Sunday, April 10, 2011

WARNING: Inbox Is Full


Sometime over the last couple of days, I realized that keeping in touch is a little like cleaning my cats' litter box. I do it when it needs to be done, and before I know it, it needs to be done again.

Don't get me wrong. Having people to keep in touch with is far better than not having any. Having too many people is where I get hung up. Sometimes I just find myself overwhelmed trying to call, email, Facebook message, comment, chat, text or otherwise reach out to people that I'm overdue to reach out to. What ends up happening is I put it off just long enough to start thinking, "Great. If I call him back now, I'm gonna have to come up with an excuse for why I didn't call sooner." So, naturally, not wanting to lie about my delayed response, I simply don't call back. At least, not until a reasonably obnoxious amount of time has passed. So that's my problem.

I learned long ago that problems often fall into two categories. One is a "quality problem" (Omigod, I've got so much money I just don't know what to buy!). Having too many friends and family to keep in touch with is definitely a quality problem. The other category is, well, everything else.

What I also learned long ago is that it's my problem, not anyone else's. Those who have been here before know of my aversion to drainers: soul-sucking social leeches that wring every bit of good will from the saintliest of people by talking endlessly about nothing – the same nothing over and over and over again. These are the folks that I need to establish boundaries with. I need to realize that it's okay if I call them back, talk for a polite amount of time (30 or 40 seconds seems fair), and then cut their gabby asses off mid-sentence and move on to the next drainer. Email should be even easier. I don't have to write a book when replying to everyone. A short note letting them know I'm thinking about them is enough. Gotta work on that...

One last thing, which I'll humbly file under Cell Phone Etiquette: don't use me as a 'filler'. If you're driving home from work; if you're in the grocery store; if you're at the bank; if you're ringing the doorbell at a friend's house and contact with them is imminent, don't fill up your semi-down time by calling me. If I'm not important enough for you to earmark a dedicated slice of quality time to get in touch, don't bother.

I've gotta go now. My mental inbox just dinged again...


  1. I don't have to write a book when replying to everyone-> yes!

    Not only your problem, if it gets too much I know I stop replying to everyone...

  2. I'm a promiser. For a week I've been promising a friend I'd send her this epic e-mail catching her up on all the latest in my life. It's been a truly hectic and busy week, and I've explained that in short e-mails, but I still get inquiries and then keep promising I'll send that epic e-mail. The problem? I've started it, but the thought of finishing it is overwhelming right now; I have too much to do. So I just keep promising that it's coming.

    I did; however, send her a short e-mail with a photo of something I found while sorting through bins of old stuff yesterday. I was hopeful that would buy me time. Nope. She asked when the long e-mail was coming. :-(

    Maybe I should send it in bite sized pieces and serialize like a they used to do back in the day with novellas and short stories.

  3. I read this and thought, "Uh oh. I just wrote him the world's longest email. Oops! Now I'll never hear from again!" LOL! If I don't hear from you, I'll know why. Or it could be that I'll be stuck in the boondocks on the farm. :-)

    Seriously, I'm a a combo of you and @Christy. Most of the time I'm an avoider, but sometimes I'm a promiser. A lot of times it's just too much! It's why I don't give my phone number to anyone. I can at least cut that piece of tech out. But the online stuff does sometimes overwhelm me when it's people I don't want to respond to.

    I have a very small group of people, and you're one of them, that I actually enjoy corresponding with on a regular basis. Then I have a big group who want to correspond with me that I just wish would forget I exist. This tech communication stuff is tough.

  4. I've said this to you before. You don't have to respond to my novel length email with one of equal length. There's nothing wrong with a short one - even a really short one.

  5. Steven, you and I are two peas in a pod! I was nodding the entire time reading this! But let me tell you sumpthin buddy, just cause you got yerself this here blog means nuthin....You best not fergit who yer true friendes are! Ignore me and I'll slaughter my grammer in endless emails! (With no punctuation) I know you will try to read them too! (Even IF you dont reply!) Ya know how I know that? DUH!!! Because we're two peas in a pod...I already told you that silly!
    :::Anita, skipping off to become one with her couch and TV!::::

  6. I'm right there with you, man. I've been cutting back on the number of folks I'm in contact with over the last several months, thanks to your blog. Drainers.

