CaLM CURE IN 4

As I stated in the Home Page, I was a handyman for many years. In order to describe my mindset for creating this CaLM CURE IN 4 Page, I will again reference my handyman experience.

If you’ve read this before and want to skip to the CaLM CURE IN 4 installments, simply click the links below.

 Dog Needs A Leash 

 Curb Your Dog 

 Yes, He Is Special (Autism Awareness) 

 Moms Need Moms (Autism Awareness) 

Imagine a customer wants to change the wall color of her son’s bedroom.  Most times the impetus would be, He’s turning 12, his buddies come over to play video games, and he’s embarrassed he still has the light blue walls with dinosaur decals like a little kid. He wants a big boy room with a darker earth tone color and no T-Rex.

Ok, so I don’t want to bore you with all the details of painting a bedroom, but I would like to describe the unnecessary stress I’ve undergone.  Rarely was there a customer who prepared the room. And I’m not suggesting they were supposed to prep the surface. I literally mean, clothes, game controllers, school papers, foodstuffs, anything and everything that find their way to a kids bedroom were out of place, mostly on the floor.

And to top it off, I had to not only clean up the room just to get around and set my ladder and supplies, but I also had to contend with twelve years of forgotten toys, trophies, stuffed animals, models, picture frames, and books that precariously littered desks, bureaus, night tables, and poorly mounted shelves.

Do you know how many times, in an attempt to move furniture and set drop clothes, I knocked over a Lego building.  And then I tortured my anal self trying to return it to its exact original design. Oh, and did I mention that all the while, the family Labrador Retriever would nudge open the door, come in wagging, licking, and seeking a stroke down his back or a scratch behind his ear, narrowly avoiding putting paws in my paint pan.

Admittedly, I was not very good at Callemonit back then.

My only solace was the thought of getting paid and my music.  I brought my radio to every job. It was large and built for construction sites, probably able to withstand a fall from a roof. The channel was always tuned to classic rock. Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Queen, and The Rolling Stones eased my pain and always merited an adjustment to the volume.

Alright, picture this.  It’s the end of a long day, and Mom comes upstairs to survey my work.

Mom: “Wow, this really looks great!  Josh is gonna be so surprised.”

Me: “Thank you!” With the reveal out of the way, I would talk about payment, carry my supplies out, and hit the road for a long commute in rush hour traffic…Yay!  But before leaving the view of the bedroom, I would give Mom final instructions, “Ok, so everything’s dryin’ nicely…I put the ceiling fan on and cracked a window…I would say about 2-3 more hours, and everything should be fine to touch…just remember to give Josh a heads up…oh yeah, and can you keep the dog downstairs for a bit…I don’t want him investigating and rubbin’ his fur all over the fresh paint?”

Mom: “No problem, he’ll be fine…just pull the door closed.”

Me: “Yeah, I tried that, but it doesn’t stay shut…I had quite a few harrowing calls from him today.” In my mind, I would be thinking, just please say, Sure I’ll keep him down with me…and don’t ask, Why, what’s wrong with the door?” But rest assured, they always chose the latter.

Mom: “Oh, I’m sorry about Wolfy…you should have told me…but what’s up with the door…is it broken?”

I stepped into it, so I knew I had to get the ball rolling quickly if I wanted to get out of there, “The strike plate doesn’t line up properly.”

Mom’s sure fire reply, “Oh, that sounds complicated…is it something you can fix?”

Honestly, I became a bit calloused to the doe eyed look of confusion most female customers felt compelled to portray, as if we were talking about brain surgery.  I would cut to the chase, “Alright…I’ll take care of it.”

Mom: “Thanks, Mark…I’ll be downstairs if you need me.”

We’re finally at the point where I applied my CURE IN 4 technique, a combination of speed and focus on an objective, with the intention of limiting the time I would have to be subjected to an unwanted situation.  I would quickly scan the task and decide what tools are necessary. If it fell under the CURE IN 4 category, I would plug my radio back in.

This strike plate problem would definitely qualify.  I’d return from my truck with the necessary tools, usually a hammer, wood chisel, and screwdriver.  Then while waiting for the next song to begin, I would prepare for the ride home…basically, pee and wash the paint off my hands for my in traffic apple.

Returning from the bathroom, the clock would start…the clock being a typical classic rock song, which lasts somewhere in the 4 minute range.  At the sound of the first note, I would challenge myself to complete the job before the song ends…thus providing a CURE IN 4 minutes (or less).  How ‘bout that for personal motivation!

