If you know me, or if you don’t, I’m your typical working class mom. Married 25 years this year (thank you) to a small business owner, musician, dreamer. Mom of two teenagers with special needs, two dogs, three cats and one surviving chicken of a fox attack. I’m a small business owner myself and an only child to a soon-to-be 93 year old dad in upstate New York (who lives alone -independent and stubborn as a clam).
The month started out blissful. I started out on two weeks of working ‘vacation’, making sure that my rental properties were up to snuff, polishing, meeting with contractors, cleaners, clients, getting everything ready for the summer season. Then I went home.
Friday night arrival:
“Welcome home. Last night your son shaved his head”. Well. It didn’t look too, too bad. If that was the worst thing that happened while I was gone, I could handle that. Friday night hubby is a little restless. Not feeling well and is up often at night so I don’t get much sleep either.
Saturday: Time to unpack, unwind, catch up on laundry, kid stuff, dump picking, grocery shopping (because no one else in my household can grocery shop apparently). I’m in my cut-offs and paint spattered t-shirt driving home from the dump (with a score – a like-new kitchen-aid stand mixer) when I get a call from hubby, “I’m on my way to the ER — I think I’m having an allergic reaction to something”. I divert and head to the hospital where I’m just in time to do the intake while they whisk hubby into an exam room. They don’t see any neck swelling and they take an x-ray just to be sure. It shows nothing so they draw the conclusion that it must be a panic attack so we leave hours later with some anti-anxiety medicine. Saturday is pretty much done.
Sunday: Hubby is still feeling out of sorts and stays in bed all day. I continue doing about 5,000 loads of laundry and 200 dishwasher loads of dirty dishes. My soon-to-be 93 year old dad calls as he does every Sunday. He’s been in pain walking up stairs lately and informs me that he might need surgery later this summer and would need me to be there with him for his recovery. But more immediately… could I get some forms for him off of the computer that need to be filled out, signed by him and returned before June 30? He doesn’t know the name of the forms, he doesn’t know the website, but knows they can be found on-line. No problem,dad. I’ll do it tonight and get them in the mail tomorrow. The call is then interrupted by wailing coming from daughter’s room. I hang up with dad and run in. Daughter is on the bed rocking and wailing. “My boyfriend broke up with me”. Disclaimer: hubby is the nurturer in our family. I give her a hug and awkwardly blurt “Stop crying. Never, ever cry over a boy” and run to get hubby.
Monday: In the early morning hours, I hear hubby awake. I get out of bed to get the kids up — it’s the last few days of school and they only need to go in when/if they have finals scheduled. One can take the bus, the other I need to drive in mid-morning. Hubby is doubled over in excruciating pain. I tell him that I’ll take daughter to the bus stop then come back and take him to the ER or doctor. When I arrive home, he has an appointment with the doctor at 10:30. His doctor is 45 minutes away, but luckily it’s in the same direction as the school so I can drop son off and then bring husband to doctor.
At the medical office, the doctor takes one look at my husband and orders an ambulance to take him to the hospital (which is an hour in the opposite direction). I tell hubby that I’ll meet him there in the afternoon when the kids get home from school. The ambulance leaves with the sirens blaring. I call my daughter’s therapist to cancel her afternoon appointment and wipe away a tear thinking that maybe it’s okay to cry over a boy if he’s leaving in an ambulance. Then I drive to the grocery store to pick up some pre-made sandwiches and pre-made cake (because tomorrow is son’s birthday) and head home for a few precious minutes before I need to get the kids from the bus stop.
Mail truck goes by. I get the mail out of the box. There is a letter from the IRS. Really?? Last year my daughter participated in a work program through a local agency so we filled out her first tax return. Sure enough, she is flagged for a bench audit. Really?? They are holding her whopping $8 tax refund hostage. Despite considering ignoring it, I don’t want it to affect future filings, so in my 26 seconds of free time, I dig out the tax return, the W-2, her social security card (everything except her final pay stub — who knows where that ended up) and make copies along with a very nice letter explaining that she is a 16 year old girl with autism and to please direct all future correspondence to me.
I pick up the kids and we head to the hospital. Never mind that the trip is lengthened by the ROAD BEING CLOSED for the week with about 1000 miles of detours on back roads! As we park the car and are walking into the hospital, hubby texts “going in for a 2 hour test. Come back later”. Sigh. Okay. We’ll go grocery shopping. With the road closure, it takes us about 2 hours to go grocery shopping, bring them home and head back to hospital.
We arrive back at the hospital about dinner time. After some waiting, the doctor finally comes in and tells us that they want hubby to stay overnight, just for his own comfort. He agrees and they wind us through a maze of corridors and elevators and passageways that no rat could find their way out of. After hubby was safely in his room, the nurse comes in and explains the plans: tomorrow they will be giving him an endoscopy and colonoscopy. They plan it well — hubby has no sense of direction. They know he will not find his way out of the hospital and cannot escape (well played, staff). We bid he and his Miralax/Gatorade goodnight and head home where I collapse in bed, exhausted.
