Every year I say, “It’s been an interesting year, full of ups and downs and sideways.” This year I’m saying the same thing, but it feels like an understatement of ultimate proportion.
In April I had a mild stroke. Knocked me and my family for a loop, but I recovered despite the crappiest medical care known to man by all but my GP. End of story? Not really. I’m still discovering daily what I have recovered, what I haven’t, what I probably never will, and what’s merely being stubborn and slow. I have my typing back. My handwriting, while not quite my own again, yet, no longer looks like a poor attempt at forging the doctor’s prescription sheet. I can write again, and stories are coming along. I no longer slur my words or look like I’m trying to kiss my own ear. So I’d call that progress to the nth degree. But there are still things I can’t do. Figuring out deposit slips for simultaneous deposits to multiple accounts now takes me at least an hour. But so far, thank God, the budget is balanced and the bills are being paid on time.
Some things try to defeat me, and often knock me back a step or two. A lifelong needle artist, it was never a problem before to whip up a blouse, or sometimes a complete outfit, the night before a family shindig. This year, though, was a different story and led to a major meltdown Halloween morning, and shook my family awake to how much I was still struggling on some things. I had to admit a momentary defeat. I wore my Thanksgiving sweater for my sister’s annual Halloween blowout. I refused to let it keep me down and tried again the night before Thanksgiving. I’d already conceded I still don’t have the energy to hold the family gathering at my house and relinquished the holiday festivities to my mother…a bitter pill to swallow, I must tell you. I managed to create a new neck facing and attach it by hand…I CAN still make tiny even stitches. But the mitered V overwhelmed me. Seems I need a little more time to figure out how to do that properly. I wore the red and gold sweater I’d planned for Christmas.
Now, the waiting to the last minute is a habit, but isn’t by choice this year. I’m back to doing everything I did pre-stroke, with some tidbits added to my routine. In mid October, my son wrecked his car. He was fine, thank God. The other driver was fine with minimal damage to her car, thank God. But the insurance company totaled Dusty’s beloved car, and gave him a much better settlement than we had expected. Still it’s not enough to go out and buy a vehicle. He’s got at least 3 1/2 years of college to get through, so it needs to be a reliable car, despite his manly desire for something souped up. Thank God for his level-headed father, and Dusty’s eventual acceptance of logic. So I’ve added taxi driver to my regular routine, sometimes waiting for a few hours in the car a couple of days a week with my aggravating but precious laptop working on my next book.
So, we went to Thanksgiving at my mother’s—my entire family was there, save one brother who lives in Virginia and couldn’t get the time off. The food was amazing as usual. It was a completely drama-fee day. We have babies in the family again, three little boys, one little girl, and it feels so right. It was a beautiful day. It felt perfect.
The day after Thanksgiving we received news that my publisher is closing its doors the last day of the month. Knocked back another step, I shake my head, then I think, wait a minute. I’ve only been with this company for six months. The owners who had to make this decision due to health issues of their own have their life and blood invested in this. It couldn’t have been an easy decision. They have gone above and beyond to be good to their authors, giving us not only rights to our work, but our cover art, as well, at no cost to us. I’ve been on the tail end of imploding publishers, we got not nearly the consideration through the entire process as these classy ladies have given us in a mere two days.
Now I start over yet again. It’s not the first time, won’t be the last, I’m sure. Not the first time this year, but I do hope it’ll be the last time this year. So, with one month to go, we’ll do a semi-sum up. I have survived a stroke, recovered to a very strong degree. I can type, write coherently, crochet, knit, and stitch. So far, everything I’ve tried, I have mastered to one degree or other. I survived the death of my ac unit, and smile as I pay my $125 electric bill. My son happy, healthy, doing great at the end of his first college semester and though he’s sans car, he is saving. My daughter is healthy, happy, and just won her second art scholarship based on the artwork she created this semester. I may not have a publisher at present, but I will find one. I have a revamped webpage, and a second book 1/2 finished and I’ve learned a lot this last 6 months.
And Christmas Day, when we go to my mother’s for the family party and dinner, I will be wearing a finished orange t-shirt with metal medallions lining the perfectly mitered V-neck, and my son will be wearing a finished crochet beanie.
Life is definitely good.