18 days of loving more in year 2, 447 days total!
February 6th ish I came into my house to a rancid smell. It literally smelled like an animal had died and was hiding underneath the family room. Awful doesn’t even begin to describe it. I immediately called my handyman who came right over. I had to leave the house to get one child to a speech therapy appointment but I knew he would resolve the matter.
Not ten minutes after I leave, I get a phone call. I didn’t even have to answer it to know it was bad as it wasn’t my handyman; it was his boss.
“Um, hi Mrs. Orange Rhino.”
“Let me interrupt you. How bad is the problem? It’s not a dead raccoon is it?”
“No, no it is not an animal. You have a leak, a really, really, really bad leak. You have black mold under your floors, under your bookshelf and in the entire crawl space, air ducts, insulation, studs, everything. It’s pretty bad. When can you get home?”
Um, not soon enough? About forty minutes later I walked into the house. It was so bad that both the handyman and bossman had waited for me.
“Well, we think it could be a crack in the foundation or maybe the heater under the bookshelf.”
“Hmmm. So about two months ago I noticed that the heater was making a lot of noise. I figured I was just super irritable that day and laughed it off. A few days later I thought it smelled funny; that the family room smelled like a steam shower. Again, I laughed it off. I can’t help but think the heater is the problem.”
My gut knew it was the problem. I had been telling myself for two months to look into it. But I kept saying “it wasn’t important” and “I’ll get to it when I get to it” and “I’m too busy.” The truth? I never prioritized it.
The men grabbed tools and started ripping out the bookcase. Well all be. Guess what? The heater? Oh yes, it had been leaking for ages. AGES. There was water everywhere. In fact, it was so bad that the iron pipe had turned green. And it get this. It was STILL spraying water.
It is three months later and I am still fixing the problem and still dealing with insurance.
I learned that day, and have remembered every day since that ignoring a small problem can often grow into a large problem and explode in your face, literally.
I learned this same lesson when the marriage boulder crashed in my path. We had acknowledged the small rocks for a while but rationalized that we would get to them, some day. And then bam, well, you know how that story goes (read here)
I learned this same lesson when my oldest was three ish and I started to yell a little more and a little more. I kept saying “oh, it’s just the sleep deprivation, you’ll chill out soon.” And then ahhhhhh, well, my yelling had become a huge problem and here I am, The Orange Rhino, a mom who wants to parent with warmth and determination, without all the yelling.
It is hard to take care of the small problems. They are so, well, small. At the time they don’t seem like they need attention, like they don’t warrant it. And let’s be real. I barely have time to tackle big problems, let alone medium ones and shoot, never small ones. But oh, oh has that come to bite me in the arse one too many times. Sure, there are ones that you ignore and it works out, but more often than not, at least for me, if it is a problem, it doesn’t just disappear.
I re-learned this lesson again today. UGH. The day the plumber came to fix the big, black mold he noticed a piece on the boiler needed updating.
“Is it mandatory I asked? Can I wait a while, until I fix this other big headache of a problem?”
“Sure, but I wouldn’t suggest it. You never know when it will go.”
It’s been on my list to do since February 6th.
Guess what piece broke today? Guess who found a basement filled with rotten water and a soaking went basement rug. Yup, that’s right me. Guess who honest to gosh almost lost it in the ugliest way ever? Yup, me. Because the kids were being bad? No, because I was just done.
Because I have lots of small “to-do’s” that I am ignoring and as a result, my ability to stay chill is pretty much nonexistent and is turning into a big, almost explosive problem. Today, it all boiled up and exploded internally. Did I yell? No. But I feel grouchy beyond words. I feel more impatient that ever. I feel full of yucky rage inside. I kept it contained today, but barely and again, not so prettily. I apologized to everyone for mommy’s uber crankiness and promised to do better tomorrow. That was the least I can do, but hey, I think that counts for a lot.
Now I need to forgive myself. And that will be the hardest part. Because right now I am sitting here thinking “Darnit, Orange Rhino. You KNOW better. You know that if you don’t get sleep, exercise, and eat healthy that you eventually get to a breaking point and it ain’t pretty.” I saw today coming. I felt it yesterday when my eyelids were literally half closed from 1 o’clock onwards and I felt like a zombie. I felt it this morning when my hands started sweating and my heart started beating faster when the boys were a little louder than I could handle. I felt it at 1 o’clock today when I rushed through nap time books because I just wanted alone time.
Yes, I felt the breaking point coming and I didn’t try to stop it.
The last month I have been pushing myself too hard. I have written about taking care of me but again, I have failed to do so. It is evident in my smile, or lack there of. It is evident in my tone. It is evident in the increasing guilt of not being happy with how cranky I am. And for this, because I know that I want to be doing better, I feel crappy and disappointed in myself.
I am okay with pushing myself. With telling myself that “I can do it” and “just one more day of craziness, then I will rest.” But only until a point. Because eventually, it becomes too much. Just like the pipe that leaked and leaked until it wreaked havoc, I know that left uncared for, my little stress, my ignoring the little things I need to get the stress at bay, will grow and grow until it wreaks havoc. Unfortunately for my boys, the wreaked havoc is usually in their direction.
I write this post tonight to remind myself to take care of me.
I write this post tonight to remind myself to acknowledge my warning signs that it is time for a break.
I write this post tonight to remind myself to find grace, to forgive myself for the rough day, to acknowledge that I hey at least, I did take a break at 1 (even if I should have taken it yesterday) and that hey, I am only human. I am doing my best. And that matters a lot.
Let it go Orange Rhino, let go. And for goodness sake, go take a hot bath, ignore your work, and get to bed!!