Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Just Overwhelmed

If you stopped by today looking for a light-hearted, cheerful post then you might want to pass this one by because I can tell you before I even finish the first sentence that this is not going to be one. Should you choose to stay and read then at least I can say that you were warned ahead of time and yet chose to take your chances anyway!

Before I start bitching and whining about things (ah-ha, so that's what this post is going to be like, eh?) let me just chalk my current mood up to a few things like the nasty weather that we get in New England this time of year, the lousy quality of sleep I get most nights, and a job where I just want to beat my head against the dispatch console sometimes.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job and I would like to think that I am good at it; as many years as I've been dispatching, I hope I'm good at it but that doesn't necessarily prove true in all cases! However, there are days like today - days when there are already so many scheduled calls on the spreadsheet that you have no idea where you are going to put any more but you have to because the phones keep ringing and the schedulers need to give the facility that's calling some sort of time remotely close to the one that they're asking for. Never mind the emergencies that you have to factor in, too - sometimes it just seems impossible. Then add on people going home sick or injured and you're basically up the proverbial creek sans any sort of paddle. If you've ever played Tetris and get to the part where the tiles are falling faster and faster and you're finding it harder and harder to find a spot where they will fit in then you know exactly what I'm talking about!

Today was one of those days so naturally I came home a little stressed around the edges and probably needing a drink or two but I don't really drink - not very often anyway! Good thing, too, as I can see where my job might eventually lead one to becoming a raging alcoholic but I've always believed that getting drunk doesn't really help as once you're sober not only are all the problems you were drinking to get away from still there but now you've got a hang-over to boot! Plus there's the fact that I can't afford to drink.

My finances are an even bigger source of stress for me then not having enough ambulances or wheelchair vans to go around. As I have said in the past, most unfortunately I did not inherit my mother's flair for finances. When it comes to managing my money, I truly stink on ice. Truly!

A few years back I was actually starting to make some headway and not only keeping my head above water but having enough extra to maybe go to a movie or out to eat once in awhile or other little things that we all like to do to enjoy life. There was nothing extravagant - no cruises, no trips to Disney, nothing like that but I could scrape up enough money to go visit my friends in California or take a train trip down to New York City with my bud Paula, things like that but now ... forget it.

I was looking at the calendar this morning and counting the days until I need to take Jamie to the airport and it was depressing as hell. She leaves in just a little over a week and we haven't been able to do much of anything this summer because I've barely been able to keep the lights turned on and some sort of food in the kitchen. We've been to one movie and went on our trip to Hartford (which was mostly free stuff) and that's been it. Amanda has really been wanting to go see the new Harry Potter movie but even that has been out of my reach financially.

There are times when I feel like a failure. I am almost fifty years old and I have no savings to speak of. If I lost my job tomorrow I'd be living under the railroad bridge with the other homeless probably within a month as it would take about that long for my landlord to kick me out (nice guy that he may be, he needs to pay the mortgage on this place). I wouldn't be able to live in my car either as no doubt that would be repossessed shortly after I got booted out of the house!

Of course, there would be some advantages to living under the bridge - I would no longer have to worry about the ridiculously high utility bills that stress me out every month, there would be no messy house with the girls' stuff tossed all over it to rankle me, I could qualify for Medicaid and have all my health benefits paid 100%, and Norwich has a really nice Soup Kitchen downtown so I wouldn't have to worry about food. Amanda probably wouldn't like the accommodations but she could always go live in Florida with her Dad and sister. I'm sure he'd continue to bug me for child support but as you know, you can't get blood from a stone or a turnip plus he'd have to find me first!

There are days when I wake up in the morning and while trying to talk myself into getting up and going to work I ask myself "Is this it? Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?" It's a rather depressing thought overall. I get up (eventually) - I go to work - I come home - I attempt to feed the girls something - I do my blogging - I read a bit - I go to bed - I toss and turn most of the night - and then I get up in the morning and it all starts over again. There appears to be something missing.

Barring all the whining though, I'm not unhappy - really I'm not! I guess I'm just tired of being under all this single-parent stress - financially, emotionally, and even physically to a certain extent. This is my second go-round with being a single parent as I raised my son on my own from age 6 months to 11 years and I can remember feeling this way then, too, but I was a lot younger and I think it was easier to deal with. Right now I just feel sort of overwhelmed at times.

