Thursday, October 18, 2018

No Zero Days

I learned this phrase from someone with chronic illness and depression.  I've never been the type to languish in bed all day, but I found the concept useful.  After my surgeries, and now in this confusing time, the zero days is something I cling to.

A zero day means you didn't even get your basic life tasks accomplished for the day.  Everyone has a different level of zero, so you need to create your own definition, your own checklist.  For me, the goal would be to expand my definition of zero.

Here's what my zero, and my zero plus, looks like.

First and foremost, feed the cats and make sure they have their medicine twice a day.  Punkin is very vocal about her breakfast, so she's a built in reminder.

Next, make sure I have coffee and my water pill, followed by hot food and my supplements.

Shower and dress.  I might not stay dressed all day, but I do dress.  Hair washing is only every three or four days, and a struggle when I'm achey. 

Scoop the cat box.  Since I had foster cats downstairs, Harry won't use the basement box anymore.  If I don't keep the upstairs box clean, he poops on the little rug next to it.

The dishes.  Doing the dishes is my absolute must do.  I missed that yesterday.  There's clean dishes in the dishwasher, and three dishes and two drink glasses in the sink.  That's a minus for me.  I rarely miss doing the dishes, I hate stuff in my sink.  I always wash the cats' plates though, twice a day.

Spread up the bed, put dirty clothes in the hamper/basket.  Do laundry as needed, fold it and put it away.  Not daily, but something to not let get out of hand. 

Mail.  Bring in and sort the mail.  Throw away the junk immediately.  Deal with the rest usually takes me a day or three. 

Bring in the stupid newspaper.  Look at it, throw it away.  Clip coupons. 

Trash.  No trash left sitting around.  No food left out either.  Throw away the coffee filter. 

Pay the damn bills.  I keep a paper brain for this.  I missed one bill already this month.  Yikes.

Zero plus is adding more basic chores.  Vacuum the front room, sweep the kitchen, answer emails, water the houseplants, scrub the toilet.  I killed my rosemary plant while Larry was ill.  Tidy up. Wipe off the fridge and dishwasher.

Cook or bake.  I might zap food, but actually cooking is a step up.

If I am really on top of things, I clean the stove and the tub.  I hate these chores.  Then there's dusting.  Ugh.  So much dust.  Filters, water, swamp cooler, furnace. 

Then there's outdoor chores.  Ugh.  Larry usually did them, but I did the weeding and bird feeding.  Poor little things must be hungry.

Then there's painting, and sewing, and other crafty stuff.  This takes energy and concentration.  I am on short supply on both.  Getting there, one step at a time.

Spa stuff.  My skin hates me now.

Exercise?  Ha.  Hahahahaha.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


I really should take notes because my brain is not doing the memory things well.  For all my complaining, I am grateful for the many friends and loved ones in my life.

Grateful for Jeremy who was able to be there for the worst of times, and who makes sure to call to check in as often as he can.  Grateful to the Jareds for mowing the lawn, and for helping to organize the patio (there's three Jareds and a Jill...).  Grateful to Desi and Orrin for taking good care of me on down days and during the hard tasks, and for the commissary runs.  Grateful for Ford and Krista for being there for us at Burning Man, for seeing me through some difficult days, and for all the love always.  Grateful for Nate for coming to help, and for taking me shooting, even though it is a pain in the ass with his schedule.  Grateful to Nikki and Matt and the kids for the hard work and getting the cat room clean and so much more.  Grateful to Mel for giving the foster kitties an amazing home.  Grateful to Callie for the outstanding cupcakes.  Grateful to Logan for organizing the fire evening, and for those who could be here.  Grateful for Mendy who took all those sleeping bags. Grateful to Annie for the lovely visit even though she was tired and needed to be home.  Grateful for the Utah Bottle Collectors who took my brother's collection.  Grateful to Jessie who came and listened to stories about stuff in the house.  Grateful to my many friends and online friends who have stayed in touch, who support me, and who donated generously in many ways, too many to list coherently.  Grateful to Drea for the chocolate opportunity.  Grateful for Kari who always has my back. Grateful for Eric and his family who came to visit and took me to a lovely lunch.  Grateful for good neighbors.  Grateful for Brett at the funeral home.  Grateful for the palliative care team, who truly did care for me too.  Grateful for the caring CNA whose name I have forgotten. Grateful for an internet stranger who sent a funny card.  Grateful for the gate guards at Swift who thought to send a card.  Grateful for most of the professionals on the phone who are kind.  Grateful for Kam who brought me a burger.  Grateful for Lonny's girlfriend who makes sure he can call me now and then. Grateful to Ruth who is making the memory quilt from Larry's t-shirts.  Grateful for a lot more, and I know I'm forgetting some people.   If I forgot you, it is the fog, I'm still grateful.

Thank you, my village.  I love you all.

Seven weeks and two days

Everything in increments, and still riding the waves and the rolls, the unexpected pitfalls and holes beneath my feet.

The anger is showing up.  I don't like the hot spiky feeling, like a sweater full of prickly spiky things against my skin.  Larry, why did you need to keep every stupid thing?  The plastic hamper I asked you to toss.  The dead batteries for your drills.  Every scrap of wood in the world?  And where is your kitten bowtie? 

I forgot to pay the credit card bill.  Only missed by a day, I don't see an interest charge, but have the feeling it is there.  Lost my Amazon points for the month.  $18 isn't much, but it stings. I was always on top of things.

His birthday was Monday, and I think I shut my head off for a couple days.  I got a couple little things done, and Nate came and did the swamp cooler, and helped with the rain barrel.  The Mother Art Box is done, the teak roll up table is in progress, and the Gift Box is next.  A little at a time.  Not enough,  Never enough.

Lonny called, but we got cut off.  There's a letter on the way, I will be able to write one back.  I will cry.  I am getting sick of crying.

I ran out of bread and didn't feel like making pancakes or waffles, so I went down and moved stuff off the deep freeze.  Sometimes there's bread in there.  There was a bag of the long rolls Larry used to get from the clearance rack at Smith's for his sandwiches.  Yes, I cried.  The rolls, the hot dogs, all the stuff which is more Larry food than my food.  Damn freezer made me cry.

So much is changing.  Sears closed before he died, Dean's Automotive is closing so his parking space for the semi was gone.  Golden Dynasty is closed.  Nate says the WalMart runs are gone, so his work schedule would have changed drastically.  I feel like the whole world has shifted around me in time with Larry's passing.

I miss him so much.  

Thursday, October 11, 2018

The Sads

I simple cannot shake the sadness.  I think it is too soon, that I am not supposed to be anything but sad or distracted at this point.  But it sucks so bad. Walking Dead makes me sad because we bought the DVDs so Larry could catch up, and he did not.  The piles of Burning Man crap on the patio make  sad because Larry would have put them away.  Halloween makes me sad because Larry would have had my decorations up by now.  The garden solar lights make me sad.  Needing to go to Costco and Winco makes me sad.  The broken branch on the garage roof makes me sad.  The Toro leaf sucker which needs a new bag makes me sad.  The swamp cooler makes me sad.


Saturday, October 6, 2018

October is already so fucking hard.

I put away the summer silk flowers today, and got the autumn ones up in the living room and kitchen.  I just need to get the pumpkin tea set out and put it on the baker's rack, along with the squirrel and the squash.  I turned on the furnace today too, and put the kid skeleton on the front porch.

And then I burst into tears.

Larry should be on the roof, winterizing the swamp cooler.  He'd be putting away the blue glass gazing globes, and the yard ornaments, the egg, and globe, and turtle, and the glass solar lights.  We would be hanging up the Halloween decorations on the front of the house, and the lights in the big picture window.  Setting the fake pumpkins out.  Prepping the fire pit. Setting the diversion pipe for the rain barrel.  I should hear him rattling around, Arrow 103.5 on hs solar radio.

Next weekend we were supposed to have a couple romantic nights at Wolf Creek for his birthday.  Last year we were in Victoria.  How could we know it was the last big trip together?

