#591 – Slow News Day

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Not much happened today. The real highlight of the day was going to the grocery store for the week’s shopping and buying a new laptop for school.

I spent the day hanging out and gaming with our Australian friend who’s in town for a few days. I had my first Vegemite sandwich and my first fairy bread today (both were quite tasty).

Tomorrow we’re planning to go closer to downtown for dinner at one of our favorite restaurants and then maybe head to Zilker Park downtown to see the Trail of Lights. It’s supposed to be rainy tomorrow, so that’s kind of a tentative thing for us at this point. During the day? Probably laundry and a trip up to the new apartment to show off the complex.

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Turning a Corner

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I went to the store today with my wife to get the weekly shopping done, which was considerably more than we normally get due to needing a lot of occasional purchases like cat litter and parchment paper, and stuff for Fourth of July potlucks. We were in the store for a while, and I never once felt nervous or anxious. In fact, I was striking up conversations with the folks that we ran into and that my wife knows better than I do.

It was a little later on this afternoon that it dawned on me that I was almost outgoing at the store. I felt fine, there was no distress at all. I’m not used to this. But it’s a great feeling. Is this what normal feels like? Not stressing over every little thing that could happen whenever you’re out of the house for any reason? I could get used to this.

The afternoon and evening have been spent with Secret World Legends (you might have guessed) and the story is getting more and more intense. I think I know what I’ll find at the end of the current main story line, but I’m looking forward to seeing if I was right. I’m being careful to pick up every side mission along the way, as they add lots of flavor and richness to the story and environment.

Easy Day

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Today had a little bit of everything. Went to the store (twice in as many days!), cooked dinner, watched an episode of a TV show we bought a while back, took a nap, played some computer games, played with the cats, and all the stuff that goes into a typical day for me. Not much to report.

Days like today I kind of feel bad because there’s not some astounding progress to tell you about, or some struggle that I’m dealing with. But it’s how a lot of days are. They’re just days, with a little bit of everything thrown in.

That’s one of the shortfalls of being on disability. There’s no job to report about, there’s not really much of a schedule, so the day isn’t nearly as hectic as it would be otherwise. And being on disability, there’s usually not much money to spare, so there’s not many opportunities for us to go do something worth talking about.

But it was still a good day, and I suppose that’s worth mentioning.

Come to think about it, I do have something to report. In addition to this blog, I keep a mood journal that measures days as awful, fugly, meh, good, and rad. I had to go back and look to see when the last time I had a fugly day was – April 29th. (In the year-plus that I’ve been using Daylio, I’ve never recorded an awful day.) Also since April 29th, I’ve only recorded eight days that were meh. The rest have been good, with one day that I recorded as rad. That’s a fairly long streak of middle of the road days or better, and I’m happy for that.

Seems Like a Simple Thing

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Today we had planned to go to the store together, and then to do our radio show in the evening, and do a lot of goofing off around that. But instead my wife got called into work for seven and a half hours, which put everything else on hold. So I decided to take up the slack on my own.

I dropped her off at work, then came home for a few minutes, long enough to make a menu for next week and a corresponding grocery list, and then I headed to the store.

Now, for most people, that’s absolutely no big deal. But I haven’t been to the store but once by myself in years, and that one time was to only pick up one thing. This is the first time that I’d prepared to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping on my own in a long time – I think we were living in Illinois the last time I did that, and we’ve been back in Texas for going on five years now.

Furthermore, it’s the first time that I’ve gone to a grocery store on my own on a weekend afternoon in a very, very long time. Even when I was doing the best I was able to in Illinois, I avoided the store on Saturdays and Sunday unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then I went either with my wife or late at night, long after the crowds had died down.

So while it may not seem like much to you, to me it was a very big deal.

I made it through the store with only minor anxiety for part of my trip. When I first got there, I started mirroring another customer’s path through the aisles. She was talking at someone on her phone – I hesitate to use the term “talking with” since she was speaking almost nonstop the whole time I heard her – and she was speaking very, very loudly. This unnerved me, and it started getting my anxiety up, but I managed to fight it well enough, and eventually she jumped ahead of me in her progress and I couldn’t hear her anymore. (It took putting four aisles between me and her, though.)

That was about the time I decided to check Quicken, just to be on the safe side, and I’m glad I did, because there was considerably less money in the account than I had anticipated, so I went through the process of picking the stuff that we absolutely had to have for the next couple of days and putting everything else back. On a bad day, that would have embarrassed me and triggered my anxiety. Today, it did nothing. (We’re going to make it through to the next paycheck, we just needed to drop back and plan something cheaper for a few nights.)

I came home, put the groceries away, and then the shopping bags. (Austin has a city ordinance prohibiting the use of disposable plastic grocery bags. We carry reusable bags with us everywhere.) And I sat down and took it easy for a while.

