Tuesday, February 26, 2013

To Do List Paralysis

My house is in shambles.  Not having a kitchen for a month (which is also the location of our laundry) has made "getting back to normal" not an easy task.  Yesterday, I intended the day to be getting things together in the kitchen- putting things back in cabinets, cleaning off counter tops, doing laundry.  Instead, Mom called and needed some immediate attention, so I only got 45 minutes of "real work" done before heading out.

When I came home from lunch, I did the obvious/necessary thing- I napped until 4 minutes before E was to get off of the bus.

She bounded into the house, needed some Momma Time and a snack, and I proceeded to cook dinner.  Glory!  Being able to cook a meal was quite lovely.

And quite exhausting.

Thank goodness Dan was able to do the finish up (notice I didn't say "clean up") of the day and I was able to head to bed.  (Just a few more weeks til second trimester!  Whew!)

So here I sit, looking around at all of the things that need to be done:
*I need to do more laundry.
*I need to put up the laundry from yesterday.
*I need to finish clearing off the dining room table.
*Oh, and the kitchen table.
*I need to do dishes from last night.
and then...
*I need to go move the files from beside my bed back to the office.  (My bedroom became my make-shift work space during the renovations.)
*I need to strip E's bed, do those sheets, and remake her bed.
*I need... I need... I need....

My list feels endless.  And my energy level feels end-in-sight.

And therein lies the problem... which leads me to... "To Do List Paralysis."

Instead, I become enraptured with Facebook.
I remember that I'm really good at Angry Birds.
I start thinking about baking a cake.
I think I might-should reorganize my closet.
I wonder if I should give Alphie a bath.
I think how much Misty would appreciate a card.
I then remember I didn't send Steph a birthday card.
And, oh, junk... I need to mail Laurie that package.
I should stick with Angry Birds.

Before I know it... it'll be bus time and I'll have nothing on my To Do list "To Done."

I'm not posting all of this as a cry for help... or even as a "how do you get it all done".  Merely, it's just my brain's way of having a moment in therapy this morning on the Inter Webs.  I see my problem before me.  I know my agenda.  And I can clearly see what will hinder me.

I'm signing off to go start in the kitchen.  I plan to even turn on music, because that makes "work" a little easier.  Rather than helping me tackle my "To Do List Paralysis"... why don't you suggest good music to help the time pass.  For that, I would be most grateful.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Yeah... ummm... so this happened....

Just before our New York trip, I got the stomach bug.  It was violent.  I was sick in every imaginable way for a day, then the following 2 days after I felt just... well... "gross".  Fortunately, no one else in my family got it and we managed a wonderful trip to The Big Apple.

We came home from NYC, then 24 hours later I hopped in a van to head to a conference.  It was super- I had time with some of my very favorite women and had a true reminder of why we signed up to do Foster Care.  Beauty.

I came home from that 10 day stretch of travel and was exhausted.  I mean EXHAUSTED.  I couldn't bounce back.  I was falling asleep on the couch while watching PBS Kids with E.  I was yawning through my entire shopping trip with my Mom.  Crazy.

That Friday, the stomach junk came back.  It was short lived, but it hit with a vengeance.  I cancelled Happy Hour plans with some friends and laid on the couch... finally able to rally enough to go out with some other friends that night.  When we arrived at the restaurant to find their yummy margaritas on special, I sadly had to pass as my stomach just didn't feel "right".

The next day, we took things slowly.  E came to snuggle with me in bed and before I knew it, I'd had a nap in the morning shortly after waking up.  We went furniture shopping that day and I still felt "off" all day.  I just couldn't rebound.  I felt weird, tired, and queasy all day.  As a "we've-done-this-2896753-times-before" move, I suggested going to the pharmacy to pick up a pregnancy test.  Seriously, as a woman who has struggled with infertility, every time I buy one, I feel like I'm just handing a donation of $12 to the drugstore, knowing that it will be negative.  But there is still something about doing a test that crosses off something in your mind so that you can go on being obsessed with something else.  Dan even kind of laughed when I suggested it, but we went by to pick up one anyway.

