This entry is going to be mainly based in true recent events, because I can deeply relate with “estar hasta las manos”, at least in one of the two uses it has 😉
The literal translation of estar hasta las manos is to be up to the hands, and it means to be completely exceeded by a situation. So here is when the meaning can change from positive to negative. Well, actually that’s not totally accurate, but let’s see.
If you are working against the clock, you have to deliver a 5000 words paper for tomorrow and you’re just starting now, you can accurately say that you are hasta las manos.
Now, if you’ve met someone incredible two weeks ago and you’re already considering the possibility of moving together and you’ve started discussing babies names (which means that you’d already settled on how many children you want to have), we can certainly and doubtlessly say that you both are hasta las manos. It would depend on the observer if the phrase hasta las manos has a positive meaning (that you’re really in love and into each other) or a negative one (you’re simple insane, in a bad way, you should calm down a little bit).
– Hoy a la tarde tengo que entregar el proyecto de tesis, pero justo me llegó un montón de trabajo y para colmo me avisaron que quizás no cobre este mes. ¡Estoy hasta las manos! (I have to turn my thesis project this afternoon, but I’ve just got loads of work and to top that, HR just informed that I might not get paid this month. I’m up to my knees!)
– No puedo evitarlo, estoy hasta las manos con Julia. (I can’t help it, I’m really into Julia)
– Pedro está hasta las manos con el tema de la relación de Juan y María, no puede superarlo (Pedro is really affected by Juan and Maria’s relationship. He can’t get over it).