It’s been a gloomy week. The weather has not been helpful. It is almost May and I would like some balmy weather. The cold is bringing me down. And yet there’s enough blossoming now that I seem to be suffering from seasonal allergies. Most mornings for the past week, I’ve woken up with a pounding headache and a phlegm-inspired sore throat, and then I wouldn’t feel good enough to go to my SJCC class, and then I wouldn’t feel great because I hadn’t exercised, and then it became a vicious cycle, pretty much, for the whole week.
I don’t even remember getting allergies when I was younger, so part of me wonders if it’s another fabulous aspect of the aging process. Plus, I’m pretty sure that I’d be doing better if I were eating a more Plan-ish diet, but I’ve pretty much fallen off the Plan wagon. Which really means that I eat Plan foods about three-quarters of the time, but that’s not enough, dammit. The Plan really demands the kind of constant vigilance with which I’m not motivated enough to comply. My arthritis is still better than it used to be, but the exciting side-effect weight loss has pretty much reversed itself. So that is. . . not awesome. And yet not so terrible that I can bring myself to say, “No thanks, I’ll just wait to go home and re-heat some vegetable soup” when I’m at a Chipotle counter. Sometimes it feels like the universe is conspiring against me. Like, one weird non-Plan-friendly-food-that-seems-like-it-would-be-healthful is turkey. For Easter, I had enough grocery points to get a free ham or a free turkey. Neither of them are Plan-ish, but they were free. I’m pro-free. I should have just donated the damn thing to a soup kitchen. Instead I opted for turkey. My whole family likes turkey, and they particularly like it when I serve Thanksgiving-style dinner. Everyone was happy with dinner, but then no one wanted the leftovers. I have no idea why. I really hate to waste leftovers. It’s a trait I inherited from my father. I’m always the one who’s saying, “No, no, that cheese isn’t bad! Cut off the mold and the rest of it is fine!” or “Ignore the expiration date! If it smells fine, it’s fine! They’re just trying to cover their booties by being overly cautious!” So the damn turkey just sat there, and it was making me crazy. I spent quite a while cutting off convenient slices and separating the yucky stuff for the cat, and I still couldn’t move the merchandise. Then I got the clever idea to make a pot pie, because my kids love chicken pot pie. They seriously got all excited, and then, like an idiot, I said that it was turkey pot pie, and everyone was like: never mind. What’s the problem here? You like turkey. You like pot pie. You should like turkey pot pie. No dice. Cute W is avoiding gluten to try to sleuth out his own stomach issues, I don’t think J even tried it, and M grudgingly had some when she couldn’t think of anything better to eat. This damn thing has been sitting in my fridge all week, and today I gave up and had some for lunch, making any other good choices today entirely worthless.
Meanwhile, another sign of aging? I got my first prescription for bifocals! Whoop, whoop! Strangely, I was pretty pleased about this. I feel like I’ve been squinting at labels for a while now, and so confirmation that I could use a bit of help was validating, somehow. Plus we had a bunch of use-it-or-lose-it money to spend, so I splurged on multi-focus Transitions glasses and burned through the budget. I haven’t gotten the glasses yet, but I hope I like them.
With the kids, this whole week has been rough because J is struggling with a school project. It’s the same problem as usual: when she has a project designed to be creative and fun, she spends about 85% of her time wringing her hands about how it might not fulfill her perfect vision because she’s unequal to the task, 5% of the time actively sobbing, and only 10% of her time working on the project. So I’ve been prompting her constantly to try to stay on task and actually do something instead of fretting about it. I hate nagging. And having to factor in all of the extra fretting time, it is way too much work. It also hits a little too close to home, because just as she is practically my physical clone, we share many personality traits. At some point during the week I had the revelation that, lately, I share pretty much the same approach when it comes to writing. It was what a former professor used to call “an epiphanic moment” for me. A while back, I stepped back from blogging with the plan that it would allow me to devote time to other, more creative writing, but the truth is, it hasn’t. Before, blogging was a must-do almost every day, so I wrote almost every day, even if sometimes it was just me whining or sharing links. Now writing is at the bottom of an on-going list of things to do, and after cooking, laundry, driving kids places, doing KidsOutAndAbout stuff, nudging kids over homework, cleaning, and running out for last minute birthday presents, I never actually make it to the bottom of the list. So I feel like I made a tactical error, but I’m not sure how to fix it. I’m feeling stuck. Since I made the connection between J’s and my anxiety-prone, perfectionist-induced paralysis, it’s made trying to get her through the project even more unpleasant. Here’s Susan B. Anthony in front of her work-in-progress courthouse to commemorate when she was found guilty of the crime of voting. J’s opinion: “I think the bricks look too modern.”
On Friday I got Facebummed. This is a word that I just invented, but surely the phenomenon isn’t unique to me? J lasted for about two and a half minutes in Girl Scouts, but pretty much all of her friends are Girl Scouts. On Friday night, my feed was full of smiling girls in lovely dresses with their proud dads for the Father-Daughter Dance. Now, M’s actually attended this annual event, and even when I had a kid attending the dance, mine was the one who insisted she was wearing shorts and a t-shirt and only grudgingly changed in the parking lot when she realized that her mother was right and everyone else likes to dress up once in a while. And I know that it ends up being a clump of men standing around, checking their phones, while the girls are off, not necessarily doing much dancing. And yet, seeing all of them looking so pretty and excited, I felt sad that J was missing it, sad that she’d left Girl Scouts, just plain sad. I know the same thing will happen in another month when everyone starts posting their dance recital photos. Sigh.
Yesterday we said good-bye to our neighbor, Mary‘s husband, Gene. He is not well, and his family decided that he should move in with his son, far away. The swiftness of the transition took us all by surprise, and we almost missed saying goodbye to him at all. It’s awful to see him go, and we’re still not over losing Mary, so Cute W and I are sad.
Today I pretty much lost it on each of my kids. J was making me crazy over her project. I came down this morning and she was busily cutting cardboard and I thought, “Phew! She’s finally getting something done,” and then she proudly showed me that she was making a cat toy mobile. Terrific. Then there was Soccer Laundry Drama which involved jersey armpit-smelling and vehement disagreement about stink levels. I ended up fleeing the house to take a walk, we bought dinner instead of cooking, and I still have less than zero patience. The girls just had one of their perennial disputes about who should turn off the tv, and I am ready to turn off the tv by ripping it from the wall and smacking it onto the floor. But that would be expensive, so I’ll just imagine it and hope that I can maintain my composure until they are asleep.