The next morning, I woke up and couldn't find where I put the CVS bag.  So I went about my morning like normal, but was still feeling anxious about what was wrong with me.  I had Dan come sit to pray over me and before he prayed I said "I'm really worried it's cancer or something serious.  There is definitely something wrong with my body, and I don't know what it is."  He asked if I took the pregnancy test... I told him no, that I couldn't find it.  After rolling his eyes and making a snarky comment, he found the test for me, and insisted I take it.  Meanwhile E was showering to get ready for church, and Dan went downstairs to check email.  Just a normal Sunday morning.

Until I took the test and within seconds the "pregnant" line popped up.

Ummm.... what?

I don't just get pregnant.


For me to be pregnant, I have to go to doctors... take pills... take shots... have procedures... start medicine...


I quickly ran downstairs and showed Dan the test as I was shaking, crying, laughing, and... in full disclosure... saying words that I'm not going to put in print.  His response was way more grown up.  He said, and I quote, "No freakin' way."


All of that Sunday was a blur.  We went to church.  I heard maybe 2 words that David said in his sermon.  The whole time Dan and I were whispering and writing notes to try to make sense of this.  I was on my phone looking up a "due date calendar" and trying to be discreet so our friends behind us didn't see it.  I think I shook and laughed and cried the entire day.

We called my doctor's office to ask about beginning the same medicine I needed during my pregnancy with Elizabeth to "maintain" the pregnancy.  The nurse said they couldn't prescribe it without first seeing me, so I should call back in the morning.  Those hours felt endless until 8am.  After talking to the nurse at 8, they decided to go ahead and call in that medicine... but offered an ultrasound since we had no idea how far along I was.  My ultrasound was scheduled for 2pm.  At that point... the hours until 2pm were beyond endless.  We wandered the aisles at Home Depot and Target.  We passed through the baby section and I just kept feeling that I was the butt of a big joke.  Diapers?  Cribs?  Bouncy seats?  WHAT?!?

During the ultrasound, the poor tech must have thought I had lost my mind.  I cried and laughed a lot.  And when she saw that baby.... that BABY... I nearly lost my mind for real.  We saw a baby.  And a heartbeat.  And things looked good-- with no medical intervention whatsoever.  And, I was already 7 weeks pregnant.


But I am "Infertile."  That is part of my story.  That is part of my name.

And God changed my name.

We received a beautiful due date of September 24th- my Daddy's birthday.  At that point, I couldn't contain my tears anymore.  Again, the poor tech didn't know what she had gotten herself into when she went to work that day.  I kept saying to her over and over "This can't be happening!  I can't get pregnant!" and she said "Ummm, ma'am?  You can.  And you did."  (And, yes, she called me ma'am because she looked about 12 years old.)

We went home- still filled with shock and awe- and decided to go ahead and tell Elizabeth.  We knew our chances for miscarriage, but we have also been honest with her about our previous losses.  She often will jump on my lap or run straight for me when she gets off the bus... so we figured rather than me having to be on guard for weeks and weeks, it was "safer" to tell her.  And, oh, y'all... it was perfect.  She squealed and giggled and kept saying "I'm going to be a big sister!" over and over.  After about 2 minutes of jubilation, she stopped cold and said "But wait... I have a question... what happens when we go to Disney World and I want to ride a ride the baby can't ride yet?  What do we do then?"  Yep.  Perspective and priorities.

We began to tell our family and friends, trying to keep it "secret", but unsure exactly how to do that once a 6 year old wanted to "get a giant microphone and tell the whole wide world the news!" (her words.)  We wanted to have the prayers of our family and friends, but wanted to wait just a little bit longer- for what, I'm not exactly sure.

And so here we are... going public on Facebook and my blog.  Ready for the questions... but more importantly, coveting your prayers.  I feel super unequipped to handle this miracle- and that is exactly what it is- a miracle... so I'm leaning on God more than I remember ever doing before..  And I'm also failing more than ever.  Dan got in my face and said "You have to trust God.  You have to." over and over one night recently as I was in tears with the "what ifs".  This miracle business ain't for sissys, and I happen to be one.

ps, the "oh no!" was for comic effect. she's really super pumped.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

First World Problems

About a 3 weeks ago, we noticed a "bubble" in our kitchen linoleum.  I *hate* our linoleum.  Despise it.  But we don't take baths in dollar bills, so we've chosen for the last 4 years to live with the kitchen as it was when we moved in.  Well, that's not totally true... we got rid of the wallpaper and slapped on some cheery yellow paint.  Beyond that, we've lived with the cabinets that won't stay closed, the countertops that make me tired, and the linoleum that says nothing good about our "style".

