I've had a lot to say lately and yet not very much. Nothing that would make for a real, cohesive post. It's still winter, and I've entered that blah phase where I just want winter to be done. I'm tired of the cold and the layers of clothing and the lack of daylight. The light is coming back rapidly but not fast enough for my taste. I know I've complained about this time of year before so I didn't want to write a whole post where I just repeat what I feel every year around this time.
However, I'm not the only one who's feeling this way. Our poor pets! The cat has been wanting to go outside, but it's still cold outside so he only goes out for a few minutes to sit on the edge of the porch and sulk. When he's inside he's been a bit aggressive (he'll let me pet him for a second or two, then he complains at me and bats my hand away or stalks off), and very loud. Not a happy camper. So we've been drugging him with catnip to keep him happy. It's not the best solution, but when he's high on nip is the only time he's not anxious and testy. I think that at some point, most likely after we buy a house (whenever that is), we'll discuss getting another cat to be a friend/companion for him.
The dog, too, is ready for spring. Despite my attempts a few weeks ago to trim her down a bit, her hair is out of control. It's making her itchy and too hot, so she's been scratching herself constantly and leaving bits of herself around the house. I vacuumed recently but you'd never know it by the state of our carpets. I just feel so bad for her! The overheating problem means that she also wants to be let outside frequently. (But she doesn't want to stay out there, because that's not where her people are. So it's in and out all evening.) If I get her a haircut she'll be shivering and cold and since we're scheduled to get down to the negative teens this weekend it could be dangerous for her to suddenly get all her hair shaved off. She needs to wait just a couple more weeks, until the beginning of March, and then I'll schedule a haircut for her. In the meantime, I feel like a monster.
I was messaging with a friend yesterday and when she asked me how Shane and I are doing I answered, "Busy." I realized that that's become my default answer and, while it is accurate, I kind of hate that answer. It's meaningless, really. Everyone is busy. Also, there is an attitude among people that if you're busy then you're somehow Very Important. Anyone who's less busy than you just isn't as important as you or they'd have more demands on their time, right? I think this is tied to people who spend so much of their time complaining that stay at home moms "don't actually work". (Why is it somehow considered work to raise kids when the work is outsourced to a daycare, but not when a mom or dad chooses to raise their own kids?!?) Saying that you're so busy or claiming that you work harder than others are just ways to pretend that you're better than other people. It's a very subtle, "Fuck you, because I'm better than you are." And I hate that that's the message I've been sending out, even inadvertently. I'm not sure yet what I'm going to say when other people ask how we've been doing, but it's definitely deserving of a better answer.
Honestly, we are busy. There's truth behind the statement. But not because we're somehow better, or because we're trying to see just how much we can cram into our days and show off. It's just a busy period and things will slow down again at some point. Also, it's the good kind of busy. The kind that's made us focus on what's really important, the kind which has forced us to be more organized and to remember to get things done in a timely fashion. Somehow, in all the busy, we've managed to keep our apartment looking cleaner than it is when we've got lots of time on our hands. (Well, except the carpet.) It's even, in a way, brought me and Shane closer together because we're doing our best to remember that when the other person has done something like cleaned up the dishes, it also means that they took time out of their busy schedule and that it means you don't have to worry about that detail. That's deserving of a thank you, at the very least. We've been giving each other verbal high-fives all over the place to show our appreciation. We've been trying to be very respectful of the other's need for time to themselves, and time to work on their own things. And as cheesy as it is, we'll leave little "I love you, btw I fed the pets" kinds of notes around the house when we won't get to see each other for most of the day.
One thing we don't usually do is sit down together for dinner. Well, we will, but we'll put on a movie or a TV show (often something we've seen before so that we don't mind interrupting to talk about our day or something funny we heard, or just whatever's in our heads). I grew up in a family which sat down together for dinner pretty much every night. Occasionally someone would be missing but mostly we'd all be there, in the dining room and with the TV off. Those were great times and it definitely brought us closer together as a family. But as a couple Shane and I haven't put the emphasis on dinner together and I think we both figured we'd start doing that more after we have kids. Well, with the start of this semester, dinner together is sometimes the only time we can scrape together in an evening. (Hello, Tuesdays!) Other nights, we don't even get that. (Hello, Mondays!) So we're making more of an effort to actually sit at the table together and chat about our day, catch up, plan and organize. With as much as we have going on, it's not like we have a lack of subjects to discuss!
When we need to, we've also managed to clear our schedules to spend a decent chunk of time together. We took time out yesterday for Valentine's Day/our Pseudoversary. (Six years together!) I made dinner, and it was delicious. (Beer chicken, sweet potato biscuits, and green beans, with this pie for dessert.) We hung out and chatted and we didn't buy anything for each other but we didn't need to. (We made plans to go see the new "Die Hard" movie this weekend. It's my romantic gift to him.)
The one thing I've been trying to keep doing, if for no other reason than for my own sanity, is to workout 4-5 days each week. Last weekend was bright and beautiful and not too cold so on Sunday I took the dog for a run and, somehow, pulled some of the stabilizing muscles in my left flank. (My hip ached in several different directions, and it definitely wasn't my power muscles I pulled.) I must have slipped on the ice in such a way that I didn't really notice, but somehow tweaked my muscles. It hurt. It also occurred at almost exactly the halfway point of our run so I had to hobble/jog the rest of the way home. (It probably wasn't great for me, but I did jog part of the way because I didn't want to get too cold. That would have been worse.) It felt bad enough that I called my boss that evening and said I probably wouldn't be able to make it to work the next day. Walk up the hill when I could barely walk to the bathroom? Uh, no. I didn't sleep well that night because every time I rolled over in my sleep I felt it and woke up. Eventually my brain would wake me up first so that I could support my leg as I rolled over, but it did not make for a restful night.
I'm trying to look at it as a blessing in disguise. Instead of rushing into my week like usual, I had to take Monday off. I used the time to relax, yes, but I also used it to clean the house a little bit more (I dusted!), to go over my readings again for that night's class (I did still hobble to class, carefully), and to work on some projects (that sweater I've been knitting). It really sucks to be injured, but it was nice to have that time and to get some things done I might have pushed off again, to feel more prepared for my class. I even took two baths this week to relax and to help my sore muscles. (That brings my total baths for the last 14 months up to 2. I'm not much of a bath person.)
I am feeling better now, thank you. My hip still aches a bit but every day it's getting better. (Shane worried that I'd really torn or pinched something, but no.) I'm still having to be careful with myself and even that mindfulness is helping me. I'm more grateful for my body and its normal good state of health, flexibility, and usefulness.
I wish you all the same peace and gratitude I'm finding this week.