Monday, October 18, 2010

Order and Control

I'm sure it is no surprise that I like order in my life. At the root of my need for order is control...once again, I'm sure no one will be surprised that I like to feel some sense of control over myself and my environment. Needless to say, my life is seriously lacking order right now. We are at the mercy of transport, and doctors, and radiation...we spent our lives waiting and wondering what will happen next. That is probably one of the hardest parts about all of this for me...I feel like my ability to control myself and my environment has been stripped away on so many levels, which makes the things I can control so much more important to me.

Normally, my house is the one thing I can control. When everything else in my life gets crazy, I put my house in order - it gives me a sense of calm and control so I can face the rest of the chaos. I like a neat and orderly house...not a perfect or spotless house, but just neat and orderly. I like when everything has a place, even disorganized junk. I prefer to restrict mess to one designated location, usually out of sight from company and easy to put away if the cleaning lady or visitors are coming. I like the kitchen cleaned every day and put back into place, and I like my living areas free from chaos.

Unfortunately, DH is kind of like Pigpen from Charlie Brown...a cloud of mess and chaos follows him everywhere he goes. I always joke that I can see his path through the house because of the trail he leaves behind. He works very hard to try and pick up the mess he creates and clean up after himself, but I would have to say that for every 10 things he cleans up, he messes up 12 (in fairness to DH, he has drastically improved over the past years...he used to mess up 12 things, then mess up 12 more, and not clean up any of it!). It is a losing battle for him, and it amazes me that he just cannot even see all the mess he creates, especially when I look around and it is as if big neon flashing lights point out all of the mess.

Normally, I just pick up after DH and return my living space to order. But lately, with all that has been happening, I just cannot stay on top of the mess that DH creates...not to mention the havoc Micah now wreaks on the house, and my own laziness about putting things away the past few months. We still have the house cleaned every week, but I am sitting here tonight, focusing on the mess around me. In our last renovation, we removed many of the walls on the first floor, so from the position in the dining room where I blog and pump, I can see the mess in every room of this floor all at once. The buffet in the kitchen is piled high with books that Micah has ripped that I need to repair, Maya's birth announcements that I haven't had time to address and send out, a stack of thank-you notes I've written for all the wonderful gifts for Maya's baby naming that I still have not finished or sent out, my pile of work/office things that are without a home, the drawings for our home renovations, and then a pile of....cords, technology, papers and crap from DH that definitely does not belong on the buffet. The kitchen counters are covered with bottles and jars that do not fit in the cabinets (largely because there are now things that do not belong stuffed in the empty mason jars and baby food jars). We have the oatmeal container from DH's breakfast sitting out (because he never remembers to put it away). There is a 10 foot pile of mail on the front table (we get WAY too much junk mail, DH and I are both terrible about sorting through it, and I do not even have an office or a cabinet yet to file away my things). Back before I was married, I would have just dropped most of it into the trash when the pile started to offend me and solve my problem, but DH...well, he does not like to just throw anything away without inspecting it himself. I have a feeling waking him up now to inspect everything would not be well-received.

I miss my days of an orderly house. I am certain that much of the mess we face has a lot to do with the fact that we've been living in a house that is way too small for us for several years now. We do not have a bedroom for Maya, I do not have an office, we have no storage space, so even if we wanted to put everything away, it simply does not fit in this house. It may also have a lot to do with the fact that a few months back, when I thought we were only weeks away from moving out for our renovations (and I was at the tail-end of my pregnancy), I gave up fighting the mess because I thought it would be easier to deal with when we moved.

I have to say, I'm looking forward to moving. I cannot wait to throw out some of the crap in the house. I cannot wait to have enough rooms for everyone in our family and some storage space. I cannot wait to have some order back in my living environment. Most of all, I cannot wait to have Mom back home with us so we can all attempt to take some control of what has happened to us. I am sure my mother is having a hard time with the lack of control in her life now, too, and I completely understand that.

