Decision Making: Part 1

by Chloe Jeffreys · 33 comments

in Sex, Love and Marriage

bald with a beardEver put off making a seriously tough decision because it didn’t seem you had any good choices in front of you?  

How does one choose between Choice A which will result in you losing all of your hair forever, or Choice B that will cause you to grow a beard you can never shave off.

Okay, my two choices didn’t involve either permanent baldness or a perpetual beard, but they felt just about as unpalatable.

How in the world are we supposed to make decisions when all of our options look shitty? Isn’t one option supposed to look like the best one? 

The Scenario

In 2004 we moved to a remote resort town nestled in the mountains of Northern California. Like all horrible decisions that end in disaster, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

We were able to sell our home in San Diego for top dollar, which enabled us to buy a larger, lovelier home in the mountains. It was nice not to be a literal six feet away from our very loud and annoying neighbors anymore, and, after years of drinking San Diego’s chlorinated swamp water, we thrilled at the crystal clear, ice-cold, glacial water that flowed from our tap at the flick of the wrist.

It is possible some lies were told to us about the financial health of the company that was recruiting my husband. It is also possible that somebody was playing with the books to the tune of a million dollars, or maybe it was just an arithmetic mistake like they said. We’ll never know for sure. However it went down, just as our escrow closed, we realized we might have made a serious financial error.

And thus began our careers working for a corporation that I lovingly call The Bastard Child of Alice in Wonderland and 1984.

Despite the lies, er, arithmetic errors, our jobs survived, but the company remains on constant life-support while the higher-ups stand around in front of you holding the plug in their hands.

And then the housing market fell. And fell. And then it fell some more. And maybe one day it will recover, but, according to financial experts, probably never in time for us to recover. As we’ve begun to seriously look at retirement even that yurt next to the freeway is looking further out of our reach.

The Dilemma

Despite everything, my husband loves his job. I imagine that there were some employees of the Death Star who really did have it good. Maybe their manager, much like my husband’s, was somehow able to maintain a humane work environment in Vadar’s corporate culture of terror and intimidation. You’ve got to think that of the estimated one million people who worked on the Death Star there must have been one department that didn’t totally suck.

I didn’t work for that department.

My department was led by an adherent of the “All Stick and No Carrot” School of Management. In one of the many highly-effective morale-boosting campaigns, the Supreme Commander came to our staff meeting and told us that we could quit our whining about unsafe staffing because we could all be replaced in a minute with any one of the many experienced labor and delivery nurses who were camped out at the local KOA just waiting to take our jobs. Nothing makes you want to work harder than being told that you are worthless and expendable.

What’s a Girl to Do?

For years my husband tried to get me to quit my horrible job and become his stay-at-home sex slave. Not that this didn’t sound very appealing, but eventually he’s got to untie me and go to work, right? And I’d be left alone all day to do…..?

That’s the problem. There’s nothing for me to do here!

After finishing raising my kids, and then washing so spectacularly out of the conservative Christian community because I suck at that sort of thing, there just didn’t seem to be anything left for me to do here.

Except become desperately depressed.

That I did very well.

I’ve always been a high-achiever, and if depression is all there is then goddamnit I’m going to be the best depressed women you know.

If there was an award for lying around and feeling sorry for yourself, I would have won it.

Except I didn’t like depression too awfully much. It’s so damned depressing lying about being depressed all the time. And, frankly, it’s rather boring. And it makes you boring.

“Blah, blah, blah, I’m so depressed, I hate it here, This town doesn’t have any underwear stores!”

How many times can you say that without it becoming downright boring? In fact I got so bored just writing that blah-blah-blah sentence that I took a little nap in the middle of writing it, woke up, and then had to rewrite it because it was so boring. I almost fell asleep again in the middle of the rewrite.


