Kristen Shanna, in the Flesh

The fact that I can sit and listen to all kinds of stories of trauma for hours on end...That I can experience heated escalations and be the grounded, stable force...I can perform like a three-ring circus amid trash talking, downright rude and arrogant teens and still walk away with a smile.  But if my husband doesn't answer my text within 5 minutes...or the tech guy on the line tells me it will "only" take a week to fix and return my computer to me, I suddenly down-grade to a raging toddler at the height of her frustration induced, puddles of tears, foot stomping, arms flailing tantrum.

Am I doomed to remain a complete and utter conundrum?!

This is humanity, my friends.  This is Kristen Shanna, in the flesh.  Genuiiiiine for real.  Sometimes, or ALWAYS, it just feels like a game of "How Much Before She Blows" but unlike Old Faithful, I am consistently UNpredicatable in how much I can take.

I have to give myself some kind of credit, though.  At least, in part, I think I should be able to blame this thing on the weather.  Good grief ALMIGHTY, I think we've officially had our fair share of winter around here...and it just so happens to be my LEAST favorite season, so...tryna hold it together under challenging circumstances in a less than ideal environment over here.  Can I get a little grace?  AMEN!

And speaking of challenging circumstances, I drove to Columbia this week.  I was scrambling all over from northwest Missouri to KC.  I had a 40 minute drive home from a school, and I was excited that I was actually getting to go straight home from work.  I closed my computer (to put it to sleep), stuffed it in my backpack, and bolted out the door.  (That was the day I got home in time to have a nice little sunshine-filled winter walk with Evan.)  Little did I know my computer was NOT asleep.  It got burning hot in the bag, and then it did all kinds of weird (bad word), including not letting me get past an error screen to log-in.

Inner me started to panic.  Counselor me reminded inner me that I am really quite good with technology, and I could probably get this thing fixed.  And the best solution I discovered was that a little reset (which promised me I would NOT lose files) was indeed the trick.  I went to sleep contented Thursday night with the knowledge that I could definitely get my email and Word docs working in the morning.  I have my own access codes to all the programs I need, due to my little web design hobby I had going on a few years ago.  Sooooo...

2 hours into my morning project, counselor me was not even able to get a word in, and I was all PANIC!  I managed to keep myself calm enough to search and dial the tech guy at MU, but his displeasure with the word "reset" got me all heated in a milli-instant.  And I'm pretty sure I scoffed when I told him, "I can NOT go an entire WEEK without my computer!"  (I'm also pretty sure he is NOT my biggest fan.)

So...I called my BOSS...on vacation... (I DIDN'T KNOW!), and started sobbing out the whole story.  He tried to reason with me, but boss hasn't seen Meltdown Kristen, and Meltdown Kristen is way beyond reason.  (Ummm, no boss...there is no substitute for my computer, and I am NOT entrusting my device to the mail!)

At this point, I realized the ONLY solution to my problem (after prayer) was to take the matter into my own hands.  I have noticed, over time, that other people do not tend to go to the over-the-top extent that I do to make sure my needs are met.  (And my needs can be VERY specific.)  Obviously, the only reasonable solution was to drive my little precious brain extension to the only place I was allowed to take it to be fixed.  Columbia, here I come.

I have grown used to long car trips.  It's kind of a thing.  So, I talked myself into an adventure mindset, while I scrambled around getting ready.  Fortunately, my mom was already planning to babysit, but when I told her about my impromptu drive to Columbia, she started anxious breathing and exasperated, "By yourSELF?!!"  😂  (People, I am 41, I have 4 kids, and I drive ALL the time.  Once the baby, always the baby.)

"Yep.  I know.  Dangerous mission.  The things this world expects of me."

There is one thing for which I am particularly grateful, and that is, when I walked in the door (a few minutes after my scheduled appointment), my Pokemon buddy was there.  THANK YOU, JESUS!  I knew all of my problems were solved.

I busted right through the door and shouted, "ALL RIGHT!  I drove 2 hours for you to fix this thing.  Let's get going."

And my buddy had the audacity to start out in a negative tone, "Well..."

"Ummmm...I don't know if you KNOW me, but I don't take, 'No' very well."  We all laughed.  Obviously.

My buddy backtracked and explained the worst case scenario is that I would have to take home a loaner machine.  I assured my buddy that as long as I had access to ALL of my files and email, I was not too particularly attached to ANY machine.  (Though I did ask for - and was completely denied - all KINDS of future upgrades.  Something about University priorities.  🤷‍♀️)  And then he got to work and did his tech thing, while I admired his plants (He has A LOT of plants!) and celebrated with jumps and claps every time we got more files successfully transferred.

We had a few frights along the way.  And then there was that interruption or two, where my buddy commented about the day being "particularly stressful," and I commented that "I did not contribute to that AT ALL" and he said, "Well...ACTUALLY you did." And I said, "I did not drive 2 hours to sit here and trash talk with you."  And after a pause, "Well...ok...kind of, I did."

And guess what?  My buddy earned that little bag of cookies I brought him as a thank you bribe.  Because, within an hour, I was on my happy way home with a working machine, and I will not miss ONE day of working with my students (because EVERYTHING I do is on my computer! and I was able to reschedule the school I missed).  I even made it back in time to see my clients at Synergy!

So, now you're dealing with Happy Kristen.  My problem solved, my prayers answered, one more obstacle overcome.  And the latest snowstorm?  Just a good reason to have a slow and cozy day recovering at home.

Of course...there was that one moment when I was filling in our calendar, and I almost broke down in tears, because I'm pretty sure there is not enough of me to go around, but...we won't think about all that right now.  We will think of it tomorrow.  Focusing myself moment to moment to May!

Happy Weekend's End, Homies!  I hope your week is filled with delights...(but just between you and me, sometimes you really have to hunt to find them!).