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Kelly: Emotional Writing? Superwoman Unraveling…

So let me just tell you about my last week or so. I think it’ll be emotional writing at its finest. I had my last arts festival of the fall this past weekend: Market Days in Tallahassee. It’s a very large show, and this year was the first time I’ve participated in it. It’s also an indoor show, and I was on a center aisle, which meant I had to develop some sort of side and back walls with no tent. Over a month ago, I talked to DH about this. I did have a plan for my pipe and drape, and I drew it out for him. Five weeks before the show, mind you. Well, the Monday before the show, my plan was still a pile of PVC sitting on the side of the house. I had to work late two nights last week, Tuesday and Thursday. I had my first intense vestibular rehab appointment on Wednesday (you can read about that here). Each night when I got home, there was some crisis or other to deal with, and, of course, DH couldn’t help the girls with their homework that week because he was too busy making my pipe set up, which he’s had FIVE WEEKS to do. To add to that he said, “You’re going to have to start helping the girls with their homework. I don’t have the patience.” So okay, I guess it doesn’t matter that I get minimal help with the girls in the morning because he leaves for work at 6:15am, and I guess it doesn’t matter than he and the girls get home at 4pm as opposed to my 5:30-6:00pm, just in time for dinner and baths…unless, of course, he’s gone to work out before he picks up the girls…I can’t remember the last time I had time to work out. He doesn’t have the patience to help the girls with their homework, so that now falls to me as well? When am I supposed to do this?

Typically DH thankfully does load up my van for me for my shows and I’m very grateful for that, but since he hadn’t quite finished with the PVC and I had to teach a class Thursday night, that left the load up to me on Friday morning before I hit the road. Did I mention the part about the miserable cold I’ve been battling for the past two weeks? Blowing snot everywhere, I was, and still am. I usually travel to shows with a fellow artist friend. We had planned to leave Jacksonville at 10am, but she called me about 9:45am and told me she had decided to leave at 9am and would just see me over there during set up. Did I tell you that DH made the pipe set up for her as well? The same pipe set up I was trying to corral and load in to my van when she called to tell me she had already left? Are you feeling my frustration and lack of appreciation? By the time I got over to Tallahassee, I had exhausted a whole box of tissues and frankly was in a foul mood. She was already nearly set up, just waiting on me to deliver her the pipe set up that my DH built. When I apparently wasn’t moving fast enough, she reminded me that she needed to leave by 3pm to get back to Jacksonville for her son’s game. Fine. I’ve got a miserable cold, I feel like crap, but I’m moving as fast as I can. Gimme a freakin’ break.

I made it through the show, fairly decent sales given the economy, but not really decent enough to warrant the higher booth fee and added cost of having to create pipe and drape. Trying to find the positive, at least I was inside, not outside battling the weather. When I got home Sunday night at nearly 10pm, as par for the course on most of my trips, the house was a disaster and DH was grumpy from having the girls all weekend by himself. He doesn’t seem to realize that these shows are no walk in the park. They are a pain in the a** and I’m working that very same a** off the entire weekend, but no rest for the weary. I was back to work on Monday morning, only to come home to a very grumpy husband and the girls’ homework staring at me at the end of the day.

Then it was back to therapy Tuesday afternoon for more dizzy torture. Tuesday night was “Polar Express” night at the girls’ school, and I had already promised them we would go, dizzy nausea be damned. To make things easier, I figured we’d just go to Chick-fil-A for dinner (their favorite) and then head over to the school. I thought since DH had had them all weekend by himself and was so grumpy Monday afternoon that getting them out of the house for a while would give him a break as well. I got home a little early since my therapy ended at 4pm, so I beat them home, but the minute they got home, things went downhill. Sarah was distraught because she lost her gold locket on the playground, the same gold locket that I only let her wear because she promised and promised and promised again that she wouldn’t try to take it off. Well, apparently she tried to take it off and lost it. I have to admit I wasn’t too happy about it either since, in my stupidity, I had put the locket on a 14K gold chain when the cheap chain it came with turned her neck green. Learned that lesson!

We made it through that drama and I got them loaded up in the van to head to Chick-fil-A. On the exit ramp from I-95, as we made the turn onto Duval Road, Sarah’s car seat dumped to the center of the van. Apparently in his grumpiness Monday afternoon, DH had not checked to make sure it was locked in correctly when he reinstalled it after unloading my van. Of course, I was on a road with absolutely no where to pull over, while Sarah was laying sideways in her car seat as I tried to keep her steady with one hand reaching behind me and one hand on the wheel. Livvie, bless her heart, was trying to push her back up with all her might. We found a spot to pull over near the light to Chick-fil-A, and while I was getting her resettled and the seat tightened in correctly, the dozens of extra cars spilling out of the Chick-fil-A parking lot caught my eye. Great! It’s Cow Night at Chick-fil-A! Whoo hoo! No way we’re getting in there, so we went through the drive through. The server forgot half my order, which, of course, I didn’t notice until we were already moving on down the road to the school.

Now back up a minute and let me put all this in context. While dealing with all this family and art show drama for the past week, I’ve had a hellacious month at work. Long story short (though this is already a long story, isn’t it?), I have college-wide responsibility for the Student Life department (we have five campuses), yet I don’t have college-wide authority over the people who carry out our program. Yeah, doesn’t make sense to me either. That means while I’m working on deadline putting our college-wide calendar together (click here to see this term’s calendar as an example), the rest of our staff does not possess, shall we say, the same urgency I have. Well, hell no! They aren’t the ones responsible for getting the damned thing written, designed, printed and delivered on time! They’re just responsible for getting me their information to include in it! Remember my whole, “I think I just might go teach elementary school discussion”? This is part of the reason why.

