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Dealing With Stress

I just knocked over a giant glass of sweet tea.

It ran across my end table; inside the wood grain that divides the glass panel from the table, and onto the floor. I ran to the kitchen and grabbed several paper towels. I cleaned it up pretty quickly. No big deal, but I did decide to switch over to wine for now.

When these things start to happen on a daily basis, though, it adds up.

Over the past three months, Dan and I have had a string of bad luck (for lack of a better term). Everything seemingly went wrong all at once. The saying, “when it rains, it pours,” could not have been more true for us.

It started with my chihuahua, Bit. My friend Brook noticed a large lump in Bit’s mouth. I took her to the vet, where I found out she needed very expensive surgery. The vet said it was potentially cancer. I cried, drove home, and then cried some more. Someone asked me if Bit was “worth it.” Yes, absolutely. I love my dogs the way Khaleesi loves her dragons. That’s the best way to explain it.

Secondly, our dryer went out. We found a great deal on a new one, but then it went out… three times. I had to miss work to have three different service people over the course of a month come to our house.

Next, I won a converted school bus on eBay. While the bus has been nothing but a blessing, Dan and I agreed to sell our Class C RV. Since I had searched for months for the perfect RV, we thought it would be an easy sell. We priced it accordingly and comparably to other RVs. We immediately posted it everywhere online, had several friends share it, and even offered a $200 referral bonus. A week turned into two, then a month, and so forth. Multiple times Dan and I took off work, rearranged Heaven and Earth, only to have potential buyers stand us up. I’ve bought and sold on both Craigslist and Facebook, and there is simply zero excuse to stand up a seller.

We panicked; thinking we’d lost thousands. It was a hard month. I blamed myself for buying the bus, since it was a last minute decision that Dan and I didn’t discuss very much.

Back in August, Dan agreed to let me remodel the kitchen. It wasn’t a huge remodel, but we painted the cabinets, the countertops, and the walls. We have plans to replace the sink faucet. Mostly, we were just going for some modern upgrades. We agreed on white subway tile behind the stove wall. Since there was limited stock, I ordered the tiles in sets from Amazon. The first set I ordered was perfect, and fit the wall great. The second set I ordered came out silver. The third set I ordered came too large. So here we are, two months later with an unfinished kitchen. Oh… and the countertops are turning yellow due to the polyurethane, so I am going to have to repaint, again.

Dan’s car went out around the time we were trying to sell the RV. It would be dead each time we tried to crank it. We had the alternator replaced and went through two batteries. After weeks of struggling, his car ended up in the shop. One week and $700 later, he was back up and going. Only a week later, squirrels chewed through all of the wiring in the car, and it was back in the shop again.

Then it happened.

My phone rang a few days after Dan got his car back. It was my friend Amanda, telling me that he’s been in a car wreck. I looked down. I had multiple text messages, all telling me to call him. I was in the shower when it happened.

He was merging from a highway to an interstate. As he came down the on-ramp, a car behind him sped up and started to ride his bumper. Dan attempted to change lanes to get out of the way, but the roads were wet. He slid across two lanes and slammed passenger’s side first into a guardrail. Not counting the time he backed my car up into a speaker at the King Drive-In, this was his first accident of any kind.

He sat in his car, attempting for 20 minutes to call anyone who could help. He was fine, but the car wasn’t. A week later, we found out it was totaled. The most important part, though  – he walked away, completely unharmed.

To say that the past few months have been stressful would be an understatement. But when it’s all said and done, none of the material things matter. The car got replaced, the RV was sold, and eventually Amazon will send me the correct tiles. Every adult will go through things like this. It’s not world-ending, and it’s not a crisis by any means. It’s life. And it’s perfectly okay.

We always remind ourselves to focus on the positives, and the wonderful, adventurous journey we’e on. Between Thailand, buying a hippie bus, and meeting one of our best friends, the past year has been nothing short of amazing. Our home is filled with friends, music, Thai food, and reruns of That 70’s Show. Our character is not defined by the existential circumstances that happen to us, but by how we handle those circumstances.

I didn’t write this for sympathy. I wrote this to let others know that it’s okay. It will be alright. Experiences allow us to learn, and show us how strong we can be. Situations are only temporary.

Literally, in the hour it took me to write this, the dryer went out again, and I just spilled wine all over a vintage dress.