The Crucible

Sadly, I can’t say that one day I woke up in a state of perfect mental health, pulled myself up by the bootstraps, and made a decision that would change the course of my life. I wish, but that’s not how it went down at all. Unfortunately all kinds of terrible shit had to happen in 2012 to bring me to the place where I was willing to choose between baldness and a beard.


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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

SewWhat? January 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Perfect mental health? What’s that?

My brother used to have a tshirt that said “why be normal?”
(then again, he also had one that said “I don’t want to grow up, I’m a ToysRUs Kid too…)

hhmmm, I think I’d choose the baldness, they make some awefully nice wigs these days.



Annie M January 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm

I guess you have to decide if bald is sexy, or if bearded is kissable. And as far as that infamous bastard child? Ohhhh honey, that child is causing some pretty severe PTSD on top of depression!


Southern Angel January 24, 2013 at 1:42 pm

Oh I understand that feeling totally. Right now I would kill for a job to be able to contribute to our houses finances. We are pawning everything we own to stay afloat. Our taxes are going to pay what we are behind on our home and land or lose them. It sucks completely and totally sucks.
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BigLittleWolf January 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

Your ability to lighten the weight of shitty versus shittier is quite breathtaking. (And funny.)

I’m hoping to pick up a trick or two – no, not that kind of trick – from your ability to maintain your sanity through the constant crap.

And when you have more detail to offer on choosing among unacceptable options, do share. I suspect there are many, myself included, who could benefit from learning a thing or two.

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Missus Wookie January 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

I hope that the new job is better than the all stick and no carrot dept. As you’ve said you aren’t the only one with this problem – but somehow I’m figuring this has got to have a happy(ier) ending.

P.S. Whenever I come over to comment I always admire those heels – seriously lovely shoes.
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Lori Lavender Luz January 23, 2013 at 5:43 pm

I can’t wait to see how you resolve your dilemma.
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Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:01 am

I can’t wait either.


Helene Bludman January 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Chloe, whichever choice you make, I know you’ll land on your feet. Great to read your posts again. I’ve missed you.


Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:02 am

Well, the take-off is in progress, so let us hope that this girl has cat in her and lands on her feet.


Carpool Goddess January 23, 2013 at 4:23 pm

If you choose the “loose all your hair” option you could get some pretty fantastic wigs that I know you would rock. Hopefully, as you get closer to choosing, one of the evils won’t seem so bad. Good luck. xo
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Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:03 am

Bald is not bad. I can work with bald. But nobody pays to go to the circus to pay to see the bald lady, so maybe bearded is the way to go.


Patricia aka BoomerWiz January 23, 2013 at 3:34 pm

You are not the only one. You may be one of the few talking about it but the truth is, many of us have been trying to figure out the best strategic decision to address our circumstances. Part of my problem is I am using the reasoning and values from a past generation to address a present generation problem. But the day to pull the trigger is fast approaching.
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Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:08 am

I’m so glad you said this, Patricia. There’s so much shame attached to this for many of us. We did all the right things, but it hasn’t worked out at all like it did for the generation or two ahead of us. The “Greatest” Generation had all those children (Boomers) to take care of them, but we all had fewer children. So who is going to be around to take care of us? It is my understanding that by the time I am eligible for social security it will take two workers to support me. Well, that’s my two kids. And I don’t see how they are going to do that and prepare for their own retirement and put their kids through college. It seems like maybe it was a huge pyramid scheme that worked as long as the retired didn’t live too long, and there were lots of kids to spread the burden across. But now the retired live for decades, and there aren’t nearly enough workers to go around. At some point the bubble must burst. And I think you are 100% right that we’re going to have to use different criteria in decision-making if we want to avoid the cliff of financial disaster in our middle years.


Julie Danis January 23, 2013 at 3:32 pm

OMG – in the digital world – you write things I have felt but just can’t write. Thanks. And when Lady Violet told Lady Edith to “quit whining” I cringed. Was she talking to me? I think so!
love you,


Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:09 am

I like a good whine!!!