Let me add just one more thing. I am the president of the Greater Jacksonville Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter. Now understand that I didn’t KNOW I was the president of the Greater Jacksonville Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter until I started getting phone calls and emails from people asking for information. I finally learned the previous president had told everyone (at a meeting I missed) that I was the new president, and neglected to inform me or give me any of the materials and giant box of stuff to carry out the job. She and I had had one discussion in which she asked me if I’d consider it, and I told her I’d think about it. Apparently she took that as a yes. When I learned this, I sent out an email to our chapter trying to find another volunteer but have had no luck. In the meantime, our annual Holiday Tea is December 21. Guess who’s responsible? Guess who was stuffing and labeling the 157 invites when the girls and DH got home Tuesday, Sarah distraught from having lost her necklace?

So what happens when you’re trying to live by the “Someday is Today” mantra and your Superwoman powers start to unravel? What happens when you have so much in your brain that you constantly walk into a room only to completely forget why the heck you walked in there? What happens when you need to tell your daughters to put something on, only the name of those rubber and canvas things that go on your feet totally escapes you? I guess I have to take some responsibility for my own downfall. There are things that I don’t have to do. I don’t have to sell my wares on the art show circuit, yet we’ve invested so much in my business that I feel obligated to bring some cash back into our family coffers. I don’t have to be the Greater Jacksonville Chi Omega Alumnae Chapter president (until I can beg someone else to take over), yet my name is out there, and I’m not the type of person who will let the ball drop. And yes, I do have to carry out my college-wide responsibilities at work, but it sure would be nice to actually get paid for that college-wide role, not just have it given to me because the powers that be know that I’ll get the job done (don’t even get me started on how I’m supposed to coordinate rugby clinics at the college for the UK rugby team coming to Jacksonville when my particular campus doesn’t even have facilities for such a thing). So what happens when all this happens? You find a way to carry on, that’s what happens. You thank the good Lord you have the skills to actually create wares to sell on the art show circuit. You thank God that people think highly enough of you to give you responsibility, knowing that you are the best person for the job. You thank Him for blessing you with a fairly understanding husband, two incredible little girls, and a roof over your head. And you write it all down. You get it all out by venting to those you know “get it”. You take a deep breath. You have a glass of wine. Maybe a little chocolate. And then you say, “Hmmmm…okay, I feel just a little bit better now.”

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. cathy #

    well, sh**, kelly, i’ve got nothing to complain about! more later, i need to digest this on the run today.

    December 11, 2008
  2. Liz #

    Cheers, Kelly. (wine glasses clink… no, wait, let’s just make it grain alcohol… self induced comas are nice this time of year.)

    December 11, 2008
  3. cathy #

    i’ve been noticing a pattern amongst us here lately, of getting it all together then a jenga piece is pulled, another added, again and again, untill we collapse, get sick, blow a fuse or all of the above, but generally we in the end know we can recover. then start all over again. get better, get kids better, ask for help, let something go we thought we couldn’t, and get back on track.

    i think having this forum helps a lot, we know we’re not the only ones in the same mess, whatever that mess looks like: twins, blended family, 2 under 5, special needs, etc and creativity. i think being creative helps a lot, too, an outlet for the emotions when they’re overwhelming.

    good luck getting back on track, i’ve been trying to shake this cold for about a month now myself, kelly, ‘i feel your pain’ and it’s the season of stress, too. just remember to breathe and make that drink a bloody mary with a teaspoon of cayenne to sweat out the germs!

    December 11, 2008
  4. cathy #

    not to open a can of worms, but:

    and why can’t our husbands deal with the same level of any one piece of it that we can?! i mean, their help is nice, but some equal management skill would be even better…or is it just easier for us to delegate, and they got used to it?

    December 11, 2008
  5. clinking back at ya, liz….

    and here, here for that can of worms, cathy! i ask myself that question every day! we all juggle so much, yet doing two things at once seems unfathomable to the husbands? at least mine. not possible to keep the house picked up and watch the girls at the same time. yet, gee, somehow it IS possible to watch 8 hours of football and watch the girls at the same time. it’s not that it’s not possible….it’s that it’s not their priority.

    December 11, 2008
  6. opheliarising #

    So sorry for all the bad luck you’ve had lately, but if it’s any consolation, I do think there is a lot of that going around…(misery loves company…)? It’s very difficult to do everything and stay sane. Hopefully you find moments during the day when you can breathe and get inside yourself, to find that peace.

    Sometimes it helps me to do this very strange exercise that someone once shared with me. You take whatever is bothering you, and put it into an epitaph. Such as, “Here lies Mary. She couldn’t do any writing today, because her children took up all her time, and she found no source of inspiration.” Or, “Here lies Mary. Her power went out for two whole days, and she couldn’t make any coffee, and was continually exhausted while trying to entertain her two increasingly bored children.” I know, it’s pretty morbid, but it kind of puts a perspective on things…

    December 16, 2008
  7. cathy #

    i like the epitaph take!

    and then add my father’s favorite expression after someone asks how it feels to be — on his bday:

    it’s better than the alternative!

    December 16, 2008

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