Nov 29, 2012

Freak-Out Thursdays...

The circumstances have varied over the years, but in an oddly-consistent fashion, I have maintained a nearly-weekly Thursday Freak-Out day. When I was teaching, by Thursday I was convinced that I would never catch up on grading papers, and all my kids were never going to get this math-stuff, and even the smartest ones would be forced to pursue nontechnical careers (not that there's anything wrong with that). In grad school it was my own homework that would never get finished in time, and while I could do differential equations like a crazy (nerdy) person, I probably wasn't actually cut out to be a real engineer. Then later at work (at my actual engineering job), I would not be able to figure out the test I was running, or the paper I was writing, or whatnot. And they were almost certainly preparing to fire me.

These days I am certain that early childhood is going to kill me. Afternoon kindergarten might do it singlehandedly, but if it doesn't succeed then there are myriad other small (non) catastrophes that will finish me off, and then the clutter monster will bury me at the base of Mount Laundry. Which in general will save expenses, so I guess there are bright spots in there.

These days I have the benefit of perspective, so I'm better at catching myself before I implode entirely. First off, I discovered during student teaching that treating myself to a little Jamba Juice (they trucked them in to the cafeteria--it was awesome) took the edge off just enough to get me thru to Friday, where I relaxed and wore jeans and magically checked 225 things off my to-do list, and all was reasonably well again.

And similarly the treat has varied over the years--these days it's a Coke--but if I find myself amid a classic freak-out Thursday, I try to work in a little treat and breathe deeply

Now, I really don't think there's anything magic about Coke or Jamba Juice, and I'm totally not advocating addiction or numbing as a way of coping with our problems. Easy to do; but not healthy. I do think, though, that what happens is I change things up just a little, and slow for a moment (even just in my mind), and talk to God a little bit, and it reminds me that Thursday is just a day, and it too shall pass, and hey maybe in the meantime I can just grade this one stack of papers, or work on this one problem, or look up that one specification, or mail the package so Baby Roots can wear her spiffy pink Chucks before she grows out of them.

Do you have Freak-Out Thursdays? Or an equivalent? How do you talk yourself down?

Nov 20, 2012

Imaginative Play With His Highness...

Me:  So what didja build with your Duplos?

His Highness:  A graveyard without the headstones.

Me: Oh, just grass?

HH:  No it's an underwater graveyard.

Me: Oh, an underwater graveyard. OK.

HH:  Yeah, when people die they don't bury them in the sand; they just leave them there and wait for sharks to come and eat them.

Me:  Well that's efficient.

HH:  Yeah...

Nov 18, 2012

It's Like Drinking an Avalanche From a Firehose...

...with a haboob thrown in for good measure.  And maybe a 10K. But not a real one, because I'm not up to 6 miles at a time yet in my running.

This is how my life feels over the past month.  Some snippets--

--My doc gave me antibiotics for my (probably? maybe? possibly?) Lyme Disease.  I took them for a month, and then they were done, and I got very nervous about what would happen next. All my blood work was negative, which sounds good, but with Lyme you just can never be sure with the bloodwork, so I took it with a grain of salt. At my recheck the doc reassured me, saying "You did a month of meds within 6 months of the initial tick bite. You're feeling better.  If anything changes or you get another tick bite, let me know, but for now we assume you're done."  And then over the following days when I got a weird itch or scared thought I repeated that to myself--"You're done, Skerrib."  And I kept up with my jogging, and chasing after my kids, and complaining about the other hard things in my life (most of which aren't that hard, but it does me good to be honest about my feelings in a healthy way, as opposed to stuffing and exploding, which makes no one happy)...and now it is several weeks later and I do believe I'm done.  Still neurotic about tick checks, but feeling good overall and not at all "punky" like I did pre-meds. 

--And then, wouldn't you know it, the Littler One got a tick bite.  I had the high privilege and abject horror of finding the tick and trying to remove it.  It came off in pieces, but I placed them on a cotton ball inside a baggie, and off it traveled with us the next day to see the doc.  She gave the Littler One a once-over and tested the tick, which came up negative for all things dangerous and/or gross.  And negative tick tests are more reliable than negative blood tests, so we are relieved and happy all around, and grateful to know to save the dang tick whenever you can, people.

