I started this blog post yesterday during a totally kickass rain storm. Here are some deep thoughts and not-so-deep thoughts for you.
Just like if we were meeting in person and I was yammering away at you over a cup of coffee, your mileage may vary. Bonus: Unlike an in-person meetup, you can just skim over the parts where I bore the crap out of you. Blogs are so magical!
My new shiny object: transforming our porch
The sky is raining its butt off here. This makes me happy for two reasons:
The first is that I get to take in the awesomeness of the storm from the comfort of the screened-in porch I’ve spent 500 hours cleaning out over the past few weeks.
Ooh, want to see our porch? When we bought the house it looked like this:
Actually, it looked like that times one million. All of those boxes are full of wood. We have a tiny little wood stove and we burnt through a bunch of wood over the winter, but there was still soooo much left. Our cute little porch was not really usable.
About a month ago, Joe and I spent the better part of a weekend hauling wood out of there and giving it to anyone who would take it. Ultimately my pyro-loving brother-in-law had himself a weekend-long bonfire with most of it!
Over the weekend I scrubbed nearly every surface in here, including one of the brick walls. There’s still a lot to be done, but I like knowing it’s all as clean as it’s going to get.
Here’s a pano (which probably has a 0% chance of loading correctly, prompting me to to my husband to fix it later today):
Next up is painting some of the great old furniture I’ve nabbed over the past few weeks. Look at these benches! Could you die?
I’m going to pain the table blue so it matches the cushion on the wicker couch and then repaint the black and white on the benches. I also want to get some cool lights to string around the top. I’m thinking something with Edison bulbs.
I’ve been obsessed with working on this porch for the last few weeks. I needed a shiny object to focus on. I’ve been driving Joe nuts. But every time I sit out here I’m so happy. It feels like a little getaway.
The second reason I’m happy about the storm is that I just had Megan and Benjamin help pull all the the little pieces of grass and clover that were starting to poke out between the pavers in the driveway. LOVE the driveway. Hate, hate, hate pulling teeny tiny weeds from between bricks. I put down some Preen right when I saw the clouds roll in. Since Preen needs water to activate, the storm saved me from hosing down the driveway. (Dear Baby Jesus in Heaven: Please let this work as an efficient form of weed control. )
Mentally decorating the house has consumed so much of time since we bought the place last November. We knew this place was going to a life-long project. At the moment, I’m very thankful for the distraction.
Fuck me, this pandemic is still happening
You’ve probably already heard this, but the pandemic is, like, still a thing. And it’s looking like it’s going to continue to be a thing for a while. I have worries about that. I’m sure you do, too. Here are some of mine:
- All your basic risks pertaining to death, illness, broken economy, disparate impact on black and brown communities (this article will make you want to donate all your money to an amazing organization like Feeding America), lack of leadership, etc., etc., etc.
- The kids. Oy. All the kids in the world are now going through some weird social experiment during developmentally important years. So I’m worried about all the kids, including yours. But, to be frank, I’m mostly worried about the kids who live in this house. I’m worried that if I don’t personally intervene and keep them entertained and active and engaged at every minute, they will be sucked into the vortex of their beds and their electronics. I’m worried that at the end of all of this, they’ll be the human equivalent of those albino slugs that one might scrape off the bottom of a rock in the garden. (This bug reference is proudly stolen from the great children’s book author, Jerry Spinelli, in Space Station Seventh Grade. I have read this book about seventy billion times, including as as an adult. It holds up. Side note to this side note: I met Jerry Spinelli once — he’s actually my friend’s uncle! — and he told me that he originally wrote Space Station for adults as a look back at the early teen years. The publisher decided to market it as a kid’s book. Explains a lot.)
- This is probably going to get worse. I like to think I’m an optimist, but I’m also an incessant newshound and I work really hard to seek out credible information and this whole situation is pretty suck-tastic. I fear that in six months we’ll look back to March and think how innocent we all were back then. I already think that. Remember when this was all new and definitely scary but also kind of funny? (Well, I think everything is funny.) If you didn’t personally know anyone who was sick, there was a lightness to the whole thing. There was a lot of solidarity about baking and all the projects that most of weren’t doing. Now? I don’t even know.
