Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Out of Sorts

Oy Vey!
I don't really deal well when my routine is disrupted. Call me a stick in the mud, a creature of habit, a homebody... I just seem to fall apart when life throws me one of its inevitable curve balls.

And it seems that things lately have been... well... a tad bit curvy.

I'm still dealing with fallout from the hailstorm. Who am I kidding... I'll be dealing with it for months. Hopefully the roof will be replaced next week, but then there's still the garage to paint... and the door, porch light and window screens to replace... not to mention all of the dealings with insurance and mortgage companies. I know I'm not alone in this, as all of my neighbors are in the same boat, and I'm starting to get used to being awakened at first light by the sound of roofers... But still...

The garden is staging a bit of a comeback... which is great except that it's about 6 weeks behind where it should be. So I'm just now starting to get some zucchini, and the tomatoes are barely beginning to ripen. The squirrels have been a real pain this year for some reason, and they've gotten every tomato that's started to ripen. I'm wondering if I should add some squirrel meat to my new diet regimen...

Of course the weather may have something to do with it. We had the hottest August on record with barely any days below 90 and virtually no moisture. Then practically overnight, we've switched to temperatures in the 60's with rain, and nearly broke a record low! I was ready for the heat to end, but a few weeks of 70's and 80's would have been nice. I fear I'm not adjusting well to these extremes.

And this time of year is allergy season for me as the weeds all start to bloom. The medication has been doing wonders, but my allergist doesn't want me having the windows open or hanging laundry outside to dry since it would bring more pollen into the house... so my little routine has taken a beating along with my sinuses.

Then of course, there have been all of the little disruptions...

There was a small gas leak in the laundry room... I called the gas company who rushed out. The guy did fix the leak, but not before telling me that I must have the most sensitive nose on the planet... which I sort of knew... still, if you smell gas...

Then the car started acting up again. I had to drive across town to buy a new saddle for my bike (no more pinched privates... woo hoo!) Anyhow, somewhere in the process the engine started revving when my foot wasn't even on the gas pedal. I really thought perhaps it had been taken over by some sort of evil poltergeist.

Turned out the fuel injection was just misfiring, but it still required another trip to the mechanic so they could plug it into the computer to figure out what happened.

Then yesterday I had to report for jury duty. Oh the joy!

It turned out not to be so bad since they had called WAY more people than they needed, so I ended up just spending the morning waiting for my number to be called, and chatting with a nice elderly lady about music and cats.

Of course, I had to drag my sorry ass out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6am in order to get downtown on time. How do people do that every day?!?

On some level I know that I have nothing to complain about. I mean even with all of the disruptions of late, my life is still vastly easier than what most people deal with day in and day out.

But I just can't help but wonder... how on earth do "normal" people cope?

Seriously... I think that I'd be in real danger of "going postal" if I had to deal with the amount crap-ola that most people take for granted as part of modern life.

I guess it all just makes me grateful for the quiet little life that I lead. And it's always nice to have a reminder of why I have chosen the life that I have.

Still, I am looking forward to things calming down a bit and some much needed peace and quiet.

I am curious though... how do those of you with busy lives maintain balance?


  1. "Of course, I had to drag my sorry ass out of bed at the ungodly hour of 6am in order to get downtown on time. How do people do that every day?!?"

    Dude, thank you for acknowledging our pain. 'Cuz really? It sucks. No, we're not picking trash living in a slum, but still. Ug.

    I don't know that it's possible to have true balance while living what is, essentially, a frenetic life. I try to cook from scratch to connect me to the moment and the food I'm eating, and blah blah blah (fill in the blank with whatever hippie shit of the moment you prefer), but I often feel absolutely exhausted and wonder if it's sustainable in the long run. I have not lived in the same area I work for more than a decade and...oh god, this is going to turn into a rant.

    But I would like to note that you have experienced a ton of frustration lately! I think that tidal wave is less normal than one might think. Egads! I hope it calms down soon.

