Kitchen, Seasonal, Everday Stress is getting to me!

caflowerluverDecember 13, 2006

How about you? How are others dealing with all the stress of the kitchen remodel with the seasonal stress of the holidays, whatever you celebrate? We have finished the kitchen and now comes the stress of putting it all back together. I know I am stressing over nothing, but because it looks so nice I want everything perfect. That is paralyzing.

And I was up late last night wrapping presents I just bought to send back to the Midwest and East Coast. I am usually a little more on top of things and get them done sooner but again blame it on the kitchen. And was last minute online ordering things for DH and DS because they finally told me what they wanted and hope it gets here on time.

I am so not into Christmas this year. Too burned out from the kitchen remodel and all the problems and hassles. We didn't put up a Christmas tree this year for the first time but got a small 3-foot lighted one with ornaments already attached to put on the coffee table. And I am not decorating the house like I usually do. I have too much other work to do.

And everyday stress. I am up at 2:30AM typing this because my dog got sick in bed with me. (The full story is on the Pet Forum) So had to change the sheets and wash everything. She can't help it; I think it is all the medicine she is on. It has been a very stressful couple of weeks with every time I take her to the vet they find something new wrong with her.

And talk about stress! I have spent more in the last 2 weeks on her then I ever did on my last two dogs in vet bills. And that is added stress between DH and me. Everyone has different opinions on how much you should spend on a pet and how far you should go (that would be the subject of another post). But add these bills on top of kitchen remodel bills and Christmas bills. Well, you get the picture.

At least my DH didn't have to put up with her throwing up on him. Heres a little secret - because of a very long commute, over 2 hours each way, he has a place by work during the week and comes home weekends. He just started doing that a little over 2 years ago when the commute got so bad and also at 55 his knees and back couldnÂt take it anymore. But that adds its own stress, if anyone who has been in this situation knows.

Then there is the 24/7 stress of my 22-year-old son. He has Autism, OCD and several physical problems. It is something I am use to dealing with for the most part but when you start piling up the stress of everything else, I begin to crack. Then I am not the best I could be. And for a year he has been going in for tests to find out what is wrong with him lately. He has lost 70 lbs for no reason that they can figure out. He is eating normally and just sits in his room so not due to physical exercise. They have done everything in the book but can't find out what is wrong. Where is DR. House when you need him?

And I just turned 55 (mid-life crisis?) and have been looking over my life a lot lately. This is isnÂt where I expected to be. I got a Masters degree at 28 and thought I would be a hotshot career woman by now, maybe thinking of an early retirement at this age. I gave up my career to take care of my son. No regrets really, but just wonder about the path not taken.

Sorry for the long post. I guess this is what happens when you are wide-awake at 2:30AM. In regards to all of the stress mentioned above, I always think of what my mom use to say, "This too shall pass." I know by this age that these things will somehow resolve themselves one way or another. It is just H**L when you are going through them.

Thanks for listening.


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I don't know where to start, my heart goes out to you. My life is so different from yours. Maybe we should trade lives for a week. I live alone, no family except my sister who lives out of town. I don't have gifts to buy or decorations to put up. I don't have the "family" stress you have. My stress comes from the fear of being old and alone.
Except, this post is not about me, I just wanted to say that we all have different lives and you can be entirely alone and feel stress.
I know about your poor dog and feel so bad for you. I also am aware of your sons health issues. I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all of your problems disappear.
You need to do something to try and bring the stress down. I know this advice sounds cliche, exercise, a bubble bath, lunch with a friend, some of the small things you do for yourself.
You are a good, kind person, I know that from reading your posts. I remember all the problems you had with your granite and know your new granite is beautiful. Don't try and do everything at Christmas that you feel is expected of you. Do what you feel happy doing.
I know all about mid-life regrets. I don't think that very many of our lives turn out the way we planned. We all have dreams as young women and they usually don't happen as we wished they would.
I traveled to Arizona to meet with a well known woman a few years ago. She is a Medical Intuitive similar to Caroline Myss. She told me that my time to really come into myself would be in my sixties. She told me that I would go back to school and get my PHD in "Natural Health". She said that I would write books and lecture.
My point is, 55 is not the end of the road. Most women live well into their 80's. Clare, thats 25 years!!! Instead of looking at lost dreams, look to the future. What are you passionate about. I think the 60's will be the best years ever!! Look on my topic about favorite books. Get the book I recommended called "Younger by the Day". It will make you feel better.
Please take care and remember to "breath".

