Sunday, January 27, 2013

May is tired

It has been a busy week here in Florida. It's always a challenge for me to spend a lot of time with my mother. She's truly one of the most self-centered people I've ever met, yet she is completely oblivious to the fact that this is the way she is.

I spent the week helping her get around, cooking, monitoring medications and ice packs, and being subjected to more game shows than I thought anyone could watch in the course of a day. I also spent several hours each day cleaning up around her property. Plants sure do thrive here in Florida. Toads, lizards, and bugs that look suspiciously like roaches also seem to be here in abundance.

I went to the Home Depot at 22nd and 28th (more or less), and bought some yard tools and gardening supplies that led me to several observations:
  • First, plants cost a fraction of what they do where I live.
  • Plants that we grow as houseplants back home are sold as outdoor garden plants here.
  • Whereas back home we have a choice of 20 kinds of compost, here that selection is limited, but bagged soil comes in at least a dozen varieties.
  • You can buy different gardening tools here, including a razor-sharp machete-like sword thingy that seemed like a bad idea for me as I have a less than spectacular history with fire and sharp objects. I realized later that given how things grow here, a machete is absolutely appropriate.
I've had a lot of time to think about a lot of things while I've been here. And to not think about things. I realized that not only do I have no burning desire to get back to my own life, I've barely thought about work this week.

I don't want to go back to work. I don't like my job anymore. Any joy I derived from it has been sucked out by budget cuts, bad management, and a numbers-driven focus shift and mission drift that no longer put people first. Vulnerable people. I'm in this work for the people.

I'm tired. This isn't the kind of "Oh, you just need a break and to recharge your batteries" kind of tired. I'm tired of working for a living. This is something I do need to think about, because I think that at this point, I could easily self-isolate and become invisible to the world. If I could afford it.

I am not a lazy person, but I no longer have much desire to get up every day and stick to a routine. I want to write. I want to create. I want to ride my bike. I want to direct the course of my days.

When I did think about work this week, I experienced tremendous waves of anxiety. When you no longer enjoy what you do, you should change it, right? The next logical question is, What do you want to do, May?

I honestly have no idea--maybe because I really don't want to work at all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I'm freezing. I'm sitting at the St. Anthony outpatient/surgery center, deep in the heart of an industrial park in St. Petersburg. It's a cool morning, but the air conditioning here in the atrium appears to be on, nonetheless. I'm glad I brought a pashmina, anyway. Perhaps coffee would have been a better beverage choice than the organic mango smoothie.

Mom is upstairs having knee surgery. On the way in, I pointed out the beautiful, state-of-the-art physical therapy facility that's just behind where I'm parked at the moment. My mother said, "Yeah, I know. I'm doing that. I don't have time. It's too expensive." She does not get the reality that surgery is just one step in a larger process, and I am frustrated from trying to explain it her.

This is my fourth or fifth time--and second time in less than three months--being the "patient helper" for someone having surgery. Frank had a procedure recently, too. This seems to be the only thing I miss work for. I've become really good at understanding pre-op and post-op instructions. If only the patients would be more cooperative.

I actually enjoy the time when the patient is in recovery, but not yet ready to get up. During the wait for the blood pressure to rise and vitals to stabilize, I find that talking to people who've recently woken up from anesthesia is like talking to someone in the early stages of dementia. It's really quite amusing.

I'm exhausted. Spending time with my mother is exhausting. This trip, I've really noticed a significant degradation in her driving skills. She drifts in the lane, she can't tell where the front of the car is, and she struggles with the steering wheel. I know it's not the car--we both drive the same model Jeep Liberty. I'm surprised that my mother hasn't been sideswiped (yet).

I'm also exhausted because my mother's cat has decided to sleep with me this visit. Last night, he slept next to my head. It turns out, he not only snores, but also talks in his sleep. The cat slept great; me...not so much.

I need to go upstairs. Mom should be out of surgery soon.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

We've been here before

I reiterate. If you come to visit me, in my 1100-square-foot house, you will have a proper bedroom, a nice bed, closet space, and a dresser just for you. For more on that, read this post.

You will not be expected to sleep on a futon, in a tiny room crammed with crap, with no place to unpack so much as a pair of socks.

My arrangement says, "You are welcome here and I want to accommodate you." My mother's arrangement says, "Your being here is all about me. I don't really care how you feel or if you're comfortable. Go change the kitty litter for me."

It's going to be a very long week.

My mom's version of giving me closet space. Great for clothes less than a foot long.
My suitcase is on the left at third base. The room looks bigger in the picture than it really is. Every drawer is crammed full of stuff. Crap, mostly.

Blogging in the air

Somewhere over Little Rock. That’s where we are according to the air tracker GPS function that lets you see where your plane is. At the moment, we’re flying over a very large river. The Mississippi.  Anything that looks that big from the air has got to be huge at eye-level. Of course, I know that because I’ve been across the Mississippi by car and by train.

I’m on my way to Florida. St. Petersburg. Pinellas Park. I have been summoned as my mother is having knee surgery this week and will need some help getting around in the days after the procedure. Thank you, Mr. Clinton for FMLA which is making it financially possible for me to do this.

I don’t actually want to be on this trip, but it’s the kind of thing that adult daughters do. Adult sons…not so much.

I’m pleased that I can access the air tracker without having to actually pay for the WiFi. Thank you, airline.

[May takes a break from trying to write, forks over the $5 fee, and does some other things online...]

 Oh, I'm back. We're somewhere over the Florida panhandle. 

I should have had a drink on this flight to get myself ready for this trip. I have Xanax, but it just makes me sleep.

I plan to blog during my trip so that sanity prevails. Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's true.

Every time someone gets killed by a gun, an NRA member gets a joyous hard-on.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

How my brain works

I missed a week of workouts. I finally made it back to the gym today, but only worked out for a half-hour. I should be telling myself, "May, good job. You were tired and you had a dislodged contact lens. You went and put in some time anyway. Good for you."

That's not the dialogue that went on in my head tonight. The conversation was more like this:
"Seriously? Only a half-hour? You need at least an hour of cardio, plus a good leg workout. A half-hour isn't going to do much for you. That doesn't even burn off lunch. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror today? There's a reason you look like that, and it's called missing a week of workouts and then only sweating for 30 minutes. You're pathetic."

And that, right there, is pretty much all you need to know about how my brain functions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

It's 2013. Nothing has changed.

The Brainucopia is full. Unfortunately, it is having trouble articulating the goings on inside the perimeter of the skull.

Where are my words?