Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A living or a life?

Dinner is simmering... hopefully Hubs will enjoy it.

I am seriously debating on a glass of wine.

And it's not raining.  Note I said "not" because it's been a very damp summer. And it hasn't even officially started yet.  The weather channel is promising more rain as Tropical storm Bill is heading our way.  My boys are not enjoying the moisture.  And frankly, I am tired of trying to balance an umbrella and hold a leash and bags.  I have resorted to simply going with the soggy look.

Hubs is having a rough one, he pushed a bit too hard yesterday.  I know he's dedicated, and that he want's to accomplish as much as he can in the next 12 days.  But at what price?

I worry that he is causing more damage.  I worry that he can only handle so much pain.  I am terrified that he is going to push himself too hard.

And then I wonder... Do we spend too much time and energy focused on the wrong things? The new doctor won't say how long he will be out, his paperwork will say TBD (to be determined).

TBD - I wish the last doctor had thought in those terms.  I wish he hadn't promised he'd be dancing a jig in 6 weeks.  I wish that he'd been more careful in his care and treatment.  But wishing doesn't change anything.

I keep hearing the strains of an old commercial "in this work a day world..." I don't remember the commercial who it was for or what it was about.  But that phrase... What is our focus?  Are we making a living or making a life?

If I left for work one day, to never return, what would my legacy be? What would any of our legacies be? When my children came to clean up the remains of my life, what would they see?  How would they feel? What would they think?

Would they see the alpaca fibers on my spinning wheel languishing there for almost two years now, waiting for me to find the time to return to them.  Their beauty and softness sitting there patiently.  Or the various projects that I have started, some of them gifts for them.  Would they wonder why I never found the time to finish them.

Would they see they avocados sitting in the bowl, too ripe to use now, because I was too busy making a living.  Would they wonder what I had planned and why?

Would they notice the dishes still sitting in the sink since breakfast?  Or the ironing, that I slowly work on, never quite finding the time to finish it.  Would they notice the Easter Bunny decoration, that I keep forgetting to gather up and pack away, too exhausted to worry each time I notice it?  Fooling myself that it blends with my decor?

What will their thoughts be about it all?  There is a poem about the dash... how are we using our dash?  Are we spending all of our time on things that matter strongly to someone else.  Searching for approval and striving to be more to more people?  Focusing on that dollar?

In the end, do any of us really want our tombstone to say "she wished she'd spent more time at work"?

All of the stress and strain.  All of the health crisis's of not just hubby, but also close friends and too many people that I spend time with day in and day out.  It's wearing heavy on me and it's making me question too much.  Way too much.

This has been an incredibly long month, waiting for them to finally heal hubby feels like it is taking forever... Is it about making a living or making a life? For both of us... maybe the humbling will open our eyes and our hearts?

Life is short. We need to be enjoying the ride. We need to leave a legacy of love, where our children walk through the door at the end and they smile, savoring the memories.  Not regretting what we didn't make time for.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Washing away our troubles...

Rain, rain, rain... I would seriously be lying if I said that I didn't absolutely love a rainy summer day.  I guess it has a lot to do with being raised primarily in Germany.  Where the running joke was "quick take a picture before it disappears" whenever you had a fully sunny day.

It calms me, brings balance and serenity to my heart.
My rain drenched paradise....

Looking out my kitchen window while prepping for Sunday dinner I am in absolute awe of the beauty. When you are in front of my house it is your normal suburban neighborhood cul de sac.  Tidy little homes with beautifully landscaped front lawns.  A group of people that care about how their homes are perceived, people that simply care.

Then you peak out the back window... its a deep, misty rain forest.  Towering trees, flowering ones mixed in. A steamy underside rising as the heat and rain mix.  The green is lush, multi-tone, dark pine greens tempered by the soft spring green of the aspens.  It's rich.  Enveloping, welcoming and forbidding all at once.

Hubs has finished pressuring washing the front and back yard.  I offered to help, knowing darn well I would pay for it.  He refused, even though he knew he would pay for it.  I guess he figured his aching leg could rest easier in a tub filled with hot Epsom salted water a whole lot easier than I could recover from the damage mold does to me. Sure didn't realize there was so much mold until he started cleaning it either.

Ah, the joys of this deeply wooded oasis we call home.