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 8:56AM
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Donna - Thank you for all your kind words and advice. I will look into that book you recommended. I know that 55 isn't the end, my mom is 88 and still going strong. I think our fifties can be a tough time because we are going through lots of changes before things settle down.

Right now I feel like a bottle of soda pop that has been shaken up too much. I do need a breather.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 9:47AM
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Clare dear - my prayers and thoughts are with you and your family. The soda pop analogy is a good one and appropos - I know exactly how you feel.

My DW is in her death spiral and as you say - the stress from the kitchen redo and holidays aren't helping. Our teenagers are trying to help as best they can but watching their mother die is truely a horrible experience that even I haven't had to experience yet.

I tell you this not to get us off track rather to let you know you aren't alone with either your experiences or feelings. I wholeheartedly agree that Donna's ideas and thoughts are good ones and I want to add just one additional thought. Don't neglect yourself in order to do all that you 'should' do. Your dog and your son need you to remain healthy for all the obvious reasons. So, make sure you eat, sleep and exercise healthally (not a word, I know).

Also, find some activity to blow off some of the excess carbonation in your personal pop bottle. You may find you'll have more energy and a bit brighter outlook. I'm sure you have no 'extra' time at all with your responsibilies but if you can carve out 15 minutes two or three times a week just for you, it may be enough.

Here's a tip - In survival training one of the most important things they tell you is to keep in mind "One more day". That is, when death is within reach, just hang on for one more day 'cause tomorrow will most likely be better. I try to remember that when the dirty wash is piled up to my knees in the laundry room, the boys are hollering at me because I don't have lunches packed yet and the bus is only 5 minutes away, Momma needs me and I have to get to work in 20 minutes but I haven't shaved yet. Dear Lord, One more day.

I guess none of us pictured ourselves where we are today when we were younger. Probably just as well, huh? Middle age isn't for sissies!

Hang in there and don't succumb to the tyranny of "I should. . . because it's Christmas". Ignore the stuff that is not truely important.

Best wishes. Doc

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 11:39AM
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I guess I'm not the only one feeling the stress.

Last year on Thanksgiving my mother had some seizures and it was the beginning of a hard year with her. I had to move her into a board and care facility because of dementia and she is angry about it. Blames me. We had no tree last year and barely knew it was Christmas.

This year we started the remodel on June 1. GC said 3 months. I figured 4 -5. Here we are on Dec. 13 and I have 2 electricians, 3 painters here and expecting the contractor. Tomorrow we leave on a trip (from CA) with our 3 grown daughters and their husbands for a long weekend in New York City. I'm looking forward to that. While we are gone, the flooring people are coming in to do one final sanding and put the last coat on the floor. We have scheduled our furniture to be delivered on Tuesday, Dec. 19.

You count the days, I have that many days to unpack everything and be ready for my 4 children, spouses and 14 grandchildren for Christmas. Do you think it can be done? I'm just blocking it out of my head, or trying to...

Aptosco, I too have a disabled family member, our 6 year old grandson. His parents (our daughter and husband) have an appointment on Dec. 22 and "think" they might get a diagnosis for Oliver that day... After every test that they can do, they may diagnosis him with Angelman Syndrome with a clinical diagnos.. Everything comes up negative..

Clare, I understand about your pet. I love my dog.

Donna, we do all have such different lives and our stress comes from all directions. I think we all fear being alone as we get older.

Age wise, I have you all beat and I'm hating it! I'm 63, can you believe I'm admitting it! Seems that at age 60 everything went downhill..

My husband tells me to be thankful for all we have and if the holidays pass without us, so be it. It's family and friends that count, not the house or gifts. Just put the music on, sit back with a cup of tea, and remember the meaning of Christmas.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 11:50AM
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I hear you Clare - You have an awful lot on your plate, and I imagine you're not seeing an end in sight...

The only thing I can suggest is to make a giant To Do list -- then simply cross off a bunch of stuff that you consciously decide not to do. Things like Christmas cookies, sending out cards, exterior lighting, presents for cousins or others you don't see often. There's just something about 'officially' deciding NOT to do something that's very liberating -- that moves it out of the 'guilt' pile and into the 'done' pile.

