This has been a rough week, logistically.
Ian's out of state doing Army things for two weeks, and we're over halfway through it, but boy there are some times handling everything alone is okay, and other times it's hard, and this time I am barely hanging in there.
First off, one kid is still in school, one kid has been out for weeks, and the third started summer school to get ahead in credits so she can take more of the classes that interest her next year. The summer school schedule is inconvenient to say the least, and the location is on the complete opposite end of town. Rather than close the store to pick her up, my oldest daughter has been trying to man it for me. It makes her nervous having that kind of responsibility, but she's doing fine so far.
I'm finding it really hard to get my work done since I have to keep stopping everything to drive someone off to piano or Latin or violin, etc. And I have to clean the Airbnb above the store between guests, which is normally not a big deal, but the Pridefest body glitter explosion about did me in. That was almost six hours of cleaning, and we will never be completely free of those sparkles.
There are ants in the kitchen. There is an impossible amount of laundry. The DVD player died on movie night. I keep forgetting to pick up a prescription. I think we need milk? I should probably buy milk even if we don't need milk.
And I'm in pain. Well, that's not accurate--more like I'm in discomfort most of the time with intermittent moments of internal stabbiness. The medical mystery that continues in one of my breasts is annoying. The last time they ran tests and tried to figure out what was happening, all the doctors would say was, "Your breasts are uncooperative." So that's fun. All they can really do is give me steroids, but I already know what those side effects are like, and at the moment I'd rather live with this discomfort than that discomfort.
The problem with chronic pain, though, is it's boring to bring it up all the time, and then people around you forget there is an issue. Since I simply go ahead and do what needs to be done regardless, everyone assumes I'm fine. Occasionally I have to stop in the middle of a store and hold onto a shelf or something while I wait for a wave of awfulness to end, and then my kids look alarmed. And then they forget again. Which I suppose I'd rather they do, but still. The other problem with pain is it makes you impatient. I'm on a shorter fuse and I don't want to be.
The other night while running errands with the kids, we needed to turn onto a street called Chase. The big intersection near us on Chase is all torn up. Most of that street has been closed down for much needed work, and that whole area is confusing right now, but I didn't realize until I got there that you couldn't make a left onto it anymore. So we went through the intersection and turned around so I could turn right on it instead. But you can't turn right either.
At that point I lost it a bit. We were still covered in sweat and glitter from the Airbnb cleanup, we were WAY behind schedule so my dinner plan was ruined and I had to switch it, and then not being able to turn? From either direction? I just started swearing.
Now, to be fair, my kids are not bothered by that particularly, other than my doing that causes them to worry about me. The rule in our house since they were small was that they were allowed to swear, they just had to make sure they understood the consequences based on the circumstance. Swearing is kind of superstitious in my opinion. Why one word for poop is considered worse than another word for poop is stupid if they both mean the same thing. I told my kids around me in the house I don't care. But they should avoid it in front of other people unless they were intentionally going for shock value. The result seems to have been that we sucked all the intrigue out of swear words and my kids aren't interested and never use them.
I however? Well, I don't swear often, but when I am writing in the voice of a character that does? It slips out of my mouth too. And I've been working on a new novel where one of the characters swears a great deal, so those words are closer to the surface than normal.
So there's that.
But here's the thing about when things get bad if we're lucky: The good can rise up to meet it.
I left the kids to go back to work after dinner and got home very late to find my son had cleaned the entire kitchen. Really well. To my standard. My daughters had cleaned up the two main rooms downstairs. The floors were cleared and vacuumed. The clutter from the tables had been either removed or at least organized into something manageable. They'd done all the laundry, including de-glittering the bath mat from the Airbnb.
It was such a relief to come home to less work rather than more for a change. I almost cried.
Plus a neighbor surprised us by mowing our lawn which desperately needed it. When the DVD player died? Another neighbor ran their player
over so we could finish watching our movie.
Not dividing up the responsibilities with the kids means I see more of them than normal. I've been enjoying reading to them more often. And cooking with
them. And having time to chat in the car on all the trips to everywhere.
And I may not have much time for myself at all, but I finished the first
draft of a new novel recently, and have been opening that file at random
moments whenever I have a spare second to edit, and you know what? I
think it's pretty good. I feel like I'm getting a real handle on this
writing thing and it makes me happy.
I'm still tired. And I'm still frustrated with myself when I don't handle everything with the grace I feel I should. But this has been a good reminder of how much I went through during the deployments way back, and how far we've come, and how capable my kids can be.
And of course I'm reminded that in all of this? As inconvenient and frustrating as it can be to try and run a family set up around two parents when down to only one, these aren't real problems at all. We have a home, a business I run myself so I can't get fired, interesting things to do and the means to do them... this is all the good stuff. It's just hard to see when feeling overwhelmed in the moment.
I may be tired, but I have a comfortable bed to lie in at the end of the day. I'm damn lucky, even if there are days I feel like I have no way to turn.