Monday, April 11, 2011

Something's Gotta Give

This post has nothing to do with the movie that stars Diane Keaton and Jack Nicholson and the fabulous house ... I'm talking about me.  I am juggling more than I can handle right now, and something has to be done ... but I am the only one who can decide what that is, and I don't have a clue.

This is an arrangement of containers that I saw and liked at the Anne Spencer garden in Lynchburg.

My To Do list is approaching unmanageable proportions, and the drain on my physical and emotional energy is becoming unbearable.  Today is a particularly bad day ... I am overwhelmed.

Another beautiful sunrise in my front yard.

Our daughter's wedding is 8 weeks away.  There is a lot left to be done, and I hear the clock ticking loudly in my head.  Since the wedding is here at our house and garden, I have to make sure that the grounds and gardens look as good as they can.  After last summer's hot, dry weather, and the attack of the killer weeds, this spring's clean up is taking more effort than usual.  Her wedding ceremony will be in our pavilion, and it will require a few modifications to the structure (that I'll show you later), which has meant two days spent on construction and another day or two yet to be spent on landscaping. 

We're making subtle changes to this area for the wedding ceremony.

Rose season is almost here, and this is my busiest time of the year.  I have baby roses to care for and ready for their new homes, advance orders to process and stage for shipping in May, and plans to make for opening the nursery to visitors next month.  Rose season also means that there are individuals and groups who want to visit the garden.  It will be an almost non-stop parade of people from mid-May and into June.  Everyone who comes wants a personal tour, which I am honored to provide ... but there is only so much of ME to go around.  Add to this the programs that I present to garden clubs and other groups, and a three-day plant sale to prepare for ... I'm sure there's something else that I'm forgetting.

The Rose Tunnel doesn't look anything like this right now.

Even though our Greyhounds Rock fundraiser event is seven months away, those of us who organize it have a crushing workload right now.  My main job is merchandising, and I have been working to plan inventory and make collars for smaller events in April and May where we have a booth to advertise our event and sell our wares, and for our Etsy store.  The Husband is the web master for everything Internet for Greyhounds Rock, so I end up consulting on web site decisions, and every day there is at least one email conversation about something that goes on among all of us organizers.  Above all of this, I have to remember that we do this to raise money for canine cancer research, a cause that is near and dear to all of us, and my efforts may one day be rewarded with real progress.

My friend Kim's dog TJ, our Greyhounds Rock poster dog ... and that's one of my collars that he's wearing.

The pressure of having older pets is weighing heavily on me right now.  Emma is 14, and she is doing really well right now ... thank Heaven.  Kimba, our outdoor cat, is at least 18 and she's slowing down, but she is also healthy.  Amy ... sweet Amy ... will not be with us much longer.  I have to call my vet and talk to her about it.  I can't think about this right now.

My house is a mess!  I have not put any time into controlling the accumulation clutter, so the piles of papers and supplies and tools are everywhere.  I would love to have a place for everything, and I will one day, but I do not have the energy or time to devote to get there right now.  If it wasn't for my cleaning lady, I don't know what I'd do.  Every other Tuesday, she comes and my house sparkles afterward.  In preparation for her arrival, I usually spend a frenzied couple of hours clearing what clutter I can manage and trying to organize what I can.  I have faked myself into believing that every little bit helps.

Here is a photo of our tidied up family room.  You didn't think I was going to show you the mess, did you?

This morning, I was presented with the proverbial straw-that-broke-the-camel's-back ... my Mustang is probably more broken that we thought it was.  Remember when it overheated last fall?  The Husband tried to change the thermostat this weekend, and he thinks there's a crack somewhere, and it won't hold water.  I have to talk to my mechanic this afternoon.  Now that I say this out loud, a broken car is really minor when compared to everything else that's going on ... it's more of a contributing element to a cumulative accumulation of stress.

Why am I sitting here blogging about this instead of taking care of it, you ask?  This morning has become a time of reflection and recharging ... trying to gather my energy for another push toward my goal of reducing my responsibilities and streamlining my life.  I doubt it's going to work.  What I really need to do is say No ... but to what? 

Alice and Dorothy are doing what they can to help.

Thanks for listening and reading this post this far.  I know it's not the usual light-spirited, informative, positive vibe that I try to keep here.  I don't have a lot of positive inside me right now.  I'm tired.

Now that I got this off my chest, I'm going to go outside and work. 


  1. One thing at a time, one thing at a time. It is easy to become stressed when you see how many pages are to be read in a novel instead of reading one page at a time. It will all come together and the wedding will be beautiful. They always are! Deep breaths my dear, deep breaths.

