* Coping strategies

This weekend was busy as ever. We entertained some friends on Saturday for dinner, and that was fun. Their 2 kids joined forces with ours, and with the addition of the neighbor kids we had a grand total of 11 children between the ages of 5 and 14 in my house that evening. Maybe that's what got Pa stirred up about house-shopping. Our house is just too small, folks. But we came back to the solid conclusion that this one is just gonna have to do, for at least another four or five years.

Twice on Saturday I exercised a new coping mechanism: I locked myself in my bedroom alone for a little while. Once before the guests arrived, at which time I meditated for a bit and then took a much-needed power nap. Then again after they left, because after spending the past few hours on full throttle trying to be a good hostess and maintain order among the throngs of children, I needed to be alone. I needed a quiet place where there weren't three people talking to me at once. The kids had been fighting a lot all day long and my last nerve had gone bust. Plus I've been fighting a nasty head cold for 2 weeks now and I'm just plain tired.

Those short breaks were a real sanity-saver for me and I think I need to allow myself to do this more often. I have to give my husband some credit, too, since he did all the cooking (with some help from Elsa) and much of the cleaning before and after our dinner with friends. And when I tell him I need to be alone for a while and shut the door, he makes sure no one bothers me. Bless him.

We had one weird experience Saturday night. We were all sprawled about the living room watching a movie before bedtime when there was a knock on the door. I got up to answer it while everyone else focused on the TV screen. I opened the door, and there was a woman standing there holding a packet of folded pamphlets. She handed me one and I glanced at it. I skimmed it over quickly and saw a few key words: deaf, mute, please make a contribution, $2.00. I thanked her for the packet, shook my head and said sorry, not this time. Just as I was closing the door, she shook her head furiously and pointed insistently at the pamphlet in my hand. I looked at it again and repeated my response. But then some of the kids began to gather around behind me, curious, and she began pointing at them insistently, and pointing at her pamphlets. She was getting angry and more insistent and it was becoming very awkward. I kept shaking my head and when I tried to close the door she thrust her arm through it, still holding her pamphlets and gesturing angrily at me. I didn't know what to say - she's deaf, right? - but I finally managed to shut the door despite her protests.

The whole thing made me feel awful, rude, and angry. I have a hard time saying no to people in general, and I'm always polite to people who solicit at my door, however annoying they may be. However, no one can persuade me to hand over cash in any amount to a stranger knocking on my door on a Saturday night, no matter how pitiful her story seems. I'm sorry, but the deaf-mute scam is the oldest one in the book. I hate to be cynical but if someone has a valid plight and needs assistance, there are better ways to get the help they need. And yet I still feel like a jerk for turning her away and shutting the door in her face like that. The whole experience made me feel dirty.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Ron said...

I bet the deaf mute was a sorrity prank. Probably had friends closeby laughing.

PS UNcle B got his book published, it comes out next September

2/13/2006 10:33 AM  
Anonymous renee said...

That theory isn't too far-fetched, seeing as how there's a major university a few blocks from my house. But this was definitely not a sorority girl, trust me.

Re: Uncle B's book: Cool! I'll have to look for it when it comes out.

2/14/2006 5:48 AM  
Blogger kristal said...

Happy Valentine's Day!

2/14/2006 6:25 AM  
Anonymous Kari said...

Actually, whether or not it was a prank, the usual deal is that you give the money in exchange for the pamphlet. So if you kept the pamphlet, you would be expected to pay.

So perhaps her wild gestures were an attempt to get you to give back the pamphlet so she could give it to someone else in the hopes that they would donate.

2/18/2006 2:51 PM  
Anonymous renee said...

Actually, Kari, I thought the same thing. I tried to give her back the pamphlet and at first she wouldn't take it, and then she did take it but she kept waving it at me.

It was all pretty confusing.

2/19/2006 7:12 AM  

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