My headache is dulling, it's been a long couple of days.  I wish it would give up and leave all together, but at least it's hit a tolerable level.  I even went out briefly to visit with the neighbors at the block party last night.  I am not overly social (despite the fact Hubs is Mr. Social Butterfly) so while he was in his glory, I was longing to be inside my dim, cool home sitting in silence and knitting.

They all seem to be very nice people.  Fun and friendly, too bad all the folks that I would want to hang out with had stayed at home inside, much like I would have done.

Today I couldn't even summon the energy for church, thankfully Hubs recorded the sermon for me so that I can listen to it a bit later.  I am still enjoying the peace and quiet.  The sound of the giant rain drops hitting the tin on the fireplace exhaust stacks is about the extent of noise I want to deal with today.

Soon the smell of Sunday dinner will start radiating through the house, as Hubs and I wait for a break in the weather to take our boys and our grand dog out for their afternoon walks. The only one of the three that is truly going to have a fit about the weather is the little old man.  The other two, well they will simply take it in stride.

I cannot believe the amount of projects on our to do list that we have accomplished.  Nor can I believe the sense of accomplishment and success that the very act of completing them has brought to my sense of well being.  Right now I am simply taking a break.  Pausing to rest my knee and my head.  Soon I will get back to the projects at hand.  Finishing the laundry, ironing, cleaning the turtle aquarium, maybe even finding the box with the quilt that I need to finish for Hubs.

I believe that he and I can tackle the world right now.  Maybe it's the power of that beautiful rain, cleansing the earth. I feel for my youngest, he lives in drought stricken California, he is also a child of Germany - I wonder how he is doing without the rain.  It feels so life giving.

Between the rain and my head I have had to slow down this weekend.  I've needed it.  I've had time to do a little of this, a little of that and a lot of reflection and planning.  Today has been about slow.  Slow roasted dinner, simmering gently in the oven.  Slowly working my way through my chores - stopping and resting when needed.  It's been renewing.

Hubs and I were just talking about how when you are deeply engaged in doing something that you feel brings value to you and your life that it is very easy to forget the pain or exhaustion it is going to cause.  I understood completely what he was talking about.  As I'd watch from a safe distance as he methodically cleaned both the deck and patio, each swipe leaving the clean and mold free beauty that was there I understood.  He was finding peace and accomplishment in a job well done.  I also knew he'd be hurting when he walked out of that bubble of concentration.  I do that a lot myself.  I get so wrapped up in a project, task or goal that I forget that life has given me perimeters that I really do need to function inside of. And when that happens... I pay for it.

Hubs and I are both surrounded by an amazing support system.  Proving to us time and again that sometimes water is thicker than blood and that if we need so little as a hug or prayer there are many to help us.  We don't waste that love and support on silly things.  We would never dream of abusing it.  The time will come where we will need help.  Today simply isn't that day.

It's time to open the blinds a bit more and savor that elemental beauty that only a deep, steady, rhythmic rain can bring to the soul.  While we wrap our hearts in the love of our families (blood, Y, church, neighbors)...

Even in the darkest hours... There is love and beauty!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

to do's...

The reason for my smiles....
Listening to the sound to the pressure washer on the siding makes me thankful today.  Hubs is out there trying to beat the heat and also taking advantage of the pain medicine that he's become so dependent on just for a semi-painless day.  Okay who am I kidding just to barely function.

We are both critically aware that we have three weekends to try to accomplish some of the items on our overwhelming to do list.  Too much of it requires both of us, and we are rapidly running out of time for that to happen.

We've been pushing things aside, trying so hard to wait it out.  We are almost at a full year in this beautiful home, and we still have boxes outside waiting to be emptied.  Furniture needing finished and we aren't even going to think about all the other odds and ends that need our attention.

Hubs is trying so hard to help me, and it's tearing at my heart.  I am thankful for the help.  I have desperately needed it.  My own stress level has been getting so out of whack, envy and jealousy have been rearing their ugly heads.  I know he physically can't help, I know it is ripping his heart out to not be able to.  And yet, my desperation is making me feel like an ugly person inside.

I am tired.

Weary to the core is more like it.

And it isn't anyone's fault.  Making me feel even uglier.

