The Dangers of Expectations

I watched or read a dozen different forecasts last night.  It was unanimous, we would be getting 4-8″ of snow and it would not stop until at least 6 a.m.  With weather like that, this area will shut down completely!  I mean, I never think of Maryland as a southern state, until it snows and I realize that an inch or two here has the effect a foot would have back in Detroit.  This would be a sorely needed snow day!

It’s amazing how much you can get done when getting enough sleep to work in the morning is not even a consideration.  Grocery shopping, laundry, dishes…I even cleaned the moving boxes out of the bedroom (7 months is not too long to be settling in!) so my wife would not trip and fall every time she walked through the room in the dark.  When all was said and done, I was very proud of my accomplishments for the day.  Of course, it was 2:30 a.m., but who cares?  I was about to settle down for a nice long sleep, interrupted only to get the call about work being cancelled and relay the message to my staff.

I seriously don’t even need to finish this post at this point; you all know what happened.  I received the fateful call entirely too early in the morning:  All we were getting out of this massive, horrifying blizzard they promised me was a two hour delay.  TWO HOURS!!!  By the time I finished passing the word along, I was only going to get an extra hour of sleep.  Even that nap was essentially worthless because I had been awake on the phone too long that my body adamantly refused to return to the dreamy bliss I had been yanked from by the shrill beeping of my stupid phone telling me I had to go to stupid work after two stupid hours of delay!

All my accomplishments of the night before lost their value.  It was nothing but frivolous time.  We lasted 7 months running the obstacle course in the room, what was 7 more going to hurt?  And laundry?  God made clothes turn inside out for a reason….  I spent my entire drive to work mentally writing a piece of legislation that would force meteorologists to pay for doing this to people.  There would be active enforcement, a three strikes component, and possibly a new branch of the Department of Justice to oversee it.  I was going to get started immediately after work (I can’t say at work in case my boss reads this), and I fully intended to force a vote before congress takes their next recess.  The only snag I hit was trying to figure out how to take sleep away from the weatherman and distribute it to all the people he caused irreparable fatigue.

After I took a few hours to wake up and get over it, I was able to think clearly and place the blame where it really belonged:  On the weatherman (did you think a few hours would make me change my mind on that?).  But aside from that sadist, I suppose I was maybe slightly a little bit partly to kind of blame.  I counted my snowmen before they hatched, and I paid a price for it.  It was like writing a check that I was pretty sure I would have the money to cover by the time it was cashed.  Or taking out a mortgage that you’ll be able to pay as soon as you get that promotion you’re up for.  Or buying a Ferrari with $100k from a loan shark named Vito that you’re going to pay back after tonight’s lottery drawing.  Yes, I equate returned check fees, foreclosures, and broken kneecaps with being utterly exhausted at work.  If it was only one kneecap, I might be willing to trade it.  But either way, there is a valuable lesson to be learned.

Decisions should be made based on what is, not what you expect will be.  Sure, there is some room to take risks on occasion.  You can always roll the dice and set yourself up for a huge success if things work out just right.  But if they don’t, you have to be prepared to eat it.  In the end, I find myself so exhausted that I will be collapsing immediately after I finish this post.  The worst part is, I know there is no one to blame but myself.

And the weatherman.