Days off, Planning Direction, Learning How to go Slower…

Yesterday started my 3 day vacation from work. I had great plans of this or that to do in a lackadaisical manner, refueling my soul, recharging the battery. None of those things happened.

Apparently, buried in the deep recesses of my mind, there is the fear that these days off will be just as much work as work itself. I woke up yesterday about an hour and a half later than I normally do. As I lay casually in bed cuddling my Tru-dog, who had decided to stay home from the walk yesterday morning, I felt like these days off were getting off to a great start. I rolled out of bed to make my coffee.

As I headed out the door with my coffee and laptop to sit at my desk (which is outside), I noticed I felt a little queasy. I decided I would wait until after I had blogged for the morning to do a more thorough systems check. I never made it to my blog (obviously).

As I sat drinking my coffee, staring at the blank post page on my computer screen, it became apparent that I needed to crawl back in bed. I had arranged with my friend to be at her house about 9 o’clock. It was ten minutes to 8. I put my laptop away, finished up my coffee, set the alarm for 8:30, and crawled back in bed, taking advantage of being able to have the whole bed all to myself. When the alarm went off at 8:30, which felt like mere seconds later, I crawled out of bed, again, made a second coffee (very unlike me), and headed out the door. I still felt icky but figured it would wear off as my system eased into the day.

It was really great getting to sit, drink coffee, and chat over at my friend’s house. I love hanging out, drinking coffee and haven’t been able to do that with anyone for quite some time. I really enjoyed it. I wish there were more time for this activity on a regular basis, but there doesn’t seem to be. My friend is just as busy as I am, if not more so. I hope she enjoyed the coffee hang out as much I did.

I headed home from there to crawl in bed, again. Maybe a little more sleep would leave me not feeling so icky. I think it’s just wrong to get sick on days off, pseudo vacation days. Being sick on pseudo vacation days just doesn’t feel like days off to me. Sure, you’re not working or expected to, but wouldn’t you be staying home if you’re sick anyway? Not the same. These are supposed to be my freebie days, not days for my body to decide it has the chance to be sick. Yes, I’m pouting a little bit.

I woke up today feeling a little bit better. The upside to being sick while you have some days off is there isn’t any pressure to hurry up and get better so you can get back on the wheel. Yesterday, I slept some and spent the rest of the time being a sloth on my bed, watching Netflix. I just finished the last episode in the latest season of the Vampire Diaries on Netflix. The latest season of Supernatural is up next. My son has watched this season of Supernatural and is longing to chat with someone about it so…Supernatural it is.

I picked up 15 more audiobooks the other day. I have actually started a plan of what I am going to be listening to for a while, besides the language programs. Spirituality and religion have always been topics that interest me. Spirituality, that thing that brings you to the center of you, is a personal thing, I believe. There are a million different and similar methods peddled out there as being the key to finding your own spirituality. I’m of the thought that whatever centers you, whatever reconnects you with you and brings you peace is the thing that you should be doing on a regular basis, whatever that may look like. If it works for you, doesn’t harm you or anyone else, then do it. I don’t think there is necessarily a wrong way of doing that.

Religion…well, religion is religion. I don’t pretend to know what religion is right or wrong. I have my own opinions on each of the religions I understand, and I can see the benefits that could be had by following a specific religion, or mixing a few together. For me, what it boils down to is this: If you find something that helps you make it through the more difficult times in life, that helps you maintain some level of morality, and possibly helps you understand yourself and others better, than go with what works for you.

I don’t really have anything against any religion. I just don’t understand religious followers that have closed their minds off to the idea that any other religion could be just as valid as the one the feeds them. Every religious sect has its own group of devote followers and this just tells me that they each have some form of validity to them. I feel like when one religious sect, or its followers, place judgement on another, different religious sect or its followers, then they have lost hold of the true message. It has become an us and them thing and I don’t think religion, any religion, was designed to promote that type of thinking. My shoes are purple and yours are green, but they are both good shoes. Does that make sense?

Anyway, so the audiobooks I recently picked up are mostly about spirituality and religions. A couple are from the Modern Scholar recorded books. Religion, Myth, and Magic; the Anthropolgy of Religion is one and Discovering the Philosopher in You: The Big Questions in Philosophy. I have two from the Great Courses, World Religions series: Christianity and Hinduism. The End of Faith; Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason by Sam Harris. The Theory of Everything; The Origin and Fate of the Universe by Stephen W. Hawking. The Great Transformation; The Beginning of our Religious Traditions by Karen Armstrong. An audiobook with guided meditations, another with Buddhist tales of happiness, another one on Tao. I guess maybe I just want to understand these perspectives better.

