We survived another August. Barely. The aftershocks are lingering, keeping us from our rest, but at least the outside temperature has dropped 10 degrees. Sure, it’s only dropped from 102 to 92 degrees, but you have to appreciate the small stuff or scream, right? Right? Excuse me, I have to press a pillow over my face for a moment…
I wrote a previous blog, The Ides of August, about the trials that strike my family during the infamous month. This year is up for top awards in the “I’m really tired of this…” category. My sister came down with her second round of ovarian cancer. It’s been very painful for her, expensive, frustrating, and exhausting for her and me both. She had surgery in May to remove the cancer they could find, then began chemotherapy. It didn’t go well. She has had strong reactions to the drugs.
But because August has to show up the rest of the calendar, the first of the month found her back in the hospital having major abdominal surgery AGAIN. The rest of the month has had her in wound care and physical therapy, and me playing nurse, chauffeur, cook, housemaid, and donkey since she was ordered not to carry anything. She still has all the usual ‘fun’ of cancer like uncooperative taste buds, neuropathy, weakness, exhaustion, and exorbitant medical bills.
Experience has caused our family to adopt a policy of never leaving members in the hospital alone. I was staying with her but had to run home for a day to pay bills and wash clothes. As anybody who has been there knows, you don’t get much sleep in a hospital. The hospital they put her in was almost four hours away, so I was even more exhausted by the time I got home. I was going to spend one night at home, so I was rushing to get laundry done and paying as many bills online as possible.
Of course, I made a mistake. It just had to be on the biggest payment – our mortgage. I completely forgot I had just the month before set it up for automatic payments. Yep, I paid it twice. And I didn’t notice, until a week later when the overdraft fees and chiding alerts began arriving on my account. I live on a fixed income and a very tight budget. My sister’s bout with cancer left her unable to work and with no money to add to the family budget. I immediately contacted the mortgage company and they said, hey, no problem, send us a bank statement showing both the payments and we’ll send one of the payments back.
You guessed it. It is now September, and I just spent a very frustrating call with the company. Frustrating first because the static on the line was so bad, I asked him to send me an email because I couldn’t understand a word he was saying. Second, because, duh, I still don’t have my money so I am going to be short this month but they said my account shows the money was supposed to be sent to me August 25. Then where is it??? Third, they took my September payment, but NOT ALL OF IT. Why? They are researching. Gah.
My sister had her chemo drugs changed, and it helped, and her surgery is healing well. But she still can’t work, she’s still in pain, and she still is pretty shaky on her feet. Then our oven stopped working. Then the hot water heater blew a gasket (actually, literally…). Luckily (?) I noticed before it flooded the kitchen. (Forty gallons of hot water? Eesh. Welcome to the jungle…) So no hot showers, no dishwasher use, and no baking until we get these appliances replaced. Repair is no use, we were told. Of course not.
We deal. Life goes on, and we have endured worse. I have a teakettle to heat water. The air conditioner is working, the cold water still runs, and my sister lives. We have a home. We have a car. We have food to eat. We have family and we have friends. My sister gets cheered by Skype calls from the newest member of the family born in May, and his grandmother, our sister. Later this month an even newer member will arrive from our sister’s other daughter, who has triumphed with a second child after five miscarriages.
People shake their heads and ask how I can laugh about our travails. Oh, I keep the screaming for my bedroom. I hate watching people grab their ears. But, mostly, it’s because God gave me a sense of humor to endure such frustration and constant tripping over life’s rocks. What’s the point of being given a useful gift if you never get to use it? Heh. Careful what you ask for, trust me. If He gives you something, you’ll usually get lots of opportunities to use it.
I noticed my year has been so chaotic I haven’t blogged for a while. Sorry. I need to write up a bunch during the odd moments I’m not dashing around doing and can actually sit and think so I can schedule them for publication. I have been on Twitter meeting other writers and some admittedly odd characters, but it’s been fun. If you’re actually interested, my Twitter handle is @ghostwriter4God.
I have also contributed a story titled Sweet Talking Man to a sweet romance anthology called Cool Weather, Warm Hearts. It will be released in Ebook form October 30 but is available for pre-order now. The proceeds will go to two charities, The Magical Moon Foundation which helps sick children and their families and The Wounded Warrior Project which helps our Vets! For those of you as ignorant as I had been about terminology, ‘sweet’ romances mean no sex. I would assume it also means no vulgarities of speech or actions. I don’t write that sort of thing, so I didn’t have to censor myself.
I hope your year is going better.