Monday, July 21, 2008

Lump in the Throat (UPDATED!)

"One of life's best coping mechanisms is to know the difference between an inconvenience and a problem. If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire, then you've got a problem. Everything else is an inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. One needs to learn the difference."
-Robert Fulghum,
author of "Everything I Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten"

So last night Joel was very loyally getting angry on my behalf, telling me I wouldn't be unjustified "going all Queens" on on Hair/Makeup Lady. I started making phone calls, trying to find someone in Pennsylvania who isn't booked. (I have some solid leads. I'll probably take a day off to go for a trial; the problem is about 85% managed.)

I wasn't going to wait ouside her house, as Cindy and Michelle suggested :), but I *did* go to the Stepford boutique where she works. She's the only one in on Mondays. I got there in the morning, when I knew it wouldn't be busy. I didn't go all Queens, but I did say, "I'm very frustrated; I'm a little angry, but mostly I'm confused. What's going on?"

Long story short, her mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer three weeks ago. She's been in the hospital almost nonstop. She's facing surgery and some intense chemo. Her parents are divorced; her father is no help. Her brother's fiancee called off the wedding right before they got the diagnosis, so he's living on her couch but avoiding the hospital. She's basically supporting them all, asking all the right questions from the oncologist, getting her mom on disability, all of it. She still wanted to do this job for me, because she felt terrible about backing out and really needs the money, but she doesn't want to be three hours away, just in case. She's been trying to find someone who would agree to do it and was avoiding telling me until she could provide me with a solution.

It makes perfect sense to me. It explains why her cell phone is always on but she never picks up. I know her pretty well, actually- I wouldn't classify her as a close friend, persay, but there's a reason why I really wanted her to travel to PA for the wedding- and I completely believe her.

I told her that it's not that I was *hoping* something was really wrong, but I figured it might be, and in light of everything she has going on right now, I'm just giving her a free pass. My wedding just isn't her problem anymore. No guilt, no problem, no backup needed to be found for me. She got teary, and I think today was the first time she admitted to herself that there's a new normal now, that sometimes when you're being strong for someone else, you can't do everything you said you would or even want to do. I told her I'm taking this off her plate, and it's all good.

My mom had the quote that starts this entry- the one about knowing the difference between lumps in the oatmeal, the throat and the breast- posted on the fridge in my childhood home for years. Not having a confirmed plan for hair and makeup three weeks before my wedding? Lump in the oatmeal. Well, maybe the throat. Okay, maybe a lump of oatmeal STUCK in my throat, but it's definitely not a lump in the breast, that's for damn sure. I know both Jenny and her mom would benefit from your good thoughts and prayers, if you're into that sort of thing. :)

UPDATED TO SAY: Mischief managed! I found someone who's available on August 9th for the same price I budgeted for the other lady. WAHOO! I'm going to drive down there next week for a practice session, but- just looking at her work online- I feel really, really good about this. And M, you didn't stick your foot in your mouth AT ALL. You should have heard the stuff I was saying one hour after our appointment time on Sunday when it was clear she punked out. Fuhgeddaboutit.


michelle said...

*forcing the large foot out of my mouth as you read this*

Becky said...

Wow. I'm so impressed with the way you handled this situation. Can I be like you when I grow up?

Amanda said...

Let me second Becky's thought. You handled your meeting with her so beautifully! I may have to steal that line - "I'm very frustrated; I'm a little angry, but mostly I'm confused. What's going on?" It gives the person your position but opens the door for the truth. Tres bien, little sis!

nemo said...

If this second woman doesn't work out, I'd be happy to do your hair myself. I can't provide any examples of my work, but suffice it to say, my tools of choice are a salad bowl, hedge trimmers, and a gallon-jug of bactine. I eagerly await your answer.

Luke said...

Dude I'll totally do your hair. I'll give you a discounted rate even though I'm in such high demand for my hair-stylin' skillz.

gwen1234 said...

I was just about to offer the same thing -- I could totally do your hair! I could leave my patented chunk hanging down in the front...

But hear hear, you handled that extremely well.