My copihue
My copihue

My post last week ended with my daughter coughing. My premonition was correct and we’ve had a hellish week with little sleep and a sick daughter. Towards the end of the weekend I was planning on writing about how happiness is bullshit, how I hate my life, I shouldn’t have had kids and that this blog is nothing but a stupid waste of time.

I never do well when the kids are sick (makes me question my parental aptitude a bit) but that wasn’t all that was going on.  I’m stressing about a dispute we’re having with our landlord over a proposed rent increase (our city has strict rent control regulations but we may have missed our window to fight it). My wife has been primarily focused and stressing about an IEP(Individual Education Plan) meeting with the school district requesting speech services for our daughter(the one who is sick right now).  My wife’s been irritable and snapping at me much more than usual and her snapping at me always makes me feel worse. In addition I think both my wife and I have been fighting off a cold, probably our daughter’s, for the past week. I’ve been tired in the evenings so a lot of projects have been put on the back burner. Surf has been too big and I’m not feeling 100%, so no surfing either.

On Sunday we were invited, along with the rest of the research group, to my advisor’s house for brunch. My sick daughter had been okay in the morning(although she threw and broke a point and shoot digital camera) but as we started getting ready to go, she started melting down, and wouldn’t stop crying. I was about ready to scream at this point. We decided that my wife and younger daughter would stay home, and I would go to the party with my older daughter. The drive to the party was when I decided to write the “life is crap” entry.  My advisor lives near some preserved open space, so after eating and socializing I went on a little hike with my daughter and some other attendees from the party (a family with two boys). Being outside in nature, seeing the kids playing, climbing hills, and throwing rocks in the stream was so healing. I was able to forget about the stressors for a little while. Even when my daughter tripped on a rock, bumped her knee and started to cry I was able to still feel calm and actually feel empathy rather than annoyance. After the party we came home and my parents came over. My mom cooked up a delicious stew and it felt so good to have my parents there and also to be taken care of a little bit.

Monday was a holiday, so I finally got to take care of some errands(oil change!) and after reflecting on the past week, purposefully went out back to take some photos. The pictures were of my Copihue (Chilean Bellflower). My parents are from Chile, and the Copihue is our national flower.  The plant is a vine and the flower is heavy and waxy and beautiful. When I found out that I could buy a plant locally several years ago I jumped at the opportunity. I guess it can be quite finicky to grow but ours did really well, it grew vigorously and by the second year it put out a bunch of flowers. I sent photos to the family back in South America and they were impressed and heartened by my success. This continued for a few years.  Last year I changed the vine into a new bigger pot. After a month it started wilting. No flowers developed, the leaves were looking brown and dry on the tips. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Then about 4 months ago I found out that the new pot (plastic) was not draining enough and the plant was basically drowning. I drilled more holes in the bottom of the pot, filled the bottom with perlite and hoped for the best.

Flower buds appeared 2 months ago and the first flower bloomed last week.

Since Monday, things have gotten a bit better. My daughter is beginning to get over her cold. Less snot to wipe up(yeah!) and she’s in better spirits. The IEP meeting was on Tuesday. I loved seeing my wife be so assertive and authoritative. She participates in many IEPs for her work (usually representing her school district) so she was quite prepared. Unlike me she is not afraid to be seen as pushy or ruffle people’s feathers if she needs to. We got pretty much everything we had been wanting.

After hitting a bit of a stalemate with our landlord and it seeming as if we were irreversibly bound for mediation (probably due to some misinterpretation of e-mails), I changed course and wrote a heartfelt letter, detailing our relationship with the landlord, our view of the statutes and offered a compromise.  We’ve had a really good relationship with our landlord for the past 6 years, and I was saddened by the prospect of getting in a nasty fight. I don’t know if the letter will help us settle this amicably or lead to anything, but I feel good that I actually made an effort to reach out.

So things are calming down for now and we’ve been sleeping better. More importantly, I don’t feel like I’m drowning anymore.


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