Monday, September 24, 2012

My mind and body have a cold!


Have you ever felt like you were at the summit and weren’t quite sure what the trip downhill would be like? Well this is where I’m at today. I’m in my sunroom enjoying the beauty of the day with rain pouring down outside. It’s quiet at the moment and my bare feet are playing with Lexi on the floor while she works to roll from back to front; she’s working on it at least. I think I’m a little numb today from all that’s transpired in the past few weeks. My brain is still in a fog and seems to have a cold too. I’m on day 12 of a cold that has lasted what seems like forever. I’ve not worked out since Saturday the 8th and that seems like an eternity for me. My weight sits at $2.09 which represents steady progress so far. I’d like to be a buck sixty or seventy one day, but that’s going to take patience and turning down a lot of goodies.

I’ve been pondering a lot lately the “how did I get here” question? Just last year I was considering merging my company, Youth Quest, with Thompsons and serving in some development position. Since they offered to pay me hardly what I’m worth and required me to turn over my company of 15 years, it was an easy decision. But, it was still a decision that was a fork in the road for me. Had I taken the position, I’d be forced to put Lexi in full-time daycare and would likely be busy working to meet quotas. Financially we’d still be struggling to make ends meet as our finances just haven’t been enough to cover our crazy expenses so my stress level would be high to say the least. On top of that would be the pressure to make the relationship work with Thompsons, as having it not work would have meant giving up my company. So, I chose the latter part. To keep my company open but have no ambitions to make it grow for a season, and become a full-time mother of an infant again. That decision was also partly made because the offer came to the table when I was already pregnant, and I knew that I’d be able to accomplish little this year with so many other stresses on my life right now.

Today what’s that like for me? Well, boring today. I really don’t want to clean my house because I still miss getting my cleaning crew to do it when I could afford it, so I sit in a home with much to do but no ability to get things done. The reality is that its hard for me to get anything done that I want to do. The thoughts swirl around my head of what I should get done, and I have the ability to get it done, but my brain can’t keep the attention long enough with the task to get that task done. That basically leaves me in a lurch because I’m not willing yet to stop breast feeding; the reason I can’t take the medication to help me focus. The question I sometimes ask is if its’ really better in the long run for Lexi and I to breastfeed and to stay in this fog and haze, or to stop breast feeding and get on with my life. I just feel like without the medication everything in my life is on hold. My career is on hold, my fitness success is on hold, having a clean house is on hold, getting my finances in order is on hold, and doing things right the first time is on hold. I’m just not thorough. I’m just unable to finish a thought. Yet, typing has always been a refuge for me. I can type like the dickens and can almost type faster than I can think. I’m thankful for my typing skills.

I tried calling my sister today, but she’s busy. I tried calling my mommy, but she didn’t answer. I had a thought today about doing something nice for Kelly tomorrow when he’s off early, but then I got overwhelmed by the steps to complete the task. Okay, so let me try to see if typing the steps will help me get this desire done tomorrow? #1 – look up the weather and see what the weather will be like tomorrow? Nope, an outdoor thing is off the table due to rain. Now, trying to think of something to do inside. Hmmm, thinking?

Okay, Lexi is starting to figure out that mommy isn’t giving her attention. So, that leaves me having to sum up.

#2 The library – travel section! We’ll meet at the public library tomorrow after lunch and plan our next vacation. Maybe?


My brain is a bit of a hot mess this morning as I find myself still recovering from a cold that came to visit me Saturday. I’m finding it hard to focus on anything of real lasting value at the moment. To help myself feel better, and give some much needed relief to my untreated nasal congestion, I’ve escaped to my beloved jetted bathtub for some reprieve. Lexi is also sick and seems to also be in some twilight yet awake zone so she’s stationed on my yoga mat on my bathroom floor with a few random things to keep her attention. With thoughts swirling in my mind and persistent, that I’ve parked my laptop on the side of my tub to get the thoughts in writing in hopes it will relieve some of the annoyance that comes with thoughts and nothing to do with them.

