Monday, March 03, 2014

Lessons the Firemen Taught Me

So, Friday morning the smoke alarms went off early (around 5:20AM) and it was pretty panicky in our home. Brandon was out of town and I had just read earlier that week about this poor family in Idaho who had died of carbon monoxide. I calmed the kids down and got them into the kitchen and told them to open the door. #1 grabbed some coats and boots just in case while I took the 3 seconds necessary to make sure it wasn't our carbon monoxide alarms going off. Realizing it was just our smoke alarms, but not seeing any smoke anywhere, I told the kids to stay where they were (next to the open door) and I proceeded to check out the rooms.

[I know this seems crazy, dear reader, since one would think that if smoke alarms were going off that you would just leave the house right away, right? But you have to understand that it was deathly cold outside and there was no smoke anywhere, and our house has a very open floor plan, so it's kind of impossible for smoke to hide somewhere. Plus, I really felt strongly that we were okay.]

After going near every alarm and checking every room, realizing there was nothing wrong (no heat, no smoke, nothing), I called Brandon and he suggested calling the Fire Dept. I called them and they sent out three firemen to help. They came in full garb and did the same as I did --checked each alarm. They unplugged two and felt they had found the problem, and then they left.

We proceeded to get ready for the day, but then the attic one kept going off; I checked it, but I couldn't see in the attic very well, and it panicked me enough that I called them back.

This time, I took the kids outside and they sent trucks with sirens. A kind neighbor saw my kids (the older ones were ready for school) and took them to her house while the fireman went into our attic and scaled our roof to check the chimney.

Once again --faulty smoke detector. The kind fire marshall spent time talking to me about it all as they left, and my neighbor brought the kids home shortly thereafter. The big kids were off to school, and everything was back to normal. I called the handyman our landlord employs, and he came over in the afternoon and fixed the problem. So far, so good!

I learned a lot from this experience, and even though I don't believe Heavenly Father did this to me on purpose (seriously, things just happen), I truly believe that He was with me, pointing out these important lessons:

First: We needed a plan of escape. I talked with the kids and we concluded what we would do in case of a fire (and we have two alternate routes).

Second: I'm grateful we have alarms and fast-responding emergency help!

Third: The inescapable reality is that my lethargy has gone too far.

I was mortified at the mess the fire dept. saw in our home. Oh, sure, the main floor usually looks acceptable, but this time it was not. And the second floor? Humiliation!

Now, yes, I'm aware that I'm not a hoarder and I do not understand true disgusting-ness; there are no dead animals underneath piles of garbage, this is true. We don't have rats and cockroaches, so I know my ideas of humiliation are still far removed from CPS taking my kids away. It was also a Friday, the end of the week, the day before chore day. However, my standards are my standards, and although I thought I was okay with my incredibly low standards at this junction in my life, this humiliation was like a splash of cold water in the face --I'm really not okay with these standards. I'm not okay with lowering myself to something I'm more than capable of doing.

But up until this point, what was I capable of doing? My deep brain problems have exacerbated the problem, absolutely. I have become a lethargic, depressing (literally) mass of laziness. (No, no, I'm not being too hard on myself. I'm simply describing facts at this point.) And the messy house (which was organized a few months ago), the lack of discipline with the kids, the cold weather keeping us indoors, still adjusting to a new place, and the general feeling of helplessness have simply created an environment that none of us (kids included, I think) have enjoyed living in --least of all me. (Hello, cycle of depression.)

Let's also look at something else that is rather interesting.

For my birthday, I received a FitBit Flex. I've really enjoyed having it, because it's tracking my calories (out), my sleep patterns, and my steps each day. My goal, right now, is to simply get as close to 10K steps each day (that's nearly 5 miles, I guess) as possible. This doesn't count any cardio exercise (which I should do, soon), but it's still a good indicator of how much I'm moving. The first day I had it, Brandon encouraged me to walk up and down the stairs 20 times. "That's easy," I thought. So, I did it, and promptly had an asthma attack after it was over. I also didn't sweat, which meant I was dehydrated, and I was so sore the next day, which proved that my lethargy has reached an entirely new level. I was also shocked to see that even with the stairs, my step total was less than 3,000.


Forget the fact that I now know how much I weigh (doctor's office last week) and that the number is much higher than I realized, because that's simply a byproduct. I have been in denial about my physical health for so long --I figured I could just "start exercising again," no problem. "I'm healthy except for the weight thing," I would say to myself, as I stuffed another burrito or brownie into my mouth and sat on the couch to read another novel while yelling at the kids to do their homework but not really getting up to pay them any attention.

Dear reader, this is serious stuff. Not because I have no excuses --or even justifiable excuses! I have loads of them! I do. My depression, alone, can be seen as completely justifiable. But why in the world do I want to cling to my excuses when I could conquer them, instead? 

So, how is this all connected and what does this all mean?

Friday, after the firemen left, and my sweet neighbor brought my kids back, I stared out the window for minute. I watched the clouds (it was a blue sky that day, and quite beautiful) and I looked at my hands (seriously, it was like a moment in a movie, which was really kind of dorky) and then I got to work.

I worked hard.

I cleaned the main floor on Friday. On Saturday, we all cleaned the second floor and did laundry. Every single room was gutted and every bed made and all dirty things cleaned and all clean things put away. Sunday morning, I was up early and showered, so our routine would run smoothly. Finding the boys' clothes and shoes was no longer a massive undertaking --we knew where everything was located. The missionaries came over right after church for dinner and I wasn't embarrassed for them to come into our home. (In fact, we had the Elders for dinner, and then later, the Sisters came to say good-bye (they're being transferred), and some other ward members stopped by to drop off some yummy empanadas we had "won" in the YW fundraiser (I mention them because they were so good!). But I was more than happy to invite everyone in and let them stay, simply because our home wasn't a health hazard, anymore!)

It's now Monday morning. I still have five loads of laundry to finish (and many sheets/blankets), but instead of feeling overwhelmed, I feel peace. Our home is clean, yes, but that's not the reason for the peace --it's a byproduct of the peace. Does this make sense?

See, my messy home was a result of my inability to do my job. Yes, homemaking is my job. The job I've chosen. The job I've wanted and have been given. The cleanliness and organization of my home is a result of a healthy mama. Me. Healthy me. But hold on: I'm not quite healthy, yet. I know this, too. It will take time to be on my game. This weekend blitz is truly a result of crazy circumstances (the firemen), and I know this. It also helps that I'm in the point of my monthly cycle that represents good and happy hormones. I know this is temporary. But!! the good news is that:

1. I have my psychiatrist appointment tomorrow
2. Using my FitBit has been awesome and gives me motivation to get moving (did you know that I got to my goal of 10K steps on Sat. simply by doing all of that housework? Working on my home is exercise! Who knew?)
3. Some motivation --however falsely unfounded by knowing emergency personnel saw my unkempt home --is better than the absolute zero motivation I've been harboring for so long.

And now, quotage that makes me happy (and actually goes along with what I've been thinking/doing/writing). Have a great day, dear reader! Happy Monday: