Nobody’s perfect, or is it just me?

Jelly with her long yellow tennis-ball-coloured toy

After a few worrisome days, Jelly is slowly coming back to life. She has howled a few times, brought us her favourite toy (you know which one that is), and managed a few short walks. She’s slowly on her way to a full recovery.

Every step she takes forward, it seems our parenting takes a step back. For example, in our desperation for her to eat again, we’ve been doling out treats out left and right. No need to sit or shake a paw or any other awe-inspiring manoeuvre; a mere visit to the kitchen is all it takes. And we’re normally pretty stingy on the treat front.

Then there’s the sleep issue. After a few days of sleeping longer than me, imagine my excitement when Jelly woke me early Saturday morning to give me a kiss. Could there be a better way to start my day than with a kiss from a perky pooch? In my joy, the fact that it was 5:20 a.m. didn’t even register. What happened to the rigidly consistent parent who would normally send Jelly back to bed?

That parent was MIA Saturday. I was so excited Jelly was feeling better that I leapt out of bed at that ungodly hour and took her out for her morning piddle. Then I fed her a little bit of food to assess her level of hunger–she’d eaten very little for two days by then–rather than holding off until her usual breakfast time.

Then, I disclose with deep shame, I let her come up for what we like to call “family bed”, a very occasional Saturday occurrence (Saturday is  laundry day) when Jelly joins us in the human bed so we can all sleep in together. She was snoring within seconds, allowing her parents another hour or so to snooze. Boy did we need it. All that fretting was interfering with everyone’s sleep.

Is this good parenting or bad? Must we judge it at all? I’d call my behaviour typical parenting, but maybe I’m being defensive in a time of weakness. Even parents who normally set diligent boundaries with their children lapse sometimes. It’s simply harder for many parents to set firm and consistent limits with any being, two- or four-legged, who has some kind of health or emotional challenge. Finally I understand why parents let their children into their bed in the wee hours: they’re too exhausted to send them back to their own beds.

All rules were not forgotten, however. At no point did we let Jelly up on the couch, despite my really really wanting to invite her. Is merely wanting to break a rule a parenting sin too? I’m told that so long as I don’t act on it, I’m okay.

Firm and consistent parenting is an ideal, but there has to be some room for flexibility too. Rules are hard to uphold, and sometimes I’m guided by emotion rather than reason. I’m weak, I admit.

Today, we were already back on track. I sent Jelly back to bed rather than celebrating her early morning awakening. Then we headed to a PALS visit, where I met a woman whose dog sleeps until 10 a.m. most days. Dare to dream, Annie, dare to dream.

basset sleeping on bed, head out and human's feet out as well

The dangers of dependence: a tale of two doctors

A tree that is unbending is easily broken

Did I happen to mention that my beloved Dr. Family will be heading off on maternity leave in August? The gall of that fantastic physician to place her family ahead of her patients, placing her family ahead of her patients. I was diagnosed with leukemia during her first maternity leave. Who knows what will happen this time she leaves?

I don’t talk about Dr. Family much because she is, in some ways, a peripheral member of my care team. By necessity, I spend more time with my specialists than with her. She has always diligently reviewed my file before I do visit, though. She is an astute diagnostician and has cared for me well over the years I have known her. She has arranged for excellent coverage during her two prior leaves.

Her upcoming departure for baby #3 happens to coincide with Dr. Blood’s leaving for her year-long sabbatical. That’s a lot of change at one time for a change-averse gal like me. Thus I considered becoming completely overwhelmed when I first saw Dr. Family’s baby bump, but I’d recently reached my fretting threshold over Dr. Blood.

That’s how I decided to approach to Dr. Family’s leave differently. I recalled my shutting my practice temporarily–unlike me, my clients had no opportunity to ready themselves for my departure–and how, unsurprisingly, my clients survived without me. I’d expect no less of them.

As a clinician, I am always walking a tightrope between assuring my clients they can rely on me when they are distressed and encouraging them not to become overly reliant on my support. From the outset, we discuss those supports available to clients outside the occasional hour that we meet. I’d never want a client to think he needed to talk to me and only me in a crisis because that would set him up to be overly dependent on my care.

I’ve always known I’m not the only psychologist in town. Other highly competent clinicians jumped in when I got sick because they had to. I redirected clients that asked; others muddled through in their own way. Some clients may have ditched therapy altogether to see how they’d do without a therapist’s support. I trust they managed well.