Just overwhelmed.


  1. Just so you know, I am sorry that people took exception to your comment, I did not.
    Now for your depression, I was a drunk with not a pot to piss in at 49 years old, success can happen to those who work for it.

  2. aw honey, i am so sorry you are feeling all this pressure now. i hope things get better real soon...

    smiles and hugs, bee

  3. Linda - This is not your usual frame of mind. I am sorry you are going through so much. It must be overwhelming - I've been there and know exactly what you're talking about. It is stressful and takes a toll. Just know that we appreciate your honesty. You are real and a lot of people are going through what you are right now. That doesn't make it any easier for you, I know, but at least you can take comfort that people (ME!!) care and admire you so much for the job you do everyday.

    We can tell what a dedicated mom and caring person you are. Many people don't know how you often send emails of encouragement to others when they need it. I can testify to that. So, I won't tell you to hold-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps - just take your time, take a deep breath, pray, take a bubble bath and know we care.

  4. Being a single parent isn't easy and you have alot on your plate. Don't be so hard on yourself though. Your daughters see you working hard every day, day after day and you are an excellent role model. You are giving your children much more than money can buy. It's easy to get yourself down because you want to do more, be more and provide more for your kids but memories are forever and best of all - they're free. Have some fun and make some happy memories with the girls while they are both together. You are a shining example of what a good mom is. Keep up the good work.

  5. From another single parent I can truly feel your pain. I would be right there with you under that bridge if I lost my job because no savings what so ever.

  6. Anonymous11:46 PM EDT

    I hope that your game of tetris gets some lines cleared soon so they won't be falling so fast! You know that you have lots of blogging friends that think very highly of you, Linda! I wish that I could be right there beside you and I'd give you a big 'ole Southern girlfriend hug. Then I'd take you out to a bar and get you sloberin' drunk! We'd have tons of fun and you'd end up dancing on the bar...okay, well maybe I'd end up dancing on the bar! *LOL* I knew I'd get a chuckle out of you.

    Seriously, though Linda you know we're here for you if you need us. I can only imagine the stress that you feel. But, you are a strong woman and an AWESOME momma. ;)

  7. You are starting to feel like a younger sister. Been where you are and it's not easy. If it is any consolation, Dayngr is right. The children may feel cheated that there are some things they want that they can't have, but they know that you are a constant in their lives no matter what happens and that you love them.

    It's not an easy road you are traveling but it has its rewards. My kids no there was a lot they missed in material things, but they are now my best friends, hard workers, and genuinely good people. You'll make it.

  8. boy do you need a bubble bath and relaxing music!!

    Or a punching bag and boxing gloves.

    Or a chic flick and a box of tissues.

    Or a looooong drive with windows open and music BLARING!!

    Each of these has helped me at different times of my life.

    Just know that you are loved.
    Sorry I haven't been around very often......busy.

  9. Jamie's going home in a few days is probably not helping things any. That's got to be so difficult for you. Linda, I don't know of one person on these blogs who wouldn't stand up for you in a heartbeat! You are so genuine and caring about every! Your other commentors really made some good points.

  10. God, Linda, who knew...!??! We can't offer much, but if you can think of ANYTHING that you think we can help you with...PLEASE, for the love of Pete, PLEASE don't hesitate to ASK! What can we do to help, Linda? If the schedule gets too crazy & you need even one more chair car or ambulance, call me @ home to come in early or on a day off. (if available, I will come in.) Let me see what I can scrounge up for entertainment ideas for you & the girls...! Someone as wonderful as you should NOT be allowed to suffer.

  11. Oh, and another thing...I don't want to hear about you living under a certain "railroad bridge", because if it's the one I'm thinking of, I am NOT picking you up @ 02:00 just because the local "17's" think you're a "10-45" or "10-46"! (Smile, because no matter what, you still have charm & a sense of humor!)

