I’ve always been the type of person that can “compartmentalize” things in order to focus on individual pieces as they come, even when they come in at the same time.
I’ve always been able to focus my mind’s ear and block out noise in order to hear what’s most important to solving whatever problem I’m dealing with in any given moment and process multiple signals at the same time.
I’m not sure if that’s a skill or something developed over time or whatever.
What I will say is that it has been incredibly difficult to do this over the last few weeks.
There is definitely a life pre and post Harvey for me.
During the storm things came in waves…as many as five people plus a baby all coming at me from different directions with different needs, questions, comments, contributions and against the backdrop of growling generators, radios, phone calls, and text alerts.
Things took on an urgency that I can’t say I’ve ever experienced before.
There were times where I just had to tell everyone to stop talking for one minute so I could just “catch up” and process what everyone was saying.
I can take in a lot of information simultaneously but even I can get a little overwhelmed.
Now as the days have passed and our collective new normal slowly takes shape, it seems the only thing that hasn’t change is the noise level.
It’s truly amazing how an event like this brings “experts” out of the woodwork like cockroaches.
Everyone has a friend, brother, neighbor, sister, cousin’s buddy’s girlfriend’s aunt who knows someone who is the best, most experienced, nicest, honest, hardworking, fair person in the world that would love nothing more than to “help.”
It’s bad enough having an entire rolodex left on my door every day from contractors and remodelers just begging for business but to have relatives, coworkers, neighbors, and their extended networks all chiming in with what needs to happen, what’s supposed to happen, what their story is, how their story is the only way it’s supposed to be, how that time when their neighbor’s boss’ ex-girlfriend’s house flooded this happened, then that happened, and then BAM they walked away with a bajillion dollars and a completely remodeled house….ALL because they did XYZ. Simple right?
Now that the truly urgent aspect of the storm is over, that being safety, shelter, medicine, power, water, food, and clothes are taken care of, my goal is to ensure my parents take a breath and step back.
There’s a process to all things in life. There are steps to solving any problem.
While getting rescued or evacuated amidst a historic storm might seem like the “hard” part, it isn’t the hardest part.
What comes after is where the real challenges lie. Navigating the complicated waters of insurance claims, selecting a construction company/contractor, managing a budget, working with the mortgage company all pose great peril to anyone not willing to do their due diligence and instead rushing through things.
Perhaps nothing is harder however than saying no. Even our closest friends and family with the best intentions can bring chaos to the process. Relationships can break under the stress when such large sums of money are in play.
These events often seem like a winning lotto ticket to a lot of people…an opportunity to cash in, pay off debt, get cool new stuff to replace their old stuff.
But it isn’t really like that at all. Nothing in life is easy and there are no quick payoffs. In the case of my parents my only hope is that their house be made whole again, that they have the opportunity to take control of their future, and have the information needed to make the best sound decisions.
But there’s so much noise.
May all of us impacted find that button to turn down the volume.
Be Well and Kind,