Goodbye, 5am

Today, Mark starts a new job.  This is wonderful news for him because, honestly, if he spent one more month in that toxic work environment that he called a job, I was probably going to have to bail him out of jail.  The man has been grinning and bearing it so long, I assume his jaw is aching terribly. 

He is very excited about this new opportunity, and I am very proud of him. 

But this isn’t about him…it’s about how my life has been restructured.

See, with this new job came a shift change that ultimately takes my daily timetable and throws it in the trash.  Now, I am what you would call a creature of habit, and I like things how I like them.  I get used to them, and am comfortable there.  My very favorite time of day is 5am.  At 5am, there is no one awake, save maybe a couple of birds tweeting in the tree outside.  I can watch the news and play on my phone and drink my coffee and be at peace.  It’s my “me” time, and I really love it.  Sometimes I wake up even earlier and just stay up to enjoy even more time alone in the dark.

But that’s over now.  Now 5am is sleeping time, and 5pm has become my “me” time, I guess. 

I mean, I woke around seven, which was earlier than planned.  (I’m thinking I can wake at 8 to make this schedule work.)  I did my usual morning routine, despite the presence of Mark, and around 1pm I became tired, so I took a little nap.  3pm found me dropping Mark off at his new job, and I was home before 4.  No one is sleeping and the birds don’t seem as lively right now, but I do have my coffee and I did play around on Twitter and now here I am typing my blog at 5pm.  Usually, my blogs come in the morning.  Not anymore.  Enjoy them with your dinner.

So now I have to keep myself busy all night, which is less easy because I don’t have errands and doctor’s appointments and such in the evenings, like I do during the day. The evening ahead seems almost endless.

But then I remind myself that this is not my first rodeo.  Mark has worked second shift before, and I managed fine back then, so why wouldn’t I now?  I just have to adapt, kind of like I do for daylight savings time.  (Though, as you may know, I complain about that loudly and often,)

So today is extra coffee day, because I need to start staying up late.  I am thinking of rearranging my bookshelves or perhaps even reading one of the books on them (gasp!)

Well…goodbye 5am, a time I have cherished for the past four and a half years.

Much unlike my husband’s previous job.

The Winds of Change

Yesterday, I went for my first appointment to be cleared for surgery.  They took some blood (no small task with my invisible veins,) gave me an EKG, and then a chest x-ray.  Then, this morning, they called to tell me I have to come back in because they didn’t get enough blood.  Shocking, I tell you.

Next up is my Covid test in about a week and a half, followed by a check-in with my primary physician to make sure I’m good to go the day before.  Then, April 29th, the big day!  Followed by a month of recovery that will surely drive me crazy…but hasn’t my gastroparesis been driving me crazy all this time, anyway?

Then, the great change…the one I hope for: that I will be able to eat something that I want to eat without fear of losing it later on.  It seems so small and simple, unless you are living with gastric issues.  Then, it is a challenge; a hill you climb several times a day.  So, what seems like a small change to some is a very big one to me.

Change is in the air.  I have written about how stagnant I have felt during the winter and how that feeling is now melting away, and I am glad to see it go. I am noticing change in other people in my life as well.  Like my sister moving into her first apartment, or Sahar adopting a dog, or Mark having a job interview.  I have one friend, Carey, who has, in the past year, completely changed her life around, despite massive roadblocks thrown in her way.  I think about who she was a year ago and who she is now and I am awed by her strength.  I think to myself, I can’t be that strong. 

But I’m wrong.

I know I can be that strong because I have been before.  I have been physically torn apart, ravaged by the side effects of diabetes, which I have had now for over two decades.  I have been emotionally crippled by childhood and young adult traumas that still bite at my feet.  I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

As a child, I feared change.  I remember the first big change in my life, and that was the morning we moved from our home in Buffalo to one in Kenmore.  I like the idea of the new house, and particularly that it had a pool in the yard, but I had just started making friends and getting old enough to explore the neighborhood (or so I thought.  Truth is, Gramma made the decision to move shortly after a gang shootout on the baseball diamond across the street.)  I was very sad that morning, and did not want to say goodbye to my house or my new friends.  I tried to focus on the good things though, like the pool…even though it was only December.

