Amazing day today

sunflowerWhat a lovely day it is, outside. And it’s tailor-made for me.

My spouse is going out of town on a business trip later today. That means I can do some things around the house that I normally can’t, because they can’t tolerate the dust and noise and clunking.

I get clunky when I get going, sometimes — banging, slamming, crashing, and making a general racket. And that’s no good for anyone who’s living with me, who happens to be sensitive like my spouse.

Today, after 3 p.m., I’ll be able to mow the lawn all around the house… do repairs in the basement and garage… work on some outdoor fixes that have been needed for some time… and generally clunk around for all the hours we have daylight — past 9:00 p.m., these days.

I’m really looking forward to it — just getting things done without having to tip-toe and be extra careful about my noise, my movements, my clumsiness.

Just be. And do. And fix. Make the biggest racket I can… and not have to think about it, one bit.

Then sleep. Just sleep. Tomorrow. Just sleep.

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Two more days off – sweet!

Not till tomorrow, thank you very much!
Not till tomorrow, thank you very much!

I don’t have to go to work tomorrow… Psych!  It really is great to not have to think about Monday morning on a Sunday morning.

I can just take care of things I normally can’t — the repair jobs that take more than a day to complete.

The little chores and tasks that add up over the week, and I need to get out of the way.

More sleep. More rest. Naps.

Exercise! The clock isn’t ticking with me, and I can take extra time to exercise, change things up, get a little more creative with my morning workouts. The one thing I miss on days off, is that I can’t swim at the pool, but that will come on Tuesday.

I’ve been exercising in the mornings, every single morning, and then swimming on most days. And I’ve lost about 5 pounds in the past 6 weeks. That’s a safe pace, and it won’t screw up my metabolism and make me worse off than I am now.

Best of all, I can set my own pace – go as fast or as slow as I like. And stop whenever I like. Watch good movies. Or just sit at the back door and watch the birds at the bird feeder.

It’s all good.

And I don’t have to sweat the work thing for another 18 hours.

Sweet.

Busy weekend, quiet morning

toolsI had a busy weekend, doing a lot of work around the house while my spouse was out of town. Lots of lifting and moving and hammering and drilling and lugging things around. And in the end, I’ve finished some of the biggest items on my to-do list — which were also the ones that I couldn’t seem to do for months and months.

And it’s all good.

I’m really foggy today. I was really foggy yesterday. I’ve been feeling really “draggy” and dull, lately, and it’s not fun. But I keep to my schedule and I keep doing the right thing(s) for myself, and it all seems to work out okay. I haven’t been getting to bed at a decent hour, lately, so that’s probably a determining factor.

But at least I’m functional on average. And I can rally to get a bunch of stuff done when the opportunity arises.

Now it’s quiet. The sun is shining, and the kids have all gone to school. Time to get ready for work and see what the day has to offer.

This week, my goal is to get myself back on track with my sleeping. I see the neuro one last time this week, to see about possible neuropathy in my feet and legs. I’m guessing there’s none, but I’m going to follow through with it. Then I will probably just drop the whole neuro thing and look into having my ears checked.

And possibly my eyes.

Or whatever.

The day awaits… onward.

Another day working at home

Sort of what my water heater looked like - not quite, but close.
Sort of what my water heater looked like – not quite, but close.

Over the past few days, I had an interesting thing happen with my water heater. I have the temp set to just below “normal”, because I don’t want to scald anyone who runs the water. But since last weekend, the water has been HOT(!) for no apparent reason.

It happened on and off for a few days, then it was always HOT.

I finally went downstairs on Sunday night to see what was up. I thought maybe the dial had gotten bumped. But when I got down there, the dial was in the right place — while the air vent was incredibly corroded, there was water pooling on the top, and there was a line of water going down the side and pooling on my basement floor.

I mopped up the water and turned on the dehumidifier (I turned it off, because it was making strange noises, and we probably need a new one, anyway), and then wrote myself a note to call the company that had installed it in the morning. I wrote the note on a bright pink stickie note and put it up on the kitchen door, where I couldn’t miss seeing it. That’s my go-to for things I have to remember — notes written on garishly colored stickie notes and put at eye level in a place where I always look — out the back door to the yard, to see how the day is going.

That was Sunday night. Why didn’t I call sooner? Because it was Christmas, and I frankly didn’t want to have to deal with it — or call the repair guy out on the holiday. And it actually didn’t occur to me to check on the hot water heater until Sunday night — might sound strange, but if something doesn’t have my full attention, it tends to not exist in my mind.

