Lost a week there, eh? Man, does time fly when you’re unconscious…
Well, it’s been a very busy and hectic one. And cold…freaking cold. But mostly busy and hectic, and yes, I’ll say it, lonely. Lonely in a house with three cats, two (three…more on that later) dogs, and two kids.
Justin has been in No-Cell-Service-Limited-Land-Line-Use-northern-Alaska since last Saturday. If I’m lucky, I can catch him online for a five-minute IM chat. I’ve been able to speak to him on the phone twice, but both have been incredibly short since I am calling the family’s business line and we don’t want to tie it up long. One call was to finally untangle the mystery of his bill-keeping. I had a feeling I was following his thread well, but wasn’t sure and got panicked when the Bill-Pay through our bank didn’t think 4 business days was enough time to wire our Home Equity payment. To a bank that now owns my bank. A bank that has owned my bank long enough to merge ATMs and such. A bank that acquired my bank well before the big ol’ financial fallouts from September and October. So anyways, I panicked because every other company we pay through Bill Pay only needs like 24 hours. But we got that straightened-out.
The other call was Friday morning. I’ll get into that later.
So as I mentioned, I’ve been pulling a lot of late nights with work. And the few nights in-between I have been staying up equally late trying to keep up with stuff regarding the kids and things around the house. I was up till 1am every night from last Thursday (8th) through the night before last (16th). Last night was the first night in over a week I got to bed by midnight…and the 90 minutes prior to that I was doing relaxing things like reading while taking a bath. I actually didn’t mean to be in the tub that long but good grief, it was a fascinating book (Children of the Flames: Dr. Josef Mengele and the Untold Story of the Twins of Auschwitz), and I just kept adding hot water as the bathwater cooled.
Before Justin left, he and I coordinated with a family member to come out to help me for a couple days. Nothing crazy, just an extra pair of hands to help me get dinner on the table and/or keep the kids occupied so I could get a few minor things done around the house or run to the store. But that fell through. Then Thursday night, friends of ours called–they were going out of town and could I watch their dog? Well, since our other friends were originally going to watch the dog so that I wasn’t trying to make trips to their house with the kids, I realized the other friends had decided to go out of town, too. So now instead of getting a little extra help around the house and the chance to hang out with some friends to let the kids play and tire themselves, I get to pick up the dog to keep at my house (I can’t exactly let her out at 10pm without taking my kids out of bed), I get to lose a Saturday morning of errands to take in a dismantled pool table, and I have no one to talk to or spend the long weekend with.
I’m disappointed and frustrated because I am honestly getting to the end of my rope. I know a lot of other moms…working moms…go through this with their husbands due to the military or other working arrangements, but I have absolutely no one to turn to for help and I.am.just.tired. But what else am I to do? So I just take a deep breath and keep pushing on…trying to stay positive because Justin will be in Anchorage soon, meaning he’ll have cell coverage and will be in a hotel where I can call and talk to him all I want without the worry or guilt of adversely affecting someone’s means of providing for their family.
So I put the kids to bed, telling them brightly that we will be watching the dog for a few days (they both love the dog, and she’s a good girl, thank goodness), and to make sure get good sleep since Friday is their last day at their school before starting the new one. Gavin is so distraught about me mentioning the new school that his face puckers up and he refuses to make look at me or give me a hug goodnight. I tried to tell him that it’s okay to feel sad or scared, but he turned away from me, so I just left his room, fighting tears myself. The rest of the night I watched “Grey’s Anatomy” (last scene…yuck! ouch! shudder) and “Private Practice” while I made brownies for the boys to bring to school, and over-cried my eyes out at “Private Practice”. But hey, it was cathartic to get all that pent-up sadness and frustration out, so I felt quite a bit better by the time I went to bed just shy of 1am.
Friday morning we scramble out of bed and dress really warmly. It was a whopping 9 degrees when we first got up. We got out of the house with minimal issues, besides another fun flare-up of pink-eye for me. At school, all the kids in Gavin’s class saw the container of brownies and started rushing towards me, all of them proclaiming their love of brownies, recounting stories of when they ate a lot of brownies, or made brownies, and all the other fun stories 4 and 5 year-olds tell people they barely know. I reminded Gavin to be sure to tell his teachers “bye” since it was his last day. He smiled and said, “okay, Mommy”, which was a relief after last night. I thanked his teachers, and brought Cooper to his classroom. As I walked it and put Cooper in his seat to eat his breakfast, the teachers pulled out a big poster board with colorful handprints of all the babies in the class (15 or 16) and sweet notes written on it from all the teachers; in the center it said “Goodbye Cooper! We’ll Miss You!” I looked at it and started bawling and blubbering about how I was going to miss all of them, too. After 4-1/2 years I have met nearly every single teacher in the entire school, and all of them, including the teachers I don’t know, know both of my boys. The directors and assistant directors know my voice over the phone, they can recognize my children’s voices from down the hallway, and all of them have been so helpful and loving with my kids. They’re like an extension of my family because they know and understand my kids as well as I do. So while I’m leaving to go to another school within the same company, with some of the same teachers, it’s still a change. And it’s hard to leave that comfort of those people I’ve known for so long.
I finally got myself under control, gave all Cooper’s teachers hugs, and walked out. As I’m passing the front desk, the gals there heard me sniffle and both ran over for hugs, too. It was nice. And sad. I will miss them a lot.
