Monday, January 11, 2010


Happy New Year!

I have been in a horrible rut and I've also been extremely exhausted. I'm talking exhausted to the point where I just can't even move. Yesterday I got off of the couch and went to the kitchen to pour a drink and I was actually out of breath and tired from that. School started this week too, which hasn't helped. I feel like I had no vacation.

Since my birthday, my life has been in a state of constant, total chaos and I just physically can't keep up with it all. We had so many relatives in town and then, two days after Christmas, I drove up to Orlando for three days to stay in my aunt and uncle's timeshare and go to Disney. It was a lot of fun, but added to my exhaustion. I've just been doing too much and on top of that, I feel a constant sense of overwhelming anxiety and sadness that I can't shake. My husband thinks something is wrong with me and that I need to go to the doctor because I'm sleeping too much, so soon, when I can get the energy, I'll make an appointment. It could be my thyroid, except I actually lost weight, so I doubt that. It could also be the lupus because that can definitely make you fatigued. The only way to know is to get some blood work done and see. It could just be that I overdid it for a long time and it finally caught up to me.

So this is going to be one of those rambling update posts where I explain what I've been doing.

First a Twitter update - I do not like Twitter. I think it's hard. I don't like the limitations. I want to be more concise, but 140 letters is a bit too concise. Still, my month isn't over yet and I did say I'd do it for a month, so we'll see how I feel on the 17th.

Next on a more serious note - We've been dealing some extremely difficult family situations. In my writing I tend to err on the side of privacy. I don't like to over share. I don't like when other people over share. I get very uncomfortable reading about the current and ongoing personal problems of other bloggers. These things tend to not have the distance required for coherent writing and are best written about long after they have ended. That said, let me over share a tad and break my own rule about writing about problems while they are happening.

A close family member of mine is an addict. The person has been abusing her family as well as herself. It has been extremely painful for everyone involved. Twice since my birthday this person has overdosed and ended up in the hospital. No amount of begging or reasoning has been able to even make a dent in this person's denial about her addiction. We know this family member is going to die.

Last weekend we staged an intervention with an outside expert. It took hours and was emotionally devastating to everyone involved. It was exactly like everything you've ever seen on TV or worse. The family member repeatedly refused rehab over and over and even told us she would rather live on the street and continue to use than to ever go to rehab. After many long hours and a private talk with the expert, the family member finally gave up and said she'd go. My parents drove this person straight to a rehab facility at midnight and checked her in, but she was extremely angry about the whole thing. Two days ago we heard from one of the counselors and he said that she has been very hostile in therapy and group sessions and this is to be expected, especially during detox, but that's all we know. This person can't have any contact with us for a long time. We don't know how long it will be. The whole thing has been more terrible than I can even explain. It's something I won't be able to step back from and write about for a few years and at this point, we don't even know if the rehab will work. We just hope that she will stay, although with no possessions or money, I have no idea where she'd go if she walked out. All I can say is that it is truly a miracle that she even went at all.

Remember when I mentioned I had some family problems around my birthday? This was a part of what I meant.

Another big problem that I've been having is my phobia of having children. I don't want to share any more about this right now but it boils down to the fact that my husband really wants children and I really do not. I feel exactly like Elizabeth Gilbert in the beginning of Eat, Pray, Love where every month when she gets her period she secretly celebrates even though her husband is sad. I feel like a terrible person, but I just can't get over my fear of pregnancy and babies and the possibility of having a disabled child. And all of that makes me feel guilty.

The Refrigerator - Over Christmas my old refrigerator died. It happened the weekend of my sister's wedding, so of course I wasn't home for four days and when I arrived back at my apartment it smelled like someone was stashing dead bodies in my ceiling. I guess the fridge had died on Thursday as soon as I left. It was a major ordeal and I was so mad to lose all that food. It killed me. I hate food waste and I especially hate cleaning up what I can only describe as a gumbo of decay. I'll spare you the details. So then my husband and I had to go get a new fridge, right at Christmas when there was no delivery and we hadn't budgeted for any major appliances. Hello credit card debt. This pissed me off too because I never have credit card debt and now I owe 650$. Oh well.