The overriding theme has been that this experience here in North Carolina, now being 15 years, has been a ride I never could have possibly imagined in my wildest dreams. It’s been so full of experiences, I’m starting to forget large chunks of time which seems somewhat tragic in my book of life. Especially, in what I think are some truly awe inspiring and complicated chapters I’ve endured.

So, I’ll take today. This morning I awoke from another night sleeping with a cold and no cold medication. Since I’m still exclusively breast feeding, my best option has been an occasional ibuprophen to help my sinus congestion. Since Kelly’s now picked up the virus from me, I elected to sleep in Lexi’s room to avoid both my snoring and Kelly’s interrupting us throughout the night. This morning, Lexi awoke to eat around 7:00 AM, and then after saying goodbye to Kelly, I woke Tristan up and gave him his clothes for the day, then went down to make eggs. It’s amazing to think of how quickly we fall into patterns and routine with only a few days to set that pattern in place. Then, it’s like we go into a kind of auto drive and that sets the course for a big chunk of time.

On the way to school, I remembered that at 10:45 PM last night I remembered a last minute birthday party Tristan had been invited to at 4:00 that day that I was told about that morning. I had completely forgot about that wonderful invitation by the afternoon. I called my friend on my cell phone and apologized for “mommy brain”.

After driving Tristan to school, and getting home, I thought it would be a good time to go get the emissions inspection waiver needed for the Lexus to be legal to drive. This is something I haven’t been able to do because my routine I’ve worked so hard to establish has been to drop Tristan off at school and then go straight to the gym, or home to feed Lexi quickly and then to the gym. Lexi was asleep and since it has to be done between 8 and 10 in the morning, and working out isn’t on the agenda today, I went to start his car. The battery was dead, so ……

10:44 AM – Well the baby started fussing, so I had to stop mid-sentence and feed her. She’s napping now in my bed and I’ve gotten back in my tub and it’s not as warm now. So, that pretty much gave me the answer to my question of all the random thoughts? This is my life right now. I start something, then have to attend to baby, try to start again, but then attend to baby again. Having a newborn is a kind of nirvana experience in life forcing you out of every routine you’ve been used to. I don’t normally take a bath during this time of day, but then again, I don’t normally feed a newborn every two hours either and I rarely catch cold viruses.

11:00 AM – Bath didn’t seem soothing when I returned to it, so I’m out now and dressed. Well, if you count wearing oversized sweat pants and an American flag t-shirt. Baby is still asleep for the moment on my bed so I’m now sitting in my recliner so I can still hear her and continue purging my thoughts in a much more comfortable position.

Back to routines. Perhaps its good to have bouts of sickness and long periods where you nurse babies so you don’t get stuck in routines and can re-invent yourself. Perhaps its just life’s way of breaking up your routine. I really didn’t want to be sick this week. The weather this summer has been relentlessly hot in the 90’s it seems morning through night. This week has been the first time the weather is amiable. I was so excited to get outside. Oh, just a minute. I’ve been meaning to send an e-mail out on some listserv’s to see if anyone has a running bike I can borrow for a few months…. Good, been meaning to do that.

So how do I feel? The range of emotions I feel lately is almost overwhelming. I feel like my life has progressively gotten more complicated yet the day to day is quite routine. Professionally, I’m going through a bit of a slump. After I finished national accreditation and had a complete bust of a first season writing grants, I sort of checked out of my job. Yes, I’m still getting paid, but I’ve been unable and unwilling to be a leader for the company lately.

Why? Well the primary reason has been money, lack of direction, and lack of energy.

