It’s day 55 of the marathon and I had my first real meltdown. Not a good day for juggling all the balls. The meltdown was only for a moment and partly because Fran was there and the children were not. Fran was there to contain the damage as I erupted from the pressure that had been building up all day, like a volcano.
It seems that all my waking hours are spent on this marathon treadmill that is going slightly faster then I can go. I have to keep planning every minute to maintain the maximum efficiency through out of the day. There has been no down time. No days off. Just GO-GO-GO. I am tired.
I don’t want to say to the children, “No we can’t do this or we can’t do that because we are visiting Daddy this weekend.” I don’t want the children feeling resentment and guilt about being dragged to Halifax every weekend. The have been missing things like a friend sleepovers, having a lights-out night and play games in front of the fire, watch a movie together, play in a big pile of leaves like we have in the past, have a friend over.
So today, being an school in service day and each of them being invited to a birthday party, I thought I should let them do these fun things instead of packing them up for a trip to Halifax. I thought you would agree.
My sister, Fran, and your brother and wife, Steve and Laura are coming to Halifax too.
Last month the back seat to the van broke making it a 5 passenger van not a seven passenger van. I never bothered to get it fixed but now I regret it. If the children are going to stay in Truro with Juanita, she will need it to accommodate all the chidren.
I knew it would be a busy day. I prepared for work and packed more for the weekend. I got the children packed for an overnighter at Juanita’s. Birthday presents are organized for the two parties, pack for Annie to stay with her dogfriend, Indy, arrange to get the van seat fixed so the van can hold seven passengers again, get the chickens safe for the weekend, get ready for work and, finally, go to Halifax. Now I see it it in writing I can understand why I’m tired.
In addition to all this, there were all the complications. Nothing went right. I drive the children to Juanita’s at 7:45 am but Quinn forgot his raincoat, had go back and get it along with a booster seat. I drop the van off at the Toyota dealer but they don’t think they will be able to fit it in today – they are short staffed today and can’t guarantee that they can do it today. Out of desperation, I play the ‘my husband is very sick in the hospital and I must have a van for family to go see him’ card. I hadn’t done this before but it did get results – they promise to try to look at the van.
I did all this and actually got to work just in time for my first appointment. Work was busy – thank God – Kept my mind off the rest of me whirlwind day.
At work, I find out that Melissa, my newest coworker vet, is pregnant with twins! She feels well and thinks she can work until Jan, but after that, the practice is going to be short-staffed with vets this winter. I might need to work longer hours.
After work, I loose the cell phone. I try calling it – no luck. I call work and put on hold. Then after a few frantic minutes, I find it – it’s there. The children want to stay in Truro, then Quinn changes his mind and wants to go to Halifax with me, and Toyota couldn’t fix the van seat.
They suggest, I look at an auto salvage. I did and I found a previously owned seat – it’s tan not grey, but really, who cares – it’s just a car. “Please save it for me – I’ll be there by 4:30.” I gave my name. After a busy day at work, I get to the autosalvage – the seat is still in the wrecked van in the lot! Great, I have to go out into the very muddy and rather dangerous looking car lot and look for it. It’s covered in mud – I don’t care.
The young man, who clearly loves playing with dirty old broken cars, can’t get the seat free of the van. It’s supposed to be easy – lift the lever and pull – but no, one of the locks is jammed. I’m preparing to give up – he is not – he pushes and pulls, twists and teases – the seat won’t budge. He gets out a very long screwdriver and starts to pry the hinge. Great, I think to myself cynically – the ‘man approach’ – he is going to muscle it and break the stupid thing.
He works at it, while I swear inside my head about how the day has had too many un-welcomed twists. He gets it free! I take back the ‘man approach’ comment and now I’m thankful for it.
The non-repair repair bill from Toyota = $32.00.
A real seat – very dirty and (now) soaked with WD40 = $75.00.
A functioning seven-passenger van that can drive to Hailfax to see you … priceless.
Three hours out of my life for that car seat – it better not disappoint me.
Quinn gets to his friend’s, Declan, a skating party … late and without a coat!
Tara gets to her friend’s Madeline, a corn maze party … late.
On the drive to the corn maze, I swear at the driver in front of the car. I was just re-directing my frustrations and try to explain it to the children. Tara’s reply was “You shouldn’t do that because Daddy does and he always gets stuck behind slow people and trains. You never swear usually and you never get stuck in those situations.” She adds “You need to un-stress Mum, you are not as good as driver as Daddy you will get us in an accident.”
Tara is late and bravely goes into the corn maze herself to look for her friends, it’s after dark and they had a 15 minutes head start. I asked her “Are you OK to do this by yourself in the dark?” “Yes Mummy, I can do it.” She replied with determination.
I guess being independent can be an advantage at times.
At least, in the end, they both had fun. I guess that makes the day worth it.
At the time of my emotional eruption, Quinn was feeling sad and was unsure if he wanted to stay in Truro with Juanita. I was almost ready to flip out – all that running about – three hours of my day lost to get a seat for the van and now Quinn wants to go to Halifax with me – If I had known that I wouldn’t need to fix the van.
I suppose that having the van fixed will be helpful in the future. It will allow Juanita to be able to help out easier, because with her 2 children and my two – she needs 4 child friendly seats – It has to be the van.
Quinn is so empathetic. My feelings go to him and his to me. It’s a vicious cycle – I’m going to have to be better at dealing with my stress. Or Un-Stressing, as Tara calls it.
This fall we were talking about getting a new car to replace the van, which is 10 years old this month. You were especially interested in getting a new vehicle before May 2010. This is when the next Cabot Trail Relay Race is and you wanted a big reliable car for driving runners around the course. I was a little more practical and thought a Mazda 5 would be good. I’m glad that we didn’t get too far with that project. We don’t know what type of car will fit your needs, at this time.
Tara worked at the vet hospital again, for about an hour, under Joye’s watchful eye. She learned about white blood cells. The respect I got yesterday has evaporated and she wants me to pretend that she’s not there. Really, she wants to pretend I’m not there – she is getting dangerously close to the teenager, who is embarrassed-about-her-parents stage. Great – I’m really not ready for this – Thank God I still have cuddly Quinn. I don’t want him to grow up.
Steve and Laura are supposed to arrive today. When I get to your room, finally at 8:30pm, you say you hadn’t seen them yet. But you were very emotional and maybe you don’t remember.
You are sad because, Courtney, your nurse, asked you why 29, what is so special about that number.(she saw your gold 29 on your chain). It’s her birth day. She likes the number too. She shares with you a personal story about 29 and a casino. You are overwhelmed with feelings.
You are so emotional, you talk in your normal voice volume. I suggest what you are feeling to help you get the feelings out. “Are you in pain? Are you sad?” “Yes” you say “I’m in pain and sad and … injured.”
After this melt down and your eruption, your whisper voice comes back and you are tired. I read you a letter from Martha (old friend from high school and fellow runner). And I read the account of the Angels game from last night. They won 7-6. Next game is Saturday. You fall asleep.
I guess I’m entitled to at least one bad day … and so are you.
Tomorrow is another day.