Before I get into the nitty-gritty of this post: sign-ups for the next session of Worldbuilding Wednesday will still be active through tomorrow! Go check it out!
There’s a lot coming up otherwise this week, too. I’m the featured Blogger of the Month for the Oklahoma Women Bloggers, and my posts there will go up every Monday, starting tomorrow.
In addition, I will also be participating in the Christian Science Fiction & Fantasy Blog Tour this week. That post will go up on Tuesday.
November did not go as planned or expected in the slightest.
I’m going to try not to be too depressing with this post, but no promises.
You probably noticed that I never got another NaNo update up after the first week. Never fear – I finished NaNo, but blogging had to fall much lower down the list of priorities for a while.
The most pressing issue of November… is that Mr. Loper was laid off. He is unemployed as of December 3rd, and while we’re okay at least through the end of the year, and we are currently a couple of months ahead on the mortgage (we don’t owe another payment until February), I’m trying not to think too much about what happens in January.
We still have one more full paycheck to receive yet, and he’ll still get the COLA (cost of living adjustment) that every employee at the company gets at the end of the year. We’ll see how far we can make those things stretch, and also see if we can get at least another month ahead on the mortgage.
Then… when we were driving back from out-of-town Thanksgiving night, because we’d spent the afternoon/evening with my mother-in-law, we had a tire go flat on the drive home (just for setting, it was only a few degrees above freezing, dark, and POURING RAIN). While we were driving. We were in a construction zone (because Oklahoma roads are a new kind of special, let me tell you!) and the lane was redirected partially onto the shoulder, and so we must have hit something.
Initially, we thought we’d just had the tire pop off the rim, but no, when we were finally able to mess with it (because the spare went flat, TOO, but at least only while the car was sitting in the garage), Mr. Loper found a giant hole in the sidewall of the tire. And because it did whatever it did to go flat while we were driving, the rim was bent out of shape as well. He was able to, erm, coerce the rim back into shape with a sledgehammer, though we still have to get an intact tire on it to test it out and see if it will still seal.
Suffice to say, for the last half of November, I was more than a little overwhelmed.
The finances had to be reconfigured. Plans canceled or set aside until, hopefully, there is money for ‘extras’ again. And by ‘extras’ I mean necessities that just aren’t VITAL at this very moment in time. We were just barely getting ahead enough to even consider true extras. I was hopeful that we’d be able to start figuring out a replacement vehicle in the next couple of months. Now… that’s at least 6-12 months down the road again, in our own means.
There were last-minute appointments, because Mr. Loper’s flexible spending account would only be good through his last day of employment. We still have medical insurance through the end of the year, but since our insurance didn’t cover some of the things, I’m already looking around at some other options. Like healthcare sharing ministries. We’ll see.
Oh, and did I mention that in the middle of all of that, our credit card number was stolen?
I know when it happened. I know where it happened. But I feel completely powerless about changing any of that situation, because my card never left my hands. I never exposed it fully. There was no one standing near me who could have taken a picture of it. There was no device on the card-swipey-thing to get my information that way, because I look for those things. Unless, of course, they suddenly got really sophisticated.
Fortunately, our credit card company caught the faulty transaction, but in the meantime, it means we’re without a credit card. I can’t do any online Christmas shopping, there are at least two bills that I will have to re-set-up payment for, and I’m still in limbo because the replacement cards with a new number haven’t arrived in the mail yet.
And somewhere right before all of that started, we had a bout with leg mites on the chickens, and I think one of the older hens has coccidiosis. So they’re all being/have been treated. Fun times.
In the meantime, though, as my life slowly calms down enough after NaNoWriMo, and then the unending stress, I’m realizing that I’m reeling from all the blows.
And I don’t know what to make of my life anymore.
I’m thirty years old. We’ve been married for almost eight years. I’m nowhere near the point where I wanted to be. Where I thought we’d SURELY be by now. I thought I’d be done having children at this point. I never dreamed that we wouldn’t have even started yet.
I thought we’d have some savings. Not that we’d still be living paycheck to paycheck and just barely starting to inch ahead. And now that ‘ahead’ is gone.
I thought I would have a book published. Or even a short story. For pay. But nope.
I’m so tired of being tired. I’m so tired of having hopes and dreams, and then having to watch as they crumble over and over again while nearly everyone around me gets to see theirs fulfilled.
