If you have followed along all the way skip ahead to the start of the current chapter. If not I would think it be best if you grabbed a fresh cup of coffee or tea doubled back to the beginning with the links I have created below:
Part One – Putting my Heart to the Test
Part Two – Asking for Help
Part Three – Trusting the Process
Part Four – Growing My Heart
Part Five – Another Hidden Gift
Part Six – A Visit From the Angels
And now on to the current part of the story. I think I’ll call it:
Part Seven – Infinite Laughter
The morning after my discharge from the cardiac care ward at Northwestern Memorial Hospital I woke feeling more rested than I had in months, maybe even the whole year. I had fallen asleep the night before at about 10:00 p.m. with my head on Christiana’s shoulder while watching a movie in bed. It’s was only two weeks ago but for the life of me I can’t remember what movie we were watching. Whatever movie it was I likely only saw the first ten minutes.
Watching movies at home is akin to taking Ambien for me. The night before in the hospital it was the real Ambien that was my drug of need. On this night it was the comfort of my own home, my own bed and the knowledge that my heart had just been declared Superheart that lulled me into a deep sleep.
I struggled with the decision about whether or not I should wake up early enough to work out the first morning after my hospital stay. I knew I was healthy, but somehow I felt I needed to honor the fact that just 48 hours ago I didn’t know whether or not I was having a heart attack. In my heart I really wanted to get up and move my body in the park by doing some martial arts forms. On this morning I used my head and decided stay in bed a while longer. I knew that the park would still be there tomorrow morning.
We had to do some banking together, so I woke up Christiana in order that we could stop at a few banks and then she could drop me at the train station. I felt my internal energy level amp up as soon as I formed the word banking in the back of my brain. Over the past couple of months, Christiana and I have been getting closer to combining our finances totally. Despite the fact that we have been together for over eight years and married for almost two, we have not merged our accounts.
Some of the reason that we haven’t merged our finances yet, is the result of the fact that it is a lot of work to open new accounts, transfer auto payment settings and create a new joint budget. Most of reason is my lack of willingness to surrender control of my own stuff combined with a heaping dose of fear.
Our goal on this morning was to move enough money to pay the current bills from our individual accounts into our new joint personal account. We also needed to put enough money in our new business account to pay off the balance of the conference room we had rented to host our upcoming Empower Yourself & Create Your Life immersion seminar. I could feel myself slipping back into that state I was in just 48 hours ago that lead me to wonder if I was having a heart attack. I formed a LOUD thought the back of my mind and told myself that there is NOTHING wrong with my heart. I told myself to calm down.
Christiana came out of the bathroom and instantly noticed that I was slipping. She asked me what I was doing and I burst into this:
“I’m trying to find my checkbook so we can get the the TCF and take out my money for the other account. I have no idea how we are going to make four stops at three banks and the Hampton Inn to see Keisha in the next 50 minutes so I can get to work close to 10:00 a.m. I should have called in sick today because then we could have gotten all this stuff done and finished the power point for the workshop this weekend. I wish I had gotten up early enough to work out this morning. I was hoping I would have had enough time to stop at Earth’s Healing Cafe and get a brazil nut and mango smoothie, but now there isn’t only not enough time to do that but I’ll probably not have enough time to eat anything before I start my shift!”
So about that decrease in intensity I was seeking? Not so much, yet…
Christiana quickly played the role of the cavalry to my mental health and offered a few suggestions. She suggested that she could do some of the money transferring on line, that we could save some of the stuff to do for tomorrow and that she could go to the Hampton Inn by herself to meet with Keisha. None of those suggestions landed with me. I wished that the IV port was still in my arm so I could have taken a carry out supply of that magic white liquid they put in my arm 24 hours ago. Christiana reminded me that re-entry is always hard no matter what the circumstances. That thought did land for me.
We started our adventure with a stop at TCF bank about a mile and a half south of our home. I took out a check for the funds I wanted to move to the new bank. Why didn’t I just write a check from my own account instead of stopping at the bank to get one you ask? Because I haven’t had checks for that account for over eight years. At some point I ran out and I began physically moving money from my TCF account to a different account when I needed to write checks. I realize that it makes no sense, but it is my habit. It’s what I do. I’m comfortable with it because it is tangible and I can see it. Yes it’s ridiculous!