    Also? The pics you find for your blog are hilarious. I love the "successful/unsuccessful" cartoon! Oh! And nettle tea really helps with my allergies. When it gets bad, I drink a pot a day and I have definitely noticed an improvement.

  2. Well, I have 2 "kids" who've had issues since they were born, one has a debilitating learning disability as well as chronic health problems--imagine DAILY fights with a school district and 2-3 times a week visits to one therapist or another, the other born with a cleft palate>>>ear infections, surgery, dental issues to this day..... I came v-e-r-y close to slapping a woman who said "God only gives us what we can handle". If I weren't an atheist, THAT would have convinced me! I ascribe to the lemons/lemonade philosophy, though. Hence your conversation with the lady, and a "new" roof.
    I have also learned to be hyperfocused, i.e., one thing at a time! That and generally we're pretty anti-social. Can't handle small talk.

    Glad you caught the gas leak! I had our local utility out to our block three times before they discovered the pipe leak I had smelled for over a year..... DH long ago learned to trust my sense of smell.

    So anyway, cut out anything you don't HAVE to do, until you feel rested and sane :-))

  3. Demandra - I really can't imagine having to get up at that hour every day. I haven't done it since I was a teenager and had to work the "hell shift" at Jack-in-the-Box. I'm oddly heartened to know that even those who do it every day hate it. But y'all must have some super-human ability to force yourselves to do hateful things. I stand in awe, because, seriously, dude, I am just not equipped...

    And I'm glad you like my pictures. I sort of do that kind of thing for a "living" although most of the stuff I post here just comes from Google image searches. Call me crazy, but I enjoy pawing through the internets looking for things that make me laugh.

    Jay - You amaze me. I can't even imagine living your life. I think I might have turned to that woman and said "Well God seriously phucked up this time because I'm about ready to rip you limb from limb!"

    "One thing at a time." I think that's a big chunk of my problem. Once I get stressed my brain just goes into hyper-drive and I flit from one thought to the next, never actually doing anything but worrying. I think some couch time and a long hot bath is in order...

  4. The other thing I always say/think is "ya do what ya gotta do";

    and, hey! I get out of Jury duty every time (you know, as a provider to a dependent....)

  5. That would be a hard week for me, too. Like most cats, I hate disruptions to my schedule. I think quite a lot of my decisions have been made in the interest of avoiding being busy and stressed. I have never wanted children because I like having my time belong to me, and never sought out relationships because two people is more drama than one. But we are fairly adaptable creatures; I've noticed that after I've gotten used to a new bit of timesuck (like flossing every day or taking on a new student), my life absorbs it without too many problems. Of course, I'm sure my saturation point is still a lot lower than most people's.

  6. When I read about your hailstorm, it made me appreciate our near-constant rain in a whole new way. I just cannot imagine living in a place where such destruction can fall out of the sky at random like that.

    I used to have a job that had angsty politics in the background all the time and the occasional phone call at 7:30am asking me to do a radio interview at 8:10, or somesuch. It's amazing what adrenaline can do for you - I've had a really nasty cold just disappear with a bit hit of adrenaline. The result, of course, was that I was permanently stressed. I didn't even notice it until I stopped. That successful/unsuccessful cartoon really sums it up!

    You've excelled with the pictures this time - I love the crazy cat lady school :-)

  7. The only way I can get up at 6am, work until 5pm, go to the gym until 7 and then go home, make dinner and tidy the house is to take my vitamins every day.
    Having suffered from depression for most of my life I've found that getting plenty of B complex vitamins (especially Niacin) as well as vitamin D makes a world of difference in my motivation and energy levels.
    And like any routine you eventually get used to waking up at 6am. Now 7am is "sleeping in" for me.

  8. You know, the great thing about animals stealing from your garden is that the plants start growing wild outside the garden and elsewhere the following years. It's always fun to come across another berry bush in an unexpected place.