I don’t know how to want to keep going on sometimes.
I’m just so tired.
I don’t even want to write anymore. Everything is about putting food on the table, or paying the bills. I can barely justify the time to spend being creative (if I even felt like it) because there’s other things that always HAVE to be taken care of.
I just… can’t see a reason, most of the time, anymore. I’m going through the motions out of habit, because maybe, just maybe, eventually I’ll feel alive again if I act like it. Maybe.
Sometimes one can only hope to hope, right?
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.Proverbs 13:12
Candace GaugerDecember 7, 2015 - 3:19 am ·
Not to sound like a cliche, but it’ll all get better in time. I can understand the unable to write thanks to stress and being overwhelmed. That’s one of the reasons why I only managed 800 words for this year’s NaNo.
You have been given a lot of lemons in November. Time to turn them into lemon meringue pie instead of lemonade. Those are all setbacks. Just look at each one, smile, then consider ways around them. There is always a way. With all of this, find one thing out of your day that is good, even if the only good thing was you woke up, it’ll be something to help beat the stress back.
In the mean time, for Mr. Loper, check out Labor Ready. That’s an early wake up call, but it’ll be work of some kind until the layoff ends.
M.A. ChiappettaDecember 7, 2015 - 9:12 am ·
Sending you love and prayers, Rebekah. I can definitely relate to the feeling of not being where you thought you’d be by a certain point in life. Been there many times. What I’ve learned for me is that in spite of the things you feel are not where you’d like them to be, there are things you have accomplished that you never expected to do by now. You may find that to be true too. The financial stuff… Keep us posted. I believe your husband will find not just another job, but a better job. In the meantime, give yourself permission to be frustrated with what’s been happening, be kind to yourself, and enjoy the season as much as you can. And if you end up with extra eggs, etc., that you could sell, let me know. I’ll buy from you. That’s one way you might bring in a little cash now and then 🙂
Rebekah LoperDecember 7, 2015 - 9:15 am ·
I don’t have any eggs at ALL right now, they aren’t even laying for me. XD It’s pathetic. My lifesaver this week was that Aldi had ham shanks for 89¢/lb. I got 10 lbs of meat for less than $10, and hopefully I can make it last most of the month!
Maria ZanniniDecember 7, 2015 - 11:32 am ·
My chickens aren’t laying either. They’ll start again once we get more daylight. What you can do is put a light in their coop for several hours after dark. It’ll trick their brains into thinking the day is longer and it’s time to produce eggs again.
As for sick chickens, I’ve found in most cases, it’s better to put them out of their misery than try to heal them. Their metabolisms are so fast that by the time most people know something is wrong, it’s too late to treat it. For coccidiosis, a little apple cider vinegar in their water is beneficial.
Mites are a pain. I had to empty the coop. Wash it. Bleach it. Then dust it with Sevin dust once it dried. I also had to individually dust the birds. It took two applications but we finally eliminated the mites.
I know it feels like the walls are closing in, but this is normal. Things will even out. –not always as fast as we’d like.
Re: saving money on food
Check out Walmart. By me, a bag of leg/thighs are going for $4.80 for a ten pound bag. That makes a lot of fried chicken.
When we were dead broke, we ate a lot of pasta and my crockpot was always on to cook tougher cuts of meat. Soup is another good filling meal that requires little meat.
If you can, don’t buy Christmas gifts. Friends and family will understand.
Rebekah LoperDecember 7, 2015 - 12:18 pm ·
I’ve wondered if it’s the light. It hasn’t been a problem in previous winters, but we also have them in a shadier part of the yard now, and they’re in their enclosed run 24/7, so it’s always shaded except for along the south half of it for part of the afternoon. I would put a light out there, but we have to replace the outlet on the back of the house first. >_<
I dipped all the chicken's legs in oil to smother mites (after scrubbing them all down with an old toothbrush – let me tell you THAT was fun…). I need to treat them again soon, but I've been waiting for warm weather to clean the coop and scrub it. From what I've read, the most important thing is to clean their roosts. We're going to replace them entirely, and clean out all the bedding and replace it with new stuff. They don't spend much time in the coop anyway, except to sleep. I'm also going to see about getting some diatomaceous earth out where they like to dust bathe the most. (And I had examined them all to make sure it was JUST leg mites, and there were no sign of feather mites.)