Tuesday: Today is the last day of school and the kids only go from 8 until 11. I drop them off at the school bus stop (a convenience store) and head home to work on that laundry pile and some paperwork in the few hours that I have to myself. The phone rings — it’s my son. “Mom, I lost my wallet somewhere on the way to school today. Can you call the debit card company and cancel the card?”. I did out all of the information and call the card company. After 15 minutes on hold, I give all of the information to the customer service people. Name, account number, mother’s maiden name, child’s birthday. I realize that it’s my son’s 18th birthday. How could I have forgotten? I’m a terrible parent. The customer service person pauses. “Umm. I can’t help you, ma’am. You son is over the age of 18, he needs to call himself”. Sigh. I hang up and text all of the information to son. An hour later I pick up the kids from the bus stop and ask if he’s canceled his card. He tells me that he didn’t have to — the bus driver found his wallet. Great. No, not great. It’s in the bus company office — 30 minutes in the OPPOSITE direction of the hospital.
Because daughter spends lots of time with the school counselor, I’m not surprised when I see her number on the caller ID — even if it’s the last day of school — but I am surprised when she says she’s calling about my son, not my daughter. She says she’s concerned because he came to see her because he was suspended at his job the other day and didn’t know what to do about it. Just ducky.
I drop the kids off at home, give orders to son to call his union rep (yup, son is lucky to have a union job) and leave to file papers at the courthouse — since it’s our son’s 18th birthday – today’s the day that we file for partial guardianship due to his special needs. That part of my day goes smoothly, at least (after the 45 minute detour due to the road closure, of course). The woman at the courthouse is very kind and helpful, knowing what an emotional step this is to take and carefully goes over every step of the process with me. I leave the courthouse and finally head to the hospital to check on hubby.
Hubby is feeling better but they aren’t ready to let him go yet. The nurse says probably tomorrow. I wait a few hours to hopefully hear a report from the doctor but she doesn’t show. I have to leave to get daughter to rescheduled therapist appointment.
When we get home from therapy appointment, son has already opened his birthday presents by himself. We eat the birthday cake — I had forgotten candles, so daughter finds a birthday candle app on her phone and holds it up. I apologize and say that we will do it over again next week when Dad comes home.
Wednesday – I can’t sleep so I get up around 4am and start writing a blog posting about my crazy week and google selective service registration. Even though son has special needs, he still has to register.
Normally, I swim laps for an hour every morning. I learned early on that you can’t hear the phone if your head is under water. It’s been almost three weeks since I’ve been to the pool – the longest time away since I broke my shoulder three years ago. I head to the pool but I can’t concentrate. I only stay in for 30 minutes. My phone is ringing as I’m changing in the locker room – it’s hubby saying that he’s being discharged soon – but not to rush. I get dressed. First I head in the opposite direction and pick up son’s wallet. Then I head towards the hospital. Hubby texts me — still waiting on paperwork – don’t rush. I detour to a natural food store. Hubby will be on a bland diet for a week. I fill my cart with yogurt, ricotta, cottage cheese, pasta, white rice, white bread, prunes, and Thai peanut salad dressing for me and peanut butter dog biscuits for the pups. Then I head to the hospital where we wait for an hour for paperwork to be processed while the groceries melt in the car.
As soon as I drive the 45 minute detoured route home with hubby and get him comfortable, I leave again with my daughter and make the same 90-minute round trip back for a meeting with a job placement agency. It seems that the school has referred both of my kids to this agency. The agency needs to meet them and ‘approve’ them for eligibility. Then a 2nd agency can place them in an internship. But the 2nd agency’s hands are tied until this first agency approves them. But the first agency can’t approve them until the school sends them the appropriate paperwork. So we’re at a standstill, so… “Maria, do you think you could help us out and expedite this?”
Sure. In my free time.
Other than that, the meeting was pretty painless – there is a toddler in the waiting room who is the spitting image of that old, old comic strip “Nancy” — completely adorable. I need to go back on Friday for kid number two’s meeting.
From there we head to daughter’s appointment for her yearly physical. Usually it includes an hour in the waiting room with vomiting children. No wait this year, but between the hospital, doctor’s office and state agencies, I’ve emptied a bottle of hand sanitizer this week.
Thursday – Today will be my day of relaxation. Ha! The only thing on the schedule today is a vet appointment for the dog at 11 and to try to get ahold of the school and 2nd agency to get everyone what they need to get the kids’ summer internships moving forward. Son has a meeting at work so hopefully he can salvage his job. Day is going well except I look at the clock and realize that I brought dog to the vet an hour early (apparently the vet didn’t notice either because he didn’t mention it). Better an hour early than an hour late, I guess. Then I spend several seconds confused as to why the dog isn’t gobbling down his dog biscuit until I realize that I’m dangling it in front of the cat. I kind of feel like I’m in the twilight zone.
The afternoon, I’m home all day (finally) but fielding calls from everywhere — the school calls — apparently I need to have daughter fill out application for internship on-line and bring her in for and interview and then contact the aide and hopefully coordinate the volunteer hours with hours the aide is available. Then vocational organization number two calls to say he needs to meet with me and the kids at our house next week to do an intake.
Friday – Hopefully my last trip along the 45 minute each way detoured route to take son to meet with the agency (number 1). This will take up most of the morning. In the afternoon, I have an appointment with my own primary care doctor because I’m almost out of migraine meds and she actually wants to see me in person before she writes another prescription.
What’s on tap for next week? Well, it looks to be more relaxing. Monday we have the meeting with agency number two and since next week is July 1st, maybe I’ll get the windows washed and the window screens in the windows. And late in the week, daughter has minor outpatient surgery in Boston. If all goes as scheduled, we’ll be leaving Boston about the same time as the exodus of the entire city during rush hour before the holiday weekend. Sigh.
So what did you do this week?