Category Archives: Betrayal

Only Child leans toward being wary

Only Child contemplates the trust issue

Only Child contemplates the trust issue

The wariness/trust issue took a different turn this weekend. I need to rethink my attitude here because guess what? I got betrayed.

For the winter I had hired someone to shovel the snow when more than just a few centimetres landed. Last Thursday evening into Friday, Toronto and other southern Ontario regions got blasted with a blizzard – 30 centimetres plus of snow. The fellow who was supposed to shovel the snow showed up twice to do it and afterwards made two points of knocking on my door promising to finish the rest – first he was going to shovel first thing the next morning. Of course he didn’t. He showed up early afternoon and said he would be back after lunch to do it and for me to just leave it for him to do – he’d be back in a couple of hours. He also made a point of all the seniors he shovelled snow for and that he couldn’t let them down.

If I’d have waited, I’d still be waiting. After five hours I went out there and hacked away at the snow still in the driveway, sidewalk and by two sides of the house. Sunday I was out there trying to remove the pile-up left at the end of the driveway (the sidewalk plough had removed some overnight) and the snow (layer by layer) over the two cache basins (but not the road spanning out from them). Then I went inside and phoned the 311 number for the City of Toronto and complained about the snow plough dumping the snow over the cache basins.

As for my “trusty” snow shoveller, because I prepaid for some of the weekend’s shovelling (I know; shouldn’t do this) he owes me at least half price for another snow shovelling job. Forecast is for a fair bit of snow here in a week. If he shows up I’ll get my half price deal and then I’m going to fire him with a lecture.

I also now know where he lives so am debating whether to bang on his door.

In the “good old days” when I was a child (back in the grey ages), my dad shovelled the snow and after he died Mom did the job until we moved into an apartment. As most of you know, I’m an “only person” here, so those two words are my key.

People have to earn my trust. Some close family and friends have, but some friends have messed up the trust issue as I’ve blogged before. Some clients also can be trusted. But for others – I will put on my journalism hat and be wary.

Unfortunately, as my late mother-in-law used to say, “that is the way of the world.”

On a lighter note, I will be taking my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012) to the Runnymede Branch of the Toronto Public Library this evening to do a presentation and reading featuring my eccentric characters and quirky plots. At least here I have some control over what happens – the ones doing wrong get their just desserts in some way. For those in the Toronto area, my reading presentation starts      at 6.30 p.m. and the address is 2178 Bloor St. West, Toronto. More info on my Beyond the Tripping Point web page http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

And you can see and hear me read one of these stories, “The Body in the Trunk” at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgOKYgBfAwY&feature=youtu.be

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under Aloneness, Betrayal, Beyond the Tripping Point, Friends, Learning Experience, Life learning, Living alone, Mom and Dad, Only child, Sharon A. Crawford, Snow Removal, Trust

Only Child on betrayal, trust and irresponsibility

Only Child holds copy of her debut short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point

The more I go through life the more I find my level of trust goes down. Sometimes it’s the people closest to you who let you down. I had another dose of this in several forms this week connected to the launch of my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point. Right now I’d like to insert that the hit did not come from a family member – they were great – 10 of them came to my book launch. (If you want more info on how the book launch went, stay tuned for this Thursday’s blog post on my other blog connected to Beyond the Tripping Point and fiction writing at http://www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com

You’d think I’d know better by now considering what happened with my Dad’s cancer when I was 10. Here’s a brief excerpt from my memoir (yes, still looking for an agent or a publisher directly for it):

...bad news spreads like locusts, especially inaccurate stories told to me by my mother and which comfort me, only to be crushed by the Bully. Soon after Dad returns home and to work, the Bully chases me out of the schoolyard.

“Your Dad has cancer.” She taunts me between huffs and puffs. She waddles onto the sidewalk and tries to catch up to me.

“No, it was TB. You’re lying.” I glance at her over my shoulder, then my feet pick up the pace.

“Nah, your parents lied. My Mom said your Dad has cancer.”

She’s lying. She’s got to be lying. She seems closer to my back, so I detour into Holy Cross Church for solace.

“My mother said it was TB. My mother doesn’t lie. Please God.” I kneel on the wood-hard kneelers and hang onto the pew in front of me. “Please God. He had TB. My mother said so.”

