Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Snapping, or the week where everything went wrong

Do you ever just snap when too many stressful things have happened too close together?  I had one of those last week.  The horror of the wildfires, the smoke that confined us inside the house, preparing for homeschooling, an argument with Steve... 

So I decided to do something fun and take the boys to a playdate at a friend's and Eva to the library.  On the way to the library, my (brand new) tire blew on a very deserted stretch of Highway 530 into Darrington, with no cell coverage.  So Eva and I left the car and started walking.  Soon, a beat-up pickup truck with a bearded guy and a bulldog stopped, asking if we needed help.  As a lone woman with her little girl, I barked at the man telling him we were okay and friends were on the way.  He was very persistent and kept asking questions, whilst I got more and more defensive with him.  He probably meant no harm and really tried to help, but I don't take any chances.

The next day, while backing out our driveway, my attention was taken up by a light on the control panel of my car, alerting me to low tire pressure (since it was the spare), and the back window was coated with a layer of ash and dust.  I heard a terrible crunching noise.  I had backed into my friend's truck.

She was very, very nice about it and held me while I wept and looked at the damage to our vehicles.  What else could go wrong this week?

That's when we discovered my son's head lice.  The whole family had gone to the Whatcom Skill Share Faire in Bellingham, where I taught a workshop on fermenting foods, and Steve taught a bow making workshop.  While Steve taught, I took the kids downtown for a treat and on a whim decided to get Luke a haircut (which I never do since I cut his hair myself).  The barber discovered the lice and threw us out of his shop.  This has never, ever happened in our family and completely grossed and stressed me out.  

On the way to the pharmacy to buy lice shampoo, my friend called me to tell me that my goats had gotten out of their pen and eaten lots of food.  Goats often die of bloat after eating too much grain, so I frantically called the neighbor to check on the goats.  (It turned out fine - they only had gorged themselves on alfalfa pellets and are fine).

In the dark, we drove back home in the strongest summer windstorm in Washington state's history, knocking out power to almost half a million people and killing two.  At home, we treated the whole family for lice (just in case), stripped all of our bedding and clothes to be washed in hot water, and sprayed lice-killing stuff on the furniture.

This is when our water pressure plummeted.  Water tank broken?  Well running out?  We didn't know then, but we know now that our well ran dry.  Great.  We are now officially out of water.

That night, Steve convinced me to take a couple of days off.  Go to Anacortes to a cheap hotel, be lazy, hike, knit, watch TV (which I never do, except when I spend the night at a hotel, which I almost never do).  I accepted his generous offer.

The next day, I checked into the hotel, only to find out that there was no power.  I called Steve in a fury, ready to throw in the proverbial towel.  He got on the phone and found me another place.

I spent that day at one of my favorite places close to Deception Pass.  I hiked around Bowman Bay, breathed, knitted new socks, and just stared.  No fires, no kids needing my attention, no smoke, no creepy guys with bulldogs, no accidents, no lice.  Nice.

There's light at the end of the tunnel.
I can cope with lots of stress and activity.  I'm a type A German after all.
But when life gets too overwhelming, when I feel like I'm about to snap, time in nature (and chocolate) always cures what ails me.

I am so lucky for the bounty of wild beauty around me.  A few days ago I went to a magical place, a thirty minute hike away from our house: the fairy pools.  It's an enchanted gorge filled with water falls, giant moss covered rocks, huge trees, and probably plenty of fairies.

I took this picture to show how the spider webs caught the ash that's being created from the wildfires

So if you ever feel like snapping, remember that you are not alone.  We all snap.  Remember to take care of yourself when you feel that you can't take it anymore.  Go out to nature.  Spend time with really, really good friends (preferably ones that bring you gin and tonics in the hot tub, or send you home with a basket of food and a good book, or make a special effort to check in on the phone, or take the kids off your hands for a while - thank you ladies... you know who you are).

