Baby Steps


Yesterday was a damp and cool day without a lot of demands.  Consequently, I contentedly stayed in my office most of the day.  I had tons of paperwork I needed to complete. Of course, arriving at the office a little late abbreviated the day somewhat.  Actually, that is not an accurate statement.  Since it was cool and damp outside, I opted to work through the lunch hour. I didn’t leave the building at all. I also didn’t eat lunch. I guess you could call that the downside. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.  If I lose a little weight, I’d call that good.  If the General finds out I skipped a meal, I’d call that bad. She’ll process the information as an example that I don’t take care of things that are important.  From her perspective, she want find that surprising.  She already has that perception. She is also of the mindset that healthy people don’t skip meals.  Who knows, she might also want me to return my lunch money.  Actually, that’s not true. She won’t ask for me to return the lunch money, but she is of the mindset that healthy people eat healthily.


It wasn’t that I was purposefully late to the office yesterday, but when all lanes are stopped on the freeway, you actually don’t actually have a choice. I’m not sure I can really call it a freeway since I was not yet totally off the toll road when the traffic came to a halt.  Who knows?  One day last week the General was looking at credit card charges and asked why I had two charges for advance payments to TexDOT, the toll road folks that have access to my bank account and take my money.  I didn’t have a good answer.  Actually, I didn’t have an answer at all.  I’ve been taking toll roads around Austin, Dallas and Houston for as long as there have been toll roads and I’ve never had more than one monthly charge of $40 appear on my credit card statement during any one-month period.  In December, I had two. That’s even more puzzling. There were some holidays in December and I didn’t go to the office.    


At any rate, the traffic was stopped when I was within three miles of the office and it took about 45 minutes to negotiate the flyover and get off of IH-45 and onto IH-35. There was a time when an inconvenience like that would have been a source of frustration for me.  For the past couple of years, I’ve kind of learned to roll with the flow.  When the traffic is totally stopped, that means your not flowing. Instead it means you’re stopped. Consequently, why not make the best of it?  I am always grateful that I’m somewhere down-line from an accident rather than being the person directly involved. Consequently, when I’m stuck in that kind of traffic, it is the one time I mostly patiently wait.  It also gives me the freedom to text while I’m behind the wheel.  Of course, at the time I’m texting, nothing is moving.


Toward the end of the workday yesterday, I mentioned to my boss that I’d be out part of the morning today and and all afternoon for a meeting.  In addition, I added: “I’m also out of the office on Thursday as well”.  I’m not sure exactly what he said, but when he said it, the alarm bells came on in my head.  It was the first time I had processed that yesterday was actually Tuesday.  You could have fooled me.  I worked all day thinking it was Monday. 


Unfortunately, the meeting I was anticipating attending today actually took place yesterday.  Later today, I will call and apologize for missing the meeting. As late as Friday of last week, I affirmed that I’d be in attendance.  I’m really a little embarrassed about the oversight.  Actually, I’m very embarrassed about the oversight.


After arriving home from work yesterday, I was in my office. The General walked in and looked around.  Of course everything looked incredibly neat and in order. I spent half of Monday morning tossing stuff out of my office and putting it in the garbage.  I anticipated some kind of verbal acknowledgement, a pat on the back, kudos of some kind or maybe even a package of M&Ms. Did I mention the General never bought into the concept of behavior modification techniques?  Why should there be a reward or acknowledgement for finally meeting expectations? 


I guess you could say with me it is one step at a time, maybe even baby steps, but I really did throw out and organize a lot of things in my office on Monday.  There was no verbalization of  “good job”.  Instead, the General picked up a cloth sack on my bookcase and asked: “What is this?”  I responded that it was three books that belonged to a friend and that I had put the books in the bag to keep them together for me to return.  Without skipping a beat she said: “You’ll never get them to him as long as they are on your bookshelf.”  Ouch!


Okay, so I was still a little chilled from the damp cool weather even though I was inside at work all day yesterday.  In addition, it felt cool to me in our house.  I also skipped lunch, so I was hungry.   Now I’ve got the General confronting me with my need to do something a little more proactive than putting three books together in a cloth bag to return them to their owner.


You know what?  I didn’t let it bother me.  Maybe my knowing I’m in the process of taking baby-steps was all I needed to affirm progress.  Truth be told, I had previously looked all over my office for one of the books about three weeks earlier and didn’t find it.  Consequently, I was elated that now all three books are collected together and bagged for their rightful return.


I didn’t even smirk this morning when I remembered to put the cloth bag of books in my car so I don’t forget to take them with me to work.  Once they are rightfully returned, I’ll announce to the General that the books have made their way home.


I’ve never been one to wear a T-shirt with a message on the front.  Yet, I had the thought yesterday that I needed to get one like Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murray) wore in the movie “What about Bob.”  My reference to baby steps reminded me of the movie.  In case you don’t remember, Bob is a highly manipulative obsessive-compulsive patient of Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss).  Bob is a guy with more than his share of problems. He has a lot of phobias that manifest themselves in fear.  In the initial assessment interview with Dr. Marvin, there is a thought provoking scene:


Dr. Leo Marvin: Are you married?

Bob Wiley: I’m divorced.

Dr. Leo Marvin: Would you like to talk about that?

Bob Wiley: There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don’t. My ex-wife loves him.

Dr. Leo Marvin: [pause] I see. So, what you’re saying is that even though you are an almost-paralyzed, multiphobic personality who is in a constant state of panic, your wife did not leave you, you left her because she… liked Neil Diamond?”


I guess fortunately for me, the General and I both like Neil Diamond.  The T-shirt that Bob wore said:





All My Best!

Apple Computer, Inc.




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:”Table Normal”;
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s