My pleading does not carve consolation into my heart. Instead, betrayal is born, and it grows up as offshoots that make no sense to anyone at the time. (Excerpted from You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2012 Sharon A. Crawford)

The betrayal/letdown, etc. from friends does not hit the above scale, but it still hurts. As expected, there were a few people invited to the book launch who said they would come and didn’t. Some had very legitimate reasons that came up, one very sad, with a death in the family. I can only sympathize with her and the friends who were sick. But some of the excuses, not reasons, I can only shake my head at. One got invited out to lunch with her son –well, why not just bring him to the launch after lunch? Especially as another friend and writing colleague came all the way down from Sudbury and brought his daughter, her boyfriend and her friend (those three are in Toronto). The more the merrier.

Then there is the betrayal for want of a better word. An insert here. I like to help my friends and had arranged for some car pooling between two of them, and talked to both about it and thought everything was clear. Not according to the driver. She phoned on launch day and chided me, saying I should have told her. I had, but apologized for any misunderstanding. They did go together to the book launch. But the phone call drove me over my tripping point; I was in shock, and went through the launch on automatic pilot. Sure, the launch went okay, but a few things I would have done differently if I had been 100 per cent present.

Overnight my shock changed to anger, not at her phoning – misunderstandings happen. It was the timing of her phone call. She should have waited until the next day.

I learned another lesson. Someone once said that you come into this world alone and exit it alone.

Looks like you also go through it alone.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

2 Comments

Filed under Aloneness, Anger, Betrayal, Beyond the Tripping Point, Book launch, Family and Friends, Life learning, Memoir content, Only child memoir, Sharon A. Crawford, Trust

Only Child posts early because of Hurricane Sandy

Some of Only Child’s patio furniture put away for protection from Hurricane Sandy

Hurricane Sandy is due to hit southern and eastern Ontario  early this evening. By then it is supposed to be downgraded to a tropical storm. Tropical or hurricane it is still nasty. So, who knows if we’ll have power or Internet service, etc. then and overnight? So, I hope you’ll forgive me for posting one day early.

The last hurricane in the Toronto, Ontario, Canada area was Hurricane Hazel in 1954, also in October. I was too little to remember much of that. I do remember lying in my bed and hearing rain pounding outside. My Mom also said that we were lucky and didn’t get any flooding in our basement because our house was up on a hill. A lot of the flooding was on low-lying lands in the Don Valley and Humber River areas. After that, the physical structure – sewers and dams, and the like – were changed to help protect against strong storms such as hurricanes. We shall see if they work with Sandy and also if my Mom’s pronouncement is true today. My house is up on high ground.

But there are other problems. I’ve diligently moved all patio furniture into the tool shed or indoors and any remaining potted plants and even Halloween decorations, indoors. I’m hoping to move the Halloween stuff back out and  the mum and pansies too. I’ve also barricaded the recycling bin (which despite its size tends to get blown around in high winds) with heavy bins filled with the branches of pruned plants and leaves. And put bricks on them.

The leaves still in the eavestrough worry me. I do have a gutter protection in them and the protection is supposed to catch the leaves and let the water go down the downspouts or catch the leaves until the wind blows them away. There will be lots of heavy winds but will it blow them onto the ground or into the downspouts?

I blame my handyman for this. These walnut trees  require up to three cleanings each fall. In a previous post I blogged about this handyman cancelling one eavestrough cleaning (the second one); he came later for this). Friday, with the leaves about all off the trees (except for five or six branches which the wind would and has taken care of) I booked him for yesterday to do the final cleaning. You guessed it – he didn’t show. When I phoned him, to ask if he could come a half hour early as it had stopped raining, he said he couldn’t come because he was working (he is an apartment superintendent), and “sorry.”

“Sorry” doesn’t cut it. I’ve done or had done all I can do. Last year, a masonry expert dug the area by one side of the house, sealed and tarped the cement below ground; this year the grading for that was done. The other side and back of the house was re-graded three years ago. And the previous owners had more sealing (the back) done with weeping tiles put in.

Thanks to this handyman, this morning I stood on a chair with a rake and a broom (not at the same time) hacking at the leaves and branches. Some came down. Getting right up close would have been better for removal. However, I suffer from vertigo, so on a ladder beyond about four feet I get dizzy and panic.