When I got older, change got even harder.  In high school, there was a brief scare during which my father thought he might have to take a job in Rochester, which would pull me out of my school, which would have been unacceptable.  I raged against this for what seems like weeks until finally it was decided that no, we weren’t going anywhere.  I feared the idea of new territory, of a new city, and of a new school, especially.  I felt it again when I went to college.  And then, pretty much regularly ever since.

You can’t escape change; nothing lasts forever.

But you can be strong.  You can be a warrior, like my friends…like the one who saw what she wanted and went out and got it and changed her life.  You can make a decision in the middle of the night to drive to Missouri to pick up your new pup. You can call back that hiring agency and set up an interview. You can move into your friends apartment and out of your parent’s back room.

What can I do?  I can give up my time and my blood and get all my scary testing done so that I can get my scary surgery done for my scary disorder.  Then maybe, things will change, and it won’t all be so scary anymore.

Just gotta be strong.

Know Better? Do Better.

Yesterday, L turned thirteen. 

As a result, I have been thinking about the world I lived in at that age.  It was very different from the one in which he resides.  The kiddo’s think of the 80’s and 90’s in the way I think of the 50’s and 60’s…a far-off time before I was born that doesn’t really exist in my consciousness.  The time of my parents, not me.

And the world has changed.

L has his fathers’ mildly crude sense of humor, which is sometimes annoying and sometimes inappropriate, but usually has a way of making you laugh in spite of yourself.  Anyway, he made a Hitler joke, and we both told him that one was a bridge too far, and he apologized.  But it triggered a memory.

Me, thirteen years old, standing in front of my class and presenting my term paper.  On Adolf Hitler.

To prepare us for our papers, the first we would ever write, our 8th grade teacher took us to the public library for a field trip.  We had to find books on our research topic to take out for our papers. (First difference between me and kiddos: taking out physical books for research.  Hell, USING physical books for research.)  I asked teach if I could do mine on Anne Frank, because we were learning about the Holocaust and I had just read her book.  She said no, because we would be reading it in class in the springtime.  Dismayed, both because my topic had been shot down and because I would have to read the diary AGAIN, I asked what she thought I should write about.  She told me to choose another person in that time period, if that’s what I was interested in.

So, I picked Hitler.

I checked out a couple of biographies, but they pretty much told me stuff I already knew and could find in my history book.  I dug a little deeper, and in the left corner of the bottom shelf of a dark stack I found Mein Kampf.  I don’t know if the library really red flags you when you take out certain books, but if so, I am in a database somewhere.

I went home and I read it.  And it was drivel.  Even my little self could tell that.  I recall very little because many of the topics were over my head but it certainly seemed like the ravings of a madman to me.  Still, I powered though, because we had been learning that autobiographies can yield more information than biographies, and I was always on the search for more information.  My main question was why?  Why did he do it?

I posed this question in my paper, and my answer that I came up with is of course my own hypothesis as a 13-year-old who had just read Mein Kampf:  mommy and daddy didn’t let him go to art school.  The lesson?  Support your kids dreams or they will destroy the world.

I got an A.

Now, I don’t think a single one of my kiddos would ever be encouraged to write a paper about Hitler, and certainly not to read his book. 

We know better now.  So, we do better now.

For my first Halloween, my mother dressed me as a Mexican.  For real.  Pic below.

My kids can’t even dress up as Pocahontas or Mulan because it’s cultural appropriation.  I don’t have a problem with this, because again, we know better…so we do better.

I posed the question to Twitter: What is something you did in your youth that youth today could never do?  For me, it’s dress as a Mexican and have my teacher condone me reading Mein Kampf.  I got some great responses though: playing with cap guns (got the Nerf now, and even that is controversial,) riding in the back of trucks or with no seatbelt on, jumping off bridges, etc.  Lots of safety issues.  So many responses on that actually, that I think I might write an entire other blog post about it…it’s been 24 hours and I’m still getting messages.

Another post in the works is a sequel to Impostor Syndrome, because now I have extended my media reach to Facebook, and I have thoughts.  But that’s beside the point.

My point is that yes…we all did some crap in the past that we regret or look back on and cringe.  But did you know better?  Isn’t that cringy feeling a sign that you know you were wrong, and not just behaving however out of spite or malice?  Isn’t it just ignorance?  And, shouldn’t we forgive ourselves for not knowing what we didn’t know before we learned it? (Maya Angelou.) 

If you know better…then do better.  That’s all I’m saying.