Discombobulate:  to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate.

This is why I’m so crappy at making decisions:  I’m too easily discombobulated.

My first officemate at the law firm is an amazing polyglot who speaks fluently at least five languages (and is working on her sixth).  Early in my legal career, I had no idea what to expect when it came to running a closing for an aircraft or large ship financing transaction.  The barely controlled chaos of the parties making last-minute contract changes and chasing things like insurance certificates and approvals from foreign government authorities was an entirely new experience for me and it left me feeling (and, frankly, frequently still does) very discombobulated.  I mentioned that to my officemate as we were working together to close a particularly challenging transaction and she laughed.  She couldn’t believe that “discombobulated” was a real word!  Once I convinced her that indeed it was, it became one of her favorites, although she always had difficulty pronouncing it.

My frequent discombobulation is not only apparent in the work arena.  Money is also a source of great discombobulation for me, no matter whether I have a lot (should I spend it or save it?) or not enough (how can I pay all my bills?).  And of course, now, a prime discombobulator in my life is getting me back into my house.  Moving Day is officially March 21, because that’s when I’ve hired the College Hunks (three hunks for three hours for a “stress-free” move, they have assured me) to move me out of this apartment and back HOME, come hell or high water – or even 12-18 inches of snow, which was actually predicted for today – but of course nothing is as easy as it seems.

It didn’t help that this was the stupid lost-hour weekend, where your body thinks it’s one time but it’s really another for a few weeks, until your circadian rhythms adjust.  As much as I love that extra hour of sleep in the fall, I despise the deleted 60 minutes in the spring.  For some inexplicable reason, I made things even worse for myself by staying awake later than usual, till after the “new” 4 a.m., trying to make a dent in the TV shows I have recorded on my DVR, because I’m going to lose them when I move.  I had to wake up early to have egg sandwiches with my kid at 9 a.m. before she started her drive back to West Virginia after a spring break week during which I barely saw her and only heard from her (as is usually the case) when she needs money.  And I was going to be spending the afternoon at an adoption event at the local pet store, with puppies and kitties looking for forever homes.  Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted, and my brain functions even less sharply when I’m physically spent and sleepless.

Fortunately for the kid (and for me), even though I am still waiting for my mortgage assistance payments from February AND January, New York Rising pleasantly surprised me by making available part of the outstanding amount they owe me from my construction grant.  So after paying down a good chunk of what I owed my contractor, I had a few bucks left over to give to Darian for her trip home.  (As aside:  I’ve made her hand over the credit card on which she is an authorized user because she has ABSOLUTELY no control when it comes to using it.  She just doesn’t get how credit cards work.  She’s smart enough to know that she shouldn’t have her own credit card, which is a good thing, because (a) she earns practically nothing, especially now that she’s cut back on her office cleaning job, and (b) she has no concept of the fact that it all needs to be PAID BACK,  WITH INTEREST.  I am MORTIFIED that I am so deep in credit card debt right now.  I’ve had an excellent credit rating and now, for the first time in over a decade, purely because my credit utilization is nearly 50%, I have sunk to merely “Good”.)

New York Rising gave me the money even though I don’t yet have my certificate of occupancy, which is kind of required in order to actually “occupy” my house.  My contractor assured me that the house had passed inspection last Thursday, but when I asked to get the inspector’s report in advance of the actual certificate of occupancy to give to New York Rising, the City of Long Beach suddenly decided that I required a two-car curb cut from the sidewalk in front of my house.  The original mason had made an error and only gave me a single curb cut when I have a two-car carport, and we were certainly going to get it corrected, but we were going to wait until I was back in the house.  Evidently, the City of Long Beach made this decision for me:  Fixing the curb cuts had to be done as a condition to getting the COO.  My contractor was lucky enough to be able to find a mason who could do it quickly and for a reasonable cost, and the guy was there breaking up the existing cement right away, on Thursday, but due to a messy snowstorm on Friday and frigid temperatures over the weekend, they never got to pour the cement.  Instead of having ingress for two vehicles, I have barely half of one plus a big gaping hole with “DO NOT CROSS” yellow tape surrounding it. Tuesday’s snow storm and post-storm freezing temperatures will delay the concrete pouring for the foreseeable future.

