Category Archives: behaviors

Crisis

People who know/see me IRL know that things haven’t all been jolly-jolly here. To the point where I thought I would have to talk to a lawyer about divorce. The issue isn’t something I’ll talk about here, because frankly, the sordid details of my life aren’t up for public discussion.

Suffice it to say that I’ve been dealing/coping with potentially life-changing issues. Last time things got this bad, about 20 years ago, we got help. We may do that again, or may not. The last time we thought we’d acquired the skills to deal with whatever potential problems we might encounter, unfortunately, that may not have been true.

I always wondered how people who stayed together for more than 20 years could then just split? You had it beat, didn’t you? We’ve been married 37 years and together 39.

The one good thing I know that’s happened as a result of this is what I said in my post here. No matter what, I’ll weather it. I know that again. For a long time I wasn’t sure there was any of the fighter left in me to face a major change. But whatever way things work out, I’ll make it.

Energizer-Bunny-300x270

My Methods

am decluttering/dehoarding the house, a bit at a time. I am changing my ways, although I can’t show anyone a habit tracker with lots of little checkmarks indicating things get done day in and day out.

That said, I have learned a few things about what works for me. I realized that because I’d never really been taught how to clean a house (the housekeeper not only was abusive, but she was also lazy and inefficient) or maintain it. I can read books and lists all I want, but there is a kind of natural pattern which I found which works for me. On the good days, this is what I do:

  1. Get out of bed, turn back the covers.
  2. Go down, get coffee, while it’s heating (if it needs it) I wash or rinse whatever is in the sink or wipe down the sink counter, depending.
  3. Go to office, get email, finish coffee. [Future piece to add to this is to straighten the desk or an area in the office.]
  4. First trip to bathroom, drop denture cleaner tabs in toilet (we have a lot of iron in our water, this helps keep the iron munge down). Wipe down bath sink first time sink is used.
  5. When I return to the kitchen for the 2nd cup of coffee, put away dishes or wash/rinse more, depending again.
  6. By this time I’m usually actually awake. If I remember, this is when I’m supposed to make the bed. (Making the bed is the newest piece I’m adding to this routine; not there yet!)

What I know about myself and shows in the list is that I hate “just” cleaning something. I want to do the maintenance cleaning while I’m doing something else: getting coffee, using the sink, getting my email, whatever. Ideally, I’d never do maintenance cleaning as a “chore” by itself, but it would be done along with something else: the prep dishes washed or soaked while dinner was being made or served is another goal.

I haven’t figured out how to add floor cleaning yet. I have routines for cleaning mirrors, bathroom chrome, and many other items, but some are still in process.

Seems like a PITA? Yes, it might be to someone else, but because setting out to “clean” something as a goal for decades pushed on the PTSD, I had to find other ways to approach the issue, and this works. I can add the little bits of maintenance cleaning to the things I do every day: getting coffee, getting out of bed, using the bathroom, etc. I can’t decide I’m going to clean for an hour between 9 and 10 a.m.!

 

The One-Trick Pony Lost Its Trick…

There are days when I wonder wtf I’m doing on the planet, except wasting resources?

I haven’t changed the world, I doubt that there are more than a few lives which are better for my having been here, and I wonder, seriously at times, why I’m here?

I used to feel heroic, challenged, and as if the challenge mattered. I had to feel that way or I would’ve quit. I didn’t quit and I made it through.

So what?

My last insight isn’t mind-shattering, but obvious, if you’re not me. For years decades I thought if when I beat the PTSD/pain I’d be invulnerable, super-powered!!! Then when I did get to where I could really cope, I felt like a wimp and tissue paper.

I think I finally know why: after fighting for approx. 50 years, I was emotionally exhausted. Sounds obvious, right? Much of my life I thought of myself as an “emotional heat sink.”  Throw trauma at me, I’d “hug” it and push it down into my gut. I’d get up again and keep going, over and over, like the stupid Eveready bunny.

Suddenly, I couldn’t cope — I became someone who was weepy at nearly any challenge — and I’ve been that way for years now.

