Monday, December 3, 2012

Bad Day

I write often about my perfect days. But today I'm here to tell you that some of my days are decidedly imperfect. This is one of them.  I am having a Bad Day.  I wouldn't go so far as to say, as Judith Viorst's Alexander does, that it is a "terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day." But it's a bad, sad, irritating, annoying, soul-wearying day.

The reason I'm sad on this bad day is that I got the annual inspection email from my homeowners organization for my sweet little house in Boulder, and this is what it had on it - all listed as items that have to be dealt with by March 1:

Replace siding and trim on east and south facing walls inside patio;
replace garage door jamb and trim on left side of garage door;
replace fascia at top of south-facing wall in patio going up to firewall;
replace 1 x 2 trim at top of east-facing firewall;
replace north-facing siding on top of firewall and replace top of firewall;
replace east-facing lower sheet on firewall in front;
remove 4 x 6 window trim under north-facing windows and window to left of front door;
replace west-facing chimney siding and trim on chimney;
replace upper chimney siding on north-facing section;
replace beams above front door;
replace roof

My friend Julia thought it was a particularly nice touch to add "replace roof" almost as an afterthought, a postscript, a "by the way one more little thing" addendum to the list.

If I wanted I could write volumes about how much I hate living in a house governed by HOA covenants, especially ones that are enforced with such nitpicking pettiness. I could write about inconsistencies in the inspections. I could write about how hard it is going to be for me to deal with these things while living in Indiana.  I could write about what it's going to cost - oh, and all of this is in addition to the $1250 special assessment for the collective painting of our units, for which this lovely email is a preparation. But I won't write about those things here.

Instead I'm going to write about how to deal with a bad day. I did this once before in a post last June, entitled "Don't Make It Worse." (The title is largely self-explanatory). Today I tried to do some comforting things like teach my beloved class (but the room was unbearably hot because the outdoor temperature on this December day is in the 70s, and the heat was on in the room and couldn't be turned off) or eat bread pudding at the Blue Door Cafe (but when I walked over there it was closed for some kind of electricity malfunction). No comfort for me on this sad, bad day!

So what I'm doing about this particular bad day is just accepting that some days, such as this one, are going to be bad. "Mama told me there'd be days like this, there's be days like this, my mama said (Mama said, Mama said)" goes the song. Judith Viorst's famous picture book has Alexander fantasizing about moving to Australia to escape his woes and then realizing that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days can happen even there. It isn't some terrible plot against me on the part of the universe (or even of the homeowners organization) that led to this bad day. Well, maybe it IS a terrible plot against me on the part of the homeowners association.... But the fact is that life just has bad days in it sometimes.

I read a line from a neo-Buddhist spiritual guide a few years ago, which took off on the title of the 1970s best seller, I'm Okay, You're Okay. The neo-Buddhist version of this stock line was: You're not okay - but that's okay.

It's okay to have bad days sometimes. "Is it for one bad day that you accuse the universe?" my favorite Stoic philosopher Epictetus would say. How right you are, Epictetus. I don't need to accuse the universe because of a comically awful home inspection report from my HOA.

The universe is fine. I'm fine. And bad days, in their way, are okay, too.


  1. Was feeling a lil soul showery today...and reading your post helped bring a smile to my face. Thanks, Claudia! I love your wisdom!

  2. Was feeling a lil soul showery today...and reading your post helped bring a smile to my face. Thanks, Claudia! I love your wisdom!

  3. Stay strong, Claudia, and take deep breaths.