Is your son able to tell you much about his physical issues? People with autism vary so much in their communication abilities that you never 'really' know. (One night, my son told me he had stubbed his toe when in fact, he had broken his ankle... The looks I got from the ER docs the next day weren't exactly sympathetic.) Anyway -- I'm assuming you've fully explored possible GF/CF issues as a cause?

And I hear you on the life-stage/career/identity issue -- But what could you do? None of us plans to have a child with a disability - certainly not with a disability that takes so much from us. (Yes, it gives back, too; but it takes plenty.) Does your son still live with you? And if so, do you see that changing any time soon? Because if your son has a good independent living arrangement, you CAN take another run at the whole career thing. It could be just the kind of change that gets your mojo going again.

Basically - I just wanted to urge you to give yourself permission to be human and fallible, especially this time of year when hopes of miracles abound and expectations soar. It's the good feelings and love that really matter, and those don't cost a thing -- even time.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 12:02PM
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You said "Seems that at age 60 everything went downhill".
Please don't say that!!! My thirties and forties were difficult. I went through ten years of taking care of my mother with Alzheimers, and a divorce. I am looking forward to my fifties and sixties being a new awakening. I know my body is broken but I still have hope for my spirit.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 12:07PM
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doc8404 - My heart goes out to you. I am so sorry to hear about your DW. My situation is nothing compared to yours. Thank you for giving me the perspective I needed. As my mom would say, "When you start to pity yourself, look around and you will find someone that is a lot worse off then you."

"One more day", I know what you mean. That is how I have dealt with the trials and tribulations of my son's Autism for 22 years. I keep hoping some day they will find a way to help all these kids.

My best wishes to you. I know there is nothing I can really say that will help, but it sounds like you got a good head on your shoulders and will be ok.

sharb - I am also so sorry to hear about your mom. I fear the day when I will have to deal with a similar situation. As I said before, my mom is 88 and still independent but that can change at any time. And good luck with your grandson, I hope they find out what is wrong so they can help him. Even when there is nothing the medical profession can do, it is better to know what is wrong then to be constantly in the dark.

And I know how you feel about your remodel. I have gone through all kinds of H**L with mine. It was Murphy's Law, what could go wrong did - every time. I can't believe we are finally finished. I am afraid to touch anything. A remodel that was suppose to take 3 or 4 months has gone on for over 7!

Enjoy your long weekend in New York City. I told my DH we need to get away and have some fun, once all the dust has settled. Sometimes you just need to get away, to appreciate what you got when you get back.

Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. It helps to put things in their proper place and for all of us to realize we are not the only ones with problems. Just posting here was a great stress reducer. Sometimes all you need is to get it off your chest.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 12:23PM
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sweeby - I made that list and said the h**l with a lot of it, like the Christmas tree.
And yes, we have done the tests on my son from one end to the other if you get my meaning. He has so many things wrong with him, like Marfan Syndrome, that it could be connected to one of those. He still lives with us and probably always will. He just doesn't have the skills to even live in a group home.
And I am trying to get more into the spirit of the season and forget all the little petty things. I need to watch some old fashion Christmas movies. They always put me in the spirit.
Thanks for all your advice and suggestions.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 3:25PM
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Clare, I just wanted to chime in and tell you I'm thinking about you and hope you find your equilibrium soon! You are dealing with a tremendous number of stressful things at once, and the holidays certainly can add another element. You've gotten great advice and I haven't much to add except that I've learned something interesting this week. I have to have a kidney stone removed tomorrow and have been battling some raging pain episodes in the meantime. However, it has had the surprising effect of freeing me up from a lot of other things that were causing me stress. It's like I have an excuse now not to drive myself into the ground trying to get everything done in my usual way. Isn't that dumb? I mean, why do I feel I need surgery to relax?? It has taught me to let go of a lot of things on my self-made "have to do" list. Maybe I'll pretend I have a stone whenever I feel overwhelmed :)

doc, I'm so very sorry about your wife. You sound like such a lovely person and I ache for you and your family in this time.

sharb, I'm sorry about your mother. I can only imagine how awful that must be.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 6:33PM
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seekingadvice - Good luck with your kidney stone removal. I know what you mean by pain. I had gall stones about 10 years ago. I remember the first time it hit, I thought I was having a heart attack and my DH drove me to the emergency room in the middle of the night. I was leaving for a trip to the British Isles the next week and it couldn't be postponed. It wasn't much fun with all the stone attacks even with heavy duty pain pills. I couldn't wait to get it removed and they did the 'bandaid' surgery, 4 little scars, when I got back. I haven't missed it all. I hope it works out as well for you.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 9:37PM
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aptosca- thanks so much for sharing you story with us. It is so good to know that your not the only one feeling overwelmed by the season.