  9. I just gotta pipe in--Jay, I'm amazed you didn't slap that woman. I am even of the Christian camp and those sorts of comments drive me insane. They're absolutely dismissive and absurd. I do not understand a concept of god that is, essentially, some dude in the sky who reigns down terror every time he gets jock itch and joy when he's had a good drink. But I'll shaddup about that.

    I suppose it's "all relative" in the end (maybe?). My mama used to say that she managed to take care of all she had to take care of simply because she had to (full-time job, full-time school, kids, etc.). I can't imagine having children and functioning. I couldn't do it! Add in kids with particular needs and oy. Seriously? I don't see how you do it.

    Champions! There are absolute champions in this world.

  10. Jay - Well... I did get to postpone my jury duty... I was supposed to serve earlier in the summer, but it was right after Princess (new cat) clawed Jasper (trusting cat) in the eye and scratched his cornea. He needed drops every few hours so I told them I needed a postponement. I'm still amazed by what you deal with...

    Jennifer - I think we are a lot alike. 4 Cats and I'm nearly pushed over the edge, I can't imagine raising a child! I suppose I can adapt when I need to, but I sure don't like it!

    Rachel - The severe weather is a mixed bag. It totally sucks when it destroys your garden, roof etc., but at the same time there's something awe inspiring about getting to see mother nature's fury up close and personal. Reminds me that for all our technology and other capabilities, we're really not in charge here.

    CatMan once got caught in a tornado when he was out riding his bike. He hid up under an overpass and waited for it to strike. When it didn't hit he crept out to take a peek. The thing was right over his head, but the funnel cloud had gone off at an angle (where it took the roof off of the neighborhood steak house.) Meanwhile I was hiding in the basement at my job with a room full of beginning accordion players... but that's another story! Anyhow - I'm sure adrenaline does wonders, but it can't be very good for you. I'm so glad you've found a way to slow down and enjoy life!

    Nic - I'm exhausted just reading about your schedule. And you remind me that I need to remember to take my vitamins! I suppose that most people who get up at 6 also get to go to bed at a much more reasonable hour than I ever have. When I was working, I didn't get off until 10 or 11 at night. I can't recall the last time I was in bed before midnight.

    JNU - I just LOVE your "glass half full" way of looking at things! The squirrels aren't destroying my garden, they're spreading seeds... I'll try to remember that.

    Demandra - I'm totally with you. I don't know how people raise children without going totally insane. I'm really thankful that I live in an era when choosing not to have kids is a real option.

  11. Demandra, your Mom nailed it.
    When my first was a baby, I was working full-time 12 hour night shifts and living on a boat with maybe 30 SF of living space; we ultimately moved into a house, I eventually found a "day job" and worked until my second entered first grade. Our finances were then good enough for us to "take a vow of poverty" and for me to quit. So, it actually got easier :-)
    Love my kids and would die/kill another to protect them. Classic Mama Bear, but with no touring and bragging like a familiar "Alaskan MaMa Bear [not]"....

  12. I don't know if it's the Universe or God testing us. To each their own. For me I think it seems everything seems to happen at once because we're so busy dealing with the Daily Must Do List. Everything else is ignored until it simply dies, explodes or deflates. I need a dishwasher, washer, dryer & tires. Those are the "little" things. Big things: plumber, electrician, and major home improvement to a half ass room addition done by previous home owner over 30 years ago. Don't know when those will happen. Oh, well there are always about 15 litter boxes to clean, someone to medicate, a herd of critters to feed and their dishes to wash. Cook - when, how & who the f has the energy or time. I think most of us regular folks are spinning as many plates in the air as we can and know that if we stop we ain't ever gonna get them all back up in the air. Keep going or CRASH! My life post-hospital has been "how did I do all of that before"? Can't seem to get back up to speed.

    Sympathize and hope for a return to relative peace for you. When life hands you cat poop, you do the best you can.

