Progress report…it’s a long one

Today was the day I finally made some progress toward regaining functionality and livability in my apartment.  I guess that isn’t technically true, since I’ve done the same bits of cleaning/organizing two or three other times since my job ended on June 1st.  However, the motivation for doing the cleaning those times was because OTHER PEOPLE were going to be seeing the space.  Today, it had nothing to do with anyone other than me doing it because it needed to be done.

The first time was actually on June 1st, on my last day of work.  I’d found out that my friend Jojo was coming down to visit overnight, along with her three dogs.  These dogs are her lifeline and the love she has for them is as critical to her as the love I have for my children.  It’s not an animal/human relationship I personally relate to, but I know her life, her history, and accept that this is reality for her.  So, I would no more tell her to leave them at home, than I would accept someone telling me my daughter couldn’t come with me on an overnight visit.  That being said, I am not an animal person.  Cats and I tolerate, appreciate and understand each other, to a degree.  I like medium to large sized dogs, no concrete reason, but little, nervous dogs that hide in your blind spot, and can’t deal with a loud, bouncy pre-schooler are just not what I want to deal with in my home.  However, it was a done deal and prearranged by my SO as a birthday surprise for me.

In addition to knowing that she was coming down, the SO was going to be home for the first time since the 6th of May.  He’s the Felix to my Oscar.  We are as unalike as the original Odd Couple.  He likes things neat, organized, a place for everything and everything in it’s place.  I like those things too, it’s just that I prefer not to be the one doing the cleaning and organizing.  It isn’t just that I’m lazy (true confessions, I kind of am), I struggle with perfectionism and getting bogged down in the details of organizing.  I can’t just start washing dishes.  I have to organize them: scrape them, rinse them, stack them, wash them in the reverse order in which they should go into the dish drainer, so that when I’m rinsing them, they get stacked correctly.  So, basically I touch the same dish 4 or 5 times before it makes it onto the dish drainer and 5 – 7 times before it actually gets put where it belongs after it’s been.  It is virtually impossible for me to stay focused on just one task and get it all the way done, before I see that there’s something else that must be done before I can actually complete the initial task.  Then there is the fact that I place priority on people and relationships over accomplishments and appearances.  I also struggle with ongoing and chronic pain and fatigue from the fibromyalgia and the lack of motivation and apathy from the depression.  So, basically, without him home to keep the debris and clutter to a minimum, it had built up over the month of May and it was important that I attempt to do something to make it less overwhelming for him when he got home.

Alas, I had waited too long and a whole lot got started but very little got finished.  He was a day late making it home.  Jojo was a few hours behind in making it to my place.  Since she only makes it down here a few times a year, she tends to pack a lot into it.  She wanted to have dinner with her cousin and her aunt, who are less understanding than I about the dogs.  So, we wound up driving out to pick up my oldest daughter to dog sit at my place.  Then we had to pick up my youngest from her school and hit the store to pick up some necessities for the weekend.  At which point she kind of ambushed me and started having me tell her my sizes and look at clothes.  Her plan was to do birthday clothes shopping for me.  That particular store is more expensive than I like and seldom has clothing that fits me.  So, we managed to get out of there in record time and get across town to meet her family for dinner.

Dinner was good.  We went to a local Chinese restaurant.  The service was good, the food was better, the prices were great, and they weren’t busy, so it wound up being a very pleasant experience all the way around.  The interesting thing about dinner is that I regularly avoid leaving the house because I don’t want to be seen, but I am a very social person and love meeting new people and getting to hear their stories.

I really can’t stand how overweight I am and how difficult it is for me to move: I move like a really old woman with arthritis and bad joints.  It’s a really bad self-perpetuating cycle.  I’m inactive because of the depression, pain, and fatigue and the inactivity feeds into the depression, pain, and fatigue. All of which feed into the compulsive eating/overeating when I’m alone, which contributes to the excess weight that shows in the mirror and makes me loathe myself and very reluctant to want to be seen by others.  The good thing is that I am able to still able to get myself out in public in order to interact with my loved ones or take care of necessary business.  But, I digress…moving on.

After dinner we went to WalMart and I allowed Jojo to purchase clothing for me.  I think the only things not purchased were socks and bras.  I did manage to pay for my own shoes.  However, by the time we got back to the apartment is was after 10 pm and my oldest daughter had missed a deadline to meet up with her new boss.  To be fair, she hadn’t actually stated what time she needed to be there, just that she had somewhere to go.  We almost had her spend the night, but the apartment was just too small and crowded with the dogs, Jojo, myself, and the preschooler, that I drove her home instead.  It was a good drive and we managed to talk a bit, which we haven’t done much of lately.

The bonus was that when we got back from WalMart, my son and his fiancee were there and we got a chance to see them briefly.  They had dropped by, unexpectedly and wound up hanging out and watching a movie with my oldest daughter.  The drawback was that cooking had been done without clean-up and some of the snacks I had purchased for keeping the pre-schooler in check on outings and multiple bus rides had been raided.

By the time I got back to the apartment it was after midnight and I was exhausted.  There weren’t any clean dishes and four weeks worth of laundry still needed to be done before the SO got home the next day.  However, I couldn’t face any of it.  The preschooler fell asleep on top of me while I watched a little bit of tv to wind down.  I think I made it to bed around 2 am.  I woke up a little before 6 and started doing laundry.  I had three hours to get some cleaning done before we had to leave to meet my oldest daughter, son, and his fiancee for breakfast before he had to go to work.  This was an event that was scheduled by Jojo so that she could have a chance to actually connect and see them, much like dinner with her aunt and cousin the night before.  It was also something that the SO wanted to be able to be part of, since Jojo visiting at that time was his idea and he really wants to have a chance to connect with the kids and work on his relationship with them…bad and toxic history for the past 16 years is difficult to overcome.  Sadly, he didn’t arrive until 12:30 or so.

We arrived at the cafe at the same time as my daughter and her future sister-in-law.  My son was biking, since he would be going to work after breakfast.  There was a waiting list and about a 20 minute wait.  The volume of the mingled conversations from all the customers was overpowering, and I think I wound up having a bit of an anxiety attack.  So, we opted to wait outside, where there were some tables and chairs.  I’m not sure if it was the lack of sleep, the combination of stressors, or what, but I REALLY started craving a cigarette.  I have a 29 year on/off history with cigarettes.  Seldom did I ever smoke more than half pack a day and I have frequently gone 3 – 18+ months at a time without a one.  I think the last one I smoked had been 6-9 months prior.  Honestly, most of the time the smell of smoke makes me gag.  However, the urge to light up was OVERPOWERING and since my daughter, future daughter-in-law, and son all three smoke, I decided to smoke one.  Jojo probably didn’t approve, considering she’s recovering from breast cancer, but she accepted it and didn’t say a word or send a disapproving look.  My daughter about had a fit, but she gave me one anyway.  My son loudly protested and questioned me as he rolled up on his bike when I was about halfway through it.  The three of them took a walk and when they came back a short while later, he apologized and gave me a hug.

Finally, we were called in for a table next to the play area.  That was the best meal of the weekend.  The little one spent the entire time playing, happily, while the rest of us chatted, joked with the server, and had one of the absolute best meals I’ve ever had.  The server wound up comping a couple of the beverages and when we told him he’d left some things off the tab, he said that the servers get to choose to do that there.  They are tired of the pissy, complaining, bitchy people being the ones to get discounts and free stuff, so they can do things for customers who are good natured and fun to serve.  Way cool.

After that, we said our goodbyes and hugs to the adult kids, loaded up the little one and headed to meet the SO at his mom’s house, where he was going to park the rig.  No place to park the tractor of an 18-wheeler inside of the city limits for four days.  So, he has to park it out at his mom’s house for now.

The rest of the day was a bit insane.  Their home time didn’t officially start until his co-driver got home and his home was four hours away.  The company paid for a bus ticket, but we found out that the next bus that would get him home wouldn’t leave for two more days.  Which meant that they would be off the truck and not earning for almost a full week.  Neither family could afford that.  So, Jojo volunteered to drive him halfway to meet up with his wife.  There was a bit of drama there, but thankfully it wasn’t my drama, so I’m just going to leave it at that.  The SO borrowed his mom’s car and took himself and his co-driver home to shower and freshen up, while Jojo and I stopped at Wally’s again.  By the time everyone was cleaned up and we’d gotten the bad news from Greyhound it was probably close to 4 pm.  We had to go back out to mom’s to return her car for her to get to church the next day before we could get on the road to get his co-driver home.  Then, everyone was hungry and moody so we went to Shari’s.  By the time we left Shari’s and we had a van filled with three dogs, a pre-schooler, two men, Jojo and myself, the SO’s mood was very broody and dark.  So, we drove back to our apartment to drop him and our daughter off, while Jojo and I drove two hours the opposite direction of her home in order to get his co-driver on his way home.  I didn’t get home until close to 11 pm that night.