So my husband and I have very different shopping styles. I, having no patience, find a store, go in and buy the thing I need. It takes about ten minutes. My husband first looks things up on the Internet for hours and prints things out and makes elaborate files. Next, we visit seventeen stores, take pictures, cross reference the files we made earlier, come home and look at more things on the Internet, then visit twelve more stores, try to bargain with several sales people and show them papers from the file folder and things we've taken pictures of. This can take months, people.

In the end, I went in to Sears alone (the first store we visited anyway) with my credit card and just bought a refrigerator. This is where my husband becomes a true hero though. In real Claymation Christmas Saving Spirit, he and a friend borrowed a truck and drove to the distribution center and picked it up for me, since there was no delivery available Christmas week. I was so happy I almost wanted to have unprotected sex with him. Almost.

But I know you want to know all about everything since my birthday.

Here is a small chart of what my past two months have looked like:

Birthday Party with Horse, Fireworks and Belly Dancers with Swords
My Anniversary - such a nice, calm night. We went out to dinner. Nothing dramatic. It was great.
Wedding Planning Frenzy involving making 200 Christmas ornaments as party favors and no one fitting in their dress.
Finals Week at 3 schools.

Here is what the wedding looked like: picking up people from the crowded holiday season airport, losing everything important and trying to find it, a monsoon rainstorm with flooding 2 days before the wedding, getting trapped in a sex shop searching for a garter for an hour during the monsoon floods, getting diamonds on my fingernails against my will and being teased about it for the whole weekend, more people in from out of town, writing my speech the day of the wedding, having a hair tragedy the day of the wedding because I was too cheap and impatient to go to a salon like everyone else, rehearsal, more people, THE WEDDING, my speech, a bunch of pictures, people trying to make me dance and Wow!! there is a tent covering the entire backyard at my parents' house, three people face planting on the dance floor, one guy sleeping in the grass and someone puking on the driveway, post wedding BBQ and then we're back to the fridge situation. Whew!

The day after the wedding we had to go Christmas shopping since we hadn't earlier because we were busy wedding planning.

Here is what Christmas week looked like:

Crowded mall, wanting to kill people at crowded mall, boxes, bags, wrapping paper, running out of tape every five minutes, cooking, eating, Christmas Eve, stray cat in the house Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Catchphrase until 3am. A lot of people. Too much fudge.

The day after Christmas our friends had a Boxing Day party and I stupidly volunteered to make 3 dozen mince pies for it. So more cooking and people and getting dressed to go places.

On the 27th I went to Orlando and ran around at theme parks in the cold for 3 days and ate at Red Lobster.

By then it was New Year's Eve and although my parents said they didn't want a party, a party showed up anyway. I'm pretty sure some of the guests were hookers. On New Year's Eve my relative overdosed, so that basically ruined the evening.

New Year's Day - we cook a big traditional Southern meal and more people come over. At some point I wonder where my vacation went.

Then OH MY GOD!! School starts this week! I have to make syllabi and about 750 xerox copies and lesson plans and class rosters and a three hour meeting on diversity and behavior and team building exercises. Somewhere in all of this I reflect for a moment on how I had just wanted to see a movie.

And did I forget to mention, yes I think I did, that in the midst of all of this, I caught a virus? I tried to deny it for a few days, but I had a sore throat, a fever and body aches during all this too. It was fantastic. I highly recommend being sick both on vacation and when you're in the midst of constant activity and social obligations.

Then we had the intervention.

After that I had to get rid of the Christmas tree. I am still finding needles in the strangest of places. The kitchen cabinet? In my bed? Floating in the toilet? How do these things travel like this? My God. I see why people prefer fiberglass.

Then I started school.

Then it got freezing cold and snowed in Florida, although by me it just looked misty and not even remotely like any snow I've seen. So yes, we are all wearing the coats we bought five years ago for the vacations we took to New York in February and haven't worn since and all the rich socialites get to wear their furs in earnest.

I think that catches us all up now. Right?

Do you see why I'm tired?

I think I'll go back to bed now.


C said...

Take a deep breath.

Man, you had a rough holiday season! But hey, your sis is married, your relative is getting help and your hubby loves you, with or without a little bundle of joy.

Jocelyn said...

WHEW! I need a nap just after READING all of that!

Have some ME time. Say NO a lot.

FreeDragon said...

