Why was I so angry today? Betty, the elderly lady that is selling us her house called and wanted to remind me about the change of utilities. (Like having moved a bizillion times, I didn’t think of that.) I was gracious and said: “Oh thank you for reminding me”, but inside I was ticked-off because a week ago Betty asked me if we could close early – she said that would really help her out because she needed the money and then reneged on the early closing date.
I moved heaven and earth to get my lender to commit to this Friday, two weeks early. When I called to inform Betty’s realtor that I got the early date confirmed, she informed me that Betty wanted to wait for the original closing date two weeks later. She said Betty needed the whole time to get her act together. Was I steamed? When Betty called today about the utilities, I had to listen to her complain about all she needs to do, how she was afraid she would have to fly to Kentucky because her daughter was ill. Then she said her daughter is coming in Sunday to help, she’s not sure she doing the right thing, and on an on. I might point out that she didn’t demonstrate such an uncertain attitude when we were negotiating the contract. Her mind was like a steel trap. For instance her patio set I bought, and a few other items I bought from her that went well with the house, and only this house, Betty was adamant that she get cash two weeks before the closing.
I know what you’re thinking. What a cold-hearted crank I am. As it’s not my style to lay my whole life’s story on someone, when Betty wanted to close two weeks early, I did not tell her how it would help us out also. I didn’t tell her that if we waited until the original closing date, Will’s 86 year old Mother is coming for a visit for the very first time to “surprise” us – with her daughter, son-in-law, and 3 kids under the age of 10! I didn’t tell her I had $50,000 uninvested cash sitting at the title company for 2 months, and I didn’t tell her I am paying $1000 a month, plus utilities and pool service, just to have the pleasure of sitting amongst boxes and eat from paper plates for the last 2 months. I didn’t tell her how I am paying for furniture storage for the girl that bought my house, because my lender didn’t get the previous house we were in contract for closed on time. I didn’t tell her any of that. She wouldn’t have heard it anyway.
When I tried to let her know that I can relate to dealing with someone’s illness while she was complaining about her medical issues, I mentioned: “Yes, Betty, I know, my husband’s 86 year old Mother is dealing with some pretty serious issues, too”. She talked right over me to continue on with her complaints. Not in the least interested in anyone outside her own head. That’s why I’m mad.
I try very hard to be patient and considerate with people I am dealing with. But I need to feel like it is a two-way street. I know Betty has lived in this house for many years, her husband died in this house; her grandkids swam in the pool in this house. She has many fond memories in this house. But what I realized today is how important it is for us to be able to embrace change – at any age.
I don’t believe we should get a free pass on our attitudes just because we’re older. Life, as they say marches on no matter how old we are. Nothing stays the same. We can only embrace the changes, and occasionally get to look back at our memories with fondness. But if we look back too long, we’ll miss the magical moments that are happening right now – and probably get a stiff neck. I hope Betty has many more magical moments.