By: Revanche

I tried to do it ALL: here’s what happened 

June 12, 2017

Enduring a year of epic financial storms
On the one hand, I am Superwoman.

I handle my full time job like the pro that I am. My family is fed, hygienic, healthy, and mostly happy – though Seamus would submit to you that my refusal to share carnitas tacos is inhumane and unacceptable. My hobby (writing here) is still fun after nearly 11 years. My friends are wonderful people and I gladly support them through health, home, and career crises on a sometimes daily basis. Without a doubt, I’ve knocked the money thing out of the park on a regular basis – I save expansively, spend moderately, invest bravely, and generate odds and ends income creatively.

I remain Seamus’s most dedicated groomer and vet tech, I tend to his medications, food, and all nursing care so that he’s had the best six months of allergy-related symptoms of his life.

On a good day, one would assume I had it all together in a neat little package with a bow on top. When things are normal, it’s true – my default mode is set to awesome with a few dashes of slobby.

I had to check three times yesterday if my pants were on and buttoned before I left the house. After the backwards pajamas the night before, that shouldn’t have been such a close call. I’ve gone five days in a row without brushing or combing my hair – the blessings of short hair! If there wasn’t a mirror in the hallway, those three times I remembered to brush this mop would have been exactly zero. This isn’t really new territory for me – after a few years of working mostly remotely, I’ve reached an unprecedented level of non-concern about my dress because the only thing that matters at work right now is that I am awesome. Which I am.


With the new home in the picture, all the prep work with our (fantastic!!) general contractor has driven me to distraction. Literally.

I’m burning the candle at both ends. I’m doing my usual: daycare dropoff/pickup days, cooking dinner (PiC cooks breakfast and packs lunches, I make dinner), managing our regular money stuff.

Pile on organizing the new mortgage, setting up the new utilities, reviewing and revising our  labor and materials budgeting, contract writing and review, preliminary design, and discovery of more things wrong with the place. We intended to make the kitchen functional and update a bathroom. That leaking tube means we definitely have dry rot in the framing. After several hours of site visits and digging deeper, the remodel has turned into a major gut and rebuild problem. I won’t even get into the thousand moving parts that the GC and I are keeping in motion aside just to get a contract organized, from the almost routine surprise discoveries as we get to explore the space further in limited spurts.

But what else do we have behind Door #3, Vanna? We have summer! Summer, which is the absolute worst for Seamus’s allergies. I’ve changed his medication, his diet, his exercise routine, everything. It’s done wonders. But nothing we’ve come up with has been able to ward off the summer allergy attack – so once a year, for three months, I have to clean, salve and wrap his feet 2-3 times a day to keep the hot spots under control and the skin from tearing.

Y’all. The wall? It’s been hit. My entire being has gone through the wall like the Kool-aid man and fallen over.

I’ve gotten TONS done in a short period. The price was my sanity and health. My body tried to quit!

It’s one thing for me to forget what’s going on with the wardrobe. It’s another thing to pull out of the driveway and take a puzzled Seamus to daycare instead of to the vet. And it’s entirely another when I drive to a nearby shop to pick up a few things, but start walking home because I had forgotten that I’d driven!  That was both funny and, in hindsight, a bit alarming.

My gastrointestinal system went full Dark Side for a week, constant pain and threat of vomiting kept me up nights. Digesting food was no longer a job for THIS body. All major joints were creaking fit to challenge the Tin Man, my fingers were moonlighting for sausage commercials. Taking calls for an hour took all the breath out of me, I had to sit for three hours just to stop breathing shallowly. My ribs hurt when I did that silly breathing thing.

A friend prodded me: time to ask for help (stupid!). Even after more than a decade of being together, I still don’t remember to ask PiC for help! He’s Right There.

I texted him and confessed it was time. He’d been pressing me to do a little less but couldn’t tell what he could take off my plate without getting bitten. He gladly offered up some chores he would take over and I picked a few.

Now the trick is actually letting go of them. One finger at a time!

  • PiC has started makin more design decisions on the house, solo.
  • I’ve negotiated a new lower rate for a year with Comcast. I can worry about finding a better replacement for them next year, not now.
  • We have a $200 credit with Munchery that I’ve hoarded for months. Expensive though they have gotten, it’s time to just use the credit so I’m not cooking 3 times a week. We can get 2 or 3 more deliveries over the next few months so it’s time to strategically deploy that money already spent.

It’s taking a long while to repair the fatigue caused by the many days of unremitting pain but I am already seeing a little bit of improvement, and best of all, I don’t have to avoid food anymore!

We’re keeping our eye on the ball, this is going to get worse before it gets better and we have a lot of work ahead of us still.

Speaking of the work, initial rough quotes for the now MAJOR renovations are right around what I was expecting which is to say: $$GULP. It’s a good thing the past five years have been centered around building  whopping loads of savings held in CDs and some stock options. Ideally the stock options would have been exercised over a year ago but having failed to be psychic, we’re going to have to take the short term capital gains hit to access that cash. Drat that lack of a third eye!

