Today was an exciting day - our new kitchen counter top was being installed this morning. I had arranged for the installer to arrive at 8:30 am; he had estimated the job would take three hours which worked out perfectly. He would be done by 11:30 am and I had a dentist appointment at 1 pm. I had even built in some extra time in case something went wrong.
He arrived on time and got started promptly. I settled onto the couch in the adjacent living room and started working on a writing project. The writing was flowing. It was going so well until about 11:00 am when I heard "Oh no, that's horrible" coming from Moe the installation guy.
Me: What's horrible? I don't want to hear the word horrible!
Moe: It turns out this sink is an IKEA sink and they are so poorly made that when I tried to put it back in, the clamps all snapped. (Moe had asked me if it was an IKEA sink when he came to give me the estimate a few weeks ago. I told him I had no idea because the sink was here when I moved in. He thought it wasn't. He was wrong).
Moe: I'm really sorry but you're going to have to go and get a sink. It needs to be 20.5" x 20.5" Don't buy it any deeper or it won't fit but it can be a bit wider.
I grabbed my coat and purse. Did I mention it is absolutely pouring down sheets of rain and we have a flood advisory? And it's cold? Well, it is rainy and cold. I head to Home Depot on the south side of town. Salesperson directs me to the sinks but they have none the right size in stock. Grab a sub for lunch at their counter and drive to Lowe's.
Arrive at Lowe's kitchen area. Two sales people are chatting to one another.
Me: Excuse me, where are the kitchen sinks?
Salesguy: In plumbing. (turns his back to me and returns to his conversation)
Me: Where is the plumbing department? (Silently seething. I want to say: No kidding! I was going to look in flooring or maybe lighting but the sinks are in plumbing? Good to know! But I bite my sarcastic tongue.)
Salesguy: (points in the direction of the corner of the store while he continues conversation without turning to face me)
I head over to plumbing, silently giving Salesguy a piece of my mind. There are sinks that are 7" deep and sinks that are 8" deep. I don't know how deep our sink is so I stick my arm in each sink trying to determine which sink is like ours at home. No idea. I grab a 7" sink and head home.
Moe takes a look at the sink. "This won't work. It's 20" x 20.5" The hole's too big and you'll have this gap. The water will get in there and ruin your new counter."
I put my wet coat and boots back on and head to Home Hardware. I'm in luck there is a sign on the sink that says 20.5" x 20.5" It has three holes for the taps and faucet, not just one, and it's on sale. Bonus! Quickly pay for the sink and head home.
I start to inhale my sub and I hear "Oh no" from the kitchen.
Moe: This sink is too small.
Me: No it's not. I checked. It's exactly 20.5" x 20.5".
Moe: No it's not. I know this is a pain but we want to do this right otherwise your new counter won't last. (as he shows me the label on the side of the box that clearly says 20 x 20.5)
I now have two sinks, neither of which are the right size. Put my sandwich back in the fridge. Put on my wet coat and boots, grab the Home Hardware sink and return to Home Hardware. I let them know that their sign is wrong. They have no other single sinks so I return this one and now drive to Home Depot East while calling the dentist on my bluetooth to see if they can push back my dentist appointment as it is now 1 pm. They tell me if I get there by 1:20 they can squeeze me in.
Arrive at Home Depot East and they have no 20.5" x 20.5" sinks, They have slightly larger sinks and they have single sinks that have a little prep sink next to it. I don't know if these will fit. I don't know if this is even what I want. I hate being rushed into a decision and decide to not buy a sink today.
I rush to the dentist but it's too late and so I reschedule for next week and head home one last time. I'm trying to breathe; I'm trying to remind myself that these are #firstworldproblems and the only reason I'm doing all this running around is because I'm getting a nice new countertop. But it's not working. I can feel the tension building in my chest from the rushing around and from the frustration of the salesguy at Lowe's and the person at Home Hardware who screwed up making a sign and the weather and why didn't Moe check the damn sink before he cut the hole and why didn't I change my dentist appointment to another day when I realized they were both on the same day and ......... BREATHE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Me: Moe, we're just going to have to wait. I don't want to rush into picking out a sink and end up with a choice I'm going to regret later.
Moe: Sure, no problem. I can put this old one back in for now and I'll just put silicone around the edge so it should keep the water out.
Me: Ok. Sounds good. I'm just going to make myself a cup of tea and try to stay out of your way. I'll call you and let you know when I get a new sink so we can arrange to have it installed. It should be by the end of this week unless I have to order one.
Moe: Ok. Just call me when you get it and I'll come and install it.
So let's look at this scenario from our self-reg lens, shall we?
Reframe the behaviour:
While I was ready to snap at the Lowe's guy, the Home Hardware lady and Moe I was able to keep my behaviour in control, however I'm sure they noticed my tone was getting a bit edgier. This was stress behaviour not misbehaviour!
Recognize the stressors:
Cold, wet rainy day
Driving in the pouring rain
Trying to eat lunch on the run
Unable to find the sink that I need
Had to put away my writing that was going really well to go to hardware stores, which I don't enjoy
Pressure of the impending dentist appointment
All the contents of the lower kitchen cabinets are in boxes in the dining room during counter installation and clutter always increases my stress levels
Husband is away on business
Daughter is texting with issues at university during this whole scenario
Reduce the stress:
Rescheduled the dentist appointment
Postponed buying the sink
Helped myself to slow down my pace and my breathing with a nice hot cup of tea
I let daughter know that I could read her email in thirty minutes and she was fine with that
Reflect to enhance stress awareness:
I was dressed properly for the weather so that helped reduce stress
I could have brought Moe's cell number with me when shopping so I could call him with questions, like do I want a 7" or 8" deep sink?
Could have arranged to have hubby on-call for decisions like bigger sink? prep sink? no sink? It helps to have someone to talk to.
Allow more time between events; being rushed always makes me stressed
Respond (develop personalize strategies to promote resilience and restoration):
Remember the big picture: the sink will get installed and it doesn't have to be done today
It's okay to say no to people, for example telling Moe, "No, I can't buy a sink today."
Build in time for exercise on these cold, rainy days
Not everything is urgent and has to be done instantly.
Not every question is urgent and has to be answered immediately. People will wait if you let them know why.