Monday, April 18, 2016

The Category 5 Shit Storm - An Autobiography

I really do try to think positive.  I always try to remember that bad times can't last forever and that things will eventually get better.  But why does it seem that the more that I think this way, the more powerful the shit storms of life seem to become?   It started roughly two months ago.  Just a few little things at first.  But it all spiraled out of control so fast I'm still not sure it even happened.  I am only writing this all down because one day I hope to look back and see that yes, it all actually did happen, and we made it through - somehow. 

Picture it, Ohio, March 2016

Our one and only form of transportation broke down.  Our poor little vehicle needed some work and was officially dead to us.  A vehicle was able to be borrowed and we were fortunate to have that so my husband and daughter could make the trek back and forth to school and work every day which happens to be about 40+ miles one way.  A friend of ours was able to take our car and try to fix it.  But the part it needed wasn't easy to find - or get.  (It's actually just now on it's way to Ohio from California.)  No fault of anyone, just generally a broken down car.  It happens.  Okay.

About a week later, "What's that weird smell?"  My husband asked one afternoon as we walk inside from being just down the street at his parent's house.  After some investigation it was discovered that the wall where our furnace sets was burning hot.  You couldn't even touch it, it was that hot.  We turned the furnace off and tried to figure out what was happening.  After two hours of being off, the furnace was still emitting heat and the wall was still hot.  Not good.  My husband flipped the breaker off to the furnace and in twenty minutes it was cooled off enough to finally touch it.  Odd that just turning the thermostat off didn't cool anything down.  It was evident that our furnace could very well have burned our house down while we were down the street and our daughter was asleep in her room.  Thank God we came home when we did!!  With it being March and knowing it would be warming up soon (Haha Ohio - great joke by the way - it's been in the 30's until 2 days ago!) we decided we would just keep the breaker off and worry about the furnace when we had the money to fix it - (the Social Security money that is probably NEVER going to come.)  We have some little electric heaters that have been doing a great job of keeping us warm so please don't think we're freezing in this stupid Ohio weather.  Alright, just a little bump in the road.  We can deal. The house didn't burn down.  Everyone is fine.  It's okay.

The next week, still waiting on the car part with the total inability to be able to do anything to rush the process (still, financially limited so taking it somewhere else was out of the question) the borrowed vehicle had to go back to it's owner so we were left with no transportation.  Well, shit. 

The same Sunday we returned the borrowed vehicle I decided to end my evening with a nice hot shower...that was strangely only luke warm.  "Honey, I think the hot water heater is acting up."  So we check the hot water heater, no leaks, nothing weird going on visually.  My husband decided to check the breaker to make sure it hadn't somehow gotten flipped.  As soon as he touched the breaker to the hot water heater it sparked.  He jerked his arm back and as I was trying to make sure he wasn't totally shocked, the main breaker to the house popped with a huge flash and all the power to the whole house went out.  I screamed in a panic because I had never seen anything like that in my life and thought for sure everything was going up in flames.  Not to mention I was sitting about one foot from the breaker box watching it when it happened.  After a string of vulgarities were spewed from my husband's mouth (and mine) we realized we had no electricity.  No hot water.  No furnace and also now no car.  We also had basically no money to fix any of these situations.  This was not okay.  That's twice now my house has almost burned to the ground - with my kid in it!! There is not enough anti-anxiety meds in the world to help this kind of situation.  Not that medicating myself would have solved anything anyway.

After calming down we contacted an electrician to come over the next morning and it was decided we needed a whole entire new electrical box installed.  Alright.  Great.  My husband even wheeled and dealed and got a really good price from a trusted company and we scheduled it, got it done, now we had a new breaker box and electricity.  But still no hot water.  Okay. Let's figure that out now.

