Think about all of the times you were disappointed. You can always compare the outcome of something to what you expected. If we never expect anything, we will never be disappointed.
I had very specific expectations about what I would get if I won the silent auction bid for a “custom made show shirt” at the gala fundraiser. There was a uniquely beautiful horse show competition shirt on display. I read the word “custom” to mean the shirt would be made to fit me. As the evening went on, I kept bidding up on the shirt. Due to both the fact that it was a benefit for my adaptive riding program and show shirts can retail for hundreds of dollars, I went up to $275. The shirt I’d bought on eBay years ago never quite fit right.
I won the bid at $275. It didn’t seem like that much for a custom made garment. I went home that night in November with a certificate for one custom made shirt from an equestrian fashion company. I was not in a hurry to redeem it because I was planning to have a tummy tuck in January so I expected to be a smaller size by then. I didn’t want to be custom fitted at my pre surgery size and shape. I was looking forward to next year’s horse show when I could show off in my beautiful custom made shirt in my post- op size.
I planned to delay having the shirt made until spring. But because I had spent so much money I wanted to confirm what I was getting and how. I called the number on the certificate and left a message that I had won the item in the silent auction.
In a few days Sandy returned my call. She seemed fuzzy about what I was referring to at first. I reminded her that she had donated a custom shirt to the gala fundraiser and I had won but wasn’t ready to claim it. I explained that I wanted to come in the spring after I recovered from surgery. She said she would call me in March or April.
The more time that passed, the more concerned I was that I would never get the shirt made. The charge had gone through on my boyfriend’s credit card to the charity.
I called Sandy early in April in a proactive move. Again, she seemed a little fuzzy about what I was talking about. I think it was because she is not in the business of making custom made shirts. She sells custom designed shirts. Apparently, we weren’t talking about the same thing. I told her I was ready to claim my shirt. I asked if I could come to her store to see what she had. She told me she doesn’t have a store.
My disappointment was building. I was not getting what I expected.
She offered to Facetime with me when she got home so she could show me what she had. I was slowly resigning myself to the fact that I was not getting a custom made shirt. I reminded myself that I had made a contribution to a charity that was very important to me.
When Sandy called via Facetime she went on about some new hats she was designing and suggested I might want a hat. I started to get suspicious. I kept riding along because I was out $275 and planned to try to get what was due. I did not want a hat. I let her show them to me and agreed that they were nice.
She showed me a number of shirts in different color schemes. I chose my favorite colors. They didn’t look like the shirt I had bid on at the gala. I tried to jog Sandy’s memory about the display, but she had no idea what I was talking about. I was getting confused. How was I going to try the shirts on and pick one? She asked me to take a screen shot of the group of shirts I had chosen so she could bring them when we met.
Sandy went on about how her sister has a farm near me and I could meet her there, or at a horse show at the end of April. This was becoming difficult. I kept riding along.
When I told my boyfriend about what had transpired, I used the words “cluster fuck” but added that might be too strong of a word. He said, “No, that sounds pretty “cluster-fuckish”. Thus, the term “cluster-fuckish” was born to describe an annoying situation that isn’t quite a full on cluster fuck.
I had to text Sandy the screen shot of the shirts I liked again. It was clear she is more of an artist than a business person. The next delay was related to a fractured back for Sandy which she texted me about and asked if I could wait a few more weeks. I kept riding along.
I called in two weeks because I was getting concerned my donation was going to turn into just that. I was already disappointed to not be getting what I expected. She said we could meet at the horse show at the USET which is a magnificent facility that is owned by a foundation for the benefit of the United States Equestrian Team.
I had been to the USET before and knew it isn’t the most handicapped accessible place with a challenging parking situation. Sandy didn’t know I am handicapped and perhaps thought I was a normal ambulatory person who could walk long distances over uneven terrain.
When she had to hang up because she was having an “issue” and said she would call me back, I again wondered if this would ever get resolved. I decided to call her back and flatly explain what my difficulties were.
She answered right away, thanked me for calling her back, and I stopped her there and said, “Hey Sandy I have to tell you that I have a disability. I had a stroke 20 years ago and I’m not great at walking. I’m concerned about where to park and how I’ll find you.”
“That’s ok just tell the parking attendants you are handicapped and when you park far away they can drive you to me in a golf cart. I’m in the VIP tent. I can meet you tomorrow at noon. Wear a tank top under your clothes so you can try the shirts on in my tent.”
I texted to confirm the next morning. She asked if we could do it a little later at 1:15.
I drove through the magnificent grounds of the USET in full spring bloom. The adjacent golf course was covered in a soft carpet of green grass. I could see the VIP tent as I approached. There were no parking attendants. I drove in the direction of the tent, saw a sign that said “Restricted Parking”, and decided that was reserved for me. I know after many years that having handicapped license plates is pretty much a permit to park wherever you want.
As I walked down the steep hill toward the tent, I spotted Sandy. She recognized me and came over to say hello. I was expecting to spend an hour or so trying on shirts then leave with my selection.
Instead, I got comfortable in Sandy’s tent, tried on several shirts, a vest, a belt, and some jewelry.
I did choose my “custom show shirt”, a long sleeve, blue and paisley competition shirt made of beautiful, silky fabric.
I met Sandy’s sister (the one with the farm), husband, and daughter.
Her daughter had founded the clothing company years earlier to fund her trips to Florida to compete in horse shows. She was set to compete in the afternoon’s derby round later in the day.
There was catering in the VIP tent. I stayed for dinner, had some wine, and watched the derby competition. I was at the horse show from 1:15 until 6:30.
While I was disappointed to not receive what I expected, I was glad to have made new friends instead.
Thank you for reading:)