Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Yes, I have bad days

I'm breaking one of my cardinal rules -- don't cry and blog -- because sometimes I think all of this might look too easy. It's not easy. But I feel like I can't complain, because I chose this life. You're going to have bad days, regardless of where you are or what you're doing. And I'd rather deal with the frustrations of this life than most any other.

But regardless of what life you choose, there will always be things that get thrown into your life, over which you have no control. This morning, I discovered via Facebook that a close relative would be having surgery. And based on what the message said, I couldn't help but feel that other family members were blaming us for not doing more. Well, how can you do anything for people who don't tell you something is wrong? I may be talented, but mind reading is not among my gifts. I wish it were.

Then I had a very frustrating conversation with a vet at U of I. I should devote a whole post to my older llama problem, but I really hate it when vets start reading from the textbook and don't listen to what you tell them.

Then I realized that I have set myself up to do more than is humanly possible in the next couple days. I feel like we should be there for the family on Thursday when this relative has surgery, but my week had already been booked solid before we knew about the surgery. Tomorrow, I have appointments an hour away with a chiropractor and massage therapist, which I really need to see, because I live with chronic pain. And I was going to get my hair cut because I'm speaking at a conference on Friday and Saturday. Thursday I was already scheduled for my own medical issue -- a thyroid ultrasound, which I don't take very seriously, but I suppose I should keep an eye on the nodules that have taken up residence on my thyroid for the past couple years, just to make sure they don't grow into a problem. I'm not sure when I'll have the time to sit around and wait for the llama to poop, so I can catch a stool sample.

All those seeds I've started in the last couple months are now at a point where they need to be transplanted into bigger pots. I got one done today and then started to feel overwhelmed and decided they could wait until next week.

And I hate to break this to everyone, but I don't have perfect children. They're on spring break, and they've been slacking. There are so many things that need to be done -- trimming hooves on about 30 goats, for starters. And all the stalls in the barn need to be cleaned out, because it hasn't been done since November. Mike has been gutting the pump room, and they should be helping him as he pulls out paneling and insulation to replace it with new insulation and paneling. The old insulation had fallen down about halfway, so the upper half of the walls were not insulated at all. This may come as a shock to everyone, but they'd rather be on Facebook than doing any of these exciting projects. So, they don't always do everything when we ask the first time.

Today, I did manage to get the fruit trees pruned, although only because five of the 16 didn't make it through the winter, so now we're down to nine fruit trees. And Jonathan helped me to make seven pints of orange marmalade using organic oranges and lemons I bought at the store. I got almost everything lined up so we can start back on 305-day milk test with our goats. Before I go to bed tonight, I still have to put together a soap and yarn order, and between appointments tomorrow, I need to get outlines together for the six sessions that I'm doing at the conference. I also have to make a list of things to take for my presentations -- all the supplies for making soap, my vermicomposting bin, spinning wheel, roving, yarn, a raw fleece, and oh crap -- I seriously just realized that I'm supposed to have enough drop spindles for everyone in the spinning workshop.

We have to figure out how to make the milking machine work before Thursday and teach Mike to use it, since Katherine and I will both be gone, and we're the only two who know how to milk goats. It's not as easy as it sounds since we bought the belly pail for the milking machine, which would fit perfectly under a big goat. Supposedly for our little Nigerians, we'll have to cut a hole in the milking stand for the pail to sit in there while the goat is being milked. I suppose there is also some kind of learning curve for the goats who are accustomed to being hand milked? Guess we'll find out soon.

At some point in the next two days -- probably sooner rather than later, because ligaments have loosened up -- two goats are going to give birth!

And when am I supposed to get any of this done with all my appointments tomorrow and a relative having surgery on Thursday? Is it a surprise that I collapsed in tears around six o'clock tonight? If my life were a movie, this would be when the assistant comes in with her steno pad, and I calmly start dictating all the things she has to get done in the next two days! At least, if I were writing the screenplay, that's what would happen.


Goodwife said...

You'll be in my thoughts and prayers. I know you aren't looking for advice, but sometimes we just need to really slow down. I'm the type of person who needs calm and quiet in my life and I make certain sure that I get it. Take care of yourself.......oh and a note on the kids? Unplug the facebook....be the parent........and MAKE them help out! Hugs to you and hang in there!

Michelle said...