Anyway, Monday morning, the note worked — it caught my attention — and I called the repair company. They sent someone out later that day, and by mid-afternoon, it was fixed. At first, the repair guy thought I needed a new tank, full stop, but then he found out he could just replace the top well and the temperature sensor (the old one was fused, because it was sitting in water and rusted out), and I should be good as new. He left the top mechanicals unattached, so they wouldn’t get damaged by a possible leak in the tank. Then I’d have to get everything replaced all over again.

I’m to keep an eye on the top well for the next few days, and if it stays dry, I’ll call them and have them come out to replace the top mechanicals, and we can all get on with our lives.

So, that was yesterday. I worked from home, as nobody is at the office, anyway, and I had no meetings. Same thing today. No meetings, nobody is there. It’s practically a vacation week for everyone who’s officially working, because nothing — but nothing — is happening.

It’s time to review the past year, do our year-end assessments, account for our actions, report in on what we got right, where we need to  improve, etc.

It’s weird, because our company is getting acquired, so there’s a general sense of “what’s the point?” to all of this. Even if we do great work, we could get let go, because we don’t fit with the new vision of the company. Or if we do good work and we get kept on, the direction could change, so our accomplishments won’t mean anything. And it’s all just an exercise.

Well, it’s actually a good exercise. It’s not just about justifying my existence with my employer. It’s also good for me to look back on the year, see where I got things right, really appreciate the progress I’ve made, and look forward to what’s next. Seems like the usual for year-end, whether it’s for work, or it’s for me.

So, it’s all good — and I’m actually enjoying the process. It’s great to have the leeway to just breathe and think my way through everything, instead of rushing around like a crazy person. I have a few classes I need to take before the year is out — I have all of three days to do it, which is more than enough time — but I’m still cutting it close. I’m using the pressure to get myself to focus, as I often do.

So, after thinking I was going to go into the office this week — it’s quiet, after all — I realize that I really don’t feel like it. I can get everything done (and more) at home, and I get a break from the bad air and the deodorizer in the restrooms that covers me in an obnoxious layer of scent. The chemicals set off my spouse’s allergies, so I have to keep away from them until I take a shower, and it’s a huge pain in the ass. Of course, it’s a bit of a challenge for us to be in shared space all the time, for days on end (we’re old fashioned – we get on each other’s nerves). But we’re making do this week.

The weather is rotten, and I haven’t been feeling well — migraine again, for the past several days — so it’s safer for me to stay home, we both figure.

So, here I am. Again. Warm and happy and with plenty of discretionary time to use as I please.

And it’s pretty cool.

Onward…

Mixed day. Half day. Full day.

Well, there it is. It’s been a full day, but I got maybe half of what I’d intended done.

Of course I did. I am notoriously bad at estimating what I’ll be able to accomplish in my weekend time. For some reason, I always think I’ll be running at the same pace I do during the week, but weekends take on a pace of their own, so by 3:30 or so, I realize I estimated all wrong, and I settle in to just having a weekend.

Originally, the plan was to run some errands in the morning, mail out some Christmas presents to family, help my spouse get ready for a day trip they were taking with friends, do some work around the house, run some more errands, clean a little bit, take a nap, make some supper, set up the Christmas tree, and get a head start on another job I need to do tomorrow.

That’s almost how it went. Except for half of it. While doing one set of errands, I realized that I needed to run to the big box home improvement store and pick up a piece of lumber to patch a hole in the stairs of my house. I’ve had workmen step into that gap and nearly hurt themselves. And just the other day, another one broke  through the patch I created 10 years ago. I guess 10 years is about the lifespan of that particular patch.

I also needed to pick up some supper, so I ran to the store and got my supplies, along with some caulk. I stopped to ask some employees at the store about where to find caulk, and when they asked me what it was for, I couldn’t get the words out. I could see the pictures in my head, clear as day, but I couldn’t pull up the words “garage” or “trim”. I just stood there like an idiot, gesturing in mid-air with one hand, while I held the 2×6 in the other.

“It’s for outside,” I said. “Outside”. That was the best I could do. The lights were so friggin’ bright overhead, the space was TOO BIG, TOO LOUD, TOO MUCH, and I was still feeling sick — still am, right now.

Fortunately, they just told me where the caulk was (right behind me – d’oh), and they recommended the silicon type. I need to fill some gaps in the trim of my house around the garage doors, because mice keep getting in that way. I’ve seen them slip into that gap many a time, and I’ve had it with them. They’re dead.

