There are a lot of predicaments in life that I’ve avoided. You might call it being overly cautious; I prefer to call it simple mindfulness of consequences. True, it must be acknowledged that luck played a part sometimes. Even though I was always more careful than most, in my younger years I could have become unwantedly pregnant, or gotten cited for being a minor in possession, or married a jerk, or any number of wrong turns on the road map of life. But because I never could conceive of any upside to any of those predicaments, I diligently avoided them, and now I’ve made it through so far without those things becoming possible topics for my memoirs.
However, not every situation obviously presents itself as a predicament. Often, we live with problems and uncomfortable situations in our lives because they’re just comfortable enough for us not to want to give them up. They just seem like the way things have to be.
Take our pet situation, for instance.
I’m pretty sure most people think I’m just a bit of a crazy dog lady and that I am happy as can be with four little yappers running amok in my tiny house on its small city lot. Well, truth be told, I was happy as could be with our original two: the half-wiener sisters known as Abby and DeeDee. Sure, they’d bark at noises (real and perceived), but they were cheap to feed and care for, easy to take on W-A-L-K-S, and as charming a pair of little friends as you ever did see. We looked forward to having them burrow their little warm bodies under the covers with us at night.
Then there were three.
About the time my stepdaughter moved into our extra room around the holidays last year due to finding herself in one of the predicaments I mentioned up top, the crazy aunt she had been staying with thought it was a fabulous idea to give her a puppy for Christmas. That’s right–what does every pregnant girl moving in with her parents need? A puppy! And so EJ entered our household, and, because his mommy was soon completely preoccupied with the all-consuming task of caring for a newborn human baby, EJ’s care fell into our hands, and pretty soon he was sleeping at the foot of our bed in addition to the two half-wiener sisters. He was such a good boy that one more little dog didn’t seem like too much of a problem.
Then I made a stupid move and there were FOUR.
I picked up a collarless, dusty chihuahuah mix I saw running down a country avenue (popular among animal abandonment enthusiasts) with that slightly panicked look characteristic of lost dogs. I figured either I or the local dog rescue could find someone to take her. Unfortunately, she turned out to be a bit of a charmer and my husband fell in love with her. She never made it to the rescue, and now there she is, curled up on the bed with EJ, Abby, and DeeDee–oh, yeah, and Brad and me. Good thing it’s a California King.
I don’t want to have this many dogs. Four is too many–for plenty of reasons. There’s more noise, more expense, more chaos. There’s also the fact that I think we’re now operating an illegal kennel within the city limits, but let’s just keep that on the down-low for now. I love these sweet critters like family members, though, and I can’t just let them move in and out of my life like livestock, so for the time being four is what we’re living with. We trade a little bit of our sanity for the rewards of having four furry kids. Maybe people are right, and I am a crazy dog lady.
This pet-population predicament is self-imposed, as most predicaments are. Well, most of ours are, anyway, and the thing that keeps us from escaping our predicaments is the ol’ comfort zone, the fine line between what we love and what drives us crazy.
What other predicaments have I/we refused to extricate myself/ourselves from?
Well, there’s our house. We almost regret buying it. It needs a ton of work and thanks to the tanked economy it’s worth only about half what we paid for it, and definitely less than we currently owe on it. Every day I mutter, “I hate this #$%)* place,” under my breath at least once. But without it we wouldn’t have all our little canine pals to enjoy. We might have a place to live, but we wouldn’t have a home.
There’s also our debt. We constantly aspire to make some dents in it so we can free up funds to fix up this dump sweet dump we live in. Inevitably, though, something comes up that we refuse to pass up–a concert, a weekend trip, a new pair of shoes, a spontaneous dinner out. We trade small indulgences for bigger freedom, and keep saying someday, someday….
Does any of this sound familiar? Have you gotten yourself into a situation that’s just comfortable enough to put up with, even though things could be so much better if you’d buckle down and break that comfort barrier even a little bit? Do you think you’ll do anything about it?
I keep meaning to…