Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Ethics of Asking for Favors

I had intended to go on the annual Bridgewalk over the Columbia River today.  A friend had offered me her ticket to walk; it's an official 10 k. run/walk from one side of the river to the other and I've wanted to do it.  I thought this would be my chance and was glad to take her up on it.  But when I read the brochure she gave me along with the instructions for picking up the ticket and t-shirt, it clearly stated "tickets are not transferable" and "anyone caught with a transferred ticket will not be allowed to return".

I called her and voiced my concerns but she wasn't particularly concerned.  She has done this walk several times and was pretty sure that the restriction was only for runners, that nobody would have a problem with my using her ticket.  She suggested that I just go and pick up the ticket and packet and do it in her name.  I didn't want to insult her generosity but I just couldn't do that.  I thanked her for offering the ticket and told her that I didn't feel I wanted to take the chance and I wasn't comfortable asking the race officials for an exception to the rule.

So I've been thinking about where that discomfort comes from, because it's something I've experienced before---from the other side.  As a school teacher and counselor, I always had to deal with kids and parents who wanted an exception to the rule.  It was hugely annoying to be asked to circumvent the scheduling policies and give a kid Ms. Soandso for algebra instead of Mr. Whozit.  Or to let a kid cut into the lunch line so that he could go to the band room sooner.  Or to ask Mr. Whozit to change a grade.

As a minister, too, I had to deal with people who wanted to circumvent a policy:  to hold a fundraiser which set aside a Finance committee policy; to re-join the congregation despite the turmoil s/he had caused when s/he was a member previously, despite the disruptive behavior and covenant of right relations; to move a child from one RE class to another to avoid someone.

There's always the standard answer:  if I let you do it, I'll have to let others do it.  Everyone hates to hear that old saw, but it's true.  One camel's nose under the tent and what have you got?  A herd of camels trompling on your stuffed dates, that's what.  And I can be funny about it here, but it's gotten me into difficulty in the past and has caused me to harden my heart about circumventing rules and policies.

And it's made me resistant to asking others to circumvent stated rules, to do me a favor, to give me special consideration.  Of course, this kinda backfired when our son was having struggles in school; we delayed asking for help for him until we were all going crazy trying to cope.

It can also get mixed up with my "strong woman" persona, the one that doesn't like to ask for help for any reason!  As I age, it gets harder and harder to justify.  I know that someday I will have to rely on others for my needs.  Perhaps I will start practicing that particular skill.  But next year I will apply for my own ticket to do the Bridgewalk!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Good grief! It's been almost a month...

since I last posted at Ms. Kitty's.  So let me give you a rundown on what retirement in Utopia has been like so far.

Here's some of what I wrote this morning, sitting at the Pig 'n Pancake, the only place nearby that opens at 6 a.m.  It's my replacement for the Freeland Cafe, whose friendly waitress Ursula greeted me every Sunday morning at 6 for so many years.

Well, I have just about put all the "transitional" matters of the move into place and am finding that I can now do the exploring and visiting of new places that is part of the larger picture.

So far I've done 4 North Coast Land Conservancy events, walked quite a bit around my new environs, made one new friend through NCLC and reconnected with a couple of others I know slightly, gone to Ecola State Park, Ecola Creek Forest Reserve, walked the local beach almost daily, looked around Astoria a bit, and revisited Cannon Beach, Seaside, and other favorite spots a few times.  I also drove up to Long Beach, Oysterville, and Willapa Bay.

I want to become more familiar with Astoria, walk the south Seaside beach, visit the South Jetty again and find Neacoxie Creek there, go to Cape Disappointment, and drive some of the roads that are new to me.

I want to brave the acoustic jams I've found out about.  I plan to do the Astoria/Megler Bridge walk next Sunday, even if I have to bail out before I make it all the way.  A friend gave me her ticket and it's something I've wanted to do.  My only qualm is the minor back pain I tend to get from long walks.

My routine has kind of settled in.  This morning I'm at the Pig 'n Pancake for Sunday breakfast.  It has good food, a nice waitress, and is open early.

The cats are still hungry and yowling at an early hour but I am willingly waking up after 7 hours of sleep, so I am often up at 4:30 willingly and not grousing about it.  I'm getting a nap after lunch, usually, so I don't mind.  I think it mattered more to me when I had long, busy days ahead and worried about missing my sleep.  

The Oregonian doesn't arrive as early as the Seattle Times did, but I get up and have my coffee while checking things electronically.  I don't get as much email as I once did, having unsubscribed from drewslist, the Whidbey craigslist bulletin, but what I get is meaningful, if not demanding.  The paper is usually there by 6, which is time enough for me.

Sundays are PUUF days but I can just enjoy services rather than feel responsible for them.  After church, my day is open:  farmers' market?  lunch with a PUUFer?  visiting some Astoria spot?  Usually I've just come home, had lunch, a nap, and read a book or gone somewhere, taken a walk in the late afternoon, done some laundry.  I'm not exhausted, as I often was after having preached.

Monday is a shopping day, going to Fred Meyer's early enough to miss the crowds but not so early that the fish counter isn't yet stocked.  Now that I've gotten most of my household necessities, I'm not making trips to FM every couple of days any more!

It's such an unaccustomed luxury to be able to read in an easy chair in the middle of the day, rather than only at nap or bedtime.  I'm not used to this!  I'm also watching a certain amount of TV at night, though not the election-ridden news.  I'm catching up on my Big Bang Theory reruns and approaching  the saturation point.

I've had both a massage and a haircut, both satisfactory.  I have an ophthalmologist and have her reassurance that my eyes are fine and that I only need to watch for changes, in case the epiretinal membrane affects my vision seriously.  I have a doctor's appointment in a couple of weeks at which time I expect to find that my bloodwork reveals the benefits of weight loss and exercise.

That's as far as I got this morning; buckwheat pancakes, bacon, and coffee were my breakfast of choice and bought me an hour of writing time as I lingered over the last refills of my cup.

It's a beautiful day here on the north coast.  In a little while, I'm going to put on a real dress and nice jacket and go to church.  I realized that if I'm going to get any more good out of my dress-up clothes, I'm going to need to wear them to church!  Otherwise I ought to give them away and I am not yet ready to do that!

My weight remains "at goal".  I'm  splurging occasionally but staying on the WW food I learned to love---the salads, soups, and smaller portions---while walking daily at least an hour (3 miles).  I haven't gone over goal more than a pound and that feels great.  I've learned that splurging just needs to be paid for----a gooey sticky bun at the local bakery needs to be compensated by a salad lunch, a small supper, and a good long walk.  I can have these treats regularly; I just have to pay for them.  Weighing two or three times a week helps me keep track.