Considering the mountainous load you are carrying, I thought your post was real without being real whiny (if my opinion matters :-). I agree with Goodwife, you have to be the parent still, although we can dream that they will someday take initiative and start doing all the right things (i.e. being responsible and useful all on their own). Soldier on, do what you can, and when the week is over, ask yourself about those things that had to slide (as my mom always told me to), "Will this really matter in five years?" I think you are an AMAZING woman!

Angela Rountree said...

Deborah, I agree with Goodwife and Michelle. If it helps any, in my line of work where conditions are literally physically dangerous from time to time, we prioritize this way; take care of yourself, take care of your crew/family, take care of your equipment. Then and only then care you effectively care for others.

SkippyMom said...

I too have to agree with Goodwife, Michelle and Angela. We all have bad days and rotten kids [sometimes] :) and your plate is overflowing but it will all calm down eventually.

You really need to take care of you first, then the family and everyone/thing will fall in line.

Thank you for sharing - we are, after all, only human, eh? I hope your Dr.'s appt. goes well - you will be in my thoughts and prayers.

Spinners End said...

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with all the "stuff" we need to do in our lives...and many of us take on a lot because we like to enrich ourselves and share that with others. You are not a selfish person. An occasional grounding is in order though- take a few minutes and go out to the field/barn and put your arms around one of your creatures and let them breathe some sweet herbivore breath on your face! :) works for me everytime.

A cyber-hug for you too!


Birgit said...

Hi Deborah. I'm sorry things are tough for you right now. Please hang in there! If you want to talk to somebody about thyroid nodules (and get a reference for a great endo doctor in the Chicago area), let me know. Ben has had a cold nodule for the past 10 years or so (diagnosed when he was a grad student in Chicago). They're starting to talk about wanting to take it out (it's about golf ball sized now), but it hasn't caused him any trouble.

Try not to let people get you down!

--Birgit (and Ben)

Anonymous said...

You are in my prayers also, Deborah. I wish I lived closer so I could come over and assist. Thank you for the perspective. All I have to do is come up with $20,000 in the next 10 days... out of seemingly very thin air.

Anonymous said...

I should also say that you are a divine inspiration to me. You are a remarkable human being with a lovely heart and a talent for keeping it all together when most people would say "forget it" and buy a condo downtown and shop at Trader Joes.

Genny said...

Whew! After reading your post, I'm tired and I didn't even do anything. If you need a laugh, you're welcome to check out my story on my blog. If it does nothing else than bring a smile to your face or anyone else's, it's worth it. I can't even begin to imagine coping with all you have to do. But I'll bet that when you're not feeling a little low, it doesn't feel so overwhelming. Try not to feel guilty about your relative who's having surgery. In all reality, what can you really do until they really need someone to help them? I hope I don't sound like I'm trivializing anything in any way, but in my experience with family, it seems like there's always someone who feels like someone else should be doing more. And we'd be happy to do help and do more if we only knew what it was that we could do to help. Hang in there, Deborah, you're amazing on a daily basis. And if I were closer, I'd love to come over and learn to milk goats and help with the barn chores. That's the kind of stuff I'd love to get my hands into.

Deborah @ Antiquity Oaks said...

Thank you for all of your comments. I did go to the chiropractor and massage therapist today, and I'm so glad I did, because I feel much better, both physically and mentally. I still have to do everything, but I feel less overwhelmed. Kudos to DH Mike who made 18 hand spindles for me already! I'm amazed.

Now I have to go pack my suitcase for this weekend!

Amy said...

I know you don't know me, but on the nagging family thing...meaning thoughts that linger 'cause you feel bad about it all and want to be there...surgery usually spawns needs in a family member that need fulfillment days or weeks after that surgery. If you didn't know about it....and can't make it there...you can do lots to lift the spirits of someone having surgery days afterwards. In fact, having family around later is very beneficial. Hope that helps, too. Amy at Wheely Wooly Farm

Footsteps NZ-TZ said...

Bad days are par for the course and often way beyond your control. You are a busy family and you carry a big load. Don't bite off more than you can chew, but I think you enjoy being busy and trying things. I don't often respond to blogs but wanted to empathize with you.

kpf said...

It's so easy for all of us - to have this kind of busy life before you know it. All I do is homeschool my children and I often get overwhelmed. Just do what absolutely has to be done - not gardening, not haircuts - and then relax and take care of yourself or you'll lose your health for sure. Thyroid issues are often stress related. When I feel stressed, I stop everything. I'm thinking of you. I, myself, use tarot cards for guidance. My aunt, a nun, says we have to give God ways of talking to us.


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