    But I'm like you. I kind of ignore them lately until, well, I just have to contact them and then it's usually short. And my phone calls or emails to them get shorter and shorter until they finally get the hint and stop contacting me. My wife is happier I have fewer people bugging me all the time.

    I'm talking about the border people I didn't really know all that well anyway. Not my real friends.

    @Christy sometimes I'm a promiser too. I'm guilty of that with friends. I mean well, but...

  7. LMAO @Anita! You do indeed know how to torture him! ;-)

  8. @Christy...I try to torture him at least once a month...But what are friends for? LOL You have to send me a link to your blog...I love you, dahling! (I torture Steven with my German and Hungarian accents too!) But you know, I think he secretly likes that! haha...We are talking about him on his own blog! Is that politcally incorrect? Eh...So what! LOL ::::waves at Steven::: Hi buddy!!! :::innocent smile::::

  9. @Anita: German and Hungarian - that 'splains a lot! LOL!

    @Goose: Good to see you, buddy! ;-) I also like the "border people" thing. I've been culling those folks that I call 'fringe friends' - people that are more interesting in talking TO me rather than WITH me. Kinda liberating...

    @Hooka: Keep the novels coming, dude! I may be a little slow on the uptake, but I love reading em.

  10. Something else I thought about after I published this post. What I think has been maybe an unforeseen (at least by me) side-effect of all this new communication tech is the immediacy that it's created.

    Back in the day, you'd call someone and leave a message on their answering machine. You were always pretty sure they got the message even if they didn't call you back right away. If you mailed someone a letter, they had weeks to acknowledge it. Now people seem to expect an immediate response to everything. I mean IM stands for "instant messaging" for cryin' out loud! Suddenly we're supposed to drop everything and reply right away, regardless of what we might be in the middle of.

    I'm with @Hooka; I've been giving out my phone number far less frequently. And drainers that already have it are getting fewer and fewer callbacks, a la @Grey Goose. My circle of Preferred Peeps has gotten a LOT smaller. It's not snobby, I'm just being a bit more discriminating. (Funny - none of the drainers in my life have commented on this posting. Maybe they...know! LOL!)

  11. My Dad was constantly on the phone when I was a child, and if I dared make any noise while he was talking, he'd do this rude finger snapping thing at me. Eventually, I grew to hate the sound of the phone ringing, and really loathe it now.

    I set communication boundaries when I got married. I don't do phone calls - almost ever. The only people I talk to regularly are my dad and my brother, and two or three times a year, my two best girlfriends. Those who do call know to call me at work, when I'm usually bored out of my mind and more receptive to phone calls. Once I am at home, spending quality time with my spouse, I don't like to answer the phone. Woe to the telemarketer who dares interrupt my at-home time!

    Honestly, I feel that some people talk just to hear their own voice. I don't need to gossip or to listen to other peoples' problems. I spent the first 30-odd years of my life doing that, and there's no reason to do that ever again. (Unless, of course, it's a dire emergency and I am a necessary piece of the puzzle.) Most things that need to be said can be done via e-mail, which I feel is a more effective means of communication.

    That's probably why we haven't spoken in 23 years. I hate the phone. Nothing personal. :)

  12. @theminx: twentythreeyearsandcounting...;-)

  13. @Steven64: you should use this as on your voice mail, answering machine,etc..."You have reached the number that you have dialed, but I have made some changes in my life. Leave a message and if I dont call you back then your one of them."

  14. @Terry: LMAO! As long as they knew who/what 'them' was, it just might work.

  15. @Steven & Christy: when is your big vacation get together? Isn't supposed to be in April sometime?

  16. @Amanda:
    Sorry it took long for me to get back to you. A health issue came up and @Christy and I had to postpone our visit. :-( I won't go into any details on here, but all should be well eventually. Thank you for asking about it though. :-)

  17. @Steven64 & @Christy: Sorry to hear that you had to postpone your visit. Hope all is well soon and that you will be able to visit soon.

