Count Me Out, October


The last prompt for this season’s memoir writing class was Count Me Out. I have finally had enough inspiration to attempt to write something. I am, however afraid that it will only be a list of grievances, but October has been a shitshow, sometimes literally, so please bear with me.

It has been a long time since I’ve felt so overwhelmingly despaired. I’m not in an emergency depressive state, but I am at the point where I can’t actively wonder what’s next in fear that the powers that be will take that as a challenge.

My response?

Count me out.

We began the month with the first two days having my daughter home sick from school. By October 1st and 2nd, she was finishing a week at home despite being better and except for lacking a negative covid test (which came on Friday) could have gone back to school.

The next week our toilet flooded the basement. We scheduled the plumber and waited.

My dear friend and pastor died suddenly. Even typing this gives me an ache in my heart that will take a long time to settle into the good memories that I know he will engender. It is very much how I felt when my parents and mother-in-law died. I’m lost and numb, and cope day to day, somedays successfully; somedays not.

The toilet was a two day job. We had to treat the toilet gently for the first two weeks.

Can I be done yet?

While making my son’s birthday cheesecake, just starting to blend the cream cheese, I discovered that my hand mixer wouldn’t work. I had to dig out the stand mixer from two cabinets and a drawer, but he got his chocolate chip raspberry cheesecake. Happy Birthday.

We found out that we have a sex offender in the neighborhood. Level 3, high chance of re-offending. Two houses from the bus stop. Half a mile from the elementary school. One thousand feet from a registered day care. We’re looking at all of our options with the town as a neighborhood. We have come together nicely, but we have a lot of kids here and this is untenable, not to mention the only ones changing their lives around are the families, who haven’t gone to prison. We’re a little on edge.

Our second toilet is leaking into the dining room. Apparently, this has been a thing that’s been happening and we were lucky to notice it. The plumber is coming tomorrow.

Seriously: Count. Me. Out.

Our washing machine stopped. In looking on the internet, my husband found that if you unplug and plug it in again, it might reset it. It did not. After a couple of tries, he realized that he had unplugged the dryer. Once he reset the washer, all was well.

Can we unplug and plug October back in?

I feel stuck in a spiral, and waiting for November isn’t a real option. How can I retain my equilibrium? I can say count me out until October ends but that’s not really what I want, not really who I want to be. It feels like a never-ending stress cycle. In this last week, I’ve thought back on October and there were some good things that have happened, and I’d like to share those, if only to remind myself:

On the positive side, while my daughter was home from school, sick but not sick, we spent a lot of time together, talking, eating, and having a really enjoyable week (other than the schoolwork she returned to on Monday that needed to be made up).

The good news on the downstairs toilet is that the plumber reassured us that there is no problem with our original septic tank, and he replaced a lead pipe with a PVC one. While he was here, we also had him hook up our refrigerator so now we have ice and water. There are good things in our suburban-soccer-parent life.

I received sunflower seeds from Giselle Fetterman, the Second Lady of Pennsylvania. I follow her on Twitter and her husband, the lieutenant governor (PA) is running for US Senate. Obviously, not residing in Pennsylvania, I can’t vote for him, but that doesn’t stop the SLOP (her own designation) from interacting with everyone and making lives better. She’s truly a wonderful human being. I need to keep the seeds safe until May when they can be planted. I’m also going to add hydrangeas next year to honor my pastor.

I saw my brother for the first time in two plus years.

My “baby boy” and middle child had a birthday. And because my brother was visiting the day after, he got two birthday cheesecakes to celebrate! I make a pretty good cheesecake.

I had a few weeks of writing group, which is a good source of inspiration that carries me through the rest of fall. In fact, this has been the first thing I’ve written all month.

I was asked to be on team for the next Cursillo weekend, and I am glad that I said yes. I wasn’t sure, but after talking to a few people and discerning my feelings and seeing a few signs here and there including a person, unrelated to my discernment literally saying, “Say yes to G-d,” it was too much to let pass by because of sad and stressful feelings.

My daughter created a new chicken recipe that was fantastic. So good that she did it twice, and we’ll probably adapt it a third time in the coming days. I’ll probably share it with you next week for November’s Friday Food.

I participated in the Living Rosary at my church. It was the first live one since the pandemic, and it was beautiful, spiritual, and meaningful.

I know we all struggle with different things, in different ways, and we all cope differently. Sometimes, we just need to vent. The venting can be good for our mental health; getting it out in the open, letting others see that they’re not alone. Seeing it laid out on the page will sometimes lend itself to solutions for those things that have solutions – fixing the toilet, breaking writer’s block, taking stock of older, possibly worn out appliances to start budgeting for.

I will continue my October as I have been, lighting a candle and sitting in thought and prayer. Reading and planning my Nano projects. Planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas, which will both be at home again this year. Those aren’t bad things. They just are.

Oh, and keeping my therapy appointments.

In a time like these past few weeks, I am reminded of one of the first things my pastor said during my very first Healing Mass. It was so simple and yet so profound, and it reminded me of my past reactions to difficulties and because it was so similar to what I’ve said for years it has stayed with me:

All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

It is a quotation from Catholic mystic and English anchoress, St. Julian of Norwich.

Have a fun and safe Halloween. Don’t eat too much candy. Don’t count yourself out and be gentle with yourself.

One thought on “Count Me Out, October

  1. Love this. Just now getting around to reading all of your posts since class ended. Clearly your fall was like my fall – lots of breakings down, declared serious illnesses and other more minor catastrophes, some also of the plumbing variety. Hate to be “bracing for the holidays,” but that’s about how it feels. Still in good spirits. Sounds like you may be, too. Be well!

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