The next morning it was all about getting the three of us ready to go to church and then meeting up with the adult kids afterward to do “family fun time” at the local Rose City Carnival on the waterfront during the Rose Festival.  Since the way the SO pictured this happening was completely different from reality, we wound up getting there almost two hours before the adult kids showed up.  So, the little one had already gotten to go on all the rides she was tall enough for.  We walked and talked and went as far as going through the wild animal rescue booth, before we decided to leave.  By that point, I was literally in tears from pain and barely able to stand and walk.  We were going to go to Quizno’s for lunch but it was closed for some reason.  So, we all went back to our apartment and ordered pizza.  I asked if my son and his fiancee could give SO a ride out to his mom’s house so he could borrow the car again.  Drama ensued for a minute. My son felt like he’d been played and ambushed, but I was able to hear him out, validate his feelings, explain what the situation really was and it blew over.  Major progress for us.

So, my efforts to clean kept getting disrupted and usurped by busyness, pain, and fatigue that weekend.  I pretty much spent the next three days running errands and playing catch up with cleaning before the SO got back on the truck and went back on the road the day of my birthday.  After that, I really didn’t do much of anything or go anywhere for the next couple of days.  I even wound up skipping church again that Sunday.  However, when my son called at 7:30 pm to ask if I was home and if he and E, his fiancee, could come by, I said sure and asked how long.  Then I spent 20 minutes rushing through the apartment, gathering laundry to toss into my bedroom and dishes to organize for washing into the kitchen, decluttering the couches so there would be places for them to sit.  It wound up being a good thing and we had a good time.  I’m glad I did it.

On Monday, I asked my older daughter if she wanted to go with her sister and I to the zoo, this past Friday and she gave me some vague response, that I figured meant maybe, but probably not.  The weather started being bi-polar cold/wet and then briefly warm/humid and that started wreaking havoc with my fibro symptoms, which triggered the depression symptoms, so by the time Friday rolled around, I’d kind of decided not to bother with the zoo.  Then she called and asked if it was too late to go.  Which it wasn’t.  So, I quickly got myself and the little one ready to go, then once again rushed through and decluttered and gathered the remaining dishes that still needed to be washed, and got them halfway done, before it was time to go out the door to meet up with her.  The thing is, the first bus was late, so we walked almost 2 miles to meet up with her then walked two hours or so around the zoo, and by the time we got back to my place that night, I was crying from pain again.

I didn’t go anywhere Saturday but did make it church on Sunday.  After church, I did a “quick” grocery shopping trip with the little one in her harness and leash, with my back pack and two plastic reusable bags.  Three busses later, we made it back home and I got the perishibles put away, before collapsing.  So, yesterday I was basically a vegetable.

Today I managed to get garbage out, dishes half done & figure out that my missing can opener went home with Jojo, one load washed and one ready to wash, the little one to her school, prepare for an energy assistance appointment, get denied energy assistance, stop in at the local public assistance office to reset the food card, and go pay the tab at the local coffee shop.  Oh, yeah, and write this insanely long post.



  1. I started this post a couple days ago and I finally finished it just now. I’m sorry, I’ve probably got ADHD, but just like to see myself as “busy”. I love how you took the time to unload and stack up all the details of your life in this long post. That is work! It paid off for me though, because I really got a sense of being with you in your life. That’s a precious gift. So thank you. I do believe God is in the details 😉


    1. Patrice,
      Thank you for taking the time to read through it all, no matter how many times you had to take to get through it. I appreciate your perseverance and dedication, as well as your kind comments.

      When I wrote it, my intention was to do a quick check-in and pat myself on the back for actually accomplishing something “productive.” However, once I was actually sitting in front of a monitor with my fingers on a keyboard for the first time in almost three weeks, the words just gushed, much like water flowing from a broken pipe! I couldn’t stop the flow, just try to contain it. As I re-read it to remember what I wrote, I realized how many details I actually edited out, lol.

      Thanks for joining me in my life, the more the merrier.


    1. Cate,
      Thank you. Sometimes I wonder if I’m rabbit trailing or giving too much detail, but this is the only way I will be able to remember what happened, so I just write what comes to mind and do very little editing. My writing tends to be a stream of consciousness kind of thing.



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