I know how long those nights are when things aren't going well and you are awake at 2:30, but you have so much on your plate during the day that those times might be the only chance you have to be 'alone'.

I've been feeling really sorry for myself the past week. After a really bad year at work dh was offered a job in another state which sounded like a dream. Everything checked out so off he went, leaving me to sell our house, cope with 4 dogs who were obviously depressed with dad gone and find a new house 2200 miles away. Only way I could do any of this was to quit my job. Well, after 3 weeks of the new job, earnest money on a new house, deposit on the new pool, offer on old house, plane tickets back and forth, his corporate office came in and fired all of the management team in his location, including dh. Not good. So now I'm undoing it all, including trying to figure out how I get a new job at 55.

Of course, then my daughter comes over with her 6 year old who has a severe case of fragile X syndrome and autism, and I look at her in amazement. She is also moving, her husband took a job 2 hours away 3 months ago. She is still here with the 3 kids and trying to keep a house looking "show worthy". She shows the love and patience that only parents of kids with disabilties seem to have.

Aptosa, you have all of my admiration for the love and devotion you obviously have for your son. 22 years is a long time, and I know how tired you must be at times, but you keep doing what you do because you wouldn't have it any other way. Please realize that you are one special person to be able to balance all that is going on in your life and still be sane, never mind keeping your sense of humor. Forget perfection in the kitchen and just make it a warm and loving place to make family memories. That is what will make it perfect.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2006 at 10:39PM
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tuscanlover - Thanks for the kind words. I wish your daughter the best with her 6 year old. They are learning so much today about Autism and how to work with it in the schools. It is so much better now then it was when my son was a student and they didn't know what the heck was wrong with him. And the general public is more aware and less likely to stare or make rude comments like they use to (though some people will never learn).

I am sorry to hear about your move and the loss of your and DH's job, house and all. That is really tough to face at 55. My dad went through a similar thing when he was in his late 40's. In 1961 he was transferred by his company from Mass. to Illinois. He moved the whole family, bought a new house and less then a year later they closed that division. It was a very tough time for everyone. My mom missed her family terribly and we almost moved back to Mass. But then my dad changed careers completely and became a stock broker and made more money then he ever would have at his old job. He left my mother very well off when he died in 1987. And she still is very well taken care of by what he left behind. So when I see the grey clouds, I try to find the silver lining.

As to whether I am still sane or not, my DH might debate you on that fact. ;>)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2006 at 8:52PM
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My face dropped as I read each new section of your post. How about a hug for starters. (Maybe for finishers, too - I don't want to sound glib.)

Lotsa good advice here. So you won't feel like Christmas has passed you by - choose 1 spiritual seasonally related activity and 1 "holly-jolly" that is do-able. (And leave some stuff in boxes and just stick them in corners for now.) If you need your work crew to back off a little - tell the GC in advance that it would help for you to have a day or 2 to deal with things.

Now I am going to pray for the following:

1) God's inner strengthening and peace for you.
2) Time for yourself.
3) A break-through for your son in some area to come soon.
4) A tea-corner with a working outlet for you.
5) that DH can find a new position closer to home and less stress there.
6) that God will superintend the dog situation.

I hope everyone else whose paths have crossed this and the other posts here will take some time to lift them up as well. That's part of the reason for the season.

God's Blessings & Hope, aptosca!

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 9:04AM
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What a wonderful conversatin. I am so glad donna "found" this and passed it along to the rest of us that didn't know it existed.

It is always harder at holiday time as we have all the media telling us how others are doing it "right". Nothing like having them be right and all of us be wrong. It leaves many of us feeling like we are on the margins of life , having some how missed out on what we should have been able to take advantage of.