If I get basement flooding or any other problems coming from the eavestroughs, this handyman will discover the true meaning of the word “sorry.” Some of you may wonder why I don’t get someone else to do small to medium house repairs. My answer is “Who?” This fellow, when he shows up, does a good job and charges me very little. Come next year, I may look into finding someone else. But again, cost will be a big factor.

And to make it more worrying I am slated to do a TV appearance tomorrow (podcast  Internet TV station)  around noon to promote my new book – my debut collection of mystery short stories Beyond the Tripping Point. The TV appearance per se doesn’t scare me – I’m just worried about getting there. It’s in downtown Toronto but will I be able to get out the door here? Will  public transit be running or held up because of flooding, etc.? Will I be able to walk to the bus stop and from where I get off either a bus or subway outside to the TV studio? Will there be disaster in my home and on my property I’m leaving behind? What about power outages and other utility outages? Over the weekend I stocked up on batteries, water and food that doesn’t need refrigeration. I have flashlights and candles and an old transistor radio (anyone remember them?) run on batteries and a ghetto blaster with battery option. But I don’t do power outages well or basement floods or downed trees, etc. well.

I also consider being an only person with no partner a big factor here. Not going into a rant, just stating it.

I may post again later this week. Meanwhile for more information about my book go to my other blog http://www.sharonacrawfordauthor.com. My big book launch is this Sunday, November 4, 2 p.m. (eastern standard time) at The Rivoli in Toronto. Those in the area are welcome to come. Details at my publisher’s website http://www.bluedenimpress.com – click on “Toronto.”

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Betrayal, CDs

Only Child learns (again) seeing is believing

Only Child does another contemplation session on trust versus seeing is believing

When will I ever learn? Last Thursday I had yet another broken promise shoved at me. I phoned the handyman I’ve been hiring for five years to confirm the time for when he was coming on Saturday. He couldn’t make it because he was working at his regular job. (He is an apartment building superintendent). Why didn’t he factor this in when we originally made the appointment? Now we’re fiddling around with maybe this coming Saturday, which is also Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. And besides weather issues (most of the repairs are outside) we now have family (mine) get-togethers to consider.

I should know better by now than to take things for granted, something I thought I learned when my father was diagnosed with lung cancer when I was nine and a half years and my mother lied about what was wrong with him. She told me he had TB. I found out the truth from my best friend, The Bully, at school.

Over the years I’ve stumbled over trust issues and through ups and downs have learned that there is very little you can trust. For some reason I seem to have more trust in my business (writing, editing and teaching writing) than in my personal life. In the latter there are a small number of family members, friends and acquaintances I can trust, some up to a point. Clearly, this handyman isn’t one of them – at least for keeping appointments. The quality of his work is good and so are his prices. Those are two reasons I don’t want to go through the hassle of finding another handyman (or woman for that matter). If I could do the work myself I would. Some jobs I can’t do either because I don’t know how, don’t have the physical strength or have vertigo (if I have to go higher than five feet up, I get dizzy and freeze). The handyman has no qualms about going up to roof level to clean out eavestroughs – I’ve even found him sitting on the roof talking on his cell.

It seems that in many instances where I took for granted and trusted that all would be well, all was definitely not well. (The air conditioner going on the fritz when I was on vacation is one example.) And I do put it out there (God, the universe, whatever you believe in) that I need help with this, I need such and such. Some of it is small stuff and at the end of the day it probably doesn’t matter whether I get what I ask for or not. It’s the big stuff that gets ignored that bothers me. I find I have to shout to be heard. So much for ask and you shall receive. And if that is an ex-Catholic talking, so be it.

What’s the solution? Live each day on its own? I’ve tried that but the immediate future creeps in, especially when I’m dealing with a troubling situation.  For the last few years I’ve stopped planning more than a few months ahead. When someone asks “Where would you like to be in five, ten years?” I want to shout “Why plan that far ahead; I might be dead by then.”

So, I will continue to be watchful, at least, with what is happening. And in most instances business as usual will be “when I see it I will believe it.”

