Tripping the lights not so fantastic
I like to be busy. I like to get things done, to lead, plan and organize. I have worked hard to learn to delegate and how to say no, but quite honestly I try to do stuff on my own as much as I can.
But sometimes the universe has a way of well, tripping things up.
This Monday I had grand plans: I was finally gonna clean my gross house. But first I was hitting my favorite garden center (Tonkadale Greenhouse: http://tonkadale.com/), to get the first round of plants for the season. Happily buzzed about picking plants for my pots and window boxes, and think I found some great options.
Hustled home, unloaded the car, and got to work. It was a lovely, warm spring day. I was on pot number 3, when I somehow stumbled and twisted my ankle.
And heard a snap.
I glanced at my shoe, hoping I had broken my shoe. No such luck. Caught my breath, sat down and decided to finish getting that pot done. I had about 60 seconds before my body starting screaming at me. Clammy skin, nausea, searing, burning pain in my left foot. My mind started racing.
“Crap shit god DAMMIT! What did I do I do NOT have time for this. OK. Do I wait it out or go in? It’s probably nothing. I’ll just ice it in a minute. Son of a BITCH that hurts. Oh no. The dinner we are hosting Friday night for 10 people…no way I can do that now. Well, maybe I can. I can cook with a twisted ankle (you know this is not just sprained you moron)..but how am I gonna clean? We’ll move it to a restaurant. OK this plant is done. I’ll clean up later. Gotta go ice before it gets bad. I’ll just try standing on it…AAAAAHHHHHGGGGGGHHHHH! Nope. Not doing that again. Fricking knives in my foot. OK Breathe. Work through this. You need to get to a phone. Stupid stupid stupid….”
I hopped on one foot into the house, and called the orthopedic clinic to ask the nurse line if I should come in or wait and see. Nurse listened to my descriptions and said “we’ll see you soon!” so I called Mom and she came over shortly. Stumbled about, finding a shoe to wear (knew I shouldn’t do flip flops or I’d get yelled at), grabbed a phone charger, a book and a sweatshirt in case it was cold at the doctor. Swallowed 4 Advil and hobbled out to the driveway to wait (yes, even in the throes of agony I am trying to be organized…)
They got me in pretty quickly, which was good and bad. I knew they would do an x ray. I knew it would hurt. I was right. I screamed during the first xray. By the end of the second film I was weeping. By the third I was clammy again and out of breath. The doctor didn’t even need to look at my foot; his greeting upon walking into the room was “So did you hear it snap?”
Yes. Yes I did.
So for now I am in a boot and on crutches for at least 3 weeks, then the boot alone for at least 3 weeks.
In those six weeks, I am running the school senior party, attending Singer Girls’s graduation, and hosting her graduation party. I also will have house guests — wonderful. non-demanding house guests, but nonetheless their rooms have to be readied (they are currently full of senior party supplies), the house cleaned, food purchased and plans made.
Sitting on my ass the past few days has made me reassess what I can do, what I can’t, and how to get help. For years I have wanted to get a house keeper. The want has become a need, so I have done that. I am hiring someone to help me plant all my annuals. I am paying extra for delivery and setup for Singer Girl’s grad party. After attempting to get about the other day in public on crutches, I took up a friend’s offer to use her knee scooter (which, btw, gives me a dangerous amount of mobility so I have to be careful not to let that heady freedom get me in trouble and overdo it). When people ask how they can help, I tell them.
This has not been easy. This morning I had a crying meltdown talking with HWSNBN about my frustration at not being able to keep up with even the basic stuff around the house, and my family’s inability to even see the things I see. Like, for years I have asked Singer Girl to not just drop her shoes in the middle of the mud room, but to put them in the cubbies. Now that I have to crutch gingery around the scattered footwear minefield it is maddening to me that she doesn’t even see the problem. Since I have known him, HWSNBN has always been super helpful, but not always in the way I think he should be. Like, he thinks it’s helpful to tidy up for me — by moving my crutches out of my way. So I can’t reach them. And when I ask him to help keep things tidy, like by doing dishes or putting away the groceries, he decides it’s time to detail the master bathroom shower head.
So I had to tell him that I need him to listen to me more. That I know he is trying, but I need him to follow my lead. If he and she don’t step up, I will try to do it on my own and that’s a bad idea. Last night, after having been out with work colleagues for drinks and dinner, he disappeared into the basement to work with his seedlings. I decided I had better fix myself some dinner, so crutched over to the kitchen. Foot was talking to me, so I propped it up — on a counter that hadn’t been cleaned so was slippery and after a few minutes my foot slid off and crashed to the floor. I screamed. Three times. When HWSNBN finally came upstairs (he didn’t hear the crash or the screaming), he found me weeping, trying to catch my breath, terrified I had undone whatever healing had happened to date.
What should have happened? Before he went downstairs, he should’ve asked me if I needed anything, or I should have let him know what I needed. But because I stupidly think he and Singer Girl can suddenly be the wife/mom in the relationship, I don’t ask. I just get mad when they aren’t me.
And that’s dumb.
Just like it’s dumb of me to think that my Senior Party committee will volunteer to take things off my plate. No, I have to ask. I have to tell people what I can’t do. What I need. Where others have to step up and fill my broken footsteps. That’s what happens when everyone is used to you willingly and capably taking charge of stuff. You sometimes have to point out that your cape is in the shop and you need someone else to save the day.
I think it’s asinine for any of us to assume the world knows what we need. As a stay at home mom and wife, I have been training for more than 20 years to anticipate the family’s needs, and, realizing that this life is a game if chess, planning a few moves ahead so things move smoothly. This ain’t chess anymore: it’s checkers. With me hopping around chaotically, no linger gliding in all directions. And while I love game night, this is not what I had in mind.
The next 5 weeks will suck in many ways. But while I can’t run around like a headless yet efficient chicken anymore, I do have a flock of good eggs who will help me if I learn how to patiently direct them. Hopefully my squawking will make it over easy, and not leave everything scrambled.