Don’t Get Comfortable, Dear

Hold off on letting your muscles relax, your joints unfold. Tuck away that breath of crisp air you have been gulping so deliciously. Remember the quiet speech of the room. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Hummmm. Whoooosh. Whooooosh. Time keepers and appliances don’t pay you any mind. Today you are only guaranteed just that, another day, with or without you. Snowflakes of ash fall. Skylight tints a color of warning. People are ill with worry, with sickness of the mind and of the body. Most cannot direct their fear into anything of much use. This is adversity in bloom.

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If I have learned anything this year it is that comfort is a luxury whose boundaries can contract and expand. It is more dynamic than I realized, often proving so when it alchemizes into the wreckage of the unexpected.

Recent weeks have been especially challenging. I have experienced a familiar rise of anxiety in my body and within my thoughts. My workload has increased, which I’m incredibly thankful for because I have no idea what this winter will be like in that regard. But of course, this also means more to manage in terms of scheduling, and care for Mom.

About three weeks ago my dad had a COVID scare which ended up being heat stroke and an infection in his legs. For two weeks while he rested his legs and took his prescription for antibiotics I had Mom stay at home with me. Only a few days ago did he feel well enough to resume helping watch her. It’s been really hard having her with me 24/7 again, especially while I work, but I am so glad that Dad is okay and that he didn’t contract COVID.

Yesterday I had a garage sale to purge more belongings before our move next year. My best friend and her sister helped out and brought some of their own things to sell. Dad dropped off two truckloads of his unneeded goods. Leading up to the event I spent a few days organizing everything, putting up signs and creating ads online. My best friend took over posting and managing inquiries online the day of the sale. We joked about how much commission she was going to make selling all of my stuff. Thank goodness she was there because I know I would have been manic trying to handle everything on my own.

We still have a lot to get rid of but thankfully a handful of bigger items were sold, mostly furniture, that were taking up too much space. Once the garage floor is cleared then Mom and I will be able to use the treadmill that Dad passed along to us. The cooler months should provide a comfortable environment in the garage so that we can finally take advantage of this addition to our limited self-care.

This season happens to be loaded with lots of birthdays. I’ve been prepping for some of them. My sister’s, brother’s, goddaughter’s, two close friends’, and Mom’s are all within a few weeks of one another. I know plenty of other birthdays take place in and around September, but I’m feeling especially unequipped to keep up with it all this year. I apologize if I’ve forgotten anyone’s special day.

A couple dozen people have sent Mom surprise snail mail for her upcoming seventieth birthday. I’ve been keeping it all in a box in my room, waiting patiently to unveil the spoils. One friend is even sending an order of specialty cookies that she promises will knock our socks off. The outpouring of love and generosity has been really touching. I can’t thank everyone enough for taking the time to help make Mom feel special and unforgotten.

The countdown to her birthday has very recently been peppered with more unexpected maladies. Within the last seventy-two hours Dad’s dog had a stroke in his spine, which caused his back legs to give out for several hours. Dad called me early on Saturday morning to have me come over and help. The eternally sweet Labrador seems to have mostly recovered after having been examined by a vet.

That same day a fire broke out in a neighboring county, which has now turned into multiple fires that have spread into our county. The brief relief of tainted air from the last fires has been interrupted with new ash and smoke, bringing us right back up on our haunches, bracing ourselves for the impacts of disaster. Already I have gotten word of several friends and coworkers who have had to evacuate their homes, again. Some of these same people have already experienced their houses having burned down in previous wildfires and only moved back into their rebuilt homes within the last several months. Everyone in this area is experiencing some degree of PTSD.

This morning Dad let me know his leg infection has flared up a bit, so he’s waiting to see if he needs medical care beyond the antibiotics. I’m not sure if they will simply prescribe him something different or stronger, or if they will need him to be admitted to the hospital. I’m waiting for him to call me back with an update.

Now that I’ve filled all of you in on most everything that’s been going on I hope you can understand why I didn’t end up posting anything last week. I needed a breather. Though, being the person I am, I since burdened myself daily with the pressure of completing a blog post. When I fall short of a commitment it can really weigh on me, often intensifying when my stress levels are already high. Obviously for the sake of priority and health it was absolutely necessary for me to take a weekend off from writing. It is tiresome regulating the mental flagellation that can stem from that static, wicked part of the subconscious that loves to feed doubt and fear and anxiety. Not today brain. Not today.

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