What says you? How do you handle the uncertainty of the future?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes

2 Comments

Filed under Believing, Betrayal, Family and Friends, Life demands, Problems, Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child learns lesson from clogged drain

Only Child sits and ponders

Today may be Valentine’s Day but some of us chug and churn along alone in both work and our personal lives. I call it the “only person syndrome.” Never more did this hit home to me until my kitchen drain clogged Sunday evening. But I learned something from the experience, something I knew in my heart before, as well as something I intend to apply in a couple of ways in both personal and business life.

Sunday evening I was (and still am, at least the side effects of the medication) getting over a bout with the flu so a clogged drain was one of the last things I needed. When this happened to my late Mom and Dad, they knew what to do. As I write in my memoir:

When it came to getting things done around the house, if Mom and Dad couldn’t do it themselves, they turned to friends and colleagues. Dad worked as a timekeeper for Canadian National Railway and somewhere in the bowels of Union Station, he met up with Ken, the singing plumber. When house pipes burst, Ken arrived, and after he fixed the offending plumbing device, he let his pipes loose – he sang opera, loud, gregarious, but not to the height of breaking the glass top of the door between the living room and front hall.

(Excerpted from the memoir You Can Go Home – Deconstructing the Demons, copyright 2011 Sharon Crawford)

However, I don’t have a “Ken” in my life. So I turned to my neighbour friends who do this type of work. No help from these neighbours who I had thought were my friends; we help each other out… or so I thought.

One exception here. One of my neighbours was sick and so he was immediately forgiven and I wished him a speedy recovery. One of the other neighbours refused to  help with excuses of what he was going to be too busy doing the next day and evening (I had specifically said I didn’t expect anyone to come over late on a Sunday evening). He proceeded to give me a long list of suggestions plus he said he didn’t know anything about such a situation. I know the latter isn’t true and from what I saw yesterday I have my doubts about some of the excuses. As much as it would have hurt, I would prefer he had said he didn’t want to help me with this. Monday morning I called my some-of-the time handyman, and bless his heart, he came over within a few hours and cleared the sucker. His fee was reasonable and he gave me a three-month warranty.

So, what is the lesson? How can I apply it in my personal and business life?

The lesson is two-fold. The bottom line is we have to trust ourselves to fix things in our lives and not really depend on others. I don’t mean we have to learn all trades and be all things. But when push comes to shove, we need to be careful whom we ask for help. Friends may not be the best answer (and really from previous experiences with another friend, I should’ve known this) so consider other options – from other professionals to ourselves.

Of course (and I have to stick this in) it helps if we have a partner, a significant other, even a sibling, who we can rely on at least for support, and sometimes help. Those of us living the “only person syndrome” can’t. However, we have another option…find someone else on our radar who is in a similar situation and offer that person support and ask for his or hers and I don’t mean running over to fix the plumbing. A buddy-type support, whether by phone or email or maybe sometimes in person when the going gets rough on one person’s side. The situation will switch and both individuals will have a chance to listen or lean on the other.

In these tough economic times, especially for us self-employed, this can often be the tipping point that gets someone moving in a positive direction – a job lead, a step out of the miasma of hopelessness and maybe a good laugh or two. It’s worth a try and I’m going to do this as soon as these medication side effects ease off (not drowsiness or anything with the brain working, for anyone wondering). I have someone in mind on the professional level.

Comments?

Next week I want to go into how laughter can help our health and well-being.

Cheers.

Sharon Crawford

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Aloneness, Betrayal, Family, Friends, Help and Support, Learning Experience, Only child, Only child memoir, Plumbing, Trust

Only Child views trust and water

Only Child's house almost smack against the neighbour's.

The washing machine fiasco got solved on Friday – the repair guy replaced the part, gave me the seniors’ discount and I even had enough money to pay by cheque. But that’s not the end of  house-related grief.

Most people get bad things happening in threes. I’m “blessed” with the onslaught of four. This time it was water leaking again – but from outside the house into my rec room overnight Sunday. Not a heck of a lot but enough to scare me and anger me. Why? Because there have been basement floods before, including the big one in November 2005. But I’ve had all the necessary work done since then – inside and outside – to prevent floods in the basement – including some digging, grading, caulking, patio slab slanting, etc. June 2008 on that side of the house. Until last night it worked – that side of the house did not leak in water – until Sunday night.

