Selfish Saturday: The cruelest month

2013-Winner-Vertical-BannerLet that old fogey Eliot say what he will. No month has anything on November as cruelty goes.

NaNoWriMo is the welcome kind of cruelty. Sort of a boot camp. Yes, it’s hard, but no good thing comes easy. I bagged my sixth consecutive win on the 28th, with a story that I might actually edit and polish for publication at some point. Beyond that, though, this November has given me the unwelcome kind of cruelty as well, in spades.

My mother had a fall and fractured her knee. Cue in ginormous guilt trip and triggering of my worst fear – that she may die with me hundreds of miles away and unable to help her, or even say goodbye. I had that happen with my father, and I don’t want it again. Worrywart that I am, I had a hard time keeping all sorts of nightmare scenarios out of my mind. She has gone home since, and has help in her recovery. But those first few days were a nightmare.

Two days later, my brother-in-law, who had been hospitalised since August, finally died. It did not come as a shock, we had three months to come to terms with the possibility, but that didn’t make my husband or my mother-in-law any less bereaved.

Two days after that, the husband was due for a medical test. I won’t go into details, because this entry would become unnecessarily graphic, but let’s say that it was one of those cringe-worthy, dignity-stripping things, and it was rather inconsiderately administered as well. He was not a happy bunny afterwards, and the young one commiserated by catching a tummy bug and distracting me with a round of emergency cleaning and laundry at bedtime. It could have been worse, like in the middle of the night, but still, having them both at home and grouchy did nothing for my condition.

A few days later, on the very day I completed NaNo, in fact, my computer decided to start the day by claiming it could detect no OS. I can’t describe my panic at the prospect of my work machine, so recently (and with such sacrifice) repaired, could be irrevocably dead. Attempting a system restore before coffee is a scary thing! Thankfully, it worked. Later the same day it was suggested to me that perhaps the culprit was a memory stick I had left plugged in overnight, which could have booted up as first drive. It was a relief, though it may have done nothing for my fresh grey hairs.

Beyond those lowlights of the month, of course, the background of perpetual shortage of funds, to the point of worrying about putting food on the table once or twice a week (just before payday) continues unchanged. Husband is due for a raise, but the days off he had to take for his procedure and later for his brother’s funeral are pushing that date further away.

I don’t say things like ‘what else could go wrong?’ because I know that then inevitably something will. I pray our cold water tank, which has been leaking out of the overflow for some time, doesn’t decide to flood the loft before we can afford to bring the plumber in. I’m grateful that we had money today to get new school shoes for the young one (his single pair has just split) and a couple of pairs of leggings for myself (my last pair busted a seam yesterday). I’m not about to go all Jo March, but it is is going to be one of the most lacklustre Christmases in my life, and I’m not in the mood for it at all.

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Month at a Glance

December 2013
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