Saturday, November 28, 2015

Exercise frustrations

I’m not sure what my December resolutions are going to be, but I do know one thing: They are going to involve getting up from this desk. I feel like a slug—a slug with neck pain and eye strain—but I will be free from this giant, life-consuming project after Monday. And December (which conveniently starts Tuesday) is looking like my most reasonable work month in a long time.

That means I will have time to go to the gym and do…something. Lately I’ve been wishing I could swim, but as it’s literally the worst thing I could do for my impinged shoulder, I’ll wait.

I finished the eight weeks of ibuprofen and rest but, disappointingly, my shoulder’s not really that much better than before. I did some fresh Googling and found several rehab exercises to try, so the new plan is to be diligent about those, and to take ibuprofen afterward to keep the inflammation down. But I’m sick of taking eight pills a day, so that’s enough of that. Plus, everyone on earth has told me that I’m risking giving myself an ulcer, and I’d like to stop before they are proved right.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

November update

I just now finished one of my major work projects—the most unpleasant one, yay—so I feel like it’s time for a teensy break before I jump back into it. AFTER ALL, IT IS SUNDAY. I have been working seven days a week since the 9th with no end in sight, so my theme of getting my life back together is not actually going as well as I had hoped.

Agreeing to the Unpleasant Project at all might have been an error in judgment—I suspected I wouldn’t enjoy it, and I knew it would be during a busy time. But I was sorta kinda hoping for less unpleasant work in the future from this new client, so maybe it was an okay decision for the long run.

So much for my goal (shot) and theme (shot). I am sticking with my rule of drinking as much water as tea, but nothing major has happened as a result—in other words, I still have to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. But I might give this experiment a few more months, because I have a vague sense of being more hydrated on less liquid. I wake up less thirsty, at any rate.

My affirmation (“I welcome the changing of the seasons!”) is a win. We got our first snow here in town—hooray for that not occurring until mid-November, by the way—and I found myself appreciating its beauty rather than just thinking about how I was going to slip and die on the sidewalk. Then when I nearly did slip and die, I was able to say, “I welcome the changing of the seasons!” which at least is funny. At least to me.

Finally, I managed to sell a few more things on the Facebook rummage site, so I’ll call my errand a win, too. It’s always so exciting when people come to your house, carry off your unwanted items, and hand you cash.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Better-late-than-never resolutions for November

I completely failed to set any official GREAT resolutions this month, but I realized that I do have some in the back of my mind that I’ve been operating under, so here they are:
  • Goal: Finish three major work projects
  • Rule: One glass of water for every mug of tea
  • Errand: Sell some more stuff
  • Affirmation: “I welcome the changing of the seasons”
  • Theme: Get my life back together
October’s work project completely disrupted my life, so my theme/goal for November is to get an equivalent amount of work done without falling to pieces. I know it can be done!

The affirmation started as a bit of a joke, but I have been saying it out loud anytime I get hit with a blast of cold air, and it almost, kind of, a little bit, is working. I DO welcome the coming holidays, and as we drove across the state last weekend for a swim meet, I DID welcome the gorgeous, snow-dusted scenery. (And since I am going to have to be inside for most of the month working, I welcome using crappy weather as an excuse.)

As far as drinking more water and less tea, I have been extremely frustrated lately that I have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night—always once, and sometimes twice. I started Googling to see if there was anything I could do, and I learned that it’s related to a drop in something called “anti-diuretic hormone” as you age. I figured maybe I could help my presumably waning anti-diuretic hormone level by reducing my consumption of diuretics during the day, but I don’t know if it’s really helping so far.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Skipping Halloween

I’m on the cusp of being done with the massive, life-dominating project I’ve been working on for three weeks, and if you can’t believe I didn’t even bother to pop over to the blog to make up some emergency, last-minute monthly GREAT goals—well, I can’t believe it either. But it was bad this time, I’m telling you. It was so bad, in fact, that WE SKIPPED HALLOWEEN.

In general I’m ambivalent about Halloween, but we’ve had some really fun ones. And I do like answering the doorbell and seeing the costumes. And I feel like it’s just part of the social contract: You give out candy because people gave out candy to you when you were 7, and that is THE WAY IT WORKS.