  18. @Steven I just read @Christy's blog! OMG! I'm really sorry you didn't get to see each other (there will be time in the future), but I'm so very happy she didn't get on that plane and is still alive! You must have been so scared when you heard! I wanted to let you know I'm thinking about you both. I left a comment on her blog too.

  19. Read your email and update me, dude! LOL!

  20. Hold the phone! Sudden dawning realization. I'm in the category of, "I'll just ignore him until he goes away." That's what happens when one goes to the boonies for too long. Now you'll have to pay money to read my kickass ghost story! LOL! :-)

  21. Wait! What happened to @Christy? My life has been super busy so I haven't been on in a while, but I'm seeing odd comments, and she hasn't been on since April 10. What's going on @Steven?

    I like the post! :-)

  22. Shay: Go over to @Christy's blog and get caught up!

  23. Thanks @Amanda! Going there now.

  24. I read and commented on @Christy's blog, but I just realized @Steven isn't responding to comments. Is he OK? Last comment was 9 days ago.

  25. @Shay

    sometimes real life leads you not to be "in the real mood" for online-things, I guess he is ok, I presume he is just busy with other things and maybe needs a little bgreak after having been online quite intensly :)

  26. Thanks @sorei. You're probably right. I had minute of panic, after reading what happened to @Christy. Don't know why I thought something might have happened to him too. Have to be sure my favorite couple is doing alright. :-)

  27. @Shay

    I understand. If you like, get a re-assuring hug from me, I guess both will be back soon.
    Well ok, soon might be defined differently by people.
    But anyway, you know what I mean :D

  28. Thanks for the hug @sorei! :-)

  29. @Shay, we'll both be back soon, never fear, my friend. :-) We've just had a lot to deal with lately, but all is well. @Steven has been wonderful through all of this.

    @Amanda, thanks for pointing @Shay to my blog so she knew what was going on. I appreciate it. :-)

    @sorei, hugs to you! :-)

    @Hooka, I responded to you, so I expect to get to read your ghost story for free. ;-)

  30. @Christy I'm really happy to see you on here and know everything is OK! I can disappear for a couple of weeks, but you two can't. LOL! Just kidding. :-)

  31. @Steven we wanted to let you know we're thinking about you and @Christy. :-)

  32. Secretary of Defense, I demand, request, plead you check in and give our troops a pep talk..LOL!! come on where are you?? Yes @Christy said you have been dealing with a lot but we need an update.

    Sincerely...Secretary of Defense

  33. I'm with @Amanda. We need an update from you pronto. You've kind of disappeared off the face of the earth, and it's becoming strange. If you didn't post comments regularly, wouldn't be so bad, but you usually respond to people, so something's wonky.

    I went to @Christy's blog and read what happened to her. It seems strange to me that she's the one dealing daily with this heavy life threatening thing, but she's responding to people and reassuring them on her blog, even telling people that you're there for her. Then she came over here and posted something and tried to reassure @Shay, but it wasn't the same as something coming from you. It was good to see her back on here, but it wasn't the same.

    I've browsed her blog the past few nights and you've been a regular over there, just like she has been here. In fact, you almost seem to moderate each other's blogs at times, which is cool, but you're MIA over there too. You're not posting on her blog anymore either. I'm surprised someone over there hasn't mentioned it, since you seem to have fans there (based on past postings of hers and comments from people).

    And dude, man to man, I hope you really are still there for @Christy in real life right now like she says you have been. Because if you're not, well, that's really, I think you know what I want to say. I have a friend who has been through what she's going through and it can be a tough road, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally. Now is when she really would need you there for her as support. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

    So give us an update. Let us know what's going on. Be honest. We're your audience and we come here because we enjoy reading your posts, but we also like interacting with you.

    @Amanda thanks for speaking up. I wanted to post something last night, but held off.

  34. @Night Owl thank you! I think you said everything I was thinking. I started out on @Christy's blog and became a big fan of @Steven. I'm wondering what is going on. I'm hoping he's really there for her in real life and maybe that's why he's not here as much, but that doesn't explain why she's still posting. Weird.

