Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ramblings of a Madwoman

Well. Things have just gotten way out of hand around here.

I'm sure the last thing you're interested in is a sob story, but Redheaded Snippet's little ER escapade was just the beginning of a steady trickle of woes.

It's the end of hockey season; that means semi-finals and finals and having to travel over an hour to get to the "neutral" stadiums where the games will be played only to find, after already devoting hundreds of dollars and endless hours to the cause of seeing your child play in the Championship game, that they charge admission for the privilege. Oh, and sorry, but we take cash only. So, go back through the very confusing and enormous parking lot filled with one ways and concrete dividers, back through the miles of remote country road and find yourself an ATM that doesn't charge you a pair of limbs to get some money. 'Cause the game starts in five minutes and you don't want to miss hearing your daughter's name announced on the loud speaker, right?

Sorry. I think I needed that.

We have one more semi-final today and, provided we win, one last final on Sunday. And then, of course, basketball try-outs are the following Friday--that's right, the day after Thanksgiving--but I am absolutely refusing to entertain that notion right now.

Hockey puts a lot of strain on our budget. With me being a housewife, we live on one income and always have. God has always met our needs and even piled on tons of luxury things we simply want and don't need, but it takes a lot of prudence and planning to make ends meet. And even the little things can throw things way off. Like having to buy a gift bag full of snacks and trinkets for Redheaded Snippet's big sister on the hockey team before each and every game. Like the extra gas for driving too and from games and practices, not to mention for sitting in parking lots afterwards. Like meals eaten on the run because the game ended at 6:30, the church is 45 minutes away and we have to be there in 30 and no one has eaten anything since lunch (except a gift bag full of snacks provided by Snippet's big sister). Like programs and admission tickets and certain-colored Under Armour and special gloves that will keep hands warm but not impede handling of a hockey stick.

The Viking has always worked extra jobs in order to pay for all these things. Though he gets a paycheck for sitting behind a desk, he is very skilled at building and fixing things. He can do it all, except major plumbing and electrical work. So, he does little construction jobs on the side. These jobs paid for Redheaded Snippet's braces in full, got her to the National Championship in Virginia last June and provided a new, higher-quality field hockey stick this past summer.

Well, that little pool of plenty has dried up. The Viking learned a few weeks ago he has two herniated discs. He had been having some pain, nothing major, just enough to cause concern. Doctor sent him to physical therapy, told him he should get over to see a specialist some time soon. We realized then that this was going to seriously restrict his side job opportunities.

Fast forward to this past weekend when The Viking came home from work in tremendous pain. I could tell as soon as he walked in the door--his face was grey and drawn and he looked ten years older. That night he didn't sleep, just tossed and turn and groaned and sometimes even yelled out in pain. We couldn't reach our doctor so at 8:30 the next morning, I took him to the ER. I had never seen him in so much pain.

That was five days ago. The pain is still there. He hasn't slept more than 3 hours a night despite the many drugs they've been throwing at him. He's in constant pain, is fuzzy half the time because of the (ineffective) medication, and his mood is terrible and understandably so. He's been home from work three days now, trying to work on his laptop, but unable to get much done because he can't think straight.

I don't think I'm handling this all that well. I have a hard time managing my household to begin with and now I'm having to do everything plus take care of my suffering husband, which is what I really want to do but am overwhelmed by everything else. We've spent a fortune on rushed meals, prescriptions, trips to the doctor and ER. Neither of us has slept much in the past week as The Viking is spending his nights pacing around the bedroom or lying on the recliner, couch, floor or bed trying to find a comfortable position and I am up worrying about him, his job, all the things I have to do the next day and how I am so tired I can't think straight. Yesterday I went out 14 times and was so exhausted I flopped into bed with the kitchen still uncleaned from dinner, laundry piled up all over the living room, the bathrooms uncleaned, Redheaded Snippet's uniform unwashed, and I still couldn't sleep.

I'm overwhelmed, stressed-out, nauseated and worried. I think it's the perfect storm: the end of hockey season, fast-approaching holidays, The Viking's long-term health, his short term suffering, loss of income, extra expenses, it's all got me strung out! I know in my head that God will provide all our needs, but I always have trouble with that when I just can't see my hand in front of my face and don't know which direction to turn let alone which step to take first. I feel like I just need a little peace and quiet to refocus, prioritize and get a plan in order. Instead, I'm just running around putting out small fires all day long. Take today, for example: Man-Cub forgot his lunch AGAIN so I have to run up to the school and drop it off by 11:15. I need a shower. The beds need to be made. The bathrooms need to be cleaned. The kitchen needs to be cleaned and the floors need to be swept. I think I desperately need a nap. Men are coming soon to take away our piano (which we just sold in order to install the wood stove in our living room). Redheaded Snippet has a game this evening at 5:00 an hour-and-a-half away. The gas gauge on my car is on E. We're going to need to eat dinner on the way home from the game again as we're not going to get home until 8:00. And we're out of money.


Believe it or not, finishing this post was first on my list. I needed to finish something, something I could look at and go, "Aaaahhh, a completed task. I'm not completely inadequate." I'm going to bite the bullet and run Man-Cub's lunch up to the school (since that has to be done by a certain time) and then I think I will make beds as that is another thing I can look at to calm myself. Then I think I'll focus on the kitchen surfaces, then the floor, and then we'll see about that shower. What do you think? Sound like a plan?

Hope it goes nothing...

1 comment:

Amy said...

First of all, you shouldn't feel inadequate. What you're having to deal with is too much for anybody at all. Except someone with hired help, which you do not have.

Have you thought about seriously cutting back on your commitments? Does Snippet HAVE to play basketball? Do you HAVE to go to every game? Do you HAVE to have a wood stove? I'm just wondering if it is time to give yourselves (meaning you and the Viking) a cushion of sanity. I know you want the kids to be happy and generally that is the job of parents, but think about the pressure that would be off of you two if he did not have to worry about making so much extra and you didn't have to worry about getting to so many places with not enough time to cook and eat proper meals. I am in no way suggesting that any of the things that are demanding your time or attention are not good things, because they are all excellent things, but maybe it's time for something to be cut. Cutting things is painful, I know, but sometimes it has to be done. Maybe you guys have talked about this before but the game has changed now that the Viking is hurt. Don't forget- you need to put each other first, before the kids. You are both completely worn out and your bodies are now telling you that. We've been in this position a lot and we have to sit down and say, "what can possibly be cut?" Sometimes nothing can be cut (like for us right now- we are going to have to sell some of our stock because we've cut every expense that can be cut) but sometimes you can. Time=money so if you cut something that gives you more of either, you win.

I'm just brainstorming here. Of course I know you've already thought about all of these things but sometimes it helps to have someone echo your thoughts. Hope it helps.

(((hugs))) and call me anytime you have a chance, like when you're sitting in the stands?