This weekend is going to be full of chores.  I am working on laundry (if I can get my new washer to cooperate - how can an empty cycle be unbalanced?) I've got most of my kitchen chores done and I am getting ready to vacuum and mop.  

Ever feel like you are simply running behind.  Perpetually?

As we both know what is facing us, as we are both fully aware of how we will spend this summer, we are also trying to squeeze some fun in also.

Hubs isn't looking forward to going backwards.  He doesn't want to start at the beginning again.  I get it entirely.  I also understand how his heart is feeling.  He's a loving, caring provider.  He hates not being able to be a full participant. I know it's eating at him.  I've felt that way many times in my life.

He and I make an incredible team.  We are the opposite pieces of each others puzzles.  I am so blessed...

What is everyone else up to this hot, humid June weekend?

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Where there is love...

There is a bright blue sky outside, the moon was still bright white and high in the morning sky when we took the boys for a walk this morning.  It's incredible to be able to enjoy such a pleasant morning in June in the mid-west.  We aren't known for mild this time of year.  It's almost time for the heat and mugginess that we are particularly famous for to start moving in. 

Hubs and I have a busy weekend planned.  Lots to accomplish before the end of the month.  This time around, we know what is waiting for us.  This time around... well... we've got this.

We are getting ready to go down and move my long arm.  I didn't end up liking the original location.  Seems I have a bit of a problem with closed rooms without windows.  Hard to be creative when you are trying not to have a panic attack.  

One of my FAVORITE pictures... Down at Trout Lodge
After that, I have quite a few projects to work on.  Several are due to their future owners this coming week. 

I need this.  Hubs and I both need a bit of normalcy.  Its been out of control lately.  

Yesterday... was calming.  Yesterday... both of us had time and information.

I made a decision that I had to pray on.  I don't at all know that it was the right decision, I am just a human. But my heart feels calm, I slept well without bad dreams and my stress seems much lower.  I don't have to worry about it.  My heart heard God loud and clear when he said "I've got this." 

Hubs and I met with our new primary care doc.  I completely love this youngster!  He listened, he explained, he cared.  This made both of us feel so much better. He explained in detail the things the surgeon said not to worry about.  The old man, didn't understand the stress and anxiety that caused.  The youngster... he understood the stress of the unknown.  Did we like the alternatives, heck NO! Did it make us calmer to realize they are dramatically different than the horrid worst case scenario's we were coming up with... oh yeah. 

With that new found calmness, we both were able to relax and think.  The deep plummet we were in, became a more graceful slide.  

We went out for our favorite pizza, bittersweet.  Hub's new surgeon wants him on a strictly non-wheat, minimal grains, lots of protein diet.  Eliminating all processed foods and as many chemicals as possible. Today, I will start feeding us like this.  Yes, us.  I can't hardly make him healthier and not participate.  On a couple of levels. I will clean out the cupboards, help my girl feed those growing grand babies, and start fresh on healing hubby. 

I am sure that it will improve our health and it will help make my FMS easier to handle. I am hoping it will also help me feel stronger and better for this second go round.  Like I said, I already know what is ahead.  A bit more energy is going to be an added bonus.  Not dealing with my health issues will definitely make it easier. 

Between the two doctors now in our corner, I feel calmer.  I feel like I have a team in my corner, not a man looking to make enough money for his next golf vacation.  I was a bit shocked to realize the youngster picked up on the infection without ever having met him before, yet the man responsible for his care, still hasn't figured it out. 

I know that I have people I love surrounding me, I pray hub's has the same support. 

There are still challenges ahead.

But today... I am finding the treasures and the beauty.  I am enjoying a day well spent with Hubby.  Doing what heals my heart and fills my soul.  

Friday, June 5, 2015

down this road we walk...

Sometimes... life is simply hard.

I feel like Hubs and I have been riding a roller coaster that is out of control.  It doesn't stop, it keeps accelerating up those steep hills, and just when it feels like we can catch our breath, celebrate a victory or two for just a minute...

The bottom falls out and swoosh we are plummeting free fall down into the next valley.   And it feels like a sharper drop each time.