So much for trust that things will work out if you take the precautions and ask/pray that these disasters won’t happen again. I might as well be screaming against the cement wall where the leak occurred. And it’s not as if I didn’t check the floor every day- just in case. Of course I didn’t expect to see water.

Fortunately my friend and masonry expert came over after my frantic phone calls yesterday. He thinks it might be due to some of the caulking missing and the sheet of whatever (this is how much I don’t know about this) shrinking, a gap between the windowsill and the patio, and one patio slab under the window heaving so it slides towards the window. We hope. He will fix some of it this week and the caulking when it warms up to 10 degrees (that’s 50 degrees F). I do not want or need the big dig – big machines coming in and digging trenches . There is no room for that between my house and the house next door. Maybe deep digging by hand could be done.

When I was growing up in a bungalow very similar to the one I live in now, my parents had no water leaking in the house from outside. The closest to that I can remember is a leaky radiator in the newly-built rec room. The plumber, a friend of my dad, had put this second-hand sucker in, so he had to fix it. The difference here is my parents had each other (well for a time until Dad died of cancer; then my mother fell apart) to talk over these stressful situations. I have no one – not only am I an only child but I don’t have a life partner. And as I have mentioned in previous posts, I have a son who helps where he can, but he has his own life with his girlfriend – although they got an earful about the water situation over dinner last night when I took them out for their birthdays (his is Feb. 17; hers is today). Thanks to the leaky basement I thought I might have to postpone.

Which brings me back to this trust issue. No matter what I do, say, read, or am told, it boils down to this. From my experience in all areas (including health, finances, family deaths, family betrayals), life is a land-mine. I have to come prepared, and at the same time, I have to realize that any amount of preparation won’t keep the baddies at bay.

The basement leak was No. 4 – in this set of baddies anyway. However, I’m not looking forward to this coming weekend of mixed precipitation.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Leave a comment

Filed under Aloneness, Believing, Betrayal, Floods, Only child, Trust, Water

Only child looks at responsibility and integrity

Only Child's late mom who taught her honesty and integrity.

Lately I’ve been whacked by people’s irresponsibility. Friends, colleagues promise something and then back out without telling me or let me know way after the fact. For example, I just held my annual Open House Christmas Party – most of those I invited let me know if they were coming or not (those who kept silent either way are another story); a few had to cancel at the last minute due to illness and one because her flight got her back home too late – but they all called me. That is the courteous thing to do. But some  of those who promised to attend were no-shows. Okay, so you’re thinking, it’s only a party. True, but it makes me wonder if this is their usual modus operandi for everything. What does that say about them? Wouldn’t it be better to be honest here? What ever happened to honesty and integrity and common courtesy?

My late mother had an honesty and integrity code. I call it her Ten Rules of Honesty. Some of them were a bit weird but she sure taught me the importance of  having ethical and moral codes. The one that fits the closest for my current situation would be show your truth by your actions, or perhaps you show your truth by your actions or inactions.

Civility has taken a drastic nosedive the past 15, maybe 20 or even 25 years. I’m not referring to kids and teens here. The “culprits” (for want of a better word) in my situation are over 30, in some cases well over 30.  So, I can’t blame it on a generation-raising factor or a society gone lax in its attitude or outlook. In fact, one of the most polite children I know is my nearly-seven-year old neighbour next door. He is thoughtful (even brought flowers for me when he came to my party with his mom) and came up to me at the end to thank me for inviting him to my party. Even another friend noticed his politeness and acknowledged him for it.

So, maybe we (and I’ve been guilty a few times, too) “big people” need to step back from our over-busy world, take a deep breath, pull up our socks (or stockings or leotards) and try to be more considerate of others. Not RSVPing to a party may be minor in itself. But what if the situation were more serious – perhaps a business commitment or in the personal vein, promising to take your elderly parent to a doctor’s appointment and then not only not showing up but not bothering to call and tell him or her.

Are we turning into a bunch of uncivil uncaring louts? Maybe we need to not just get a life but get back the integrity  in our life.

For what it’s worth.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only child writes

1 Comment

Filed under Betrayal, Christmas, Civility, Consideration, Integrity, Life learning, Only child, Parenting, Responsibility