Stress and Sanibel


Tax season is full upon us. The woman who usually works with us – a treasure, the perfect match for our little enterprise – has been taken out of action by a medical issue. It’s been several weeks. The stress of trying to keep pace, to finish all these tax returns on time, without her, is just…well…it’s a lot. I’m trying not to whine (loudly) but OH MY GOSH.

Add in us two trying to keep tabs on Steve’s mom – buying her groceries, taking her to medical appointments, explaining things over and over again because she just doesn’t remember. I hate that disease. Steve and I almost never fight but we had a bit of one the other night when I was pushing and pushing for what I thought we should do next. Steve – so mild, so good-natured – got this…look, in his eyes, around his mouth, one I have never seen before, and spat out: “You need to get OUT OF MY FACE.” The only good news is she’s rarely driving now. Maybe she’s forgotten she has the car.

And THEN…Facebook suddenly decided to “memorialize” Mark’s page. Someone must have reported his death, because the official FB reasoning behind it was along the lines of “helping other people” (who didn’t like seeing posts about Mark pop up on their timelines) feel “more comfortable.” Are you KIDDING me??

Sarah is home for Spring Break and I have been determined to be upbeat, to not cry, but I’m undone. It feels like they just arbitrarily erased Mark.

I hate that my daughter, the one who lost her brother and only sibling, has become really good at consoling me; I am conscious of my weakness and her strength. I dry my tears and proceed to get thoroughly pissed off. They have no idea who they are dealing with; I do not give up easily. I happen to know someone who knows someone waaaay up the FB chain of command. I can live with the memorializing, but not the side effects: not being able to tag Mark in pictures, and how he’s essentially disappeared from even the search feature. Surely FB could understand this other point of view.

(And it takes a couple of weeks, but those two key features are restored. Thank you. Here’s my final PSA: all FB users should designate a “Legacy Contact” – someone who will be able to manage your FB page in the event of your death – for this exact reason.)

I’m feeling a sense of deja vu, with trying to figure out where to go for my retreat, where I can go hide and write and just be. I’ve managed to confuse myself again, just like when I was trying to plan our holiday get-away last November.

I’d started with the idea of Sanibel or Captiva – the latter is where Anne Morrow Lindbergh actually wrote her book. But those are really far-away. Maybe I should drive, go someplace closer so Steve can join me easily, after the bluegrass festival?

I expanded my search. I put out a general question about “beaches you like?” on Facebook and got a whole lot of answers (and a lot of very kind, lovely offers of places to stay). But I ended up feeling really overwhelmed and unhappy – simply too much data was received. I just cannot process it all. In a brief moment of clarity, I remembered I am a person who almost always goes back to her first choice.

Pay attention.


I zeroed back in on Sanibel, and I made a beautiful, color-coded spreadsheet, which always makes me feel better.

Over the course of about 2 weeks, as my various choices of condos and cottages were booked by others more organized, as owners didn’t write me back (really?!), everything narrowed down to the one that looked like home, the one I could actually afford. OK. I went to press “book it”… and froze.

How could I do this? Two weeks? By MYSELF? It’s too much money! What if I get there and realize I have made a huge mistake?

I went to bed, and thought, miserably, I’d probably just missed the boat.

But the next day it was still there: I booked it.


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