Floods, Fires, Broken Old Cars And Clogged Furnaces! The Drudgery Continues…

2018-01-13_summitfireSo far 2018 hasn’t started out very well for me or some of my family, but I’m not complaining because as bad as it’s been, it’s nowhere near what the majority of humanity has to deal with on a daily basis. I am also very well aware of that and always want to be doing more, but I get so bogged down with my own little trials and tribulations, that I am almost useless for anything other than dealing with my own little life.  Even though there have been a lot of bad things happening recently, me and my family ended up okay after it all, so I’m grateful. I was just hoping that after seven years of college, I wouldn’t end up just being a New Jersey housewife, but the way things are going, the drudgery just gets more and more instead of less and I have so little time to do anything else, that it seems hopeless a lot of the time.

As most people do, I made some new year’s resolutions with the best intentions, but those intentions haven’t paned out — no surprise there!   So I will just journal a little bit about what has happened so far, and afterwards, trudge on like I always do and hope for a better day for myself and the rest of humanity.

In my own little world, I began the holiday season with the usual amount of exhaustion and stress, but things quickly escalated until by the week between Christmas and New Year’s I succumbed  to a head cold and slight fever. No big deal for me with all of my other numerous ailments and chronic autoimmune condition. Hey, when you’ve had over 6 surgeries including having some organs removed, a head cold is nothing, but it did make the week miserable.

And so, my mother and father came to visit for Christmas Day and stayed over night. We had a nice day, or at least, they did. I had only my usual 5 hours of sleep, or maybe less that night and was in charge of cooking the turkey dinner. We eat turkey for Christmas and Thanksgiving since my husband is from The United Kingdom originally and has always traditionally eaten turkey for Christmas dinner right after the Queen’s Speech! My dad went home on Boxing Day (for non-Brits) that’s the day after Christmas.  My mother lives nearby in NJ, about 20 minutes away, so I drove her home with

E and K and my mother went inside her apartment while I parked the car. When I walked in they were all in a panic because the kitchen sink was backing up, over the counter and onto the kitchen floor. They were frantically pulling out the garbage pail and recycling bins from under the sink to catch the water and I frantically starting turning off the kitchen taps and getting covered in water at the same time (later I realized that it was all of the upstairs neighbors dirty dish water) and I had just showered and put on clean clothes that morning. A major feat in itself. We had a triage line going from the kitchen to the bathroom tub to collect the kitchen sink water and drain it into the tub. Finally, the sink was almost empty of the murky, brown water and we called the super.  It turns out that the drain to the street was clogged and nobody in that part of the apartment building could use their sinks until the next day when plumbers arrived to clean the drain. We managed to have dinner by using water from the bathroom sink. Thank goodness the water didn’t have to be turned off in the bathroom too!

My mother’s dishwasher was broken from getting water in the electrical components, but the CO-OP that she just moved into in September offered to pay for it to be fixed. So that episode was over, but not a fun thing to happen when you are 76 and just recovering from a very stressful and exhausting move from Brooklyn, NY to  New Jersey after living in NYC for 20 years.

She sold her CO-OP there to buy one here and all of the logistics were quite time-consuming to coordinate, especially when things didn’t go so smoothly. Luckily, my mom is still a “sharp tack” and noticed the discrepancies that would have had her lose out on thousands of dollars by mistake, among other issues that arose during the sale and purchase. I am also grateful that I didn’t have to help her much with all of that. On top of my other responsibilities, I would have totally lost my mind. I just helped her during the week in September when she finally moved in. I’m good with a box cutter and opened about fifty boxes for her to unpack, among other various and sundry chores.

I left E and K with her for a day or so to catch up on other house chores and shopping with my husband Mr. S.  Since the kids hate shopping and make  a tedious miserable chore, even more miserable. We finally planned to take a much needed break and go see the new Star Wars movie, The Last Jedi. but E didn’t want to see it, so we picked up K and left E with grandma for another day. While me, Mr. S and K were at the movies, grandma and E were watching a car catch on fire directly across the street from her apartment! The fire department came and put the fire out, but it was certainly another bit of excitement for the night at my mom’s new place.

After this episode, things seemed like they were going to be okay, but on the day before New Year’s Eve after complaining that she was having trouble sleeping because her wrist was bothering her, she finally was having a sound sleep after using a brace/bandage that helps with carpel tunnel, she was considerate to wait until 9am to call me in the morning to tell me that her doorbell rung at 2am the night before by the super’s son telling her to pack her bags because the apartment building next door was on fire and she might have to evacuate! My poor mom, who just moved, unpacked, settled in,  and  finally getting some much needed rest, was now faced with packing only the few prized possessions that she could fit into two suitcases. Waiting until the morning to find out if she would need to evacuate, she had to call the fire department to find out if she could go back to bed.

I feel terrible for the people that lived in the other building and are now homeless, but grateful that my mother was able to stay in her new apartment, especially after she just moved! I was in a fire about twenty years ago, so I am very familiar with facing the idea of losing all of your prized possessions, but that is a story for another time… It is also good news that nobody was seriously hurt in this particular fire or the one that I lived through.

As an aside, my mother was feeling a bit freaked out by the fact that most of the new people she’s met since moving  all had other tragedies befall them in the last few weeks — a stroke, auto accident and stays in the hospital among other tragedies! Yeeash!

So, I suppose that was really lucky for us, but it just hasn’t been a stellar beginning to a new year. Including a subsequent cold snap of three weeks with subzero temperatures and E & K being home from school for two snow days after winter break. So much for my settling down to work on new songs or continue with my New Year’s resolution to practice guitar every day. Oh, and genius me, I put a light on a pipe in our basement for the kitchen bathroom sink that tends to freeze in winter, because some idiot decided to install the pipes along the outside wall in like 1928’s when our house was built.  I put one of those new energy efficient light bulbs in the lamp and it didn’t give off any heat! Duh. I’m just glad the pipe didn’t burst and said lamp has been refitted with a proper hot bulb!

And in more fun news,  just after the new year,  our steam heat furnace became clogged and I had to call a plumber to come and look at it. It still isn’t fixed and I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will keep working until we can get it cleaned out and repaired in spring.

We also have two cars, one ancient Subaru Forest that will be twenty years old in 2019. We’ve been holding onto it so that we can keep two cars. It comes in handy to have two cars on the weekends when the kids have birthday parties, travel soccer and I’m doing my face painting jobs to make extra money (long story).  The Subaru has been smelling like exhaust fumes so badly that you can’t even drive the car without the windows open and I kept thinking that it would explode at any minute. I told Mr. S. that we should take it in for service, but he didn’t want to spend the money on such an old car, so we were going to wait until the next oil change. I guess it’s luckily that the check engine light finally went on and the car started rocking back and forth violently, so we were forced to take it in for service. I’m so glad it didn’t explode while I was driving it! We decided to have it fixed and sink more $ into it instead of buying another car. It’s weird, but it’s the first car I’ver ever owned and I’m actually a bit emotionally attached to it. Weird, right? I feel better that we didn’t leave it in such a sorry state and gave it a tune-up, new brakes and spark plugs, plus replaced the oil valve that was leaking and fixed the problem that was causing the fuel to go into the oil tank! I know nothing about cars, but it sounds like a recipe for an exploding car and I really didn’t want to go that way, especially with my kids in the car too!

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