So in the first 11 days of the year, I’ve seen the usual Susie Sunshine posts coming across my feed. So much optimism! So much hope! This will be the year that we all finally do the right eating, regular exercising, money managing, better living, universe mastering things.
Look, kudos to those of you who are bravely plowing through all life has thrown your way, turning your lemons into extra-sweet lemonade as you offer joy, encouragement, and 10-step lists to the rest of us. This will not be one of those posts. This will be a self-indulgent, whiny, blatantly #firstworldproblems rant about why I pretty much want to punch 2014 in the face. Hard.
You’ve been warned.
1. Moving Mayhem: This year, we built a house. I may blog about this eventually…..after years of therapy. People say it’s one of the most stressful things you can do. Preach it, dear people. Anyway, we’re in the home stretch, and first thing this month, my
insane silly husband decided it was time to move. As in….immediately. He believed, by the sheer force of his will, that the approximately 692 little things that were yet to be done in the new house would magically resolve themselves. He gave me about a week’s notice, and so I packed about 90% of our belongings into boxes at light speed and without much planning. (Did I mention we’ve added four people, three animals, and a whole mess of junk since the last time we did this?) Ellie brought great enthusiasm to the process—unpacking as I packed, grabbing my labeling Sharpie to create her own tattoos, snatching my scissors to wave as a banner while running wildly through the house, and using my packing tape to connect various toys, furniture, and the dogs.
But you know those little things? They did not in fact get done quite so quickly, and as it turns out, housing inspectors are rather nit-picky. Thus, we’ve moved our move date three times. But hey, no biggie. It’s like an indoor camping adventure!
2. The Renting Dance: Two days after the above husband set me to the task of packing, he informed me that he put our current house on Craigslist and already had two calls! So, in the middle of packing, could I please make sure the house was clean and orderly enough to show to potential renters by Jan. 5?
Sure! Of course. I mean, by this point I only had about 40 boxes stacked in the living room, with laundry, dishes, and other general household duties completely ignored. So, sweet Herdest (bless him) moved all the boxes to the garage, and we stopped packing for an entire day for cleaning, drywall repair, stain removal, yard work, etc.
One potential renter showed. We have not yet rented our current house.
3. Hell Freezes Over: Okay, I can really only verify temperatures for a large majority of the United States, but I think there’s a pretty good chance.
Anyway, somewhere in the packing, cleaning madness, two college-educated people completely forgot that freezing temperatures and copper pipes don’t mix and failed to take precautionary measures.
So this happened.
Of course, I didn’t know this until Tuesday morning, when Ellie came to me and announced excitedly, “Mama! It’s wainin’ in my woom!” Indeed, it was. A torrential downpour falling from the vent in her ceiling right onto the rocking chair. My favorite chair in the house.
While I hollered for the boys and frantically called Charlie, Ellie splashed gleefully through the foyer and dining room, thrilled with her indoor water park.
We finally got the water turned off, and were left with a pond spanning three rooms. And remember those boxes? Yeah, most of my towels were used to cradle pictures and vases. Thus, I haphazardly threw bath robes, blankets, table clothes, and clothes onto the floor until the neighbor brought a Shop-Vac. But hey, what’s 10 extra loads of laundry?
So, we spent most of a day ripping out insolation and carpet padding, cutting holes in drywall, and rotating space heaters.
At the end of the day, her room looked like this:
Thus, she’s been sleeping on a cot in our closet all week. Her crib is nestled snuggly in my bathroom while we used the rest of her furniture to create our own little maze in the living room. She’s only averaging 2.5 tantrums daily involving the refrain, “I wan my woom back! I seep in my woom!”
4. Showers of Doom: When the pipe burst, the hot water heater that feeds our master bathroom apparently felt left out of the festivities and so decided to die. Consequently, Charlie and I were forced to brave the bathroom inhabited by our teenagers. Y’all, I can’t even find words. Okay, two words: shower shoes.
5. Some Like It Hot: Thursday, I took Ellie to Kids Day Out. Her Daddy picked her up and took her to the Children’s Museum, and since our moving date moved, I claimed a few of the quiet hours and gave myself a blessed reprieve from the fray. I stopped for donuts. I drank coffee while reading a book. I watched the Call the Midwife holiday special while folding laundry and cried sappy, warm-fuzzy tears. I breathed, and it felt good. That night, we went to our first session of Empowered to Connect, an intensive parenting class geared toward adoptive families. Encouraged and excited, we picked up Ellie, who chattered happily about playing with her “frens” in their childcare program.
But when I removed Ellie from her car seat half an hour later, she was burning up with a 102 fever.
Seriously?! Ellie has a tendency to develop febrile seizures when her fever gets very high, so I spent the night getting up every few hours to dispense Tylenol, Motrin, and a whole bunch of Mama worry. On Friday, the doctor said she doesn’t have the flu (praise God) but some random adenovirus. We should expect a sore throat and possible digestive tract involvement about the time of our next scheduled move. Awesome. Let’s throw in some diarrhea because moving just isn’t challenging enough.
Thus far, we’ve just been battling the crazy fever, and our lives are controlled by a switch existing at 101.9 degrees. Below this number, and Ellie is a whirlwind of never-ending, cat-chasing, dog-wrestling, paint-smearing, water-splashing, food-demanding destruction. In her Tylenol-infused manic state, she has no tolerance for this staying home thing and wants to know WHY we can’t go to the zoo, museum, park, etc. She asks me about 4,000 times an hour just in case I change my mind.
However, the moment her fever hits 102, she transforms into a pitiful little ball of clingy neediness, crying, “I’m siiiick.” Then, we sit on the couch and watch Glee music videos on YouTube for hours. (Actually, I sort of rock this part. This mama loves an excuse to cuddle.)
Here we are cuddling.
But yeah, with all the wee-hour fever checking and medicine dispensing, there’s not so much of the sleep thing happening here.
6. Show Me the Money! And of course, fixing all this stuff hasn’t been cheap. Sigh.
$369: Broken pipe repair
$80: Hot-water heater repair
$350: Drywall and ceiling replacement/repair
And we haven’t received an estimate on new carpet yet, so there’s that.
Okay, I’m done. For now. If you’re still with me, please excuse the excessive complaining. In all seriousness, I know I’m completely blessed in a thousand ways; I just thought y’all could help me find some humor in a crazy couple of weeks. Help me laugh people! (Or you know, invite me over for a glass of wine. That would work too.)
Here’s hoping your 2014 is going smoothly and is full of joy.