Monthly Archives: March 2017

I Sing the Body Pathetic

Well, it’s official – WE’RE HOME.  Much remains to be done, both from a construction perspective (although I’m pretty sure it would only take, at best, two good days of work and they could be DONE with me) and an unpacking one.  It boggles my mind when I look around at all my STUFF, quite a bit of which never even got unpacked at the apartment.  My house has been considerably expanded, space-wise, but at this point I don’t have a clue how to effectively use my newfound storage.  So I continue to languish among boxes and loosely organized stacks of papers and random items that haven’t found a home yet, plus clothes and towels and blankets in need of washing (my brand new washing machine evidently needed a new drain hose; the service guy came but neglected to bring a replacement, even though I was pretty sure I told the guy at the appliance store when I made the service appointment that the hose was cracked, because that’s what the plumber had told ME – oh well, what’s a few more days in dirty clothes?).  Another major problem that has arisen is that all my bedroom furniture no longer fits in my bedroom.  I’m going to end up putting my rotating armoire (with the mirror on the back) in my closet (and lose the mirror in the process), but that will have to wait until I have some assistance.

You see, one thing I discovered during the past couple of weeks, with all the cleaning and packing and moving, is that my body is no longer capable of absorbing the abuse it could in the past.  There I was, schlepping boxes and smaller items of furniture, scrubbing tubs and floors and maneuvering the vacuum cleaner, day after day, sweating and shaking and fighting against the brutal wind with every trip to my car.  And then I wonder:  Why do my legs feel weak?  Why are my hands numb and swollen (not to mention cracked and dry to the point where my skin just splits on contact with, say, a plastic bag)?  Why is my back in such pain?  Surprise!  You’re officially OLD.

My stress levels have been through the roof, and a recent visit to my doctor revealed higher-than-normal blood pressure and blood sugar levels that were concerning enough that my endocrinologist called ME after getting the routine blood test results.  Not to mention the 20-plus (more like 40-plus, but 20 would make a significant dent) pounds I need to lose – my doctor actually tried to prescribe some medication to help combat my tendency to binge eat, but even after insurance and application of the manufacturer’s discount, it would still have cost over $200 a month, so I’ll just have to lose weight the old-fashioned way.  Exercise is a key, of course, but with my back out of whack and the weather not cooperating, power walking will have to wait another few days.

And as if my body wasn’t enough of a wreck, on Sunday morning I was fighting with my dog Munchie, who doesn’t yet comprehend that he has to be brought downstairs to go out for walkies.  I had managed to get Gizmo downstairs but Munchie was hiding under the bed.  In a huff, I ran up the stairs, calling him out for being a wussie, and SLAM!!  I stubbed my big toe on the steps and fell forward.  I knew it was bad – the extreme pain was a dead giveaway – but I didn’t know how bad until I took my boot off and saw that my right big toenail was the color of a ripe eggplant.  So that’s caused me to limp around ever since, which in turn has thrown my back further out of alignment.  I am a mess.

I know I’m blaming my advanced age for the deterioration of my physical self, but it even happens to young people, I’m afraid.  My 21-year-old daughter is always complaining about being in pain, partly because of her scoliosis but a recent visit to a local kinesiologist has revealed an adrenaline imbalance and a tendency to retain lactic acid in her muscles, which causes excessive soreness after she works out (which she actually does, a few times a week – she’s even been WEIGHTLIFTING as part of her cross-fit training, which I find so impressive).  He prescribed regular (expensive) chiropractic adjustments and special (even more expensive) supplements, and I keep asking her if she’s seen any discernible improvement, but evidently she hasn’t – yet.

I wish feeling healthy and sound and young again were as easy as taking a supplement.  But no one has yet found the magic pill.  We all get old and it sucks.  I just got off the phone with my 84-year-old friend, who was told today that she may need to have open-heart surgery, and my daughter’s 95-year-old great-grandmother is currently in the hospital having her legs drained of excess fluid and putting up a major fuss because she just wants to go home.  At 57, I guess I should consider myself lucky that I just have some generalized aches and pains and diabetes that I could control better if I just watched what I ate and started moving a little more.  I confess that I’d like to live to at least 95, if this currently (but hopefully only temporarily) pathetic body is willing.