That wasn’t the end of my day, however. There were several household chores that were in need of doing, so after a decent enough rest, I started in on those. Even without the trip to the store, it’s been a productive day.

I went to get my wife from work and was able to surprise her with many things around the house, and we had a nice dinner before settling in at our desks for an evening of leisure on the computer. She went to go lie down, however, and while she did I wrapped up the last of my checklist for the day (with the exception of bedtime stuff).

I’m tired, but it’s a good tired.

Back to Life …

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… back to reality.

My first full day home in a week has been a busy one. Had to go clothes shopping for the Phoenix trip (there’s a no-jeans policy for holiday dinners in my wife’s family) then went to a friend’s house to get my wife’s hair trimmed and then went shoe shopping for her. By that point in our afternoon my knee had had enough and I rested in the car while she went in to grab a couple pairs of sandals for herself and some dressier slip-ons for me. (Mine turned out not to fit, so lesson learned, never buy shoes unless you can try them on yourself.)

I called the hospital to get an update on how Mom did overnight. She slept through the night, mostly, except for one nurse check when she was wide awake and clearly asked the nurse “where is everybody?” That makes me feel pretty bad about not actually telling her goodbye when we left yesterday, but to be fair and honest, she was not in a state of mind that would have grasped that information and properly processed it. Yesterday was rough for her all around. They tried again to get the full MRI done after giving her a stronger sedative but she was once more combative through the process, so we still only have a partial test to make a full diagnosis from. (She was also combative during the first one, where they got enough to be able to say that she’s had a stroke, just not how bad it is.) The next step is unclear, as they are doing everything they can to try and avoid putting her under general anesthesia, as there’s always a risk at her age that she’ll never come out of it. So at this point we’re waiting for the neurologist to come in tomorrow to assess the situation and work out a plan C.

Kenneth, the family friend and “stepson” that’s her medical power of attorney, went to go visit her last night after the MRI ordeal, but he said that she didn’t recognize him and that she said that she didn’t have any kids, so last night was a bad night for her.

The hardest part of this is not knowing what the prognosis is without that full MRI, and knowing the risks that you run in assuring that you get it. The rest of the situation is all details – getting a handle on her finances so I can take over their administration while she’s incapacitated and potentially getting her laptop shipped to me so I have a better idea of how to proceed.

Seems I can’t even be home without Mom being a major part of my blog posts. I imagine that’s going to be the case for some time, unfortunately.

Building a Distraction

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Yesterday evening we went to go pick up another Brené Brown book, I Thought It Was Just Me, that I think will be helpful. The Gifts of Imperfection is coming to a close and I’m probably going to spend some time with it taking notes before starting into the next book. I read for comprehension this time through, next time I’m going to read it with the intent of following through on the questions she asks throughout the book.

While we were at the store, my lovely wife surprised me with another LEGO Architecture set. This is my ninth set, plus I have the Studio. One of the early sets they had was a rudimentary model of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, currently the tallest building in the world, but they discontinued it for some reason maybe a year or more ago. Yesterday, I found out the reason. They’ve re-released the Burj Khalifa as a vastly improved model – bigger, more complex, more detailed than its predecessor. After a rare dinner out (thank you, loyalty rewards program, for the $25 off!) we came home and started to build.

As usual, my wife separated and sorted bricks and I built. I was amazed at how well built this model is at its core. It felt like an architectural project, with several internal elements designed to reinforce the model as it grows taller and taller and larger design elements that were constructed before being added to the full model. The methods used to realize this set were plenty and as creative as anything I’ve ever seen in a set before. It took about two hours before the spire, the final element that took twenty steps on its own, was added to the rest of the model. The finished piece towers over the rest of my collection at 15.4 inches tall. It’s truly a beautiful thing.

As much fun as I have admiring it over on the top of the bookshelf that I display my collection on, I had just as much fun or more actually building the thing, so this afternoon when my wife asked me what I wanted to do, I told her I wanted to break down the model and reconstruct it. So that’s what we did, and it was just as much fun the second time around as it was the first.

The best part, however, is that it’s worked to completely distract me from my recent downward spiral. We can’t go buy a new model every time I get depressed, but this was a special treat and I cannot thank my wife enough for letting me have it. The timing was perfect.

October 2, 2015: Three Good Things

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1. I managed to make it through the store for a week’s worth of grocery shopping without getting anxious! (Granted, it was late at night, but it’s kind of hit or miss as to whether it’s busy at our store at the hour we went.)

2. Speaking of anxiety, I managed to make it through the entire day without any anxiety at all today. I was flirting on the edges briefly during parts, but I handled it well.

3. I extended my checklist completion streak to five straight days today!