Monday, March 1, 2010

Gaining Hope

I have been plodding along. And that's really all the last few months have been. Just trying to make it through. I feel as though I'm running a marathon and I'm trying to hold on and push through to the end. Of course, I have no idea where the end actually is. Is there something wrong with me? Am I depressed? I ask this question quite often. Could I be depressed? What's it like? Then I dismiss it because I don't think I could ever truly be depressed. I'm just lonely and down trodden. Yes, that's it.
We were worried about Scott's work hours being cut. This was bittersweet. I liked the idea because my husband wouldn't be working 80 hours a week, but on the flip side he needs to work that much for us to be able stay afloat. Both of these jobs don't pay much and have no benefits. Ok, one has a tiny credit for health insurance for just him. His hours changed around like crazy for a month or two, and they have settled down now. I got called to be the first counselor in our church Young Women organization. I am over the 14 &15 year old girls and am the first assistant to the president. I was very happy to leave the Primary children behind and work with the teenagers. I have always wanted to, but didn't get the chance until now. Now that I am a mother and very removed from teenagers, I get called. Go figure! My duties include making sure activities are planned and carried out, teaching lessons on Sundays, going to the Wednesday night activities, and chaperoning weekend events at the stake center half an hour away, and more. I love this, but it puts a lot of strain on us and I can't participate in everything because sometimes there isn't anyone to watch Pixie at home. My sister watches her whenever she can. Anyway, as a result, I miss my husband even more. I still am a coordinator for our co-op, so that stuff comes around every 4 weeks, and I'm still trying to keep up my felt food business. Not sure if I'm going to keep doing The Pampered Chef though.

Our schedule is kinda like this:
Sunday: Scott gets off work at 8am, we rush to be at church at 9am. Get out of church at 12pm (barring any meetings), go home, have lunch, put Pixie down for a nap, Scott goes to work at 3pm until 11pm.
Monday: Scott goes back to work from 7am-11pm
Tuesday: Scott goes back to work from 7am-11pm
Wednesday: Scott's only full day off! I have mutual at church at 7pm and twice a month a meeting at 6pm. Scott then goes to basketball immediately after I get home and is gone until 11pm.
Thursday: Scott is home until 6pm and works overnight.
Friday: Scott is home until 6pm and works overnight.
Saturday: Scott is home until 9pm! But, I have activities to chaperon sometimes. The next two Saturdays are booked for me. Scott works overnight until Sunday morning.

Then it starts over again! Poor Pixie doesn't get to see her daddy from Sunday until Wednesday. She is starting to get better, but Tuesdays are usually really rough for her. It's gut wrenching to hear her break into a chant of "daddy, daddy, daddy!". I am really grateful for Scott and how much he works. He doesn't complain. Lately he's been coming home and going straight to working on projects in the house, like the bedroom he's making in the basement. It will be so nice when that is done. We've been sleeping on a futon in the living room for 16 months now and it's been wreaking havoc on my back. The only bathroom is through where Pixie sleeps, so that makes it impossible to get up early on Sundays and shower. Or for Scott to be able to shower after/before work. I don't complain nearly as much as I thought I would. It would make it harder on Scott. I have been cranky lately. Probably because of food. I hate that food has that much of a hold on me! I love to cook and bake. It is in my womanly blood and I'm good at it. *she says very modestly*
Since January 5th we have been on a weight loss journey. We entered into our community pound plunge with another couple and out of hundreds of teams, we have been flirting with 4th and 5th place. The top 3 teams get money and/or trips. This has meant that I haven't been able to cook as I was before. What I cooked before was considered very healthy, but we've taken it up at least 5 notches! That makes me feel sad. Sad that I'm not putting these delectable meals together for my family. It sounds really dumb and I think it is, but it has been hard for me. Especially since I've been struggling with losing more weight, after the first initial loss. I have lost 12lbs, but I want to lose 20 more to reach my ultimate goal. In this competition, which ends this month, I would like to lose 10 more.

