Friday, July 1, 2011

Adventures in Life

Well life has been a roller coaster over the past month...that's putting it mildly!

I started "Zombie Apocalypse: Redemption" and was on a great roll, I uploaded "Who Stole Baby Ruth" to CreateSpace and was waiting on review approval,wrote several chapters in a couple other novels and a nonfiction I'm penning, and edited several chapters in other authors' novels. I was doing great and feeling very productive.

Screechhhhhhhhhhhhhh!
Murphy's Law and real life hit as an avalanche. You think you've had it rough? Try this on for size and then understand why I call myself the master juggler. Remember this is only my month of June. Luckily, college was out or I don't think I could have juggled that too. I wrote up a storm finally free of classes just as I planned to do at least for the first couple days of the month.

My father in law had a heart attack a week before final exams. Now, I don't know about the rest of you students, but final exams are stressful and, even if you spend every day during the course studying for exams, are killers. I left college each day, check on my husband and then spent hours at the hospital with my father in law. He gradually stabilized enough after a week and a half to be released back to his apartment with hospice. It was his greatest wish. Before he was released, it was an insane amount of activity and communication with family (all out of the state) and hospice. It is really difficult imparting news to his loved ones that their father was dying.  His original bed was removed, hospital bed delivered, oxygen ordered, changes in care discussed, and a million other details necessary to get him back to his apartment. He was released the day I took my last final.

I spent the next week juggling my father in law's desires of not wanting to be left alone, my husband's needs (who is also terminally ill bad heart, bad lings, and cancer), and my own personal needs...writing fell by the wayside. Family started arriving taking to heart my message, if they wanted to have a meaningful conversation with their father...they needed to hurry. Pat (his oldest daughter) came in from Arizona and spent a couple of days fussing over him and in her own way...saying goodbye followed by Mary (his youngest daughter). When Mary came in for the weekend she gave me time off from part of my vigil and I wrote more to the stories I was authoring and editing for others. I desperately needed this break even if it was only for two days. "Who Stole Baby Ruth" had some formatting issues which I haven't addressed yet.

The night before my father in law died, the PVC pipe leading to my well broke. I shut down the power to it and my water heater vowing to fix it within a couple of days. I figured it would only take a couple of inches or PVC pipe and new couplers. I had talked with my husband's oldest brother who told me he was on the way from Michigan, driving, and he planned to have the memorial service in a couple of weeks when everyone could come. I breathed a sigh of relief at another break from hectic activity. I could fix my pump and have water in my house and possibly write!

To top all this off, we've had wild fires. Even though the actual fires were miles away in another county...smoke lay like a blanket over us like a fog of unbreathable air. We had short evening rains, which made matters worse. The filter on our air conditioning unit filtered most of it out so my husband could breathe easier. Now, I was facing having to take him out in it. With the arrival of brothers and sisters all wanted to dine with him and visit. Now, my husband is on morphine for pain control, oxygen, nebulizer treatments, and inhalers. The smoke made it almost impossible for him to breathe outside. Even with his oxygen he was struggling.

You know what they say about best laid plans, right? You got it. I received a call from Doug (the oldest son) saying everyone would be there over the weekend and could I contact the minister about a funeral on Saturday. So much for a break. I scrambled with the church, hospice closing out the case, calling florists, arranging for the obit in the paper, called all my father in law's local friends, and the pastor. Then I realized everyone would only be here for less than forty-eight hours at best. I went to Dad's apartment, got rid of the trash, bedding, food, clothing, and assorted other things nobody would want. Most were flying in and would be limited in what they could take with them, but figured if they really wanted some of the big furniture and things they would arrange to have it shipped home. My daughters and their husbands were a godsend. We emptied all the drawers placing items out in the open while valuables were locked away waiting for the oldest son. By the time Doug got here the next day, the funeral service was arranged and the apartment was an organized mess for a quick grab and run.

The hours before the funeral, the family gathered and divided Dad's belongings. Nobody wanted the furniture so guess where it went...my house and my daughters. The memorial service was slated for 3PM. It was almost 2PM before I called a halt to the furniture moving effort to go home, flat tire fixed after unloading and reloading my packed van, and get my husband ready for the funeral. (Read medicines, inhalers, neubilizers, dressed, and a quick wipe down with a wash cloth for me before changing etc) In other words, flying without a parachute! We had to be at the church by 2:30 PM. My van still packed to the gills as I drove to the funeral. All the others of my husband's family had left for lunch about 1PM. This was Father's Day weekend, I pulled my son in laws away from their children to do all this moving and felt horrible about it. Doug wanted the keys to his apartment returned by Monday. Once again it was rush, rush, rush, and more rush.