So, here’s my proposition.  What if we chose to Callemonit in 4 minutes or less?   And wouldn’t it be great if we could achieve Callemonit success in that same time frame…or at the very least, get the seed planted for someone to change their ways?

Since I mentioned Wolfy in the story, let’s use him and his owner for the first two CaLM CURE IN 4 examples.

Dad comes home from work.  Depending on the weather, he usually walks the dog to the local park to do his business and get in a little exercise with a tennis ball or stick. There’s a paved path for walkers, joggers, and bikers that runs through the park.  Also, there’s a newly constructed fenced in dog park not far from Dad’s chosen location.

But here’s the problem.  Dad has no interest in the dog park. He takes Wolfy off his leash as soon as he gets to the open field, ignoring the posted sign requiring all dogs to be leashed.  And don’t forget, Wolfy is a Lab and a real lover. It doesn’t take much for him to become distracted and attempt to make a new friend…we’re talking squirrels, kids on tricycles with frilly tassels hanging from the handle bars, runners with reflective shoes or jackets…Wolfy is on high alert.

And paying the same degree of attention is Carly.  She’s on the local college soccer team, and she is an avid runner…and by the way…she’s also deathly afraid of dogs.

Carly’s wearing exercise pants with fluorescent stripes down the side. Wolfy spots them immediately and runs up on her.  Carly instantly stops running, stands straight up, arms pinned to her sides, and freezes like a statue.

Dad yells from the distance, “It’s ok…he’s friendly.  He won’t bite.” Dad is sort of taken aback by Carly’s atypical response. Most females usually bend over and start petting Wolfy and letting him lick their face until Dad gets close and instructs with a cheesy smile, Alright Wolfy settle down…let the poor girl alone.

Start the CaLM CURE IN 4 clock for Carly.

Carly: “Sir, can you please come and get your dog?”

With no apparent hustle in his step, Dad tries again, “It’s ok Sweetie…he just wants to say Hi!

Carly repeats louder, “Sir, please come and secure your dog.”

Dad finally arrives with a confused look on his face, but nonetheless reaches down, grabs Wolfy’s collar, and pulls him from Carly, “I’m sorry-

Carly cuts him off and in a calm but shaken voice, “Sir, I don’t know if you’re aware, but there are signs throughout the park that say All Dogs Must Be Leashed…if you want to let him run, then put him in the dog park like the responsible owners…if I see him unleashed again, I’m calling park security or the cops.”

Dad hesitates, but then has a moment of adult clarity, “You’re right. It’s my bad…won’t happen again…sorry.”

She put her earbuds back in and restarts her run.  

Ok, stop the clock.  I’d say Carly did a good job for sure. She got her point across. She didn’t get in some long debate about park rules and etiquette.  She didn’t feel the need to explain her fear of dogs with a complete stranger. She just wanted to address the situation in a limited, yet effective fashion, and get on with her life…to comfortably run in peace.

That’s how you execute CaLM CURE IN 4.  And judging by Dad’s dejected posture, I’d say it’s more than likely he got the message, and Wolfy won’t be unleashed again. That’s Callemonit success!

And since we have Dad and Wolfy on the hook for ignoring the park regulations, let’s set them straight about the rules of private property.

Remember I said taking Wolfy to the park to do his business was contingent on the weather. What happens when the weather is bad?

Wolfy’s not a fan of getting wet with rain or snow when he has to go, so he tends to finish quickly…but where?  

Well, where is the neighbor’s lawn.  Maybe it has better grass. Maybe it has a certain smell.  Maybe it has the perfect tree. Whatever the case may be, Wolfy has turned the neighbor’s property into his personal toilet.

There’s a slight drizzle. Dad opens the door, Wolfy runs out, and comes back relieved, scratching to get in.

During Wolfy’s venture, Barry, the nextdoor neighbor sees him on his lawn, settling on a spot.  He is meticulous about his landscape, and he’s been wondering the source of the waste. He’s beyond frustrated with stepping in poop and having to treat burnt out urine circles. He wants to enjoy the fruits of his labor and put an end to the disrespect. Start the CaLM CURE IN 4 clock for Barry.

He scrolls his contacts for Dad’s phone number, “Hello, it’s Barry nextdoor…yeah yeah, I’m doing fine…listen, your dog just took a crap on my lawn, and I need you to come clean it up.”

