! I hate living here, and you wouldn’t like living here, so why should I have to?!!!” C demanded, pushing ahead with yet another conversation that I wanted no part of.
”You’re in the board and care home because you have no money and are out of options.” I replied soothingly. “You can’t go back to the shelter as that is not a guaranteed bed each evening, and you don’t want to be living on the streets, do you?” I countered, cringing at whatever was coming next.
”Find another place to live if you hate it.” I continued. “Work with her to find someplace you can live with your dogs. But, until you find an alternative, you’re stuck there.” 3, 2, 1… and the diatribe was on.
“Would you put up with sharing a room with another person? Would you?!” She demanded.
”I don’t want to be having this conversation with you, C. I’ve told you that I can’t handle the stress you’re dumping on me. None of us can take you in, and you’re going to have to find a way to tolerate where you’re at until YOU can come up with a better plan. Going back to the homeless shelter is not something the social worker will help you do as that’s only a temporary solution, and you’re in a longer-term stable solution that is the best available until you can find a better living situation that suits you and your dogs.” I placated.
”Would. You. Want. To. Live. Here?” She challenged again. “What would you do if you were in my situation?” C demanded.
”First, I wouldn’t be in your situation.” (You could hear a pin drop as my temper began to climb, too). “Second, when I was threatened with being homeless, I made different choices than you. I cooperated with the homeless advocate, I did everything they told me to do, and managed to get back on my feet.” You could hear another pin drop as her angry, racing brain was frantically trying to find a loophole to stab me through.
”Are you saying you’re better than me?!” C challenged down the phone line. (Oh, for the love of Pete!)
”Look, I’m not saying I’m better than you, so don’t pull that crap. What I am saying is that we make different choices, so you and I would NEVER be in the same situation, even if it was an identical nightmare. Plus, we have different finances. So, we have different realities. Believe me, I understand your tight budget and I would be just as screwed on disability alone if not for my matching salary benefit.” I said desperately into the silence.
I could hear her heavy breathing over the phone line as she worked to throttle back her anger. “I don’t want to talk about this anymore. You are making me very angry.” C finally said into the silence.
“I’m sorry you’re angry, but it’s not my fault. I’d prefer we never talked about this stuff as it’s just too stressful for me.” I agreed. “Let’s just keep the conversation to the dog, as that is hard enough for both of us” I commented.
On a good note, the dog gained another 2.5 lbs and is now up to 16.9 pounds as of yesterday. The elderly cocker spaniel is still very under weight for her breed, but she’s healthy enough with all the time and attention she’s getting from me. I am counting the days until I can drop the dog off at her other friend’s house and wash my hands of the daily phone calls while I am away.
With any luck, C will do what she has threatened and come take the dog away with her to live on the streets. While that is not an ideal solution, I have zero control over what C chooses to do, and having KJ and C out of my life would reduce my stress tremendously; never mind improve my finances.
(Don’t ask me why she takes this pose, as if she’s crawling through the trenches. “Army man” is KJ’s favorite activity every few minutes).