When the House Falls Apart, You Find you Need Surgery… And There’s Lots to Juggle!

So, a couple days ago I wrote a blog post about how are homeschool routine is working out this year.  It’s going pretty well and I love being back into a routine.  But as for life in general, it’s sometimes hard to juggle everything.  Preparing and time with the kids homeschooling takes up a good chunk of my day, as you can imagine. Plus, writing also takes time.  But there is more to life than the homeschooling piece.

I’m reading this terrific book and it said that “the more elements make up your identity, the less threatening it is when any one element is threatened.”  Sometimes I feel like I have a lot of irons in the fire, lots of balls in the air, or lots of plates spinning… or maybe all three of those at once!  I’m not sure what to talk about in what order… so I’m just going to ramble on in no special order!

We’ll start with something positive and wonderful! These days, I have a really rich music life. It’s quite different than it used to be.  I used to play the oboe in a woodwind quintet. We played and performed such gorgeous, challenging pieces!  I did that for 10+ years up until LD was almost 7 and we moved from Australia to the US.  Now my music has shifted to more folky stuff. I’ve been playing the guitar and dulcimer semi-regularly and sing some really awesome music in a community choir.  Last year we sung pieces from India, South Africa, Hawaii and Japan… many of those in foreign languages.  It’s been challenging and fun in a completely different way!! Music rehearsals are honestly a joy to juggle and fit in.

I’ve also spent a lot of time and energy the past four or five months organizing and decluttering the house.  Everyone knows what THAT means! Would you believe, last week we put out TWELVE huge garbage bags full of clothes, linens, books and more!  A lot of stuff was things that had been in storage for more than a decade that we’re just now dealing with and tossing out/donating.  (While I lived overseas my Mom died and her father, my Grandpa, died after her. I had a lot of stuff that was just shipped straight to storage for me to deal with “later” when we moved back to the US. Um… well later seems to have finally arrived!)  With all my organizing and cleaning, I’ve been really enjoying a new podcast called “A Slob Comes Clean.”  She has been sharing her struggles to keep her house under control. Nothing like shoveling through your own drawers and piles while listening to someone else who is doing the same! I’ve enjoyed the first few episodes and recommend it if you like listening to podcasts and want to hear about someone else’s struggles to stay on top of the clutter and mess. I also often listen to the  Simple Mom Podcasts as I’m folding laundry and tackling stuff around the house.

I’ve had some minor health issues to deal with.  If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know that I have had ear problems since I was about five. I have had chronic ear infections. As a child I had eight ear surgeries to try and tackle the problems. Some operations were minor; some were pretty major.  I still suffered from ear infections after college. I remember one time when I was teaching at a boarding school, I had an incredible ear infection. I ran across campus holding my ear and crying, trying to get a friend/fellow teacher to take me to the ER.  The pain was incredible. Right there in the middle of campus I felt my eardrum burst and stuff came flying out of my ear. (Yuck, right?!) At that point the pain subsided a bit, though I still went to the hospital to get some antibiotics right then and there.  Then there was my three-month ear infection in the Peace Corps — which led to a dramatic medi-vac out of Hungary straight to a MRI in Philadelphia because they were worried the infection had gone into the lining of my brain. All ended well (after a couple months) in that case as well.

Once I moved to the dry, desert climates of Colorado and Central Australia, I had virtually no problems for 15 years. But moving back to the east coast… they’re back… !!  Well, about a year and a half ago I had to have some major surgery on my right ear where they drilled through the bone behind my ear and took out a growth thing behind my eardrum and did some reconstruction of the little bones.  Now it turns out I have to have similar surgery on my left ear in mid-October.  UGH!!!!  So, as you can imagine it’s not been fun with all the pre-surgery appointments — two ear doctors appointments in the past two weeks, a pre-op appointment with my regular doctor, scans, tests… you get the picture.  BUT — it is not a life-threatening bad health issue to deal with and I am not at all incapacitated by my hearing loss (hearing aids solves that problem just fine!!). So, while inconvenient and a bit painful, it’s nothing to be overly worked up about compared to what other people contend with in their lives.

And then  there’s LD’s asthma that seems to have flaired up again.  He spent two days in bed last week — and he was very sick last night (Monday) which I suspect is related to his asthma.  He spent another full day in bed today eating saltines and chicken noodle soup 🙁 But, he seems a bit better.

Weeds, weeds everywhere.  As infuriating as clutter/mess in the house can be… those weeds seem to take over everywhere they can as well.  I spent hours and hours the past couple of weekends pulling vines that had covered the raspberries… and weeds that were TALLER than the blueberry bushes!  I haven’t even begun to look at the strawberry bed.  Yup, anyone with a garden thinks longingly about those weed killers in July/Aug/Sept, right?  I refuse to spray pesticides… but don’t think I long for an easier solution than pulling those things by hand!!

Let’s see, the last thing we’ve been juggling is general house repair. We were trying to stay proactive and get some general inspections done before winter sets in.  We had our roof inspected just to see where we stood (will we need a new roof anytime soon?).  Well… turns out that when they put this roof on years ago they left holes ALL OVER THE ROOF!  Just look at the rot that happened on this one section.  🙁 On the other hand, there appeared to be no water damage inside the roof, the insulation was dry as was the drywall and we saw no evidence of water leakage in the closet there.

Then we had our furnace inspected.

“Whoa, says the repairman.  Did you have trouble last year?”

Me: “No…”

“Ah… well check out this melted heat sensor… and look at all this soot… and this burn mark here on the metal  …You need a new furnace.”

Me: “What??….”


With everything else going on, I get downright proud of myself that I even remember to keep on track of all our library books!! That’s a heavy plate to spin all on its own when I usually have 50+ books out at any given time!

But hey, we’ve also had time to take the kids to some fun stuff… like a pirate cruise and the opening of a local fall festival.  That’s just life, right? Greatly appreciate the good times and stay positive and keep it in perspective when the other stuff happens!



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