  13. I missed this post somehow, but I wanted to say that I couldn't agree more. You just have to do the best with what you can. The glass being half-full is always my chosen perspective when at all possible.

    That said, about a year ago, I decided to work out at the gym every day. The only way to make that happen within our existing family schedule was to be AT the gym at 4am. Yes, I am a morning person, but no one on earth is THAT much of a morning person.

    It is not always easy and it often means I crash for the night before 9pm, but it works for me. I feel better and have more energy in the end. If I manage to catch a cat nap on the couch for 20 minutes in the afternoon a couple times a week, that's always nice too.

    In response to this question:
    I am curious though... how do those of you with busy lives maintain balance?

    We aren't nearly as busy as we used to be. I used to often feel as though I was chasing after 27 plates flying through the air every single day. We have chosen to slow down dramatically. We plan nights and full days of not leaving the house, not making commitments, just being here as a family. We're actually considering a move to an extremely rural area in the next ten years. When I imagine what Jay is dealing with or what other friends handle on a daily basis, it boggles my mind. It certainly makes my days seem like a walk in the park.

    I'm glad to hear that your car wasn't a serious problem and that the gas leak is all fixed. You sure had a ton of stuff rain down on you this past month. Here's hoping that the coming month will be a much more peaceful one for you!

  14. Connie & Mary - Thanks so much for your comments... sorry to be delinquent in responding, I've been crazy dealing with roofers. Don't know if you guys will see these responses or not but...

    Connie - "When life hands you cat poop, you do the best you can." Words to live by, my friend! And I think you are totally right about things building up because we're so busy dealing with the "must dos" --- I just hate, Hate, HATE living that way though. Somehow it's reminding me of something I read once about how you can tell that a society is nearing collapse when it requires all of the energy it can muster just to maintain it's current state. Hang in there, my friend.

    Barefoot Mary - First of all... 4AM?!?!?!? Of your own free will?!?!? SERIOUSLY?!?!? OK, I suppose it would be different if you went to bed at 9... but still, that's only 7 hours... I simply couldn't function. I don't think I will ever understand morning people. I can't ever recall waking up and actually feeling awake... at any hour... EVER!

    I can't remember if I've told this story before on this blog, but once, when I was still working full time, I decided that the problem must be that I just wasn't organized enough. So I sat down and made a list of all of the things that I needed to do every day and how much time should reasonably be allotted to each task. I figured it would just be a simple case of scheduling. Imagine my horror when I added it up and it totaled 36 hours! A move to an "extremely rural" area sounds wonderful... although I'm sure maintaining a rural home is no walk in the park either!

    OK... I must run, I have hungry fe-lions tearing apart the house...

  15. How do I cope? Well I don't know, but I did give notice at my job about two months ago and have been off of full time work for about 3 weeks now. Best thing ever!

  16. I have never coped and that's how I've ended up here, doing less and infinitely happier - medicated but every little bit helps :)

    1. I don't think humans were ever meant to live in the crazy way that we're currently trying to... we're just not built for it!

  17. People have very different sleep needs. On weekends, when I sleep 10+ hours, I feel like CRAP. Seriously, my head hurts, I don't eat properly and feel tired all day. During the week, if I go to sleep too early (10, 10:30 pm), I inevitably wake up around 5am, too late to go back to sleep and too early to start making noise around the apartment. After some experiments, I realized my optimal sleeping pattern is to sleep 5~6 hours at night (I'm a night owl AND a morning person, if that even makes sense), then take a 1 hour nap at some point in the afternoon (usually after lunch, but sometimes before dinner).
    As for other people's busyness, being a lazy ass I'm always amazed. I'm only 22 and yet some of my friends are already working insane hours, drowning themselves in debt, getting married and having kids... yikes. I'm trying my best to not get sucked into the madness.

    1. Avoid the madness, I say! I'm really impressed that you can get by on such small amounts of sleep - I fear I'd be like the walking dead if I tried it!


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