But sadly even a good whine must end and we have to roll up our sleeves and get back at it. Here’s hoping you and I are both in a season of action, and not whining. I know you are, anyway.


Jane Gassner (@MidLifeBloggers) January 23, 2013 at 3:23 pm

And? And? Do you know what they do to people who leave their readers hanging without even the benefit of a “to be continued….” And you thought depression was painful.
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Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:09 am

I promise to finish them asap. Unfortunately, I must go to work, but I will finish this.


knittinpeace January 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Beard or bald…I know you’ll wear it right.
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Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:10 am

Thank you! I think it’s going to be beard, but at least there’s money in being the bearded lady.


Beth Zimmerman January 23, 2013 at 2:09 pm

Your next post WILL tell us which you chose, right?

And I doubt that you’re really a conservative Christian washout! (Though you might want to curb use of words like “shitty.” ) I’m a conservative Christian home school survivor and I would be thrilled to worship beside you! It’s comforting to know you are approaching the throne beside real people!

Depression sucks! Mine is finally pretty well managed but there are days when just getting out of bed seems like a mountain to conquer! I hope to hear that you have conquered yours!



Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:13 am

Yes, I will finish the story. I wrote it to help people stuck in my position, so it wouldn’t be far to tell them how I’m planning on getting out.

You’re right that I should probably ditch the “shitty” if I want back in the club, but deep-down I suspect that I agree with Groucho Marx and I don’t want to join any club that would have me as a member.

Depression does suck. I’m fortunate that mine is situational (and probably climate-specific).


Heidi January 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

I’m glad you’re writing more. I’m betting that there’s oooone tiny teensy little difference between the balding or the beard that makes it slightly more acceptable…sometimes we see which way to go, and even know we’ll end up there, it’s just the doing of it that kicks our butt.
Big decision making sucks, pretty much.


Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:14 am

You are right, there is often one choice that does make it more palatable than the other. I think I sat on the pot too long waiting for Choice C to appear, but no Choice C appears to be in the offing.


Ginger Kay January 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I would choose bald over bearded any day of the week, if it comes to that.

We’re in a similarly bad houseboat, and I think I am facing a similar far less than ideal way out of it. I’m not happy about it, but, as you said, blah, blah, blah, sometimes you just have to DO something.

I am telling myself that the last big move was super easy and seemed like such a great idea and turned out to have been so foolish, that a difficult move based on a mediocre idea could turn out to be fantastic. Or not. Which will give me something to blog about.
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Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:15 am

It seems that “bald” is the choice of the day among my readers.

Our last move was so much like yours. Filled with hope and excitement, it seemed like a tremendous idea, and in many, many ways it was. For all the problems, I do not regret that decision to move here. So much good came out of it that it was worth the lessons we’ve had to learn. Maybe the lessons made it worth it too. Jury’s still out on that one, though.


Walker Thornton January 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

Boy, do you know how to write a cliff-hanger. Life is tough and it sounds like your life has been right at the top. I hear ya on the housing market–I’m stuck in a too big house and sorta want to sell but can’t.
And, I guess the lesson is that we get up every morning and keep going…

ps:love your art work!
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Chloe Jeffreys January 23, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I think a lot of us are in this place with our homes. The old school idea of buying a starter home, upgrading to a larger home, and then downsizing when the kids leave home has completely fucked us over. Now we’re stuck with a larger home we don’t need, and can’t sell. I know we’re not the only ones in this pickle.


Julia January 23, 2013 at 1:10 pm

But coming through all the shit made you realize that you could be a damn sexy sex slave either with a beard or without hair. And hair is overrated. 🙂

I’m glad you’re writing again. Love you!


Chloe Jeffreys January 24, 2013 at 6:17 am

That’s right. We really don’t learn anything from the easier, softer way. It is only through stress and challenge that we grow. The only thing more boring that whining is stagnancy.
Chloe Jeffreys recently posted..Decision Making: Part 1My Profile


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