My Leap List

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Some Days are Like That

     Today I'm channeling Alexander in one of my favorite kid books, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.  Alexander is having one of those days and he keeps threatening to run away to Australia.  His mom tells him, "Somedays are like that, even in Australia."
     It was one of the those days.  It started with a 6 A.M call to the bank to see if a real person would answer when they opened back East.  I didn't know that's what we were doing.  I was blowdrying my hair when I was handed the phone.  I talked to a woman until 7 and tried to convince her that I need help.  She told me somebody would call me, but in the meantime I would be in collections and that could mean foreclosure.  So, of course, I started crying.  When I got off the phone John yelled at me because I was supposed to just tell her she could talk to him.  Getting yelled at when I'm crying makes me cry hysterically.  So I went to work splotchy, with a wet hair ponytail, and melting make-up.
     There were people waiting for me at my door to complain about the test schedule I spent hours doing last night.
     There was a 1st grader who brought medicine to school in her lunchbox and gave it to another kid, who got sick on it.
     Another first grader didn't know what to do when there was no toilet paper, so he used his hand, and then kept trying to get it off his hand by wiping it on the stall door and wall.
     An aide yelled at me in an office full of people because she wasn't happy that I hadn't called an inside recess.
     The state office clarified a change in a test that has been changed 3 times since the testing window started 2 weeks ago.  Now the teachers are mad because half got extra help on the test and the other half won't.  No big deal unless your future pay might be tied to the results.  I was the lucky messenger, and they shot me.
     John still isn't talking to me tonight.
     I hit my head.  There was no ice, so Nick got me a bag of french fries.  They weren't tied shut, so french fries fell down my head.
      I want to move to Australia, but I'm writing, breathing, and remembering some days are like that.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lost in a Crazy System

     I hate money.  It always seems people have too much or too little.  I know it can't buy happiness.  I like the feeling that I have enough to give it away to people in need without worrying that I will need it.
     Unfortunately that hasn't been happening much lately.  I have avoided this topic because there are so many other people in lots worse situations than I am, but today pushed me over the edge.
     Most of you know that John stayed home with the kids as they grew up.  It made sense at the time.  I was already teaching and had insurance, while he was still in school.  There were many days I wished it was me staying home, but I was glad they had their dad.  As they got older, he began to struggle with mental illness.  We still don't know why or what is going on.  Every time we see someone new, he gets a new diagnosis.  The medications keep changing and none of them have really helped.  The newest idea is to get an MRI of his brain and see if there are any tumors or lesions that could be the trouble.  
      With the medical bills, student loans, the $1,100 I owed Argosy for taking a break, and other unexpected things happening, we got behind.  I keep doing more jobs, but I still can't seem to catch up.  With John's illness, he is unable to work, and too proud to be on disability.  I have been trying to talk to the bank about options for paying the mortgage.  It's only a few weeks behind, but it has been for over a year.  It's not enough to default, but enough I keep getting threatening letters from the bank.  The credit counselor sent me forms to fill out before she can help me.  All of the options have to do with foreclosure.  I called the bank again and had to keep punching zero for forty minutes before I could make the computer frustrated enough to get a real live person to help me.  She transferred me to another computer where I did the same thing again.  When I finally found another person, he told me to go to the website and get a credit counselor.  I told him I already did, but wasn't in default.  I told him I wanted to avoid that and work out a plan with the bank now.  He gave me another phone number with another computer....  Basically he said I have to be in default before anyone will help me.  What?  If I am willing to do what I can now, why would they rather have me not pay them for another month or two and risk my house so I might be able to get help?  I feel like I am in the movie Brazil.  

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Dark Side of Love

     "I give up.  I don't want to do this anymore."  I held him while he cried because there wasn't anything else to do.  He faces the darkness and demons alone.  If the enemy was outside of him, I would battle to the death, but I can't fight the demons in his mind.  I am helpless.  It is never enough.  I am not enough.  No amount of love or reassurances or counseling or medicine or comfort or prayers or wishes or bargains I make with the universe are ever enough.  In my darkest moments I wonder if it would be better for him to finally end his suffering.  Then the moment breaks and I shudder with the fear that he will.
     It was the end of Valentine's Day.  My favorite day of the year.  A day of love in all it's variations.  He had been having two days of feeling better, witnessed by the flowers sitting on my table.  I had let a little glimmer of hope in and was crushed with the weight of reality for how quickly things had turned.  I was sad for me, for him, for my kids; sad for the life that should have been, and missing the boy I fell in love.  Heavy thoughts...lost and lonely and failing the person I love most in the world.
     Then I realized it didn't matter if it was Valentine's Day.  It didn't matter if we had a peaceful time enjoying love tonight or if my romantic dreams came true.  Sometimes love is holding someone when there is nothing else you can do.  It is reassuring someone things will get better when you have no reason to believe it will.  It is finding the strength to take care of someone else when you really want to run away and start another life.  Love is hard.  Love is gritty and dirty.  Sometimes it is loving someone through their darkness with no expectations of getting anything in return.  In it's own way, it is as beautiful as the romantic love we celebrate on Valentine's Day.  Love is ALL.  Happy Valentine's Day.  I wish you love in whatever form it takes in your life.