Posted by: Elizabeth Anne Mitchell | January 29, 2012

Check in January 29 Rooting and uprooting

Once again, I must ask pardon of all who have commented on my check-in.  Recently, my soon-to-be former place of employment seems to have awakened with knowledge of how much I do, and is desperate for me to tie things up. There are some things that will fall in the laps of people who have been supportive and good to me; I do not want to do that to them, so I’ve been working longer hours than usual at the day job. I hope to get to the comments before next check-in.

Also, my husband and I flew up to Albany on Friday evening. We drove about 200 miles yesterday, looking at rental properties, and have another 3 hours planned for today. While I find it extremely exciting, it is exhausting.  I passed out last night in the middle of a text conversation with my youngest son at about 8:30, only waking up at 7am. I sleep more than most middle-aged women, but that’s ridiculous!

I had to laugh at a comment I overheard when I flew up in December to Albany for the interview.  One young man was grumbling about our flight having to go back to Hartsfield airport to check the nose gear. “All these problems, and I’m only going to Albany! I didn’t want to go in the first place!” Luckily, I am a Pollyanna (I know that comes as a shock to those of you who have been on previous Rounds with me), and I adapted well to every place I have lived. I also overheard that this young man was going to Albany to visit his family for the holidays. If we dislike our places of origin, it is often because we found them lacking, or we found our family of origin lacking.

Perhaps due to that overheard conversation, I have been working through my family connections in my test mile.  Right now, the hardest is my mother, who was depressed and distant when I was a child.  Now she has moderate to severe vascular dementia, barely knowing who I am.  After only a decade or so of truly connecting with my mother, I have lost her again. It is surprisingly heart-breaking.

Enough about me, as I shake myself out of my blue funk. As for my goals:

Writing:  the test mile is going well, and I find myself going beyond the word count I had given myself as a marker. Most of it, as I explain above, is painful and raw. It’s doubtful it will ever see the light in this form, but it has helped me with several of my characters who are lost little girls in one way or another.

Exercise:  I’ve been walking a fair amount. I walked with a colleague at work on Thursday; since then I’ve walked around and through houses, as well as walking in the evenings to get acquainted with the campus and its surroundings.

Family:  Although we’re empty nesters, all four kids want to know about the house hunting, so there’s been a fair amount of contact with all of them. I need to talk to my dad tonight, although my mother has been a problem the last several calls. It doesn’t help that he refuses to acknowledge that he can’t take care of her anymore.

I have been spending a lot of time with my husband over the weekend; we’ve had essentially two date nights in a row. It’s been good to discuss things over house-hunting; we have very different ideas on where to live, and what sort of place to rent. The discussion has been lively and informative.

Friends: I have gone underground a bit with friends. I need to change that soon, as I can feel the draw of the Slough of Despond beckoning. I have not been on Twitter or Facebook enough to support people, and I want to get back to that.

Day Job: I’ve forgotten this goal in recent check-ins—imagine that! I took the entire coming week off to be in Albany for a day or two and to pack the rest of the week. I do have some things to package better before handing them on to colleagues, but the rest—meh. I walked into a mare’s nest in that job, and am proud I’m only leaving a rat’s nest behind.

Overall, I’m feeling good about progress. I should have known that my muse loves it when I am busy—something to remember for the future. The packing is going to take over my life soon, but I feel confident that the muse will get her time in somehow.

Please encourage all the other ROWers here.

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Responses

  1. looking for new abodes is very tiring you sleep – without guilt:) I’m sorry to hear of your mother -mine had PSp and deprived of speech and mobility I had to watch as she slipped away into her own world – without communication they become another self – different but still loved – Hang on in there

    all the best for coming week

    • Thanks, Alberta; I can imagine how hard it was to watch your mother slip away like that *hug* I’m finding writing about it helps somewhat. I will also take your advice and sleep without guilt 🙂

      I hope you have a lovely week.

  2. You’ve got my sympathies! We just finished our move, and I’m completely wrung out. Looks like you’re doing pretty awesome!

    *hugs* on your Mom’s condition. My heart goes out to you.

    Keep Writing!
    Dawn

    • Thank you, Dawn; I appreciate the sympathy. Moving is brutal; there is no other term for it. So far, I’m hanging in there, but I suspect that my eyes will be rotating in opposite directions any day now.

      And I am grateful for your sympathy about my Mom. It seems that no matter how old we are, we are still children as long as our parents live; it is as a child that we respond to some things.

      The writing is helping me cope. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

  3. My muse has the same problem. She needs me moving at about 80 miles per hour to feel motivated. She does her best work when I’m pressed for time.

