I’ve been avoiding writing a post. I’ve started and stopped this one about a half dozen times. I was kind of waiting for something really fun to talk about or… I don’t know. The truth is things are feeling like a swirling windstorm right now.
My children, while obviously the source of daily challenges, are also as adorable as ever. We went back to Omaha for Thanksgiving, we had a charming little Christmas at home, then a fun trip to the beach between Christmas and New Years. Maggie learned to walk at the beach & Libby started ballet classes in January. They are amazing little miracles.
Other than my delight at their growth & charms, however, I feel like I’m holding my life together with a shoestring & duct tape. The first couple months of 2018 have not been easy. I’m going to list it all right here. Maybe this will help with maintaining my positive attitude that this will get better.
1. Frozen Pipe Fiasco
Pipe in our attic froze & blew out while we were in Florida, busting a giant hole in our kitchen ceiling & flooding the house.
I guess technically, this happened in December because we came home to it just before midnight on Dec. 30th. This is an ongoing fiasco. A couple weeks ago my whole house got packed up by movers. This gave me a mild anxiety attack b/c my stuff was so unorganized & shifted around between having baby #2 last year, then the kitchen reno started before I recovered. I’d barely just started putting stuff back where it goes & then BOOM – flood – and remediation came in on New Year’s Eve & shifted everything around even more & OMG I’m getting stressed out just thinking about the fact that a group of strangers packed up my whole house that wasn’t even organized to begin with & I don’t even know how they did it or where it’s being stored.
The actual fixing of stuff officially started at the end of last week, so now it’s all the back and forth over “what’s your tile choice?” and “what do you want to do about this [insert an insane thing they find while ripping apart my house]?” Every time I go over there to check on things I just get so sad. Sad that my little house is such a cluster, even all the way to the studs. Sad that I’m having to redo the kitchen I was finally so happy to have. Sad that the conclusion of this mess feels so far away.
…Deep breath. Because the truth is, this disaster has forced us to finally invest in the cosmetics of this little house we’ve owned for A DECADE. And more good news is the grand majority of stuff that needs fixing due to the burst pipe has already been approved as covered by insurance, including Libby’s brand new Christmas presents that got ruined. So I try to remind myself it’ll be like a new house & going through all those packed up boxes won’t be so bad. We can do that Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up thing.
…Is this my glass of wine? Yes? Good…
2. EmergenC Guzzle
On New Years Day, Libby drank an entire EmergenC. Meaning she probably got Vitamin C poisoning, possibly on top of some other problem, possibly in addition to problems due to all the other stuff in those packets she’s not supposed to have, and all of the above probably compounded by the over-tiredness due to the road trip travel over the holiday.
Fever for five days, 103+ temp for 2 of those days & nights, really scary shivering & weird eating, plus some diarrhea & a swollen gunky throat. The catch is that I didn’t know she’d drank an entire EmergenC until a week later. So in the meantime, I take her to the pediatrician (twice actually, but we’ll get to that) & they test her for flu, strep, mono… all negative… AND I keep giving her things like juice & oranges b/c I’m thinking “hey Vitamin C is good for fighting off viruses right?” At least I was also giving her a lot of water.
A temperature as high as hers was is rarely associated with vitamin C poisoning, so it is still is a little weird. We never came to an official diagnosis & she was fine by day 7 of the ordeal. But I’m still mildly paranoid she had viral meningitis or some other brain thing because the whole event was scary. So I’m still pretty much watching her like a hawk.
3. Glass Pancakes
On Tuesday January 2nd, just before her fever popped so high, but after she was already showing signs of illness, Libby was served glass in her blueberry pancake at the Cracker Barrel while eating with my parents (I missed this meal b/c I was dealing with flooded house things). The food gets comped & they come home with a little to-go container with the piece of glass in it so I can take it with me to the pediatrician to get her mouth checked out. Mouth seems fine, Libby does not really seem fine (because she drank an entire EmergenC the day before but I don’t know that yet, plus whatever it is that caused the fever).
A couple days later, Cracker Barrel corporate calls to ask “How is Libby & can we do anything for you?” Basically, she was feeling out whether or not they’re gonna get sued, but in a nice southern manner. To which I respond, “I don’t know yet, she has a 103.5 temperature at the moment & I don’t know why.” Then Maggie starts screaming because this phone call has diverted my attention away from her pleas to be released from her high chair captivity. “Why don’t you call me back at a better time?” suggests Cracker Barrel lady. Sure, sure. Whatever. I never found that “better time.”