Some may look at this and think I am lost and looking. I’m not. Though I don’t believe that I have the world or life figured out, I am secure in my own ‘belief’ system. Religion and spirituality fascinate me and I think this has to do with my fascination in human behavior. I think both are interwoven, though I couldn’t tell you exactly how. Maybe I’ll find that.

Despite not feeling well, I have been finding it somewhat of a challenge to make myself slow down and relax, completely. The list of things that need to be done around home starts to manically circle my head and I have had to firmly tell myself that I am on a mini vacation. Sure, there are things that I absolutely must get done, like laundry, but the rest, though still stuff on the to-do list, are not pressing. Teaching myself how to differentiate between the two, how to let myself rest and not obsess about moving forward in every area of my life for just a few days, has proven to be somewhat of a challenge. Perhaps this is why my body woke up yesterday feeling icky. Sabotage to the driven, keep moving part of me that doesn’t know how to just let things wait, and that alone is still progress. ;-)

Memories, Cleans on Alki, and the Need for an Ark

Its been a really long time since I have headed out to Alki Beach. I used to live about 15 minutes away and somehow never ended up over there, but that was a different time, different life. Driving through some of the areas on my way toward the cleans we had on Alki yesterday definitely got the memories going.

When I lived in West Seattle (which is where the Alki District/Alki Beach is) wasn’t a great time for me. It’s not that much horrible actually happened, I was just miserable. The kids’ dad and I were still together and we were less than happy in our relationship. Other things in life were going ok – we had recently opened our vintage collectibles shop, Hula’s Vintage, my best friend didn’t live very far away so we got together quite often, rent was paid and food was in the house, had a reliable vehicle to drive, but I was miserable. I look back at that time and I realize it was all me. I wasn’t happy, hadn’t learned how much I need to been learning something to help keep me content , wasn’t really doing anything productive with me. Remembering that time reminded me of the kids’ dad and the fact that, despite the fact that we were horrible for each other in an intimate relationship, we had been good friends. The beginning of this month was the two-year anniversary of his death. It is really odd whenever I come face to face with that reality. He was a part of my life for over 20 years and it’s just strange knowing his is gone. I guess I haven’t completely come to terms with that, exactly.

The cleans we had on Alki were….well, not horrible but not great either. There is still a bunch of maintenance things that need to be taken care of in the units. When we walked into the lower unit and found tools and other evidence that maintenance wasn’t done, we were a little concerned. It took almost 2 hours to get to there, due to the weather and all, and we didn’t want this to be a wasted trip. Usually maintenance is done when we come in. It makes sense. Maintenance makes a mess, we come in after to put the shine on the unit. After about an hour of trying to get things sorted out through Cayle (the guy I’m working with), it was determined that this was as far as the owner had wanted maintenance to go before having us come in. They are having new vinyl laid down over the existing vinyl and wanted the vinyl scrubbed really well for that.

Most of the appliances had been removed from the unit to expose the vinyl so it could get thoroughly cleaned. This was an upside since it meant I didn’t need to clean the fridge or the oven in both units. YAY!! It still left a lot to do though. When we finally finished about 6 hours later, we were exhausted and more than ready to go home. Too bad the battery in the van was dead.

Our van has the automatic sliding doors on it. Unfortunately, they don’t close properly and we have to butt bump them closed at the end. One of the doors didn’t get bumped in, which leaves the lights on in the van, and it drained the battery. I’ll admit I wanted to have a temper tantrum when Lance came and told me about it. It was that kind of day, plus I’m worn out, but we just loaded the van with our cleaning supplies, pushed the van out to the street, then attempted to get someone to give us a jump. After about 15 minutes, I finally got someone to actually acknowledge our existence and help us out. People on Alki are a little…snooty.

I forgot to bring my camera with me so that I could get some pictures. That turned out to be ok since it has been raining, nearly monsooning, and all the photos would have been of the dense cloud bank settled in over the water between Alki and downtown Seattle. Of course, as we were driving out of there last night around 7pm, I glanced toward the water and immediately regretted not having my camera. The cloud bank had lifted and the stunning view that has been photographed by many a photographer of downtown Seattle at night from Alki was beaming at me. I thought of stopping to take the picture with my phone but decided it wasn’t worth it. It wouldn’t end up being the shot I wanted so on I drove.