    I am so sorry to hear about your mother. That’s so tough. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Never be afraid to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping loved ones. ::hugs::

    • What is up with our muses, and is there a support group? Thank you, (other) Elizabeth Ann, for your sympathy. I am grateful for your thoughts and prayers. It is so counter-intuitive to put on the oxygen mask first, but it is the only way to help, isn’t it? I hope your week is a wonderful one.

  4. I know you’ve been through a lot these past few months. I hope the move will prove to be what you really needed, and that you’ll soon be as stress free as possible. You’re really busy right now, so it’s really great that you’re still getting word count in.

    I’m sorry about your mother. I hope your dad realizes soon that he can’t do everything and that he will do what needs to be done. I’ll say a prayer for both of them.

    • Lauralynn, I appreciate your calm–I can feel it rise up off the page. I am so looking forward to a less stressful life.

      My poor dad is in denial, which is the only way he can cope with the total breakdown of a partnership that began in 1945. I appreciate your prayers.

      Have a good rest of the week.

  5. I can identify especially with not feeling as connected with my friends. Its been a hard juggle with writing, work , family and more writing. I’m hardly on Facebook, where my closest friends are and kind of trailed off of Twitter unless I’m checking in.
    Ditto to what Elizabeth Ann said above “Never be afraid to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping loved ones” so true!!
    Thank you for your post!!

    • It is hard to find time for everything, Natasha. However, I gain such support and mental health from my friends, I really need to find the time for connecting with them.

      Also, I think we are socialized as women to be caretakers, with the effect that it is hard to make time for ourselves. Elizabeth Ann’s admonition is a good one to remember. Thank you for stopping by!

  6. Wow, that’s a lot to deal with! *hugs* My mom died when I was seventeen, but my dad has been incredibly supportive all my life, and given family history, I doubt if we have much to fear from dementia.

    Take care of yourself, get your new life up and running, and then you can check back with all us with more boring lives. 🙂

    • Thank you for the hugs and words of support, Ruth. Boring life? I don’t believe it! I’ve started Yseult, but as you say, I’m dancing so fast, it’s hard to settle into a good book quite yet.

      I’ve seen enough of what happens with dementia in my husband’s family that I know what is down the road. It has given rise to some very good discussions with our children, so that (we hope) they will not find themselves in our position. Life still has lessons for me, it seems.

      I’m looking forward to getting out and about with fellow ROWers again soon! Have a wonderful rest of the week.

  7. Family of origin stuff can be tough. It is so surprising what you find out about yourself and life by writing it out. Good job with your goals. Keep it up!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Yolanda. I agree, my inner child has a whole lot to say, now that I’ve let her out of the closet. It is helping to write it out, and as you say, I’m learning a lot about myself in the process. I hope you have a lovely rest of the week.

  8. The nice thing about Albany is that there are lots of other communities right nearby, with a variety of flavors…..as you probably noticed, there is some lovely architecture.

    And tulips. There will be tulips, thanks to the Dutch.

    I think you will find it a pleasant place to live. I hope I will get to meet you before we move next spring……I imagine sitting with you over a cup of coffee would be a lovely way to spend an hour or three….

    • Shan, I was struck by the architecture immediately–that and the different flavor of the neighborhoods. I’ll have to wait for the tulips, but I’m looking forward to them.

      And absolutely, I want to meet you before you leave. Certainly, even if the next year is busy, we should be able to find some time. Have a great rest of the week.

  9. I hope that some of that sleep involves peaceful, rejuvenating dreams. You are going full tilt, not just physically, but emotionally. I don’t know if it can help you at all, but something we’d found (with my grandmother and also my husband’s grandmother) was that as dementia kicked in, two things often happened. Inactivity kept the oxygen flow to the brain limited, so it was extra easy for forgetfulness to kick in; and that a note pad and paper almost always worked for getting in some communication. Something about how the brain processes physical acts over “speech”..

    And I agree with Shan. I hope you will be free for a cuppa one of these days. Albany isn’t a perfect place, but there are some amazing gems hiding in it. And no place is “perfect”.

    • Thank you for the idea about writing versus speech, Eden. I’ll try that with my mother.

      As for the stress, I am daily reminded that good stress is just as stressful as bad stress (d’oh). New job, move, and all that, while good, is kicking me to the curb.

      I would love to meet for coffee when I get up here for good. As I said in my reply to Shan, I have already found Albany’s architecture and neighborhoods very pleasant. They also feel familiar in an odd sense, because many of them feel a lot like Chicago’s neighborhoods. I’ve been too many places to expect perfection, thank goodness!

      Have a lovely rest of the week!


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