Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Complaint Department

I know I should be more postive, I really should.  I have so much to be thankful for, and all that jazz.  But, the complaints pour forth from my mouth like that fizzy Coke Zero I spilled all over the end table and carpet last week. As soon as I make up my mind to be positive, something annoying happens. Like, I'm trying to get to work early, and I get stopped by a train that is just sitting on the tracks.  (Hello? Train people? It's this thing called "rush hour" and people are trying to get to work! Can you move your big, dumb, slow train out of the road until you are actually ready to go?) Or, I spill my Coke all over the carpet.  Or, my kids who are supposed to be doing their homework are wrestling on the floor after the fifteen hundreth time I've yelled at them to quit.  They giggle and laugh until someone actually gets hurt, and then there is yelling, and stomping, and arguing. (It's always fun and games until someone gets hurt, you know...) Or, the kitchen trash is overflowing AGAIN, and dangit! Why can't anyone but me ever take it out, and pleasestoppilingstuffontopofthefullcanforPete'sfreakin'sake!! Whew! See, I'm getting myself all worked up again.

It just happens like that, though.  My good intentions are always thwarted by annoying crap.  Oh, sometimes I'm good.  I'll try to think how grateful I am that I left for work early.  I'll grit my teeth and swiftly wipe up the mess.  I'll quietly count to three and then calmly give each little offender a strike on their behavior chart.  I'll keep my mouth shut and take out the trash, while trying to think of the things that other people do around the house.  But inside? I'm seething.  I hold it in for a while, until the next minor annoyance occurs, and then, BAM! The pent up griping explodes like a Coke that has been shaken up.  What good is outward nicety when the inside is bubbling away with aggravation and ugliness?

I heard an idea on the radio the other day about keeping a Complaint Jar in the house.  Everytime someone complains, they have to put some money in the jar.  My ears perked up briefly, thinking what a good object lesson it would be for my kids, but I quickly changed my mind after a (disturbingly satisfying) image of myself popped up.  I'd be standing there, with a fistfull of dimes poised over the jar, as Clink! WHY DOES EVERYONE yada yada yada...and Ka-chink! HOW COME YOU ALWAYS blah blah blah...and Ka-ching! AND ANOTHER THING! Yeah, maybe that's not such a great object lesson for the kiddos afterall.....

Yes, I know-I need to work on my attitude more.  I need to pray about it, and repeat all the Bible verses about thankfulness and such that I can think of.  I need to remember those starving kids in....well, lots of places.  I need to think warm, fuzzy happy thoughts about how much I love my family, and how grateful I am to have a job, and a home, and...and... you know. 

But, in the mean time, maybe I'll just start taking a different route to work.

Photo from: http://cfbstubbs.pbworks.com/w/page/12272262/Habit-1:-Be-Proactive


  1. A complaint jar would never work at our house- we would be broke!!
    The garbage thing - same at my house!! WHY!!!! I don't get it.

  2. I'm with yooooooou totally, fr instance, I am having a cmplete melt dwn, right now, because my "O" button desn't want to WOOOrk!! We have those days, and we have those weeks, but as you said we just have to pray, and keep the good things closer in view!!

  3. We started a penalty jar a little over a year ago. Son is supposed to pay when he freaks out unnecessarily over some perceived trauma...daughter is supposed to pay when she says "like" in an inappropriate way (not "I like cake," but "he was, like, yelling at me, and I, like, told him to shut up"), I pay when I yell at the kids and it really wasn't their fault...hubby is supposed to pay when he leaves his &#$% shoes in the way. It was great for a while, but son hardly ever freaks out anymore and daughter doesn't do enough of her chores to make money to put in the jar. We're trying to save for spending money for a vacation which is about 2 years down the road (thank you, grad school)....maybe by then we'll have enough for a meal at McDonald's.


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