…or What Do You Do When the World Kicks You in the A**s?
The last couple of months have been pretty rocky here, disrupting pretty much every plan I had for what began as a lovely fall. Things started to go wrong with the Tiny Teenager getting a severe concussion at school (which kept her out of school for a month!). Things got worse when her insurance (for very complex backstory-type explanations) got canceled. That first week I spent seventeen hours just dealing with concussion stuff – doctors, insurance, ERs, her school…gah.
I was just recovering from that (have you ever spent four hours on the phone being passed from state agency to state agency, finally get an actual human, and then had your phone drop the call?), was making progress on the cover and final edits for Insurrection, and I’d even signed up to to NaNoWriMo for the first time, when I discovered that I hadn’t been paid. At all. Zero deposit from my employer, which is technically the State of Washington. Our college district had installed a new system (I’m very sure I will rant about that in the future); and it failed to pay an unknown but significant number of us – mostly adjuncts who don’t make much to start with. To say the least, that’s stressful.
The world administered one more kick, however, when, on October 29 when my dad unexpectedly died. He was really a center of my world, and his death mired me in grief, and all the things that go with it. Planning a funeral, figuring out where the out-of-towners will stay, watching my mother turn into a walking zombie…all while feeling like someone punched me in the gut. I survived, but those two weeks are largely a blur, like an out of focus film.
Then, four days after the funeral, Spokane got hit with “Windageddon,” wherein at one point 180,000 people lost all electrical power, and three people died. Even more lost power and suffered severe damage in other parts of the Northwest. I was lucky – we live within a couple of blocks of one of our biggest hospital complexes, so we got power back within 24 hours, but that, naturally, meant we played host to a great many friends who weren’t so lucky. We had people sleeping on floors, on couches, and in chairs, and I learned how to a) make coffee on the BBQ; and b) stop thinking about the water bill.
My college never closed (at one point it was the only one in the entire county open, out of three colleges and two universities, as well as fifteen high schools!), so I would stumble off to work, drive all the way across town to avoid downed lines and tree-blocked streets, blather a lecture to the ten percent of my classes who could get there, then go home and just about collapse. I wanted to grieve but had no place I could, surrounded by people as I was.
For a while I went into a dark, foggy place, where all I could do was react, not actually think, and for sure I didn’t let myself feel anything. “Discouraged” doesn’t begin to cover it. I’d eat, if someone reminded me to, sleep but wake with a deep, dragging exhaustion, and go to work, all on autopilot. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Well, here in the now-frigid Inland Northwest, things are getting slowly back to, if not normal, tolerable.
The Tiny Teenager is mostly recovered from the concussion. I’ve made her swear to be kind to her noggin in the future; she has a good noggin. And I’ve been paid, finally, via a physical check, at least for part of what my contract says they owe me (I won’t know if it’s been messed up again until the end of December).
We have power back pretty much everywhere (I never thought I’d be grateful for traffic lights!) — THANK YOU AVISTA CREWS and the crews who came up from Nevada and California to help!!! — and I have the house back, thank god. An introvert playing 24/7 hostess, while in emotional distress, is NOT a good thing….
The grief will take a while to adjust to – expect some future posts about that, and about the wonderful man my dad was. I think I can write about him now. Heck, I’m a writer – I think I’ll have to write about him.
Personally, I’m ready to start planning again, to move forward, even if in fits and spurts, and although I’m sure life will throw something else at me (doesn’t it always?), I feel more capable of handling it.
Hello world. It’s nice to see you again…