I got home in one piece, trimmed the end off the lumber, patched the hole, and then set a bunch of mousetraps in in places where those little bastards tend to show up. When it gets cold outside, they come inside. And until I get those gaps filled (I need to wait till it’s warm and dry before I use it — it’s supposed to get that way, next week), it’s “killing time” for those little bastards.

One place I set the traps is along a veritable “mouse walkway” in my basement. There’s a high ledge along the outer wall where I’ve trapped them before with live traps. Once, I caught four of them overnight. Now I’m not bothering with live traps. They’re dead. Dead, I tell you. The thing is, with my snap traps, if they snap, they can go flying, and then they’ll end up God-knows-where, and I might not find them till I start to smell the little decomposing carcasses. It’s happened before.

So, I got all clever and tied some string between the traps and nails in the overhead joists. Now, if the trap goes off and flies off the ledge, it will just dangle there, instead of flipping into or behind a nearby object where I can’t find it.

Problem solved. We’ll see how that works.

After that, I took a long, hot shower and lay down for my nap, setting the clock for a couple hours later. I must have slept right through the alarm, because no less than 3 hours later, I woke up on my own. I guess I really needed the sleep.

I had a late supper, and then talked to my spouse who lost track of time and ended up staying four hours longer than expected. They’re on their way home. And I am done for the day. Tomorrow’s another chance to start again, which I shall do.

Onward… to bed.

 

The bathroom ceiling looks fantastic – Woo Hoo!

Here’s how my bathroom ceiling now looks:

No, it’s not a typo. My bathroom ceiling is no longer gray with patches of brown. The paint’s not peeling off it anymore, threatening to send chips down on the bathers below. It’s completely white. Sealed. Clean and crisp. As it was intended to be.

I really did a great job with the painting, if I say so, myself. I was systematic, deliberate, detail-oriented, but I didn’t obsess over things that used to derail me — like getting the painter’s tape lined up exactly right along the edge of the drop-cloth and the ceiling.

I’m really proud of myself — even over this “simple” job. Last spring, I did a lot of painting to deal with winter leaks in my roof that messed up the ceilings in a couple of bedrooms, and it was a laborious and painstaking process. I did okay, but it was a loooonnnnngggg job that lasted twice as long as it could have.

I think it was just lack of practice that slowed me down — and also having no energy from a very rough stint at work, my spouse’s car accident which knocked them out of commission for months and turned our home life pretty much upside-down, not to mention how hard last winter was and how much work I had to constantly do to just keep up with everything. Yes, there was plenty to slow me down, this past spring.

I’ve done other painting jobs in the house — the ceiling of the kitchen has a dark, peeling spot from leaks dribbling down from the bathroom above. That bathroom has always been an issue – it had spongy walls when we bought it, and it’s just always been an issue. We have a second full bath with a shower stall upstairs as well, but that’s been out of commission for years — the toilet seal leaked, the tiles popped out of the shower stall (and little shards of tile got into my diabetic spouse’s foot (we’re still pulling them out, as they work their way out, years later). We haven’t had the money to fix it all.

If I hadn’t fallen in 2004, these would not be issues. I could have kept my job. I could have cashed in the full value of the bonus shares I’d earned. I would not have spent all our money on … sorry, I can’t remember exactly what I spent it on. All I know is, hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings and hard work ceased to be in our bank account, within a few years after my accident.

If I hadn’t fallen, not only would we have had the money to fix it all, but I would not have been derailed and unable to piece ideas together in a logical sequence. Even more debilitating than the lost money, is the lost executive functioning, where I was able to make plans and make decisions and take action in a logical fashion. After my fall, everything turned into a jumbled mess.

And yet, all my MRIs show nothing of interest to neurologists or doctors of other ilk.

It’s pretty cruel, how that goes.

Anyway, now I’m back doing things in my house that I used to do before I fell. I’m making repairs. I’m patching things up. And the bathroom ceiling looks amazing. Yesterday after I was done, I would just go into the bathroom and look up at my handiwork, loving the smooth glossy finish that caught the light. It’s so satisfying. So amazing. After such a long, long time of looking at gray and brown splotches, this is magical.

Even more magical is the satisfaction I feel at being able to once again do things that I had thought I’d lost for good — or couldn’t actually remember ever having had. So, I’ll enjoy this while it lasts. This painting thing went extremely well, and I’m going to make the most of my appreciation while it lasts.

