Balancing Act

Sometimes I feel as if I’m being pulled in too many different directions.  Rebekah’s financial aid hadn’t completely processed, her dorm fees overdue and unless everything was sorted, she had no meal plan upon arrival on Friday.  Joshua came home, off the rig after his first hitch extended to almost a month (he didn’t mind one bit!) but I’m a Mom first, last and always, wondering how he REALLY liked it and if he was sugar-coating his experiences so I don’t worry.  Boys do that, you know.  Then, I came home to toilets backed up into bathtubs, slow sewers and in the end?  A main line block.  In the midst of all this, I had to call Hannah’s father, asking him to watch her for a week while I travel on business next month.

I sat down to write my blog last night and felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I was stressed, snapping at the kids, waiting to find out what the water guy thought out about the backed up toilets, worrying somehow something we did inside the house has caused this mess which means I have to pay for it.  I finally fell into bed after 11:30 PM.  The tubs were still backed up, the toilets not flush-able and I had to get up for work in 6.5 hours.  Dear God, please let the tubs empty enough so I can take a quick shower in the morning and then call the landlord to get this sorted.  Please, please, please.  I was distracted, not happy with what I posted yesterday.

I woke up at 2 AM and checked on the tub in the master bath.  Empty.  With a sigh of relief, I grabbed a small bucket and cleared away the debris which had bubbled up and sprayed a mixture of water and bleach all over the tub.  I’ll get my shower in the morning!  At 6 AM, I didn’t even procrastinate, getting right out of bed and into the shower.  Cleaned up quick and off to work.  Traffic was light.  The Roula and Ryan Show was playing on KRBE, great music blasting at intervals.  Breathe in, breathe out.

A small pot of fresh Starbucks Kenya coffee perked behind me as I sifted through email sent overnight by my fellow employees all over the world.  Watching the clock tick tick tick until I felt comfortable calling my landlord.

Depending on someone else to do the right thing is difficult for me.  If I had the proper tools?  I’d have googled everything and plumbed the depths of my mainlines all on my own.  The kids and I would have found the clean out in the backyard, snaked the heck right out of it and HA!  Done.  But – ACK – I can’t own every tool I need to complete every task which might come along!!!  DARN IT!

I called the landlord and had to listen to her comment about how the owner has to make two house notes every month.  How his wife is a stay-at-home mother and they have four or five or a hundred children, and how tight money is for them.  Can you get estimates, Donna, so I can call the owner and let him know his options?  REALLY????  Is this my job????  But I want the situation taken care of before plumbers start charging overtime and the owner decides he can’t to take care of the problem today.   In a perfect world, with a smile, a nod and perhaps a come-hither flutter of my eyelashes (maybe a chicken or a goat), the plumber would come over instantly, fix the problem and I’d be set.  Unfortunately, they all want money.  *eyes wide*  What is that about?

I’m now feeling as if I my decision to contract for a physical trainer was not well-thought out.  Perhaps I should have waited.   Bekah’s dorm fees and meal plan are a priority.  I drank my coffee and called plumbers.  Roto-Rooter to the rescue!  I’m certain another plumber could have done the job for less, but Roto-Rooter didn’t require payment for an estimate, so the landlord chose them.  With a 10 AM to 2 PM window, I waited on the verdict.  In the meantime, the landlord decides she wants to meet with Roto-Rooter at the house so she can explain everything in great detail to the owner.

Maybe I’m weird?  Perhaps a little OCD?  I don’t like strangers in my house.  If you knock on my door, just like anywhere else, I’m going to be chipper, kind, considerate, attentive.  But, don’t ask to cross my threshold.  Now you’re in my space.  You only get to come into my space if you’re invited.  She was definitely NOT invited.  And she was on her way.  I dashed out of the office and went home.

Long story short (now, don’t be hating, I tried to keep this short!), the lines are clean, the landlord paid for it!

