If I Weren’t So Depressed, I Would Probably Have to Laugh

December 23, 2007

I’m having a pity party and you’re invited… 

This has been a rough month or so for me. It all started with Thanksgiving, when I had to forego cooking a meal for my family due to a lack of interest/availability from my relatives and Dan’s. Of course, I’d already bought a 17 pound turkey, but that’s neither here nor there.

A few days after Thanksgiving, Dan’s mom decided that we (as in Dan and me and our kids) would be coming to her house on Christmas day around noon. Yes, she decided that. As in, she decided it without any input from me. I was put on the spot by Dan to tell her what was on my mind, and the floodgates opened. It was not pretty. I said some unkind things, rolled my eyes at some of her statements, and spoke without the least little bit of tact.

When I told her that the only person she cared about was herself, she actually had the audacity to say that Christians are commanded to love themselves in the Bible because it says in the book of Matthew to “love thy neighbor as thyself.” Well, that certainly shut me up. I was speechless on the outside, but on the inside I was screaming, “Not in my Bible!”

Later, after picking up my jaw and allowing my temper to cool, I pointed out to her that loving oneself is not commanded in the Bible, it is assumed. Most of us are pretty good at loving ourselves — we keep ourselves clean, warm, fed, sheltered, clothed, etc. I could go off on a whole separate rant on this subject, but I won’t.

Anyway, I did apologize for losing my temper. I explained that (a) I felt like she should have asked me if it was okay to interrupt our traditional Christmas morning festivities rather than forcing us to, (b) I felt like she could have done her thing on Christmas Eve since our usual time of Christmas Day evening wasn’t working for her this year, and (c) the few traditions I have with my kids are very dear to me because the family traditions I grew up with disappeared when my parents got divorced.

She responded by saying that Christmas Eve wouldn’t suit her schedule because she goes to church service on Christmas Eve and she wouldn’t want to miss that very important, traditional part of her Christmas celebrations. In other words, it is perfectly okay (and even expected) for me to cancel my traditional celebrations, but it is outside the realm of possibility for her to do the same.

There’s a lot of recent history here that can best be summed up by her withdrawing almost completely from our lives and my trying to have her be an active part of her grandchildren’s lives. I realized after this incident that I may as well be talking to the wind, though, and decided it was time to quit beating a dead horse.

So, I decided on a Plan B, wherein we would do what she wanted to, when she wanted to do it — and since Dan wasn’t working on Christmas Eve, we would just have our family Christmas celebration on Christmas Eve instead. That way we’d still get to do the things that are special, and we get to keep the peace.

Then December came, and with it a new program year for our health insurance. We have an obscenely high $4000 deductible, and as of December 1 we have to pay for all medical expenses out of pocket, full price. Yippee and Merry Christmas to me. I was reminded of this when I picked up two prescriptions for $334. Worse yet, Sophia had oral surgery scheduled for December 18, and I’d be paying for all of that too.

So I’m plugging along, trying to get used to the fact that I’m going to be laying out major payments right before Christmas, and not celebrating Christmas the way I want to, when on December 6 I come home and find that the house reeks of oil. Trevor and I went downstairs to check it out and found that the boiler room was covered in about an inch of water. Uh oh.

I called Dan and he came home straightaway to check it out. We spent the night without heat and had a service guy come the next day. The diagnosis was that our boiler was as close to being dead as it could possibly be — to fix it would cost 85% of the total replacement cost. We got the estimate of $6000, but fortunately Dan found a guy who could do it for $4000.

Faced with that expense, I started pondering whether I could/should still go to visit my good friend Noodle in January, as we had planned. Gas and hotel would cost about $500, which we obviously don’t have. That’s bad. On the other hand, I haven’t seen her in about three years, I miss her like heck, and we would be going south… in January. That’s good. I’m still undecided.

So, back to this month of horrors… Right after the boiler died, I went on that scrapbooking weekend where my hotel room was almost broken into at 3:00 AM and I got stuck in the elevator.

Before I knew it, it was December 18 and time for Sophia’s surgery, which thankfully went well but was rather stressful (not to mention expensive — $1000 not counting the anesthesia bill which I haven’t yet received).On December 19, I brought home groceries and, as usual, set them on top of my stove so I could start putting them away. (The great thing about having one of those ceramic cook tops is that it’s perfectly flat and doubles as counter space when it’s not on.) I set about unloading my bags, when Dan suddenly exclaimed, “Oh no, something’s happening!” I had no idea what he was talking about… until I turned around and saw smoke rising from the beneath my grocery bags.

One of the bags had nudged a burner dial just enough to turn the burner on. I melted a bag of brown sugar, a polymer clay craft kit I’d gotten for Sophia, and the bottom of a bag of cane sugar. And the cord on my electric mixer. The mixer I was planning to bake cookies with that afternoon. Dan replaced the mixer cord for me, handy guy that he is, and the rest of the damaged items were written off as a loss. Unfortunately, there is still some residue on the cooktop and I don’t know if I will ever be able to get it off. That burner may very well be ruined. I haven’t had the heart to really test it out.

Then, this past Wednesday, Trevor came home from church all excited about spending Christmas Eve with one of his friends. I said no, that was supposed to be our Plan B Christmas celebration. He argued. I argued back. He argued more. I realized he would rather hang out with his friend than spend Christmas Eve here, and I caved. Totally waved the white flag of surrender and decided that Plan C would be not to make any plans for Christmas this year because, apparently, no one cares in this house but me.

*cue violin music*

Since then, I’ve been slowly resigning myself to the fact that we won’t be able to do the traditional Christmas things I love — staying home most of the day to enjoy our presents, having my special Raspberry Jubilee French toast for breakfast, etc. I’d be lying if I said I was adjusting well to the disappointment.

But wait! There’s more!

And today we made an emergency visit to the oral surgeon because Sophia’s mouth just did not look right to me. I was feeling pretty stupid about calling the oral surgeon on the weekend before Christmas but he confirmed my fears… she has an infection. She has to take an antibiotic, but fortunately he prescribed a cheap one!

And the icing on the cake of my day week month… about an hour ago Trevor alerted us to a strange noise coming from the back of the house. We’re pretty sure it’s a bat stuck behind a wall or in the attic. He’s either going to get out of there (hopefully not by coming into the house) or he’s going to die in there (and therefore stink).

I’m spending a lot of time sleeping these days, and living a bear’s life of hibernation during the winter months is looking better to me all the time.


  1. YIKES! Poor Sophia. I hope she feels well for Christmas, at any rate.

    Oh, and my dear husband floored me yesterday by saying he was ready for a visit back your way, so all is not lost! 🙂

  2. Interesting and yet relatable story. I have had many past episodes with MY mother. She has run the show for most of my life. She and her husband moved to Arizona a few years ago. For the first time in my life, my husband and I feel we have control. Most of the time!!

    Have a Merry Christmas! Shanna

  3. […] It was just what I needed to hear in order to find some much needed peace amidst my recent emotional and financial turmoil.  After the service, some friends came over to our house to share eggnog and visit for a while.  […]

  4. […] December 2007 (the whole month) was a really bad low point for me.  Thankfully, it’s all been uphill from […]

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