  2. How can I help?

    Just tell me and Ill be there :)

  3. Bless your heart you certainly do have a lot going on!
    I do know in some way how you feel though the "things" are different. I put a very long sticky note on my puter of the upteen million things that I had and still have going on from March through June. I had to write them all out there were so many to keep track of! But looking at it was stressing me out...still does a little. Almost every weekend was planned with some event or another and when I don't have something certain going on there are so many garden and house chores to be done, not to mention I homeschool two kids as well. Lord willing though it gets taken care of to the best of my ability and what doesn't...doesn't. I have also had to deal with aging pets both mine as well as my mothers (my dog as well as hers). Those things are tough to deal with but time heals that too. The hustle and bustle is one of those things in this 21st century life we live we just can't seem to avoid at times.
    One day at a time though..don't get too busy and wrapped up in it all that you forget to enjoy the things God has given you, friends and family, your roses, even spring. For and I don't mean to be grim but we don't know what a day holds forth and we don't know if we have a tomorrow.

    I'm sure it will all turn out! I do wish I lived closer I would love to help out. :o) Sometimes we have to vent, I completely understand!lol :o) God bless you Connie!! ((hugs))

  4. Wow, you have a lot going on. I am stressing reading it. I know sick pets add to that stress. I am sure the wedding will turn out beautifully in such a pretty setting.

  5. Connie - take a deep breath, close your eyes and BREATHE.

    Let the house go - don't clean up for the cleaning lady - she'll understand.

    The gardens will be gorgeous for the wedding no matter what. And if you don't get them looking as perfect as you want guess who's going to notice? You. Everyone else will be staring at the bride and marveling over what a beautiful place you have - stray weeds and all.

    Ask some of your co-organizers to pick up some of the slack for the fundraiser whiel you are preparing for the wedding. I think they'll understand and probably be glad to help take some of the load off of you - wouldn't you do that for them if they needed it? Exactly.

    Concentrate on what needs you right now - your pets and your roses - and remember that YOU are the only one who will know what you did and didn't get done. You can't do it all.

    Now go get a glass of wine (don't judge - it's after 12- ha!) and go sit somewhere quiet where you can enjoy this beautiful weather for at least 30 minutes. You need the down time to recharge yourself :)

  6. Whew! I'm exhausted just reading your post!

    I recently felt as overwhelmed as you but with different situations. It seems that things happen all at once. This too shall pass!

    I hope taking the time this morning to write your blog and to reflect & regroup helped. Sometimes that's all we need... to unload and receive encouragement from friends!

    Hang in there! It will all get done!

  7. Yikes! What a schedule! If it were only the wedding I'd say just remember people will only be looking at the bridge - and housekeeping is never something to worry about, but so much else is going on! Just keep breathing.

  8. Hi Connie
    I really know where you are coming from with this post. Sometimes everything comes at you all at once, and if you think about it in entirety it becomes overwhelming. I've found it helps to make a little progress in a day, on one particular project at a time, rather than think about them all. I try to concentrate on just one action that helps a little way towards the end result. If I do this every day, then I feel better about making that end result more achievable, and I worry less that it is an unattainable goal.
    Sorry about your Mustang, I hope it's not too expensive to repair.
    ps. I did kind of hope that you might share the mess, if only to make me feel better about mine!

  9. I do think sometimes just letting it all out helps! Now that you have, make priorities! The wedding has to be #1 and the Roses (business) also. Tours etc might have to wait until some of the other things have been done. Breathe and take it one step at a time. hugs Linda

  10. I can feel your stress just from reading this post. Can you hire someone to help with the roses so that you can tend to the wedding and pets?

  11. Bless you! You are meeting yourself coming and going. Poor Amy, bless her, too. I have two words for you, SEEK HELP. (don't be afraid to ask for it, or accept it) You are going to wear yourself down to a bloody nub!

  12. Wow Connie, you are human! All along I thought you had super powers with all that you do. Don't focus on all you have to do instead think of all you've done. Your amazing and human. Hang in there, your rose's need you! My thought's are with you.

  13. Marrying a daughter involves more than the wedding. It is a complicated emotional and life-changing time. As an event, the wedding will come and go. I am sure it will be gorgeous, as I know you want it to be perfect for her, but as busy as life is, everything else will fall into place again for you by July.
    In the mean time, 10 minutes here and there for meditation and grateful spiritual reflection will help.

  14. that rose tunnel is amazing Connie. One day at a day at a time. It will all come together. Forget the volunteer tours right now. I understand the stress though. We have a wedding out here but not until September and I am already feeling overwhelmed. Part of it is an age thing...I am too old for this stuff. Connie, I was delighted to hear from you. Be good to yourself. )

  15. It's hard when everything piles up around you and you have to dig your way out. Things have a way of working themselves out. Saturday I was hoping for some extra sleep but woke up at 5:10...and I got so much done. Sunday the mower guy was mowing the neighbor's grass under our bedroom windows at 8:30 in the morning...and I got 6 loads of laundry done. We're only two people so it had been a while. My computer is in the laundry room which I never left all day. But a lot got done. And so will your stuff. Get some rest...or maybe not.

  16. Ok, stop where you are, slow down, take in a deep breath and take stock of what you absolutely NEED to do. Not what anyone else needs you to do, but only those things that you need to do! Break it down into small increments, not your idea of small increments, remember I know you too well, but what you would consider tiny increments! Then cut that list in half so that you can actually accomplish some of it without being overwhelmed! Delegate where you can...remember I know you! And what falls through the cracks falls.