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Discombobulation

Discombobulate:  to confuse or disconcert; upset; frustrate.

This is why I’m so crappy at making decisions:  I’m too easily discombobulated.

My first officemate at the law firm is an amazing polyglot who speaks fluently at least five languages (and is working on her sixth).  Early in my legal career, I had no idea what to expect when it came to running a closing for an aircraft or large ship financing transaction.  The barely controlled chaos of the parties making last-minute contract changes and chasing things like insurance certificates and approvals from foreign government authorities was an entirely new experience for me and it left me feeling (and, frankly, frequently still does) very discombobulated.  I mentioned that to my officemate as we were working together to close a particularly challenging transaction and she laughed.  She couldn’t believe that “discombobulated” was a real word!  Once I convinced her that indeed it was, it became one of her favorites, although she always had difficulty pronouncing it.

My frequent discombobulation is not only apparent in the work arena.  Money is also a source of great discombobulation for me, no matter whether I have a lot (should I spend it or save it?) or not enough (how can I pay all my bills?).  And of course, now, a prime discombobulator in my life is getting me back into my house.  Moving Day is officially March 21, because that’s when I’ve hired the College Hunks (three hunks for three hours for a “stress-free” move, they have assured me) to move me out of this apartment and back HOME, come hell or high water – or even 12-18 inches of snow, which was actually predicted for today – but of course nothing is as easy as it seems.

It didn’t help that this was the stupid lost-hour weekend, where your body thinks it’s one time but it’s really another for a few weeks, until your circadian rhythms adjust.  As much as I love that extra hour of sleep in the fall, I despise the deleted 60 minutes in the spring.  For some inexplicable reason, I made things even worse for myself by staying awake later than usual, till after the “new” 4 a.m., trying to make a dent in the TV shows I have recorded on my DVR, because I’m going to lose them when I move.  I had to wake up early to have egg sandwiches with my kid at 9 a.m. before she started her drive back to West Virginia after a spring break week during which I barely saw her and only heard from her (as is usually the case) when she needs money.  And I was going to be spending the afternoon at an adoption event at the local pet store, with puppies and kitties looking for forever homes.  Needless to say, I was pretty exhausted, and my brain functions even less sharply when I’m physically spent and sleepless.

Fortunately for the kid (and for me), even though I am still waiting for my mortgage assistance payments from February AND January, New York Rising pleasantly surprised me by making available part of the outstanding amount they owe me from my construction grant.  So after paying down a good chunk of what I owed my contractor, I had a few bucks left over to give to Darian for her trip home.  (As aside:  I’ve made her hand over the credit card on which she is an authorized user because she has ABSOLUTELY no control when it comes to using it.  She just doesn’t get how credit cards work.  She’s smart enough to know that she shouldn’t have her own credit card, which is a good thing, because (a) she earns practically nothing, especially now that she’s cut back on her office cleaning job, and (b) she has no concept of the fact that it all needs to be PAID BACK,  WITH INTEREST.  I am MORTIFIED that I am so deep in credit card debt right now.  I’ve had an excellent credit rating and now, for the first time in over a decade, purely because my credit utilization is nearly 50%, I have sunk to merely “Good”.)

New York Rising gave me the money even though I don’t yet have my certificate of occupancy, which is kind of required in order to actually “occupy” my house.  My contractor assured me that the house had passed inspection last Thursday, but when I asked to get the inspector’s report in advance of the actual certificate of occupancy to give to New York Rising, the City of Long Beach suddenly decided that I required a two-car curb cut from the sidewalk in front of my house.  The original mason had made an error and only gave me a single curb cut when I have a two-car carport, and we were certainly going to get it corrected, but we were going to wait until I was back in the house.  Evidently, the City of Long Beach made this decision for me:  Fixing the curb cuts had to be done as a condition to getting the COO.  My contractor was lucky enough to be able to find a mason who could do it quickly and for a reasonable cost, and the guy was there breaking up the existing cement right away, on Thursday, but due to a messy snowstorm on Friday and frigid temperatures over the weekend, they never got to pour the cement.  Instead of having ingress for two vehicles, I have barely half of one plus a big gaping hole with “DO NOT CROSS” yellow tape surrounding it. Tuesday’s snow storm and post-storm freezing temperatures will delay the concrete pouring for the foreseeable future.