In addition to the expanded curb cut, there are a few other things that need to be done in the house –namely, installing the shower enclosure in the master bath and “polishing” the entry foyer.  The shower enclosure isn’t as urgent because Darian won’t be back in the house till May (she’s getting the master suite, because she actually entertains in her room – I just sleep in mine).  But I need to paint the foyer and coat the stairs with polyurethane, which should really be done before we move in to avoid having to live with the headache-inducing chemical stink and keep the creatures from walking on the steps before they’re cured.  So I made an appointment with my painter for this coming Thursday without knowing if the foyer would be “polished” by then. Never mind that I’ve been bugging my contractor for a couple of weeks to get it done (which seems a rather simple thing, to my untrained eye), even after I told them when my painter would be coming , but they kept pushing me off instead of just FINISHING ME.  I would think they’d want me out of their hair, especially now that I’ve been able to give them some actual money. While they’ve responded on other queries from me (like “Where’s my damn key, please?”), they wouldn’t answer me on the foyer polishing question.  DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND THAT I NEED TO KNOW!?!

The contractor was also going to get his cleaning crew in to sweep and scrub, but I can’t get a response on that question, either.  I may end up having to do the heavy-duty cleaning myself.  I just need the appropriate tools, I guess, even though cleaning is not in my bailiwick.  (I also have to clean the apartment I’m leaving behind, including the microwave, which I understand can be done easily and naturally with a lemon, which I need to buy because I don’t usually have lemons sitting around my house.)

Plus I have to call the realtor lady who is in charge of this building as soon as possible so she can start sending prospective tenants over, because the sooner I can get someone in there (Apri1 1, anyone?), the sooner I can stop paying rent.  I was kind of counting on getting my security deposit back, so I’d rather not have to use it to pay my last month’s rent.  I’m a bit stressed about the realtor lady accompanying the prospective tenants, because then she’ll see I’ve lied about the size of my menagerie.  I mean, obviously they can’t kick me out now, but they could very well keep the “pet security” portion of my security deposit, if not my entire security deposit, as a penalty for lying about the quantity of animals in my apartment.

The storm has completely thrown off the moving schedule.  When I finally got a cryptic text response from my contractor yesterday, he said that everything depends on the weather.  I get that, but now I’m left to make a decision, and you know how good I am at making decisions.  Here is just a small example of  the way my mind works when suffering from discombobulation:  Should I push everything back by a week, which at worst risks me having to pay another month’s rent, or do I just plow ahead and get the stairs done now but let the painting wait until after I move in (which my painter was kind of intimating I should do anyway, given that the movers are probably going to ding up the walls and whatnot).  And if the cleaners can’t get over there before the weekend, or Monday at the latest, I’ll have to do my own cleaning, which is a lot for me, and I’ll need to go out and get the necessary tools, but I guess it’s doable if I want to move in on schedule.

Should I maybe call my sister?  She’s a bit of a know-it-all who’s always telling me what I should have done after I’ve done it.  Or maybe my realtor friend?  Or even Darian?  Ultimately, the choice is down to me and only me.

It’s all so stressful and dizzy-making.  I just want to magically wiggle my nose, like Samantha on “Bewitched”, and have it all be DONE already.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to work as much as I can so I can earn the money to start paying off my debt, which brings us back full circle to the lack-of-funds horror show.  Ergo, discombobulation.

Every decision I make involves this confusion and insecurity.  It’s a wonder I get anything accomplished at all.  (It probably goes without saying that I blame the delay in this blog post on all the aforementioned discombobulation.)  And yet, somehow, I always manage to find my way, despite the dread, despite the discombobulation.  It’s almost as if I didn’t need to get bogged down with the two “D’s” in the first place.  Who would have guessed?  But breaking the cycle is easier said than done.  I’ve been this way pretty much all my adult life.  It remains to be seen if I will ever be able to just MAKE A DECISION, without all the waffling and self-doubt, without the confusion and fear, or at least to do it in a controlled, organized way (e.g., a pros-and-cons list).  Believe me, I’m working on it.

2 thoughts on “Discombobulation

  1. From one discombobulated person to another, I appreciate you sharing your experiences during a very stressful time. Construction, moving, coordination, finances, late season snow storms…you may drive ME to drink. Keep the posts coming. I love the time capsule you are creating here.


    1. Thanks, George! Of course I’ve fallen WAAY behind on my podcast listening. And now I have to watch all my DVR’d shows because when I move back home, I’m getting a new DVR box and need to start all over again. How goes your tchatchke removal??


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