Those who transferred to someone new may have had to share their story from the beginning, which is certainly harder than returning to someone who knows them. Nonetheless, unexpected change like this can be good for clients. I may have missed something or focussed excessively on one domain when they could have used a different kind of support. I realize my former clients may have found a therapist who was better suited to care for them. Sometimes a client reaches an endpoint with a psychologist and a new perspective is beneficial.

If my clients can survive or even thrive without me, maybe I can do the same with my new physicians. I’d hate to become a needy patient, and I trust both my physicians will find solid interim replacements. Who knows? Maybe the change will give my flexibility muscle a good workout. I may even learn that there’s more than one doctor in the world who can keep me alive. That would be reassuring.

Two women walk into a home improvement store….

Picture of yellow and black drill

Sounds like the first line of a joke, doesn’t it? Well, it isn’t. Or maybe it is, if you’re thinking of klutzy me. J. is less injury prone and better with a drill. I am wisely relegated to a supporting role on home improvement tasks, e.g., “Honey, a beer/iced tea/lunch would be nice.”

We went to the store to buy planks for raised garden beds. According to J.’s careful calculations, we had room for two 12 x 3 foot beds. What we hadn’t considered was how we’d get those 12-foot planks home my little black car. Remember the car I said I’d never eat in and forever park at the far end of every parking lot to prevent door dents? I know, sounds a touch unrealistic.

The helpful and eager young employee–let’s call him McDreamer–believed we could somehow get those long planks home in my teeny car, so he and J. attempted to manoeuvre them while I watched in fascination. (I bruise easily, remember?) All was going well until McDreamer decided to move the planks a bit farther up the dashboard, at the expense of the windshield. Once he realized what had happened, McDreamer was so upset he bolted off in tears to seek help.

How would a normal person respond in this situation? J., ever the normal one, uttered the F-word several times. I am not normal, however, so my instantaneous response was to flash back through my many job disasters over the years and feel McDreamer’s pain.

I clearly recall the first time I really messed up at a so-called job. Early in my babysitting career, which was quite busy and lucrative, I somehow forgot a booking altogether. I remember feeling so ashamed by my error, and my shame was compounded by the parents’ rage. Needless to say, this family never asked me back.

Since then, I can think of critical moments with clients that I haven’t handled well and wished I could revisit. I addressed these mishaps with the client if I had the opportunity, but sometimes, because of circumstances, I did not. Unfinished business is unsettling.

In case you’re wondering, no, I did not immediately put on my psychologist hat and offer McDreamer my services. We’ve recently reviewed the prohibitions against ambulance chasing, and, in this case, I was the one in the ambulance. Rather, McDreamer appropriately sought help from an older and wiser employee, who explained that 12-foot planks could not safely be transported by a 6-foot-long vehicle. The store manager then magically appeared and offered to pay to replace the windshield. She was lovely and gracious, including with McDreamer, so everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

J. returned to the store the next day with a revised plan. If we built 6-foot rather than 12-foot boxes, the shorter planks would fit easily in our friend’s van. Since McDreamer had not been fired, he gladly helped us out. Even without my professional help, he seemed to have fully overcome the prior day’s trauma. The shorter planks were loaded in and nobody got hurt.

Even my car has learned an important lesson about knowing her limits. I doubt she’ll ever try that again. Or at least not under my watch.

Increasing my blog’s readership, one visitor at a time

It was a record week with two real live clients. For whatever reason, my second client found the session helpful and decided to rebook. At this rate, I may actually have a bit of income to declare at year end. Do you think her rebooking had anything to do with the despairing look on my face as the session neared its end? Or my begging? I thought so too.

I commended this client for making contact since we hadn’t seen each other for some time. I can’t imagine calling my therapist not knowing if she’d died since we’d last met. Kudos to her for taking the risk. I believe she could see, once she arrived, that my death is not imminent, or at least doesn’t seem to be so.

On a much triter note, I’d love my writing to find a larger audience. All writers would, wouldn’t they? Sometimes my narcissistic side wonders why my blog hasn’t garnered more attention over time. Is it my abrasively opinionated stance? My biting humour? How about my many random syntax errors? You’re probably wondering whether I’ll ever learn to stop my participles from dangling.

