Be Complaint Free

4 Mar

Our minister decided should we wish to participate, that our congregation should give up complaining for Lent. He even gave all willing participants one of those blue stretchy rubber bracelets to wear for the duration of Lent that says, Be Complaint Free.

The deal is if we complain we move the bracelet to the other wrist. If we REALLY have a bad case of complaining (& the minister said, “You know who you are”), then you get more bracelets & start stacking them on your arms. My husband mumbled to me under his breath, You’ll have them all the way up to your armpits …” I’m assuming that was a joke because he smiled when he said it.  But maybe not … so I set out this morning to see; to monitor my complaining as we approach Lent.

I got up at 8 a.m. & it was only 9 degrees with a yard full of VERY solid snow. In my head I said to myself, “I can’t stand this … will it ever be spring?” I’m assuming if you’re alone in the house & THINK complaints in your head they still count, but I’m not sure. I was very careful not to say that out loud to the cat just in case “head complaining” isn’t counted against me, while being audibly vocal definitely is. There’s a fine line & I’m trying not to cross it in favor of armpits free of little blue rubber bracelets.

We’re having work done to extend our sunroom out onto the deck & the people were supposed to be here at 9 a.m. to begin the project, which seemed doubtful, but I got up early anyway. I’m really not complaining about that although I could have enjoyed staying in bed longer. I think that falls into the CHOICES & OPTIONS category & doesn’t qualify as a real complaint (does it?).

I checked email & wrote in my STATUS on Facebook that “I’ve totally lost interest in waking up to 9 degree temperatures & a yard full of very solid snow. I want spring & I’m on a personal pilgrimage to do very extensive damage to the groundhog …” (my friend, Nakesha responded that red wine probably goes best with groundhog for dinner). I don’t think my STATUS counts as a complaint but it is a definite STATEMENT OF FACT, so I’m letting myself slide on that one.

The Four Seasons Sunroom people arrived at 9:50 in three trucks & a flatbed filled with building materials. They were all smiling & even though they are starting work in 14 degree weather, none seemed candidates for the dreaded blue bracelet. How can that be possible? I KNOW I’d be complaining if I were working outside in 14 degree temperatures because how could I not? That’s just inhumane working conditions & I admire them for doing it & their cheerful attitude. What I’m thinking, though, is it’s so cold out there on the deck that their lips have frozen permanently to their teeth & they’re not really smiling at all… those are grimaces. Since I’m very excited about enlarging the size of our sunroom, I’m not complaining.

Hot flashes are another “iffy” area where complaints are concerned. I mostly have them in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep anyway because one of my medicines causes insomnia. At around 3 a.m. this morning when I was awakened in the midst of a “personal tropical moment,” I thought about some afternoons being cold while sitting at the computer in my office. I turn on a small electric heater & drink coffee & hot chocolate to warm up. At 3 a.m. this morning in my own personal “sweat lodge,” my THINKING voice asked why I never could have a hot flash when I NEED one. Again, I’m not sure that counts as a complaint for two reasons; 1) it is a STATEMENT OF FACT & 2) it is said to me by me in my THINKING voice in my head.  I’m not counting it!

I have a lousy knee. Sometimes when I’ve been sitting a while & get up, walking can be painful. I’m pretty sure I’m quite vocal about that when it happens & that certainly counts as a complaint, I think … but maybe not. That may fall into the category of RESPONSE TO PAIN & may not count at all.  I’m taking that off my “Complaint List” right now.

Our cat, Max may be another “complaint area,” not that he sets himself up intentionally to be the object of complaining. He is a Himalayan with long fur that causes hairballs that he coughs up with some frequency on the hardwood floors & most significantly, on my off-white area rug in the dining room. While I don’t fuss at him … he can’t help it … I do say stuff under my breath & mostly to myself like, “Oh, jeeze, why do you have to do that” or “Not on the off-white rug, PLEEEZE.” Once again, however, I’m not sure that falls into the complaint category. I believe that falls into the WISHFUL THINKING category & is definitely NOT a complaint.

I’ve just decided I’m going to make it through Lent mostly complaint-free & with far fewer blue rubber BE COMPLAINT FREE bracelets than my husband anticipates. What it all boils down to is a little CREATIVE THINKING & categories that change would-be complaints into most anything else.

I can DO this. My armpits will be filled only with deodorant at the end of Lent & I will not fall into our minister’s YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE category. What a relief …






8 Responses to “Be Complaint Free”

  1. reriggins7 March 5, 2014 at 6:50 am #

    I must say….this is quite a dilemma. I’m glad to know I am nt alone! I, too, have these conversations in my head….and was having them long before the bracelets arrived. I have even discussed with the same minister, “how does one differentiate a complaint from merely an observation of fact or feeling? At what point does it become a true complaint?”
    I have also suggested that I just start out with one bracelet on each wrist….so I don’t run the risk of complaining about having to move my bracelet so often, or run the risk of just plain wearing out the bracelet feom constantly moving/handling it. I think it’s a creative solution; no “bracelets up to my armpits” for me! 🙂


    • heimdalco March 5, 2014 at 6:57 am #

      Thanks, Rebecca … I LOVE your response. I hadn’t planned on writing a blog entry today but I saw the bracelet & the blog entry sprang to life. Delighted to know that you & I have been thinking along the same lines. Maybe collectively we can find a way around obvious complaints.

      A friend read this entry & asked if Catholics go to confession & say, “Forgive me Father, for I have complained.”


  2. Leslie Miller March 6, 2014 at 4:31 am #

    It’s not a complaint unless you say it out loud to a living breathing human,,who can hear..LOL


    • heimdalco March 6, 2014 at 4:43 am #

      LOL, Leslie … then saying it to the cat or talking to myself really DOESN’T count … I KNEW it!!!! Thanks for helping clear that up for me Love to you all ………. …


  3. Willy S. March 6, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    I’m glad to see that there was no “complaints” (statements) about the husband. I hope your every desire is fulfilled. You write well


    • heimdalco March 6, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

      Thank you, Willy. Since you usually get to read these things before I post them, I thought it was cool that you hadn’t read this one. I DID start out writing about what you said to me in church … that I’d have blue rubber bracelets all the way up to my armpits …LOL


  4. heimdalco March 5, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Thanks, George. Does that mean you ENJOYED my post?????? LOL



  1. Ash Wednesday | cheeseheadva's Blog - March 5, 2014

    […] this post about the wristbands written by a member of my congregation yesterday on her blog site: Be Complaint Free. Hey, I am not falling into the trap of complaining about what Linda S. […]


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