I’m having a month. You don’t even know. When life gets hard, you only have a couple of options: laugh or cry. I’m trying to laugh because crying give me an uncontrollable female dog of a headache that can rage for days. Ain’t no one got time for that! In an attempt to share a little of the “joy” of my Christmas, I am writing it down. Activate your sarcasm font and put on your humor reading goggles now.
Feel free to laugh. It’s not happening to you.
I woke up this morning to crap. Literally. Dog crap. In MY office area.
I’m not going to lie. I started to cry. It started out as a “Oh. My. GOSH! How can one more thing go wrong this week” kind of cry and then quickly morphed into this kind of cry.
The dog doo doo was actually a fairly accurate summation of my week. At least Brutus the dog had the decency not to have another losing battle with Montezuma seeking his revenge on the floor of my office like he did earlier in the month. I am forever grateful for that.
On the 7th of December, a Saturday, I had delusions of decorating my house for Christmas. I had my boys gather the Christmas boxes and bring them upstairs. It didn’t happen. Not that Saturday and not the entire week after did I manage to move beyond this point.
Yes, that IS a sousaphone on my living room floor that sat there for 10 days. You mean you DON’T decorate with a sousaphone for the holidays? You must not be up on the latest trends.
My give-a-gosh-darn was busted. I think it broke some time during the week when I was spending 4 hours a day in car prison driving my youngest teenage son to all his various holiday show choir performances, band concerts and play practices. Nothing will break your “give-a-gosh-darn” faster than doing hard time in car prison.
Finally, the next Saturday I was determined to put some holiday cheer into our lives but only in a very scaled back way. I wasn’t going to set up the Girl Tree this year because it’s just not as fun without my girl home (she’s on a mission in California this Christmas). Hubs won’t be coming home until Christmas Eve, as will our oldest son who will spend a day or two with us. Noah, Sam and Katie didn’t seem to care either if the Christmas stuff was put up or not. With all that we have going on, I was going for a Christmas Lite kind of theme. Put up the basics and call it good.
I got the tree up, but more life got in my way, so it stayed like this for several more days.
How’s this for Christmas lite? I was kind of liking the minimalist look for several days. Five days, to be exact. I finally cracked the whip and we set up the tree. All I could find were the colored lights and it seems to me we are missing some ornaments. But, it’s done.
Yes, Bear Claw Santa is smashed against the ceiling. If this wasn’t our last Christmas in this house, I’d care more. As it is, I’m hoping our next house has taller ceilings than this one.
I’ve been forced to listen to Christmas music this month every time I’m in the car with Katie because that’s what her imperial hand waving gestures toward the radio indicate that she wants to hear. I grudgingly listen to the music, but I can’t say it has put me in the mood for Christmas.
Hubs and I made really good progress on the kitchen while he was home for Thanksgiving. So much so that I had a good momentum going and a huge list of things I wanted to accomplish before he came back for Christmas. After a few days, I realized that if I spent all my free time working on the kitchen, I’d be in even less of a mood to do Christmas stuff with my boys.
I soon scaled back my plans for the kitchen during the holidays. Now, I’m just hoping to get the bare minimum done so we can complete the projects I need Hubs’ help with while he’s home. We won’t be bringing Hubs home in January so I can’t miss this window of opportunity.
I seriously want a do over for this last week. My week started out last Sunday with Noah’s girlfriend, Victoria, over for the day and dinner with the sister missionaries. Even though I had forgotten to buy the roast I was going to cook, my plan B of Broccoli Cheese soup was a happy alternative. Victoria made some fudge for dessert and helped me decorate the Man Tree. It was nice to have a girl around.
Noah must have prayed himself home after dropping her off because he was so low on gas he knew we wouldn’t even make it back into town in that car. I told him to take the Suburban to school in the morning since it had plenty of gas and I would deal with getting gas in the Ford.
When Noah went to take the Suburban, he discovered the battery was dead in it. I’d asked Sam to park the Suburban for me in the barn after church on Sunday. Sam’s not a licensed driver, but he often moves vehicles on our property. Apparently, no one had told Sam that the beeping sound when he turned off the car means the lights are still on.
Noah grabbed the gas can and poured it into the Ford and had enough gas to get him to school, a 40-minute drive from our house. Meanwhile, I hooked the Suburban up to the battery charger and drove Sam to school (20 minute drive) and Katie to her program (20 minute drive in a different direction) and then back home (20 minutes again). I came home and took a nap after my morning and then went to the band concert at the high school that night. It was a nice concert so I’m glad I went.
My week continued on in that fashion. More problems each day. None of which were significant by themselves or unsolvable, but the aggregate of which was ready to break me. I had a couple of things that I enjoyed and helped me relieve some of the stress, but it I could tell my ability to cope was waning.
Saturday seemed to be the day designed to break me. It was supposed to be a day of shopping since I haven’t done much Christmas shopping up to now. On our way into town, the Ford started having problems. We turned around and went back home, intending to take the Suburban. However, we couldn’t get the Suburban to turn over. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!
With the Suburban clearly needing help of a mechanic, Noah and I worked on figuring out what was wrong with the Ford. We got it running and drove into town, had time to shop for two things and grab lunch before we had to head home to get Noah to work. Once Noah came home from work that evening, he and I headed back out to do some of our shopping.