Dad: “Jeez Barry, I’m real sorry…seriously…you keep your lawn so nice…I’ll be right over…it won’t happen again.”

Stop the clock.  That’s an efficient CaLM CURE IN 4 and potentially a Callemonit success! You see, the yards aren’t fenced in, so Dad keeps a long lead tethered to a sturdy pole in the back. Usually, he would hook Wolfy to the line and give him time to go. But with lousy weather, it just became easier to open the door and let him roam. Now, he feels a little ashamed for acting irresponsibly, even lazy.

Have you ever come across these situations?  Did you Callemonit?

The school bus drops Joshua off right in front of the house. He’s 16 and in color guard, which practices almost every day.  At home games, he marches onto the field with the band and waves a flag.

Mom greets him at the door with a nervous smile, “Hey Buddy, how was school?”

Joshua disrobes his backpack and coat at the same time, letting them fall to the foyer floor, “Good.”

Mom: “Anything new with color guard?”

He makes a beeline to his bedroom.  

Mom’s hot on his tale, “Hey Buds…I got a kinda surprise for you.”

Joshua ignores her, approaches his bedroom door and collapses his hand and wrist between the knob and the jamb, scraping his knuckles, “Ow…ow ow ow!” He looks at his hand for a second.  

Mom: “Honey, you alright?  The handyman fixed-

Joshua isn’t interested in an explanation. He grips the knob and turns, pushes open the door, and centers himself in the room.  He scans the metamorphosis, starts grunting, then frantically searches out his game controller and throws it on the floor, followed by a baseball cap, and a birthday card from his dad.  

Mom: “It’s ok, it’s ok…Joshy, relax…ok, that’s good, everything’s back…perfect.” She attempts to enter, but he scurries by and blocks her way.

His breathing has become vocal, and his face is red.  He jumps on his bed and slaps his palm against the wall at the precise spot that previously displayed T-Rex.  The wet paint smears between his fingers. Panting is now verging on hyperventilating. He realizes his painted skin, but distractions abound. Head back up, he fixes on a Lego castle. His eyes are filled with tears, and he stumbles over his pillow in an attempt to get to the structure.

Falling off the bed and heading to the floor, Mom dives in and catches him, “Honey, Honey, please relax…it’s ok…everything will be ok.” Mom’s crying.  Joshua easily breaks her grasp and heads to the castle.

Mom warns, “Oh no Josh, please, your hands…the paint.” He’s oblivious to her beckoning and frees an improperly placed block. He secures it to its intended location, then notices the paint has transferred to the piece, actually lots of them. He squeezes his head like a vice, “Ahhhhhhhh…”

Mom swoops in and bear hugs him with all the mom strength she can muster, “Joshy I’m sorry, I’m sorry…it’s my fault, I’ll fix it, I swear…just the way you like it…I’m so sorry Honey…Mommy loves you so much.”

Mom manages to walk him out and down to the living room. Joshua is exhausted and crumbles to the couch. Mom strokes his head on her lap until he falls sound asleep. Her eyes grow heavy, and she concedes to a nap as well.

Dad comes home and yells, “Hello…where is everybody?” Then he spies Mom and Joshua on the couch.

Mom was awakened by his greeting, makes eye contact with him, and puts a finger against her lips, “Shhhh.”

Dad comes over whispering, “What’s up…how’d everything go with the painter…did Josh like his new…is that paint on his hand…and your chest…awww Honey, not good huh?”

Mom slowly shakes her head.

Dad: “What can I do…do you want me to run out and get McDonald’s or like his favorite ice cream or something?”

Mom: “Listen…you just got home…get settled in, then do what you gotta do…take the dog for a walk, feed the dog, watch some TV, whatever…I was thinking the same thing about McDonald’s…he’s gonna be starving…but I want to take him there myself and talk about his room…I’ll bring you back something.”

At McDonald’s, Joshua usually gets the chicken nugget kids meal with a toy, another order of fries, and a large vanilla shake.  He loves to dunk fries in the shake.

Joshua knows McDonald’s has been featuring dinosaur figures to promote an upcoming movie.  He’s close to completing the set, “Mom, can I get T-Rex?”

Mom: “Josh, I don’t know if they have that one…sometimes they-”

Joshua: “Can you ask?”

Mom: “What if they don’t have T-Rex…like, what other ones are you missing?”

Joshua: “I need T-Rex and Raptor.”