Overwhelmed, I texted the contact information to Brian. He is much more intimidating to customer service people than I am. I’m a rambler & emotive, while he is still & precise. It’s actually pretty awesome to listen to him get what he wants out of a customer service interaction. Anyway, I text it to him & I move on, basically forgetting about it except to remember that I don’t want to eat at Cracker Barrel.
Then yesterday we got $100 in gift cards in the mail from Cracker Barrel. Brian says he talked to the lady, that it was a pretty disappointing conversation in which she didn’t have any answers as to why or how something like this would happen. She did send the gift cards because Brian said we were having a hard time bringing ourselves to go back into a Cracker Barrel. It’s going to take a little longer for me to go back in there to eat. But I may be tempted to go pick up some Easter stuff in the shop.
4. Dead Minivan
January 8th, Libby is finally feeling better & fever free for over 24 hours & attends two days of school. We’re starting to make headway on gathering price quotes & the list of damaged contents to submit to insurance. Then the snow hits. And we’re stuck inside for essentially a week. School finally starts again, an hour late, on Friday January 19th. My 2008 Toyota Sienna minivan, however, does not start. We jump it & get to breakfast at Le Peep (we were pretty cabin feverish so we decided to use the late start time to get a decent breakfast & Cracker Barrel is clearly off the list at the moment) but then we have to jump it again at Le Peep. So Libby is late to an already late day & I had to replace the battery & the alternator (it had been showing signs of possible alternator problems so at my father’s prompting I had them look at that too). And by “I had to replace” I mean “I paid the people at NTB $900 to replace” …Brian was out of town so he wasn’t consulted & he thinks I got ripped off. Maybe he’s right, I do normally research more before dropping that kind of money on a car repair. But I also got my car working again without having to schlep my poor 15 month old around to auto garages in a car that has to be jumped every hour if you turn it off, and I have not had any problems since.
5. Wait-listed for Preschool
Let me start by saying, Maggie did get in, she will be at Westminster next year, so it all worked out & I’m super happy about it. It was the time of not knowing that got me.
The same afternoon I had to get the minivan fixed, I got an email announcing that the director of Libby’s school “offered her resignation, effective immediately” and there is a meeting to attend that coming Monday to hear about & meet the interim director. I go to this meeting, it was not very well attended being that it is so last minute, & the interim director sounds great, everything’s great, business as usual.
The following Monday, I get an email confirming Libby’s acceptance into the 4s for next year & a link to re-enroll so I do that. I think “Wonder why Maggie’s didn’t come yet? Maybe they haven’t gotten to the new students yet.” I take Libby to ballet the next day, where another mom from the school who has a little one going into the 2s asks me if I’m starting Maggie this coming year. I say “I think so but I didn’t get an acceptance email yet for her” to which she responded “Oh I would call them.” I decide to email instead because talking on the phone is tough with a 1yo (you already read how smoothly the Cracker Barrel phone conversation went). No response. Then I get a call on Wednesday from the brand new interim director letting me know that Maggie has been waitlisted for the 2s. She’s very nice & empathetic & very hopeful a spot will be there once the enrollment dust settles yadayada…
UGH! Because I really needed to add “research, tour & fill out paperwork for back-up preschools” to my to-do list. It just felt so… Belle Meade. And stressful. Brian insisted I write an email reminding them of my history with Westminster and that my mom used to teach at the preschool… I felt really silly writing that email, like somewhere between “Don’t you know who I am??” and “Please, please, please, let us in, it means so much to us to be a part of this” – Both sentiments that totally go against my nature of dealing with rejection, which is to act like I’m completely unaffected by being rejected & move on as quickly as possible to something else. So I felt a lot of shame to sit down and write that email. But if I’m being truthful with myself, I do love Westminster, it is home for me & it does matter to me. It’s the preschool I went to, the church where I was baptized & confirmed, where I sang in the choir from age 6 to age 18 – I spent a great deal of my childhood in that building & with that congregation. But we have not been attending (Easter of 2005 I believe is the last service I made it too? Maybe?), we certainly have not been donating money, and I’ve been so overwhelmed I haven’t even done much in the way of volunteering at the school. I mean, I get it – they’ve got about 40-45 kids in the 1yo program, and I figure they can only handle something in the 40-60 range in 2s for their student/teacher ratio, meaning there’s a squeeze for new applicants, even siblings, and I know currently active church members get priority placement (as they should). But it still stung to be determined expendable. I was pretty down about the whole situation for a few days – it opened up some old insecurities about my inability to really feel a part of a community (I really struggle with that, regardless of the community in question. I always feel “other” for some reason, very very rarely do I feel actually comfortably integrated), plus fears about unknowingly offending someone with the ability to passive aggressively “punish” me for it (like mean girls all grown up – and southern women tend to be experts at this).