    @Steven we need and update about you and @Christy and what is really going on. Please. As a courtesy to those of us who follow your blog and your comments.


  35. I think everyone knows, I'd like to hear from @Steven too. :-) What's going on, let's hear it from him directly please. Kind of still worried about my favorite couple.

  36. @Shay

    I know this kind of "impatience", it is very understandable.
    (And this is not meant offensice in any way)

    I am sure you know both well enough to somewhere inside of you KNOW we will hear from both soon.
    Time passes differently over here and in the real world, somehow, in my experience.

    Sometimes interactions in real life do not continue either, are put on a sort of "pause" due to more important issues.
    That's when friends need their loving patience :-))

    @Night Owl

    we have a sort of update with Christy's blog.
    And really, I see no reason to doubt Christys words?
    Let's take her words as truthful and respect them as it is, ok?

    My mother has problems with exactly that, too, she has been through more than one episode.
    So we both know that it is something that just might lead to having little interest in updating a blog. I have experienced both as very kind and respectful people, so if they do not update as often as we might wish, I guess we better keep in mind that they have reason to, because they are occupied (which does not mean catastrophically occupied), and they will do so as soon as they can.
    They will be back :-)

    Please. Worries like that are a symbol of your sympathy, BUT on the other hand it puts both under pressure as well, which, I am sure, is something we do not want to do!

  37. @All:
    I'm here! I'm here! I'm here!

    I apologize for being absentee for the last couple of weeks. As most of you know by now, Christy (no @, just Christy) went through a really bad scare right before she was supposed to get on a plane and come down to see me. Obviously that was a tough week. But we made it through it. I say "we", but it was really Christy that kicked ass. I just Skyped with her and did a lot of hand-wringing with her mom. (FYI - Skyping from a hospital room is a trip! Got to "meet" a bunch of nurses.)

    I ended up getting...something that hit me Sunday and had me down and out until, basically, today. @Sorei was right - I just didn't have the energy to be online much over the last few days, not even email. But I'm feeling much betterer now.

    And Christy and I are better than ever. From what I've read and heard from folks, this kind of thing can tear a couple apart. But it had the opposite effect on Christy and I: we're stronger than ever. (Although she's been pretty bummed that I haven't been able to Skype with her much lately.)

    I appreciate everything you guys have said. Really. It means a lot that you all cared enough to wonder about me and worry about Christy, both individually and as a couple.

    When I'm feeling 100% again, I hope to update my blog with a new post. In the meantime, I just want to thank you for hanging in there with me and us. Your words of concern and encouragement have been, well, amazing.

    ~El Presidente ;-)

  38. @Steven thank you for the update! And thanks to @sorei for kind of being the voice of reason among us. LOL! I am very happy to hear everything is OK and you and @Christy are better than ever. Sorry you've been sick though.

  39. Thanks for giving us an update. I'm sorry you've been sick and very sorry about what Christy has been through, but I'm glad you've come through it all stronger as a couple. It's good to have you back! :-)

  40. Very nice update, baby! :-)

    Steven is right, we're actually better and stronger together for this. Weird how things work.

    For those who noticed I've been commenting more the past few days on my blog, I've felt very grateful for all the well wishes and wanted to thank everyone as they posted. I'm still healing and dealing, believe me. Tonight I came home, sat down on my couch, and fell instantly asleep for 1 1/2 hours with my coat still on (yep, it's still cold here, and yes, I was that exhausted).

    It's a process, but Steven has truly been wonderful, and is with me every step of the way. Even though he's been ill, he's reminded me often to keep doing things I'm supposed to for my health. I couldn't ask for a better man in my life.

  41. @Steven...sorry to hear that you were sick, its sucks to be under the weather..that flu/cold crap has been going around and you are right, it knocks you down and kicks you around. Glad you are getting better. As you can see you have a lot of bloggers that care for you and shared a small part of your lives and we got sucked in :-).

    Christy, glad you are doing better, but when you fall asleep with your coat on...your body is telling you are doing too much, slow down!!

    Until next the post..I remain Secretary of Defense.

