Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Week

Show of hands. Who's had a crappy week?

Seems like almost everyone I've encountered this week has had to deal with some incredible level of defeating, life-sucking crap, kind of like Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, only the adult version.

As for me, it all started when I annoyed my boss. Now I'm well aware that if you asked any boss I've had to describe me with one word, they would all ask if pain in the ass could be hyphenated. So let's do that. In one word, I've been a pain-in-the-ass to him. And I hate that. I don't really want to go into it because, well, that could be a big mistake. But let me assure you that in the past week or so, mistake after mistake after mistake has already been pointed out to me. I might have excuses for some of them, but I already know he really doesn't want to hear it, I get that. So I've just been taking it all, kind of like Kevin Bacon took the fraternity paddle in Animal House.


Then my C-Pap machine quit working. This is a little machine with a face mask that pushes air at people like me who are cursed with sleep apnea. Basically I quit breathing while I'm asleep. During the sleep study I participated in when I was diagnosed with this disorder five years ago, they told me I quit breathing more than 400 times during my sleep study, so they say. I can't vouch for what I did or didn't do while I was sleeping, but that's what they say. And when I'm not stopping breathing, I'm snoring. The snoring means I wake up with a sore throat (or I wake myself up snoring), which isn't good for someone who spends all day speaking into a microphone. And because I wake myself up snoring a lot, I feel like I'm not getting good, decent sleep, and I end up feeling sleep deprived. The not breathing part is also problematic because I'm depriving my brain of oxygen. This all means I wake up grumpy, with a headache, and because of the sore throat I'm not sure if I'm coming down with a virus, or if it's just that annoying sleep apnea. It's just so......ugh.
So sexy, right?
And I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Val, just get another C-Pap." Easier said than done, my friend. Eight months ago I went to my doctor because I was told I needed a new prescription to get new supplies for my machine. Went I went in, she told me that she was changing her practice, and unless I wanted hormone therapy (I most definitely don't) that I should start shopping around for a new general practitioner. She faxed the prescription to the provider, who continued to call and bug me every month asking how many hours a night was I using my C-Pap machine, but they never sent me the supplies. I complained and complained and complained, and still no supplies. Finally, a box of supplies arrived, and that very same day, my machine quit working. Just stopped. The provider told me now I needed a new prescription for the machine (really?!) because the prescription I had gotten last year was only for the supplies (REALLY?!). So I went to the same old office to see a new doctor (I was told I'd be charged  a new patient fee) who wrote me a new prescription, and now I'm still waiting for a new C-Pap machine. Hope it doesn't take as long as it took the supplies to arrive, because what if I stop breathing....and don't start again?

Grumpy Cat

So I'm feeling like a failure, I'm as grumpy as a wet kitty, have a sore throat and a headache, and then it starts raining. And raining. And raining and raining and raining (and then after a brief moment of no rain it starts raining again). And that's not so bad. I lived in a rainforest for 13 years. I know how to handle rain. But what I can't handle so well is how to deal with all the problems that come along when the sump pump quits working.

Of all the people on my street, I'm the lucky one. Lucky to live in a historic, cool old home with character. Lucky to live just six blocks from work. Lucky to live at the bottom of the hill so I don't have to walk up a hill. Oh wait. I live at the bottom of the hill. And water runs downhill. The house to the left of mine has a dirt basement that becomes a mud basement during times like these. The little rental unit to the right of mine has a concrete basement with a second bedroom that can't be used as a bedroom because it floods during times like these, so they call it a storage room, and warn tenants to keep everything on shelves. I'm the lucky one because some genius who used to own my home installed 3 sump pumps in the basement. And during times like these I can barely hear them humming away below me over the soft sound of my C-Pap machine puffing air at my face.

