Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The great clean

Man, this summer is flying by.  I got a week at the ocean, which let me tell ya, is a little less restorative when you're still not sleeping.  But beautiful, nonetheless.

This weekend, the last weekend before school starts, I will be cleaning.  And then cleaning some more.

Our new nanny, C, starts on Tuesday.  All of the tax filings are in, the paperwork is signed and the payroll is set up.  I'm an employer now, and hopefully will be a good one?

Samantha has done so well at our local daycare center, of course I am second-guessing my decision to pull her out.  She's honestly such a chill baby though, that I have to believe that she will thrive with C.  I know that Niblet will fare far better with someone who pick her up from school, get her to finish her homework, feed her and then chauffer her to her myriad of after-school lessons. 

But before any of this starts, I have to clean.  Here is just a sampling of the things lined up in and crammed into the hallways and corners of my house that people are currently bumping into, sitting on or tripping over:
 - Two sleeping bags, unfolded
 - A trash bag filled with Niblet's shoes (collected from all over the downstairs, to be put away in her room)
 - An empty giant cardboard box that Princess is no longer into
 - A door that needs to be hung
 - A box of Tools that would be ostensibly used to hang the door
 - Viking's dirty socks
 - A bag of extra linens that we took to our beach rental
 - target bags filled with school supplies
 - books
 - unused mason jars
 - Dust balls


Monday, August 13, 2018

Intrusive thoughts

I was tempted to hit up my therapist the other day.  It's been maybe four months since I last saw her, and while I had my shaky days, I thought I was ultimately handling life pretty well.

And then I read about the Orca. The grieving Orca, who carried her dead calf for a thousand miles, nearly starving herself in the process.  And I felt fucking gutted.  Just completely numb with sad.

Today I read that she has let her calf go, and is back to what appears to be "normal" behavior.

The Orca story captured so much.  The enormous pain of losing Celine, and grief for letting her go.  The no-longer existential ecological threat we're living under (the Orca population is endangered because we have obliterated their primary salmon source).  Climate inaction and maternal grief in one click.

Tack on to this the horrific child casualties in the middle east, and the trauma endured by immigrant and refugee children in the US and abroad.  All just scrolling and scrolling while nursing to the light of one's phone at 3am.

I don't really think your particular political persuasion matters - the pain of innocents is sometimes too much to bear. 

I wonder whether as a species we were built to absorb the quantities of information we're absorbing. But make no mistake about it, we're hooked, it's an addiction.

"Just stay off of twitter and facebook," I could hear my therapist saying.  Maybe just stick to Instagram, right?

The thing is I can *feel* the cortisol levels rising in my bloodstream every night.  And yet I can't quit.  I removed the apps from my phones, but short of throwing them away I feel stuck.  And occasionally hopeless.

I work to improve wages and benefits for low-wage health care workers. I like to think that I am helping democratize the workplace, and as a result, providing a more stable economic life for families in my very VERY poor city.  I also do a lot of research on population health outcomes as related to workforce training.  But at the end of the day I feel utterly useless. 

The only thing that seems to sustain me these days are the three humans I live with, who happen to share the same face (I'm the "one of these things is not like the other in my family").  Viking, Niblet and Nutmeg are my tether to sanity.

That's a very heavy burden for them. I know, because most of my life I've played the same role for my own depressed parents.

Unlike my parents, I don't actually spend a lot of time in that dark place.  People who know me IRL know I laugh a lot.  I entertain friends constantly.  I surround myself with children and feed on their silliness.  I hug my husband and get him to give me nightly backrubs.  I dance.  I move.  I endorphin the fuck out of my life.

But it all comes to a head at 2 or 3am.  How will I keep my girls safe?  How do I raise them with optimism and strength?