5 Things That Will Probably Irritate Me This Week

At least I know they’re coming...

I have been trying not to let things get to me. To maintain a more positive attitude. And maybe one way to do this is to anticipate and prepare for those things that are common triggers to my irritability.

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, right?

So as I prepared myself for Monday, I decided to take a minute and note some things coming up this week that I will likely find at least a little irritating. Here are five that came to mind.

Long Meetings

I see a number of meetings on my calendar this week. Inevitably, one or more of them will go long. A long meeting, to me, is any meeting that goes over an hour. I feel that just about any regular business meeting should be able to be completed in sixty minutes or less. Now granted, if there’s a social aspect, a brainstorming or planning component, or something outside of just normal business, I’d expect that meeting to take a bit longer.

But regular meetings (monthly, weekly, etc.) with a standardized agenda shouldn’t have to last longer than a regular television show. I feel that people (myself included) will start checking out around the 60 minute mark so going much beyond that timeframe is counterproductive.

So I do my best to hold my regular business meetings to that 60 minute limit. But often, and for reasons usually sometimes beyond my control, my meetings occasionally go long. And true to Murphy’s Law, it’s usually when I have other things to do immediately following. Which makes me late, or rushed, or otherwise playing catch up.

And that’s probably what makes long meetings most irritating. 

Missing Bedtime

Speaking of long meetings, sometimes they make me late for bedtime. I’ve mentioned before that we stick to a pretty tight schedule at my house. The kid’s bedtime is 8:00, sometimes earlier if she falls asleep on the couch. 

So if I’m not home by late in the 7:00 hour, I miss out on putting the kid to bed, which triggers a whole cascade of missed bits of joy.

If I don’t get to put the kid to bed, I don’t get to sing her Metallica lullabies. Then I miss out on goodnight hugs and kisses. Then I miss out on her saying, “Nite nite daddy. Lub you,” which is, of course, the most heart-melting bit of adorableness anyone can experience in their life. And I get to experience it every night.

Unless I miss bedtime. 

My Kid

Speaking of my kid and heart-warming adorableness, she knows how to use that power as a weapon against her parents. And few things are less irritating than that.

Despite the fact that her mother and I hold a two-thirds majority in this house, the kid still believes wholeheartedly in the power of veto. But instead of a red pen, she strikes our requests with a flash of that heart-melting smile only toddlers can wield. Or with an irresistible request to do something else that she knows we can’t resist, but which she has no intention of following through with. Like:

Mom: “It’s bed time.”

Kid: “No. I don’t wanna go bed,” in that super irritating whiny voice.

Mom: “Yes. It’s bed time.” Shoots me that look that says, “Ok dad, get to it.” I grab her blanket and stuffed animal then reach for the kid.

Kid: “NOOOOOOO!” Whiny voice again. Then, heart-meltingly, “I wanna cuddle!” And reaches for mom.

Mom: Not wanting to miss out on now-rare kid cuddles, “Ok. We can cuddle for a little bit, then it’s bed time.” Kid lays head on mom’s lap.

Thirty seconds later, kid is wallering around, seemingly looking for a more comfortable position, only to wiggle herself right back to the same position on the couch she started before mom and dad declared bedtime. It takes until the next TV commercial before parents realized they’ve been played. By a two-year-old. Again.

The “Banned” Words at the CDC

Speaking of toddlers getting their way against the majority of the general populace, I’ve been irritated, and will continue to be irritated at this report about the CDC being told not to use words and phrases like “science-based” and “evidence-based” in their budget requests to Congress.

Generally, I avoid reading the news outside of my local newspaper (which I “read” online mostly by skimming the headlines to see what’s going on in my community). But thanks to the joys of social media (which I also try to avoid scrolling through, though sometimes and unfortunately, unsuccessfully) and the news app widget on my iPhone, I can’t help but notice some headlines from various national news outlets. Most of it I can ignore, but this one from the Washington Post caught my eye and I just couldn’t help clicking it.

Which, of course, I subsequently regretted.

At first, I thought it had to be bullshit. No way did anyone actually tell the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to use phrases like those. But it wasn’t like I was reading the National Enquirer. But…really?! Surely not…

I was already pissed off about the net neutrality thing (thanks again iPhone and social media). I don’t know anyone who actually supported that decision (which isn’t saying much, really, since I don't know all that many people), nor does it appear there was much public support for it (a University of Maryland poll found 83% of Americans - including 75% of republicans and 89% of democrats - opposed repealing net neutrality. Doesn't get much bipartisan than that).

THAT’s what we’ve allowed to happen to this country. And I’m not pointing fingers at one side or another. It seems to have become commonplace for elected officials in this nation to do whatever the hell they want, regardless of what the public – the very people those officials are supposed to represent – actually wants them to do (or not do).

And it’s not just confined to national politics. I’ve been actively involved for a number of years now in trying to get Iowa’s legislature to fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund. It’s a fund that was established by the citizens of Iowa when 63% of those voters in the 2010 general election opted to change Iowa’s constitution to create this fund.

Changing the constitution is no small task. Just getting it onto the ballot took literally two acts of congress. Then to have that large of a turnout and to have it pass by that much of a majority, you’d think that would say something to Iowa’s lawmakers. Hell, if any of those legislators had won by that kind of a majority, they’d have called it a landslide. But the very lawmakers who were then tasked with funding the trust by raising the state sales tax 3/8 of a percent (in Iowa, changing the sales tax rate cannot be done by the voters) have ignored the will of Iowans ever since.

And now here we are with science-based polls indicating even larger support (up to 70+ percent) for funding the trust. Wait, I can’t say that. How’s it supposed to be worded again...

We base our recommendations on science in consideration with community standards and wishes. (By the way, who says, “…in consideration with…” anyway? Who writes this crap?)

In other words, I wish our legislators would actually start working for the people that elected them.

I’ve really got to stop reading the news. 

Dropping Temperatures

I was not meant to live in a place that gets cold. 

Now I realize I’ve had it pretty good so far this winter. We haven’t had any real cold weather yet, and it’s almost winter solstice. The days will start getting longer after Thursday. So yeah, I know, I shouldn’t complain.

But dammit, I’m going to. Because this is my blog and I’ll do what I want.

Let’s see if I can describe what my reaction is to cold…You know how some people find exhilaration at Jack Frost nipping at your nose? Maybe you’re one of those people. If so, you’re sick.

When I feel that nip, or when I get a cold shiver, it elicits feelings of rage that bubble up, I assume to combat the cold, but which only serve to irritate the bajeezus out of me. The end result is a chilled, rage-filled, winter-hater that can’t wait to get home to spend money he doesn’t have on plane tickets to Miami.

Physiologically, I can’t take the cold. No matter how many layers I wear, no matter how much high-energy food I eat, I cannot escape the cold. When the weather gets sub-freezing, I get a chill down in my core that pretty much doesn’t go away until the pond ice is replaced by algae blooms (which relates to what I said about needing to fund that trust).

I know it’s ridiculous to be irritated by the weather. There is literally nothing I can do about the temperatures outside so why let it get to me? And as a hunter, I should look forward to the cold. But no. I hate it.

So when the weather app on my phone tells me to expect highs in the 20’s and lows nearing single digits by next weekend, well, I can’t help but think that maybe I should just add that to the list of things to avoid looking at on my phone.

Then again, if I’m not looking at my phone, how is my kid going to sneak her way out of cuddle time?

You know what else is irritating? Too many emails. But a few is okay. So if you'd like to get future Outdoor Executive blog posts sent direct to your email, Subscribe here