This week will live in infamy. It’s actually been more like the last month. But this week has been unique because I knowingly made a series of unfortunate decisions that complicated my life and the lives of my family members. And made lots of messes. Literal. Messes.
Between one of my children and I, we spent a great deal of time in doctor’s offices and under anesthesia over the last month. It’s been a real fun time. Add in Halloween and all the last-minute seasonal festivities like the pumpkin patch, pumpkin carving, school-related activities and expensive vehicle repairs and plumbing issues for added excitement.
By the time I got my daughter into bed last Sunday night, I was ready for a hot bath, even though we were waiting on a plumbing part. I stood alone in our bathroom looking at my jet tub. I don’t even use the jets because it literally sounds and feels like you’re bathing in a jet engine. But I loooooooove to soak in this tub. “Don’t do it, Janelle,” I said. “The plumber said we could use it,” I responded to myself. “It’s not worth the risk. What if it won’t shut off? How will you stop it? There’s no access panel, JANELLE.” “But a bath would feel so good right now. My whole body hurts,” I threw back. “Don’t.” With that, I reached out and turned on the hot water and drew a bath. I settled in and it did feel so good. I reached up to turn off the water and nothing happened. The hot water continued to pour at full blast into the tub. It got so hot I had to get out. My husband tried and tried before finally resorting to turning it off at the hot water heater. As if the Universe was punitively making a point, the cold water fixture also began to fail during this small fiasco so we had to turn off the main to the house to get it to stop. Oops. My family of five has been so very patient for the last 5 days while we operated with short stints of running water. (Pro tip I learned this week: The dishwasher requires hot water to thoroughly dissolve the detergent and effectively wash the dishes.) My husband and I continually reminded each other and our kids that we were lucky to have this problem and how grateful we were that we still technically had running water albeit a little inconvenient.
On Tuesday, I dumped trash all over the bathroom floor and inside my vanity drawer because I didn’t slow down and use both hands like I told myself.
On Wednesday I baked a 36lb casserole for my son and tried to remove it from the oven with one hand. “You need another pot holder,” I told myself. “I think I can get it. I’ll readjust my angle and see if this is better,” I said with confidence. “Don’t be ridiculous. They are literally within arm’s reach. Get another one before this ends badly.” “No, I think I can get i-” FLOP! + BANG! + SIZZLE The entire thing flipped out of my hand and landed upside-down on the inside of my 350° opened oven door. I paused for a minute. I turned off the oven. I evaluated my options. I started smiling. I took a picture of the casserole on the oven door and texted it to my son who was downstairs with the caption: “The casserole is done.” Then the tears welled up, but they didn’t fall. I wish they had, but they were intercepted by a sudden realization. I had completely stopped listening to myself – stopped trusting myself – for almost an entire week. And it was going very badly.
After the casserole incident, I vowed to start listening to my gut again. There was a lot of chaos and extra distractions last week which, in hindsight, would have been the perfect time to focus more within. But here I am now, soaking in my tub with the water fixture finally fixed and my family safe at home on a Friday night. I finally found time to relax and to contemplate my insights from this week and to tell the story of how the casserole really ended upside-down on the oven door.