Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Anxiety and Fear

Edvard Munch's famous The Scream, from 1893 (image from Wiki), is probably the perfect image for what I am posting today: Anxiety and Fear. I don't remember when I have felt it as much as this past weekend. I wasn't gonna post about it but then realized you'd miss a very important piece in my life this trip to Hannover if I didn't.

This past Saturday evening, Donica and I babysat for little Leo, the 19-month-old son of business expat friends here. Just before putting him to bed, we received a call from daughter Amy in Atlanta. She had gone over to our house to water the plants and to work on her taxes. Her call was to tell us that she heard a constant clicking on-and-off sound from the furnace. After myriad questions from us, she also discovered our house was 40° F/5° C, upstairs and down! We had set the thermostat to 58° F! So clearly something was wrong.

Several phone calls and a maintenance report later (within 2 hours), we heard that the technician smelled gas when he entered the house (something Amy had missed!) and discovered the furnace was emitting gas into the main floor with every click on. How long this had been happening, who knows (we had left the house the previous Monday). But he says he hated to think what would have happened when WE opened the door this Friday if it hadn't been detected sooner.

As of a couple hours ago, there is now a new furnace installed at our house (thanks to Amy's and son Mark's help). The old furnace was 10 years old and was apparently due for the upgrade. Indeed!

Okay, that's the background. With us so far away and feeling totally helpless, I'm sure you can imagine why my heart and stomach were in my throat. I had visions of the house exploding with Amy in it or her dying a slow death by gas asphyxiation. To say nothing about losing the house itself, of course!

After the stop-gap measure to fix the furnace on Saturday, as we went to bed that night, I had to let all the anxiety and fear go. It was like I had to scream to get it all out. No one can live with that kind of fear.

Breathe in, breathe out. The Universe is there to take care of us, Ginnie. Breathe in, breathe out....

A Thursday postscript:

I just received this altered image from
Runaway Rubber Duckie, who read my post while on cruise (she's a cruise ship pianist!). She said she added her rubber duckie to this image awhile back when the painting was still stolen...and wanted to cheer me up (click imge to enlarge). :)

Thanks, Stacey. I love it!


  1. Scary, scary. Don't think about what could have happend.It did *not*.
    Change the illustration from "Skrik" to "Mona Lisa".

    And have a pleasant, relaxing time in Hannover.

  2. It's really interesting some of the parallels I have with you somtimes...this weekend I got really obsessed with checking all the smoke detectors and installing a new carbon monoxide detector (new law in IL prompted my overwhelming need to get these things in place). But actually, my true fear is of a gas leak like you described. There are detectors for that, too, but seemed too complicated. I do usually smell minor gas leaks (working in client's homes it happens more than you think). Blah blah blah. I'm glad all is taken care of you. You have a wonderful family.

  3. Trying to watch American Idol and type is a mistake. Sorry for grammatical errors above!

  4. Tor: You're exactly right! Let's change the pic to "Mona Lisa." I like that!

    Susan D (twice): No grammatical errors that I saw (and now I'm wondering what's wrong with me because I usually see them if they're there!). The smoke detectors are good, especially if you're home. We have them as well. So what happens if you're not at home? Are the neighbors supposed to hear them? Do they trigger the house alarm (which we have) and call your alarm service? Hmm. Don't want to start worrying again!!!

    The main thing is that we do the best we can and leave the rest to Someone much bigger/better, who knows all things, from beginning to end!

  5. Sounds like you can consider your daughter an "angel"- a fortunate angel- but truly an angel. When you started the post with so much fear you made me afraid to keep reading, but the ending brought relief- thank goodness!

  6. Thank goodness nothing worst happened and a good thing that Amy alarmed the technician!

    I hope that you can finally relax and enjoy the rest of your stay in Hannover.

  7. T1: I hadn't thought about Amy being an Angel, Kim, but I think you are clearly right. Other trips we have NOT used her to water the plants. And of course, she only does her taxes once a year. So God of the Universe was truly watching out for us!

    CS: I try not to think back too often about what could have happened! I know that it doesn't do a bit of good to worry, especially when you can't do anything about it!

