Frustrations do get personal sometimes, even very personal. Here is what I learnt from some of the frustrations I have faced recently.
How some frustrations led to one plan being abandoned?
Eight months ago I had a plan. I would do this activity and then that would get that project off the ground and that would help me achieve this eventual aim. Relatively simple you would think.
The first step in this plan involved me gathering my courage in both hands and daring greatly. I was not just facing one challenge but there were two or three challenges involved with the same activity.
Then disaster struck I lost my denture. I said challenges can get very personal. No problem I thought I will make an appointment so that I can start the process of replacing it as soon as possible.
It was not that simple. Ever been in a situation where despite how hard people are trying to get things right things go wrong for you? The appointment cards somehow showed the end time for some appointments rather than the start. The so called special denture was definitely not the right sort for me and was so badly fitting it was an instrument of torture. After a few months of going backwards and forwards trying to get things sorted, I got a second opinion. They were horrified at what they saw and offered to help me get what I wanted.
That left the question of having bought an item that under consumer law is unfit for purpose. I went to the local advice service (readers in the UK will know the CAB). They said to write to the dental practice and ask for the refund you are legally entitled to but make sure that you give them a deadline for a reply.
I wrote a two page letter explaining everything that had happened and why I was unhappy. I heard nothing from them. So I went back to the CAB. They gave me the contact details of the organisation that holds dentists accountable. I contacted them and the muddler got involved there as well.
This muddler got involved in the online form that did not work as it should. So after I waited for a response for a few days I rang them. There was no sign of the form at their end. They explained that my next step was to send my original letter to the dentist himself but with a cover letter. In the second letter, I would need to explain that I had contacted the big guns and expected a response from them within ten days. The lady on the phone said she would send me some things. She must have tried sending them and realised she had forgotten to ask me my address but as she had my phone number she was able to ring me up and ask me for my address.
I had an immediate response from that double letter but it was sent in such a way that someone had to sign for it to prove that it had been delivered. It arrived in the one hour when there was no one in the house to receive it. I had to go online to arrange redelivery but I had to wait four days before it was redelivered.
See what I mean they were trying hard to do what was right and it just did not work out well for me. The only day it could have been delivered that week was the one that the post office could not do so I had to wait for it. When I finally read the letter they apologised and gave me a good reason for their lack of response.
There is only about half the story but that is enough to give you a flavour of what has happened as a muddler has got involved in it. It has been crazy. If there could have been a mistake made by someone then they have made it but not deliberately. Things that were said and done with the best of intentions have backfired and made the situation worse.
The only thing I have been able to do in this situation is to accept that people were not being deliberately difficult and recognise that they are being influenced by a muddler. That makes it so much easier to treat those involved kindly and respectfully.
I did not go ahead with my plan. I suppose I could have moved onto plan B but by then I had been battered so much it was hard to keep going. I just let the plan fizzle out.
The idea behind this plan was something similar to the D-day landings of 1944. The idea was to invade enemy territory and set up a bridgehead or starting point to advance into enemy territory.
The muddler got in and my courage to move forwards evaporated. It was not easy as it involved challenges in terms of technology as well as personal challenges.
How a second plan going wrong led to an increased desire to move forwards?
The personal challenge from the previous frustration also impacts me in other ways. I find it much easier to write than to speak. I am trying to learn a new language and the main activity is speaking so I am not finding the learning process easy.
There are times when my mind literally goes blank and I simply cannot remember what I have just been told to repeat. I can be the last in the class to repeat it and it is still a struggle. If I see a sentence written down I understand it and can say it but I cannot remember it well enough to speak it after hearing it. It is a huge challenge to me. In English, I cope by having stories prepared so that I can include them in conversations and writing more than speaking. In Welsh, I just have to face the challenge and do the best I can.
This week I did a three day Welsh summer school at college and my car started misbehaving on the first day. It was tempting not to go back and face the challenge. This time though I put plan B into operation. I went by bus on the second day.
