It's breakdown time in The Cave!
Once a year or so (probably more frequently than that, but I recall having had a breakdown at this time last year), I like to become wildly overwhelmed with daily life and spend a few days careening between tears and panic.
On this year's schedule: Inability To Deal With Physical Objects and Crushing Animal Care Responsibilities!
A few days ago, Viking Roommate (he's not new anymore, he's been here for almost 3 months) returned home from helping a friend build a shed. In his hand was a bag full of random art supplies that had been unearthed during this process. I use many art supplies, and I am broke, so it is a reasonable assumption that I might enjoy these free objects, yes?
I about had a panic attack. My art and craft supply situation is overwhelming. I have MOUNDS of stuff. ACRES of stuff. I can spend hours trying to get it put away, only to have it explode forth the minute my back is turned. I have been actively trying not to learn new skills to prevent supplies from utterly destroying my life.
I must have looked panicked when I said "I cannot deal with any more objects." Viking Roommate seemed to understand, and withdrew with the bag of stuff.
Yesterday, after yelling at the dog for the third or fourth time in about an hour (for going after the cat, her favorite irritating habit), I started fantasizing about a night off of Animal Care Duty. No walking in the freezing dark, no lunging and barking at passersby, no bag of crap to schlep home, no expensive kibbles, no prescription cat food, no twice-daily insulin shots, no piss on my carpet, no cat shit on my garage floor, no scrubbing and bleaching, no yowling at 5am for breakfast, no guaranteed $500 every time we have to visit the vet, no $65 groomer visits every five weeks...
When I discovered that the dog had eaten the cat's expensive prescription food, I started crying.
THIS WILL ONLY GET WORSE AS TIME GOES ON.
The cat's diabetes will get worse. His neuropathy will get worse. His ability to make it to the corner of the garage to shit will diminish. His grooming habits will deteriorate. He will probably become allergic to the hypoallergenic food he is currently enjoying. He will have more piss accidents in the house. He's only 13, and could go a few more years.
The dog is not young. She is 8, and is starting to move more slowly on walks. Her eyebrows and butt are grey, not black. She needs grooming more frequently now. She has not outgrown any of her obnoxious habits (burping in people's faces, sneezing in their hair, begging for food, hogging the bed, whining and nudging if she is not the center of attention, et cetera et cetera), and I have not been able to train them out of her. She has doggy lupus and a tendency towards pancreatitis. Her corneas are fucked up from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
My cat is my second largest monthly expenditure every month, behind my rent. If you combine cat and dog, they outpace rent by about $10 a month.
The fact that my job requires me to be the sole caregiver of two rabbits and three rats is just icing on the cake.
I hate crying. It makes my eyelids puffy for 48 hours, makes my sinuses hurt for at least 24, and usually triggers a migraine. There is a reason I stay firmly in Robot-Land.
I got my shit under control before the migraine hit. I went to bed. I went to work. I plodded through my day, stoicism returning.
I called my mother to see if she had my old swim parka, as I am freezing my ass off at work. My work parka barely covers my ass, and I am tired of shivering at work.
She brought it by, along with another short parka, a bunch of coat hangers, and a bag full of wool owl tchotchkes. I immediately felt the panic surge again. Oh god oh god oh god.
I declined the second parka, with the explanation that my parka is fine, it's just not long enough, and that a short parka will never get worn. My torso is not cold, my ass is.
When she held up the owls, I think I must have sounded deflated, and I think I said "Oh boy. Something to try to keep out of the dog's mouth." I feel like such an asshole.
I sent her a text to apologize for my reaction to her gifts. A reasonable person would not panic at the sight of a warm coat and some hangers and some funny little owl dustcatchers. Even thinking about it makes me want to cry again. If I had to speak right now, I would not be able to hold back tears.
Viking Roommate saw me come in, laden with hangers and coats and bags and anxiety. I explained what had happened, and why I was a prickly ball of nerves. He took the hangers. I have no idea what to do with the owls. They will probably stay in the bag on my desk for 6 months, and become buried under more things that I cannot deal with.
I don't want to be that person, who pisses on gifts and thoughtful gestures. But my boat is capsizing. Can't they see it sinking? Why does everyone keep throwing buckets of water into the boat?
I have to get up in 7 hours to go to work, where it will be 45 degrees inside the building. I will have to rake up rabbit poop, and deal with hundreds of objects that are not mine. Library books and specimens and bits of paper and tools and cleaning supplies. My job is Animal Care and Dealing With Physical Objects.