Monday, July 16, 2012

Creating Margin to Allow for the Unexpected

Maybe your life is more predictable than mine, and if it is maybe this post will not have much meaning for you. But for me and my rather crazy household it has become normal to expect the unexpected! 

Here are some of the unexpected things things that have happened around here in the last five weeks.

We woke up one Monday morning to find that the water heater had sprung a major leak during the night. This was also the day that the dishwasher quit working, the computer ate all my lesson plans for the kids for the week, CJ's hamster got loose in the house and Doug and I were both scheduled to teach Bible School that evening. We were able to get a new water heater that day and later in the week I was able to get the dishwasher working again. But in the meantime things were a little off with no hot water and no dishwasher.

Then the Dorecho blew through. We were one of the fortunate families who had very little damage and didn't lose power. But we did spend a couple hours in the basement that night (with six kids) waiting for the storm to pass which resulted in lots of lost sleep. And we had a yard full of limbs and branches that had to be cleaned up, taking time from other plans.

One Sunday morning Michael had a seizure in his sleep and we called the Rescue Squad to take him to the ER. This was the first seizure he's ever had that we've known of ( although one doctor is thinking he may be having them during the night and we're not realizing it.) 

The only thing the ER doctor could tell us was to follow up with his pediatrician, which we did. Then he had what I'm pretty sure was another one in his sleep so the worked us in for an EEG pretty quickly. What they did not tell me until the afternoon before the EEG was that this was to be a sleep deprived EEG which meant I had to get him up at 2AM and not let him go to sleep again until the EEG at 8:15. So suddenly I was looking at a nearly sleepless night and naps the next day. Once again, unexpected interruptions to normal daily life.

So, with all of this, I am beginning to live with a sense of expecting the unexpected. This got me started thinking of ways to keep things running more smoothly during times like this. I realized what I needed to do was create margin, or make space for the unexpected. Here are some of the things that I came up with that I think will be helpful for a smooth running household even when the unexpected happens.

Cook for the freezer - I do some of this already but I think I'm going  to step it up a little. Casseroles, soups, stews, cookies, cake, muffins and pancakes all freeze well and it's a fairly simple matter to make a double or triple batch when I'm cooking anyway and freeze the extra. Then, when things are chaotic, it's so nice to be able to pull a meal out of the freezer. That's a definite win in my book.

A couple other simple things that are helpful are to always keep the dishwasher and washer and dryer cycling. This way there's never a pile up of dishes or dirty clothes. It's easy enough to think I'll do it all at later scheduled time but somehow schedules just aren't my friend right now. So instead, I think as soon as a load of dishes or laundry is done I (or one of the older kids) will be emptying the machines, putting things away and starting the next round. It really doesn't take that long and the good feeling of knowing that dishes and laundry are staying completely caught up is priceless. 

I know not everyone is a coffee drinker, but I grew up in a family of coffee drinkers and still go through a couple pots of coffee most days. To make it easier on myself during the "crazy times" I'm going to make a point to have the coffee pot cleaned, fresh grounds in the basket and water in the reservoir so that all I have to do is hit the button for the next pot of fresh brewed coffee. 

And this one is not exactly homemaking but it is one that I realized I need to work on - and that is keeping my laptop and cell phone fully charged. While sitting in the basement during the Dorecho I really wished my laptop had a full battery so I could track the storm. And sitting in the ER with Michael after his seizure I found myself really wishing my phone wasn't almost dead! So I've been making a real effort to make sure they stay charged.

But, regardless of how much preparation and "staying on top of things" I do, the bottom line is that God is in control. And that fact, more than anything else, allows me to know that I can face whatever life decides to throw my way. 

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. ~ Romans 8:28

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  1. It all comes down to being prepared. You are doing a fabulous job. You saw how unprepared you were before and you are working out the kinks. We lost power for three days, in turn losing all our food. In those situations, having precooked meals doesn't help. But, having canned meals is perfect. We are more prepared now because we have a generator and cables. We are now set up for emergency. There are so many things we can do to make it easier. I am so thankful we have a gas stove. I was able to fix food. We stocked up on water as well.

    1. Awww, thank you. :-) I think a lot about what would happen if we lost power and I have been considering canning some meals as well.

  2. I love how practical and thoughtful you were in response to a trip to the E.R. I hope your son's seizures can be diagnosed and healed quickly.

  3. Best of luck with dealing with the seizures. It seems like difficult times come in groups... I remember right after getting married, in the middle of winter, we lost our water heater and the bedroom space heater (the bedroom isn't connected to the central heat) in the same week. It was miserable, and since it happened on a holiday weekend, we had to live without hot water for 3 days.

    1. I wonder why it is that difficulties come in groups? I asked my husband the other day if I'm the only one who feels like we're just waiting for the other shoe to drop and he said no, he's been feeling it too. But, it's ok. I know God is in control so I'm refusing to stress out about it.

  4. oh i'm so sorry about the seizures. my son had seizures when he was 3 mos old. we spent a week in the ER and it was terribly stressful. they never found anything wrong with him and he had a new EEG a week ago and has been cleared. i'll be praying for miraculous healing for your little one. i know how scary that can be. also i read an article about melatonin on the livestrong page about 2 days ago that said that melatonin can help prevent seizures while you sleep. you might want to google livestrong and melatonin and see if it might help for a bit. <3

    1. Thank You for stopping by. The information about Melatonin is interesting and I'm going to look into it. However, my son has been on Melatonin for about two years now because of trouble falling asleep. I wonder if, now that he's a little older and bigger, I should raise the dosage a little. I'll definitely check on that.

  5. Yikes! You have had quite the week!! It seems like I have been hearing a lot kids having seizures lately. My husbands baby cousin (who is 7 months old) suddenly started having them too. So scary for a mom!!

    Check out melatonin really carefully before upping his dose, there are safer herbs with much more research to back them up that help with sleeping. A lot of people (including people in my family) take melatonin, but I have read that you shouldn't take it unless you have tests to prove you are deficient. Just do research to be safe.