Sunday, May 06, 2007

Very funny

I joked. That was the problem. I joked. I should know better than to get cocky.

We took my parents out for lunch for my Dad's birthday, a yearly event that has, for the last two years, been followed by bad news. We decided to chance it this year, feeling pretty well prepared for bad news should it be announced on Tuesday.

All through lunch I got the distinct impression that my mom was sizing me up...making sure I was doing "ok." It wasn't unwelcome, but the mention of Alex or Travis makes me edgy lately. I can't help it. I know they have a place in everyone else's heart...but now, during this time, I don't feel like sharing them (or what I'm feeling about them). It's selfish...I know that.

So I smiled and told my plans for planting flowers at the cemetery (my mom brought a gorgeous flat of pansies to plant...now I just have to buy some more to go with them)...and then I changed the subject (I've become an expert at changing the subject).

We had a lovely day. My parents came back to the house with us and we played a rousing game of Chutes and Ladders. Grandpa won. Sam came in second. Grandma was declared the third place winner. And I was left back on square #11. I think they cheat.

When they left, I jokingly quipped to Steve, "Do you think I passed the 'Is she going to have a complete mental breakdown test?'"

Steve, being the loving husband he is, said, "Oh, honey, I'm sure she already knows you're going to have a complete mental breakdown...it's only a matter of time." Yeah, right, no steak AND verbal barbs...he'd better sleep with one eye open. :o)

I sat down to watch a mindless Hallmark movie.

And then the phone rang.

"Hi, this is K. I'm a Creative Memories consultant. I don't know if you remember, but we met at xyz craft show a while back. I know it's been a while since I've called, but I see your still on my email list and I wondered if you're still interested at all."

Now, a little background...
I met K when mom and I sold some stuff at a table at xyz craft show. Actually, I don't think we sold a thing that day. But Sam came for a visit and he was the hit of the auditorium. And my mom bought me a scrapbooking circle-maker from K as a present. Of course, because it is a catalog order, I had to give K my phone number...so she could contact me when my order came in (and bother me incessantly about future "parties"). The last time K sales-called me, I had to pass on her invitation to attend a crop because I was heavily pregnant with Alex (a fact I now know I never should have shared with her).

Back to today's fun phone call...

My verbal tap-dancing response was, "Well, you know, so many life things have gotten in the way, I guess I'm not really interested enough for it to be worth your time."

Not to be deterred, she said, "Oh, well I know you're busy. The last time we talked you were pregnant and I know you already had the one little one. So do you have two or do you have more by now?" She was laughing...implying that it had been so long since we had talked that it could be possible I would have three or four children.

I choked out, "Actually, I still only have the one."

Silence. Not just any silence. THAT silence. I told Steve I liken it to that moment after a person has stepped on a land mine...when they know it has been armed and they are processing the fact that it is all done but the blowing up into bits and pieces.

"Oh...I'm...sorry."

"That's ok."

So what does the consummate saleslady say? She stutters out this gem...
"Well...you know...sometimes just getting out...and working with photographs...is helpful for dealing...with...whatever is going on in life."

It was all I could do not to burst into tears while on the telephone.

After finishing the conversation with a, "Well, I appreciate your call. Goodbye," I realized I should have said, "Yes, but you see, I don't have photographs of my dead babies...or at least not enough to scrapbook."

Can you imagine? Me showing up at the crop at her house with photos of my dead babies? Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Yeah...so not one, but two crying jags later, I know not to get too cocky again.

14 comments:

Aurelia said...

Oh my.

Well, I think you passed. I would've been a screaming hysterical mess. I certainly couldn't have been polite to her. And I'm sure she meant well, y'know?

Julia said...

I think my retort would have been "really? Which one of your children did you get over by scrapbooking?" Either that, or burst into tears right on the phone and drop the receiver.
I do believe you passed.

Holley said...

oy.

Hugs.

Laura said...

First of all, I love the land mine analogy--that's perfect. Secondly, when I got to the part where she suggests that you scrapbook your hurt away, I said "Oh f***" under my breath. You have GOT to be kidding me. I have a neighbor down the street that does Creative Memories and she really wants me to come down and scrapbook Nate. Yeah, that's party material. I'd like to do it eventually, but when I'm ready and not at a scrapbook party, for christssake. Anyway, I think that you did great, Catherine. Honestly.


This might not be the right place for this, but I haven't gotten to say congrats, yet :) I'm really happy for you, my friend.

DD said...

That was painful to read. I can only imagine...

pipsylou said...

The thing that gets me is she was STILL trying to sell you on the party, even after you told her your baby died. Hmmm...interesting. They are very pushy.

miraclebaby said...

I would have been a wreck after that call. I'm never gutsy enough to say what I really think in situations like that, but I would be seething on the inside.

Athena said...

bravo my dear! you did well. my CM person never said a word to me about my Alex. I did scrapbook some of my pictures, I made picture books for the grandparents, it was very tiring for me, I haven't scraped in about a month. it didn't help really, just made me cry more...

Marcia said...

Just stopping by to say that you are very much in my thoughts and prayers tonight, Catherine, and will be tomorrow and the rest of the week, as well! I hope you truly can feel the love and support of all of the more than 60 people who commented on your "announcement" post!

delphi said...

Actually, I had to quit scrapbooking C's stuff because I was turning into a miserable, broken-hearted, evil, morose, teary ball of pain. But thanks for the great advice.

I will finish when I can. And I won't be doing it at a Creative Memories party. Heh. Party time. Have a canape with that?

Congrats on not tearing her head off (they never know when to quit at "I'm sorry" do they?).

Kendra's mom said...

I guess I am one of the "lucky" ones as I do have some really nice pictures of Kendra to use in my scrapbook/memory album. I must say I have felt it to be useful for me although I only do it for short bursts at a time else it is too much for me.

I think you handled it very well as I am sure she did not mean harm but just falls into the class of people who do not think.

I am thinking of you today (8th) and hope you are coping.

Cheek said...

IMHO, the problem is definitely not that you joked or got cocky - the problem is that this person on the phone could not see past her own agenda and know when to shut up. You handled it just fine.

Lisa said...

Catherine, I'm sorry you went through that! You know I only have 3 photos of Mariam, but I've started a scrapbook for her. I've found various things that I can do (such as one page for footprints, name in the sand, etc.) If you ever want to bounce around ideas, let me know.

I'm thinking of you and hope that you're holding up.

GLouise said...

What an awful awful call! Why can't people just let things go with "I'm Sorry."

Thinking of you this week,