The rain yesterday, and looks like today, is intense. It comes down in buckets then lightens up just long enough to put the wipers on the lowest setting only to have it start dumping buckets, again. My driveway and part of my yard are flooded. By the end of the day today I am going to wish I had a little boat to get to and from the van.

Lance, to his credit, is out walking the dogs in this weather. I’m sure the dogs were soaked within the first 3 minutes or less of walking. I should get them rain coats for this time of year, and for Spring. Especially Truman and Achilles. Truman’s fur is so thick (German Sheppard mix) that, despite drying him off after the walk, retains so much moisture that we have had to start using an anti-fungal shampoo on him. Achilles, on the other side of the spectrum, has a single layer of fur and the water goes straight to his skin. Poor kid is probably really cold on the walks when it rains and a raincoat would at least keep him dry. I’m going to have to look around and see what I can find. The feed store, Del’s, right up the road sells some coats for dogs and I believe I saw rain coats in the mix.

One ‘really quick’ clean today and then my days off begin! I’m looking forward to it. Lance and I discussed when we wanted to do this clean since there isn’t a time limit on it today. Both of us agreed we want to get it done first thing so that we can get on with the time off. This is supposed to be a light cleaning but we shall see. We have been told that before by people who don’t do deep cleaning. They just don’t see the unit the same way we see it. At any rate, by lunch time, we should be starting our down time. I think I may just start it out with a nap. ;-)

Four, no, three, wait, four, no three, and more audiobooks…

I am so ready for my days off. I’m a bit burnt out and just really want some time at home to spend with my kids and my dogs, and, of course, some time just doing nothing. I’m starting to get really disorganized, in my head, and I’m not liking it. It will eventually lead to forgetting things, like what bill needs to get paid when, writing all my cleans down in my schedule book and Google Drive spreadsheet, what day it is. Ok. I’ve already lost touch with time.

I originally scheduled four days off with the thought that the first two days would be probably utilized catching up on things around home. This would leave me two glorious days to just go where the mood takes me. This has now been shortened, two times, to three days.

A last-minute, rush job clean came up the day after I schedule my four days off. It had to be done before November 1st. Next week is already packed pretty solid so there was nowhere to fit it in, which meant giving up one of my days off. I begrudgingly agreed. Later that same day, the guy I work with called to let me know that he got one of his Seattle teams to go down that day and handle it. Awesome! Back up to four days off.

Yesterday, he called, again, extremely apologetic, detailing his attempts to arrange for someone else to come do a different clean needing to be done right away, stating how horrible he felt to ask me to give up one of my days but that he had no one else he could assign to the clean. I really like the guy, he has been really accommodating and has helped us out when we needed it, I know he had done his due diligence before calling me on this one, so I agreed to do the clean. It’s a small clean and should only take a couple of hours to get done.

It’s not giving up a full day off, but it will seem a little like it at first just because I will still have a clean to do that day. I can show up to get it done whenever I want, as long as it is before 3pm on Friday. *shrug* More money on the paycheck.

Four of the audiobooks I had put on hold while at the library the other day were ready for pick up yesterday, so I picked them up on our way home last night, around 7pm. These are The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff, Stitches by Anne Lamott, Living with a Wild God by Barbara Ehrenreich, and The Modern Scholar; Ideas That Shaped Mankind: A concise History of Human Thought with Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. I’m looking forward to these ones, especially…ok, I’m not sure there is one that I can honestly say I’m more interested in than any of the others.

I have heard about the Tao of Pooh a few times along my path. My understanding is it is supposed to be pretty good. I’ve also heard otherwise. I love Winnie the Pooh so I’m going into this one with the thought I am going to love it. It should be fun!