One of the weird things about how my brain works, is that I lose sight of things I have done before — especially the things I’ve done well. Life with a Swiss cheese memory is definitely interesting… and sometimes it takes me a while to remember past experiences and accomplishments that went really well. It’s not amnesia, exactly — just a very “reluctant” recall.

I may have done something a thousand times before, and I may have done it really well, but I don’t recall. So, I assume I need to re-learn how to do it. And then when it goes well, I’m elated. Overjoyed. Simply because I’ve performed in a manner true to my level of ability.

Funny how that works — but at least I have joy and elation. In some ways, it probably makes my life a lot more exciting and rewarding than it might otherwise be — if I could remember in excruciating detail everything I ever did and said. That would be unpleasant, I’m sure.

Anyway, I’m riding high on the results of my work. My spouse is delighted, as well.

It just looks so great, compared to before.

And with that,I shall start my work week.

Onward.

I’m already missing that hour

time-for-changeToday is a work day for me. I’m painting the ceiling in my bathroom that has gotten a bit gray from mildew. It’s not awful, but it’s not pretty. So, I’m scraping off the crusty stuff and putting a couple coats of mildew-killing paint on it.

So far, so good. I got a later start than I originally intended, but I’m making progress. There’s something about Sunday that puts me in a state of revolt, if I’m expected to do work of some kind.

Then again, it also pushes me to get the job done quickly. And take frequent breaks. The fumes from the paint are a problem for me today. They haven’t always been, but I’m tired. I think my resistance is down.

So, I’m taking a break for a little while. Maybe I’ll go for a walk in the woods, while I can.

By the time I get back, the first coat will be dry, and I’ll be able to finish the rest.

I just wish it weren’t getting dark at 4:00.  I’m not ready for this. Complain, complain, complain. The fatigue talking again.

It’s not too bad, though, all in all. I’m flying solo today, as my spouse is on a business trip. That frees me up to rattle around and make all the noise I like. It also makes things otherwise very, very quiet. Both things are fine.

I do miss them, but it’s nice to have a day to myself, now and then, to get things done and not worry about the racket. When I am tired and my balance is off (which has been the case for several days, now), it’s hard for me to concentrate on what I should be doing AND keeping upright AND keeping the noise to a human level.

When I’m in fine form, like today, I can end up crashing and smashing a whole lot of stuff. It’s startling, to say the least. I don’t envy anyone who has to deal with that 😉

Anyway, while it’s still light, I’ll go for a walk. It will air me out and clear my head. I won’t be able to use the shower for about 24 hours, so that means I’ll shower at the gym at work tomorrow morning. Ah well… it keeps things interesting.

But I could really use another hour of daylight today…

Onward.

Fixing what I couldn’t fix before

It’s time to replace the hydraulic lifts on my hatchback. They’ve been out of commission for several years, now, and my garage quoted me $140 to replace them. Really? A hundred and forty dollars?

Heck, the squeegee I carry with me to swipe off rainwater does the trick nicely. It’s just the right length to prop the hatch open.

But lately, I’ve become paranoid about the handle breaking. The hatch is not light — it’s a heavy sucker, and it seems to get heavier, every time I lift it up.

So, before I go out and run all my errands, I’m going to replace the lifts that I ordered online last week. They’ve been riding around in the back of my car for all this time, neatly packed in their box.

Time to do something about this. I don’t know exactly how to do it, but I know how to go about figuring it out. Then, when I’m done with that, I can get on with the rest of my day.

This is a new thing for me. I used to have so much trouble figuring out what things went in what order. As recently as 5 years ago, I literally could not figure out how to fasten a sagging curtain rod. I just sat and looked at the rod… and then got up and walked away, because the whole thing about seeing the process through from beginning to end was beyond me. So understanding what tools I needed to gather to get it done (just the correct screwdriver and a step-stool) was out of the question.

Looking back, I can’t believe it was that hard for me. But it was. Then, one day, I realized that I knew how to fix the sagging curtain rod, and I did it. In 15 minutes. Triumph.

Little by little, things like this are coming back to me. Stuff that used to baffle and defeat me, is slowly but surely becoming exercises in patience and persistence… and learning. Learning, learning, and learning some more.

Now it’s time to stop talking and get on with taking care of this  Onward.

