I broke my toe making Valentines cards.
No, wait…I can’t really start there. You need more context than that. I broke my toe because of my ovarian cyst, which is not complex, just misunderstood, like me in high school.
Actually, I’d better go back a bit further. Really, it all started because Ian bought those damn Valentines treat bags at the Liquidation World closing sale, so when it comes down to it, I blame the economy. I broke my toe because of the economy. Damn you, Stephen Harper!
I’m feeling a little bit pulled in all directions lately, mostly because of things that I have taken on myself and therefore for which I have only myself to blame…the new job*…the old job**…the old chair position***…the new chair position****… For the most part I’ve been managing to keep my head above water, and this Sunday I finally got through the stressfullest bit, which was chairing the church’s Annual Meeting. By the grace of…well…chocolate (true story!) I made it through and it was pretty successful, if I do say so myself.
Between my own work and extracurriculars, and Ian’s work craziness (transitioning to new ownership by a much bigger company with very different corporate style, meaning even longer hours and more travel than before)…and the fact that my beloved first car Spunky (RIP) bit the big one last week, necessitating a day of car shopping…&tc…&tc…suffice it to say, my house is a disaster, we are subsisting on the leftover party-sized pizza we brought home from church on Sunday, and Ian is away yet again.
On top of that, Ben’s moods and behaviour have been a complete nightmare lately, Molly’s behaviour hasn’t been much better, and I’ve also been having this fun crippling abdominal pain which turned out to be my not-so-complex bloody ovarian cyst (literally bloody; ‘haemorrhagic,’ technically).
So this morning, when I really should have been working my little medical transcriptionist heart out, I confessed to my wonderful support group of invisible interweb blogging friends that when I learned I had this (originally wrongly described) complex cyst, a small part of me couldn’t help but wish that it was just a little more on the complex side. Nothing terminal of course; just maybe serious enough to put me out of commission just long enough for it to be socially acceptable to expect people to come in, clean my house, look after my kids, and cook me a couple of nice dinners.
Well, there went the morning – we laughed, cried, commiserated, laid the groundwork for a proposed tropical paradise sister-blogger-wives commune, and I’m pretty sure conspired to transport questionable substances across state lines. It was just what I needed. My friend Lizzie over at Considerings calls these sorts of people her ‘lifeboats’ and that’s exactly what I needed and exactly what I got (Mel, Jenn, and David, that includes you too).
Thus refreshed, I looked at the clock and realized that it was well beyond when I needed it to be and I still had to get to Ben’s school to pick him up for his doctor’s appointment to talk about stopping the medication that was hopefully the source of the drastic mood swings and anxiety that had made him particularly difficult to parent lately.
And it was at that very moment that I thought to myself, “This is the perfect time to make Valentines!”
A few weeks ago, Ian took Molly to Liquidation World to check out the store-closing sale and impulse-bought thoughtfully purchased several items, including very reasonably priced cellophane Valentine treat bags. Now under normal circumstances, this would have been perfectly fine – welcome, even – but given my fragile mental state in the context of the tornado of crazy that is my life right now, these GOD-DAMN TREAT BAGS have become the apex of my stress mountain – the one thing in my life that should be so absolutely simple (Use them. Don’t use them. Toss in a lollipop and call it a day. Pretend I can’t remember where I put them. So many nice, easy possibilities!) but instead has become the thing on which I have fixated ALL of my stress because I simply cannot allow said stress to affect the delicate balance of all the other balls I am just barely managing to keep in the air.
Saturday night, at Walmart: I need chocolate for the Annual Meeting (put chocolate hearts in cart). I should pick up Valentines for the kids (start looking at Valentines). Princess Valentines that come with bracelets – check! (put in cart) Angry Birds? No, Ben did Angry Birds last year. Bugs with sticky bug cling things – that works (put them in basket). Wait, then I have to get stuff to put in the treat bags. Okay…heart stampers (into basket). Pencils (into basket). I should get candies. More chocolate heart candies? But I don’t know if they’re peanut-free (look through all Valentine candies for peanut-free symbols, then reject them all on the basis of price anyway). But if I’m getting stuff to put in the treat bags, I shouldn’t just get the Valentines that come with useless crap that’s going to get thrown out anyway. I could get the cheaper Valentines that don’t come with things (put away other Valentines). Okay, so Princesses without bracelets for Molly. Jake and the Neverland Pirates for Ben? (put in basket). I don’t know though…he likes Jake, but I don’t know if he likes it enough for Valentines (put them back). Maybe I should let them choose their own cards (put the Princess ones back too). I really wanted to do that Pinterest thing with the fish candies. I wonder if they have them in the regular candy section (go all the way back through Walmart. Don’t find fish candies). I could check the dollar store. Actually, I could get stuff for the treat bags there too (put it all back and just buy the chocolates).
Monday afternoon: Take kids to the dollar store and pick out candies to put in treat bags. Foolishly mention to Ben that I had wanted to find banana or fish candies to do a Despicable Me or undersea-themed Valentine. Ben decides to hand draw all of his Valentines with minions and sea creatures. Molly wants hers to have princesses and rocks.
Monday evening: Second guess doing treat bags at all. Do I really want to be THAT mom?
Tuesday morning: Decide to go to the bulk food store after Ben’s appointment to look for banana or fish candies. Resolve (again) to be THAT mom.
Tuesday lunchtime: Decide that NOW is the appropriate moment to make a test-run of Despicable Me Valentine cards, on the off chance that we do find banana candies at the bulk store (but they won’t be individually wrapped. I would let my kids eat them, but I don’t know about all the other parents. Is this just a waste of time and effort? Are half of them just going to wind up in the garbage? Do I really want to be THAT mom?)
And that is how, as I ran back to the craft corner to get the black marker I had forgotten when I brought the rest of the craft supplies to my desk to make a test batch of Valentines before I raced to pick Ben up in time for his doctor’s appointment, I came to catch my foot on the leg of the couch and collapse in a writhing, gasping, broken-toe-gripping heap on the floor.
The Valentines turned out well though!
*In December I started working as a copywriter for a communications company. It sort of fell into my lap in the form of an offer I couldn’t refuse; Just as I had started to wrap my head around the fact that I was enjoying this whole writing gig and could maybe potentially see myself entertaining the possibility of vaguely dreaming about doing it professionally, the husband of an old friend called and said, “Hey, any chance you want a job as a copywriter?”
**I work from home doing medical transcription, which basically means I can type really fast and my spell-checker knows a lot of words you’ve never heard of.
***A year ago I unwittingly became chair of the Worship Committee at my church. Easy-peasy.
****And then I became chair of the whole shebang. Less easy-peasy.