My friends, today is one of those days that I wish I hadn’t made a promise to write or post 365 days straight. I am so damn tired and all I want to do is go to sleep, but I cannot because I have to fulfill the promise I made or I’m going to feel really terrible. There is some reassurance that I am in the home stretch and only have 24 more days to go, but I’m not there yet. Life right now is so full and has been for the last couple of months, and I wish I’d only committed to write or post something for six months straight rather than twelve. Clearly, I bit off more than I can chew but I refuse to quit when I’m so close! I remember when I used to run Track years ago and so many times I’d ‘hit a wall’ and want to quit so desperately. Each time I’d clear a lap, I’d question the whole point of running multiple times around an oval until my lungs burned. I felt like a hamster in a wheel and yearned to get out of my lane and make a beeline for the concession stand, but never did. I continued on until I rounded that final curve, sprinting the last few yards towards the finish line. I loved to run (for pleasure) but loathed competitive running; however, since I signed up to compete for my team, I felt the least I could do was give it my ‘best effort’.
Tonight, I am giving this blog my ‘best effort’ but it hasn’t been easy. I’m still questioning the point of it all. I truly look forward to September 29 because I will be ‘free’ to a degree. I can choose to write or post from that point on, or I can choose to watch a movie or go to bed instead. Although, I’m uncertain as to how I’ll be spending my days and nights in the future because everything is so up in the air right now. My father-in-law said he was going to sell his house once his wife passes away and it looks like that may be happening sooner rather than later. We were going to live in his basement until we find a home, but hospice was just contacted because his wife appears to be on her ‘way out’. Once she moved into the memory care facility and broke her hip (a week later), it sounds like she lost her will to live. She no longer eats and has lost a bunch of weight, and rarely gets out of bed. According to my father-in-law, she sleeps most of the time and seldom opens her eyes. It’s such a different scenario from a couple of months ago. He regrets having placed her in the facility but he simply couldn’t care for her any longer. She was a handful and a half!
If something happens to her before we arrive or shortly thereafter, and temporarily staying in the basement is no longer an option, I don’t know what we’re going to do. I suppose we can rent a place if all else fails. I know I sound a bit callous when I speak about my mother-in-law but we didn’t have a good relationship at all. It was strained from the get-go and during the final 10 years when we lived less than a block from her and my father-in-law, she and I didn’t speak (and I completely stopped going to their home and she to ours). I told my husband that I had ‘served my sentence’ and was done. The whole thing was really hard on my husband because he was stuck in the middle, but if he ever had to ‘choose a side’, he unfailingly stood with me. Ugh, thinking about all of that drama makes me wonder if we’re making the right decision moving back. I sure hope once we arrive that I don’t kick myself and say, “What the hell was I thinking??!!” There are significant differences in the circumstances between then and now so maybe that’ll result in a better experience this go-around. One of the biggest differences is that my father-in-law stopped drinking ‘cold turkey’ and is nothing like he used to be.
I have also evolved and am unlike who or how I used to be. I don’t get spun up as much as I did in the past when something troubles me (although I still have my days). On the whole, I feel much more steady and stable and experience fewer ups and downs. I attribute my metamorphosis to a number of things, with the most significant being my kidney transplant. It really transformed my perspective on life. Prior to the transplant, I was quite content with the idea of ‘checking out’. After the transplant, when I considered the sacrifice my brother Clover made (by selflessly donating his kidney) in order to give me a better quality of life, I knew I couldn’t continue on as I had been. To be a good steward to my brother’s kidney, I had to start making better choices and stop abusing my body. I had been treating it like a garbage can for decades and that simply had to stop. Putting a stop to compulsive/emotional eating has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. There are moments when I don’t do as well as I should, but I try not to beat myself up over them. That’s how the whole vicious cycle begins and I’d rather not start down that ugly path again.
