Yesterday I taught my kids that meltdowns come in all sizes. To admit to financial stress would not do justice to the near impossibility it is to cover winter bills in our household. Last month’s $500.00 heating bill (yes, to keep our home a balmy 62degrees), coupled with a near $200./month increase in mortgage payment to cover some increase in taxes for the house… This month is our most lean in a long while & my attempt to complete a school consult to earn money to cover things was thwarted by the Nemo Snowpocalypse. Financial stress is near its all-time high- likely a common thread among readers. (Virtual hugs to you.)
In addition to this, February has a school vacation week which takes the minimal nursing coverage that I do have, COMPLETELY out of the picture. She graciously came Monday so that I could interview another nurse (a tragedy for another post) and stock up on food to get us through to when she returns next Monday. (121 hours, but who’s counting??) Although the grocery store didn’t have enough of the specific almond milk my children can tolerate, we have enough for several days and may be able to stretch it to Monday if we ration & drink water at snack & dinner. That will be our plan.
During Snowpocalypse ’13, we had some challenges with the heating system- thank you Trane furnace for your auto-shutoff that prevents Carbon Monoxide poisoning of my family. It DOES take quite a long time to heat up a house after the heat’s been off 12hrs. -but we’re all still here! Snow removal was a 2-full day project JUST to get the cars shoveled out from the front of the driveway and the kitchen roof cleared enough to maintain its integrity. And, for all the work of clearing the driveway, it is good I spent enough time out there to locate the gas leak in the pipe that supplies gas to our home for heat & hot water. NStar took my notification seriously & immediately- then forwarded my info to National Grid (our gas co. I had called the wrong guys). National Grid was out within the hour and had the leak repaired by morning. Fortunately, the leak was OUTSIDE my home and we rarely open windows in my kids’ playroom/bedroom/medroom so it never leaked in through their window above the pipe.
Oh, riiight, meltdowns. Have you kept with me? Good. Yesterday started like every other day: one twin using their oximeter as an alarm to awaken me at O-Dark-Thirty. Nebs & nebs & nebs… And the OT is apparently in town this vacation week so we saw her before breakfast… When she left, I opened the fridge to get milk & smelled the melting plastic. I saw the melted wrapper of the roast I had gotten on clearance to cover most of our dinners for the week. I saw the temperature control panel hanging from its wires from above the HOTTEST pair of fridge lights I have ever seen. When I tried using the door switches to shut them off, nothing happened; they beamed on. The door switches did not turn on the fan to begin the cooling/refrigeration process. I looked at the stores of food I had purchased for the week being exposed to all that heat. I looked at the $20,000.00 dollars worth of meds baking in the cold cuts drawer… And I lost it.
I screeched the lament of my forebears and cried and made milk/formula for the kids through the sobbing. I pit cups on the table and ran to the basement to re-set the circuits to see if that would help- and came back to the carnage to see it wage on. I put on potholders and got one bulb out before pulling the power source to the light fixture- all the while crying & sobbing & spewing my verbal stress about how replacing the fridge – even paying for a repair- is too far beyond our family reach right now.
I grabbed things that would go bad and fed them to my children. I found a cooler and threw in some snow & added the yogurt & bacon. I put the almond milk in the snowbank still standing on the back deck… Then I threw our roast in the oven to cook it up for the family dog- man will he love us for the next few days.
It may have only been 5 minutes time, but I have never felt more out of control, over-whelmed, beyond-the-pale stressed in the entire time I have had my kids home. Sure, its not just money & the dog’s roast. There is the birthday of the child, forever 4, who would have turned 7 just 2 weeks before my twins. There’s the lack of any help for the 100+ hours of medical treatments & assessment my kids will need this week. There’s the GI appt. on Thursday for all 3 kids where I defend the alternative formula versus chemical slop that is preferred by GIs at Harvard, where I defend my youngest as she works hard to stay dry but just cannot physically be continent, where I justify eating healthy but different to keep my kids from vomiting daily & developing the painful black patches across their skin… Then there’s the neurology appointments afterward where I need to ask about the new metabolic results, the question of cerebral atrophy that doc has raised from seeing the old MRI, the stroke-like episodes I sometimes see with my 5year old…
So I guess a 5 minute meltdown isn’t the worst-case scenario given this week, this month, this life… And we sure got lots of cuddle time during the 3 hour bedtime power outage that ended our day – who knew no power to run all the overnight equipment would be a blessing- but for yesterday, it was as close as we could get. Peace to you & yours.