Thursday, December 30, 2010

Taking The Plunge

I decided to go to the knitting club last night because of my terrible morning. My son was starting work at 9:30 and I was to start at 10:30. He left for his job and then came running back home after the van died around the corner. He was hysterical, worried about being late and not wanting to lose his job. I took him to work and then had to deal with the aftermath - the van was almost in the middle of the side street with the flashers on. My son had failed to mention that the van was practically in the middle of the street - I was grateful I hadn't been ticketed or towed!

So now I had to deal with moving the van to the side of the street, getting dressed and to my job within an hour. I got my youngest son out of bed and the two of us were unable to move the van ourselves. It was icy and neither of us could steer the wheel and my poor son was unable to maneuver the van backward. A nice maintenance man from the apartment complex next to ours took pity on us and assisted. He ended up steering the van while my son and I pushed. Then I slipped and fell on the ice - a total wipe out according to my son, which he said he saw coming.

We got the van moved safely to the side and I made it to work not on time, but not late enough to cause a problem. Then I got to start my brooding and worry about what is wrong with the van. It has been giving us trouble with starting but the gas gauge is also broken (sometimes) and my son told me it had stayed at the same position (above the halfway mark) for the past four days and he hadn't filled it. So, I am hoping that we simply need to get one of those red containers you see the poor people walking with on the side of the road and put in $5.00 of gas and see if it starts.

But what got me really moody and sad was the reality that yet again, I am picking up the pieces when something goes wrong and trying to figure out the solution. It was at this point that I definitely decided to go to the evening's knitting club. In the past, I would have been so down and out with the morning's events that I would have canceled. But the way I was looking at it was that this was the day I really should go to the club - when things have gone wrong and I am in need of a pick-me-up. When we keep waiting for all our ducks to be in a row before we can be happy or do something, then I think we'll be waiting forever.

And so despite having a crummy morning and then worrying about fixing the van and then being upset that I have no more energy to keep functioning as an only parent I made the decision to just go to the knit club and not put it off another week, when hopefully next week would be "better."

I walked up to our building entrance and ran into the nice woman who hosted the Christmas party I attended. She invited me to go out with some of the residents to a nearby sports bar New Year's Eve. I talked with her a little about my hectic morning and she commiserated with me having raised two daughters on my own. We both concluded that the nice maintenance man was a blessing because my youngest son and I would not have been able to move the van on our own and I didn't have the time to get it towed and get to work. She just encouraged me to keep going because in the end that is what we have to do - keep at it for our children.

At the knitting club which meets at a bakery cafe in the next town over, I was introduced to the 20-some women there (I was the youngest besides a member's granddaughter). I worked on my door stoppers/draft dodgers and turned out to be the fastest knitter among the group. The cafe owner treated our group to a tray of cookies fresh from the oven (he bakes something every week). We talked a little and he told me that many of the group members including himself are Facebook friends and involved with each other's lives, watching out for one another.

I am glad I went to the knitting group and plan on going again next week. I am enjoying knitting my draft dodgers, which are my Christmas gifts to myself. The cookie hot and fresh from the oven was divine! It was nice to meet and interact with new people. It was empowering to finally go out and do something just for myself instead of having the activity revolve around the boys. It was also exhilarating to go to an event without knowing anyone and have it turn out well. It gives me some confidence to go to other activities in the future.

One of the things I learned this year is that we shouldn't put our happiness on hold until our lives become better or more stable. If we do this we'll always be waiting to be happy. I have a feeling that my seeking happiness even in the midst of hardship will end up resulting in more happiness instead of the other way of thinking - that to be happier I have to already be somewhat happy.


  1. I remember a horrible day back in March three months after my husband passed away. I had just finished paying my bills (a $20,000. legal fee!!)wondering how I would get by until the estate was settled. I picked my husbands car up from the repair shop after a simple oil change smoke was billowing from the engine. When I got home the power in the garage was out. That's where I keep a fridge for overflow- all my meat which could have last a year was lost.

    I just lost it and cried like a baby sobbing I called my brother HELP, I'm losing my mind, I can't do this!! He very calmly told me to get a hold of myself. This kind of stuff happens to people all the time you just never had to deal with it Your husband took care of everything. He was right I did have a prince.

    Turned out the garage didn't remove all the old oil, simple fix, the GFI clicked off in the garage no major repair (still lost the meat).
    I did handle it all and have been. Somehow you just learn to do what you have to do.

    My husband's estate is still not settled it's been over a year with no income.His will and trust provided for income to begin within 60 days of his death, but his children from a previous marriage have decided they do not like the will and have hired a lawyer. I think this to shall pass I just can't take living in limbo.

    Sorry, for some reason I decided to vent this morning.

  2. I'll vent a little here, too. My faith in my romantic future is wavering this morning, and I'm trying to decide if I need to downsize my dream. I remember when I was starting my freelance career, I anticipated a 2% call back rate. Anything over that was a gift. So maybe I need to apply this expectation to my love life.

    I'm sorry you got kicked in the teeth by your van's breakdown. This absolutely stinks! And yes, things like this happen to everybody, so cry, scream, when it's safe to do so. Then pat yourself on your back for dealing with it. I'm sick of saying 'Suck it up, Marine' every time things go awry. So I'm certainly not going to say it to you!

    Happy New Year?

  3. Do you have to seam that draft dodger thing? And stuff it?

  4. A - You have been very strong and venting is good! Sorry, but I am going to disagree with what your brother told you. Most people out there have a partner or other support to rely on when the going gets tough. You were just widowed for two months - the brain is still not functioning on all cylinders at that time! Research shows that people in the early stages of grief aren't thinking clearly or rationally - their brains don't let them. People so quickly tell us to get a hold of ourselves. I'd like to see how they'd be getting a grip if they were in our shoes. Sorry for my venting now - I'm sure your brother meant no ill will and was trying to help. But telling us to get it together isn't always the best solution. I fared better when someone was sympathetic and caring and soothing vs. the tough love kind of approach. Anyway, the limbo part for me is also very difficult. We all need a sense of stability, especially when our worlds have been rocked totally out of whack and we are shaken to our core!

  5. Flo - I am sick of hearing "suck it up" because in the end that is what I do anyway! I never say it to anyone because I hate to hear it!

    About your love life. I have known Sam three years and we've been dating two and a half. He is in no hurry to remarry. So I have to make a decision about getting back out there in the dating world. Much, much easier said than done. I'd like to go out for coffee with one guy but I can't even find one guy! We'll have to compare notes through the new year and I will be reporting on my dating efforts.

    A#2 - Here are the draft blocker instructions from Moda Dea, a division of Coats & Clark.

    Knit - Use worsted weight yarn. Cast on 35 stitches with size 6 needles. Use whatever color pattern you want. I'm using up my stash of Lamb's Pride Brown Sheep in shades of green. Just randomly change colors or knit in all one color until 36" long. You don't have to weave in the ends from changing the colors. Just tie them into knots - they won't show on the inside. Seam the three sides (I just crochet together) and then stuff with your choice of fiberfill, kitty litter, and I know some people who use dried beans. I'd put the kitty litter into an old pair of pantyhose first.

    Crochet version - same yarn, size G hook. Chain 26.
    Row 1: Ch 1, Sc in second ch from hook and in each ch across, turn - 25 sts.
    Row 2: Ch 1, Sc in each sc across, turn. Change colors as desired. Fasten off after reaching 36" and stuff as for knitted version.

    I'll hopefully finish my blockers this weekend and will post pictures of them.