This has been one of those weeks. First, I went off the highway during our seventh snowstorm of the season, me and two of our kids in the Volvo station wagon, and totalled the car. I got a rental car, but it is the flimsiest thing you can imagine, some Chrysler low-end model that you’ve never heard of. Since it is still snowing and icy beyond belief (everyone is slipping on the ice like crazy) I haven’t wanted to drive the flimsy rental car.
So my husband and my workmates have been picking me up and taking me here and there, very inconvenient for them….meanwhile State Farm calls to say “the car is totalled, we will have it taken from the repair shop to a salvage yard” and I say “Don’t do that until Friday, so I can get to the repair shop and get my belongings, kids’ coats and whatnot, out of the vehicle” and they say “Great.” But today my husband drives me 20 miles through the snow to the repair place, we wait around a half hour while people look for our car – oops! They already sent it to the salvage yard, yesterday, with who-knows-what of our belongings in it – boots, bracelets, CDs, etc. Oh no! So that was a mini-crisis.
I am sick with a cold and fever and have to sing an audition on Sunday. Four of our five kids have massive projects due next week: one on the Black Sox Scandal of 1919, one on Brown v. Board of Ed, one on raccoons, one on the curvature of spacetime. I spent $150 at Michael’s Crafts last weekend and we are drowning in glue and shoeboxes. It is nuts. The smallest child got a time-out at preschool. Three of the four school-aged children are moving to new schools next year and there are forms to fill out and visits to make. I am heading out to New York on Monday and we are still putting that schedule together – one of the ladies in our office resigned (for a good reason, to go back to school full-time) and so we are double- and triple-loaded with work….and the snow is still coming down!
So, I get overwhelmed. Here is what I do: retreat. I make a bath and lock the door. My mental faculties shut down – I can tell because I can’t do Sudoku puzzles – they look impossible whereas normally I zip through them. I lose my train of thought (what were we just talking about?) and can only think five minutes into the future. I have a nine-year-old birthday party to execute in February – it feels like too much to deal with, although I have hosted over 40 birthday parties for my older children already. If one more thing happens – if, for instance, the library called to tell me about a $60 fine on an overdue book or a child got a “D” or our Sea Monkeys died – I would cease functioning altogether.
What about you? What overwhelms you, and how do you react then? How do you cope the rest of the time? My thing is loss of brain function and withdrawal, but everyone has her own approach to reality overload. What’s yours?