At this point I still haven't restored water to my home. I was buying jugs of 2 1/2 gallons to flush the commode. While I understand it would have been easier to call a pump service or plumber to do the work, mentally I couldn't justify the cost of a $250 service charge over $5 worth of supplies to restore the water. I just needed time to work on it in daylight hours which was in short supply. I finally got water restored on Sunday...Father's Day. I had been without water for almost five days.

Everyone had gone home by Monday. Whew!  Don't get me wrong I love my husband's family, but it added stress to an already stressful couple of weeks. This was far from the ideal visiting situation also. My nerves were frazzled and was dealing with my own grief issues. I had considered calling my physician for Ativan, but didn't. My physical heart was doing a frantic two-step and squeeze raising my arrthymia issues which had me popping nitroglyercine like candy, but as always I continued on pushing like I always do. The one thing that has changed is I am not running back and forth between my father in law's place and home, but home has had a bunch of issues lately.

 I had water for two days at a slow trickle. I knew the pump was dying at this point and it did. Once again I weighed the option of calling a service provider...I actually did.  The cost was $650 versus $250 of me doing it myself. Needless to say, I went out and bought a new pump. All the fancy pipework I had done a few days earlier was cut. Keep in mind I live in south Georgia and the heat index is over 100 degrees. My #2 daughter's husband came in to help. Thank goodness. I was wilting. While I could have called one of my husband's nephews, I knew I could do it myself without inconvienencing anyone. I abhor burdening others.Wednesday night I had my first hot tub full of water to soak in. Heaven!

I awoke on Thursday in good spirits. I powered up my husband's desktop computer to find his monitor wouldn't work. I went out and bought a used flat screen. It was the video card in the CPU and a few other hitches. It has taken me three days working on this or that. The internet is one of the few pleasures my husband has left so while I ferreted out the problems, he used mine. I'm on the laptop writing this instead of my desktop. Of course, this laptop does not have Word on it and all my works and other authors' work is saved on my desktop.

We had a storm Wednesday night. Not really bad but the air cleared which was a blessing after weeks of smoke. I went outside and looked for damage the wind wrought besides the new leaks in my roof. <sigh> I had placed containers under them. I noticed the stone panels outside the office wall on the ground. Carpenter ants had made tunnels throughout the wall between the stone panels and the wood panels. <big sigh> While I had planned to rennovate my house next year, I didn't expect it this soon. I do not think Carpenter ants are covered under my homeowner's insurance. Right now, the thought of a couple pounds of dynomite come to mind...no just kidding.

It's JULY! Thank God! One more month down and a new one begins. I've gotten and estimate on fixing the office wall, the roof, and a few other hundred things which I have put in the back seat while juggling priorities.I need to sell a couple thousand novels to pay for it all! In the next month I have listed a schedule of priorities which will be done including mowing my lawn. Over the next five weekends, I'm calling in markers from my children. I given them financial support for years and am known by a number of names including "grocery fairy." I am not asking for the money back but will collect in labor. We will be taking two rooms at a time and consolidating them. Throwing out what needs to be thrown out, packing and removing via Goodwill/Salvation Army what's useable, removing all the stuff that is stored at Momma's, and reorganizing. I want my house back. It has been long enough (read 7-10 years). I also have a couple of weddings to perform this month and a family reunion on the 4th.

I will not be returning to the college except for a couple of classes here and there. This was a hard decision to make, but one made out of necessity. It's five or more hours which would be better spent on writing and home. My focus for the second half of 2011 is consolidating and simplifing, earn enough money to rennovate my almost forty year old home, and seeking God's blessings.

So how has your month been?

Keep writing and loving the Lord.

1 comment:

Zan Marie said...

Oh, the Lord bless and keep you! Jo, this is too much for anyone. I'm a queen of juggling, but my crown is off to you.

My June was amazing. I had a free writing coaching session with Charlotte Rains Dixon and I think my Inner Editor is permanantly on vacation reading DG's books, mmmpphhh scenes mostly. I'm on a roll with writing new words. And have a nifty little story--"Tea with My Inner Editor" to submit somewhere.

May your July be smoother, calmer, cleaner aired, and less stressful.