For the past few weeks I have been galloping to keep up with the changes and challenges in my life. I’ve had lots of practice since the collapse of my marriage, when the steady-state of misery exploded into a nova. My chief occupation has been trying to figure out who I am and what I do as this freshly-minted single person with a dizzying array of new responsibilities. Plus, I am not as young as I used to be. This has the advantage of equipping me with more than half a century of experience and wisdom. This has the disadvantage of having to cope with reduced strength, stamina, and mental flexibility.
I’ll be turning sixty this December. Most folks my age are thinking ahead to retirement. I am not. I won’t be retiring for a good long time. Quite the opposite.
Now, the most recent episode in this sitcom that my household has become, is the arrival of a new character. She is a sweet girl, intelligent and energetic, but crashing from a collapsed relationship and conflicts with her mother. Come in, I said, I’ll give you shelter from the storm.
She is the best friend of my son’s live-in girlfriend, and comes with a 1-year-old yellow lab who is fairly well-trained, but is still a 1-year-old yellow lab, and behaves accordingly. She arrived with all her belongings, the contents of her apartment, at 11 pm the other night. I am leaving it to the kids to figure out where she is going to sleep and to keep the dog from the destroying the place. I have my room upstairs where I and my cats hang out. I can do my work in peace. My younger son is just starting a new job. My older son just got laid off from his job. Both girls are working. Rent will be paid, plus the new arrival has promised to do house-cleaning. And oh yes, Angi, the artist living our spare room, just had her car totaled and is dealing with the fall-out from that. Interesting times.
On top of all that, yesterday was the big Town-Wide Yard Sale, which I joined in an effort to get rid of some of my excess clutter and earn a little desperately needed cash. Organizing for the Yard Sale was a monumental stress-inducer. I cleaned out the basement, the garage, the garage attic, and the shed out back in an effort to organize and segregate the trash, the surplus, the to-be-used, to-be-stored, and to-be-sold.
The Yard Sale itself was not as successful as I’d hoped, but not a complete failure, either. I got rid of some truck, but not nearly as much as I wanted to. Now I have to figure out alternatives—Craig’s List, charities, swap shop, dump—to move it on. More hassles. Ugh.
But look on the bright side, I did make a little grocery money, and I got several problem areas cleaned and organized. Now there is more room for my tenants to store their stuff. And I have a better handle on what is there (dear god, the stuff my ex saved!). Was it worth the grief and hassle? I suppose. Would I do it again? Not likely.
So after all this sturm und drang I was an exhausted wreck. Last night Angi and I broke into the vodka and cranberry juice. I got nicely silly. My younger son does an online gaming stream on Saturday nights, but because of technical difficulties (which he has been plagued with—yes, there’s been that, too) he had to cancel the stream. Five of us ended up doing digital Card Against Humanity on our laptops. It was a riot. I can’t remember when I’ve laughed so hard, which was in part at least, stress release.
I can remember at one point looking at Angi (after two or three drinks) and exclaiming, “My word! I feel relaxed! This is wonderful!” It was. And the truly grand thing is that I did not drink too much; I drank just enough. I was outrageous (I won two of the rounds) and buoyant, but still in control. I remember everything, and I was not hung over this morning. It took no great act of willpower to shut myself off; I just thought, I feel really good and I don’t want another drink. I’ll pour myself a seltzer.
It is Sunday morning, grey and rainy. I slept in, made myself coffee and had a muffin and a slice of coffee cake for breakfast, sat in bed and did a crossword puzzle and an online jigsaw puzzle, all my cats snoozing contentedly in the bed with me. It’s one o’clock, and I believe I will get dressed and go out for some groceries, perhaps do a few chores. I am enjoying this lovely window of calm in the Bedlam.