Two of the others are ones that speak to my spirituality (Stitches and Living with a Wild God) and The Modern Scholar speaks to the learner in me and my fascination with human behavior. Sure, I have all those languages that I am learning but I can’t just listen to those all of the time or I will self combust. I must feed the other parts of my mind, as well. Now, to choose which one to listen to first…

Day After Tomorrow, Languages, Other Talking Books…

The day after tomorrow can’t get here soon enough. I have scheduled 4 solid days off starting on Thursday and I am somewhat like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning. Four glorious days of not having to keep track of anything, not having to drive everywhere, potentially being able to sleep in (though I’m not sure that will happen since my internal alarm clock is set pretty solidly), the opportunity to blog multiple time in a day if I feel like it, and four days of just being Mieke, not worker Mieke, not making it happen Mieke, not Super Woman Mieke. Its going to be amazing. :-)

I’ve been listening to the language programs the I checked out and downloaded onto my computer then my phone. So far, I have sampled Arabic, Greek, Gaelic, and Hindi. I have no intention of trying to learn them all at the same time. That would be ridiculous, and I don’t think I would be very proficient at any of them that way. I’m just trying to decide which one I want to learn first.

It is said that Arabic is one of the harder languages for English speakers to learn. From listening to the first two lessons, I can see it is one that will probably take a little time and a lot of practice to really get good at. That’s ok. I have the time to do that while I’m cleaning.

I’ve asked my daughter if she would be willing to learn some of the languages I’m going to be learning. She agreed, as long as I am willing to learn Japanese, the language she is most interested. Sure! Why not? The reason I asked her to learn the languages too is so that I have someone I can practice speaking with. If I don’t have someone to practice speaking the language with, chances are I will not retain any of them for very long and a few of the languages I’m interested in would make it hard to find someone to practice with due to the lack of availability. Who do you know that speaks Hindi? Gaelic? I know no one.

After I started downloading these language learners and other talking books, I came to realize that the micro SD card in my phone was going to fill up fast. What did I do about that? Headed to Amazon Smile (a portion of all my purchases go to the charity of my choice, which happens to be the World Wildlife Fund) and ordered a bigger micro SD for my phone. My phone currently holds a 8 gig micro SD. I found a 16 gig one for about $3 on Amazon. It came yesterday. Let the downloading begin!!!

One of the audiobooks/talking books that I had put on hold was ready for me at the library, yesterday. This one is called Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Ph.D., Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., and Steve J. Martin. I find the topic of human behavior quite fascinating and I believe this will be along that line with a direct theme. There are definitely some great benefits to being able to persuade people into being able to see your point of view. There is a part of me that thinks of persuasion as partially manipulative, but I am hoping to have a better understanding of the concept by the end of this ‘book’ so that it may not see it that way. I know not all persuasion is manipulative. There is definitely good persuasion. I guess I have experienced too much ‘persuasion’ being used as a form of manipulation along my path. I want to be able to take away my negative perception of persuasion.

I re-listened to The 5 Love Languages yesterday. It’s almost time for it to go back to the library and felt I really needed to listen to it, again. I feel I have a better grasp on all of the concepts provided in the ‘book,’ now.

Lance listened to The 5 Love Languages the other day and it really affected him. We talked about it that night. He was stirred up by the book, and it left him feeling a little out of sorts in some ways. He isn’t sure of what his primary love language is, which is ok. He will figure that out. We will figure that out. He asked me what my primary love language is and I have to admit that was an easy one for me: touch. Hugs, cuddling, a random kiss on the forehead, holding my hand, a pat on the rear, an unexpected caress of my arm…these things really fill up my love tank. Touch is not my only love language, but it is the most important one to me. I think everyone even thinking about a relationship should read/listen to this book. In the short time since both Lance and I listened to it, we seem to be connecting better than we have for quite some time.

While I was at the library, yesterday, I hopped on the library catalogue computer and put a load of other audiobooks on hold. Many of them are on spirituality. It is a topic that has always interested me. No, not religion, really, though I do find theological subjects quite interesting, as well. A few of the audiobooks I put on hold are about different world religions. I’m interested in learning more to have a better understanding. There are also some books on human behavior that I put on hold. I’m excited to listen to all of these. Expanding my knowledge and understanding is always exciting to me.

trip to the pumpkin patch

Cleans, Farm, Pumpkins…

Oh my goodness have I been busy!!! I have missed my morning writing/blogging over the last few days. I was farm sitting this weekend so the time I usually have set aside in the mornings specifically for blogging had to go to taking care of the farm.

I love taking care of the farm. It’s not like there is a ton of interaction between me and the critters but its a cathartic experience. It’s just me and the chickens, ducks, goats, alpaca, lambs. Its non-demanding, though I put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I get everything done right. Its manageable pressure, though. Nothing so stressing as to lose the benefit of being around the animals and getting to feed and water them.

There is one chicken on the farm that I think needs to be named Jesus or Messiah. By now, anyone reading this blog should know that I’m not a religious person and my belief system doesn’t really include a god, exactly. I’m not sure if the chicken is a hen or a roo, but the name would fit it either way.

You see, this chicken was dead. Completely dead. Bagged up and done. When the place that the dead chicken was placed was accessed later, this chicken was found unbagged and very much alive, much to the surprise of my friend. Now, before anyone gets to thinking that my friend just doesn’t know what she is doing, I want to clear that up. She is quite adept.

I really like this chicken, too. It’s a bit crazy and pushy but we bonded over the weekend. I know how that sounds but it doesn’t change the feeling. Perhaps it is just my feelings toward it but that is enough. I held this bird while I cleaned out its cage and it just kind of snuggled in. That is, until taking flight for a second took its fancy. It fluttered out of my arms and landed about 3 feet away and just stood there. When I went to pick it back up, it didn’t try to scurry away or flap its wings at me in an attempt to avoid capture. It seemed to be content with the fact that it had gotten to flap away for a second and deemed me to not be a threat. Thanks, Jesus/Messiah.

The cleans over the past few days have gotten me home in time to turn around and head to the farm to put the farm to bed. Everything has left me with not much time for anything else but I feel good, and that is the important part. Taking care of the farm feeds my soul some. I have scheduled 4 days off this week, so there will be lots more time for feeding the soul in various ways.

Yesterday’s clean was a pretty quick one. The sun was out and, as I said, I’m feeling good, so I decided a trip to the pumpkin patch was in order. My husband and son weren’t up to going so just my daughter and I went. That’s not such a bad thing, either. We needed some just us time.

me and my girlie at the pumpkin patch

me and my girlie at the pumpkin patch

The pumpkin patch was extremely packed!! I think it took us longer to get from the freeway to a parking spot than it did for us to find a couple of pumpkins, pay, and head back to the car. It was good, though.

Pumpkins!

Pumpkins!

Its been about 6 years since I have gotten pumpkins. Wait. That’s wrong. 5 years. Since RV life started, I haven’t really felt like partaking in holidays. My heart wasn’t in it. I can’t tell you want changed that for this Halloween/Samhain, but it has changed and I am looking forward to carving pumpkins in celebration. We will be making another trip to a pumpkin patch so that my husband and son can pick out pumpkins. I’ve already picked out a spot to display the carved pumpkins  when we are done. I’m not putting up any other decorations, but I never really have for this holiday.

Well, duty calls. I must head out to work now. Not a hard day. Its only the common areas at the condos, but that is still a long day. The next two days will bring me up to South Seattle and Alki Beach for cleans. I haven’t been out to Alki in too many years to count/remember, so I am looking forward to that. I’ll have to remember to bring my camera. ;-)

Coffee, RV Life, Neighbors…

I have my coffee this morning. My luscious, creamy, comforting, soul-fueling coffee. Ok. So, soul-fueling may be a bit of an exaggeration but I think that if it feels that way, then it is. :-) Those of you that love your coffee know exactly what I mean.

My paycheck didn’t show up yesterday. Very frustrating. Thankfully, the guy I work with is pretty accommodating with this sort of thing. We made a plan, which included him getting a reload card for about 1/3 of my check and texting me the numbers so we aren’t broke. This benefits both me and him. I have gas to keep making it to cleans, of which I have quite the load over the next 4 days, and I get to keep working, making more money, feeding the family, and covering our bills. Win-win. As for the remainder of my check, if it shows up today, we call the 1/3 he covered with the reload card an advance. If the check doesn’t show up today, he mails out another check tomorrow for the balance. I am incredibly grateful this guy is so easy to work with and that we have formed a comfortable level of trust and consideration for each other. Keeps the paranoid doubter on my mental committee from being able to take over and stir the pot.

As my schedule sits right now, I won’t have a day off until Wednesday, but that could always change. To be honest, I am hoping that Wednesday and Thursday stay open. My hands are going to be a bit pained by the time we finish the cleans from today through Tuesday. Today’s clean is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath apartment, which isn’t too bad. Then tomorrow is a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath house in Seattle, Sunday is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house, Monday is the condo common areas, and Tuesday is a really yucky house in South Seattle that I’ll need to wear a mask in due to mold and general funk. Yes, I think Wednesday and Thursday should be down days to rejuvenate the system.

The bathroom shed is coming along nicely if slowly. It takes time when you are grabbing as much of the needed materials as possible off of Craigslist. The level of excitement I have over this bathroom shed is somewhat…sad, in a way. Its something that I never would have thought I would be looking forward to, or ever need, in my life. Then, again, I never believed I would be living in a RV and/or travel trailer, and definitely not for this long. It is what it is, it just takes a little processing to find where to categorize it in my mind. I miss living in a house.

I was thinking about that last week. Not obsessing about it, just some passing thoughts. I have lived this RV life for so long with the benefits of having some distance between me and the surrounding neighbors that the idea of living right up next to someone else is a bit…well, lets just say I’m not exactly comfortable with the idea. Living in a house, theoretically much closer to neighbors, would be an adjustment, to say the least. I like my comfort zone buffer. I have neighbors, I can see their homes, but I hardly ever see the people. This is in part due to the distance. It is also partially due to the fact that I am usually not home. It is really nice to come home and not have to possibly engage in niceties with the neighbors, especially since I am usually exhausted by the time I get home and want nothing more than to reconnect with my family. I guess we kind of live in our own bubble and I’m really ok with that. I am a moderately social person. I do enjoy chatting and hanging out with those outside my home family, but I love the sanctuary of my bubble. I know I would adapt pretty quickly to being in a neighborhood, a house, again, where I would be closer to other people, but there is something to be said for the solitude this life provides.

Well, its time to go suit up for the day! The sooner I get going the sooner I can come home, which is where I almost always would rather be. :)

Handle With Care…

I’m sitting here without coffee. I have no milk with which to create my morning elixir (four shot vanilla latte). My paycheck didn’t come in the mail yesterday so I am stuck at home today until it shows up. There is just enough gas in the van to make it to the bank then across the parking lot for gas. I’m a bit out of sorts without my coffee this morning. The morning ritual isn’t complete. My brain is fixated on finding the solution to the problem, how to fix it right now instead of just going with the fact that it is all about waiting. I don’t like waiting.

I’ve been told at different times throughout my life that I have the patience of Job. It always makes me wonder how observant the person saying this to me actually is. I don’t feel like I have much patience at all. I fidget, sigh, play games on my phone to try to pass the time and distract myself from watching the clock, but I guess that has more to do with waiting than the patience that has been applied to me. The comment seems to almost always be applied when I am somehow exhibiting patience with people. I think I must be really great at hiding my impatience.

Calm. That’s another adjective that has been used in describing me that completely baffles me. I don’t feel calm. In fact, the exact opposite is true. I feel extremely chaotic most of the time. I’m constantly anxious about this or that in an attempt to control my own world, to keep things moving forward with as little strife as possible. I don’t always succeed at this, but my brain is constantly, eagerly, looking for or trying to formulate the correct next move, the solution to the latest obstacle(s). I have to admit it is quite exhausting.

Maybe this is why calm has been applied to me. I’m mentally exhausted from my brain constantly going, going, going that there is not enough left to express the emotions I am feeling inside. Maybe that’s just a load of crap.

If you can’t tell, my mind is aimlessly wandering around, searching for something to write about while also obsessing about coffee, or the lack there of. It sounds horrible, I know. I mean, it’s just coffee. My mind fights against calling coffee ‘just’. The warm, smooth, creamy goodness I have every morning is so much more than ‘just’. It is the start to my day, part of my morning ritual of coffee and blogging, coffee and watching the sun come up, coffee and time with my thoughts to check in with me. Can you see how discontent I am about not having my coffee this morning? Ugh…

 

Foggy with a Chance of Storms…

I’ve been sitting here staring at the blank ‘page’ for the last 10 minutes. I want to write. My hands have been resting on the keyboard, fingers hovering, ready to start the dance of writing as soon as the music begins. There is no music this morning. Or, perhaps there is music but it is muffled by the heavy fog that has encased my brain like a thick, down comforter. I think I can hear my own comforter and pillow calling me, trying to coax me back into the warmth and protection they provide.

It’s not that I’m tired, really…who wouldn’t love to spend just a few more minutes in bed each morning?… but that is not what is going on here. This is the fog that comes when I am not taking care of myself, working too hard, too much, brain constantly going on the problems of the world, or, at least, my world. I can’t honestly say that I have been working too much, lately, though.

Summer is over and the rains have returned, so painting curb address numbers is done for the year. The Wheel is also turning toward the holidays, so cleans have slowed down a bit. I am actually having days off and many days when I am home hours before dinner time. Maybe this is what is causing the fog or maybe it is just a back log from being so busy all summer that is moving to the forefront, filling up the available space.

Whatever the cause of the fog, I am in it and this leaves me in a vulnerable state. My armour is about as strong as a latex balloon that has been filled with air to maximum capacity, plus a little. Even the dullest needle of life will easily deflate me today. I feel mentally and emotionally weak. I want to lay in bed all day, watching Netflix, sleeping, reading, absent from life.

I don’t like feeling this way; the vulnerability, the emotionally ineptness, the lack of desire to participate in life. I don’t like having to struggle through my fog to find my abilities, to form complete thoughts, to find any desire other than the one for complete isolation. I’m not really people friendly today. I have a hard time connecting and, when I do, I have to constantly remind myself that it’s not all about me, the world around me isn’t trying to just be mean, there isn’t some underlying issue that isn’t being addressed or being talked about by everyone but me like some secret.

I know that sounds paranoid. Maybe it is. Unfortunately, the feeling is similar to the one I have gotten many times before as an intuitive predecessor to some sort of fall out. It puts me on edge. Part of me sits in my brain just observing, ever watchful for the shoe to drop and the floor to fall out. It causes me to worry more than normal and it is way too easy to drive myself nuts over it.

As much as I would like to call this day a mental health day, I can’t. I have responsibilities that must be met and people who are relying on me. The day must go on no matter how stormy or foggy it is in my brain. I will push myself through this day with a firm yet gentle nudging, knowing that it won’t last forever and that, when it’s over, I can come back home to the safety of my inner world.

Groceries, Attorneys, and College…

Lance spoke with an attorney yesterday about his fall at Winco. Mostly, we wanted to make sure of how we handle this. The attorney explained how this sort of thing is usually handled by the grocery store so now we know what to expect. We were told that the store’s insurance company will end up paying for the Prompt Care visit and any medications prescribed (a non-narcotic pain reliever). There may be some small payment to Lance, but the insurance company deems whether or not that is necessary. Just knowing that Lance’s visit to the Prompt Care will be covered is a relief, as those are never cheap.

While at work, yesterday, Lance called me a few times to let me know what he was up to. This is not something I expect or something Lance would normally do. These calls from Lance were just him calling to tell me what he had tried to do and how it went, physically and pain-wise. The man doesn’t do being hurt very well. No smiley sticker for him.

One of the things that has been painful for him since his fall in Winco the other day is walking. At one point, yesterday, after the pain reliever kicked in, he attempted to take the dogs for their walk. He made it most of the way down the air strip before realizing he had the wrong shoes on, so turned around so he could change them. He informed me that it was a good thing that he had turned around because by the time he got back here to change his shoes, his back was really bothering him. So what does he do? Work on building the walls for the bathroom shed. Silly man. He says he wants to try to help me clean today. We shall see how that goes.

My daughter has dropped a class in college. She has been having a hard time with her Humanities teacher and it was affecting her grade so she dropped the class. Though I’m not exceedingly happy that she dropped a class, in this instance, it might have been the right thing to do. It was looking like she was going to have to take the class, again, anyway so…well, it makes sense to get out of it and start it over with a different teacher a different quarter.

This has led my daughter to have some doubts about college. She called me after she dropped the class and I could hear the self-doubt in her voice. “I don’t know about college, Mom. I mean, who knows if the degree will even be worth it. Whose to say I’ll even be able to get a job with the degree. There’s no guarantee.” She is going for a degree in Mechanical Engineering. I’m fairly certain that finding a job when she graduates is not going too much of a hassle for her. Even if it takes a minute to find the right placement, it will be well worth the effort.

We talked for a bit about her fears. I told her that it may feel like it’s too much right now but it will get easier, in some ways, the further along she goes. It takes some time to completely get into the whole college mindset, especially when you have been away from the school mentality for a while. It comes down to her deciding what she wants and sticking with it. It has to be her main focus. I think she has come to hate when I use my college experience as an example. My college was online and I have yet to use my degree. These two facts don’t change the basics but she looks at it a little differently than I do.

Personally, I loved college. Sure, the first few quarters were extremely stressful. I had tons of self-doubt. Until I got in a rhythm with the work load, I was a basket case. By the end of the third quarter, I was in the zone. This doesn’t mean there wasn’t any stress at all, of course. It just means that I wasn’t the spaz I had been, much to my husband’s delight. I know my daughter will get there if she doesn’t give up.

 

Husband down…

It is right before payday and this is when money is the tightest. We really have to watch every penny when it gets this close to payday. Yesterday my husband and I headed out to do a load of laundry, swing by the Y for a shower, and hit the local Winco to grab dinners for the week. This is how we make it until payday and not wonder what we are going to wear or what we are going to feed the children. Its working and every payday, I get even better at managing our incoming cash flow so it doesn’t get so stressful right before payday.

At Winco, we grabbed the essentials. Lance was out of sausage patties and eggs (he makes himself a breakfast sandwich every morning), but we were holding off to grab them until we knew how much the necessary food items would total up to. Sometimes, he has to go a few days without his breakfast sandwich. After the last item was rung up, I saw that we could grab his items so I told him to go grab them really quick. The cashier was great. She put our transaction on hold and told the people behind us in line that she was going to start ringing them up but that when my husband came back, she was going to put their transaction on hold and finish ringing us out. The people behind us were perfectly fine with that. So were the people behind them when it was their turn.

You see, though Lance should have been back before the cashier was done checking out the first family behind us in line, he wasn’t. She was almost all the way through the second family when Lance came over and told me he had fallen and hurt himself before going back the way he had come. I asked the cashier if I could just pay for our transaction so I could go help him, which, of course, wasn’t a problem. I paid, then grabbed our cart and headed in the direction that Lance had gone.

When I found him, the Winco staff had him sitting on a chair filling out an accident report. There was a carton of eggs, broken, on the floor and a place on the floor near it that looked like water. I talked to Lance, asked him if he was ok, which he didn’t really reply, and told him I was going to go grab his eggs and sausage, and purchase them while he was filling out the report. He agreed. Just as I was finished purchasing his eggs and sausage he came up to the check out area.

I could tell by his face that he wasn’t feeling well. His face and body said “Ow.” I asked him what happened.

He was hurrying back to the check out I was waiting at when his foot hit some water on the floor that he hadn’t seen. Lance told me both of his feet flew up in the air and he landed on his back, mostly his tailbone. He said it hurt so much when he landed that he just laid there for a minute. Lance said he tried calling out for me, hoping I would hear him, but, unfortunately, I didn’t. I guess the Winco staff was pretty quick about getting to him, getting him onto a chair, asking him what happened, and getting him to fill out the accident report. Winco’s insurance company will be calling Lance in a day or two.

As we walked out to the van, Lance quietly said he thought he might need to go to the emergency room. This is a big warning sign that he is really hurting because the man never goes to the doctor, let alone the emergency room. I told him that I agreed he should go. Its better to get checked out.

Lance insisted we take the groceries home first. When we pulled up at home, I made him wait in the van while I brought the groceries in and put the perishables away. The amazing thing is that he did wait in the van. Normally, he would have said he could help and then do so, but this time he didn’t.

While I unloaded groceries, Lance searched on his phone for the closest urgent care or emergency room. When I hopped back in the van, he had found two, one really close, one minutely further away. We, of course, headed to the closest one, Franciscan Prompt Care. While we were in the waiting room, I looked up accident attorneys. I felt this was something he needed to consult an attorney about. This slip and fall could make it where he can’t work for a bit while he is healing.

The x-ray showed that he had no broken parts, no fractures. The physician said Lance bruised his sacrum, which isn’t that uncommon, apparently. Last night, he took some Aleve, then some ibuprofen in an attempt to alleviate the pain. The ibuprofen on top of the Aleve worked. This morning, he got up with the thought of taking the dogs for their morning walk. Walking without dogs attached hurts too much so the pups are going to have to wait for me to get home from work to take them for their walk.

I’ll be working solo today, so it is a good thing that I have the common areas to clean at the condos. I can rearrange the clean a little without it being a problem. Lance and I usually get the common areas done in a day. It is going to take me two.

My daughter has volunteered to help me before school with cleans this week. I’m grateful for that. She has homework to do so she won’t be helping out today. Its a full week so her help will be invaluable while Lance is recovering. Left foot, right foot…