The actual sump pump. Not working.
Until, of course, the sump pump quit working. And then I didn't hear it at all. But I didn't notice it until my stepson came upstairs one morning and said, "Hey Val, I'm not sure if one of the dogs peed downstairs, but I stepped in a big squishy wet spot on the carpet in front of the washer and dryer."
Oh, if only it was dog pee. Because that's just a one-time event. A broken sump pump means sopping up the water in one room and dragging out the dehumidifier while sopping up the water in another, and dragging out the shop-vac, and then diagnosing the equipment malfunction. Once we figured that the problem was indeed the sump pump (and not the extension cord nor the power strip it was plugged into), the next problem was buying a new $204 sump pump 5 minutes before OSH closed. Oh, if only that was the end my problem. Because of course I couldn't get the hose fitting off of the old sump pump, so we spent two long nights replacing, wringing out and drying towels and sucking up water out of the sump hole every couple of hours, which added a little bit more sleep deprivation on top of all the other sleep related issues I have been suffering from. Finally, after 3 more trips to the hardware store to buy a pair of channel locks (which still didn't get the fitting off), and another sump pump with a different type of fitting and a new garden hose (plus a female to female hose fitting to hook it up to the sewer pipe), I am finally hearing the sweet sweet sound of rainwater being sucked out of the hole in the basement beneath me, and carried away to somewhere else. And now I know why my sewer bill is so high, even during the winter. Especially during the winter. Because I'm paying to get rid of all that run-off that is running down the hill and under my house.
Something stinks.
So yeah, my life stinks. I've had a week that tops most people's weeks, right? But then one of my girlfriends tells me how she came home one day and found blood all over her house and the telltale heavy odor of skunk. One of these creatures had come in through the dog door, much to the chagrin of the dog, who got into a scuffle with the skunk, who was now nowhere to be found. Fortunately it was skunk blood, not dog blood, all over the carpet. She cleaned the house from top to bottom. Had to clean the carpets. Had to clean everything in her closet. Had to clean the dog. You can imagine the headache. But the smell didn't dissipate. In fact it got worse. A few days later she found these weird little maggoty worms in her bathroom, crawling out of the fixtures (gag!!!) followed by an invasion of flies inside her house. And finally, an excruciating amount of time later, the dead, decaying skunk was finally discovered by the guys she hired to crawl under the house. My friend. I feel for her. She knows my pain, but hers is worse.
This guy could be working in the mud, or cleaning up crap. You decide.
And then my husband - who's in Brookings, working hard labor six days a week to close up that giant sinkhole on Highway 101 - comes home after a 10 hour work day where he's outdoors, in the rain, in hurricane force winds, with mud up to the tops of his rain boots, to discover that the sewer has backed up in his trailer. Not the kind of sewer that I've been dealing with. The kind of sewer that smells like a skunk might be decaying under your house. So he used up all of his towels to mop it up, and then the power went out. And then the next morning when my still tired and now sleep deprived husband has to get up and go back out into the rain again to work, and his truck won't start.

When he started telling me how bad his day had been, I decided that maybe I didn't need to launch into a story about how bad my week was. Because while the shit may have hit the fan in my world, it wasn't actual crap. Maybe I don't have quite as bad as I've been making it out to be. I decided that maybe I should start feeling a little more sorry for other people. And I kind of do… my Republican friends will verify that I've been sympathizing with them this election season over the fact that total insanity has taken over their political party. And then to bring on a little levity I show them the funny video about Donald Trump's penis and...well, I'm starting to feel a little bit better already.



I'm also feeling a teensy bit better because I haven't heard from my boss in days now, my new sump pump is up and working like a champ, and my friend Lynn heard about my C-Pap situation and brought me one that she's not currently using. Then Doni surprised me at work with some of her future award-winning and incredibly delicious flourless, sugarless chocolatey goodness. Then Matt brought me his copy of The Road (in both book & DVD formats) to help me indulge in my post-apocalytic obsession.

Tell ya what. Things are already looking up! Music always makes me feel better, so if you're an adult who's been having a particularly super crappy week full of problems, I hope today's streaming Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Week Spotify playlist will make you feel a little bet better too. (If you're not an adult, or easily offended, be warned that today's playlist, just like this column and the Dongald video, there's a little bit of profanity included.) Although hey, you've gotten this far. Maybe the stories I've shared are resonating with you. If you've got a story about how crappy your week was, or if you have a brilliant way of getting through and past weeks like these when it seems like the days are just slapping you in the face one after the other, let me know in the comments section below.


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