Our second stop was Christiana’s bank so she could make a routine deposit and set herself up to move the rest of her money using her iPhone, a feature that is becoming more and more appealing to me as I see her do things in seconds that take me hours. The words old dog/new tricks comes to mind as I write this.
The last stop was our new bank where we have all of our new joint accounts plus one of my old accounts; the one that I actually have checks for. I parked the car in the loading zone and ran into the bank while Christiana waited in the car.
I realized when I walked into the bank that I had forgotten to take the account number for the new account with me and I needed to be able to tell the teller which account I wanted them to put the money into. I now had four accounts in this bank; my personal, our joint personal, a savings and our joint business. I had a rough idea of the balances of the accounts so I decided I could communicate with the teller and let her know which account to put the money into by looking at the variation of the current balances.
I pulled my ATM card out of my pocket to hand to the teller so she could pull up my list of accounts. When I saw the white sticker on the front of my card, I remembered that I had yet to activate my new ATM card so I excused myself from the window, stepped back into the lobby to call and activate my card. As I listened to the automated system I realized that I was going to need the last four digits of the primary card holders social security number and that primary card holder was Christiana.
I hung up the phone and then called Christiana, who was sitting in the car 100 feet away from me, and asked her for the last four digits of her social security number. I can only imagine the expression on her face as she fielded that call! After I had the numbers I needed I called back the activation number, activated my card and returned to the teller window. My attempts to not be manic on my first morning back to my everyday life were reaching epic fail proportion.
I asked teller to pull up my list of accounts so I could indicate to her which account account I wanted the money to be deposited in. As I said previously, the best way I could think of to communicate with her was based on the sizes of the balances. When we opened the new accounts we only deposited $50 in each account to get the process started. I thought our new joint checking account had about $17 left in it the last time I had looked after we had used Christiana’s debit card to buy $33 of gas somewhere. My other account had a larger balance.
What I had forgotten about was the fact that we had been waiting for a large check to clear into our new joint account. We were planning on using that check to pay off and consolidate a few of our debts as we enter into this new world order of joint finances. Apparently that check had cleared so when I asked the teller to identify the account number for the account with, “Almost no money in it all,” she looked at me a bit cross eyed. I had the sum of $17 in my mind. She was looking at numbers that were a bit different than $17.
“Well I’m not sure what you consider ‘Almost no money at all’ Sir, but I have a different perspective of what that means…” I was frustrated and anxious and my anxiety was increasing with every passing second. I looked at my watch and asked her if she could just write down the balances for me on a piece of paper so I could see them. I needed something tangible. I needed something I could touch. When I looked at the numbers I instantly remembered the transfer that occurred while I was in the hospital. I sheepishly told the teller which account to deposit my checks in, I thanked her, I walked out to the car and jumped in next to Christiana…
…and then I bursted into uncontrollable laughter!
I attempted to try to re-capture the scene inside the bank as I told Christiana the story in between my moments of laughing out loud. She began to laugh with me. And there we sat, two contented fools laughing hysterically at my own folly under the tracks of the brown line train that I was about to board. It was one of those laughs that purged your soul. It was one of those laughs that you wished would never end. It was Infinite Laughter that mirrored our Infinite Love.
When I caught my breath, I said to Christiana, “So we really didn’t need to go the bank at all this morning did we? We had enough money to cover all the bills that we needed to pay in the account already didn’t we?”
“I was trying to tell you that at home but you weren’t listening.” That only made us laugh louder!
I was about to jump out to the car to get on the train. Christiana leaned over and touched my wrist and said, “Don’t get out. Just drive all the way to work and drop yourself off. I just brought you home from the hospital less than 24 hours ago. I’m not ready to let go of you yet this morning…”
We drove down Lakeshore Drive on a perfect sunny morning. We listened to classical music on WFMT. We hardly said anything else for the entire ride, but I know even without having looked in the rear view mirror that we both held subtle smiles on our faces the whole way. I also knew in my heart that my re-entry day was going to be just fine…