So instead of ending a 50 year challenge with strength, I became a quivering nerve. I’ve just wanted to nest: stay isolated in these woods, this house, my marriage. I’ve wanted to cook and garden and read and hide from almost anyone and everything. There was a part of me, a small part —  it was the old voice — that just couldn’t understand it? I had never been like this!

I spent 5 decades fighting myself, the terror that I was a homicidal maniac, really f’n crazy, actually damned or flawed in some awful molecular way, only to win against that and see that I wasn’t crazy, or a murdering maniac, or damned — and I became a weepy raw nerve???

Talk about unexpected consequences! And no wonder I wasn’t interested in being an advocate for anyone or anything!

I have had to grant myself grace. I have to understand that yes, I’ve been exhausted, and that’s okay. I also have to let myself move on.

I’ve been afraid, as much as I let myself get involved with anything, that there was nothing else, I was a match, I’d burned myself out, and now it was my time to die. Seemed pretty stupid and it’s the damned Ibsen play I always wanted to avoid being. But. Maybe there’s more? I don’t know.

I have passed a magic marker, somewhere. I can feel strong now for short periods. I can and have been making small lines in the sand and I’m doing whatever it is. Things are getting done, finished. I don’t feel like a dandelion floating in the breeze all the time any more. The anchor maybe very thin and long, but it’s still there.

For the last 3 years or so of my therapy I’d just get overwhelmed by the idea of something and say I couldn’t cope. My therapist would reply, “You’ve weathered so much. Why wouldn’t you think you’ll be able to cope with this?”

I never had an answer: I had no strength. More, I had no belief in my strength. Maybe that is (finally) turning around?

Rather like this blog — this is NOT the topic I intended to write about!

The human brain is bizarre and wonderful.

 

Overwhelmed Gadfly

Basically, I took about a week off. I had so many things to do, endlessly that I just got completely overwhelmed. When I took a day off to go to a party, I just didn’t start again the next day — last Monday.

Being lazy and unproductive hasn’t helped getting anything done, but it has lowered my stress.

Anyway, the result is that I still have an overwhelming “to do” list.

  1.  Deal with food, both home grown and from the CSA.
  2. Clean/cull the house.
  3. The construction is on-going because we’ve had so much rain. The two week job has become a 4 week job. Hopefully, it will be finished this week, oh, wait, there’s a holiday — next week, sigh.
  4. Yard work.
  5. Writing.
  6. House Decorating.

None of these are single item, do it in an hour jobs. They are on-going, long-term, intensive and have many pieces.

drowning

Food:

  1. Summer squash (from the CSA) is currently in the dehydrator. Finished. A new batch started.
  2. The latest batch of rhubarb is chopped on the cutting board. I need to figure out what I’m going to do with it. Froze it.
  3. I have the rest of last week’s food from the CSA to deal with. Need to figure a rough menu for between now and Wednesday and deal with the rest. Thursday we get more. No menu, but in process of using up and/or deciding to store the excess.
  4. One way I deal with food is to freeze it. I need to make a new inventory. What I have is completely out of date. In process.

Clean/Cull the House:

  1. I’d love to take a chunk o’ stuff out of the house, put it on the lawn and go through it. I may, if I have time today. But having time is strictly deciding that I’m going to do this rather than something else.
  2. I still have about 3 or 4 batches of laundry to do. I may break down and go to the laundromat in town to get them done, maybe. There are many places I could find enough “stuff” to make this worth doing: the living room, the kitchen, the attic, our bedroom, the office.
  3. Keep working on the “dump” areas: my office and the attic. My idea with this is that if I get these cleared out then I can move some of the excess stuff from the other rooms there. Especially the attic, as that’s what it’s for — right? [Started working to clear out one of the two sheds. The sheds are the outdoor “attics” and they need to be culled and cleaned as well.]