  42. @Christy I think you need to listen to the Secretary of Defense. Your body is telling you to rest and let it heal. She's also right that we care for you and @Steven. :-)

  43. Oh my! I missed a whole lot! I've been so busy I haven't checked the blogs in a good long while! My next stop is @Christy's.

    @Steven I'm sorry you haven't been feeling well. Sounds like you're better now, and I hope you're completely healthy soon.

    Now, why didn't anyone miss me? I am the historian, after all. LOL! ;-)

  44. @Betty Lou...Welcome back!!

  45. @Amanda and @Shay, I know you're right. When everyone at work began telling me I should go home and I felt completely exhausted, I should have listened. I will next time. Today I woke up feeling so much better.

    @Betty Lou, Steven and I missed you! We were just talking about you last night in fact.

    Ms. Secretary of Defense, thanks for keeping everything inline! We really appreciate it. :-)

  46. @Amanda/SecDef: Girl, you outdid yourself with that last comment. I don't know exactly what it was about it, but it was really nice. :-)

    And yeah, whatever it was I was down with really sucked. But I'm feeling much better now, so I can beat up on Christy about her meds, rest, blah, blah, blah. (It's actually kinda fun telling her what to do when it's life and death. LOL!)
    Sincerely, El Presidente

    @Sarah: Hey stranger! Nice to see you again. Ya missed a lot over the last couple weeks, but we're getting back to...well, normal(?) LOL!

    @Shay: You just rock. ;-)

    @Betty Lou: Ditto to what @Christy said! Nice to see you, Madame Secretary. Hopefully you're caught up in case someone needs a synopsis of current events around here! ;-)

  47. @sorei: I just wanted to thank you for the things you said while I was "away". I couldn't have said it any better, even if I'd had the energy. You rock too, my friend. :-)

  48. @Steven it's good to have you back. Sorry you were sick. Kind of a suck time for it to happen, but it happens. Good to know you and @Christy are there for each other still and everything is still cool. Feel better both of you soon.

  49. Wow, I love the new look on the blog!!

  50. @Amanda: Thanks, darlin'! @Christy and @Hooka had recent facelifts, so I figured what the hell. LOL! Glad you like it. :-)

  51. @Steven64 take this for what's it's worth, it's only my opinion.

    I hope you've read my comment in "Knock 'Em Dead" first. If not, please read it to know about my history.

    That said, I have to tell you that I think you should evaluate who is actually important to you in your life. Is it your family? Is it Christy? Is it a few close friends? These are the people you should always, always maintain contact with, even when you don't feel like it. They are the important ones and deserve your attention because you never know when they might be taken from you.

    All others should go. All those people on the edge who take up your time and aren't really, honestly important to you. If they don't hold a place in your heart, then who cares if you call them back or email them? Get rid of them.

    Because the more time you spend trying to make these edge people happy by staying in touch with them, the less time you have for the people who actually matter in your life. You never want to put off someone who is important in your life because you've spent all your energy or time on someone who isn't important.

    I say this to you as someone who put edge people ahead of her husband. And now it's too late to do anything about it. There were times he wanted to talk to me and I was busy listening to the problems of someone who didn't really matter all that much in my life. But I didn't want the person to think I was a bad person. I wanted to be the good girl. The problem was that I neglected the most important person in my life because of it. I'll never do that again.

    I've learned a lot of hard life lessons the past year because of my husband's death. I hope others can learn from me.

    Blessings to you.

  52. @Caroline thank you for sharing. I don't know if @Steven will get anything out of your comment but I did. Thank you. Blessings to you. :-)

  53. I'm resorting to reading your old posts because you aren't posting anything new. In fact, you aren't commenting either. Where the heck is everybody? Hey! @Steven! Where are you and @Christy? Are you two married and honeymooning or something? LOL! :)

    Post something new before April 13 and I'll be a happy girl.

    1. LMAO! It's nice to have someone jonesing for new stuff on here! I'll see what I can come up with in a pinch, but I'm...skeptical. Oh, the pressure! lol!

      Oh, and no, we're not married and honeymooning. Yet. ;-)