In the car I calm down, finish my coffee, laugh at the stuff on the radio, and look forward to my last day before taking all of next week off. As I’m pulling into the packed parking lot, I note the distinct lack of open spots typical to Fridays. I find a spot and start easing the truck into it…and while I’m turning the wheel, one of my gloved-hands slips slightly, and even though I braked immediately, it was not enough to stop me from nudging the truck next to me. I.cannot.believe.it. I back up, slide into the parking spot, rest my head on the wheel a moment while I send up a prayer for mercy. I get out and am shocked at the damage to my front corner bumper–it has a big crack in it (stinkin’ plastic). I check the other truck and it’s considerably less, but the plastic right behind the back wheel is slightly cracked. All I can figure is that the extreme cold made the plastic very brittle, allowing it to crack instead of just denting (and popping back out). The worst part is that I have NO idea who the truck belongs to. While the company I work for are the only folks in my office building, I know a measly 10% of the inhabitants, and recognize even less vehicles. I left a note with my apology, name, and number under the wiper, shaking from the panic rising up in my throat.
I get inside, ask several co-workers if they recognize the other truck, etc. and no one does. I got a hold of Justin online and ask to call him because I didn’t exactly want to tell him this over IM. He was upset that it was the truck, but mercifully (maybe that’s where God directed my request) did not chew me out like I was expecting. At lunchtime I peeked out and still saw the note on the truck. When I left, the truck had moved, but the note was still there. All I wanted to do was talk to the owner, apologize, and start getting things straightened-out so that they could get their truck repaired ASAP…I felt like a heel hitting someone else’s vehicle and having to resort to a note to apologize to them.
After work I grab the kids, thank the afternoon teachers, keep my emotions fairly under control, and we head on to our friend’s place to pick up the dog. The dog that used to weigh about 45 pounds, but now weighs closer to 60. The dog that no longer will jump into the back of the truck because she’s getting a bit old. At a house that has a driveway with a 50 degree grade. It took me three tries to get the dog in the back of my truck. It didn’t help that she kept laying down when I’d pat the back and say “up! come on! jump!” I finally got her to put her front paws on the truck, then I heaved, hoed, grunted, lifted-with-my-knees, and prayed until I got that poor creature in my truck. Did I mention I was stupid enough to wear heeled boots? I’m just glad I didn’t have to go to the bathroom, because I used every last muscle in my lower body to get her up (since I have twigs for arms)…I hadn’t used most of those muscles since either of my children were born…so I’m glad that neither my bladder or bowels were full because the scene would’ve gotten ugly.
We get home, I order pizza because I was afraid I’d drop the pizza stone if I picked it up after that work-out (and our friends were sweet enough to leave a little doggy-sitting cash for me…thanks guys!). As I’m straightening up the kitchen, my cell rings and it’s the owner of the truck. While trying to explain what happened and express my deepest apologies, the doorbell rings and all three dogs go nuts, the kids start yelling, and I lamely ask him, “do you mind holding on a moment so I can answer my door?” He was gracious enough to agree, so I quickly answer the door and get back on the phone. We chat for a few minutes…probably longer than necessary due to my chronic nervous diarrhea of the mouth. He seemed upset, but under control, and was kind enough to thank me…thank ME…for reaching out instead of driving off after damaging his truck. I told him I was just doing what I thought was right, and what I’d hope someone else would do if the situation was reversed. We exchanged insurance info and rang off. I left a message with my agent letting him know of the incident and sat down to finally enjoy some pizza and Wall-E with my kids.
Yesterday morning our friend’s pool table got delivered here to my unfinished basement for safekeeping since it doesn’t fit in their basement. And after a lot of drama because of my pseudo-spiral staircase into the basement, we finally got it down there and now it’s in many many pieces, stacked up against a wall. I was originally not going to have it assembled because the only room it would fit down there is NOT going to be a pool room. But then I found out that Justin and Dave talked about having it assembled so that they could play…so I acquiesced and realized that it might be a tight fit, but it could go in another open area of the basement. That is, until the guy quoted another $225 (that’s what “two and a quarter” would be, right?…I’m not up that lingo) to assemble it. Apparently the fee to move it didn’t include assembly. Looks like it’s sitting against my wall for a long while…
I also found out yesterday afternoon that Justin will be stuck in Kiana, Alaska until Monday. Due to a nasty storm, his flight from Kiana to Kotzebue was canceled. And while he could fly out today, once he got to Kotzebue, he wouldn’t be able to get to Anchorage until Monday because of flight scheduling conflicts. So two more days of little-to-no contact since he won’t be in Anchorage until about 9pm Eastern Time tomorrow. I’m just going to keep praying that he makes it out safely, and that his final flights home early Wednesday are on-time so we can see him by about 4pm that afternoon.
And now? The kids are so full of cabin-fever that they’re making me crazy. It was too cold and windy both yesterday and today to go outside for more than a few minutes. I wasn’t sure that I could manage them both on my own at someplace like Chuck E Cheese, and anyplace downtown was completely off-limits due to the extreme volume of people coming into DC for the inauguration. It would be hard enough for me to get around with the two kids on my own, but add in a bunch of visitors unfamiliar with the city, etc., and NO THANKS! So instead we’ve had dance parties to 90’s music and they’ve destroyed what few things I was able to straighten-up and put away. So much for my plan to have the house cleaned this weekend! At least all the vaporizers, humidifiers, and crock-pots of water have finally made a difference. Late yesterday all nine mammals (the three cats, three dogs, and us three humans) were running around with staticky stand-up hair, and every time I touched any of them or anything electronic, would get a good jolt. I’m shocked (ha!) that I didn’t short anything out…though with how the pass few days have been going, it wouldn’t have surprised me if I did (said as I knock on wood).