Maya woke up on the early side this morning around 7...thanks, in part, to DH making a lot of noise snoring noises. I cannot wait until we can put Maya in her own bedroom! Micah slept until about 8:30...I tried to get DH awake to go get Micah before his yelling woke Maya again, but no such luck. We ended up bringing Micah into our room, and he cuddled with us for a while. We all moved downstairs for breakfast, and I ran around trying to get our clothing and things ready for the day.

Micah has been trying to dress himself more and more everyday. While I was organizing our swim bag, Micah decided to help get himself dressed - he pulled his swim diaper over one leg of his pajamas. Eventually, we decided to help Micah out and got him completely dressed for swim class. Today, we put him in an Elmo sweat outfit...I think he may never wear anything else again!

Once again, swim class was great. Micah is really making progress and loving the water. Now, if I could just convince him that he shouldn't DRINK the pool water, we'd be in business.

After swim class, we drove up to the nursing home. When we arrived, Mom's friends were visiting and my mom was finishing up physical therapy. When she returned, we all sat together for a while in the cafe area talking. Mom was doing great, and sporting her new purple beret. My mom decided today that she wants to shave her head - her head is itching and she just wants all the hair gone. I think it is a great idea, so tomorrow we are going to try and make that happen.

I think we finally have the lease all sorted out and in hand. The owner/agent of this property is kind of a pain in the ass...after dropping off the lease for us the other day, she now wanted to change the terms and the signatories. It took us a few hours to sort it all out, but I think we are all set to return the lease to her in the morning. I have a feeling she is going to be a thorn in our side this next year.

This afternoon, shortly after my mother returned to her room, the "customer service representative" from the nursing home came to speak to us. We gave him some feedback about our experience there, but I think other than listening and nodding, he has no authority to do anything.

After my mom's friends left, we took turns visiting my mother. My father said his goodbyes, and DH took the kids outside for a bit. I sat with my mother (and Krystal) and read the blog and a few other messages to my mom. We tried to order some cortisone cream for my mother's head...her skin is so itchy right now!

Before we all left, Mom got her Delicious kisses and said goodbye to Micah. He was cute..he said "night night" to Mom, and he also crossed his arms over his chest (the sign for "love') when she said "I love you" to him. We left mom in good hands with Krystal, and we told her that there was fruit and a sandwich in the fridge for mom (instead of nursing home dinner).

On the way home, DH and I decided to stop off at IHOP for dinner with the kids. Both were awake and cranky, it was almost 6 pm, and eating dinner out seemed easier than coming home and cooking. Maya was just happy to get out of the car and nurse. Micah actually ate fairly well - we ordered him a grilled cheese sandwich and a cup of fruit. He ate most of my eggs, one of DH's pancakes, a few bites of the grilled cheese, and some of the fruit. Unfortunately, Micah spotted the ketchup during dinner, so we put some on his plate. He loves to dip things in ketchup. He dipped his grilled cheese, and then, much to my dismay, he decided to dip his apples into the ketchup! Yes, disgusting. But Micah seemed to love it.

We made it home around 7, and we spent the evening relaxing together again. My mom called around 8:15 (she had some questions about medications, she wanted a fan for the room, and we needed to sort out the aide issue for tomorrow). I gave her answers about medications, I told her I'd call Dad to see if he could figure out the fan issue and promised I'd bring one tomorrow if they did not find the fan tonight, and I contacted the manager for her floor to discuss the aide issue. Apparently, they say they have aides covering her indefinitely right now, but they will not be using the outside company (and Krystal) tomorrow. Instead, they apparently have some companions on-staff, and will be using one of them. We are waiting to see if Mom feels comfortable with the person they send (or if they decided to terminate the sitters after tomorrow) - if my mother doesn't like the person they send or if they cancel the sitter, we'll contact Krystal and re-hire her. We've already asked Krystal if she will work with us when Mom leaves the nursing home - we are hoping she'll be able to work 1-2 days a week and fill in whenever the other aide is unavailable.

Micah went to bed around 8:30, and Maya fell asleep for the first time shortly after that. Maya woke up again a little after 9, but was back down again within 10 minutes. So far, both children have slept through the night. Okay, I'm off to try and clean the house a bit before everyone wakes up.

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