    So, yes, I'm relaxing during the rest of this trip. Thanks!

  8. "God remembers us...
    Rescues us...
    Takes care of everyone in time of need.
    His love never quits.
    Thank God, who did it all!
    His love never quits!"

    Psalm 136:23-26, The Message

    God is good ALL THE TIME!

  9. Oh my goodnes, Ginnie! I was afraid to read this as well. I am SO glad things turned out the way they did and that both Amy and your house are safe and sound.

    *hugs* to you

  10. Mrs. M/Shari: Yes, Yes, Yes. How could we ever doubt it!

    Christina: Thanks, my friend. "Trials of our faith are more precious than gold!"

  11. I'm sure Amy was meant to be there for a reason! At least things are complete and you should be resting better... I think I've got this for going out and not being on my own anymore...

  12. Reading this again I can be grateful again that Amy, you and Donica, and your house were kept safe. As you said, there's only so much we can do and know, and the rest is up to the Universe.

  13. ET: Oh yes. It all comes together in the end, just the way it was meant to be!

    Ruth: Thank you for knowing how this affected me! Paeans of praise all around!

  14. OMG. Ginnie. How scary. I repeat everything that everyone else has already written and am just so very glad that you're all ok. I know when you go home to Atlanta you'll enter those doors with a different awareness.

  15. Angels:)

    I had a bit of anxiety myself yesterday- I lost Swede's keys:) We went running and climbed the stairs of a parking ramp for the exercise. At the top we stopped to stretch. I set the keys down and thought to myself, "I'll probably forget them." Sure enough... How one can be so intrinsically tied to a group of metal objects I don't get. But, fear of never seeing them again was tugging at my stomach.

    An hour later, they were back in my hands after someone had turned them in to security, but I faced the challenge you talk about. Letting go of fear and anxiety and trusting the universe will take care of us.

  16. Ginnie - Oh my - I hate to even think what could have happened. My friend Carolyn says there are little miracles every day and some days there are BIG ones. We'll count this as a BIG ONE and be thankful!

  17. Mad: You are so very right! We will be VERY conscious of smell and what-not as we walk in that door! Thanks for your concern.

    Rachel: That reminds me--Mercury Retrograde starts next week on the 13th and is already sucking us into its slow-down. We all need to pay attention a bit more to things like our keys, purses/wallets, etc.

    But yes, Rachel. It's the same kind of thing--having to let go of the scream inside that wants to choke us!

    Judy: I really like that! There ARE miracles every day. We're just not always conscious of them. But they are definitely there!

  18. I know the feeling: I had a very advance security system in my former house and one day at a holiday I got a call from my house security system telling me there might be intruder inside. But what could I do? 4 hours away? But; like you I had a friendly neighborer who checked for me and it turned out to be something wrong with the security system. It took me a while to sleep well that night.

    You also reminded me of how glad we are in Norway to have Munch's painting Scream and Madonna safely back. They say there is a minor water damage on one of them though - but better we have them in safety.

    Wishing you still a lovely trip in Europe!

  19. Ha ha! I was in a public restroom the other day, evesdropping on a conversation outside my stall: "Mercury is going to be in Retrograde, so there are going to be a lot of break ups this summer." I just giggled to myself- and well, here it is again! You know, those keys aren't the only thing I've lost in the last week, and that's precisely the conclusion I've come up with- that I need to start paying more attention before I lose my head or a limb.

  20. I am glad that you are breathing again after your fright. I always have worrying fits when I am away from home too. But I think a furnace should last longer than 10 years?

  21. Renny: That's happened to us as well, when we've not closed the door to the garage tightly enough. Each time we are thankful that the security company is doing its job, since that's what we're paying them for.

    And YES. You have YOUR paintings back. I have thought of that many times for you and Tor both!!

    Rachel: Well, MR happens 3 or 4 times a yesr. It's coming up from Feb. 13-March 7. PAY ATTENTION!

    Ex-S: I agree on the furnace. We'll check into that when we get home!! Thanks for your comment.