    J's wedding will be beautiful not because every rose bed is perfect, every weed is gone, and every stack of paper is sorted and put away. It will be beautiful because she will be happy, and you will be calm, and love will be in the air. That's all people care about, and if you are so stressed by the time it rolls around then no one will enjoy the day. There is only so much of you my dear, so don't let everyone take a little piece of you...say NO and mean it. Do what needs to be done close to home and let the rest go!

    And you know I'm only a phone call away!

    xo Kat

  17. Breathe. One foot in front of the other. Screw the clean house. Days before the wedding you can hire a cleaning crew to spit shine if you want, but for now, who's looking under the couch? Ask for help with the event organization. Surely there are others who can take over some of the workload.

    OMG, that rose tunnel is so pretty... perfect for a wedding procession? ....

  18. Deep breath! Break things down into smaller increments...and let me know if you need a volunteer entertaining allowed! :-)

  19. Take a deep breath. You certainly do have a lot on your plate right now but it will all get done. Just do what needs to be done right now. Your kitties and doggies and the wedding seem to take priority so just deal with that. The cleaning lady doesn't expect you to straighten up before she arrives. Your guests will be looking at the beautiful bride and surroundings. They will not see the weeds because the roses will be blooming beautifully...and so will you! Relax and let us know if there's any way we can help you. It will all be beautiful.

  20. It's okay to vent a bit, you work really, really hard and there are times it's bound to catch up with you. The advice to take one step at a time is right on. We're thinking of you, just hang in there!

  21. Connie, you will get through this. It will be over somehow and then you will sit down and rest. Your house doesn't look messy at all, and your rose tunnel will look even more spectacular this year. If you don't get around to fixing absolutely everything, people won't even notice - they will come to enjoy themselves, not to criticize you:)

  22. Oh Dear , I can feel your stress rise the more I read!! I hope you have moments of peace in your busy life.
    And I love your rose tunnel. I want one!!!

  23. I understand your pain, and as much as I love spring, I hate it just as much.

  24. Wow ~ and I thought I had a lot going on. My head is spinning every which way. Can't sleep at night and can't stay awake during the day. All I can do is lean on the Lord for strength, for there certainly isn't enough of me to go around. I will be praying for you and your heavy load.

  25. Connie,
    Overwhelming work loads seem to be an inevitability in my line of work, er, school. They can be handled without too much panic if you have a system. The key is to take a deep breath, sit down for a minute, and schedule. Incremental blocks of time created throughout the day, devoted to the different projects you need to accomplish. Make a list (a reasonable one, don't overload any one day) of what you can do per day for the next few days. Then work on it at a task to task basis per day. It spreads the work out, makes it less intimidating and helps to make the day less drudging. Here is an day today:

    1)Redraw plans for new configuration of structure in final project. (3 hours)
    2) Lunch
    3)Read and formulate notes for research term on Louis Kahn and the Ruins of Rome (2 hours)
    4)Begin lasercut file for final presentation model 1/16"-1' scale.
    (2 hours)
    5)coffee break
    6)Site plan for final (2 hours)
    7) Dinner
    8)Axonometric detail drawings of light control systems in main galleries. (3 hours)

    SO this list takes me from 8 am to 10 pm, but that is my normal workday in school, and should not be considered a normal workday for most people. This system helps me out a lot in keeping work moving along, but staying fresh as I don't spend too much time in one place. I call it ADD time-management. Also remember to take time to do something enjoyable for 5 to 10 minutes at a time throughout the day. Everybody needs a break.

    Hope this helps!


  26. Hi Connie! Sometimes just listing the stresses on paper (or monitor as the case may be) helps -- and of course, sometimes it doesn't.

    I cannot imagine the stress and WORKLOAD of having your daughter's wedding at your home. I think that might send me plunging over the edge of sanity... I'm barely keeping it together and my daughter's June wedding is at an Inn.

    As others have said, one step at a time. And remember about the wedding -- whether or not the grounds are perfect or the pavilion finished ... the marriage is what counts, and that WILL happen and no one will remember any of the things that YOU will think are not perfect.

    Give the guests good food and plenty of it and some music -- and that fabulous setting you have -- you cannot help but have a glorious day.

    I also want to extend my very heartfelt sympathies on the loss of your Amy. Knowing when to let a pet go is the last great kindness we can give them, and our heartache is the price we pay for loving them and having them grace our lives.

    BIG hugs -- Cass
    PS we were in Williamburg VA this past weekend -- it was beautiful!

  27. Sister, I feel your pain. Spring can be a hard time, as wonderful as it is. Your place will look beautiful no matter what.

  28. Hang in there Connie, and don't fret about taking time for yourself. You need it. And forget about a clean house!

    My job is crazed right and between that and the commute I want to kill someone. I started taking B12 shots and they have helped tremendously. Ask your doctor about it if you have the time to go!


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