Tag Archives: Travel

Taking Stock

One of the worst things you can do is convince yourself that “everything will be OK” when in fact you know that it will not.

The damage of this flawed logic came to light  recently as the result of our family’s purchase of two laptops from the Lenovo Corporation.

I disliked my laptop from the start, finding it sluggish and unresponsive. More frighteningly, it “blacked out” fairly frequently.

My son found his Lenovo to be working just fine until one day when he realized that his screen was broken. He hadn’t dropped it or spilled anything on it. He simply popped it open as he always did, and received an unpleasant surprise. Since the laptop was still under warranty, just barely, he mailed it back as instructed. The repair took longer than expected, which required the laptop to be sent to our home address and then mailed by me to his address on campus. When he finally received it — after what my dad would have called “a lot of rigmarole” — He opened up his laptop to find that the screen was “different” but not repaired. “Mom, I don’t even think they checked it after making the supposed fix,” he reported. Lenovo has said that they will once again attempt the repair — as if they are doing him a favor — and if it does not work this time, he is out of luck.

This upsetting turn of events made me curious to see if others are experiencing the same issues. One sure way to find this out quickly is to check how the company’s stock is faring. I was not surprised to see a headline under Yahoo Finance asking “Should You Get Rid of Lenovo Group Now?” The article went on to note that there as been a negative trend in earnings estimate revisions. “It may not be a good decision to keep this stock in your portfolio anymore, at least if you don’t have a long horizon to wait.”

So what went wrong? Lenovo is most likely a casualty of the flawed thinking mentioned earlier. If you tell yourself that “everything will be OK,” you miss out on a key aspect of any successful venture — a top-notch support system.

When my dad passed away a few years ago, my family saw the writing on the wall. We knew that my mom could not live on her own for long, and we knew that we would have to do the right thing and move her in with us. I desperately wanted to believe that “everything would be all right” — but in my heart I knew that this was not true.

Not only had I witnessed my own grandmother’s downhill slide while she was living in my parents’ home — and the devastating effect on my parents’ relationship and my mother’s mental health — but I had also been party to the seemingly endless search for a decent nursing home after my mother and I could not longer provide the level of care she needed.

My husband had also been witness to the demands placed on a household that includes elderly grandparents needing care and attention. He could also not tell himself that “everything would be ok.”

And so while we were fairly certain that some people might thinks less of us, we did not move mom in immediately. We gave ourselves a year to enjoy our peace, our space, and figure out the best way to handle the move — both logistically and emotionally.

To be fair, we had a huge advantage. My mom lived just 20 minutes away, and since I was working from home I could be there a few times a week to help with grocery shopping, cleaning, paperwork, and doctor’s visits. It was fairly easy to retrieve her and bring her home for visits to our home. And she had a wonderful neighbor named Jenny who checked in with her on a regular basis.

John and I used our time off wisely, and more than a bit guiltily. We took our last chances to travel together,three times to weddings of our dear nieces (one in San Diego, one at a winery in South Jersey, and one in Greenville, North Carolina). I took a trip with my daughter — who had been diagnosed with Lyme disease and faced months to years of treatment — and we had a fabulous time at an all-inclusive resort in the Bahamas. We set up a bedroom for my mother, and cleared out her apartment (packing 80 black garbage bags and hauling them to the dumpster — how my parents crammed so much stuff into a one-bedroom apartment still puzzles me).

Only after we had accomplished all of this did we give my mother an ultimatum. As much as she did not want to impact our lives, and be what she described as a “burden,” none of us had a choice in the matter. “Actually, it will be a lot easier on Mary Ann,” my husband noted wisely. “She won’t have to travel back and forth as much.” Only after hearing that did my mother grudgingly agree to move in.

Most importantly, we told ourselves and our two kids (now young adults) the truth — that this wasn’t going to be a walk in the park by any stretch of the imagination. Most likely, it would be one of the toughest things we have ever done.

Thus far, that attitude has served us well. There are some very rough days, during which I can keep my sanity by mentally flashing back to dancing at those three wonderful weddings …  watching the sun set while enjoying dinner beachside at one of the best restaurants in San Diego … our side trip to Coronado, where our longtime and loyal friends Andrea and Les who now live in Arizona spent some quality time with us … the excursion to the Bahamas, during which the employee in charge of activities announced my name via mic to the entire hotel population as “mommy” during a games session, much to my daughter’s mortification.

And there have been great days, where my mom is “on” and makes us laugh until we cry (sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally).

And on any given day, we know we can rely on our network consisting of thoughtful friends and relatives who keep us apprised of their plans, whether they think we can join them or not, and always willing to adjust to our tight schedule …  our wonderful mom-sitter Carol Corbett, who has always been the kindest person on the planet and who my mom refers to as “my friend Carol … my neighbor who has offered to feed my mom dinner at any time so John and I can enjoy a full day or night out … and our son Greg and daughter Veronica, who spent quality time with my mom this summer and allowed my husband and I to linger a bit longer in Atlantic City or while at the beach with friends.

Is everything always OK? Of course not. It never is, really. And if you try to tell yourself that it will be … and that you can handle everything on your own without help from anyone else … be careful.

Your stock is surely going to fall.