Construction:

  1. Most of this isn’t on me, but they’ve unearthed a lot of rocks and I want to use them elsewhere in the garden. They’ve also covered over a lot of bulbs and they need to be moved to the bulb bed before they’re all dead. In process.
  2. Finally, the big equipment moving across the space did in my stepping stones and the wildflowers I was trying to cultivate as ground cover. This area when they finish will need to be relandscaped.

Yard work:

  1. I need to weed the veggie garden plot. I’m not growing much this year, but it doesn’t do to let the weeds get a firm hold on the space, ‘eh?
  2. Finish distributing the old compost.
  3. Add the new L to the compost heap and organize the leaf pile.
  4. Make up the tutorial for and redo the kindling stand for next winter.

Writing:

  1. Finish the memoir (again).
  2. Write the new novel, at least a draft.
  3. Finish the article for your friend.

House Decorating:

  1. Get the shower curtain liner done.
  2. Get the bookcase boxes painted, if they’re going to be.
  3. Paint the stairs and baseboards in the living room.
  4. Repaint the bathroom.
  5. Move things in the hearth area as per the new design.
  6. etc.

First commentary added 7/4/2017. Includes all 4 food items, cleaning one of the sheds (partial), and moving some of the rocks.

My Car is Full

of things to go to the flea market this week which were in the house. Tomorrow they’ll be put into the storage, until Friday, so I can make a dump run tomorrow too.

I don’t know quite how big my car is, but it’s a station wagon, so it’s not tiny! The car is pretty full. Also, I should have more selling space this coming month, which will help too. I can put some of the flea market things in the bigger selling space, before giving up on them and hauling them to the flea market or donating them.

Goals? One goal is to clear the boxes out of the corner of the kitchen. Another is to do the same in our bedroom. The same out of the attic. If I manage that, then I should be able to CLOSE the storage, because those spaces combined probably are about 200 square feet, but the storage is actually 20 x 10 x 9, so it’s 1800 cubic feet and I don’t know really if I have that much space available. However, for the first time, I have a way (weekly) to get rid of things, in bulk.

full car

I have obviously gotten rid of things consistently before, over a long period of time. But I haven’t had a weekly purge process, except going to the dump and/or just counting things. Things at the booth are staying 2 months. Then they’re hauled to the flea market, twice. Then they’re donated.

I guess what’s different is that I know I can’t just move the things around any more. I have to do a major purge in the next few months, or I won’t make my goal before it snows.

I don’t know if I can make my goal? But I’m going to try!

J

So?

We sold a bunch o’ stuff and donated a bunch more. My biggest frustration is that I either 1)donated the accounting with the things we donated or 2)put it into the storage unit with the items we returned there. At any rate, it isn’t in the cars. Fortunately, I DO know exactly what I took in money-wise, as I was doing a running tally with every sold item. I had $x until just before we packed and I thought that was it, and sold another item for $5 last thing. The money checked out the way it should (start cash + sales = expected $) and I would have been very surprised if it hadn’t.

But it’s annoying in the extreme that I don’t have the actual tally. I can only recreate about 1/3 of it out of my head, what sold and for what, and I’ve done that. Hopefully the stupid piece of paper is in the storage and I’ll find it tomorrow. Otherwise I have the partial tally and I’ll have to put something like (unknown qty/items) sold for $xx.xx in my accounting, and I really don’t want to do that.

The flea market was a success, both in terms of selling things and doing a major cull o’ stuff.

receipt book

Obviously, however, I have some work to do yet on actually getting organized. Or, more accurately, getting organized for not in a store event. I will probably just go buy another receipt book as that always worked before. It isn’t records I have a problem with, it’s when they’re on odd sheets of paper. I’ll fix it.

More Different

light out of darkness

There’s still WAAAY too much stuff here and it’s still too disorganized and we still have BAD habits. That said? There’s stuff getting disposed of here, daily. Areas which are being culled and cleaned, daily. It isn’t huge, but nibbling at the sides, every day. DH is finishing various projects, I’m culling a box or more . . . every day and cleaning some place new, every day.

We may, eventually, dig our lives out from under all the stuff.

Maybe.

J

3 rules of work