The next day our county job and family services office called me about our daughter.  She is adopted.  It's a long complicated story about how it happened.  However, this happened over 11 years ago and everything has been finalized and done.  She goes to school, she has a part time job, she's being recruited by colleges, she amazing.  But some uninformed case worker called me out of the blue and told me that "we have a problem."  She went on to say that all of our paperwork was illegal.  Nothing was signed by the judge and it meant that everything we had stating that our daughter was legally our daughter wasn't actually legal.  OH MY FREAKING GOD!  Two phone calls and one huge anxiety attack later I found out the papers are stamped and recorded and TOTALLY legal and have been this whole time - just like we thought.  Apparently different counties do things differently.  Why I know this and the actual county worker didn't is beyond me.  I did however cover my butt and sweet talked the lady at the court into sending me a judge signed duplicate document so that will NEVER happen again!  Crisis handled.

After a few days my husband was able to get a new hot water heater and his brother came over to help us install it.  Really it, wasn't that difficult.  Until my brother in law turned the electricity to it on before it was completely filled up all the way and fried the top heating element in the matter of about two minutes.  Seriously?!  Yes.

The next day a new heating element was retrieved and my husband installed it like a boss and we had hot water.  However, due to the shitty water where we live and the fact that the old hot water heater was so old and gross and full of lime or whatever it wouldn't even drain.  It had to be dragged out of the house completely full of 40 gallons of water.  Now my husband possibly has a hernia. He was able to go to the doctor and they said no but he definitely is having some major stomach muscle pain now.  I mean honestly! The man is just trying to take care of his family.

But wait, there's more...

We still had to get transportation.  We had very little money, even less after the electrical and water heater issues and our car was still in the process of being fixed.  We managed to find a car and went ahead and purchased it.  We knew there would be some problems with it because when you buy a very cheap car it's normal that you are going to be taking a chance.  Well, after some routine maintenance and tuning up and one huge hail Mary shot, my husband was able to get everything running smoothly.  I mean honestly, there isn't much he can't do!  But being backed against a wall like we were with everything doesn't make it fun, or easy.

I'm not going to lie though, with the shit storm we have just gone through I am still scared to breathe.  I'm afraid to move almost.  It's like everything that could go wrong, did. But I also know that it could have been a lot worse.  I've done nothing but learn that I had taken everything in my life for granted.  Electricity, water - hot water, not being on fire, transportation that is reliable and can go a lot of miles and not break down, not having an anxiety attack every time my husband and daughter leave the house because I wonder what will happen at home and if they will reach their respective destinations safely and be able to get back home safely.  Every time we turn around it seems like the rug keeps getting pulled out from under us. 

I have been under so much stress that I had to go to the emergency room the other day because I could not move my head.  My neck/shoulder/arm had seized up and all the muscles would not relax no matter what I did. They gave me a shot and some muscle relaxers and sent me on my way.  It took another full day before I could sort of turn my head to the right.  That was a week ago and I'm still feeling pain and am sore from it.  I often wonder how much stress a person can take before it kills them.  I wonder this because I think I am involved in some kind of weird experiment where I'm being tested and evaluated to find out that exact information.  I just wish it would stop.

I don't want much for my life.  I really don't.  I just want a very simple life.  I don't need a lot and I don't want a lot - not things, not people, not even experiences.  I just want my simple little home with hot and cold running water, electricity, dependable transportation for my husband and daughter, food in my cupboards and refrigerator and no fear of everything falling apart around me - or catching fire.  I will take Crohn's disease, I will take pain and diarrhea and Fibromyalgia and anything physical like that a million times over all the things that have been happening.  Shit happens in life and I understand that, but why all at one time?  I am so afraid my husband is going to have a heart attack or a stroke because of all of this stress.  I pretty much forced him to go to the doctor for a check up and the possible hernia.  They did an EKG and blood work which all came back normal - praise Jesus!  But can we stop pushing it???  Please?! 

I don't want to say something dumb like, what else could go wrong or things couldn't possibly get worse because I know they can - and will.  But I will say - please just stop.  I seriously cannot handle anything else.  The experiment needs to be over now.  Please.

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