What the World Sees...

My in-laws are here this weekend. We haven't seen them since we moved to Utah two years ago, so it's nice to be able to visit. They're going to a family reunion next weekend and took a longish detour to come up and see us. Matt's been happy to be able to see his dad and step-mom, and we've had very a nice visit so far.

Before they came, though, I spent two weeks cleaning and trying to prepare for their visit--which is totally our fault because we didn't keep up with things all that well and something we were happy to do because we wanted Matt's folks to see the best side of us. In preparation, we bought a bed for our guest room, which we needed anyway. We painted a door and a return air vent that needed work, we paid the guy who does our lawn $200 to mow the back (well worth it!). I spent three hours on my hands and knees scrubbing the very dirty grout in our kitchen, trying to bring it back to the pretty light-almost-white-gray it was when it was new. It was hardcore spring cleaning, a little late.

It's been hectic trying to make everything presentable while working full time... and Matt, well, he was helpful, but less than might have been welcome. He tries, but ultimately he couldn't seem to manage to find the time. Laughable, since I work just as much as does he and I found the time.  But, I digress... my point is, it just seems like it's a lot of work presenting yourself to, well, anyone. Usually, our house is mostly passably cleanish. It's not messy, we keep it picked up, but it's lived-in. We live here and living isn't neat and tidy. Neither of us are house-spouse, so there's no person here dedicated to the upkeep of the house. We have to make time where we can.

So, if you walk on the floor barefoot, your feet will likely get dirty. No matter how hard I try, I can't keep the floors clean. There's dust on the furniture and my dogs have probably made a mess somewhere I haven't discovered yet. If you look behind the doors, there's probably dust on the baseboards and the cat box always needs to be scooped, no matter how often I scoop it. Look under the throw blankets I have neatly draped over the arms of the sofa and you'll find that said arms are a little torn up thanks to a naughty cat. The crisper drawers in our fridge could use a scrubbing. Our master shower needs a good hard cleaning and the bedroom carpet needs shampooing... again.

But the alternative seems less than pleasant. Present to anyone the messy truth that you're busy and don't really have any sort of motivation to keep your house super-clean? Show the world that depression often keeps you from giving a damn that the house is a little grimy? Let people see the truth, you're not perfect and neither is your dwelling? That would be nice. Sadly, my anxiety won't let that happen, so while I don't have a lot of motivation thanks to depression, anxiety makes it impossible to leave it be.

So I scrubbed the place down and, well, it looks really good. We got wax warmers to hide the slight animals-live-here-too smell the house takes on when you live with critters. I'm proud of the way it looks, but it's just a facade. Something to show the world to prove that you're okay, that I'm okay, and that I function like everyone else when, in reality, everyone else doesn't and neither do I sometimes.

And, we've agreed to try to keep it clean, to try to work a little every day to make the house look good all the time. The reality? That will not happen. It won't. That's the same lie I tell myself after I've spent the whole weekend doing ten loads of dishes--I'll keep it up, now that it's clean. But, whatever underlying thing made me less-than-motivated to keep it up last time, it's still there. It's still making it impossible to keep it clean now. I can try and I certainly will, but it won't stay like this. I'm just trying to enjoy it while it does.

But, I'm thankful for having a good reason to do the cleaning in the first place. The house needed it and without something to give me the push I needed, it would likely have gone on looking a bit of a wreck. My in-laws coming has given me a good reason for some good hard spring cleaning and I'm grateful. It's been lovely seeing them, too, which makes it all the more worth it. Wish us luck keeping things this way!

Struggling...

I've been having such a hard time lately. The hardest time I remember having in a long time and, well, I have no idea how to get back to a happy place. Zero idea. It's a deep, dark funk and I'm stuck. All the way stuck.

In fact, I had such a hard week last week that I about turned-tail and ran my ass right back to Texas. It's the last place I remember being happy. It's my home, even though we left almost two years ago. I want to go home. That its not even close to being an option, that didn't matter last week.

I spent the whole week obsessing about whether or not I could, feasibly, go back to Texas and how that work work with Matt staying in Utah. The logistics would be a nightmare, but last week, I'd have been willing to accept that. I was in a dark, dark hole and going back to Texas was the only way I could see to climb out.

I have friends there who would let me stay with them. I could get a job and pay them rent. I still have a Texas drivers license. I could see myself going. Matt wouldn't entertain the idea, because, you know, it's ludicrous. He wouldn't even discuss it except to say that someday, maybe, WE would go back there. We. Not me, but we.

This week, I can see how crazy that is. Except the thought still lingers, even now. But you know, Matt is a whole lot of what made Texas my home. Without him in it, I don't know that I want to go back.... at least that's how I feel in my more sane moments. In the moments when I'm more tired or more depressed, I think I could do it. I could go back.

The whole crazy scheme is fed by the fact that we don't see one another much, working opposite shifts. And soon, his shift will change and we'll see one another even less. It's so incredibly hard. I know there are women who manage to get by without seeing their husbands for long periods of time and still stay sane, and happy, but I'm never going to be one of those women. I need for us to spend time together.