Despite my ongoing efforts to keep you entertained–“Enough already,” you say, “I wouldn’t have committed to this blog if I knew we’d be forging a long-term relationship”–I haven’t yet garnered any publishing contracts, I’ve had no requests for guest articles in esteemed newspapers, no talk-show appearances, not even any invitations to relocate to L.A. Perhaps my fame will follow my death, just like that of Bach or van Gogh.

It would probably help if I used social media to broaden my reading audience, but, because I don’t live with a teenager, I’m at a loss. I’ve taken a more primitive approach to expanding readership instead: I awkwardly tell people about the blog and ask them to take a look.

Sadness doll

Can you see the resemblance?

Take, for example, Mr. Platelet at the Calgary Blood Services clinic, the regular platelet donor who likened me to Little Miss Sunshine a few weeks back rather than my soulmate, Sadness, from Inside Out. You know Sadness, who’s forever trying to bring Joy down. (As a side note, notwithstanding the pale blue facial tone, I bear a striking resemblance to Sadness, even when I’m happy. The higher-than-average BMI, the frumpy sweater, the glasses, and the eyes that are always wide open. Hey, maybe that’s why Sadness is always sad. She’s tired all the time!)

I caught up with Mr. Platelet–would “Little Mr. Sunshine” be a better moniker?–this past Monday when I was volunteering and, while he was quietly eating his soup, I told him how touched I was by his kind words last time he was in. And then I clumsily directed him to the recent blog post where he’d played a starring role. In yet another act of kindness, he gamely read the post while consuming his soup. And just like that, I increased my readership that day. Poor fellow probably didn’t know what hit him. Even my clients would say I’ve never been known for my delicate touch.

No wonder my blog readership is increasing at a snail’s pace. Should I reconsider the social media approach? It’s less intrusive. Now I just need a teenager….

Social media icons (twitter, Pinterest, youtube

Give him an inch, he goes a mile.

I have two real-live clients this week. Two hours to be a bona fide psychologist. Two people who I have the potential to help (or harm, if I mess up). That’s a lot of responsibility.

Sometimes I’m well aware that my clients are doing all the work. They know what they need to do, they just need the occasional reminder. Take one of my recent clients, who came in for help with anxiety. He was going to be late for this week’s session, so he emailed earlier that day to inform me. What a brilliant solution, I thought: this way, I’d know he’d be late, and I wouldn’t fret about it. Also, he wouldn’t be stressed by his delay.

I was struck by this client’s problem solving in this situation. He anticipated something that might cause him anxiety and preempted it altogether. When he arrived, I commended him for dealing with his tardiness proactively. Many times over the course of our contact, this client has shown me that he will act to reduce his stress rather than raising it through avoidance. Way to go, buddy.

As an anxious person myself, I often forget to apply the same principles in my own life. I’ll put off the letter I need to write or the phone call I need to make if I’m nervous about what to say. If I am going to be late for an appointment, I am more likely to become stressed than to notify the person who will be waiting for me. I may avoid situations that cause me anxiety, even though I’m well aware I’ll feel better as soon as I act. I have to make a conscious effort not to do things that cause me to worry more.

My years of personal experience have taught me that overcoming anxiety is hard work. It takes awareness and vigilance and, for people like me, even a bit of therapy. I may deal with my stress more effectively than I used to when I was younger, yet I am not anxiety free. My goal is to ensure my worries do not interfere with my living my life fully. I have the same goal for my worry-prone clients.

At the end of the session, I asked this client whether he wanted to rebook. I had the feeling he’d say no, since he’d come so far with such little help from me, and he was effectively applying so much of what he’d learned. He chose not to set another appointment. (Insert sad-face emoji here.) We left the door open, as I always do.

Then, as he was leaving, he gave me the dreaded termination talk. I know this talk well. He said, “Thanks for being my cheering section.” I responded, “You’ve given me a lot to cheer about.” It’s a variation on the you’ve-helped-me-so-much theme. (Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that this is true.) Expressing gratitude this way seems easier than saying, “I no longer need your help.” This fellow certainly doesn’t, or at least not right now.  And so another one bites the dust, but in a good way.