Chicken legs/thighs are a no-go for us, sadly. Hubby won't touch them, and they're not my preference. I usually tend to by whole chickens, and I can get 3-4 meals out of them. The cheap ones are less than $1/lb at Aldi. We may be eating roo #2 in the next couple months anyway, too. XD
We're buying some gifts. Partly because I'd already bought some before he was laid off, and his dad gave us $250 to spend towards Christmas. But man, I'm shopping the deals this year! I scored brother-in-law's gift at Kohl's on Saturday. It was on sale for 50% off, and I had a coupon for an additional 25% off on top of that. 😀 Going to make some gifts, too, so that will help.
heylookawriterfellowDecember 7, 2015 - 1:17 pm ·
This breaks my heart. I’m so sorry to hear that you’re going through so much difficulty. Not meeting your own expectations is hard to handle, but, if I may say so, 30 is dang young. You have plenty of time to surprise yourself.
Jean Marie BauhausDecember 7, 2015 - 5:09 pm ·
Oh, Rebekah. *HUGS*
I’ve been there. Everything from “And I don’t know what to make of my life anymore” on is something I could’ve written (and probably did write in one form or another) a couple of years ago.
You’d think that would have left me with some profound words of wisdom or encouragement for you, but all I have is this: you WILL get through this, and it WILL get better. Also, YOU don’t have to be strong enough to do this. God is strong enough to carry the both of you through it. Try to rest in that.
Also, it’s okay to put the writing aside for a while, or to not make it a priority right now. It doesn’t mean it’s forever, and it doesn’t mean you can’t call yourself a writer anymore. Sometimes when life gets hard you just need to take a break from creative output and just be filled up instead. Use this as a time to rest in that area, and to fill the well, and don’t worry about it. When it’s time to take it back up again, you’ll know.
I spent a lot of dark nights crying myself to sleep because I thought that maybe all this bad was happening because God was trying to tell me He didn’t want me to be a writer (or, for that matter, a mother) and that I was supposed to give up that dream. I even went so far as to convince myself He didn’t want me to have any dreams for my life. But that’s a lie of the enemy. God plants our dreams in our hearts, and He gives them to us for a reason. He has a plan for the writing gifts He’s given you. It’s just a matter of not letting those dreams become idols, and entrusting them to Him, that He’ll bring them to pass in His way in His timing.
One thing that helped me get past believing that lie was the Confident Heart devotional by Renee Swope. I have Kindle copy that I can loan to another Kindle user, so if you have a Kindle and would like to check it out, just let me know.
I’ll keep on lifting you guys up. On a more practical note, if you don’t already know about moneysavingmom.com, check it out. That site helped us out a lot with stretching our budget through extra-lean times. And I’ve already recc’d Fiverr.com, but I’ll rec it again, especially since they’re getting ready to roll out the ability to set your own base price so you won’t have to start your services out at $5 anymore. I’ve earned almost $5,000 on there since I started selling services there last year. That’s not nearly enough to live on, but it certainly has helped make ends meet.
Patricia Lynne (@plynne_writes)December 7, 2015 - 8:51 pm ·
Sad to hear you’ve been having a shitty situation. I know how it feels and the stress it causes. I’ve been there and it feels like a black hole swallowing you whole. The good news is that it won’t last, but unfortunately, I have no insight to when it will start getting better. But if you feel like you don’t have the energy or time to write then set it aside. Don’t feel guilty about life getting in the way. Like I said, the bad times won’t last and when it’s over you’ll probably be itching to write. I’m sending good vibes your way!
jazzfeathersDecember 9, 2015 - 4:22 pm ·
I’m so sorry to hear all od this, Rebekah. It’s hard when it happens and it always looks like bad things comes in bags. One bad thing happens and everything goes after it.
I’ve learn that – hard as it might be – the only thing that helps is thinking that it will go better, and never stop trying to make it go better. Never stop believing what we’re doing will soleve one of our problem, then another and another. It’s all inside us.
Don’t give in!
S.B. RobertsDecember 15, 2015 - 7:45 am ·
Praying for you, Rebekah! I know you’re in a tough place right now, but keep hanging on. Whenever I go through hard times (and I’ve definitely been there lately too), I remember something CS Lewis once said: “Hardship often prepares an ordinary person for an extraordinary destiny.” Just keep on going. It’ll all work out in the end.