Bringing people Figgy Pudding and decking the halls is always a stretch for this Grinchy McScrooge and because this year has been wrought with challenges; I'm slogging my way towards next Thursday. Like many people, I use this time of year to take stock and plan for the next year so since Thanksgiving, I have rehashed the bad things rather than rehearse all that is good about my life. Last week, I hit bottom when I had an anxiety attack because I had to unexpectedly leave the house. A simple trip to the grocery store turned into an ordeal. Scary, eh? I’ve been down the agoraphobic path and it isn’t one I want to revisit. Teetering on the brink of a depression that would make 1999 look like a case of the blues and 1979 a trip to Disneyland; I pulled out my trusty copy of Power of Intention and Feel Good Workbook as an attempt to recreate what happened in 2008.
1. February: After we Returned from Mexico, Ward kicked Wally out of the house. Wally was devastated, threatening to spin out of control and frightened; I was angrier at Ward and Alexis than I‘have ever been in my life. I felt punished because I took a vacation.
What really happened: Wally and I grew closer. I tapped into strength I didn’t know I had and was able to maturely put aside my anger and negotiate terms with Ward and Alexis.
2. June: We were robbed and with my computer, most of our jewelry was taken. The worst part was sweet Kipper was traumatized. We lost sentimental pieces of no value to anyone but ourselves. My extensive and valuable collection of vintage jewelry, gone. The process of documenting what was lost: going through pictures and sending them to strangers at the insurance company felt more invasive than the break in.
The other side of this: The Girl had hidden her late mother’s wedding band and some jewelry I gave her last Christmas. The robbers managed to miss a one of a kind custom necklace. More importantly, I learned we have wonderful neighbors who stopped by to make sure we were OK and extend their sympathy after word got out we were robbed. Two of my co-workers gave me lovely pieces of jewelry just because they had heard about the robbery. (I still get teary when I think of those gifts.) Most importantly, no one was home when it happened. Finally, we have another tax write-off.
3. June: My assigned unit closed due to low census and my income dropped by 10% until just recently. Not only was my unit closed but there wasn‘t enough work for any of us. With gas at an all time high and food costing an arm and a leg, the economic picture at Chez Cleaver was grim.
Flip side: I only worked two days a week and had at least two days a week to do whatever I pleased. It was like retirement! I had time to write, mess around with art projects, scrapbook and just hang out. I discovered the joy of Pilates and Yoga. What did I do without? I stopped making unnecessary trips in my elderly gas guzzler, I practiced the economy of: “Why am I buying this? Is it necessary or am I fulfilling some other need? “ Seriously, did the Cleaver’s do without? Nope.
4. October: My mother died.
Another version: My mother is no longer suffering chronic physical pain nor is she suffering under the weight of guilt surrounding her 40 plus nicotine addiction and how it altered her quality of life and along with it my father’s quality of life. I was blessed with reconnecting with family and longtime friends. I realized how much people care for us through their acts of kindness and caring. Most importantly, I fell in love with The Girl all over again.
5. November: The economy completely melted down and took 50% of my retirement savings with it.
The big picture: I am still employed and Obama is going to be president and Clinton will be Secretary of the State. Life is looking sweet.
6. November: My son joined the military. He wants to join the medical corp and work with Marines on the battlefield.
What really happened: He has a sense of purpose and figured out all on his own without wasting five figures, school is not his gig. (I previously beat this point to a pulp)
These are just the big things. This year was one tiny cluster fuck after another. Lucky for you rehashing them bores the crap out of me, much less anyone reading this. It was like the Universe was Hell bent on gas lighting me. It could be worse: We are healthy, employed and I love my family more than ever. And best of all? For the first time EVER in his WHOLE life, Beav gets up for school without drama. Before? It was as if I had asked him to cut his arm off with a dull knife or clean the fish tank.
One of my imaginary friends linked this video a few weeks ago and the expressions worn by Hardrock, Cocoa, Joe and Santa match how I’m feeling about Christmas. I swear, Hardrock looks like he is doing community service time.
It isn't any surprise, after losing a couple of weeks to melancholia and then seven days working away from melancholia; I’m a bit behind the eight ball as far as Christmas preparation goes. Even though I lost those precious days off, I wouldn’t back away from commitment to making half of the presents. I hit my crack dealers on Tuesday, and yesterday was an arts and crafts extravaganza at my house.
My gifts rock. But I’m not posting pictures; I don’t want the gifts leaked to my sister and I haven’t a clue if she knows about my blog. The buttons offer a hint. I love my gifts so much, I considered getting her a gift card and keeping these things for myself.
My family arrives next week and I’m preparing for four additional people in my house. I’m not one for a jamboree so this is rattling me a bit. Given the tenuousness of my recent emotional state; the urge to take to my bed a la Alice James has occurred to me on a couple of occasions. I battle The Urge To Nap by kicking into Type A mode; lists are made, tasks divided. Just to make things more interesting, my unit has reopened and I’m scheduled to work the next three days.