August 12, 2011 by Marj Hatzell
When I’m under stress I tend to be a tad impulsive. I blurt out things I don’t mean to say, buy things I shouldn’t buy and do things I prolly didn’t think about much.
Par exemple, when my husband goes away on business (a few times a year) I am a nervous wreck. Once I bought a new bed and rearranged the furniture (when I was pregnant!). Another time I spent the week painting the bathrooms. And then repainting them because I hated the color.
Another time I dyed my hair the most heinous color red. I’ve also gotten a few ear piercings this way. How the heck I never ended up with a tattoo is beyond me. Look at it this way, yo: poor impulse control + stress = DG doing stupid shiz.
The past week I’ve been under a tremendous amount of stress. The kind of stress that keeps me awake at night, turns me into a zombie and puts crazy ideas in my head. The kind of stress that makes me appreciate spending that lovely week with my family at the cabin. It beats the week of stomach viruses last week by a mile. And without violating their privacy, I’ll just leave it at this: My parents were both hospitalized this week. My mother has a chronic, fatal condition that lands her in the hospital on a regular basis (like, has been in the hospital or ER every month this year so far, including five weeks between January and March). My father found out this week that he has a horrible, f*cking awful disease that is also most likely fatal. And I’m scared, confused, frightened, angry, sad…all of the above.
This is difficult for a few reasons. My father is my mother’s primary caretaker. She can’t live on her own and even thought my adult brother lives with them, he has a full-time job. All of my siblings do (except me) and three of them live out-of-state. My father has to have treatments, just had major surgery and will need several weeks to recuperate. He prolly won’t be able to drive for a while. So my siblings and I have to scramble to figure out care for them. We have to figure out food shopping and bill paying and house cleaning and whatnot. We have to take care of their dog (ten pound scary attack dog Cujo) and their cats.
Naturally I responded to the stress and pressure by doing something with my hair. Saturday night I got out of the shower at 11pm, picked up a pair of scissors, combed my bangs forward and hacked them. They had grown out to chin length and I was overdue for a hair appointment. Except I had to rearrange the hair appointment due to family stuffs so I thought, “I can hack them off and it will look fine!” And it did look fine. Until I realized that when your hair dries? It shrinks up a little bit. Like, looks a tad shorter and stuff. And the bangs went from side-swept and hanging in my eyes to above my eyebrows. Oh yes, I look like a freaking toddler. And I also felt compelled to color my hair this week and it is now the most obnoxious copper color. I WIN! I WIN AT LIFE THIS WEEK!
No, I won’t post a picture. Shaddup.
The good news is that I worked out tons of emotional stress by cleaning this week. We decided to clean my parents’ house and rip up old, nasty carpets and flooring and paint the walls and get them new blinds and…the list goes on and on. We rented a POD and a dumpster and gutted it in one day, reality home improvement tv style. Just without the tv show paying for it. We dusted and cleaned and stripped and wiped and painted. So I’ve gotten that out of my system! And I bet my husband would be relieved if it weren’t for the fact that we’ve been over there for 14 hours a day all week. I haven’t seen my kids in about a week, since I put Bugaboo on the bus in the morning and I’m gone all day. Sitters have been covering for us in the evenings, when we stumble home just before midnight and fall into bed exhausted. Today is D-day. They install the carpets and we have to move the furniture and stuff back in (minus a few thousand pounds of crap my mother hoards). My mom is excited that we are doing it and my Dad told us “Throw it all out. I don’t care.” We’re donating what we can and selling some stuff. They’ll come home to a nice, clean, freshly-painted house with new carpets. It will be safer for them, healthier for them and hopefully will ease some of their stress.
I am so overwhelmed this week I don’t know if I am coming, going or already been there. I can’t make a decision for anything, not even what to wear or what to eat. I haven’t done dishes or laundry or cleaning at my own house in days (you can imagine what it looks like). And I haven’t spent a measurable amount of time with my kids and I miss them. This sucks. It all sucks. I hate that my parents are not well. I dislike the fact that we are helpless and cannot do anything to improve their health.
In short, I’ve been faced with my own mortality today and it is a real mind-f*ck, y’all.