In addition to the expanded curb cut, there are a few other things that need to be done in the house –namely, installing the shower enclosure in the master bath and “polishing” the entry foyer.  The shower enclosure isn’t as urgent because Darian won’t be back in the house till May (she’s getting the master suite, because she actually entertains in her room – I just sleep in mine).  But I need to paint the foyer and coat the stairs with polyurethane, which should really be done before we move in to avoid having to live with the headache-inducing chemical stink and keep the creatures from walking on the steps before they’re cured.  So I made an appointment with my painter for this coming Thursday without knowing if the foyer would be “polished” by then. Never mind that I’ve been bugging my contractor for a couple of weeks to get it done (which seems a rather simple thing, to my untrained eye), even after I told them when my painter would be coming , but they kept pushing me off instead of just FINISHING ME.  I would think they’d want me out of their hair, especially now that I’ve been able to give them some actual money. While they’ve responded on other queries from me (like “Where’s my damn key, please?”), they wouldn’t answer me on the foyer polishing question.  DON’T THEY UNDERSTAND THAT I NEED TO KNOW!?!

The contractor was also going to get his cleaning crew in to sweep and scrub, but I can’t get a response on that question, either.  I may end up having to do the heavy-duty cleaning myself.  I just need the appropriate tools, I guess, even though cleaning is not in my bailiwick.  (I also have to clean the apartment I’m leaving behind, including the microwave, which I understand can be done easily and naturally with a lemon, which I need to buy because I don’t usually have lemons sitting around my house.)

Plus I have to call the realtor lady who is in charge of this building as soon as possible so she can start sending prospective tenants over, because the sooner I can get someone in there (Apri1 1, anyone?), the sooner I can stop paying rent.  I was kind of counting on getting my security deposit back, so I’d rather not have to use it to pay my last month’s rent.  I’m a bit stressed about the realtor lady accompanying the prospective tenants, because then she’ll see I’ve lied about the size of my menagerie.  I mean, obviously they can’t kick me out now, but they could very well keep the “pet security” portion of my security deposit, if not my entire security deposit, as a penalty for lying about the quantity of animals in my apartment.

The storm has completely thrown off the moving schedule.  When I finally got a cryptic text response from my contractor yesterday, he said that everything depends on the weather.  I get that, but now I’m left to make a decision, and you know how good I am at making decisions.  Here is just a small example of  the way my mind works when suffering from discombobulation:  Should I push everything back by a week, which at worst risks me having to pay another month’s rent, or do I just plow ahead and get the stairs done now but let the painting wait until after I move in (which my painter was kind of intimating I should do anyway, given that the movers are probably going to ding up the walls and whatnot).  And if the cleaners can’t get over there before the weekend, or Monday at the latest, I’ll have to do my own cleaning, which is a lot for me, and I’ll need to go out and get the necessary tools, but I guess it’s doable if I want to move in on schedule.

Should I maybe call my sister?  She’s a bit of a know-it-all who’s always telling me what I should have done after I’ve done it.  Or maybe my realtor friend?  Or even Darian?  Ultimately, the choice is down to me and only me.

It’s all so stressful and dizzy-making.  I just want to magically wiggle my nose, like Samantha on “Bewitched”, and have it all be DONE already.  Meanwhile, I’m trying to work as much as I can so I can earn the money to start paying off my debt, which brings us back full circle to the lack-of-funds horror show.  Ergo, discombobulation.

Every decision I make involves this confusion and insecurity.  It’s a wonder I get anything accomplished at all.  (It probably goes without saying that I blame the delay in this blog post on all the aforementioned discombobulation.)  And yet, somehow, I always manage to find my way, despite the dread, despite the discombobulation.  It’s almost as if I didn’t need to get bogged down with the two “D’s” in the first place.  Who would have guessed?  But breaking the cycle is easier said than done.  I’ve been this way pretty much all my adult life.  It remains to be seen if I will ever be able to just MAKE A DECISION, without all the waffling and self-doubt, without the confusion and fear, or at least to do it in a controlled, organized way (e.g., a pros-and-cons list).  Believe me, I’m working on it.

