Friday EJ’s sister and her husband brought their Mom to visit us. Their Mom really wanted to see us and our new house but she is old and in poor health, she tires easily, and the drive is quite long, so they didn’t stay too long. We were glad to see them.
We had arranged for the Gravel Guy to bring us another 15 tons of top soil on Friday afternoon well after EJ’s family had left. The Gravel Guy was late getting here because his dump truck had gotten stuck delivering to someone else, and he had had to have a front-end loader come and pull him out. Not a great start to his three-day holiday weekend.
I had alerted JJ earlier in the day that when the Gravel Guy arrived, he would probably need to move his car to the bottom of the driveway because we were going to have the dirt dumped in the driveway near where the deep gullies were so that we could more easily just shovel it in instead of moving heavy loads down the driveway in the wheelbarrow. When the Gravel Guy arrived, I told JJ that he needed to HURRY! and move his car! However, JJ dawdled and the Gravel Guy didn’t have time to wait for him to get out there, so he dumped the gravel. Because JJ needed to be at work early the next day, and because he wouldn’t be able to drive around the piles of dirt, we had to shovel enough of the dirt out of the way so he could get down the driveway. I don’t think JJ has built up his strength and stamina after his battle with cancer so he usually doesn’t give us much help with heavy projects. However, we had only a few hours of daylight left to work, and JJ needed to be to work early so I told JJ that this time he really needed to help us. He had a PTSD meltdown. It wasn’t a fun time of working together. It stressed us all.
We got enough dirt shoveled out of the way so JJ could leave for work on Saturday. EJ and I were so exhausted that we rested all day Saturday, taking several naps. On Sunday we went back to shoveling dirt. The heat and humidity drained our energy but we were able to get the dirt into the gullies. After a break to cool off, we went back outside and planted seeds to stop erosion and provide a tasty treat for the deer and other wildlife. We will need another 15 tons to finish the project. The Gravel Guy told EJ on Friday that the unfiltered top soil he is bringing us is being dredged up from the Menominee River. I think that is interesting.
Monday we were so tired that we rested again. It was supposed to rain all day, but mostly it was just cloudy. I think it rained earlier in the morning.
By Monday evening the skies cleared. We heard that the Northern Lights were supposed to be extremely strong, so we kept going outside to see if we could see any. At one point, EJ opened the door and Little Bear ran outside. Little Bear is totally black and the forest is also very, very dark, and so was the night. While EJ ran inside to get a flashlight, I tried to capture Little Bear. He ran under the Suburban, and then around the house to the back yard, and then near the raised garden beds, and then he headed for the forest. I tried to prevent him from going into the forest because the forest is too dark and dangerous at night, and if Little Bear went in there, he was on his own. He did head for the forest, but was blocked by a pile of fire wood the previous owner had stacked there. I was able to catch Little Bear and get him safely back in the house. Whew! That was scary! I gave Little Bear a very stern lecture about the dangers of the forest and the need for him to stay inside.
Meanwhile, Danny kept wanting to go outside, but he didn’t “use the facilities.” I think his tummy hurt because he kept eating grass. Finally, after I had taken him outside about five times, he went potty. After that he seemed to be ok. At least he didn’t ask to be taken outside again.
We could see glimmers of the Northern Lights above the trees, but we didn’t want to drive anywhere for a more unhindered view until JJ got safely home from work. Once he was home, EJ and I took off. We invited JJ to go with us, but his hours are changeable and after closing at the store that night, he was scheduled to work earlier the next morning so he wanted to get to bed. EJ drove us first to a boat launch with a clear view of the northern sky. We saw the Northern Lights, but there were stores nearby with bright lights so EJ drove us out into the dark countryside away from lights. The Lights we saw were green, and look sort of like the lights of an approaching dawn. We saw slight rays, but not strong pillars or swirls or variety of colors that are in many photos of the Northern Lights. Still, it was the Northern Lights, and that is awesome.
Usually JJ texts me when he gets out of work to tell me he’s on his way home. Today he called me instead. It has rained all day today–sometimes very heavy–and he said that a branch had broken off the tree he had parked under and had fallen on the car. “You need to come pick me up,” he said. So I got in the Buggy and drove to JJ’s work, crying all the way because I am anxious about our savings running out, and about how we can afford two houses if our old house doesn’t sell, and about how we are going to be able to move the rest of our possessions when we have absolutely no one to help, and about affording propane, and about getting a generator, and about how we can solve the problem of plowing our driveway this winter, and about EJ’s health, and about JJ recovering from cancer, and now about the car needing repairing. This on top of exhaustion from shoveling 60 tons of gravel and soil (and we aren’t done yet), and recovering from abuse and JJ’s cancer, and a ton of other things.
The damage to the car wasn’t as bad as I feared, although it was bad enough. JJ handled the problem very well. While I drove to pick him up, he calmly texted his Dad who contacted the insurance company. JJ was able to drive the HHR so he followed me home. With everything we’ve had to do, EJ hasn’t had time to organize his garage. However, we have enough space now that when it began to rain super hard, JJ was able to drive the car into the garage so the interior wouldn’t get soaked.
Tomorrow is my “New Patient Appointment” with our new primary care physician. I am certain that she will also diagnose me with PTSD and anxiety attacks as she has EJ and JJ.
PTSD/Anxiety has affected me by causing me to sleep only a few hours during the night. When I wake up, I am hit with gnawing anxiety so that often I can’t get back to sleep. Sometimes I cry. My muscles always feel tense and I have trouble de-stressing. My heart pounds. When I am confronted with another problem, another expectation, another chore, I feel as if I’m being handed another brick to carry–and I am beginning to fall under the load. Even little problems or little expectations are becoming too much. Sometimes I feel as if I am caught in a rip tide–I can’t take a breath or get to my feet before another wave hits and drags me under and away from shore. Sometimes I feel like I imagine it would feel if someone raised his clenched fist toward a woman who had been physically battered–I feel a panic, a flinching, a bracing myself in my spirit as I wait for the next problem to hit.
It’s not because we are too weak to handle problems or not trusting God enough. It’s not that we don’t love where we now live–but moving is stressful and even good stress is still stress. We have been so strong for so long. We are getting fatigued and beginning to crumble.
Sometimes I groan to God, “We are unimaginably tired. We need You to take some of these problems off our plate. We just want to rest for a while and have time to regather strength. You hear me? WE NEED REST!”