Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Rollercoaster Continues

I have so much to do my head is spinning. Where do I even start?
Last night the landlord of our house let us know the lease is up at the end of the month. That is a little less than three full weeks from now. The good news is that we were able to leave on an amiable note. The bad news is, we have to leave.

With a full house and only three weeks, we have to start packing even though we don't know where we are going yet. That makes me feel panicky. To give us a little more room as far as finding a place (and paying to get into it) WP has agreed to let the girls and I "camp out" at his place for a week or so if we need to. The relief of knowing that no matter what, we have a place to eat, rest, and sleep is an amazing comfort. I have been in the situation where I didn't know what would be happening and I think the fear and uncertainty is one of the things that pushed me over the edge, health-wise.

I know I shouldn't have been surprised that this happened, but I was.  I have mentioned in the past that I feel overloaded handling the families finances. Now, along with that, I have to head up the search for a home because I am the one who knows what we can afford. As soon as all this happened, I switched into my normal "I'll take care of it mode," but that isn't a smart thing. My marriage is a marriage in every sense of the word and I should be including DH in things like how much things cost and what is due when. Maybe I will still be "in charge" of all of it, but I have to talk to him on a daily basis in order to make sure he knows where we are. If I don't share my side, I can't be upset if he never picks it up, can I?

Once I was able to get my thoughts together, DH and I sat down and talked about plans and contingencies, and nuts and bolts. This was a very hard thing for me to do. I realized that I might have become a bit jealous of my position as Sole Owner of the Finances. Sure, it means I am the only one who worries about juggling money, but I am also not really held personally accountable for making mistakes. I have to deal with the utility companies, and buy groceries, and pay car loans, but if I decide to order in dinner when I really shouldn't no one yells at me for it. I just keep on juggling.

As I have also said, in spite of being in charge and having many years experience, I am still not very good at actually HANDLING the money situation. I make mistakes all the time. Over paying, under paying, forgetting things, miscalculating things, not keeping track and not following up, buying this because we need it without looking for a cheaper alternative, spending money on that luxury because "I deserve it" - these are the sins I pay for every single day. On a good week, I will know what we have in the bank, what we owe to everyone, and what we have left. It doesn't make a difference because I will usually ignore it anyway. On a bad week, I will not even bother to check or keep track, and I just try to manage things in my head. You would think I would figure out a better way to do things when it hasn't been working for me so far.

Anyway, I came to terms with my failures and I listened to DH when he made suggestions last night and even when he reminded of a bill that I said I needed to pay.  It was very difficult, but I listened and agreed to check my numbers again. When FIL made suggestions about where to move and how to pack, I listened to him, too. I realized my first instinct was to become defensive. The fact that I can't handle this is hits a raw nerve. Any input has, in the past, come across to me as someone else pointing out my failures. I had to swallow my pride and accept help, even if it was just in the manner of well-meant advice. This may very well be the beginning of my recovery.

This morning we had to talk to our girls about moving and what our plans are (or aren't.) It was a bit depressing that they took it so well. Apparently they are used to this. Throughout the day, though, they have been open and have shared their feelings and thoughts with me, and that makes me feel much better. Even though I can't fix it completely, I want to know that they are scared or worried. They each have warmed my heart in their own way by trying to put a good spin on things in their own mind while recognizing their own fears. LH is looking for a fresh start so if we move to a new town, she can make all new friends and maybe she won't get picked on as much, but she will miss her friend and her boyfriend.  TD wants us to get a house with a big yard so we can get a new little friend for BBD, but she will miss being with her very best friend who was supposed to be moved into the same class this year. EG is very concerned about how her poor teacher will take it, knowing that she won't be there next year, but she is comforting herself with being busy about things - cleaning, tidying, packing (I have no idea where she gets it from but I'm not about to send it back!)

After our little talk and DH was leaving for work, I was about to start in the garage with taking notes and making lists and starting the "preparatory stage" of the move when DH mentioned it sounded like a shower was running, but it was coming from the garage. Huh. Strange. And then he backed out of the driveway. I however, found the hot water heater had sprung a leak and was threatening to flood our laundry room. I managed to catch it just in time and called the landlord as I was putting out towel to keep the water inside the closet, at least. No matter what he told me over the phone, I could NOT find this magical "shut off valve" that he kept telling me was there. I found the gas line and turned that off,and then I turned down the temperature knob just in case. I examined every part of the copper pipes that I thought were the hot and cold and there was no knob or lever. Kicking myself for being so dependent on others that I had to wait for someone else to show me how to turn off the water I grabbed more towels to hold back the lake that was growing in the water closet.

After what seemed like forever (but was really only about 30 minutes) the landlord showed up, declared that we would need a new hot water heater, and .... what was that? There was no cut off installed to begin with? So I wasn't completely blind for not seeing something that didn't exist? Go figure. My faith in my own technical abilities was restored! Now that THAT was determined (and the water was turned off) I had to assess any possible water damage. At this point, it looks like there will be pretty minimum damage since we caught it in time. At least I THINK we caught it in time...a walk through the garage showed a few wet spots here and there. I am terrified to see what that is from or what it has done. We learned a long time ago not to store anything of  value directly on the garage floor so most everything is on shelving units and rolling bread racks. Not quite everything, though. I will have to pull out the equivalent of a pick up truck load full of odds and ends and see if  we have to pitch anything before it becomes a mold issue.

I have a temporary respite from this, though. Other than making room to pass through the garage, I am not able to do much of anything until the landlord finishes the new water heater installation. I can't wash dishes, do laundry, or anything else involving water. I am reluctant to start putting anything in boxes without a safe place to put them. I don't want to start packing dishes until they are all clean (which they aren't) because I want to pack them together to make sure everything is safe and makes it to our new home (wherever that may be.)

So far on my "Things I can do until I have running water" list I have Set up "station" with newspapers  unfolded and stacked so I can pack dishes and glasses quickly and safely - done. Pass out space bags to the girls to fill with stuffed animals - done. Put away clean laundry so I can really see what it left to wash - done. have each girl find and pack a bag with their favorite items that they can keep with them - done. Get LH her own Facebook account and complete lecture on "Friending" and Internet Safety - done. (Please don't judge. I have to give her something to keep her busy while I am packing or else I will be swamped by really big boxes full 1/4 of almost nothing.)

Well, crap. Now what?

Debbie "Mover and Shaker" Lollar

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