Mom gives the worker their order, “…and can you see if you have T-Rex or Raptor?”

The teen returns and drops Triceratops on the tray. Josh quickly, “Mom, I have Triceratops already.”

Mom to Teen: “So you sure you don’t got T-Rex or Raptor…like maybe in the back or something?”

Teen: “Nope…just that one.”

Things just aren’t turning out as Mom planned today. They go and find a booth. Joshua is disappointed, hardly interested in eating.

The following part of the story is an overlap of “John and Karen: Life on a Rollercoaster” which is revealed in the Home, 7 Day, and Pins Pages as well.

The next woman in line, Mrs. Donahue, approaches the counter.  Start the CaLM CURE IN 4 clock for her.

Teen: “Hey, Mrs. D, what’s goin’ on…where’s lazy bones Jon-Jon, sleepin’?”

Mrs. Donahue: “Hey Billy, so no T-Rex or Raptor, right?”

Billy laughs.  Mrs. Donahue keeps a straight face, sternly, “You mean to tell me, in that huge bin, with all those toys, there isn’t one T-Rex or Raptor…not one?”

Billy: “I don’t know Mrs. D…honestly, I don’t even check. I just grab the first one I can…if I give these kids a choice, I’ll spend all day findin’ some stupid dinosaur…and besides, that kid’s like bigger than me…what is he, special or somethin’?”

Mrs. Donahue reaches over the counter and grabs Billy by his collar and drags him ten feet to an opening.  Billy doesn’t resist. The rest of the customers in line stand patiently and don’t say a thing. Even the manager doesn’t react.

She pulls him close to her face and quietly, “Billy Monroe, I know your mom raised you better than that…and to answer your question, yes he is special, just like all of us, created in God’s image…now you head over to that bin, and you find me a T-Rex or a Raptor.” Stop the clock.

Mrs. Donahue enters the dining area with her tray and locates Mom and Joshua, “Hey guys…I think they gave me this by mistake.” She places T-Rex in front of Joshua.

A flood of emotion suddenly finds the surface.  Mom starts smiling and sobbing at the same time.

Billy the worker was raised right.  But sometimes, life’s lessons need to be revisited, possibly through a CaLM CURE IN 4.  I’m sure he understands. That’s Callemonit success!

Have you ever had to set someone straight about showing respect for others?  How did your Callemonit turn out?

Mrs. Donahue turns to leave, “Ok, enjoy your meal guys.”

Mom catches her breath and wipes her face with her arm, “Hold on, wait…where you goin’…I’m sorry, I mean…” She lifts her butt off the seat, stretches her neck and surveys the area for a lone husband and/or kids. She sees none. “…are you here by yourself?”

Mrs. Donahue: “Actually, I am.”

Mom: “Well then, please…by all means, sit with us…I mean, if you want to, of course.”

Mrs. Donahue smiles, “Sure.”

Mom jumps out of the booth, spins her tray around, “Josh Sweetie, scooch over…make room for Mommy.” Joshua’s attention is completely devoted to T-Rex and vanilla coated fries. Mom doesn’t ask twice. A gentle shove does the trick. Mrs. Donahue sits on the other side.

Mom extends her hand across the table, “My name’s Tina.”

Mrs. Donahue: “Hi Tina.  I’m-

Mom interrupts, “Karen…Karen Donahue.”

Karen: “Well, that’s very true…and again, God must be tellin’ me to ease up on the drinking…’cause I have no idea…like, have we met or-

Tina: “I’m sorry…I must seem crazy…I’m Tina Gennorio…well, formerly Tina Gennorio…and as of 4 months ago, I’m Tina Montgomery, newly married.”

Karen is still sitting attentively.

Tina chuckles to herself, “God, no wonder I don’t have any friends…”

Karen lets her off the hook and chuckles back, “No, no…I’m just trying to figure out how you knew I was Karen.”

Tina: “Well, I’m Anthony’s Ex…”

Karen: “Yeah…I get that part…”

Tina: “Well…you were Anthony’s girlfriend in high school…” Karen opens her mouth to confirm, but Tina goes on, “…so you broke up with him around the holidays in senior year, and I started dating him in…May, I think…I was a sophomore at the time…you definitely didn’t know me, but I heard of you.”

Karen: “Yeah, still…that was over 20 years ago…I sure don’t look the same.”

With a mouth full of burger, “Faishbook.” She swallows, “I’m sorry…Facebook…and stop, please…you look frickin’ amazing.”

