I’m getting sued by a neighbor. We just got served last Friday. Actually, 10 neighbors in total are getting sued by Tom. We are getting sued because rain falls on the private road we all share, and a lot of that rain water apparently is flooding the basement of Tom’s house, which happens to be around 20′ lower than the road surface. Tom had tried to work out a plan with all of us to have the road channel the water differently, but most of the neighbors, except for me, said that they would not pay for any road improvements that benefit only Tom. I sort of agree, but I knew the alternative, going to court, would cost us so much more than just the $700-$1,000 each that we estimated it would take to drain the road differently. So now he’s taking us to court.
My family could lose thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars in this lawsuit. All the money saved for retirement, weddings, college – all could be wiped out. The reason? Because of our state’s treble damage laws. Those laws state that if the court awards Tom $25,000 (as an example) to fix the road and Tom’s foundation, then he is also awarded three times that amount in damages, bringing the total to $100,000. Or that total could be a lot higher, if the court deems the damage to his enjoyment of his property is higher.
The saddest part? Three of my neighbors, if you haven’t read my previous posts, are in a state of dying, or they will never return to their home because of health, which also affects their partner. Which really affects all of us, because most of us have lived in this neighborhood for over 20 years. And now they have this lawsuit to worry about on top of it all.
Having this hang over my head is clouding my normal sunny disposition. I’m about to write a check for $2,500 just to get my lawyer involved. That $2,500 was earmarked for other things, such as mission trips and possibly a trip out west for my bride’s cousin’s wedding next year. This is extremely stressful, and sometimes it feels as if I am one straw away from having a heart attack or going postal. Do they say going postal anymore? I know I’m getting stressed when I start getting sharp pains right by my left ear. They only last a few seconds, but it is enough to warn me to settle down and breathe deeply. And I feel a cold sore coming on. Fantastic.
I know I’m not confusing anxiety with stress. Stress is an outside factor that taxes our mental, physical, and/or emotional systems and causes us to be anxious, nervous, frustrated or angry. This upsets our balance of life. I am purely stressed.
What can do deliberately to handle this stress? For one, I actually cannot claim that today I will stop deliberately being stressed. That’s the first thing I need to acknowledge, that I just can’t wish it away. But what experts want me to do is provide outlets for the stress reactions that I am having. This article gives some ideas such as a mini-retreat, exercising, and using relaxation methods. I also saw other out-of-the-box ideas such as playing violent video games, and doing something extreme. Other ideas include deep breathing, eating well, and doing meditation.
Today, I’m just going to focus on a couple to help get my stress down. Once I recognize that my stress level is increasing, I’ll do the deep breathing exercises. I will also continue to exercise each day. I’ll use my ice pick headaches as a measure of success, based if I feel they are dissipating.