This was one of the harder weeks of MY LIFE.
First, we were trying to move. This is one of those things that our personal physical problems makes much harder than average. Moving takes a sustained physical and mental effort over several days to several weeks. But with my fibromyalgia and Tim's ADD, sustained physical (me) and mental (Tim) efforts are nigh unto impossible. Add to that 85 degree heat IN THE HOUSE and 110 degree heat outside, and the fact that we haven't exactly found another house in town to go to yet so we were trying to cram everything into a POD that was too small, actually, even after we decided to get rid of all the mattresses, the kitchen table, some of the kitchen chairs, the crib, the spare infant car seat, the exersaucer, a couple of dressers, two couches, etc.... So the pure physical labor in the heat left us deeply exhausted.
So we were sleeping from about 10:00 am until about 5:00 pm and then waiting for dark and working through the night when it was cool. But even for us those are the wrong sleeping hours. So we were all deeply exhausted from lack of sleep, too.
Stress is bad for fibromyalgia. Any emotional highs or lows or intense periods of any kind leave my body hurting for a couple of days. And moving is stressful. So is having to tell a landlord that just lost her job that we won't be her tenants anymore. Moving also requires repeated motions (bad for fibro) and sustained motion (bad for fibro) and extended periods of labor (bad for fibro) and messes with sleep and eating schedules (bad for fibro) and makes eating right hart (bad for fibro). Generally I can push myself to do anything I want for a couple of days, and then I'm okay for a day or two, and then I'm smashed and pay dearly. So the second week of a two-week move I'm also paying for everything I did the first week. So I was in pain all week--every bit of moving hurt enough that I ended up wandering the house unable to make myself fight the heat to work because it hurt to work.
Moving stresses children, who then need their mother MORE, not less. And I have 5 children. All stressed. Plus one is still nursing and he was hot so he wanted to nurse more. And he was stressed and wanted to be held all the time because, let's face it, a 7 month old can see that something is up but can't possibly comprehend it. And the big kids cried when I sold things we didn't want, so that didn't help. I admit I actually picked out the 6-hour-long video of cartoons and put it on for Benji hoping he would watch it for a long long time.
So where does that get us? Hot, exhausted, in pain, and toting a baby. And trying to pack everything into a trailer to take to Utah and a Pod to take to storage--both too small for what needed to happen. And trying to pay attention to 5 small stressed children, two of whom are in diapers still and one who is just barely potty trained.
And then Daniel tasted his first Walnut. And had an allergic reaction so severe he ended up in the emergency room. So he now has a life-threatening nut allergy we have to deal with.
And then all 5 kids got head colds.
In the midst of this, we found out one sister (who is pregnant) was incredibly ill and in and out of the hospital (and she still offered to come down and help me!). Another was put on bed rest so her baby wouldn't come early and her toddler got hand foot and mouth disease. Another had a baby. And a brother got into and then out of the hospital and is getting divorced. So stress in the extended family compounded our concerns and made us hesitate to ask anyone for help.
And what was Tim doing? Well...he had to pack his office and studio--no small undertaking-- and both sort and pack the storage room (not big, but full). And he had to arrange for help moving big things and deal with that. He had to pack the stuff out of the house, playing tetris with the stuff and the spaces available and with no help from me because I was busy juggling kids, throwing things into boxes, and trying to keep Benjamin from getting smashed while he was helping, running down the street, tearing up the neighbors' yards, or chasing the cats that like to scratch him.
And, because this is an unplanned move, he was still working. We knew we had his first tour as Mister Tim (not as moosebutter) set up for August 15-25, so he was dealing with the myriad details that have to be taken care of. In the midst of all the packing, sick kids, traumatized and teary wife, jaunts to the emergency room with terrified and swollen 3-year-old, etc, he also had to do a couple of showcases in Vegas, run a rehearsal with Wonder Voice, record/edit a demo song and then re-record the solo line for broadcast, finalize details for his shows on the tour, add a couple of extra shows in Utah, get the ball rolling for 6 groups to audition for Sing Off (new NBC reality show featuring A Cappella groups in a kind of American Idol format), finish writing and rehearse his new material so the shows on the tour won't be crappy, fight with the computer software that won't quite do what he needs (there is no software written to do exactly what he's doing with music, so he has to cobble together a couple of other things, and sometimes when he gets up on stage, it just doesn't go--even though it just worked half an hour before at home) and deal with dozens of tech issues attached to his new show, find and make sure costumes and sound equipment got to the right places, train a new singer in moosebutter and do a mini-tour out of state with moosebutter, go watch and give feedback to a Colorado vocal band that was showcasing in Vegas (and negotiating a contract to be here)--and get me and the kids in so I knew more fully what we were talking about since we often work as a team on analyzing shows before he gives the feedback they need, and somehow manage to eat and sleep. He was also supposed to be recording a "single" (which actually usually has about 5 songs on it now, in this digital age--it's really just a half-length album) to sell at his shows on this tour, but that didn't get done. And we've recently been restructuring the way he runs his business in hopes it will become less work and more profit, but that entails him starting work on 5 full albums that need to be recorded and produced. We also had scheduled Caleb's baptism at the end of the tour in Utah, so we had to deal with all those details, too.
