WordFood - how we feed or starve our realtionships

- Julia Hubbel

Julia’s ability to get this group of type-A executives to engage in true networking was incredible. She is truly skilled at motivating the group to engage and interact with each other, and her openness and honesty really come through.

— Shelley Stewart, Jr.,
Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence and Chief Procurement Officer, Tyco

October 4, 2013

The WordFood of Chicken Little

Yesterday morning dawned bright and early, and it was a perfect day for a good long Epsom salts soak to take care of the sore back I’d gotten from Archie the horse (previous post), so I filled the tub. And soaked. Drained the tub. Then came downstairs to work in my office for a while. When I hit the bottom step, my next step into the basement was into water- for the third time in the last several weeks. This time there was a bubbling pool of it, coming out of my laundry room drain. I got the camera, and copped a wonderful shot of the bubbles of dirty water coming up over my bare feet.

Now you have to put this into context. A few weeks ago my toilet overflowed, putting three inches of water into my finished basement, ruining my carpet, my desk, my filing cabinets, damaging the walls, and much more. The floor under the carpet is also in trouble. USAA, in my opinion the best insurance company for us vets, had already just sent out the contractor to estimate the damage after the water mitigator folks had smashed a few things, left my desk sitting in the water, and basically acted like gorillas. Mind you, the floods were going on so I was last on the totem pole, for good reason. Sam, the contractor, had patiently gone through the house and informed me that the whole basement would need to be redone.

Now the other side of the basement, with the new linoleum floor, was sitting underwater.

There are many ways to look at this. There’s a part that can holler poor me, why did this have to happen just before I leave on a big trip, oh woe is me! Oh the inconvenience, I won’t get this fixed ’til spring, gripe, whine, complain. On the other hand, there is a part that can find this very funny. I’ve been in constant contact with my guy at USAA. Yesterday after I sent him the foot photo, I commented that I once considered buying beachfront property but now I won’t because surf’s up in my basement.

There are people all over Colorado who have no basement at all. Mine happens to be a little damp. I told John at USAA to take his time, and put my house at the bottom of this list. As long as there are big machines down here drying things out so I don’t have mold, I’m fine and dandy. How lucky I am not to be a flood victim. How lucky I am this happened before I left for Tanzania. How lucky I am to have USAA for a supplier. How lucky I am to have a deductible of only $500 and I’m going to get completely new basement, a new desk and other new furniture, new paint job and who knows what else. Come ON, I didn’t like the Berber carpet down there anyway.

This isn’t about being Pollyanna. This is about stepping back and seeing the big picture, and realizing that there are multiple ways to view what happens to us. Having a wicked sense of humor goes a long way. John has been overwhelmed with working with flood victims, and I’ve been making him laugh while working with me. So when spring comes along and I need something, chances are I’ll get right away. We’ve been having fun with this.

We all have a Chicken Little part in us. The sky falls on every one of us at one point or another. Whether we run around in circles yelling about it or put on the wellies and dance in the puddles is up to us. People survive cancer by using laughter. I have a sign over this computer that says “Put your big girl panties on and get over it!” Just reading it makes me smile.

My friends who are aware of my basement issues are all sending me condolences. Heck, I can’t wait for spring, when I’m going to get a brand new basement, courtesy of roots in the city sewer, and also because I installed a toilet handle backwards. Now that’s funny. Chicken Little can go lay eggs. I’m going to go choose new carpet.

September 16, 2013

WordFood of Perspective

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — Julia Hubbel @ 8:11 am

When bad things happen to us, it’s easy to think you’re being targeted. “Why me?” comes to mind, as though God or the Universe has specifically pointed a finger at this one human being for punishment out of the billions on the planet. It’s supremely egotistical to think this way, especially when at any given time on this globe there are plenty of folks having a hard time of it.

This past weekend I was working on a project in my basement office. At one point I’d used the downstairs toilet. After about an hour or so, my coffee was barking at me so it was time to make a pit stop again. This time my stockinged feet landed in about three inches of water surging out of the bathroom- so I rushed in to find that the entire room was floating in a small ocean. In fact, my basement was in the process of being flooded. I was able to get the toilet to stop running, but not in time to stop the water from creeping into my office, the extra office, the extra bedroom and pretty much everywhere else. Sigh.

I called my insurance company which was quite happy to open up a claim. Within minutes I got a call from a guy who politely informed me that while they were also quite happy to help, there was no water mitigation contractor within their system to help me out. Anyone who’s been following Colorado news is well aware that there are a whole lot of folks who not only have a bit of water in their basements right now, they don’t have basements at all, much less a home to sleep in. I called the alternate they provided, and was told that I might get a phone call later this week, long after the water has done much more serious damage. It already smells hinky down there. But the truth is, I still have a basement, a roof over my head, and I live on high enough ground so that the flooding isn’t a danger to me. The inconvenience of a stinky carpet is nothing by comparison and hey, I didn’t like the Berber down there anyway.

Last December, my girlfriend Soni and I had met for dinner. My boyfriend had just ended our relationship for the umpteenth time and she was unattached. We were bemoaning the fact until I pointed out that – it was December 14th- there were a great many people in Sandy Hook who would never, ever have a Merry Christmas ever again, and that perhaps our little issues weren’t that big a deal by comparison. She agreed, and we went on to discuss more important issues.

The chaos of life is just that: chaos. There is no unpredictable Greek god sitting amidst the clouds pointing lightning bolts at out butts to annoy us out of spite. Life just happens. Here in Colorado Mother Nature is wreaking havoc with many lives and she’s taken some from us. By comparison, a capricious toilet is nothing. It pays to keep in mind that no one gets singled out for special treatment. It’s how we talk to ourselves about it, gain perspective and wisdom, and especially a sense of humor about life’s vicissitudes that make us useful to each other. Invariably we will encounter others who have undergone something worse, or who need our perspective. And that’s when we will understand why we experienced the challenges that we did: they help us to serve someone else. Our WordFood of perspective to someone else who is suffering makes all the difference in the world.

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