I will leave you with images from the morning milking and my rain-soaked stepping stones.  Yes, the rains have started, and hopefully, they will kick the wildfire's ass!
And I had to include a picture of Kai and Luke with their new haircuts (thank you, head lice).  The boys discovered hair gel.  Watch out, girls!


  1. Sounds like there indeed are more going through a rough time. I'm about to snap too and am just about an inch away from throwing in the towel. Yet my turmoils are of such a nature that there is no quick fix, actually nothing I can actively do about it right now and might require rethinking my entire life as it is right now.

    There's a sad fishface in the puddle on the wet rocks btw....

    1. That's so true! I see it! Is this serendipity or on purpose?

    2. Ron, so sorry to hear about your turmoils. We are all in this together, this thing called life. We might look at other people and see they have it perfect, but it's not true. Some of us are just more vocal about sharing the sad stuff. You are not alone! I'm sending some sparkly light over to you. Ready? Here it comes! Catch!

    3. Vielen Dank!!
      It might help me find my way and shine some light on the crossroads I am approaching.

  2. So sorry you've been having a rough time! Lice is a huge pain in the neck. Hopefully things will smooth out now. Your boys are growing up so fast and so handsome! Love Anacortes and Deception Pass. So beautiful there! I need to go back!

    1. Sally, have you ever been to Bowman Bay? It's my favorite! Check it out next time you're there!

  3. Wow that is a lot to go wrong. I couldn't believe the head lice. That's what put me over. You're nit picking, too, right? Just shampoo alone will not do it. Lucky he has short hair (short hair rules when picking nits and I know from experience so I'm not speaking from a high cloud. My daughter got lice when she was 4 and my husband would not let me cut the hair. She and I cried our eyeballs out. I'm not with that selfish jerk anymore)

    I am a type A german even though I have a french name. I am half german and french derivation so I am at war with myself half the time. Not to apply that stereotype because anyone can be type a german even penguins! (ha! kidding but serious) Sounds like we both have self sufficient resilient husbands who have the patience of Job which is good. I wonder if there's a way for you to calm down when things go so terribly wrong in so many ways than to simply flee? A homestead, contrary to the many fantasy blogs out there, is not all sweetness and light (I know you know!) and it really takes a certain personality to handle our special problems, doesn't it? Rent a movie "Heartland" about a gal who sets out to homestead in Wyoming in the 1800s and you will feel for that poor gal in an instant.

    I'm thinking of you. Yes, we are not alone. Yes, we can persevere because there is always This Too Shall Pass! I bet you're laughing about it right now!

    1. Yes, definitely combing nits out, too. They all seem to be gone by now. It's a lot of work, and so, so gross!!!

  4. Sending you hugs Corina- thank you for sharing your experience. It's a great reminder that we all have our challenging times. Sometimes- I just switch to: "what is next now?"...laugh, cry or...?
    from Clelie

  5. Love you Corina! What a doozy of a week!! So glad it's over and you can breathe a little. Praying for the situation with your week and praying things are looking up for you, love ya!! :)

  6. We were going on a road trip to Samuel Boardman along the southern Oregon coast but I got stabbed to the bone by an agave needle and my knee swelled up like a balloon and was extremely painful. As a consolation I am making your amazing yogurt today and planning a rain check for the coast (I wish for real rain!). LOVE that yogurt!!

    1. An addendum to the yogurt that I forgot to add: The other great thing about the yogurt is that it will help me get back my important intestinal flora that will be killed by having to take the antibiotics. Yay! Food is the best medicine!

      BTW I think you should make a POSTCARD out of that picture of your red tootsies in the foreground of the stream. As a matter of fact, most of your pictures would make great cards or postcards! I just say most because you (probably) wouldn't want to put your family on a public card. Anyhoot.... Love that!

  7. I'm so glad you took some time off. What an intuitive move on your husbands part.
    Love you!

    1. Aww, thanks, dearest Ann! Love you back!


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