Not seeing one another leads me down the dark path where I feel like if I can't see my husband, I might as well have something and Texas is that something. My brain says, "you don't see one another much now, and you're miserable in Utah." I tell myself that maybe Texas would make me happy again, at least in some small aspect, and that would allow me to gain a little control over my life.

Because, ya know, I don't have any of that right now. Control over my life. I go where Matt goes, I do what Matt wants to do, and I wonder when the last time I did something for myself was. And, I can't remember, at first... then I remember 1999, when I moved to Texas. That was it. That was the last time something was at least a little bit about me.

Then the cycle starts over. This week, I know it's not an option. Because, well, it's not. I want to be close to my husband, I want to see him when I can and find a way to see him more, and there isn't any way that could happen if we're living 1,200 miles apart. So, I'm here and I'm looking for something.

Nothing yet, but maybe tomorrow that something will occur to me. Maybe.


(Sorta) New Job

I'm alive!! It's tough to put your fingers to the keys when it's been this long. It's hard not to just give up on blogging (or writing) entirely. But, I like to think I'm not a quitter. So here goes... I started a new job a little over 3 months ago.

I left my old job at the end of November and started working a new one in December. It's a clerk job and more physical than anything I've done before, which has been tough and humbling. I sort of expected to be either teaching or working an office job right now, so to have a more physical job is hard both physically and emotionally. I'm working through my issues.

But, it's also been good for me in so, so many ways. Take for instance, I've lost almost 20 lbs since I started in December. While that's slow weight loss, I'll take it. And, I haven't really done anything to lose it except go to work. That's it. I go to work. I eat a little less and I don't sit on my ass all day drinking soda. That's it.

It's actually made me want to try to eat better and do better so that maybe, you know, it keeps coming off. Matt says he notices it, though I really don't, which is nice. He's trying to encourage me, which I'll take. He's sweet.

There have been some down sides, too, though. Like, we don't see one another very much. I work swing shift, Tuesday - Saturday. He works graves, Sunday night - Friday morning. We have different days off and we work different shifts. That amounts to a few hours together on Sunday and Monday and not much else. I don't love that... at all. It does make the time we do have together more precious, though I wish it was more.

I don't think there's really much else right at the moment. I have some other thoughts, but I don't have time right now... I have to go to work.  I feel good having at least I made time for this much, since I haven't been motivated to do much lately--depression is a tough cookie and winter has made it doubly hard. Maybe I can make it a trend and write more. Fingers crossed. :)

Dream a little dream...

I have been having some crazy dreams. They've been pretty harmless, but they make me worry. I don't always dream so colorfully and when I do, I rarely remember it. So, this is a little bit unusual for me, at least in the last ten or so years. It's probably a weird admixture of horror movies and the fact that my life is a little off-kilter lately. 

Two or three nights ago, I dreamt that I was living in a little house up in Smithfield, where I was trapped inside, held hostage by a very large snake. It was some sort of diamondback-rattle-snake-cobra-hybrid-thing. It had eaten all of the mounted animal heads from the walls, which is ridiculous because I would never mount an animal's head on the wall. It was coming after us, and our diabetic cat, and we were trying to figure out how to get out of the house. As an aside, when I say "us" I mean me and my husband... Derek Hough.

The night after that, I dreamt that someone kept stealing the doors from my car. Every time I'd go out to get in it, there would be no doors and I'd have to get them replaced. My car was parked on top of a parking garage, at an angle like it would be in a car commercial. The doors just kept coming up missing. Everything else was accounted for. It was pretty vivid and ridiculous.

When I told Matt I had a dream that I was married to Derek Hough and that that wasn't even the point of the dream, he rolled his eyes. When I told him about my car dream, he laughed. He's always been a vivid dreamer, having really crazy strange dreams, so he finds it amusing. Looking back at it now, maybe it is a little funny. Clearly, I worry too much.


Being Thankful

Thanksgiving was a tough this year. I learned on Wednesday that my cousin, who was 42 years old, had died. He was only four years older than I am now. While I hadn't seen him in a long time, he had always been such a lovely person. His family is inconsolable over the loss, he and his wife had two children under five. It's been a blow to us all, even though of us who hadn't had seen him in recent years.

A loss like this puts things into some sort of perspective, especially at the holidays. All those things for which I wasn't feeling particularly thankful have fallen away. All that remains are those very basic things we should all be thankful to have, chief among them life. If you can see this, you should feel thankful. Not everyone is lucky enough to do the same.

If you were with your family this thanksgiving, all well, be thankful. If you have a roof over your head, be thankful. If you can hug your spouse, your parents, or your children, be thankful. If you can draw breath into your lungs or gorge on good food, be thankful.

Most of all, don't take for granted these things so many others don't have the luxury to enjoy. Take a minute to really count your blessings and tell your loved ones you love then and are Thankful they're there. You may not have another chance.