I'm in that awful limbo of feeling tired and frustrated and stuck, and still knowing I should appreciate how much I have. Nothing is terrible. But nothing feels quite right, either.
I'm stressed about my breast issue, which never completely went away. It's improved since July, and I'm not in pain, but after three ultrasounds, two aspirations, and a mammogram they want to do another biopsy and I just don't want to. I get wanting to rule out cancer, but I don't think it is cancer, and I don't want to go through all that discomfort again just to be back at square one. But it's hard to know what to do and all of it is upsetting. I don't feel like there are people I can talk to about it without upsetting them, too.
We have been struggling with the high school application process for Aden. In Milwaukee you apply to go anywhere, and a few schools (like the High School of the Arts) require additional hoops to jump through, and that has been stressful. The school issues with Aden in general have been frustrating. Only other parents going through something similar seem to understand how little control over any of that we have. Everyone else just seems judgy, which never helps.
Quinn was sick for weeks and I couldn't sleep listening to him cough all night. It's awful when your kid is sick and you can't really do anything. The antibiotics and nebulizer treatments seem to have done their jobs, and I think he's over it, so that's good. But anything to do with Quinn's breathing kind of haunts me.
Violin lessons with Mona leave us both in tears and I don't know what to do. She's so sweet, though. She told me recently that it wasn't my fault, and that she's really getting two lessons in one because she's learning violin and also how to be a better student. I wish I could figure out how to do it the way she needs, but it's never right. When I try to correct anything in her playing she hears it as her mom being disappointed in her. The meta-messages are inescapable. I don't know what else to do because she wants to keep playing, but she won't try another teacher. So we keep doing our miserable little dance every week or two.
Then there are all the projects that I want to be doing, that I think about every day, and they just sort of dangle out of reach displaced by more immediate concerns. I had a plan for finally editing my second novel this summer and getting it done. That didn't happen. If I could just get a week of quiet to myself to really read and think I could do it. But no. And the violin I'm building is so far behind the schedule I set for myself that I need to just scrap that goal and come up with a new one that doesn't make me feel like a failure. How come the main things I want for myself are the easiest to ax when time is tight? How does that happen, so that drafts of novels can sit for a decade and that the thing I think of as my main job gets put on hold day after day after day?
Part of the problem is that I haven't had a real break in a long time. I had a few days off at the cottage in early July, but not really since. In general I would like two days off in a row, because I'm at the store six days a week and then I have to use Sunday to try to catch up on things at home. A day to clean followed by a day to maybe not clean would be good. I don't see that happening anytime soon.
Adding insult to injury, I've had too many people lately complain to me about my store hours. We're open 10:30 to 2, by appointment after 2, and Saturdays 10 to 5. I can't get in earlier than 10:30 during the week because of when I swim. (As it is I arrive at the store with my hair still wet because I pretty much come straight from the pool.) And I need some flexibility after 2 in case Ian is out of town for Army work and I have to be responsible for the kids after school. But most days I'm at the store for about seven hours doing repairs nonstop, so when people leave me rude messages on my machine saying, "Your hours are terrible!" or they want to know why I can't come in on a Sunday or stay late another hour or two, or come in early just for them, I want to cry. I feel like all I do is work and it's never enough. I know people are used to bigger establishments with more resources, but my store is pretty much me. I'm it. And I'm stretched pretty thin.
Ian's stressed about stuff for his work, all the birthdays and big holidays are coming up soon, and the house is a bigger mess than usual. The yard looks bad. We need to check the winter coats in storage soon, but that's part of needing to organize the boxes in the attic because those have gotten out of control. Bits and pieces of our kitchen are falling apart and we're reluctant to really fix them because the whole thing should just be remodeled but there is no money for that. The dog continues to be weird.
My weight has me depressed. When I'm stressed all I want to do is eat, and having a ton of Halloween candy in the house this week hasn't made that easier. I worked so hard for so long to get down to a more reasonable size, and I can't shake the additional 15 pounds I put back on during all the stress this summer. My clothes don't fit right but I'm loathe to buy bigger sizes again. I don't care much about the numbers (because it really does come down to the same issues, different pants), I care about what they represent. I hate feeling like I lack discipline or control over myself and what I know is right. The added pounds make me feel like a bad example and a lesser person for not trying harder.
And of course my dad is still dead and that hits me at odd dimes. It doesn't really feel yet as if I won't see him again. I know it, but part of me doesn't believe it. I can still recall him clearly. I can feel his hand squeeze mine, I can hear his laugh. My dad lit up every time he saw me. Every time. My dad loved me, and how can that be gone? It still feels like he could visit, that he's somewhere. I can't quite grasp that he isn't anywhere. That all he knew has gone away. I can't call him. I can't make him smile. It's like this strange thing I know, some curious fact like a item I read somewhere, but I don't feel it. Until I do and then I feel nothing but that loss. It hurts, and then it goes back to being unreal, and it's confusing. The other night after everyone went to bed I just sat downstairs and cried and cried...
But is anything really bad? No. We're all relatively healthy, and the few medical things we're dealing with we can seek care for, thanks to insurance through the Army. We have a home we love. It's not lost on me that with my weight struggles that my problem is too much access to food, which we know from volunteering at the soup kitchen is a luxurious problem to have. I love my work, even if I could use a break from it. (The other night I attended a memorial service for a friend's husband and was too sad to go home afterward where I knew my family wouldn't be, yet, so I went to the violin store instead. The work is calming, and it's a place I like to be, particularly after hours when I can work without interruption.) I'm fortunate to be creative and busy enough that my biggest problem is not having enough time to do more of the things I like to do. Even dealing with a loss like the death of my dad highlights how lucky I am to have as many people to love in my life as I do.
I'm just feeling worn out, I think. You can intellectually know there is a better perspective without being able to emotionally connect to it, and I'm kind of there right now. I'm fine, but not fine. But I'm fine.
UPDATE: Well, the front and side yards look much better now that they've been raked, and we did tackle the boxes in the attic and checked all the winter clothes. So that's something. Doesn't address the larger issues, but it does feel good to have at least a couple of things get done. Plus, you know what? Writing it all down really helped.