The 24-hour self-imposed challenge TO NOT COMPLAIN ended almost two hours ago. I couldn’t make it to the computer on time (not complaining, mind you) because we were having a family dinner and the dessert was incredible donuts, cannolis and cake from my Cousin Ronnie’s bakery, PITMAN BAKERY. Just couldn’t leave the table! No complaints about those cream donuts.
Last night I tried to decide what kind of complaining would count against me in the challenge. What a pain in the neck! I concluded that I should complain about war, injustice, poverty, racism, homelessness, illiteracy and daytime TV. However, I couldn’t complain anything about people, chores, inconvenience, aches and pains and noise.
Before I went to sleep, I found myself trying to stamp out seven complaining thoughts about all sorts of silly things–jury duty in September, noisy neighbors, cleaning the basement, heartburn, backache, laundry to do and crickets.
This morning on our daily walk, I complained eleven times to my husband about the trees that were cut down in Von Neida Park for the renovation. I tried to stop myself, but the stumps and remainders of beautiful trees made me froth, not just complain. My husband feels that a renovation that will cost millions must bring about an improved park. I shut up and I knew that I was going to fail the challenge if I kept it up.
Then, I came home and ordered Happy Birthday flowers for a favorite aunt, Aunt Lucy Wunsch, age 94, and got excited thinking about how surprised she would be. It was a bit of an extravagance, but I was not complaining because I was so happy picturing her face when the florist delivery person came to the door. I kept trying to check the status of the delivery on-line and it kept saying that I had the wrong order number. The order number that was on the confirmation e-mail was wrong? I started complaining to myself. About five times. Frothing again. Some inconveniences just beg for complaints.
I tried calling the flower company’s toll-free number. Three times. Each time I reached a recording that told me that due to unusually high rate of calls that I would have a ten to fifteen minute wait or longer. Longer? I complained to myself three times and I planned to complain to the company, but I never reached a live person. I mentally composed a customer complaint e-mail.
My husband came home with the groceries. I appreciated that he did that and I did not complain that the lettuce and tomatoes were not in the bags. To give myself some points to negate the bad points, I thanked him and I said that it didn’t matter. I hugged him instead of complaining about having to change the menu a little bit.. I felt the heat from brilliant light from my halo warm me.
Then, my aunt called and the flowers arrived just minutes after she returned from a birthday lunch.. Indeed, she was pleased and surprised when the flowers arrived. Hearing her cheerful and loving voice made me so happy. We promised to get together soon. I canceled the mental customer complaint e-mail to the flower company.
My mom and my brothers came over and we had a good time. Not a chance to complain.
Finally, they left, I did the dishes and rushed to do my blog.
The results? I failed the challenge because I couldn’t stop myself sometimes. I couldn’t do a 24-hour no complaint timeframe. However, I did complain less and I became much more conscious about complaining. I can’t complain about the experience.
Written by Marguerite Ferra, Cramer Hill, who will enjoy complaining now that the 24 hours are up…. No one noticed my improvement, anyway!