I figured one grumpy year wasn’t the end of the world, though, so we bought no candy and kept the porch light off. But then something awful happened: M.H. came home right around dusk with a TON of groceries and firm plans to cook some of them, which meant being in the kitchen, which meant being visible from the front door. When having the porch light off didn’t keep the kids from ringing our doorbell, I turned off the kitchen lights, closed the blinds, and taped pieces of paper over the small windows by the door. THAT didn’t stop them either. Of course, I had absolutely nothing in the house I could conceivably give a rogue trick-or-treater. So I frantically helped cook vegetables and put away a month’s worth of groceries, plagued by guilt and remorse, in the dark, while occasionally diving behind the kitchen island to hide from sugar-crazed children peeping through the cracks in the papers.

Mental note: A bowl of candy and a sign is the ABSOLUTE MINIMUM REQUIREMENT for Halloween.

On the plus side, having no candy in the house meant it was easy to stick to the AltShift diet, which is a good thing, because I’m very happy with how it’s going. At our last measure, I had lost four inches off my waist, and I’m not really interested in a fun-sized-Snickers-induced reversal of all that progress.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The freaking out before the storm

You know that advice to cook a bunch of meals and freeze them before you have a baby so that later you won’t have to cook so much? That was what I did today, only instead of a bunch of meals I made two casseroles, instead of freezing them I put them in the fridge, and instead of having a baby I’m preparing for a book deadline.

See, Happy is making me a bit frantic because there’s a giant, ominous deadline looming, and instead of sending me book chapters, he’s off frolicking somewhere. As soon as he does resume sending me things to work on, it’s going to be crunch time in a big way.

Now I’m off to think of more things it would be useful to have done before I get perma-chained to my desk…

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Toward a more functional kitchen

The big task of the month was to Kon-Mari the kitchen, which—spoiler alert—was a ton of work.

Step one is to take everything out and put it in a big, ugly pile:

In case you are considering trying this, step one is very important. It’s the step that makes you go, “What was I thinking? What is all this crap? This is insane,” which is exactly the mindset you’re going to need for the labor ahead. Trust me.

The “official” next step is to start touching every object to separate out the things that bring you joy, but since we’re talking about the kitchen, for crying out loud, we did it a bit differently.

Actual step two was to clean all the crumbs from the empty cabinets and drawers. Steps three and four were to put all the super-obvious throwaway/giveaway stuff in their own piles. Step five was piling up things that we do use, but only once or twice a year, like cake pans (which ended up going in that inconvenient cabinet above the fridge).

Then the real work started. We tried to think through how and where we used everything, which systems were already working pretty well, and what needed to be moved to easier-to-access locations. One of my main goals was to not rely too much on stacking things up—I wanted everything to be easy to get out and easy to put away, and not, say, in a teetering pile of mismatched bowls.

We put back all the easiest, most-used things first, of course. After that, everything easy to categorize (the obviously junk and obviously needed) had been dealt with, and it was time to go through the mushy middle, where the decision-making starts to break your brain. In the end, we solved the problem by putting some stuff in a storage box and taking it to the basement—where I’m sure it will sit untouched until we move and then get donated—but at any rate it’s out of the kitchen now, so I’m content.

End result: The kitchen looks exactly the same as it did before, but it’s a lot more fun to open cabinets.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A partial list of life obstacles

I’m trying hard to stick to my shoulder-healing plan—which is simply rest, stretching, and ibuprofin—but it’s so hard for me to remember to take pills four times a day. Even setting an alarm doesn’t always help; I have, a couple of times, heard the alarm, silenced the alarm, gone downstairs in the direction of the pills, and still forgotten to take them. So I got a second bottle of ibuprofin and brought it upstairs, which helps. But of course I still have to remember to set the alarms.

The point is, being unable to remember to take ibuprofin is a real obstacle to my goals, and I realized that, now that I’ve identified it as an obstacle, it’s something I can take steps toward improving. So I decided to figure out some of my other life obstacles for future tackling:
  • A compulsion to check Facebook, Twitter, etc. all the time at my desk
  • An unreasonable aversion to changing into workout clothes—I just want to get dressed once in the morning and be done with it, so I generally either work out at home in my pajamas or not at all
  • A (semi-warranted) feeling of always being “on call” with one of my clients, which ties me to the house
  • An unreasonable aversion to the tiny amount of fussing required to change back and forth between my sitting and standing monitors—I want a magic button that switches which windows are on which monitor instantly
  • A mental block (or something?) keeping me from continuing to try to sell the pile of junk slowly accumulating in the guest room
I’m sure there are more, but that should give me plenty to work with for now.