But I picked myself up, drank an extra cup of coffee, and started calling other places. I started with a couple smaller programs in my neighborhood, ones with low registration fees & no application fees. Then when another week went by, I called a few of the bigger ones. Not wanting these places to necessarily know they were my back-ups, my story was that I was looking for the summer & we hadn’t made a decision on what our needs would be in the fall. I actually filled out all the paperwork for one of the smaller ones for the summer, and the director said she was pretty sure she’d have a spot for me, so I was thinking “Okay. Maybe this is the way this is supposed to happen.”
Then the morning of February 16th, the day after enrollment forms were due at Westminster, I got a call from Westminster’s assistant director letting me know that they had a spot for Maggie. I was elated, but I resisted literally cheering in this woman’s ear and instead casually said “oh that’s fantastic news!” into the phone. I got the official email later that day & got her all enrolled. THEN, later that afternoon, the director of the smaller school I’d filled out the paperwork for called to tell me she was sorry but they ended up not having a summer spot available for Maggie after all, but she’d let me know about the fall.
Meaning that I rode an emotional roller coaster and did a bunch of legwork for a month only to be right where I’d assumed I was going to be before all the freak-out.
OVER PRE-SCHOOL ADMISSIONS. What is this world I find myself in???
6. Smashed my mom’s taillight.
On February 10, while waiting on figuring out Maggie’s school fate for next year, I finally got to pop up on stage with a couple improv teams. They both had some people out & needed a fourth player to fill in & I was excited for the opportunity – I’d been unable to participate in any improv for a long while. The morning one was kid friendly so my mom brought the girls & it was adorable. My parents agreed to do bedtime for me so I could make the evening show. It was pouring down rain, I’m – of course – running late. I was in my mom’s car so they could keep mine with car seats (just in case). I start the thing up, throw it in reverse, and BAM!!
I hit the construction dumpster that’s set up in the driveway.
Oh, did I fail to mention that my parents started construction on a new porch the second week in January? And they’ve been coming every weekday morning at 7a to begin hammering & sawing & listening to country radio? No? Well, they have and there’s a dumpster & a port-a-potty. And I almost rammed the dumpster into the port-a-potty but thank goodness I did not hit it hard enough to knock it over. I just busted my mom’s taillight & put a nice dent into the hatch. I sat there & sobbed until my dad came down to ask me what happened & why I hadn’t pulled out yet. I showed him & he did a very good job trying to make me believe it wasn’t that big of a deal & told me to go on to my show.
My parents are so overwhelmed with their own list of things to do that I don’t even know what the cost of those damages are yet.
7. Maggie just keeps bumping her little head.
The most recent injury being this evening at bedtime. As the girls are running away from my mother who is trying to put pajamas on them while I throw my pajamas on, Maggie bites it while turning the corner around the kitchen island, helped to the ground by the baby doll stroller Libby was pushing. It didn’t seem like that big of a deal fall except that a giant goose egg popped up almost immediately. Because she hit in the exact spot where she’d already busted herself really bad on a metal doll chair on January 20th. That fall had taken FOR-EV-ER to heal and now she just hit again. In Between those two big hits, she also fell off her little rocking horse onto her 360 sippy cup, making a perfect circle bruise line on the left side of her face. Not to mention all the other incidental pops here & there. I’m praying everyday nothing will be serious enough for another ER visit.
….So that pretty much covers all the unexpected 2018 stuff. So far. On the way home from Pensacola, prior to discovering the burst pipe, Brian and I were talking about how we were looking forward to an uneventful 2018. A rebuilding year. A resting year. Like I said at the end of my last post: we were hoping for smooth sailing. That is not the card we have thus far been dealt.
We of course managed to do a bunch of fun stuff too, because little girls are fun. Enjoy the pictures & hopefully my next update won’t be so long overdue or so stressful to think about!