I have always been the type to look back and have huge regrets over things I didn't do and things I did wrong. I have made so many mistakes with family and friends. I have also done tons of things right. Being able to get out of the shadows is the hardest part. I have a great deal of trouble living in the moment.
Two of my brothers were suicides. One was 25 yrs ago and the other will be 10 years in February. It is not possible to really go on as there is no closure . You think about the last time you talked to them and what you didn't say and also ask over and over "why didn't I know ?". I am going to stop now...too much for this beautiful sunny morming. Thank you all for being here. Caroline

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 10:03AM
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Thanks for the "upper" (boy, does that date me). What I was trying to do, and which ended up in a sob story, was thank you for letting the rest of us know that our problems just aren't as big as they sometimes appear to be. We all have something in our lives to be thankful for and that this is the time of year to remember that.

Trailrunner, I am so sorry for your losses. I don't know of anything anyone can say to take away any of your pain, but I hope that having this forum helps in some way.

I second jubileej's everyone.


    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 11:59AM
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jubileej - Thank you for all your wonderful thoughts and prayers and the hugs. I have said this prayer since my son was very young and it always helps me get through the tough spots in life.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

In life we have things we have no control over, and as I get older I have realized that and have learned to accept it. But it doesn't mean I don't still pray and hope for the best.

trailrunner - I am so sorry to hear about your losses. Nothing I can say can ease the pain. Though I do wish you peace.

tuscanlover - "We all have something in our lives to be thankful for and that this is the time of year to remember that." You are so right and I will try to concentrate more on the positive then the negative.

Thanks again everyone for just being there to listen. Sometimes that is all we need.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 5:05PM
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I am so sorry about your brothers. It must be very hard to remember that time in your life. This time of year is especially hard to be working as a flight attendant. I usually work on or close to Christmas. I watch all of the passengers flying home to loved ones with their beautiful packages and feel so left out. (This year I am gratiously invited to a friends home). Reading your post helps me to put things in better perspective. I guess we all have sadness in our lives. Now we have each other to cheer us up and give us emotional support.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2006 at 6:05PM
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Clare, I love that prayer! I can hear my mother's courageous voice saying it to me.

Caroline - what you said really resonates - it is so hard not to go over and over these things, just willing that we could time travel back and change the outcomes. I tend to blame negative outcomes in our family on myself - from the trivial to the most substantial things. Like - if I could just "do it all", "do it better", "do it like (fill in your own blank)so-and-so does, then I could keep it from happening, but I doubt that that is the case.

Death feels so permanent, but the Bible tells us there is life beyond death. I feel that probably your brothers' melancholy was a very inward thing that no family member's words could have altered. It must hurt so much for you.

Yeah, Donna, it's true - let's continue to be those listening ears for each other, and get us thru the holidays. It does help.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 11:10PM
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Oh many difficult situations and really heartbreaking personal stories here. I feel for each and every one of them.

I, too, have been through (and still have) difficult issues and situations. One thing that always helps me is to remember that I can still smile. I can still laugh. Anytime I want to. And that I will, even in the midst of anything life throws at me. Hanging on to that knowledge has helped me cope just a bit better than when I thought I would never be able to smile or laugh again. Somehow it made me feel like I was still normal, even in incredibly abnormal, inexplicable, overwhelming circumstances. Maybe it gave me a sense of control, I don't know. But just knowing that I could smile or laugh if I wanted to seems to take the edge off when I need to.

    Bookmark   December 16, 2006 at 11:40PM
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evaperconti - Good advice. As long as you can laugh, it can't be that bad.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 8:56PM
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The Serenity prayer always has had special meaning in our famliy as does "easy does it " and "one day at a time"...those of you who are aware of the AA attachment to these will understand.

Thank you for all the comfort offered. it is indeed special to belong to this group. There is comfort in words even from a distance, from strangers. It is a small world we live in but the similarities are great.

It is true that laughter does help...I have many times stopped on the trail in the woods while running with my best friend and sobbed and laughed to be there at that moment in time of bliss. I wished that my brothers had not said "whoa in a mud hole". If you can only make it a few more minutes and then a few more has a way of changing , not always for the better but at least changing so that copimg for another hour can sometimes make all the difference. Thank you all for your support. It is truly appreciated. Caroline

    Bookmark   December 17, 2006 at 10:43PM
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