February has been such a loooonnnnnggggg, awful month so far. Ugh.
I cannot share most of the story of what has made February so awful because it involves others so I only told a few close friends who I knew would pray for us. That untellable part of the story has made me feel, battered, beaten, overwhelmed, stressed, saddened, soggied, and somewhat angry.
In addition to the untellable parts of the story, EJ got permanently laid off from his job, which I already shared, and which was scary. He immediately got hired at a new company. He started Monday and I hoped and prayed and hoped and prayed that this would be a good company. I was totally relieved when he said that he liked it even better than his last company. People there have told him that his previous company has a habit of hiring people and laying them off, while his current company tends not to because they have long-term contracts so there’s always work. The work is complicated, but EJ was told if he could handle the complicated work at his last company, he will have no problem here–in fact, he probably was hired because he was doing well at the previous company. And EJ again will work four 10-hour days each week, but there is a good chance for overtime, which will help our finances. So despite all the stress and anxiety of EJ getting laid off, and finding and starting a new job…Whew!
EJ’s previous company paid him for unused vacation days in addition to his regular (last) paycheck, so that will help until he gets his first paycheck from his new company.
Since EJ didn’t work all last week, he was going to build my bookshelves in our library. Instead, we spent the week ferrying JJ to school and his job because the Buggy was stuck in the driveway. We also spent a lot of very exhausting hours digging the Buggy out of the snow, only to have it slide into another snowdrift along the driveway. Sunday evening I had to sit in the Buggy and push on the gas and steer while EJ tried to pull it out with the Suburban. No luck. I am totally inexperienced at this sort of thing, so it was very, very stressful for me. On Monday, while EJ was working, I snowblowed behind and in front of the buggy, which by this time was stuck near the bottom of the driveway. I also did my best to dig out the snow under the Buggy. Later that evening we dug a bit more and then with JJ in the Buggy this time, EJ tried again to pull it out with the Suburban. This time we were successful and we got both vehicles up the hill and parked in front of the garage.
In our efforts to get the Buggy unstuck, its tail lights were smashed. JJ didn’t want to drive it yesterday. For some reason, he is always anxious about getting stopped by police, even if only for a “fix-it ticket.” This week EJ is on first shift while he is trained; I think he will start working second shift next week. First shift begins at 6 a.m., so EJ has to get up at 4 a.m. I got up with EJ yesterday, and rode to work with him and then drove the Sub home with the goal of taking JJ to school later. EJ had explained to me how to put the Sub in 4-wheel-drive to get it up the driveway, but on the way to his work a light came on saying “Service 4wd” and when I got to the driveway, I couldn’t get the 4wd to engage. I got stuck in the driveway; the Sub slid and blocked the whole driveway. My stress level–already high–went even higher because I am inexperienced at getting vehicles unstuck, and if I couldn’t get it unstuck, I wouldn’t be able to pick up EJ from work later in the day. (I considered calling a taxi for him if necessary.) Neither would I be able to get JJ to school or work. I felt like crying.
It was still early and the sun hadn’t yet risen so it was very dark. I trudged up the driveway and waited until dawn. I woke JJ up and told him he needed to help me get the Sub unstuck. While he got dressed, I grabbed a shovel and went back down the hill to the Sub. I started the Sub and this time the 4wd engaged, but the tires spun and went nowhere. I went back up the hill and grabbed the kitty litter (I put it on a sled and sledded down the hill with it 🙂 ) and sprinkled some kitty litter in front of the tires for traction. JJ got into the Sub and was able to drive it up the hill.
I was exhausted. I took a nap until it was time to get ready to take JJ to school.
We left at noon. I prayed all the way down the driveway that we wouldn’t get stuck again, and we didn’t. Whew! I successfully dropped JJ off at the college. JJ’s class was about 2 hours long so it wasn’t worth driving all the way home and back again so I stayed in the city. To pass the time, I stopped at Joann Fabrics and browsed through the store. I recently had gotten an order for 50 bookmarks, so I bought a couple skeins of red crochet cotton. I also bought a couple of bottles of bubble solution for EJ and me. I had read that when it’s cold, the bubbles freeze and I thought it would be fun to try. We need quiet, relaxing fun in our lives. After I had browsed through all the aisles of Joann Fabrics two or three times, I drove to a seed store and bought some suet for the birds and dog food for Danny. I still had time to kill, so I stopped at a grocery store and wandered through it. Then I drove back to the college, picked up JJ, and took him to work, which was a few miles down the road.
Then it was time to pick up EJ. I found my way to his company with no problem. I just look for the “Sith” sign. Actually, the sign is his company’s initials, which is nothing like the word “Sith,” but the font makes it look as if it says “Sith” so I tell EJ that he is now working for the Siths.
We went out to eat at our favorite restaurant. Then we went to Goodwill…just because. Then we went to the auto parts store across the street and bought tail light tape for the Buggy. It will do until we can order an actual tail light replacement. Then we drove across the city to Lowes to exchange an item that was the wrong size. Then it was time to pick up JJ from work.
We got home about 9 p.m. As we drove up the driveway, I felt incredibly stressed and anxious that we’d get stuck again. That driveway is both a blessing and a curse, a pleasure and a pain. I love that it winds around and hides us from the road, and I love sledding down it. I dislike that it caused us so much work and money last summer and that it’s treacherous to drive up in the winter.
EJ had been up since 4 a.m., but he took the time to show JJ how to tape the tail light. Meanwhile, I took our day’s purchases into the house and took Danny outside. I was so relieved to finally get to bed.
I have my phone alarm set for 4 a.m. as a backup to EJ’s phone alarm. Usually his phone is set to vibrate and I don’t want him to not hear it and be late to work. I confess that when my alarm sounded this morning, I turned it off and snuggled back into bed. But then Danny told me that he needed to go outside so I got out of bed and took him out. I made EJ’s breakfast to eat now and lunch to eat later and said goodbye to him before heading back to bed.
Today I am staying home. Going nowhere. I am cleaning, and doing some laundry, and making homemade bread. Later, I will start working on the bookmark order. It’s a custom order, so I might have to adapt a pattern or make up my own.
February has been awful. February has totally stressed me out. I am ready for February to be over with. Sadly, we still have twelve days left in this month. I’m not sure I will survive February.