--My dad's mom died about a month ago now.  She had had Alzheimer's Disease for some time, and things had been very difficult for a year or two, as the family had been dealing with finding the right care facility for her, among other things.  That's all to say it's a big relief now to know she is healed and whole again, and as my uncle put it, reunited with my grandpa after almost 20 years apart.  Tiny E and I traveled to Idaho for the memorial a couple weeks ago and had one of those experiences where you reconnect with family you never get to see, and have such a great time, except for wishing you weren't there for a funeral.  Tiny E and I stayed with my cousin and her family, along with Thomasina, and we had a great time doing mostly ordinary errands and home things.  Thomasina taught us how to make crepes, and my cousin has piles of frozen and canned goods from her garden that she grows herself, so we were all well-fed the entire time.  Plus I was incredibly popular because I had a baby with me, which was actually the case the last time we were in Idaho 3 years ago.  I told one of my aunts that showing up every few years with a baby was a habit I did not intend to maintain (but it was really fun to pass her around and see my family delight in my daughter as much as I do).

--Tiny E managed to roll off the bed in the middle of the night, and acted sore but OK until her shoulder swelled up while we were in ID, so we spent one morning at urgent care getting her x-rayed and determining that she broke her collarbone.  She was sore and favoring her 'bad' side, but everything was otherwise in good position and there was nothing to be done except let it heal.  At her re-check once we got home the doc said everything was looking good, and officially we should wait 4 weeks before manhandling her, but that really she was probably just fine already. So I'm still waiting before I start yanking her arms again, and both the Cat Daddy and I are extra watchful about the bed.

--After a really long and drawn-out process, I decided that I needed to surrender Max and Zoe to our local animal shelter, who can help them find new homes.  There were about 10,000 factors leading to this decision, and even now I get trapped thinking "What if I did such-and-such?" but all things considered it was the best decision for them as well as us.  I'm scatterbrained sometimes, and not always organized, but I've always cared deeply for our animals, and there's always been room in our home for all furry and non-furry family members, and I'm definitely not in the habit of getting rid of creatures, so it was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  I cried when I realized it had to be done. I cried in the days leading up to it.  I cried as I dropped them off.  I felt better after talking with the animal shelter staff and filling out the paperwork, and driving away dog-free until life circumstances allow otherwise.  And then I spent the week sadder than I thought I'd be, and overwhelmed still, and really there's no better word than to say I've been grieving.  I'm messy and my perspective is skewed. I've called in some support along the way, which has really helped (thank you Roots). Then today at church I began to feel a little more oriented, so I think I'm working thru it alright. 

--And by the way we've settled on a local church.  It's tiny (to us--under 100 people) and new (only a year old), but thus far the overall feel and personality fits us well.  We've strongarmed our way into the music crowd, and are excited to get involved there.  The Cat Daddy played bass in the service today, so we are off & running.  I would say more, but I still feel very new and don't really have the words yet.  Although today I sent E to the nursery and made it through my first complete sermon in many months, so there's that.

--I got selected to be on a book launch team for Rachel Held Evans's new book, and promptly got bowled over by all of the above, so while I technically fulfilled the requirements of being on the team, I haven't yet done the book report and responses I wanted to post here.  I'm still really hoping to do those soon; maybe even before Christmastime so I can convince you all to give the book a read, because I did like it and I think many people would find it interesting, particularly if you like memoirs, women, Jesus, and/or think God thinks we're funny and maybe even laughs at us sometimes.  Lovingly, of course.

--The Most Interesting Cat in the World has been at it again, and there will be more stories coming, honest. In the meantime he has managed to get himself put on a curfew during school hours, because kitties are not allowed inside the school, and because the staff didn't want spray bottles to help dissuade him from entering the building, even though I offered to provide them. As if they were already busy enough teaching kids and running a school (!). The upside (?) is that the principal knows me now.  I have to say out of all the potential scenarios I had in my head going into this school year, getting a call from the principal about my cat was not included.  But I guess overall it's preferable to most problems.

And hey, at least I don't have tuberculosis...