And all this when he has ADD, which doesn't stop him from being a functioning human being, but does stop him from being able to sustain mental effort on a single project for 2 weeks straight. He runs his business by doing 20-100 things AT ONCE, skipping between projects and working far enough in advance that he still hits the deadlines. And he had a whole load of deadlines this month, and adding moving into the mix doesn't allow him to finish things to meet those deadlines--it's not conducive to putting everything away and just moving any more than my fibromyalgia is.
So we knew the first stop of the Mister Tim tour was a Religious Revival--he had to be there before noon on Sunday, the 16th. It takes 6 hours to drive, and he had to attend TWO performances in Vegas on Saturday night, the 15th.
Exhausted, weary, and Not Done Packing, I was so numb by the time he walked in and said we need to just leave everything and come back after the tour, I kinda just stood there on the edge of tears (but too hot and tired to actually cry) as he spent a couple of hours throwing things into the trailer and shed and begging me to show him what HAD to go into each and what we could leave behind. I think I managed to get clothes and shoes on everyone, and I cleaned the shower and emptied the fridge of things that wouldn't last 2 weeks....and managed to leave the quilting stuff I intended to bring and use to entertain myself at Mom's house. Perhaps I understand in small part how the Saints felt trying to leave Nauvoo in covered wagons in the dead of winter.
And then Tim bustled us into the car. We locked up the house in a state of horrid disorder (I finished 2 rooms completely, even cleaning. I mostly finished 3 other rooms. 2 rooms got done and then unfinished again ,which irked me. And the other rooms are all about 3/4 packed and finished.). Locked the storage unit and the trailer, and left. Tim will go back with a truck or big van and trailer in a couple weeks (we're in the house until September 4 anyway) and get the rest of our stuff, clean, and run a weeks' worth of rehearsals leading up to the September, October, and November tours that are already set up for various groups and for the Sing Off auditions.
Anyway, we drove all night with an overloaded trailer and fussy children, and got to my Mom's house in Lehi well after dawn (the kids loved watching the sun rise). Tim didn't get to sleep. He unloaded car and trailer, found his first costume, dressed and did his hair, and went off to the first gig.
We collapsed into my mom's bed and onto sleeping bags around it at about 10:00 am and slept until 8:00 pm, played with cousins for a few hours, and are ready to collapse into bed again. Tim came home in the midst of that and collapsed into bed himself, and he's still asleep and needs to be for as long as possible so we can hit the next gig--tomorrow night (that one's free, at Tahitian Noni at 7:00, so come. We should be recovered by then!)
I have learned that it is incredibly difficult to face something you know you are bad at an unsuited for in the first place and work your tail off trying to make it happen, and then to realize you are going to fail and have to keep going anyway, pushing through pain and discouragement knowing you'll never succeed. I have much sympathy for children struggling in school now. And for women struggling against depression. And for people with ADD who are being told they must just learn to focus. And for women with fibromyalgia who don't have the luxury I normally do to structure my life around my strengths and completely ignore my weaknesses. And for others of us who are forced to face our handicaps and work without hope of success.
I hate leaving things undone.
As if in consolation, though, in the middle of the "night" I woke up with a fantastic plot for a novel in mind, complete with clever dialogue, fun plot twists, and fairly decent content (extra-plot meaning, depth, character development, etc). That only happens when I am getting enough restorative sleep and when my soul is at ease, so that was a huge good thing--getting a new plot meant that the sleep was freeing my soul from the pains and sorrows of the week, and I could stay free. I haven't dreamt up a new plot in months. Maybe since we moved to Vegas (Vegas has been hard for me).
Writing has always been my escape and my rest and my playground. It gives me a break from the toils and troubles and brings me joy. It's something I can succeed at when all around I am failing--something to look at besides my messy floor and unwashed dishes. So an entirely new plot in mind with interesting characters and dialogue for me is like candy, only more satisfying. It's like soaking up sunshine without getting too hot. It's like getting lost in a good book is for other people. It is delicious food for my soul.
A very welcome blessing that lets me know tomorrow things will be fine.
Because tomorrow, I can write.