First the lack of money. My career started to take a nose dive in 2007. What we termed the Hive Meltdown of 2007 sent our finances into a tailspin. With our income cut in half overnight, it was very difficult to budget or know if we had enough money or cash flow. Then the state decided to start shutting down all group homes so in the fall of 2009, I reluctantly decided to shut down the Quest; the second group home I’d invested a decade into building. The problem was that one client I was concerned would be adversely affected by the closure. So, to ease the transition I changed it over to a glorified therapeutic foster care and kept the couple on staff and the child in the home. Then that couple left in 2010 and I recruited a second couple. That December, that couple notified me that they were unexpectedly expecting twins. So, my plan to have this home operational with two clients suddenly would only work with one client. This didn’t work financially so it was time to completely shut down or recruit a new couple. The home already seemed to be a conflict of interest with me owning the same place I licensed the couples to work, so operation shut down took place. In November the couple left and the Quest sat vacant for the first time since we bought the home in 1998. All these changes took pieces of my pay until we reached an all time low in income at the beginning of 2011. With 10 years built up of “stuff” at the Quest in very poor condition, in the spring with Dad’s help we cleaned out the Quest and found a long term renter who moved in on April 27 2012.

Second, my lack of direction…or change of direction. With the huge blow to thousands of hours of work in putting together these group homes for troubled teens, I felt deflated and bruised and professionally spent. Professionally, I’ve been going through a very slow forgiveness process of having to come to terms with the reality that another person, an employee in my case, has the power to completely destroy over a decade of hard labor and work building a dream for troubled teens. I’m a fighter so I pursued national accreditation in hopes it would give me a new path, but that was accomplished and has helped with managed care now, but didn’t live up to all that was promised with it either. Then, my children started growing up and my husband decided to pursue medical residency. Where did that leave me? I needed to be here for the kids. The every day routine started to take priority over the five year program growth plan. I’ve found over the past five years that my place hasn’t been in building up a company, but just being at home. I’m always home. I can’t recall a day in Preston’s high school where he was able to come home early and me not be here. The very act of being her for my kids when they are this age has just felt right, and still feels right. It’s much more boring than the joy I find in hiring, teaching, and building up a company, but I’m building a family right now, and the way I see it is that I’ll have plenty of time later to build the company again. What I’ve learned hasn’t gone anywhere, it’s been put on hold until the wind changes again. Right now the wind is blowing east, but when the time is right, it will blow west and I’ll figure it out when it comes.

Finally, a lack of energy. I’m so tired lately I can’t begin to tell you. I can’t believe how exhausting it is to be financially overstretched. For the millions of people in the world who are living beyond their means their whole lives, it’s absolutely exhausting. It a nutshell, it has completely sucked the fun out of my life. It has taken up every last ounce of my emotional surplus and turned me into this person who is fighting depression and hopelessness on a daily basis. It has been exhausting on our marriage and for our children. It has been a trial that could only have been avoided if we sold our home, or abandoned it. We tried to sell our over budget home for residency, but were unsuccessful leaving us with an unbelievable burden of trying to pay the bills every month with money we just didn’t consistently have. We’ve been two months behind on our mortgage for over two years now. We were a few months behind on our investment beach condo until February when we fell more behind this year. Once the payments fell 60 days behind, it went into default 60+ days and the mortgage got sent to an attorney for foreclosure and I’ve not been able to make a payment since. Our credit cards are behind a few months, and I struggle every month to keep up with the day-to-day utility and grocery bills. Then, to add insult to injury, my vendors don’t pay me for months at a time so it’s always feast or famine and is extremely difficult to budget. Right now a vendor hasn’t paid me in three months and owes me over 10K sending us in another financial tailspin. I’ve done everything I can to try and stay out of the abyss of depression and hopelessness, and the only thing that’s kept me going and not applying for bankruptcy is that this will all be over in 3.5 months. Yes, only 3.5 months left out of 60 months of financial nightmare.

Most of my energy has been spent the past five years trying to keep an elephant balanced on a tiny ball platform. Getting Kelly through a five year residency and keeping our home and other investment homes has been the most difficult thing I’ve ever encountered financially. Just the sheer number of months I’ve had to figure out if we’d have enough to pay the bills, and coming up short during some months has been the most emotionally exhausting thing I’ve ever endured.

No comments: