This is NOT complaining
This is an elaborate status update that you didn’t ask for. But it’s not complaining.
I’ve been cat-sitting for my sister’s cats for a week or so now, and they follow me from room to room mewling expectantly. Whenever I sit down to work they loll all over the keyboard, chew the wires, yowl at me, and play with my mouse. This would be cute if I didn’t have children who already follow me from room to room mewling expectantly.
And they loll all over my keyboard.
And they play with my mouse.
I’m behind in work and there’s a mom who’s mad at me. She has every right to be- she asked for an urgent invoice copy (granted, it was an urgent request) and I said I would try to get back to her asap. But Khalid recovering from Sunday’s dental surgery has been a two-day teetering on the verge of meltdown and dental sabotage. If he is not kept distracted, he either rages about the new hardware installed in his mouth, or goes somewhere private to try and pull it out. Were he to succeed, it would be the third time he has removed supposedly “unremovable” dental work- crowns, spacers, bridges… you name it and he’s ripped it out. With the exception of fillings, anything that we pay a dentist to put into Khalid’s mouth is in perpetual danger of being removed.
Oh right- I didn’t update: Khalid broke a tooth on Saturday night. On Sunday morning he had dental surgery under general anaesthesia to remove an abscessed molar, fix the broken canine with a root canal, fill four cavities, and then install a lingual arch to maintain the spacing and position of Khalid’s teeth. Since so many teeth have been removed at one point or another, they’re starting to shift around, and unless we keep them in place, his permanent teeth will be affected.
Coming out of anaesthesia is hard enough for adults- I’ve done it many times and it’s always horrible- but for Khalid, it makes him fighting mad. Literally. He actually hit me, and it’s been years since he did. He was raging, kicking, screaming, fighting mad for around an hour, and no one from the clinic staff could so much as look at him without setting him off again. He and I laid in the recovery room together, me holding his hands to the iPhone I wanted him to focus on, and him crying and periodically fighting to reach into his mouth and start pulling on whatever he could find.
We spent the rest of the day just watching him and trying to keep Iman and Musfira from getting too close to Khalid. He was angry and irritable for two days- and today is Wednesday and he went off to school happily Alhamdulillah. He remembers his teeth when he’s eating, but it’s gotten easier to redirect him or distract him. The trick is to NOT talk about teeth. At all. ever.
We used to joke that Khalid’s teeth were worth a used Corolla. MashaAllah, they are now worth a used Lexus. 😉 Our insurance does not cover dental work, and on top of that, Khalid gets his dental work done in an operating theatre under general anaesthesia. So that means we never just pay for fillings or a cleaning or a crown- we pay for the anaesthesiologist, his nurse, the operating theater, and THEN we pay for the dental work.
(And then, Khalid tears it out.)
In parallel, HF is out of the country. He’ll be back by Sunday, and when he returns, I will greet him with our traditional family salutation upon return from travels: Welcome home. I’m burning your passport.
I’ve been sick. It’s nothing too terrible- a small bug going around from the change of weather here in the UAE. Musfira had it and threw up. I got it and was nauseated but still functional. I’ve been operating solo for the past week and running on fumes, a whole lot of forgetfulness, and the stubborn determination to keep things afloat just until HF gets home and not a moment longer than that. Then, once I’ve burned his passport, I’m going to collapse into a blubbering heap of housewife and demand cuddles and catering until it all feels better.
Do I sound tired? I am. I’m not complaining though- because even in this there is a reward for patience as well as the opportunity for growth. I have this crazy stress response sometimes- when I’m overwhelmed with work, the kids are whining, and my phone is buzzing with unreturned calls- I get domestic. The last time I got put on steroids to recover from bronchitis it gave me a serious case of the Irrational Angries. I couldn’t talk to my children without snapping at them. Their tiny, sweet hands felt like grabby little claws, and their innocent requests sounded like the shrieking of baby banshees. So what did I do?
I sewed a princess hat.
Really. Iman and Musfira and I went into my office, dusted off my sewing machine, and started sewing. We made a pointy princess hat with a veil and a strap, and it was a pink satin masterpiece. And no one got yelled at and no one died. Alhamdulillah.
Yesterday, when the kid/cat/work combination had me wanting to run away and hide in my bathroom until HF got home, I went and got the hedge clippers, a bucket of water, and some sponges. We went outside where the weather was lovely- and in the cool winter breeze with warm late-afternoon sun, I enjoyed the simple, uncomplicated snip snip snip of the clippers as I trimmed back yards of thorny pink blossoms from our front entrance. The girls giggled and threw soapy water at each other and sometimes even at the car. Khalid chased the cats around inside the house, and I recited Qur’an and gardened until I felt better. And really, I did. Alhamdulillah.
So here I am with a mountain of work pending, groceries need to be bought, and some very hugely important excel files need to be created- and here I am writing. Because it makes me feel better.
Also, I’ve decided that if Sleeping Beauty’s castle had been surrounded by bougainvillaea instead of plain ole enchanted thorns, Prince Charming would have given up before making it past the drawbridge. Bougainvillaea is vicious, and the only reason why it has such pretty flowers is to lull you into a state of flowery pink security before tearing your skin off.
And now the cats have woken up and discovered this blog, even as I am typing it. See?
Sometime between now and Saturday I need to de-fur the house before HF returns- he’s allergic to cats- and hand them over into the care of another person.
But here’s why this is not complaining. I sent the mom the invoice and I apologized. I didn’t say “I’m so sorry, I’m sick and my son had emergency dental surgery and my sisters cats are bothering me because she’s in the US looking for a neurosurgeon because HER BRAIN IS GOING TO EXPLODE and my husband is out of town and I am chronically ill and we don’t have groceries right now” because you know what? It sounds so… prima donna. I’m sure she has her own problems, and she has her own stresses- her own work and her own son with autism, so what difference does it make if I’m sick or my sister’s sick or my husband’s out of town? It isn’t about oneupmanship. It’s about taking responsibility. So the invoice is late, and I’m sorry.
By Abez, the end.