  12. Ahhh-ha, you haven't forgotten me!! LOL, you used my tetris and getting blood out of a stone reference...haha I can feel your pain Linda, especially finances. I just keep thinking things will get better....when my daughter turns 18, but knowing my luck she'll want to go to Yale or Harvard. LOL

  13. Anonymous9:54 AM EDT

    I feel for you, and 'get' your Tetris reference. I just saw "Sicko" and it made me so angry, because it showed that the quality of life in this country is so poor compared to other places. We are sapped financially, emotionally and physically by life here. That thing about not having savings, well, if misery loves company, rest assured that there are soooo many people in that same boat. It is not a failure of yours, it is a cultural thing. We should not all be expected to live on our own and to pay for every bill by ourselves and support our kids by ourselves, etc. What ever happened to the notion of 'community'? We should barter, we should share things (everything from vacuum cleaners to, yes, cars). Life does not need to be so difficult.

  14. Cheer up Charlie....

    I wuv you.

  15. No matter what you think at this moment, let's get this straight...you are not a failure! You have a wonderful family who loves you, a job that you are most definitely good at and that helps people on a daily basis, and you have many many blogging friends who care and worry about you. If there is anything I can do to help you through this difficult time, you let me know!!!

  16. Well, I too have been here. It's not fun. The first thing I did was cut up the credit cards and planned on how I was going to get rid of that debt. It took some time (years) but finally I crawled out from under all the debt. I've had a budget ever since, and stick to it. It's tough... Love you and feel better. :)

  17. Ah Linda -been there, done that -with the being broke all the time, single parent of three thing! And it ain't easy - not by a long shot. Heck, there are a lot of days now when I get down on myself, that I'm a failure, can't work now, couldn't support myself either on my ss disability check, all that stuff.
    And then, my son will say or do something and remind me that he's really happy that he chose to live with me (back when he was 12 years old and his dad was playing the "come live with me and be my love" game with him) and that he grew up here and in poverty! Yes! He's actually GRATEFUL for having had that kind of life growing up! Odds are your kids will see things much the same way about you, their lives with you, etc. at some point in the future. I know, that doesn't put food on the table or help pay those obnoxious utility bills now, but knowing your kids admire, love and respect you when they are adults -and you're a few years older then too - really does make the struggling now worthwhile. Not cost effective, just very worthwhile. And yes, you will come through as the much stronger person in the end for having been able to figure out how to navigate these difficult paths too. Trust me, honey! I'd never lie to you -at least not about that!

  18. Whew! I feel overwhelmed but not at all surprised that people have such lovely things to say to you!

    HUG from all the way over here :)

    Even in a ranty mood you manage a wonderful bit of humour, life is shit sometimes!

  19. Unlikely as it may seem, I remember that feeling all too well.

    It may have been a couple of decades ago, but having my mum buy a winter coat for my daughter every year and wondering which bill I should pay off first to avoid some essential service being turned off, is a nightmare that I still remember.

    Very best wishes

  20. Oh Linda,

    I didn't realize just HOW overwhelmed you have been feeling lately. I'm sorry to hear how bummed your feeling. I know it can be hard to have kids that want to do things and have things and go places and not be able to provide them with what they want. We had been promising Gene's boys to take them to Six Flags for over 2 years and just finally got to take them. And even then you can't enjoy what you are doing the whole day because everytime you buy something you know it is money that you SHOULD have saved for bills because you will end up short later. It sucks to have that hanging over your head and to not be able to just do things and not worry!

    And as for work.... I leave there so many days with that knot in the side of my neck that gets there as the calls out weigh the number of ambulances I have.

    Just know that Amanda and Jamie may have the "I'm a teenager and I want what I want and I want it now!" syndrome, but when they get older they will see how hard you worked and what a good Mom you were. Being there for them and being the "epic" Mom that you are, is worth more than anything money could buy!!

    We love you.

  21. Well, I certainly can't begrudge you complaining about finances. I sure do it often enough.

    My joke is I spend so much more than I take in that I've been made an honorary government.

    But it's not always funny, I know.

    I hope things get better for you.

  22. Hello my lovely lady,
    You know, we all go through the down times.
    Some of us have real reasons to be down, like finances & debt - and in your case, Jamie's leaving, which has gotta be so damn tough.
    But I know that you're a SURVIVOR. You have so much to live for, and to be thankful for - every day.
    I know that it's hard to see that somedays, trust me I know, but really there is a spot of joy in each day if we just look for it.
    Now, go give Amanda & Jamie some big "aw, mom" hugs and remember that you are a Super Cool mom, too.
    Plus, as it's been pointed out here - you are truly blessed with friends here on the internet who care deeply for you.
    I'm very blessed to call you a friend.
    love ya,


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