I’m sitting in my office trying very, very hard to concentrate on the to-do list sitting to my right and fill the blank screen staring me down and obviously not doing a very good job because I find myself looking out the window. I think I’m hoping either Ed McMahon will show up with that oversized check or some form of inspiration will appear in the driveway.
That’s when I saw it: the dreaded chipmunk.
As most people know I have four dogs (Jeff adopted Brutus so I’m down to four) and as much as I love my dogs I am also honest to say that they are each kind of crazy in their own way. Luke eats candles (Luke eats anything but has a thing for candles), Bandit scales walls, Micki is exempt as she is old and Lexi is just crazy. Really, I think that little dog is not right in the head. Sometimes she just goes psycho-dog and one of her triggers: chipmunks. The other trigger is bunnies.
Oh sure, they look all cute and fuzzy but for some reason she has decided they are the mortal enemy. I think she has it in her head that the cute little woodland creatures are conspiring against humanity and it is her duty to warn everyone in a 10 mile radius with a horrific scream and rid the world of these dreaded creatures. She sits in the front window during Spring and Summer and just waits for a chipmunk sighting. Once she spies one all bets of normalcy are off and the real fun begins.
She begins by jumping into the window, pawing at it like no tomorrow then running around the house at 100 mph all while making this god-awful noise – I can only describe it as a high-pitched, repetitive “eck” type noise that grates on my nerves like nothing else! Once this begins there is nothing I can do to derail it.
Now this year it is going to get better because I have two young male dogs and I can guarantee they are going to think she is playing and they are going to be chasing after her and trying to attack her to get her to chase them. This is going to be a mistake because once she is on a chipmunk/bunny hunt she is totally focused and just not in the mood to play. Yay me, let the crazy begin.
I know this is coming, I know I cannot change her mind to make peace with the rodents so all I can do is utilize the only plan I’ve got to make it manageable: first option is to leave my bedroom door open so she can go snuggle in the pillow and sleep hopefully to forget about the front window. If that fails and she takes her place in the window seat then I get her to the backyard as soon as possible so she can do some crazy sprints around the yard, nose to the ground, until she wears herself out. Once she is outside I shut the door and wait it out. The boys will be on their own – it’s every man for themselves in this one.
She has a trigger, I have a plan. It’s crazy I know but it is my world – welcome to it. The whole point of all of this is we all have triggers. Once we figure out what these triggers are the best thing to do is come up with a plan to diffuse the situation.
Maybe it is something that a co-worker, boss, significant other, kid or friend does that sets you off. If there is something your boss does that gets you started down a very angry and unhappy road take a minute to realize the behavior that affects you and try to come up with a diversion tactic. Often times it is just the realization that is the key to stopping the cycle.
I dated a guy who had a favorite phrase. Every time he said it I cringed. Then I realized that it would change my mood to spiral into a dark and twisty place. Once I realized that it was just that phrase that rubbed me the wrong way I was able to stop and basically scold myself. I was allowing one phrase to change my behavior. That was stupid. A phrase – really?
So I decided to consciously change the way I responded internally to that phrase. So the next time he said it I just laughed, remembering how dumb it was that I was letting it effect me, and looked at him and called him a dork. Hey, it made me feel better, I didn’t get all dark and twisty and he responded by saying, “Yeah, I know, but you love me anyway” so he was cool with it.
I think sometimes we are so reactionary that we stop thinking – and that is a dangerous thing. In a way some would say that we are letting others control us and our behavior. I would disagree – we have the choice on how we respond. I was “letting” him get me to a dark and twisty place but in reality I was choosing to go there. We have so much more control over our own little world than we allow ourselves. Slowing down to think about how we respond and what gets us to dark and twisty places is often the first step in derailing that train and getting to bright and shiny instead.
Once we start employing our new tactics then we find not only do we get bright and shiny, but we can also have more fun. Sometimes when I’m fixing dinner I’ll call out “BUNNY” just to get the little dog going. She immediately jumps in the window and starts the routine. I’ll then open the back door and tell her “BUNNIES in the BACKYARD” and watch her go. Cruel, maybe, but hey – she’s getting her exercise.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.