I recently have discovered that a lot of my doldrums have been because of this winter. We've had a bunch of snowstorms and about 50 inches of snow. The sun has been almost non-existent and it has been so cold. There was a "warm" day last Friday. The sun was out and it was 40 degrees.  I was at the co-op delivery talking to someone in the parking lot and I wasn't cold! This was because it was blocked by the wind, but it made me so happy. I was happy that day! It made me realize how much the weather has affected me. I long for Spring. It is my favorite time of year. I don't think it's because I was born in it or that my daughter is too. I love the creeping warmth that covers the earth. I love the crocus that poke through the ground, many times with snow still around. I love seeing the trees start to bud and the fields to get a hint of green. I love to notice these little things. I love to drive on the almost vacant highways with plowed fields on either side of me, the new green hue on the trees, and the wide expanse of the blue sky as I almost seem to drive into it. I love to visit green houses to peruse all of the flowers and feel the excitement as I push past them, into the herb and vegetable aisles. Some of my happiest days as a child were going to green houses with my family and planting a garden with my dad. I now love bringing my daughter to visit with her grandpa and to cultivate that love for the earth in her too. Last year was the first time Pixie was able to harvest food out of grandma and grandpa's garden. It was so sweet. Growing up without knowing my grandparents, it has been a wonderful experience seeing my daughter and her growing relationship with her grandparents. We picked tomatoes with Mom last year and Pixie would only pick green things. She finally learned and was picking and eating her own cherry tomatoes. A lump came into my throat when she took her grandpa's hand for the first time and walked off into the garden with him. I love my parents. They are so dear to me. I love being able to give them the happiness they deserve, through Pixie. She brings a special light to them and the rest of our family.

So, I am trying to focus on the good. The good like...we have running water! If anyone has lived without it, you know what I mean! I have a working kitchen. Scott has not one job, but two, and they are starting to pay the bills. We are healthy. I'm a good cook and know how to be savvy with money. Our cars are working. Heck, that we have cars! My daughter isn't ugly like I feared. She's actually quite the beauty. =D
My dogs are getting easier and they provide comfort/protection. I'm glad my sister, Becca, lives close by and that Pixie loves them as much as they all love her. I love how Pixie asks for her Aunt Becca and her cousins by name. Scott is handy. I have come home a few times to home improvements in progress or already completed. Thank you for tax returns! We got a really nice all in one printer combo for a great price. I'm thankful I don't have to run over to print co-op invoices at Becca's every month now. Even though she really didn't mind.
I am thankful that Scott tries to make the little time he has with us really count. It's hard when all he has at home are the daylight hours. There are so many errands, bills, and projects to be done. Somehow he fits in quality time with both of us. I am thankful for the many nice women in church. I know that I can call on them if I need them, even though they don't replace my old friends. Life is just too busy now for everyone to hang out and get to know each other that well. I look forward to being able to designate a "date night" in the future. I am thankful that I'll appreciate a 40 hour work week and free weekends someday!

We stopped hoping for a new house in town. That's partly why we're doing home improvements on this house. First off, the mortgage here is very inexpensive and we need that right now. Secondly, we don't want to do anything else until we find out from the FAA if the air traffic control job is a go or not. The process can take 18 months, so we'll see. I think we're about 7 months in. If he does get in, our preferences would be Kansas City, North Carolina, or Tampa, FL area. So in other words, if he did get in, we wouldn't be living in this town anyway. If he did get in, he would be making just as much as he is now, just going to the training. And working only 40 hours a week. AND getting benefits. It's a government job, so the benefits and pay are really good. Pay is based on locality, but is still very decent. Plus, the retirement is great and you don't have to wait long to retire. Is it too much of a dream to hope for? I hesitate to hope too hard. If he doesn't get in, we'll have to figure something else out. There is no way he's going to be working these jobs in health care for 80 hours a week, with no benefits or retirement. But the alternative is scary. Just because we haven't thought of a good one yet. There isn't anything else in this city, so a move is probably inevitable.

I realized right now that I could print this post out and plaster it into my journal. My neglected journal. I used to keep a great record, but my want to write or even read has diminished greatly over the past few years. I have sunk to the low mindless level of watching tv series online after Pixie goes to bed. That's all I feel the energy to do. Sometimes the idea of concentrating on words seems to expend too much energy. It doesn't even feel like physical energy. It's more mental energy. I feel very out of touch with the world and other people. I used to watch world and local news, but I don't have tv anymore and I don't make the effort to look online. I am glad I have set myself up to have to be out in the community at least a few times a month. It would be too easy to get lost at home. No more! At least, no more when it is warm enough outside to actually go outside. Yes, Spring is coming. I feel it trying to break it's way through. And with Spring, comes the real Karen. I can't wait to have her back!