Barely a month ago, it felt like we were literally on top of the world.  Dancing on the mountain tops surrounded by a blanket of stars.  Hubs was feeling better, it seemed like the shot in his back might really be working. Great things were happening for me at work. Years of hard work, dedication and persistence had finally started to pay off.  Hubs was back at work.  And even though the air conditioner was having a personality meltdown and we were so busy we didn't have time to fix it, mother nature was being gentle and kind to us. My knee was feeling stronger.

So many victories, so much to rejoice in.

Then last couple of weeks in May started feeling like a slippery slope.

The updraft had started. Little by little I could feel it, you know that feeling on a roller coaster, the little wheels pulling you slowly to the drop. That jerky, heart stopping feeling?

click, click, click....

Three days after Hub's second shot, hoping to get the pain back under control, we get the first call...


All of the doctors at the pain management center no longer work there.  He won't be seen again for maybe a month or so...


I can't help but notice he's limping more than ever and he seems to be in more pain that before the surgery, several times he's been stuck in bed. His pretty blue eyes rimmed with red and glassy from pain...


We schedule an appointment with another orthopedic specialist, my comfort level with the previous one gone at this point. It doesn't go as either of us had hoped or suspected.  In fact I can now describe that moment when all of the air is vacuumed out of a room and out of your lungs.

That numbing moment... do this or you will die.


And down we rush again.  Holding on to one another, praying, crying and each of us dealing with all of it the best we know how.  With as much strength as possible.  Trying to find the strength for the other. Just like in the Gift of the Maji, both of us struggling to find the piece that will make the other whole.  While facing the fear of the upcoming journey, knowing what it means for both of us.

I wimped out first.  I'd been trying to take vacation all week.  Trying to find that spot where I could catch my breath, there has been so much, I needed time to stop, to breath.  Long before the shock of Wednesday...

I feel guilty.  He's having to hold on to each and every day of vacation and sick leave for what is ahead, he can't have a day to decompress, his journey is greater than mine.

I selfishly took today.  There are appointments waiting, there are decisions needing made, there is so much that I need to process. Personally, emotionally and professionally, there are so many struggles right now.

I almost lost my mind yesterday.  Someone spent too much of my time telling me that I didn't/couldn't understand their struggles.

That I didn't know what it felt like to have too much month at the end of the paycheck - seriously?  Who doesn't know that feeling.  Even the wealthy sometimes feel that one.

That I couldn't understand that even though they didn't have enough food on the table, I couldn't possibly be serious when I suggested giving up bar hopping and darts.  Didn't I understand that all work and no play made people unhappy? Said by someone working only part time hours and the spouse not working at all.

That I couldn't comprehend the devastation of having my car totaled and being stuck riding a bus... "what about insurance?" I stupidly asked... "what?  Why would I waste money on that?" was the answer... 'nuf said.

That I didn't understand what it felt like to live with pain? Me?  Really?  I asked if the pain was curable.  The answer yes... "but I am not going to do it."  Think about that for a minute.  Mine isn't. I don't ask anyone else to carry that burden for me.  Hubs is desperately trying to recover and I am trying so hard to help him and that is what you are going to say to me?

And finally... that because I wasn't sitting around being Eeyore, crying woe is me to the world that I must live in a utopia.

I walked away from that conversation... my head spinning, my heart hurting and my tongue aching from biting it to avoid saying the wrong thing.

I had to get away. I am a truly empathetic person.  I will hold you, pray with you, help you carry what I cannot even begin to understand.  But... right now, my bucket is dry, I don't have many tears left to share with others.  My shoulders are not strong enough to carry more than what they already have.

And honestly, I truly cannot be there mentally, emotionally or physically for anyone that doesn't want to share in the journey of helping themselves.

Hubs and I are going through too much right now.  We haven't hit the bottom of this current slide, but we can see it.  I don't like being on roller coasters, I especially hate when you get stuck in the front seat.

The wind is blowing my hair back, my eyes are watering (I'm fighting not to close them), my heart is racing...

Then I blink...

I lift my head...

I look forward and realize, there is another peak coming, another breathtaking high.  There are still stars to dance in, beauty all around us.

I'm not looking forward to the climb, I am tired, Hubs is tired.  But we are a team, we are each other's strength and together we will be just fine....

have you tried...

I am learning.   It's a late day for me and I am enjoying the solitude of the morning.  I am working on bringing some balance back ...