Dammit.  I miss him so much.  None of this feels worthwhile alone.

Update: a lot of the chores are done; I have fabulous friends.  Still, Larry worked hard to keep our home and our stuff nice.  It takes damn near a village to replace him.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Sad today, sadder than usual.

I think I am hitting a hard wall now I has less "adulting" to do, fewer immediate tasks, a lot of waiting.  The sad is waiting to catch me unawares, and it did a fine job this day.  I made a call, decided another didn't need to be made, put off Comcast some more.  And then I had nothing to do but chores.  Chores make me sad, because it feels unimportant now.  I know, but I am in the everything feels futile phase.

I watered the front lawn this morning, which was sad because the corner sprinkler the neighbors run over needs attention.  I have little idea of what to do. 

I am sad because the metal recycle bucket is full, and I don't know how I'll do the cash recycling. 

Breakfast made me sad.  I am very nearly finished with the raspberry jam; it is the very last jar of Larry's terrific jam from our berries.   The kitchen is making me sad because I got out the rice cereal and the marshmallows to make the treats Larry always made, but I just cannot. 

Lunch made me sad because it was Larry's ham slices with green beans and rice.  I think I've been avoiding meals like the ones we used to eat together.  I have a lot of green beans, I hope they don't end up as cans of sadness forever.

I got my new credit card from NFCU and that made me sad because Larry is no longer on the account.

Simon got Larry's patch jacket today, and sent a picture.  It fits him perfectly in every way, just as I knew it would.  A wizard's cloak must go to another wizard.  And that made me cry. 

I packed up a box for a friend with a jacket which did not make me sad, but I put in the t-shirt Larry got for me at a truckstop with his rewards points.  We were on a road trip to Lake Havasu.  That was our very last vacation.  The shirt made me sad and I never want to wear it. 

I finally wrote to Lonny.  Fucking sad.  So fucking sad.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Living in the clutches of grief.

My new roommate is Grief.  While emotional pain of loss is totally expected, the depths and shallows, ebb and flow, and unexpected jump scares of Grief is something you can read about, learn about, and talk about, but never know until Grief takes up intimate residence in the absence of a loved one. Grief is a physical presence.

I find Grief painful and exhausting.  I do not sleep well, Grief wakes me at add times and does not let my monkey brain rest.  Music is not soothing, it brings tears.  Grief has spoiled all my favorite songs.  I used to love End of the Line by the Traveling Wilburys, now that song is a cruel jest.  I wake too early in the morning, and am so sleepy in the afternoon I need a nap.  Some days that nap just segues into bedtime with only brief moments to feed cats, tidy up, read the mail, close curtains, do a few dishes.  Chores are done piecemeal, one step at a time.  It is a good day if I can tackle more than the basics.  What was routine now feels like I am chipping away at a mountain of granite. 

The mail.  Grief resides in my mailbox every day.

I have headaches.  My eyes get irritated from tearing up, my nose and throat raw from snuffling, from coughing and moaning aloud.  The muscles in my neck and shoulders remain knotted.  My back aches.  I cannot breathe freely and fully.  A hot bath is little relief, the drain isn't working right and I can't ask Larry to fix it.

Grief has stolen my appetite.  I eat, I try to use up what is in the house, which is a lot of food.  While I am queasy, generally I don't have the gut distress I associated with being tense.  My stomach and bowels simply do not care and have given up.  Balanced meals do not appeal, a protein bar or shake and coffee will do.  Hydration makes me sad, really, because all my good water bottles are covered with Burning Man stickers and wrist bands.

I wear a caul of irritation and stress over my head, swirling down my shoulders, arms, and back.  Like a veil, I can feel the presence like gauze and black lace blocking light and joy and comfort.

Sometimes Grief takes a stroll around the block, I am okay, I do things, I breathe.  Then like a bad horror film, Grief jumps out of a drawer, from behind the closet door, from a photo or piece of clothing or scrap of paper.  Fuck you, Grief. 

I know this is temporary, but damn, I am weary.