Helmbunch said...

I read this and remember when my children were small and I would give anything to talk adult for just 10 minutes of each day. Bill too worked 80 hours each week. It is mind numbing. I cry remembering just how disconnected I felt then. Just know that it will pass. Just as winter turns into spring, this time of life moves forward. You are so creative and loving--you are someone of great worth. I too long for spring, it has been a dark winter. I love you.

Robyn said...

Karen, I could practically copy and paste this post into my journal as well. I feel ya sister and hope that it has helped to let it all out. I am glad that you wrote all the things you're thankful for. You do have lots of great blessings! Hang in there!

The Gosfam said...

I honestly feel you. My hubby is a full-time student. A double major in Astro-physics and theoretical mathematics, heavy workload. Mon--hubby gone 5am-12am (depending on the studying)
Tues--9am-12am (again depending on studying), Wed--same as Monday, Thursday--hubby 9am-4pm, then I take oldest daughter to dance and am gone from 5-630, Friday hubby gone 5am-6pm, saturdays are up in the air and thankfully Sundays are church and keeps me sane. Anyways we have one car--I am home all day long no where to go. I get grouchy some times, I get lonely sometimes, but I keep trudging along too :) Long comment sorry-LOL!!

Karen said...

Thank you, Cheryl. I know it will pass. I'm not a home body and it wears on me after a while. Your family is right up there with my parents, in my eyes. I see all the trials you have/had and I just hope I could have as much faith as you. I love you too!

Robyn, it is good to know that others feel the same way. It's like you know it, but it's nice to hear it. You are one of those women that I think is such a well put together wife and mommy, so it is comforting to hear that!

Leslie, when does your husband sleep!? I am so happy that we have two cars, and one of them is reliable. It was easier when Scott was in school, it wasn't as busy. We also didn't have a child until his last year, so that helped! I hope you can make it through and that his career won't be as demanding as school is! Scott majored in Economics and Business (he also speaks Portuguese and Spanish) and works in health care right now. Go figure! That's the economy here for ya.

candace said...

My goodness you have alot going on and alot to worry about! However, I hear a positivity in your voice that I don't hear often and that should be reassuring to you!

Sounds like your doing a great job and making the best of your situation and I wish you the best of luck as you move forward!

Kizzie said...

Winter is hard, especially with kids. And husbands who work/go to school for what seems like FOREVER. If you can make it through a bad winter sane, you can do anything! :)

But, Spring is coming...and with it (hopefully!)me!

Love you!!

Karen said...

Thanks, Candace. I find that it's easier to face the negative, if you also find the positive.

Kizzie, you coming here would make my YEAR!

She's in the kitchen! said...

My sweet, sweet daughter! This is just part of the journey, and I know that you know it. But we tend to forget it as we experience the dips. I hope you remember what I have told you children in the past, learned from a book many years ago..."Your joy can only be as high as your sorrows have been deep. Love your life, even when it is in the pits, knowing that when the happier times come, your heart will experience joy much more than before." This quote has been with me for well over thirty years, and has been my inspiration that allows me to accept the hard times and go on.

Even though you are frustrated, you still feel hope, and love and gratitude for all that is around you. Spring is coming soon! And the flowers and gardens...we are anxiously awaiting! We still remember when you were only four, telling your sisters which plants were onions and which were garlic. You knew every one by name, even when they were just beginning to grow!

You are a wonderful mom, wife, sister, and daughter! You have managed to be an overwhelming success, wearing these four hats! I am so proud of you, and am thankful that Heavenly Father thought I was worthy to have you for my daughter. I love you, Karen.

Rebecca said...

Oh, my dear sister. I love you so, very, very much. I know how hard everything has been for you and it's ok to admit to being depressed. Just hang on until spring!

As soon as it's nice outside, we need to take all the kiddos to the park, maybe a picnic? You and me and our five. Wow, that sounds like a lot. :)

Hang in there. I love you! And as with everything, "This too shall pass." Those years when James was in school were some of the toughest we've ever been through. I still remember what we refer to as "the semester from hell" (actually, there were two) where Professor was 18 months, Lion was just born, I had PPD (but didn't know it for a year) and we never saw James except for meals. Eventually, we got off that roller coaster. You will too.

And if you want some time alone at the greenhouse, drop Pixie off anytime. You know we adore her!