One thing about buses is that they are often used by broken, poor or vulnerable people. What do you expect when the more able and capable hide away in their own metal box aka car.
Given the time of day I was travelling, there were far fewer people on the bus than I expected. It was not even full at the start and end of the working day. Before I had a car there were a few occasions when it was impossible to get on board the last direct bus home from work because it was overcrowded. What used to annoy me was that most of those people would only be on the bus for a few minutes when I would be on it for over an hour. If I could not get on board that one bus it would take me twice as long to get home and cost twice as much.
I arrived a bit too early to go straight to the college so I walked around the town. It was obvious that this was a broken town full of broken people. Many shops were closed and boarded up in the town centre. Shoppers went to the shops on the outskirts instead. The remaining small shops had gathered together so there were entire streets of empty shops.
Even during the day, there were people obviously under the influence of drink or drugs just wandering the streets with nothing to do. I also overheard a conversation about the number of people living on benefits and were unwilling to work. These two ladies also complained about the disgraceful behaviour of some people in the town centre. Apparently, the police had been to the shopping centre and arrested some people for doing things they should have been doing at home in their own bedroom or bathroom.
This was the first time I had ever walked around this town. I was just amazed at the level of need and the amount of mending that needed to be done. If there was anything that was going to encourage me to keep going and do something this was it.
Interestingly I saw all this because my car needed mending so I had taken a bus and gone for a walk rather than hiding in my car. Sometimes when things go wrong we learn from the experience.
After the course finished I took the car to the garage. They looked at it and said take the car home but don’t go anywhere else other than back here. We need to order the bits it needs and this will take a few days. It is not just the steering that is a problem but the battery is not charging and the water pump is not working. I realised that I had yet another story of divine protection while out in the car. It kept starting despite the fact I drove to four different places around the town in the hope of getting them to put up posters for me. It did not overheat either.
What will be the impact of frustrations on a third plan?
As if all these challenges have not been enough this month I have had yet another one. Again this one includes water but this time instead of not moving when it should do it was not stopping when it should have done.
I went to the kitchen to make breakfast and while in the lounge I heard a noise. I investigated it and found water dripping from the ceiling. What I had heard was water dripping onto a carpet that was noisier than usual because it was already soaking wet.
Once the water stopped overflowing from the toilet cistern upstairs was fixed it was time to assess the damage. Oops, the ceiling has started sagging a bit. This needs more work than just painting over the brown bits I had better contact the insurance company.
First the not so bad news. The man from the flooring company said they would clean all the heavy traffic areas downstairs after they had fixed the ceiling. When the man from the building company looked around their job grew and grew. I expected him to say that part of the ceiling would need to be replaced. What I did not expect was that their company would redecorate half the house.
There was one obviously damaged area on the wall but where do they stop. You see the same wallpaper has been painted the same colour in the lounge, the dining room, the stairs and the hall upstairs and there are no obvious stopping points like doors between them. In my house, the walls in the lounge and dining room are the same colour but top half of the walls have a different texture to the bottom. The wallpaper underneath the paint gives a different feel and appearance to the top and bottom of the walls At first, the report to the insurance company said we only need to do the top half then he spotted a mark on the bottom half. The job then doubled as he said they had to do all the walls not just the top half. It got worse as when he pulled off some paper to help the wall dry he realised that the paper on both sides of the door frame had been spoilt. The lobby downstairs needed doing as well. No wonder as that door frame had become a temporary mini shower.
The house was painted before I moved in because it was thought that it would be much harder to do once all the furniture had been moved in. There are now ten bookcases full of books that need to be moved as well as the normal lounge and dining room furniture.
Somehow I will have to continue working in the midst of all that turmoil. They reckon it will all be sorted in six to eight weeks. So my challenge is how will I work from home during all that upset. Which way will this one go? Will I learn what not to do like I did with the first challenge? Or will I learn things that will help me move forwards like I did with the second? Only time will tell!
There again if anyone knows how to stop the flood of challenges I have had I would love to know. Answers below.