- I’m worried that the isolation is going make me even weirder. I was a very shy kid who decided to become an extrovert during my late-teen years. But I’m a fake extrovert. I looooove people so much, but I remain awkward as fuck. I have a tendency to overshare. All the sentences that come out of my mouth are 40 words too long. I never remember names. Small talk bores the crap out of me, so I tend to interrogate rather than converse. And all of that is when I’m at my best.
Working from home for the last 16 years has left a fair amount of room for regression. Every year I worry that I’m more socially inept than the last. Now that I’m basically under house arrest, I’m concerned that I will lost the few social graces I’ve managed to cultivate.
I’m also fighting the urge to just retreat back into shyness. It’s a program that my brain has learned to override. I’m afraid that, with no counter programs running, it might take over.
Learning more about my weirdo brain and my ADHD
About a month ago, I wrote about the challenge of stacking a new habit onto my daily routine. I was trying to find a way to build a regular writing practice on top of my established yoga and meditation schedule.
So did my plan work? Yes and no.
First, I found that once I started tracking my writing, I was already writing a whole lot more than I realized. I’m always beating myself up for not writing enough, but I wrote close to 14,000 words last month without even breaking a sweat. And I wasn’t even doing that much more than I normally do.
This was a headsmacking realization for me. I beat myself up a LOT. Over everything. At any given moment, I’m feeling guilty about something that I did or didn’t do, or something that I didn’t do well enough.
Last year when I was seeing a therapist for ADHD, she said that people with my affliction tend to think in terms of pass/fail. We also tend to be perfectionists, which is why we don’t finish stuff. If we can’t do something perfectly, we’re doing it wrong. So it seems that maybe I’ve been beating myself up for not writing enough, when really, I’ve been doing OK all along.
Another realization: I can be more flexible than I give myself credit for. I was once talking with a friend about my struggle to create a daily schedule and I said that I have a really hard time accounting for exceptions. As in, “I can do this every day at 8 AM, but what happens on the days when I have to pick up the kids? Or what about when I have an early meeting?” She laughed and asked why I couldn’t allow any flexibility.
“Are you kidding?” I replied. “I’m so flexible that I’ll say yes to any distraction that pops up and then my whole schedule will go right out the window FOREVER.” I really felt like I needed a Plan A, but then I also needed a Plan B and Plan C for those days when things went haywire.
When I started the yoga and meditation a few months ago, I made sure to do them every week day at the same time. I had an app where I checked them off. If I couldn’t avoid missing a session, I made it up later in the day.
Then I hurt my back. I’m not even sure how, but it may have been when I was trying to force a stuck window (ah, the joys of owning an old home). I tried to keep up with the yoga anyway, but then I finally had to realize that I needed to take a few days off to heal.
Then came the doctor’s appointments. Somehow, I’ve had to go to or transport people to 10 doctor’s appointments over the last three weeks. (Trying to cram everything in while things are still open in case they close again.) This totally obliterated my morning schedule. I was starting to get stressed … and then I finally realized that I could decide this was no big deal.
I could decide to give myself a damn break and go “Life is really busy these next few days. You only have so many hours. You can skip this for now and then get back to it.”
And that’s what I’ve done. My habit-tracking app is not as satisfying to look at as it was a few weeks ago, but otherwise, nothing terrible happened. I just picked up where I left off.
Another realization: If I start something and get derailed for whatever reason, I haven’t lost ALL progress. I don’t have to start over as a beginner. I didn’t come back to yoga as a beginner. I came back as someone with three months of daily practice under her belt. Everything I did before mattered.
Well, lovelies. There are all my random rainstorm thoughts for a Monday afternoon. Miss you all and hope life is OK or at least OK enough for the moment. Until next time …