Do you suffer from helperitis?  I do. What is it? It’s the tendency to volunteer your services, ideas and advice when no one’s asking. In psychiatric circles they call it co-dependency. I know, because I’ve had years of co-dependency counseling. I thought I was cured, but this weekend it reared its ugly head again. I fell off the wagon, and now I’m paying the price.

What happened?

I’m blessed to live about a half-mile from the ocean in Myrtle Beach, SC. Judi and John, my next-door neighbors, use their raised-beach house as a vacation home and also rent it to tourists. On Thursday, in anticipation of the possible landfall of Hurricane Irene, their rental management company sent workers to the house to move their outdoor furniture inside, including a big glass-top table.

I happened to be at their house emptying their dehumidifier when the workers arrived, and knowing Judi and John would be charged for this service, I sent the workers away saying (a) the hurricane would likely bypass us, and (b) if it did come in, I’d move their furniture inside (Jeff was out of town). I wanted to make sure Judi and John wouldn’t be charged for an unnecessary service.

Dumb!  Dumb!  Dumb!

Friday night Irene rolled up the eastern seaboard, thankfully missing Myrtle Beach. Yes, we had lots of rain and sustained wind of about 30 mph, but that’s not a big deal. I went to bed, confident everything was okay.  After all, nothing was blowing around on my deck, so I was sure my neighbor’s outdoor furniture was fine, too.

Wrong!

This is not their deck. I found this image on Google. Their mess was much worse, but it's mostly cleaned up now.

Try to imagine the sinking-feeling when I opened the plantation shutters to their back deck and found their 7’ long glass-top table shattered to smithereens. Millions of tiny glass fragments all over their 30’ long deck, stuck between deck board crevices, and all over the concrete patio below the deck — broken glass everywhere. How could I be so stupid?

The day before, on one of my Jack Canfield self-improvement CDs, Jack said he’s learned to say “that’s good” about every experience, no matter how bad.  I’m still trying to find the “that’s good” reason for this mess.

Already I’ve spent five hours cleaning up tiny shards of glass, trying to get it out of all the nooks and crevices of Judi’s deck. Still facing me are more hours of clean-up on my hands and knees with a screwdriver, prying glass out of cracks,  plus time spent shopping for and paying for a new table top. “That’s good,” I guess.

What good has come out of this? The reminder that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and the lesson to keep my big trap shut. Maybe this experience will save me from opening my mouth and getting myself into more trouble down the road. That’s good.