Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stress And All That Needs Doing

I feel about as affective as a puddle through a sieve as I rush around trying to get ready to travel halfway around the world to adopt daughter #2, I am trying to pull it together, but there is so much to do that I sometimes stand in the middle of a room totally befuddled, arms trying to reach one way and legs attempting to move in the opposite direction, while my mind is somewhere else altogether. I'm like the Push-Me-Pull-You in Dr. Dolittle!

This week, my last before travel to get it all done has been particularly stressful. I am working a full-time job to which I commute an hour each way, and as I am going to be out of the office for many weeks, I am frantic to get done more than usual and appear productive. I have about fifty illustrations that need doing for a freelance project that I am working through at night. I need the house to be reasonably clean, and needless to say, it is not; many baby safe gadgets have yet to be installed and other things not baby-proof put away. I desperately need to pack – it's all in a pile on the floor of one of the bedrooms and each time I look at it I sigh in despair. Today the travel agent calls me at work to tell me that my new daughter turned two this past Sunday. Yes, I knew that, why is she telling me this? She is telling me this because the airline lap ticket that I purchased for her won't work, it is only good for a child under the age of two. I must quickly send back the ticket to them and buy a full seat ticket. Wonderful.

And just to make my week complete the dogs must go to the vet for their shots so that they can stay at the kennel for a month. I was lucky enough to snag an appointment for today since they are open late on Wednesday. So I rush to pick up daughter #1, rush to the house to pick up the two dogs, one weighing 60 pounds, the other 20 (they are quite the odd pair), chaos ensues trying to get them and daughter settled in the car and calmed down. Rush to McDonald's for a Happy Meal for daughter who is insisting that she is starving unto a near faint; rush to the vet's, run with dogs and kid, who has Happy Meal in tow, through the rain and mud and burst through the doors. Woody, the little one, promptly pees on the floor. Daughter screams this fact so that anyone within a mile radius could hear her. I dig in my purse for baby wipes to no avail, apologizing profusely. Yep, here we are world, look at us! Harried, breathless, rain drenched and mortified! Well done.

The young woman at the counter looks at me expectantly, “I'm here for our appointment at 6:40.”

“Uh, what's your name?”

I tell her. She searches, we aren't in “The Book”. Now I know I made this appointment two weeks ago I insist. She searches some more and finds us...we do indeed have an appointment... for NEXT Wednesday. Uh oh.

“Well, that just can't be.” I lament, “We will be out of town then”, yeah, way out of town! She looks at me blankly, I know she just wants me to go away and come back next Wednesday. “Is there nothing that can be done? The dogs can't go to the kennel without their shots, who will take care of them while we are in China if they can't go to the kennel?” I plead...I whimper and I remain stubbornly standing at the counter.

“Well, I can ask the doctor,” she finally offers. She goes away. I hear whispering. She returns and tells me that they will take me, but I will have to wait for who knows how long because there are other appointments that must be taken care of first. I look around, the waiting room is currently empty. But I thank her and apologize for my mistake, knowing full well that neither one of us apparently had confirmed the actual date; she said Wednesday, I thought it was this Wednesday, she thought it was next Wednesday, and because she has “The Book”, that makes her right. And normally I would concede and go away and come back next Wednesday, but I can't, I am desperate, the situation dire, I must be seen today.

While all of this is transpiring, the two dogs, one huge, one small and my daughter have NOT been sitting primly and properly on a bench and waiting patiently. Oh no, daughter is trying to eat her Happy Meal, play with the toy that came with it (which of course makes some kind of screaming noise), and hold on to two leashes at the same time. She keeps trying to slip the leashes into my unsuspecting hands every few seconds while I am pleading and attempting to look deserving and piteous. Big dog keeps jumping up on the counter next to me. Little dog maintains a constant loud whining. Both start to bark hysterically whenever a person walks in the room, which is happening often because the technicians and the doctor have each come out to glare at me in turn. The doctor has gone so far as to tell me how this is going to make them all have to stay an hour past their quitting time. I apologize for the tenth or so time and try to look contrite, but I probably look more like some crazed stressed out cartoon character at this point. And when the appointment for which we must wait appears through the door, the woman starts back in apparent terror and scoops up her rather large dog in an attempt to scoot around us like we are some sort of traveling freak circus. Which honestly? I am beginning to feel like a genuine participant in. Oh my yes, “Come one, come all to see The Wild Barbarian Woman of Louisa and her Brood of Untamed Savages!”

And then, in the midst of all this chaos, an unexpected lull. The dogs are sitting. The child is sitting. I get a moment to glance out of the rain streaked window and attempt to calm myself. It lasts for maybe thirty seconds when my daughter draws in a sudden sharp breath. “Mom!” And in my mind I think, now what?!

“Look!” she exclaims and holds up her finger on which is perched a bright red ladybug. “Mama, a ladybug! She must be here to deliver a message from baby sister!” She holds the bug up to her ear, “Yes? Yes, I'll tell her... Mama, the ladybug says to tell you that baby sister can't wait to meet us and to hurry up and get to China.”

“Really?” I say with true wonder, for here, in the middle of the waiting room of a veterinarian's office is a ladybug, which has chosen to rest, on of all places, the hand of my daughter, will wonders never cease.

“Well, lets give her a message to give to baby sister that we will soon be on our way.” We do this, whispering our love to the small creature and then taking her outside to start again her journey. And all is right and as it should be with the world again.

KKW ©2008


Pegeen said...

Ah, poor Kim. I will have to remember this whenever I get stressed (every second) about all I have to do before we leave. "The Wild Barbarian Woman of Louisa and her Brood of Untamed Savages!" Hysterical. ...and pitiful.

Debby said...

Have I mentioned that I LOVE your Blog? You have such a way with words. I can totally relate to your writing style. I could picture being in the waiting room & oh! how I wish I lived close enough to come over & just GET IT DONE with you. You could leave the baby proofing thngs...I'll do it while you are gone.
You will have a great trip. I hope you plan to Blog while in China.


Beverly said...

Technically the ladybug tradition started in the American APC group but it is a good tradition that has a lot of meaning to APs and China's merchants also picked up on it so you will see ladybugs all in Guangzhou!! Lovely story and I am sure the ladybug delivered the message to baby sister right away as she should have!!

One Happy Momma said...

What an awesome story!

I just loved what your daughter said when she saw the ladybug. Precious. :)

Cathy from LCC

Kara said...

Why hello there! I was actually reading this entry like it was a dramatic novel. "oh! will her dogs get their shots? who's going to watch them?!" I'll assume everything worked out? I was just saying to my mother (who will be watching my pup in October) that I'd have to figure out how to go to the vet, which I can't afford, if she couldn't watch him cause he'd be off to Holiday Barn.

Denise said...

What a sweet post, and you do have such a way with words!

I am getting the photo album together for you to take with you and will be in touch before you go~

Twice Blessed China Mom said...

As I was preparing to travel for my younger daughter, I literally made a list of 50-60 things that needed to be done upon receiving travel approval. I was useless after receiving my referral and TA for my older daughter and wrote my list in order of what needed to be done. I suspected I'd lose my mind, as I had the first time. I was already packed and had everything I needed; these tasks were related to work, removing my older child from school, making tentative appointments for the state birth to 3 evaluations, the initial appointment for a cleft palate appointment, etc. Amazing what it takes to leave the country for two weeks and adopt another child! Good luck! My older daughter was 8 when we travelled and she saved us, the last few weeks before we left for China. She was such an incredible help around our home! Our house also went up for sale the day after we left for China. I thought I'd lose my mind!