Then along came this "bubble".

The linoleum is so high quality and high "klass" (as my friend Debbie would say) that it had a split in between it and the next sheet of it.  Right.  A lovely little division just wide enough to get crumbs stuck in and nothing- including my persistent dogs- could get them out.  Our first assumption was that maybe something had spilled right at the split and caused the linoleum to bubble up.  That was not only an assumption, it was just plain naive.  We put our best efforts into getting the linoleum to go "back down" by putting weight on it- thank you, Primo, and the heavy water jugs you provide.  Nothing worked.

At coffee with my smarter-than-me friend Kam, she asked what was immediately under the spot on the floor.  "Ummm... the garage."  Have you gone down there to look to see if there is a leak?  "Ummm... no."  Then that afternoon I did.  And saw this.

Yep.  We had a leak.

I called our favorite plumber (whose number I will gladly hand out to anyone and everyone- he's wonderful) and our insurance company and both Mike The Plumber (not to be confused with James Denton) and a team from After Disaster arrived around 5:00pm.  Nothing like multiple vehicles with the words "AFTER DISASTER" emblazoned on them to get your neighbors worried about your family's safety.

Mike found the leak after lots of searching- it seems the connection from our pipes to our fridge had gotten worn down from nearly 20 years of chlorine in the water system and had just deteriorated.  It was emitting a super-fine mist, which eventually led to the sub floor becoming saturated.  Hence the linoleum bubbling up.  Ugh.

The team from After Disaster came every day after that for nearly two weeks to check to see how the drying process was going.  They sealed up our kitchen, put dehumidifiers and fans in there, and cranked up the heat to 96 degrees.  It made our downstairs area stink, it made it loud, and it made it unbearable.  We haven't had access to our kitchen sink in 2 weeks, we have a layer of grime everywhere, and our beautiful new dining room table is now the landing for everything that had to be quickly taken out of the kitchen- as well as where we put the non-kitchen-y things that we pack in E's lunch.  I am so beyond sick of restaurant food, I just want my house clean, and I'd like things to be "normal" again in my kitchen NOW.

Yep.  I have first world problems.

The first week that all of this was going down, I wasn't really phased.  I had beautiful, God-given perspective that in light of our 2012, this was nothing.  It was so not a big deal, it was just a thing, and it would be fixed soon.

The second week, my perspective changed as we had some big things happen in our family and I needed our kitchen again.  That beautiful, God-given perspective was still there, I just was able to filter my own selfishness and need through it and make it more about me.

Now, heading into week three, I'm just inconvenienced.  And defeated.  And frustrated with myself.  It is still "just" a floor.  It is still "just" a thing.  It is not permanent, and while it is a hassle, it's not going to destroy us.

I am such a brat.

The beauty in this whole ordeal is the "crack" in the linoleum.  That was probably my biggest headache in our kitchen.  Well, it's a toss up between that and where you could see the exposed staples the last homeowners had used to reattach the lovely linoleum in the corner.  But the crack- that was what saved us.  There was no visible water, no puddle in the floor, nothing to cause us great alarm.  Without that God-forsaken crack, we never would have noticed the leak... and our floor could have collapsed.  Now that.. that would have been a much bigger First World Problem.  I feel like I need to go back in time and apologize to that crack that I hated so much.  I feel like I need to tell it that, while it wasn't aesthetically pleasing, it served a purpose to save my house... and that I am sorry I hated it so much.  And I feel like there is a lovely sermon illustration in all this...

...But for now I've been sitting downstairs too long and the mess is starting to get to me, so I'mma gonna go back upstairs where it's safe.  Y'all enjoy your home-cooked meals today.  And enjoy doing your dishes.
my favorite pic of this debacle.

Friday, February 1, 2013


Yesterday was one of those days packed to the brim with things... and unlike a lot of my packed days, I knew I was right where I was supposed to be.

