patience is a virtue

Between work and a virus, I’ve been flat out in November! Trying to come back now ….

I wish I was a more patient person. On many fronts, I require patience – with my mother, may cat, my renovations and life in general. I thought I was starting to de-stress as the renovations near completion and I feel like I can relax a bit more. Some stress has seemed to melt away, but the reality is that some stress has just shifted to other things. I don’t feel as irritated at little things but am still impatient with regard to the renovations. I don’t feel as angry that the renovations are not completed but still need to take some deep breaths to keep from screaming sometimes! I have cut down on the junk food but still pull out the Cheetos a little too often. And we’re coming into hot chocolate season ….

The frustrations related to dealing with my mother are very real and I try to process these feelings in a positive way. On one hand, it’s good that she still thinks about what she is contributing to the household and the renovations. She wants to remain an active and contributing member of the family even though she can’t remember all the details. Her questions are good questions – they were the first time she asked them, the 100th time, the 1000th time, and so on.

But my question is this: does she have to ask about all this stuff during Jeopardy!? There are other times of the day when I could answer her questions with greater patience – what is it about the 7:00-7:30 pm time slot that is so special?

We also have the daily discussion about who is alive and who is dead. She goes through the list – who has written or called, who is alive or dead, where those alive reside, whether she has written to them, etc. This is often followed by a brief period of tears because she cannot remember people or places, or by stories about her teenage years and relationships between people I have never met. These chats are generally in the evening, after Wheel of Fortune. By the way, she doesn’t ask questions during Wheel because she can still play that game pretty well. I’m guessing she is distracted enough during Wheel that she doesn’t think about money or death! Long live Wheel of Fortune!

One way to stem the tide of repeated questions is the use of a white board. I bought a large white board on wheels that can be moved around. On it, I have addressed the top dozen or so questions she routinely asks. This has been great in that she still asks sometimes, but it has cut down on the repetition and, therefore, on my impatience with answering the same questions multiple times. She appreciates having the information at all times – it’s there where she can see it and can digest it in small bites if needed.

Other frustrations are with the renovations. I don’t do well with clutter and disorganization. It bothers me that I don’t know where things are. So, last weekend I was able to put the kitchen mostly together. They still have to do the backsplash and add a couple of open shelves, but most of my stuff is in its place. I cannot wait until the final pieces are complete. After tidying up and moving furniture back into the kitchen (and out of the living room), the place finally (truly) felt like home. I cooked a full meal in the kitchen. It was exciting! And I don’t particularly like to cook.

I’m looking forward to getting my little office space up and running this coming weekend. That will give me real satisfaction – when I can go there to work. And I have my room, which is a bit of a disaster and will also be on the agenda for the weekend. Life returning to some semblance of normal feels like a dream but it will be reality soon enough.

on the move

My mother and I frequently watch Escape to the Country, a British show about moving to the tranquil countryside in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. It’s a calming show and one that we can both enjoy. Unlike most of the U.S. design or real estate shows, the properties are unique and lovely in their own way. We’ve seen walls of every shade imaginable, doorways where even I would have to duck, staircases that cannot possibly meet a modern building code, and ceiling beams that are structural not decorative … and often are in the neighborhood of 400 years old. I despair of the reaction from the House Hunters crowd who would probably want to gut the place and install granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and an open floorplan. And I say this as someone with stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops and a largely open plan space in my last apartment.

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back again …

Between COVID, moving and other changes, it’s been quite a year. I’m finally able to poke my head out and start to rejoin the world.

As I said in a prior post (where have you been?), working from home has been a blessing because my mother needed to have someone around to help her get meals and function in daily life. When she moved down to Baltimore, she didn’t really want to go out and meet new people or go to a senior center or otherwise engage in the world unless I went with her. Being at home has allowed me to be around, so that was great.

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excuses, excuses!

shield-417826_1920So, I’m not sure why I keep putting things off. I’ve always been a bit of a procrastinator, but until last year if something made it on my ever-present “to do” list, it got done. Over the past year, I’ve not only skipped over tasks, I’ve been ignoring the list altogether.

I think (hope) that I may be hitting a turning point, though, as I’m now starting to pay attention to the list again. This doesn’t mean that I’m actually completing things on the list, but at least I’m acknowledging existence of a list and tasks that I’ve been neglecting. This is progress! Continue reading

transitions continue … my new job

questions-1922477_1920.jpgWhen my mother came to live with me, I had hoped that cutting my workload to 80% efforts would be adequate to accommodate her needs. My work included a long commute that made it impossible to return home quickly if my mother needed assistance. When it soon became obvious that the arrangement would not work, I explored other options. Fortunately, my then-employer made it possible for me to work from home one day a week and my former boss (from a decade ago) had a position open for the other four days. Thus, I was able to work from Baltimore. This was truly a blessing. Continue reading

counting the changes and making trade-offs

hourglass-1425727_1280This post will be something sort of a stream of consciousness, as this is how I am processing change these days.

Accepting change is not always easy. There are trade-offs, so even if we are moving toward something great … or at least better … the loss of what we know is a bit unsettling. What if my new gig doesn’t work out? What if I don’t like it? What if I didn’t think through all the ramifications of change?

In the past, changes in my life usually were initiated by me – I decided when to move or when to change jobs or how to spend my time. As I’ve gotten older, there have been significant changes and, more often than not, I’m on the receiving end of change. This seems counter-intuitive – I should be more in control, not less, right? (more…)