We had a system before this fire took over our lives. The big guy took care of the kids, and me, and kept us fed. I tried to make a living and worked at completing a degree. That was the deal. But guess what? Fire destroys everything. Systems included.
So, new system. I work. The big guy oversees the rebuilding of the house. Together we fumble taking care of the kids and keeping everyone fed. And college? I had hoped to be back by the summer semester, but as the moving home date hovers ever farther in the distance I think maybe I’ll enroll in the fall semester.
This is what the new deal looked like today:
The big guy goes to buy rock to fill the holes in the basement floor, but the rock company won’t sell him the rock because he doesn’t own a dump truck. (Don’t encourage him dammit! We already own an ice cream truck.) He has to go to a different rock company. Then he goes to get concrete but the machinery is down so he has to find a different place to buy concrete. With all of the delays, he announces that he will not be home to take care of the kids when they get off their three different school busses. I am on my own to work, referee, and oversee chores.
I decide that all I really need to be able to tackle this challenge is a shower. It really is the little things. I had twenty minutes before the busses started arriving. I sent my boss a quick message to let her know I would be right back and ran for the shower. (Yes, I work from home. No, I do not pack sex toys for a living. Yes, I am aware of work-at-home scams. No, really…it is legitimate employment. Yes, I do work in my PJs.)
Follow me if you dare- it went like this:
Flip on the lights. Drop my iPod into the dock. Comb my hair. Start the shower. Grab a washcloth. Ahhh…the hot water feels great. Where is the conditioner? Ugh. Middle child left it out there on the counter. I’ll just make do with his conditioner. Oh, yuck. That conditioner probably has ‘cones’. I don’ t want that in my hair, but I am NOT getting out of this shower. “MOM!!! Rough Stuff didn’t get off the bus!! She just stayed on and the bus left!” Crap. Shut off the water. Wring some water out of my hair. Tiptoe to my phone. Dry my ear so I don’t drown the phone. Call the bus company. “Hello, my daughter did not get off the bus at her stop, she is on bus ##.” I’m on hold. Fabulous. It is cold out here. I am dripping everywhere. “Oh, you found her, you’re bringing her back, thank you.” Peek around the door. “Son! Son! Tuna! Somebody! Guys! HELLO? H E L L O O O?! Go back to the bus stop and get your sister!” Now the whole floor is wet. I should have skipped the shower. Wow, this hot water feels great. Why on earth didn’t I grab the damn conditioner while I was out there?! I am not getting out again. I need to shave. Where is my razor? Oh, freak. It is way out there on the floor. Son of a biscuit. Now there is water all over the floor again. I hate this shower door. “MOM! Do you know where my iPod is?” “NO, I am in the shower!” Man, how long has it been since I shaved my legs? “MOM! I need to tell you something!” “No you don’t! It is NOT an emergency and I am in the SHOWER!” I shouldn’t have shaved. I need to get back to work. “MOM! Do you know where my splitter is?” “I am in the shower!” “It is a gray cord.” “NO! Go away. I am in the SHOWER!” “We bought it at Staples.” “(BLEEP) This is NOT an EMERGENCY! Leave me ALONE!” Get out of the shower. That was so not worthwhile. I’ll just throw on my sweats and put my hair up in a towel so I can get back to work. Yeah, I look SO much better now. Filth and foul. Log back in to work. “Mom, um…there is this form…um…I need for school…because Mr. X said…blah…blah…blah…are you listening?” Oh for the love of all things. “Let me stop what I’m doing and help you with YOUR problem.”
“Nevermind.” “Mom’s cranky.”
Yep. Great system.
I was cursing the crock. I was shaking my fist at the fire. I was having a pity party because if only we’d had GFCI outlets we wouldn’t be living in a rental house and the big guy would be home with the kids instead of always meeting with contractors at our ‘other’ house and I could have just taken a simple shower and none of this crap would be happening to us!
And then the phone rang. I answered with a nasty “hello!” A sweet voice on the other end said “this is so-and-so from Pryde’s, we have more of your new dishes in” and I was all WOOHOO! Because…well…you know, NEW DISHES!
And that is what life is like 7 months post-fire. Change. Challenge. Frustration. Anger. Outrage. Sadness. Acceptance. And new stuff.