Good bye emoji--hand waving

 

In certain circles, I’m known as Little Miss Sunshine

Stuffed toy of Little Miss Sunshine

If you think Sadness and Fear are my constant companions, I beg to differ. Sure, I’ve been a little off kilter lately due to my gouty complications, my unrelenting fatigue, and my difficulty handling doctor change, but the rest of the time, Joy prevails.

If you know me only by what I write, you may envision my holding back tears all the time. You may even wonder how I ever managed to become a psychologist. Before you write my provincial regulatory body to rescind my license lest I harm the public, I beg you to hear me out.

Despite your negative preconceptions, under the right conditions I am an unimaginable bundle of joy. I bring light and life to those around me. People can’t help but smile when I enter a room, and not only because my fly is undone.

To demonstrate my point, I’d like to share a story from earlier this week, before I became unduly distracted–and distressed, I might add, in case you didn’t pick that up–by the Trauma of the Changing of the Doctors. My moment of unbridled happiness took place on Monday afternoon while I was volunteering at Canadian Blood Services.

I’ve been on the Monday shift since I started volunteering at the clinic last September. It turns out that donors often set their appointments on the same day of the week, and that over the months I’ve become familiar with many Monday donors. I haven’t yet gotten to the point where I can anticipate their soup preferences or cookie choices, but I do see them on a fairly regular basis.

Earlier in the shift, I was feeling somewhat verklempt because I had met a donor who was profoundly hearing impaired. I did not realize her impairment until I noticed her reading my lips and heard an unusual lilt in her voice. Her hearing was impaired, but her blood was not, so in she came to give. The range of people who attend the clinic never ceases to amaze me.

Then Mr. Platelet entered. Mr. Platelet is a lovely fellow who donates frequently. Platelet and plasma donors often attend the clinic more often because they can, and thus we get to know them better. For the first time, Mr. Platelet called me by my name, which is on my little red volunteer vest. We had never chatted before but we spoke briefly as he was leaving. During this conversation, he told me he liked donating during my shifts because I am “all smiles and sunshine”. Not wanting to disabuse him of that notion, I thanked him warmly and told him he was very sweet.

And in truth, I am Little Miss Sunshine at the clinic. I look out upon the donors slurping their soup each week and imagine, “Are you the one who saved my life when I needed blood (or platelets or plasma)?” Thanks for that.

After Mr. Platelet left, I broke the volunteer code of conduct: I neglected the donors while pulling out my phone to text J. I wrote, simply, “I am all smiles and sunshine.” She promptly responded, “I know.” And so, too, should you, dear readers, in case you sometimes forget. I’d forget too if I were you.

Raising my business from the grave

My new life, Chapter 1, typed on paper in a typewriter

Last summer, I realized that: 1) I probably wasn’t going to die anytime soon; 2) not only was my death not imminent, my health was fairly stable; and, 3) I was getting bored of twiddling my thumbs. Those factors led me to seek out volunteering opportunities. To my surprise and delight, I was accepted to volunteer despite my leukemia. Today I enjoy my volunteer assignments with both Canadian Blood Services and PALS (thanks to my PAL Jelly, who is remarkably well behaved in unfamiliar settings).

I convinced myself that, if I started volunteering, I might not miss working so much. My love for volunteering has not lessened my desire to work as a psychologist. To clarify, I don’t miss making money, I miss helping people.

I’ve had only one client visit my office so far this year. My client base has trickled to a standstill for two reasons that I can think of: those who know I have leukemia must think I’m dead by now, and those who don’t know I’ve been sick will have trouble locating me on the internet. Or at least I’m assuming they will; I’ve never Googled myself to find out.

What’s the first thing you do when you receive the potential name of a professional for hire, whether it’s a plumber or a financial advisor or a psychologist? You do an internet search, and decide whether you’re willing to give that person a try based on what you can find out. (I guess I shouldn’t speak for you, but I know that’s what I do.) If the professional doesn’t have a website, you may form your opinion based on her marathon time, or her snarky letter to editor of the local newspaper, or her involvement in this or that charity, or whatever else the internet chooses to share with you.

Many psychologists were slow to jump on the social-media bandwagon, perhaps because of the strict rules that govern how we advertise ourselves. We need to honestly represent our credentials–I can’t say I’m a Rhodes scholar if I’m not–and we can’t include any client testimonials. That means no quotes from former clients on how much I helped them through difficult times. Furthermore, when psychologists advertise or use social media in other ways, we must not breech client confidentiality. For example, we cannot befriend our clients on Facebook.

