Tag Archives: fighting holiday stress

Adding Stress to the Holidays

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops her new construction project, her way of dealing with depression and grief during the holiday season.“Are you sure you won’t mind if your kitchen is a construction zone over Christmas and New Years?” the carpenter asked me, as he ripped at a rotting water-damaged wall in my house. The job had grown to include the demolition and replacement of my cracked concrete countertops. A huge project. My preferred method for dealing with holidays, grief, depression, and major problems seems to be to get totally distracted with something else.

“Oh, it’ll be fine. It’s just me and the dog,” I replied, grateful the carpenter was available, and not yet considering holidays without a kitchen.
“But you won’t have a sink or stove. Your kitchen’s gonna be wrapped in plastic to contain the dust and mess,” he said.
“Well, I’ll still have the fridge and microwave. And a toaster-oven. I can use paper plates. It’ll be a good excuse not to cook. I might even lose a couple of pounds,” I merrily told him.

“What about all your holiday parties?” he asked, and I shrugged, shaking my head pathetically. No parties. However, with people working in the house, I would certainly not be lonely.
“Oh, next week, my Un-Holiday meal for the bereaved parents group,” I said, remembering the event I’d scheduled months ago. Having no kitchen that evening would present a challenge.
“Think about it,” he said. But I didn’t want to think. I just wanted to obliterate the holidays.

In seconds, the Un-Holiday meal idea morphed into plans for a picnic dinner in my living room. And suddenly, I could visualize my Christmas and New Years. I’d have feasts of Chinese take-outs. By candlelight. In front of the TV.

The carpenter drill-blasted the concrete all day Friday. When he left for the weekend, I gulped as I surveyed all the plastic surrounding the heart of my house where I write, cook, eat, play my horn, and watch the digital frame flash photos that light up the memories of my father and daughter.

Sometime, on the other side of Christmas and the New Year, my kitchen will be recovered, fresh and beautiful. But for now, I’m stuck with this big ugly plastic tent in the middle of my house, dust and debris flying around inside. I’m wondering how I can possibly create a happy situation around this. All I can think now is, Oh My Gosh. What have I done!?!

The only bowl that wasn’t packed away for during construction was the dog’s dish. So this morning I ate my granola out of a wineglass. I am going to survive this. It just may entail a constant mustering of creativity.

 

What was the worst holiday you ever had? If you had to abandon your kitchen for the holidays and could only keep a few items, what would be the most important?

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