Tuesday, May 31, 2005

happiness, strangely enough, is a dry well

The start of another week. Usually this is a boring time for me. The week stretches out in front of me like some desolate manufacturing landscape, no creative oasis in sight.

The next four days will be somewhat more challenging, I’m guessing. Our six-month surveillance audit is Thursday, triggering a fair amount of stress and pressure here at work.

Never mind that, really. Home life is infinitely more challenging this week. Last Tuesday our water pump died. Brian fought it for a day, then bought a new pump and tried to install it, with varying degress of success. Finally we called in an Expert, which set us back another three hundred dollars (the pump itself was about that much, if you include the various nuts and bolts, not to mention the price of gas for the twenty or so trips back and forth to Lowe’s.)

So after a rather nerve-wrenching Saturday (the day before our summer kick-off party) spent waiting for the service guy to show up (he finally made it late afternoon) and making strawberry pies in an effort to keep up my optimism, we had some water in the house. Very slight water pressure, though. Brian’s thought, corroborated by the first well & pump service that came out early in the week (say bye-bye to another forty bucks) was that we need to drill a new, deeper well, and install a submersible pump. The well isn’t deep enough to support the house, apparently. So to fix the root cause, we’re going to have to find three to five thousand dollars in the next six months or so – maybe earlier, depending on how long the well lasts. I suppose I would feel less strange about this if I had a rudimentary understanding of water levels and pump operation. Will be working on that over the next couple of days.

I am, surprisingly, not as panicked at the thought of having no water as I am at the idea of having to walk into a bank and ask for money. After all, Buddha didn’t need indoor plumbing to become enlightened. Mary didn’t need indoor plumbing to give birth to baby Jesus. And if we have to, we can cut a trench down to the stream to get water for flushing, we can go to other folks’ houses for showers (been there, done that already) and there’s a laundromat right down the street. So going the bank is perhaps more stressful. I know what the answer will be. Because of the financial debacle we went through last year, our credit is shot for a while (even though we’ve been keeping up with monthly bills really well over the last six months or so.) I’m going to do it this afternoon anyway, just get it out of the way, and if we do manage to get a home equity line of credit, I will happily admit to being wrong.

In between the water issues, money problems related to that, and the problems Crystal had trying to mow the lawn, this weekend was all about realizing, once again, that I am simply not in control of life. The only thing I can control is how I respond to what life brings, and try to keep my responses positive, try to keep from hurting anyone with harsh words and anger. I’m afraid bewilderment was probably more the order of things than anything else this weekend.

Thanks to everyone who came out Sunday, especially Buffy and Elizabeth for being so level-headed (and so quick to get breakfast Monday morning, when the water issue was, once again, critical). We had a wonderful little camp colony in the front yard, a nice fire going out back Sunday night, and I did indeed get to roast a marshmallow on a stick.


No control over so many local things: well drying up, weather, other people’s schedules, etc. etc. Worst of all was scary news about the health of a close family member. Anytime I hear “cancer” I tend to cringe from the barrage of frightening thoughts, hard memories, and the idea of a big bad modern monster. You can fight it, but only time and statistics are going to tell what the success of the struggle will be. In this case, there are several treatment options, and the cancer was found very early. This type of cancer is one that has a very high survival and treatment rate, so panic is definitely not on the menu. I am concerned, I am, yes, frightened, and I will be more comfortable once the cancer is staged and a plan of treatment is decided upon. (Normally I avoid using the passive voice, but let’s face it, in the case, I am once again not in control.) I will be more comfortable once I can see this person and put my arms around him, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.


This weekend Duckie had the worst meltdown I had ever seen. It was about an hour after her bedtime Sunday night, and she had been playing hard with just about everyone – Buffy & Elizabeth’s daughters, Stewart, Sam, Patty, the dogs… like I said, with just about everyone except me. I sat down with her to play with the bubbles that Sam brought and finally had to take the bubble wand away from her because she kept trying to eat it – and voila, a meltdown, just like that.

Usually I can comfort or distract her out of her tantrum in a couple of minutes. Feed her, give her some milk (blood sugar levels can have a huge effect on kids, as many of us have noticed), cuddle with her, get her in a less stimulating environment, and she’s quickly “all better.”

That night was different. That night, she would not be comforted. She cried herself red in the face, and kept crying. She wouldn’t let me touch her. She stomped around the house, screaming furiously, then threw herself on the ground, writhing and wailing as the excitement of the day finally overcame her naturally easygoing nature.

I called out the window down to the pavilion. I was not “politely quiet.” “Brian! I could use some backup!!!!” He sprinted up the hill to the house, and between the two of us we managed to work our way through the meltdown. She finally fell asleep after forty interminable minutes, still sniffling.

The next morning it happened again, probably due to the number of folks in the house, and the cruel fact that I wouldn’t let her outside to help everyone pack up their tents. She would calm down for a moment or two, then someone would open the door, and she would remember why she was mad at me, and it would start all over again. Sheesh.

But things got quiet soon once the troops headed home, and we all went down for serious power naps around two. Brian managed to wake up after two hours – I, pinned to the bed by Duckie, couldn’t be roused until five. Three hours of nothing but rest. It made all the difference in the world.


At home lately, we’ve been joking about having our friends nominate us for ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover. But to qualify, one of us would probably have to be dead (does almost-dead count?) or critically ill, and personally I’d rather struggle on our own than qualify for the kind of drama they want on the show. Having checked out the website this morning (yeah, I did, so sue me) it became very clear to me that although things are tough and our house is in serious need of renovation (well & water problems, foundation, basement remodeling to make room for Skipper, carpet issues and a teeny tiny kitchen), we’re going to manage just fine. Somehow. We do, as they say, have each other, and we have a family of friends that support us and keep us sane through difficult times like these. Thank God for it.


EB said...

Your pluck in the face of all these obstacles is admirable, my dear friend. My apologies for not having been around for the last several weeks. I managed to post finally last night, a short piece just to get me back in it again. I've missed your electronic epistles and having taking the time to sit down and read yesterday's post this morning, I am glad I did. It's good to be keeping up with you.

I hope your water issues are solved quickly, if not inexpensively.

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