As I was going to bed, I decided to look in the basement. One of the “little annoyances” from earlier in the week was my suspicion that the sump pump wasn’t working.
The six inches of water at the bottom of the stairs confirmed my worst fears. I called Hubs, upset and ready to do bodily harm to the next person that crossed my path.
I know all my calls to Hubs are hard on him. He wants to be here to help us deal with these problems. I want him here because things rarely happen like this when he is. #SoNotFair
I got up this morning with a plan to run to Home Depot and grab a sump pump, come home and hook it up and have it doing it’s pumping thing while we went to church. Ha!
When I came downstairs this morning, I found the dog crap on my floor. Well played, Brutus. Well played.
I was tired from a bad night’s sleep. The rain and the wind were loud all night long. I was worried about the water in the basement and all the other stress in my life. In fact, I haven’t slept well all week which is probably why my coping skills have been so low.
I tried to laugh at the absurdity of one more problem. I did, but it was hard.
As I drove into town, I started having car problems again. Did you hear that? That sound? It was the sound of me, breaking. I managed to get the car to the gas station. I checked all the fluids and they were fine but I wasn’t. I have been really good since March about not drinking caffeine or soda of any kind. It’s a crutch I use and an addiction that I have tried really hard not to give in to when life gets hard. When I’m stressed I crave sugar and caffeine like the worst sort of addict.
I not only bought a Dr. Pepper, my drug of choice, but I also bought a chocolate covered donut while I was at the station. I pulled the car around the back of the station to the library parking lot. I figured I’d have Noah get the neighbor’s truck and come tow me to the mechanic’s. I thought it would be easier to hook up the car from the empty library lot than from the gas station.
It was early still, though, and Noah wasn’t awake and his phone wasn’t waking him.
I sat in the parking lot, chugging Dr. Pepper, speed dialing Hubs and Noah and Sam, trying to get someone to answer their phone and bawling my eyes out. Every time I thought I was getting myself under control, I cried more. I kept thinking what someone would think seeing a crazy lady loosing it in the library parking lot and I’d cry harder. It was ridiculous.
I finally reached Hubs who assured me the car was drivable and I wasn’t going to blow up the engine if I kept driving. He talked me off the ledge, which seems to be how most of our conversations go these days.
I wish I could report that it all went smoothly from there. It didn’t. It took me two trips up to Home Depot (20 minute drive each way) to get the parts I needed. I took Sam with me the second time and he very graciously accepted the role of “Helping Mom Get A Grip.”
My mom called before we could leave and I bawled some more on the phone to her. When I told her that I was especially missing my dad right now, I made her cry, too. This is our first Christmas without my Dad and I just miss him. My Mom has been on my mind a lot lately, too. I know this is hard on her. It’s her first Christmas in 57 years without my Dad.
While I was crying to my Mommy, Sam was secretly making a Fun Music playlist. When we got in the car, he plugged in his phone and turned on the tunes.
As it turns out, Fat Bottom Girls by Queen played at high volumes was just what I needed.
It took me four hours to buy a sump pump and hook it up and have it start pumping out the water. It took another two hours and 43 minutes to get all the water out of the basement and then another hour to push all the low puddles of water towards the sump. I have the dehumidifier on and two fans and a lot of the water has dried up.
It was more of a mess than a lot of damage. It is impossible to waterproof a fieldstone basement so we try to only have things in Rubbermaid tubs down there. Unfortunately, those Christmas boxes that sat in my living room for so long were down in the basement. I thought I had them out of water range, but I didn’t. They flipped on their sides and filled with water. I had a lot of decorations in there that I didn’t use this year, so I will need to figure out what, if anything, can be saved.
While I am now in a better mood than I was this morning, my day didn’t get much better. I have a tender lymph node on my neck that hurts. Noah went out to get food for us tonight because I wasn’t up for making dinner and when he came home he told me he’d hit a deer. You know your life is messed up when hitting a deer with your new car doesn’t even get you worked up.
I’m also not convinced the flood didn’t damage our boiler (how our house is heated). I want to crawl into my bed and not come out for a few days. I can’t do that because I have to finish my shopping tomorrow and on Tuesday we pick up Hubs from the airport. My birthday is the day after Christmas, though. Maybe I can sleep then.
“What do you want for your birthday, Mom?”
“A nap. I want a nap.”
In spite of all the crap that has come our way lately, I want you to know that I am so grateful for all the blessings I have. I am so blessed to have good people in my life to help me sort through this stuff. I have family members who prop me up when my spirits lag and help me move forward. Even though I can’t claim to have handled all these problems with grace, dignity or faith,
I’m trying to trust that I can do hard things, that Heavenly Father is real and listens to our prayers. I know that His hand has been very present in my life, helping me through all these trials.
I’m not all Bah Humbug this Christmas.
I have found moments of joy and peace this season in those things that truly focus on the birth of our Savior. I’m so grateful for my knowledge that He lives. I’m so grateful for his life and for his atoning sacrifice for me. I love my Savior. In the next few days I’m going to try to focus on that.
May you find joy all around you this season. May your cars work when you need them, your basements not flood, may your son not hit a deer, and most of all, may your dog do his business in the yard.