Good day, good progress

It’s been a very busy day today — full and just about as complete as you can get. I started with waking up around 6 a.m., which gave me about 6 hours of sleep. Not great, so I lay in bed for a while and just relaxed, drifted in and out of sleep. Then, by 7, I was awake and ready to get up and go. I got a little bit of exercise and stretching, then had my breakfast and sat down to catch up on some reading I’ve been meaning to do — as in, reading I haven’t been able to do for years. There’s this book that I’ve needed to read, but I just couldn’t manage to start it, for some reason. I started it yesterday, after years of just looking at the book on my shelf. And today I continued — got the first chapter read — and understood.

So, that was pretty huge. I have really struggled with reading, and I’ve been missing it; I used to be an avid reader, just about all my life, but after my fall in 2004, I wasn’t able to really sit down with a book and read it the whole way through. It’s been slow going, getting back into the swing of things, with some fits and starts. But now I’m feeling pretty strong and optimistic — this book is about things that really interest me, that I can use in my everyday life, so I have a lot of incentive to read it.

The morning just flew by, and I made a lot of great progress, so to celebrate I went out for a walk in the woods near my house. I got a little turned around and lost my way once, but I just kept going until I recognized something. The woods are not that big – I can just keep walking and eventually come out to a road or a pond or a stream which I recognize.

Such a great way to spend a few hours on a beautiful fall day. I took it all in — the colors, the sights, the sounds, the scents — I got more exercise, going up hill and down…  and I had a few more decent ideas that built on what I read this morning, which is always nice. I also had some time to just sit in the sun and see how I was feeling — and I wasn’t feeling that great, when I stopped to think about it. I was shaky and sick to my stomach, my head hurt, and I felt really foggy. It wasn’t stopping me from going about my business and doing what I needed to do, but it wasn’t me at peak. Not even close.

I was tempted to spend the whole afternoon outside, but I needed to come home, have some lunch, and have a nap. I’ve been so wiped out — I need to make extra effort to sleep when I can. So, I walked home, had some soup and crackers, and then slept for about an hour.

I got up feeling pretty good, and after I cleared the fallen leaves off the driveway, I helped my spouse load the van for an event they were going to. They were having a little trouble focusing in and getting everything together — they’ve been distracted thanks to another upcoming business trip next weekend which promises to be quite challenging for them. So, my evening was spent coaching and reassuring and gently nudging them in the direction they were supposed to be going.

After they left, I had a little leftover barbecue chicken from last night, and I caulked the seams of our kitchen counters, which have been cracking and separating, now, for years. I’ve been looking at those seams, promising myself I’d do something about them. And tonight I did just that.

I’m pretty happy with the result, too. It’s neat, it’s going to look great when it all dries, and I managed to get through the job with only a couple very minor freak-outs, when I was dropping things and having a hard time holding the caulk tube steady. I managed to finish the job without melting down, which is nice. Even though I’m on my own tonight, and there’s no one to hear me flipping out, it still feels like crap when I lose it, and it takes me some time to recover from the outburst.

I don’t want to focus on the flipping out, though. I want to focus on the fact that I’m back to taking care of the house and doing right by it. I have not been keeping up with things at all, over the years. It has just been too much for me to get my head around. Now, though, I seem to have regained my ability to take things one step at a time and not get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things that need to get done. I’m not panicking at the sight of a stack of firewood that needs to be split and moved. I’m just grabbing the axe and having at it.

I’m also doing much, much better at being “editorial” in what I do. In the past, I have been so bogged down by distraction and details that didn’t matter at all, that it kept me from starting things and getting them done — it was all just too overwhelming, and I didn’t know which things mattered and which didn’t. In the past year, however, I’ve learned how to cut through all the static and focus on the core things that need to be done.

Now, instead of being overwhelmed by thinking through the minute details of every single step I need to follow, I am “roughing out” my chores and just cutting to the chase — focusing on the essentials, like grabbing one piece of wood and splitting it cleanly, then tossing it on a pile to move later. In the past, I couldn’t even grab a piece of firewood, because I couldn’t figure out which one I should pick out first, how I should place it on the chopping block, how I should place my feet, how I should stand, exactly, how I should hold the axe, what angle I should strike with the axe, and where I should toss the wood when it was split. I had so many competing details rattling ’round in my head, that I couldn’t even get started.

Now that has changed dramatically. The sequencing is much clearer and cleaner — less static, more flow. I honestly believe all the cooking I’ve been doing has been helping me with that. So, I continue to cook. And more good things follow.

Yep, it’s been a good day, all in all. I’ve got a few more little things I need to do tonight, but it’s no big deal. I can do them while watching a movie, which I plan to do shortly. With any luck, I’ll get to bed before midnight and get some real rest.

It’s all good.

Yes indeed, it’s all good.