:: What are your favorite ways to reduce stress when work or home issues blow up?

19 Responses to “I tried to do it ALL: here’s what happened ”

  1. First, no one should expect you to share carnitas tacos, not even your dog. Nope, let them order their own, even if Seamus has to do it by looking mournfully. (North Carolinians are serious about their slow-cooked pork.)

    I’m sorry the stress has gotten to you, but sliding a few things off your plate over to PiC and utilizing your resources for food delivery are both great calls. If your digestive system wasn’t a question, I’d say a couple of good bottles of wine with friends might help too. Since not, long hugs have been shown to reduce stress.
    Emily @ JohnJaneDoe recently posted…Tales of a Gardening Wannabe: Introduction and Year to DateMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Carnitas – THANK YOU! That’s what I said!

      Wine is no longer an option for me but I have a few bottles to gift for those in need 🙂

  2. Sally says:

    When I’m stressed, I generally end up having to choose to cut every non-essential task to zero and to remind myself that good enough IS good enough for the essentials.

    I think the hardest thing with having the baby is that the non-essential list got a lot longer and a lot less negotiable.

    • Sally says:

      Er, I mean the essential list. Sigh. Lack of sleep.

      • Revanche says:

        I know what you meant 🙂 A friend used to say “good enough for government work” which used to make me laugh but I guess I have to learn my own version of that now.

  3. Oh noes. Sorry to hear about all of the chaos. Hugs, laughter, animal videos. I honestly think for me, the thing that helped the most was to just acknowledge that I was doing too much.

    • Revanche says:

      Thank you!

      Actually admitting I was doing too much was the straw that broke this camel’s back, of course. THEN I had to come up with ways to fix it.

  4. Oh, dear. It sounds like you’re getting maxed. Cf. Sally: cut every non-essential!

    When you’re older than the hills, you’ve been in that state several times during your lifetime. What I’ve figured out: ask yourself, about EVERYTHING, “does this really have to be done today? Does it really have to be done right now, or can I put it off, and if so, how long can I put it off without having it conflict with something else? Does it really have to be done AT ALL?” Don’t do anything right this minute that you don’t have to, and if you can wriggle out of doing something or foist it onto someone else, wriggle and foist!

    Moving is a gawdawful job. Just keep telling yourself: sooner or later it will be over with.
    Funny about Money recently posted…How Can You Improve Your Credit Score?My Profile

  5. Ugh, good luck!

    And yes, let other people help and let them know you need help, especially PIC.
    Nicoleandmaggie recently posted…Musings on decreased childcare costsMy Profile

  6. Wow. So sorry to read about your struggles, but glad that you’ve realized it’s time to slow down. You ARE Superwoman. This is just a phase and you WILL survive. Just keep accepting help to get through it. Then, before you know it, you’ll be enjoying your new house and things will seem more manageable again 🙂
    Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope recently posted…200 Blog Posts & A Couple Of Years Later: Our Financial ProgressMy Profile

  7. Oh my. I do get a kick out of your humour though – taking your dog to the daycare and walking home from the shop to which you’d driven … I hope you can laugh at some of it too : ) You were wise to ask for help (which was one of the 3 strategies for dealing with life off-kilter that I wrote about – one which I could stand to use myself). Hold on! You are well set up for this challenging time. All of your good relationships, habits, and discipline will combine to see you through. With a little compassion for yourself in the mix, you’ll continue to enjoy some of the alarming/funny moments – which are bound to keep coming. Cheering you on! All the best.
    Fruclassity (Ruth) recently posted…Reflections on FiftyMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      Oh I did laugh, once I realized what was happening and it was still correctable 🙂

      Thanks for the moral support!

  8. Hey, you don’t have to be superwoman all the time. Cut back a bit so you don’t get completely burned out. That’s how I feel about Mrs. RB40 sometime too. I’d rather have her well and get less done than her being out of it all together. It’s not healthy to go 100% all the time. Good luck.. Maybe you can put off some renovations.

    • Revanche says:

      I had really hoped to put off some renovations but for health reasons, we’ll have to do more of them after all. Drat! But I guess I could take a short break from Superwomanning… 😉

  9. I suffer from many of these issues as well when I’m having a lupus flare up. Biggest things I do to reduce the risk. . . work out (even though I feel like i don’t have energy or time – it does make me feel better), get plenty of sleep, eat well, etc. I also HATE to ask for help, but sometimes just hit the wall & have to identify what is helpful for me to own & drive vs not.It’s really difficult, but asking for help ensures we can stay healthy . . . which is a win/win for everyone. 🙂

    You’ve got this. Try & catch a breath, create 10 minutes to read a book, or just think quietly to yourself.
    Hawaii Planner recently posted…Selling a house is stressfulMy Profile

    • Revanche says:

      The lack of sleep is certainly what helped send me off the rails, so you’re right on the money, there.

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