Even five years ago, I’d have broken down by now.  I’d have popped an Atavan just thinking about having to call Hannah’s Dad.  Talking to your ex-abuser, even ten years after the fact, is still not an easy task.  I’m completely in control but always aware of the abyss of selfishness he lives in – which, unfortunately, can still hurt my girls.  I’d have closed the door to my office and had a good cry, just to relieve the stress.  Today, I took  a deep breath, made the call, ignored him while he rambled on about reasons why he might not be able to care for his own daughter for one week, waiting patiently for him to just say yes or no.  He got to ‘yes, unless…’ and conversation over.

While waiting for the landlord to call back and confirm which plumber to use, I received a package from Scentsy – I finally bought the Doodlebug pot and the Home Sweet Home wax.  It smells like the cherry tobacco my Dad used to smoke when I was very young!

Bekah popped up on MSN Messenger proclaiming all of her funds had hit her account at the university today.  Originally not anticipated until Monday!

Jean popped up on Skype, sharing how much she enjoyed last night’s blog and especially the second half of the Serenity Prayer.  She’s glad it’s not just about losing weight, but personal as well.

While waiting for the plumber to call with his exact arrival, I went to lunch with Cristina and Billy  (his treat!) enjoying yet another half of a fajita burger at Ruby Tequila’s.  Mmmmmm.

After the plumber and the landlord left, I called the gym to find out if I had to reschedule my appointment.  There wasn’t any way I was going to make a 4:30 PM appointment when it was already 4:20 PM and I had to negotiate drive-time traffic.   Troy said not to worry!  He’d be there for me when I arrived.

Almost on my way out the door, an envelope arrived with a gift from a wonderful friend who decided to help me buy a new iPod since mine went missing at the gym.  I’ve never been one to place expectations on a gift so when I opened the envelope, grateful for the kindness of a small contribution, imagine my surprise and delight when it was for $200!!!

After a painful workout of my legs and 30 minutes of cardio, I showered and came back home.  I could hear the washing machine at work in the garage – Rebekah was doing laundry.  Ally (Matthew’s girlfriend) was stationed at the kitchen sink, filling the dishwasher!

Today was stressful.  Seriously, for me.  But amidst all of that stress, I was blessed by so many people who I love and who love me in return.

I’ve learned how to embrace all the little blessing which come my way, one by one, each and every day.  Everything else is diminished as a result.




  1. Laurie said,

    17 August, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    I am exactly the same way Donna about my house. My kids think I am crazy! Don’t just drop in. Believe me you want to call me first! Even then I am uncomfortable.I have yet to figure it out… I am so happy to see prayers answered for you and pray God will continue to meet you wherever you are each day. Keep going you are doing great!

  2. Sharon Donovan said,

    18 August, 2011 at 4:57 AM

    I love how you deal with chaos. You are an awesome lady! I’m also laughing quietly about that word “cathartic.” Apparently, it held additional meaning for your encounter with the plumbing.

    • TealThumb said,

      18 August, 2011 at 9:13 AM

      I find I use words in places where I believe they fit nicely, perhaps I stretch the meaning a little, but they FIT. 🙂 I’m glad you got such a chuckle over it!

  3. 18 August, 2011 at 7:32 AM

    “just when you think it’s safe to come out of the closet…..” LOL! This was awesome – I don’t think I could have done it and maintained a healthy attitude…especially with the sewer problem….but you persevered and kept on going….good job!!! I love reading your blog….it’s uplifting reading about how you deal with life….even though I’ve been through so much of it with you….seeing it in writing brings new meaning….you write very well….:)

  4. Rebekah Smith said,

    18 August, 2011 at 10:49 AM

    Amen to what Nanny said. How’s that books going, ma?

  5. TealThumb said,

    18 August, 2011 at 10:53 AM

    My novel is in progress. I’m doing so much writing these days. I really need a vacation from life so I can concentrate. 🙂

  6. 18 August, 2011 at 12:41 PM

    God has truly blessed you Donna with an amazing outlook on life, the ability to articulate openly, and wonderful friends and family.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: