Tuesday, November 27, 2018

No more trotting

Last Thursday, Mark and Chloe and myself all got up early, laced our tennies, ate a bagel, and headed to downtown Austin for the Turkey Trot, a 5 mile walk/run on pavement through the hills of downtown and across the Mopac service roads.  Did I follow my usual "training" of walking my neighborhood several times weekly?  No.  Did I get myself some new tennies since the old ones are at least two years old and about done?  No.  Um...did I prepare for it at all?  Also no.  But I made it through the course in a little less than 1 hour 41 minutes, without stopping to pee or rest.  And I even beat my peeps back!
But walking 5 miles after you spent the previous day on your feet probably won't help you feel your best on Thanksgiving Day.  Then standing on your feet some more to make side dishes and get the dinner ready won't, either.  It's not like I'm a spring chick anymore. {58} And when I went to bed I thought "Man.  I'm really bushed!"  
But I had no idea just how tired I was.  
The next day, as I looked down at my feet during the hay bale ride out at the Christmas tree farm, I thought "I really don't want to walk.  Or stand.  Or do this.  At all."

And the exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks.  It wasn't just the walking, though that certainly couldn't have helped.  My energy level was so low.  I really felt like I was fatigued from the bones out.  Mark said he had no idea what that meant.  
Of course he didn't.  Of course not.
But I knew it meant I had used up all of my giveadamn and I had no more to give.  And the rest of the weekend was like swimming with my boots on.  And I don't swim.
Getting the tree up and decorated sucked.  Loading and unloading the dishwasher about 6 times also sucked.  Wrangling the leftovers.  Doing laundry because we were out of clean towels. Putting a pork roast in the crockpot because we couldn't eat turkey for the third day in a row.  Helping Mark harvest some oak up at Highlands.  Sweeping a pound of pine needles off my floors.  Decorating the kid tree.  Buying groceries.  Getting myself ready to go to work on Monday.  All of it was just. too. much.
I really need to learn some limits with myself.  It seems so much harder nowadays to get it all done, even when I get volunteers at home.  
Or maybe I just got off on the wrong foot with the damn Turkey Trot.
One thing is certain - I am NOT doing that next year.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Some happy

A current list of happy things (because focusing on the happy helps me combat the sads)

*I feel {mostly} physically tip top!  I would like to even start walking again so I can get ready for the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day.  And Teddy will be at out house for a month in October/November while Chloe is in a mini busy season at work. That will give me even more reason to walk!

*I'm doing better on not stressing out at work - I zip my lip mostly, put my head down, and work. Unfortunately, I still vent now and again, but I'm trying hard to not do that.  I've also been focusing more on looking my best every day, though that is a work in progress.

*My sister and I are having meaningful conversation that focuses on my mother, not ourselves.  As of this post, Mother seems to be feeling better, post-accident. (that was some scary shit)

*Dylan and Michelle seem to be living life happily together.  I miss that guy but I am so happy for him that he is settling into adult life.  I hope they are taking care of themselves...

*Grayson is making good grades and working and taking care of the Baja.  I wish people would stop hitting it in parking lots, but I am happy that its through no fault of his that the bumper is smushed a bit.

*Mark enjoys his job - returning to his old job was good for him.  I no longer spend happy hour listening to him complain about work on weekends.  The folks in his office appreciate him and he is loving the camaraderie.  Being happy at your job matters more than making more money!  And we aren't struggling like he feared we would.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Panic gardening

All summer long I have wanted to get the yard in shape.  All summer long I harped on Hubby to please get the sprinkler system working so our grass would stop dying.  All summer long I planned to thin out the lariope in the front beds.  To paint the front door.  To powerwash the bricks and steps.  To GET SHIT DONE.  But it was always too hot.  Or we had limited time.  Or I was on call.  Or we had weekend plans at Highlands.  Loads of excuses. Finally, the sprinkler system was repaired and turned on.  Too little too late, of course - our yard practically died.  And one day when I got home from work (on a Tuesday...WHY) I found that Hubby had gone ahead and gotten started on removing the shrubs in the front in advance of me planting anew.

OMG.  It looks like crap.

The rain has been unceasing on the weekends, which is the only time I have to work on this.  There is mud everywhere.  There is topsoil washing down the driveway from the lawn, which is now mostly dirt with some scragglers of grass here and there.  The acorns are dropping so we also have crushed acorns everywhere.  Plus, he left the stumps so there is that task to attend to before I can:
*Finish removing all the lariope
*Rake the beds of leaves and excess mulch
*Till the beds and prep for new plants
*Powerwash and paint
*Care for the lawn, or what is left of it
I feel a little panicky about it because it looks so awful.  Walking up to my house every evening I feel like crying.  It's like an abandoned house.  If it ever stops raining, I will work on it for one full weekend just to catch up.  Day off be damned.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Money, marbles and chalk

Mark had a saying when we were newly wed - he'd sigh and say "money, marbles, and chalk" when we had money woes.  Money always seemed to slip right through our fingers on the way to Debt.  I  assumed the saying meant "using everything you have to make ends meet" and I was mostly right.  {it's actually the opposite of rags to riches}  Its been awhile since I've heard him use that particular phrase, but I recalled it on Tuesday when we had the dishwasher repaired to the tune of $225.

Home repairs are usually something we can do, but replacing a drain pump in the dishwasher isn't one of those.  I guess it was cheaper than replacing the whole darn thing, but it greatly annoys me that it had to be done as the thing is only about 3 years old.  We are hell on our appliances, for sure.  We've gone through two microwaves, three dishwashers, two stovetops, an A/C unit, 4 coffee pots, and  2 toaster ovens since we've lived at Rustown.  Sometimes I worry about what we will do, out in the country in Burnet, fending for ourselves and arranging repairs when we are old and gray.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

What overwhelm feels like

My mother is having a tough time hanging in there after she totaled her pick-up.  To say we are worried about her is an understatement. {and by we, I mean my sister and older half-sister}  She has a horrendous purple bruise that extends the width of her abdomen, exactly where the seatbelt kept her alive.  It is taut and has a knot on it, causing her pain when she moves a certain way.  Another on her breast is draining down towards her nipple.  She's shaky on her feet, cries easily, and says she doesn't "feel like herself".   At one moment she'll be stubborn and unyielding to offers of help or advice.  The next, she's crying - confused and frightened like a child, saying she wishes she could hide in a closet.  I feel a little overwhelmed with this as I'm sure she does, too.  I've never seen my mother this unstable, even after Jim died. 

A week after the accident I arranged to spend the day with her.  My plan was to clean off some spaces in her kitchen - I felt like it was key to her not losing so many things.  This bill, the driver's license, those keys...it's hard to stay organized with so much clutter.  I took "before" photos, assuming I could help make sense of her space.  But as the day wore on, the feeling of overwhelme paralyzed me.  This would take much more than a little cleaning and decluttering.  And she needed to be taken grocery shopping, to the bank, to the library...the afternoon slipped away.  What was I thinking?  I could straighten and clean all day, but in the end, if she isn't willing or able to maintain it, its all for nothing.  So I wasted time I could've spent just sitting and talking with her that I will never get back.  The feeling of overwhelm takes you out of the moment, unable to change direction easily.  Like swimming in mud with boots on.  I want to do something that will fix the situation, but sitting there in the midst of all that clutter made me realize how futile that is.

I think my sister is on overwhelm, too.  She keeps coming up with implausible scenarios that are sure to cause both she and my mother much pain and unhappiness.  My sister's overwhelm manifests as panic, and she has made some {in my opinion} poor decisions in dealing with things like communicating with mother's doctor, my half-sister, and others.  My half-sister is also feeling the effects - Mother snapped at her and instantly she shut down, causing her to spin into overwhelm, effectively limiting her ability to help.  And probably damaged their relationship permanently. 
A truck accident that had everything and nothing to do with us has defined our future interactions with our mother and each other.  And the side effects are that we have each lost some of our common sense, civility, problem solving, and resiliency.  
That's what overwhelm feels like from here.

Friday, July 27, 2018


I've been trying not to rely on bendryl or Alka-Seltzer Plus Nighttime to help me fall, and stay, asleep.  The downside to those meds is that they make it hard for me to wake when my bladder is full.  Also, I wake up a little groggy in the morning.  So, I've been skipping them and it has led to me waking up multiple times at night.  Last night was no exception.  Weird dreams, waking myself up (!) with snores and hearing noises, getting up to pee twice, hearing someone (who?) running into a table.  Apparently Hubby heard that noise, too, and was up looking around.  It freaked me out a little and I could not fall back asleep.  That was around 4 a.m. and I was WIDE awake.  By 5, I just gave up on getting any more sleep and got up.  I made a cup of coffee, threw some things into the dryer, and settled in at my computer to read emails and such. 

By 7, I got up from my desk and unloaded the dishwasher while I perked a pot of coffee.  By 7:30, Hubby was up so I packed him a lunch and washed his work pants for next week since it was jeans day.  I also got my lunch and tote bag ready for the day.  By 7:45 I made the bed and straightened the bedroom.  By 8 I had the guys' Saturday dinners prepped and ready.  So I packed my weekend bag. 

At 8:45 I had Friday dinner done, cooling on the counter for me to cover it and put in the fridge.  Reloaded the dishwasher. 

By 9 the kitchen was clean and mopped. 

And by 9:20, I sat down with a leftover piece of pie for breakfast and typed this up.

I feel like a long day is ahead...and I probably need to figure out what I can do to get better sleep.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Looking forward to homebody time

As much as I love hanging out with Mark on the weekends, traveling to new wineries and such, getting a snack at Sonic (or just eating out in general), laying in the sun at Highlands with a cold drink, grilling on our hill...I sure miss those days of hanging out at my house.  I used to spend my days off getting a multitude of things done AND still having time to be creative.  I look around the house and while it is clean and such, there are projects - creative projects - I want to work on.

Doing a little decorating/spiffing, sewing, painting, reading, gardening - I don't seem to have a lot of time for nowadays.  The issue is: he's off the same days I am now, so I don't fill my free time with those things anymore.  And I miss all that.  Everyone needs a little unstructured time to putsey and do what they need or want to do around the house.  At least I do.  So, I am a little grateful for on-call weekends since I get to be a homebody, chained to my pager or home phone until 7 p.m.  Plus I earn a little extra, especially if I get called in.
Not that I don't love to have weekends free to go and do.  I just relish the homebody time, too.  And theres one coming up so I'm getting my mental list all ready...