Weighty Management

My sister and I have challenged each other to lose 15 pounds by April 1.  She’s smaller than I am, but we’re both rotund little women, of a type that might turn into prototypical Italian grandmas.  In her case, the weight loss is for a wedding.  In mine, it’s just garden-variety being sick and tired of my physical self in its current state.

A couple of years ago I lost about 30 pounds, but I’ve slowly but surely let the pounds creep their way back (as I have been prone to do all my life).  My blood sugar numbers were under control, but now my endocrinologist has had to increase my medication, with the next dreaded step being daily injections.  I also hate catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror (I try to avoid it most of the time), or being bombarded by my multitude of chins when I take a rare selfie or Face Time with my daughter. Spring is coming, the weather is getting warmer, and the layers of clothes will need to be peeled away before long (especially given the recent unseasonably warm February days). It’s long past time to kick-start some serious weight loss – 15 pounds for me would be just a drop in the bucket, but at least it would be a beginning – and better health, to emerge from my hibernatory sludge and shed those excess layers.

Exercise is a huge part of it.  I’ve written about my attempts to start and sustain a walking regimen on multiple occasions (starting way back in one of my earliest posts, “Breaking Bad (Habits)”, 4/1/15).  That’s key.  In addition to the power walking, I’ve also been thinking about buying one of those twisty balance boards [the Simply Fit Board, $44.99, which seems like an awful lot for a curved slab of heavy-duty plastic – perhaps I can find a cheap knock-off, although I wouldn’t mind paying more for something as long as it was made in the USA] that the Shark Tank lady financed and also advertises on late-night TV infomercials so I can start using it when I get back in my house* (I shudder to think of the disturbance it would create for the lady downstairs if I did it here!!) when I’m  watching the Rangers or catching up on my shows.  Instead of sitting on my expanding ass, I could be twisting my fat away.  I also kind of miss my yoga classes with the weird instructor at Long Beach Adult Ed, with his long stringy hair and bald pate. One thing is for certain: I must get more mobile.  And once I do that, I’ll see an improvement on all fronts.

But the biggest issue for me, by far, is my obsessive eating. I’ve been trying to do some self-analysis to get to the root of the problem so I can hopefully break the cycle.  Why am I an obsessive eater, completely unable to stop when I start?  Well, I usually start eating out of boredom, or as a distraction, or procrastination.  But I believe the obsessive part of it comes about because I like the taste of things.  After eating something delicious, I just want that deliciousness to continue until my head and my stomach (or both) tell me it’s time to quit.

I’ve tried all the tricks, like, don’t have the “bad” stuff (really, the “good” stuff, you know what I mean?) in your house at all, or, if you must have it, put the healthy items up front and easily accessible and hide the naughties.  But every time I go into the kitchen, I’m soon chest-deep in the fridge, completely ignoring the healthy snacks to dig out the hidden stashes.  Or I’ll make up proper-serving-sized snack baggies with trigger foods – and then eat five of them, which defeats the purpose entirely.

Alas, despite my efforts at self-analysis, I don’t know why I do it, and I don’t know how to fix it.  I’m just weak when it comes to delectable foods of all types:  salty, sweet, savory – but mostly sweet. They just taste so good, I just don’t want the yumminess to end!! Perhaps the extra pressure of the competition with my sister, plus more activity in milder weather, can serve as an effective impetus (although it hasn’t so far, I’m afraid!).

* Update on moving back home:  Inspections for the certificate of occupancy from the City of Long Beach and the balance of my grant from New York Rising are scheduled for this week.  This is a huge relief.  My contractor actually told me that, as far as he was concerned, I could move in any day.  True, my boiler blew an electric circuit when they tried to install the thermostat incorrectly, but once that’s fixed, I’ll have heat, electricity and water. So what this means is: I am FINALLY going to hand in my notice to my landlord and leave as of the 15th of March. And then we’ll be home and we can make as much noise as we want!!