Despite these social-media constraints, more and more psychologists have been creating snazzy, engaging websites in recent years. In order to keep up with the Freuds (bad analogy since Freud was a psychiatrist but let it go, okay?), I too may have to create a website for my practice. Then when people search online for my obituary, they may instead find that, not only am I still alive, I’m open for business.

Once I have my website up and running, I’ll have to figure out how to solicit potential clients. Our ethical guidelines forbid ambulance chasing, which is overly constraining, don’t you think? What’s wrong with showing up at funerals and encouraging people to seek my help? I don’t need any client testimonials to assure you that I’m an excellent grief therapist. Someone has got to help the bereaved, and it might as well be me.

The Premack principle in action: a timely example

Woman with tax documents spread around her on the floor

It’s tax season again, folks. People everywhere are scurrying around trying to get their taxes ready by the April 30 deadline. Since J. and I will be handing our diligent prep work over to Mr. Money, who will complete our taxes for us, we have only until April 3. That’s this coming Monday, isn’t it? I’m sunk.

How many times have I told you how much I hate tax season? Yesterday, J. said insightfully, “Maybe it’s because your earnings have dropped so much but you still need the same amount of time to prepare everything.” Sure, J., although I always hated tax season, even before I stopped making money. Any paperwork has become all the more challenging since my little excursion to the ICU.

I have spent several days avoiding the inevitable by cooking elaborate meals, perfecting a new cake, surfing the internet to address my insatiable curiosity, and picking up extra volunteer shifts. I’ve also spent more-than-my-usual time out of the house, which precludes my completing the one noxious task hanging over me at home. Procrastination raises my anxiety about whatever I’m avoiding, and this anxiety escalates as the deadline approaches.

Now that I’ve run out of distractions, I’ve decided to apply my favourite behavioural method, the Premack principle, to counter my avoidance. You haven’t heard of this life-altering principle? Well, it’s a good thing I can explain it to you. In a nutshell, do the stuff you hate first (the less preferred activity), and then reward yourself with something you enjoy (the more preferred activity).

How do I apply the Premack principle in this situation? I work on my taxes for one hour, which is the extent of my attention span these days, and then I can take a break to do whatever my heart desires. My preferred activities include walking the dog, heading to yoga, cooking a tasty dinner and, of course, writing my blog. Your preferred activities may be completely different than mine. You may choose to reward yourself by crafting or swimming (don’t swallow the pool water!) or finishing that romance novel.

There’s one proviso here. The reward can’t always be chocolate, however much you might want it to be. If you consume chocolate to reward yourself, over time your scale may not be very happy with you. You may indeed complete whatever odious task you’ve been putting off, but is it worth the extra 5 lbs? I learned this the hard way. I managed to gain weight the day I ran a marathon by rewarding myself with an ungodly large steak dinner. Consider this ungodly large mistake a misapplication of the Premack principle.

Whoops! According to the Premack principle, I should have worked on my taxes before I wrote this post. Oh well, I’ll get to them later today, after I walk the dog. C’mon Jelly, I don’t care if you’re tired, let’s go.

As always, if you want to accomplish anything of note, do what I say, not what I do.

[Note to readers: In my previous post, I was not the girl in the photo. She had the fashion sense to wear a plaid shirt with her overalls. I did not discover plaid shirts until my 20s.]

All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten…at 53

Adults sitting at table doing arts and crafts

Adults are trying harder than ever to stay young. Adult colouring books are all the rage, for example. Have you bought yours yet? Grown ups can go to summer camp now if they missed, or still miss, that childhood experience. Even food is changing to appeal to adults’ palates: chai tea ice cream or sourdough pancakes anyone?

But the latest adult-as-child experience I happened upon is kindergarten for grownups. Forget 50 being the new 40, maybe 50 is the new 5. That’s right, adults playing dress up, hanging out at the sand table, or prettying up coloured construction paper at the crafts table. I guess I’m not too late to create a macaroni masterpiece on paper after all. The program was created for adults who were in adverse situations (domestic violence? poverty?) as children and did not have a chance to enjoy fully their  kindergarten experience. This program is giving adults the chance to make up for lost play time.