It began just after E hopped on the bus with a trip to Home Depot.  We have had a leak in our kitchen this week (blog post still in "edit" mode) and Dan and I went to check out our new flooring options.  Home Depot Employees Everywhere, here is your warning:  I am a blubbering mess when I step through your automatic doors into your Orange Goodness.  The smell, the people, the memories of my Daddy overwhelm me in that big box store.  And they likely forever will.  So when the kind lady gave me a square of tile for free, she had no idea I would cry.  She was just doing her job- and getting the "customer service part" right.  But every time people there treat me like Daddy treated his customers, I feel like he's giving me a little kiss on the head.

Dan and I went from there for a breakfast date only to get the call from our contractors that we needed to rearrange our day and head home to deal with the insurance estimator.  Let me say that in the last 5 days I have grown more and more thankful for our insurance company.  They are good, y'all.

For about a 30-minute-window, I popped in at MOMS.  I got to briefly hug on some ladies... and lead a silly ice breaker.  I know I joked about it on Facebook this week, but I am thankful that my church allows me to use all those Student Council ice-breaking skills on a regular basis.  I love learning new things about the people with whom I am in community.  And here's my plug to group leaders everywhere: even if you "know" your group, there's always goodness that can come from a quick ice breaker.  Just ask my small group... our most memorable one to date was "What is one thing you never want your parents to find out?"  I cringe and giggle remembering that night...

I scooted out of MOMS (sadly right before one of my besties was teaching!) to go deal with more kitchen stuff- then headed east for the best lunch I've had in forever.  January 1, our world got rocked again when we learned of my friend Lee's flu-nomia (trademark pending).  Now that we are on the "other side", I can be honest and say that I wasn't sure he was going to make it.  In all honesty, I screamed out to God many times those first few weeks "WE CAN'T DO THIS AGAIN.  WE CANNOT LOSE ANOTHER ONE.  THIS FAMILY NEEDS THEIR DADDY."  And, to be completely honest, I prayed big prayers, but didn't truly trust for big answers.  I am still in the "wounded prayer" mode from 2012... and while I knew God could heal Lee, I wasn't totally sure He would.  I am more than thrilled to report that we book-ended January with emotion for Lee.  While on the 1st, we were frozen in fear... on the 31st we shared a meal and celebrated his healing.  He still has a long way to go to be 100% again, but he is making huge strides.  I am in awe of God's goodness.  I feel like we got the front row seat to a miracle.

We rushed back from lunch with Lee and Emily in time to get E off of the bus, then I shot over to spend time with Mom.  She'd asked earlier in the week if I could take her shopping, but given our kitchen/leak drama, our schedules didn't line up until last night.  We spent 3 hours shopping, and while moments of it were maddening, I benefited from some God-ordained patience.  Earlier this week I read this article by Amy Grant.  While I agree with her comments whole-heartedly, I kept thinking this week of the "last great gifts" I can give my Mom.  I can give her dignity.  I can give her patience.  I can give her kindness.  We shopped for new black shoes nearly identical to the ones she has in her closet... which she doesn't remember that she owns.  We bought a pair of "bedroom slippers" because she said she desperately needed some... only to place them right beside her other- already owned- pair.  She told me the last thing on her list she needed was a hat.  Moments later, I said, "Let's go find a hat!" to which she replied, "A hat?!?  Why would I need a hat?"  My heart constantly breaks when these moments occur.  I think about the mother I grew up with and all of the valuable things she taught me... and now I think about the mother I am getting to know and want to use those valuable lessons to love her well.  It is a process- and while it is so painful for me, I'm certain her pain is great, too.  So I will continue to shop for duplicate shoes and guide her toward hats as long as I'm able.

I went to bed relatively early last night after a packed-to-the-brim kind of day.  Just before bed, E and I FaceTimed with one of my her best friends and as I saw my own face on the screen, I saw just how run-down I looked.  I no longer have skin that doesn't require maintenance.  I no longer have naturally bright eyes that look alert without effort.  I no longer have the benefit of youth on my side.  But my tired eyes were tired from a day well spent with the people and things that I love.  I'm thankful that today is a little more low-key, but I'll take a full day like Thursday from time to time to remind me of God's goodness.  In the mean time, I'll just need a few more naps... and some really good moisturizer.