Karen: “Oh, well thank you…I should meet more stalkers in McDonald’s.”

They both laugh. Tina puts her hand on Karen’s, “No, it’s not like that…you’re safe.” They laugh again.  Tina continues, “Your Facebook is open to the public…” She looks over at a contented Joshua, then back at Karen with a sudden lump in her throat and quietly, “You’re who I was supposed to be…an ideal I could never live up to…and he made sure to remind me…” Tears are filling, “…every…single…day.”

Karen’s eyes are wet now too. This time, she reaches over and grabs Tina’s hand, squeezing with a solidarity that only women could understand, “I’m sorry Tina, I-

Tina: “No, no…you did nothing wrong.  He is who he is…there’s no changing it…two decades of his charade…reducing me to but a shell…” She stops for a second, dragging pools across eyeliner.  “…thank God, I finally found the strength…” Then she perks up and sucks on the soda straw, swallows, “…free of that narc for good…and I’m happy…I got a great guy now…” She leans down and hugs Joshua, “…two great guys, to be exact.”

There’s sort of an eerie silence coming from Karen’s side of the table. She’s holding her burger, but with no intent of taking a bite.

Tina: “Karen, I’m sorry…I just laid all that crap on you…and like, we just met…”

Karen: “No, I’m good.”

Tina: “Let’s change the subject…how did you understand…well, you know that…my Josh is awesome…how-

Karen returns from zombieland, “My nephew…my sister’s son is awesome too.”

Tina: “I’m sorry about Susan…that was around the time I left Anthony…remember, Facebook stalker…” They laugh.  “…but I would never know from the pictures…he’s that handsome kid, right…like 20 or something now?”

Karen: “Just turned 23…Susan had him when she was only 17…and thank you…he is very handsome…and I stop by and kiss that beautiful face at least once a week.”

Tina: “How’s he doing with-

Karen: “Oh, it crushed him…all of us…she was part of me…my twin…”

Tina: “My God Karen…I can’t imagine…”

Karen: “But he’s doin’ great now…he’s not far from here…I mean, work that is…he’s a stock boy at Giovanno’s Market.”

Tina: “Oh my God, I go there all the time…besides Josh, that’s the only good thing that came out of my marriage.  Anthony had to have his food just so…I’ll look for your nephew the next time I’m there…what’s his name?”

Karen: “Ryan.”

Tina: “I would love for Josh to have a job…something for him on the weekend…but I’m nervous…” Suddenly, Tina changes her demeanor, “…actually Karen, you should go. Run while you can…I’m like the most needy person in the world…you’re being so nice and-

Start the CaLM CURE IN 4 clock for Karen.  She stretches out her hand, palm up, “Give me your phone…” Quickly she puts her name and number in Tina’s contacts.  Then she calls her own phone with Tina’s, “That’s it…we’re set.”

Tina’s chin starts to quiver.

Karen: “Are you gonna cry again?”

Tina: “Yes.”

Karen: “Why are you cryin’?”

Tina whimpering, “I don’t know…I can’t remember what it’s like to have a friend.”

Karen: “Well, it feels like this…after all, I’m a sucker for Facebook stalkers.” She stands up, “I gotta go.  My husband’s probably wondering where I disappeared to… listen, this weekend Ryan and all the Giovanno’s workers are wearing Halloween costumes.  He likes to greet people coming in, extra scary…I’m gonna text you…if you can make it, we’ll meet there…I’ll introduce you and Josh to Ryan, and I’ll see if I can grab Mr. G’s attention…you never know…maybe he can get Josh set up with something down the line.”

Karen walks away, then pivots, “Hey Tina, don’t forget…you’re a strong amazing person…for Josh…and…maybe for me too…moms need moms.” Stop the clock.

This Callemonit, via CaLM CURE IN 4, isn’t like most I’ve written about.  This was Karen giving Tina a wake up call, so to speak. Obviously, Tina’s confidence has been shattered from an emotionally abusive relationship.  She hardly thinks she’s worthy of even having a friend. Hopefully, Karen’s Callemonit will start the process of Tina seeing herself as having so, so much to offer the world. That would be a Callemonit success!

Have you ever had to Callemonit in such a way, remind someone of their importance?

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2 Comments

    1. Hi Angela, thank you so much for the compliment, comment, and words of encouragement…totally awesome to feel appreciated!

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