When I was younger, I used to write regularly in a journal, a college-ruled spiral notebook, and often during times of stress, I’d write and write until the anxiety slowly dissolved. I’m not sure if it works the same way in a blog, but I thought I’d give it a try.
(Sure this is public, but nobody actually reads this blog anyway and in case somebody does stumble across it someday, maybe it will help them. Not like that pile of notebooks in the other room.)
So here it goes. Here’s what the next two weeks look like:
- Home: After some water damage, the contractors ripped out the bottom part of the wall separating our kitchen and our living room. In the next two weeks, they are going to repair the wall, paint the wall and rip out all the flooring downstairs and then put in new flooring. Which means we need to clear the bookshelves and everything else downstairs this weekend.When we get back from our trip, all of our downstairs furniture will be in the garage. This whole process is expected to take two-three weeks.
- Out of town: We have a vacation planned next week so this weekend I will need to pack for myself and our three kids (my husband will pack his own bag). We have never been to this city before and we will be staying in somebody’s house that we don’t know and our sons are kind of loud and messy so not sure how that will go. While we are gone, the contractors will be in and out of our house and our dog will be at a friend’s house.
- Work: We’ve had dramatic changes in our staff over the past few months – more than half of our staff is gone – and my portion of the work used to be shared with about four other people. This has been the case for the past few months and this is the first time I’ve been on vacation since this staff cut. Fortunately one of my former co-workers is stepping in when I’m gone but I’m still going to bring a laptop with me so I can help if needed.
- Holiday: Passover is coming up, a holiday where preparations usually include thoroughly cleaning up your whole house to rid of any chametz (unleavened food). That in itself is a big process that I probably don’t do that great of a job on, but I attempt it every year. At the very least I clean out all my kitchen cabinets and prepare the kitchen for kosher-for-Passover products. Because my place of employment is a Jewish company, we are closed for several days of the holiday and this year because the holiday falls on the day we usually go to press, we have early deadlines for the two weeks after I return from vacation. And my kids will be on spring break at that time and I haven’t made any arrangements for those days since it has seemed so far in the future and I can only handle planning one week at a time lately.
- More work: It’s also the time for our company to put out our annual publication, which is in addition to our weekly newspaper. Last year I had little to do with this publication but because now the whole team that worked on it last year is gone and I’m the only one left, I’m now in charge of that as well. The original deadline was next week but because our new company was going through this transition, we started more than a month late, but we’re still going forward with it.
- More deadlines: Then there’s also the scholarship applications for next year’s school year that I need to complete before our trip and soon I’ll need to make summer camp plans. And do the taxes when we get back.
OK, deep breath. Now here’s the part that’s supposed to make me feel better.
- Home: We have a home and the insurance is supposed to cover all this work. When it’s over, our walls will be freshly painted (they needed a fresh paint of coat) and we’ll have new floors (between kids and dogs, we badly needed new floors). So in about a month or so from now, the downstairs should look great.
- Out of town: We are traveling to a new place as a family and it’s for a happy reason. None of us have ever been there before and it’s a place I always wanted to go. We have friends who are watching our dog and he will have fun running around in their backyard with their dog.
- Work: I have a job I enjoy. One of my former co-workers is able to fill in at work and I’ll be back in time to go to press and handle any last-minute things that need to be done. My two remaining co-workers are great and interviews are underway for my staff so I should have some help soon.
- Holiday: We have an invitation to at least one of the holiday meals. Because of the work that we need done, two of our cabinets were taken out, one of which is our pantry so I’ve already done some of the Passover cleaning. Because we’ll have limited access to our kitchen during the holiday, I don’t need to worry about all the extra cooking. We are in a better financial position than we have been in years past at this time of year. Because I have some time off from my work because of the holiday, I’ll get to spend some extra time with my kids when they’re off of school for spring break. Because of the way the holidays fall out, four of the seven days they’re off I won’t have to work. That means there are only three days I need to figure out scheduling.
- More work: The delay in the annual publication was out of my control and now there’s nothing to do but move forward and everybody is on board with that and is aware and understanding of the situation.
- More deadlines: I’m almost done with the applications and it’s only 9:30 p.m. so I have time to complete them tonight. And taxes can wait until we get back and we can always ask for an extension if needed.
- And all that other important stuff: Good health, wonderful family and friends, access to tasty and healthy food, a place to live (even if it’s going to be a bit of a mess for awhile), lots of love and laughter.
You know what? That actually worked. I’ve got a lot going on the next two weeks and it’s going to be a bit crazy, but it’ll be OK. Who said life was supposed to be easy?
I know it’s better to focus on the positive side of things and the gratitude, but that’s easy to forget (like this morning when one of my kids had a meltdown on the way to school because he realized a few blocks away from school on our 20-minute drive that today was bring-a-stuffed-animal-to-school day and he forgot his stuffed animal or this afternoon after my kids begged me to try the Pokemon Go Frappachino from Starbucks on the way to their piano lesson and then one of them accidentally spilled the whole thing upside down all over his backpack and on the floor of my car…) Yes, those moments. Those challenges to keep calm and patient (I failed both times, although I think they ended up as teachable moments).
Take a deep breath…