I thought I was the only one finding Christmas tree needles everywhere! They have been in the bed, stuck to socks, embedded in the rug, in dog fur, trapped in cobwebs, clinging to the door frame, lingering in the trash can, and found in rooms where there was no tree. Ah, the tradition that lasts and lasts!

beatgrl said...

Oh, sweetie! I see why you are exhausted. Try to say no to everything you can say no to for a while. Clearly, stress has TAKEN YOU DOWN. We are not made to deal with that much, esp. those of us with chronic illnesses. Aside from school, I would let things go for a while and stay in bed/on the couch until you can catch up. I guess I just repeated what Jocelyn said. Let hubby take care of you and don't feel guilty about it.

Ellen said...

I know that you're incredibly busy, but given your current family situation, you may find the book "Codependent No More" by Melody Beattie helpful. I just finished reading it last night. While the title might give the impression that the book only focuses on addiction issues, I found it very helpful and insightful for examining my own issues regarding growing up in a dysfunctional family. It's not overwhelmingly about the 12 Step format if you're not into that.

Your stories about your wild and wacky family have provided readers with many laughs, but I've often found myself cringing when I imagine growing up under such circumstances. Too close to home, perhaps.

I LOVE your writing, and am always thrilled when I see that you've updated your blog. I'm impressed that you can write about your formative years with such humor.

Good luck

Robin said...

One of my immediate family members is an alcoholic and my very close friend got out of treatment for a different addiction last week. I feel ya on than front.

MtnMama said...

Why, Yes! I see why you're tired. :)
My life is so drab compared to yours.
I hope you feel better soon.

hvanderwielen said...

That was a long stretch of major stress - no wonder you're exhausted! See the doc, just in case, cause that's a really good idea.

Then schedule time for you to relax. Put it on a calendar if you have to - and remember that you are worth making a priority for yourself.

JDogg said...

That was quite the holiday stretch. Glad I was there to see parts of it.

Calamity Anne said...

Sounds like Christmas at the wonder you're so tired!!!

Albany Jane said...

I love catchphrase!

After hosting thanksgiving, I pretty much gave up on doing anything holiday related unless someone directly asked me to. Phew.

On the kid front, have you guys thought of doing foster care? I'm not ready to have kids yet either, and thankfully my husband also feels the same way. But we've both thought it out, and we could ease into it by trying foster care, that is, if they'd even have us (I'm really not sure what the process is, but it's just something we've been kicking around lately).

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry about the relative with the addiction. Alcoholism runs wild in my family (I am blessed in that it didn't affect me).

My heart goes out to you. I know first hand that watching someone you love become a train wreck of a human is one of the most helpless feelings in the world. Also, for some reason, the addictions always seem to go hand-in-hand with utter selfishness. The addict lashes at those trying to help.



Mommy said...

How did Canela like the tree? I was fearful to put one up with our cats; they are still very young.

What type of classes are you teaching this semester?

kerry said...

Dang! I'm glad your sister's wedding went off successfully, and that you survived the holiday season. All that stress will definitely do a number on you.

I'm sorry you're dealing with the alcoholic relative- that's so hard.

I hope things settle down a bit now that school's back on and that you can ake some time for you.

Joy said...

Do NOT have children until you feel totally ready. Wait until you are totally ready. If your husband is hot to reproduce, you should talk to a counselor about it. It's most important that you both agree on timing.

I'm glad the wedding went okay. I hope you are all rested up by now.

Diane Laney Fitzpatrick said...

I love your description of the busy weeks around the holidays. They go that fast, sometimes, really. Also LOVE how you describe bloggers who tell too much personal info. "Uncomfortable" is a good word.
I'm looking at a March and April that will have four sets of week-long visitors from out of town. Some of them give me two days in between to get ready for the next shift. I'll take any advice from you that you have. I'm going to get so freaking sick of touring the Jupiter Lighthouse.

jenmoon said...

I hear you on the kid thing, believe me :( It's nothing but suck to go through that particular difference, especially since it isn't really something that compromises well.

redb said...

The exhaustion and feelings you describle sound a lot like hyperthyroidism. I had the same thing and went from perfectly normal to so tired every time I went up the stairs I'd have to stop and rest, and maybe cry. You lose a bunch of weight too.

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