Monday, May 16, 2011

Treading Water

All weekend we promised the kids that we would take them swimming in the hotel pool. Since it wasn't really a vacation, we had other errands to run during the day and it wasn't until late on Saturday afternoon that we had time to swim. Then the skies darkened. The rain fell and the lightening flashed. The kids were devastated. Fortunately, we do live in Utah and within an hour, the storm passed and the sun came out.

For a myriad of reasons, my children don't have many opportunities to swim. But they love the water. Thomas, especially, took right to it and swam like a little dolphin. At one point, he kicked off the side of the pool intending to swim to his dad, whose attention was occupied elsewhere. Finding himself in the deep water, Thomas panicked. Utah Dad grabbed him quickly and he was in little danger.

Later, after we had dried off and changed for dinner, I asked Thomas what he thought about swimming. He answered:

"It was so much fun until I drowned."

His comment perfectly sums up my life right now. Since Easter weekend, we have had non-stop fun: Amberly's baptism, house guests, Hope of America, field trips, barbecues, family celebrations (my brother finally graduated from USU. Woohoo!), church activities, girls' nights, book sales, newspaper interviews, movie nights, Mother's Day, prepping of the garden and more. We've stayed up late so many nights.

While we've been having a great time, I've also felt like I've been treading water most of the time. It didn't help that I forgot to take my thyroid medication for over a week. Besides the symptoms of a sluggish thyroid, I've been excessively emotional. A conversation about my mother going back to school when I was young caused me to tear up. Even thinking about my dear friend moving from our neighborhood makes me cry. I was wiping tears away during the fifth grade's patriotic performance at Hope of America. Listening to my babies sing on Mother's Day had me weeping with gratitude. A thoughtful note from a "secret friend" evoked more tears.

Then . . . last Wednesday morning I noticed a wet spot on the carpet in the family room. I assumed someone had spilled water. In the afternoon, I wondered why that spot was still wet. Then, as I was putting the kids to bed, I noticed that the towel that blocks the door of the water heater/water softener closet (which is upstairs because I don't have a basement in my house) was sopping wet. I threw the towel in the bathtub and did a quick inspection in the closet. It didn't appear to be too wet and I couldn't tell where the water was coming from. An hour later, Utah Dad got home from the grocery store and turned on the light in the family room. There was a funny popping noise and he realized that the ceiling light was full of water. In fact, the ceiling in the family room was bulging from the water damage.

We quickly moved the couch to save it in case the ceiling caved in and made a call to our Home Owner's Insurance. Together, we determined that the water had leaked from the water softener, which we turned off.

Thursday afternoon, the guys from Service Masters showed up to assess the damage. The crews arrived later and suggested that the children not be in the house with the equipment. I made a reservation at the Hyatt Summerfield Suites (only place big enough to adequately accommodate the entire family) and hastily threw together a suitcase. While the kids and I were grabbing dinner and checking into the hotel, Utah Dad stayed at home with the clean-up crew. They pulled out the carpet and the baseboards in the loft and the kids' bedrooms. The carpet pads were tossed in the garbage. They also cut a large part of the ceiling out of the family room. Then they turned on the fans and the dehumidifiers. Utah Dad joined us at the hotel later when they were finished.

Friday morning, Utah Dad returned home to take the kids to school and let the guys back in the house. He worked all day in his closed-off office during the day while the temperature in our house rose into the nineties. After trying to entertain the little kids all morning, I came back in time to pick up the kids from school, move along the laundry which I had unfortunately neglected earlier in the week, and pack a better suitcase. The weather had finally turned warm and I had to search through the containers of summer clothes for swimming suits, shorts and T-shirts.

We stayed at the hotel Friday and Saturday nights too. While the rooms were really quite nice, having five kids in the same bedroom makes it rather hard for them to go to sleep. Utah Dad had to return home every day to allow the workers to get in the house and to feed the dog. Finally on Sunday morning, they let us know that the house was now dry enough and they could remove the fans and dehumidifiers and we could all return home.

The kids and I got home just after eleven am on Sunday morning. Ambitiously, I thought that we could all go to church at one. Then Molly threw up and Utah Dad volunteered to stay home with her. After all, I had to teach my Primary class and Lilly was supposed to give a talk in Primary opening exercises. The other kids and I got dressed and headed to church.

We sat on our usual row. My kids all rushed to sit next to me or on me. The battles ensued. I'm not sure why they suddenly want to sit so near me. It's not as if I've been very nice lately. My friends in the row ahead of me turned to inquire about the house. I gave them the update while I wrestled with children and my eyes filled with tears. And it was so hot! Suddenly, I'm sweating, crying and my kids are still fighting. The opening hymn started and I knew I couldn't stay. I grabbed all four and pushed them rather clumsily out of the pew, down the aisle and out the door of the chapel.

All the way to the car, Lilly cried, "but I have to give my talk." The other kids were scared. They knew that they were in deep, deep trouble. When we got home, Molly was already napping. The other kids immediately joined her with severe warnings that they would lose dinner if they got out of bed. Utah Dad dressed (because I was not going back) and took Lilly back to Primary so that she could give her talk. He claims that he whispered one thing in her ear and another mostly indecipherable thing came out. But she was thrilled to give her first talk.

I do love my ward. It is full of really fabulous people. I got a hug from a friend on my way out of the building; a phone call from another friend (who covered for me in Primary) after church and a plate of delicious banana muffins and a visit from my neighbor.

It's not as if my problems are really that big. In perspective, they're fairly minor. We've moved most of the furniture out of the kitchen and back to the family room. I've been washing, drying and folding laundry all morning and I feel much better after sleeping in my own bed.

Just like Thomas, I didn't really drown. And I'm ready to start swimming again.


Mom of 12 said...

Wow! And I thought we had a rough couple of weeks...My daughter also graduated from UVU and we had a party for her and a birthday for my SIL and pack meeting and Mother's Day and interview and programs and concerts and teacher appreciation day...all the same kind of stuff as you without the crashing ceiling and the hotel stay. And you even got to the laundry. I'd say you're holding up pretty well!

Shilo said...

I'm so glad to hear what happened on Sunday, I saw you walk out and could tell something was up.
I had a similar time on Sunday later on in the meeting, so much so that I stormed out with my 4 kids about 10 minutes before the meeting was over only to discover my keys were missing...
Must've just been the day.
Sorry about all the stuff with your house as well. I've been thinking about you!

Author Mella Reese said...

Oh wow! You are more woman than me to even ATTEMPT church! Glad things have finally settled down. Whew!

Unknown said...

Thinking of you .... sorry for the hard time.

Stacey said...

Hotels are not fun with that many kids! And sometimes it's better to take a nap than to attend church! I'm sorry you've had a rough couple of weeks. Hopefully things are looking up! Hugs!