Every day is a new day in this journey and the last few days/weeks/months have really tested my resolve (and my marriage). Apart from when my husband had his mid-life crisis, I don’t remember us ever arguing this much. We see things from very different perspectives ordinarily (especially when it comes to needs and wants) and the process of trying to determine what to keep and what to get rid of proved quite challenging. It was downright brutal! I let go of so many things I’d been needlessly hanging on to but he couldn’t seem to do the same. The three chef coats he received while attending culinary school nearly 9 years ago, the ones covered in a thick layer of dust after hanging in our closet for seven years, he is unwilling to let them go. Does he wear them? No. Will he ever wear them? Probably not. However, he just cannot face ‘saying goodbye’. That’s the story with a lot of his stuff. He has tons of old uniforms from the military as well as assorted items he accumulated throughout his career, but he cannot part with them. “I’m not ready,” he told me. “You’ll never be,” I responded. I meant it, too. He’s still got the mobility bag from when we were stationed in Germany in 1986.
I have to admit that I’m pretty proud of myself. I got rid of so much crap that has been weighing me down for years. On top of donating my letterman’s jacket (from high school), I also donated my Air Force jacket from when I was a ‘one striper’. It was the last keepsake I had from serving in the military. It, too, hung in the closet for years and didn’t serve a purpose (other than providing a place for dust to accumulate). Oh my gosh, I didn’t realize how dusty most of my possessions were until I began to either pack or donate them. How gross! I was so embarrassed this afternoon when we dropped off a bunch of stuff at the thrift store because my husband loaded everything onto the bed/back of the truck before I had a chance to wipe it all down. It’s one thing when items are tucked away in a dark closet, but it’s another when they’re piled into/onto the back of a truck on a bright, sunny day. Every dust particle, every dog hair, and every nasty cobweb made its presence known. I apologized profusely to the manager but she was very understanding. “Don’t worry about it,” she said, “You’re not the first person to bring in donations covered in dust.”
Dropping off those donations was one of the things we ‘checked off our list’ today, however, we wound up going to three different thrift stores (to accomplish this) because while the first one accepted most of our goods, they wouldn’t take any of the skis or snowboard equipment or home improvement/repair items. The next place accepted the ski and snowboard equipment but not the rolls of wire and vent covers and boxes of grout and miscellaneous home repair items. Fortunately, Habitat for Humanity was more than happy to take what remained. After we left Habitat, we were able to check off several more items on our list. Drop off cleaning products and used oil (among other things) at Household Hazardous Waste site. Check. Purchase new door latch and license plate light at RV store. Check. Stop by the DMV and buy two 3-day temporary registration passes for our cargo trailer. Check. Stop by the dump to see if they’re closed tomorrow (because they wouldn’t answer their phone) as well as inquire whether they’ll accept scrap metal. Check. We also stopped by T-Mobile to turn in my signal booster but they wouldn’t take it because they said they weren’t a corporate store. Dang it! I was doing so well!
Overall, it really turned out to be a productive day, although my husband would disagree. He had his sights set on finishing up all the repairs on the trailer and loading it, but only managed to install the new latch and license plate light. I was able to get quite a bit done once we returned home, despite the fact that much of it is hard to notice. In addition to sweeping the floors and the tops of the baseboards in several rooms of the house, I went through and removed nails and ‘mollies’/drywall anchors, and filled the holes with caulk. We don’t have a lot of joint or spackling compound on hand so I used caulk to fill the majority of the holes, and will fill what remains with spackling compound. That’s my goal first thing tomorrow, and once the compound dries, I will touch up everything with paint. I also have a great deal more cleaning to do but I’m going to wait until I drop off the dog (at the dog boarder’s) because it’s a losing battle with her around. Once she’s out from under me, I can really go to town and get this place ‘move in ready’. The poor little thing is so confused. Everything keeps changing and I think it’s making her anxious. She’s been exceptionally ‘needy’.
Well, there you have it, the last couple of days in a nutshell! I feel better because I fulfilled my promise to write, and now I can go to bed guilt-free. Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a fabulous weekend…and may you accomplish all that you set out to do. Hopefully, turning in your T-Mobile signal booster isn’t one of them because the odds of accomplishing that are slim to none (unless you’re lucky enough to have a corporate store nearby).