Each class, the adults start by writing their stresses down on a piece of paper and then destroying that piece of paper. Therapists have been known to use a similar approach in helping people work through trauma. Write down your traumatic story or what you wish you could have told that person you’re harbouring ill feelings toward and we’ll destroy what you’ve written together. Heck, leave what you’ve written with me and you’ll be free of it. I, Annie the Psychologist, have even used the method occasionally with children with some success, but I know of others who use it with adults.

There’s only one problem I can see with the approach used by the adults in kindergarten class: they use a shredder to destroy the page they’ve written their stresses on. Beware the evil malfunctioning shredder! There must be a better way.

As a psychologist, shredding is a critical part of my history. The shredder is but one method in my arsenal of protecting my clients’ confidentiality. Mistake in a report? Shred it to bits–hail the cross cutter–and print a revised version. You young’uns may not catch my shredding drift since paper is so passé these days. Ah, those word-processing files sure save the trees, and the shredders.

As a person who shreds by necessity, I have no positive memories of my long chain of home-office shredding machines. Each and every one has jammed or broken and eventually ended up in the landfill after a premature death. Each replacement I bought was supposed to be better than the last, but they all failed miserably. In fact, I believe if I went down to my office right now, I’d find the last defunct one collecting dust since I haven’t had the heart to throw out.

So go to kindergarten if you want to, grown ups. Enjoy the dress-up corner and fighting over sharing the best toys with your adult friends. But record your stresses in a typical kindergartener’s large print and shred your page by hand. Don’t worry, your buddies aren’t going to waste their time digging through the garbage to piece together what you’ve written. They want a story-time seat on the carpet by the teacher as much as you do. Otherwise they might need their hearing aids.

Blogging insights from an old pro (emphasis on “old”)

Old woman adjusting glasses as she looks at her computer

Did you really think this was a picture of me?

I let my recent blogaversary pass with barely an acknowledgement. That’s three leukemic years of writing about mundane daily experiences, misinterpreting research studies, and sharing my highly opinionated thoughts and deepest of feelings. Does this make me an old pro, or just old? You can be the judge.

Three years later, I’m still unable to edit my own work, so you may all think me illiterate. Despite my best efforts, I miss many grammatical and spelling errors, only some of which I catch after the fact. I hope these errors do not interfere excessively with your reading pleasure.

Despite my errors, I still dislike that unrelenting but unwanted attention from bloggers who want to help me improve my writing. I used to feel insulted, until I chose to reframe their offers as a sign of pride. Maybe these vultures don’t reach out to the crummy writers (we all know I’m deluding myself here; vultures are non discriminating). Compliment or not, I’m not investing in their services. Why would I pay to write when I can write for free?

I have learned to limit the length of my posts, knowing if they were too long, you would look elsewhere for entertainment. By practicing brevity, I’m trying to respect your time and space. And just like the psychologist in me can sense when one hour with a client has passed, so can the writer in me sense when I’ve hit my 500-word limit.

I have not gotten any better at being involved in the blogging community, i.e., following others’ blogs, and liking and commenting on their posts, although I do check in on them occasionally. Thanks to all you bloggers who have shown ongoing interest here even though I have not reciprocated in kind. I admire your capacity to focus on anyone’s blog, or life, but your own. I can’t do it.

After three years of blogging, I don’t fully understand why readers seem more engaged with one topic than another. Every time I post, I wonder whether readers will find the subject interesting or thought provoking or, God forbid, painfully boring. I am constantly surprised by what garners a response. I was hoping eventually I wouldn’t care about your responses–I should have enough confidence in my writing not to care, right?–but I’m not there yet.

I do wonder whether readers are most engaged when I bare my soul. (As an aside, I’d initially written “bear” for “bare” but I caught that one. Embarrassing spelling error averted.) If I write something heart rending or distressing or I disclose a bit too much, I can usually count on some kind of reaction. People love pathos, which makes sense to the psychologist in me. You realize that your interest in these more emotional posts makes me the exhibitionist and you the voyeur (but not in a 50-Shades sort of way). How does that make you feel?

Unfortunately, I can only share so much before my boundaries kick back in, so you’ll have to accept the occasional trite dog post. Everyone needs a break from the intensity sometimes, both in blogging and in real life.

As always, comments are always welcome and appreciated. As Frasier would say, I’m listening.