Betty Duffy

Friday, May 13, 2011

Manic Quick Takes

My husband tells me that I don't have to post something on here just because it's been a few days--that's it's better to remain silent if it's not going to be good. I agree for the most part, but I've got some housecleaning to do.

Complete thoughts are scheduled to return next week sometime, I believe. For now, I offer manic thoughts, thoughts that I need to clear out of the house, sort of like the bags of clothes I've been going through--the floodwater pants my boys have been wearing, too many holes to hang onto for the little ones. Sometimes I horde incomplete thoughts in case I'll need them later for something else--but I really just want to kick out some crap.

"Crap," by the way--as I spend five minutes in each room, putting things straight--is the most accurate description for ninety percent of the stuff in our house.

It's also a word I don't especially like or enjoy using--but what can you do?

I worked a fundraiser at the kids' school last week whereby, we collected crap from people's homes to resell to their children as gifts for Mother's and Father's day. Think you're getting rid of that snow globe, that teddy bear figurine, that half finished needle point project? Think again. I just sold it to your kindergartner for a dollar, wrapped it in a paper grocery bag, and now, it is once again, yours to display in a place of prominence in your home.

This weekend I'm working the skee ball booth at the Parish Festival since my kids' school requires twenty hours of service from every family, and I have from now until the end of May to do all of them.

After the blood letting and emotional upheaval of Holy Week at our house, I began doing a few pseudo-strength-building exercises to boost my energy, things like driving our pick-up truck, weed whacking, and playing with my cosmetics in order to achieve a "lit from within" appearance. My efforts paid off, and now, my mind and body are abuzz--so close to par, I even went for a run this week.

But I can't sleep. I used to have a prescription for Ambien, which would help me out in times like these when I won't turn off, but it expired, and I don't have a legitimate reason to ask a doc for a refill--so I'm stuck disciplining myself in the dark from unnecessary trips to the bathroom because I have been plagued since childhood by an irrational fear that eventually--and probably right before I fall asleep--I'm going to have to pee.

If I were a baby, I'd say, put that girl down on her tummy. Turn her back on the world. But thoughts don't cease even with my face planted in the mattress. So I write them down.

I hate to put my neurosis out there, but some people write because they grew up in a dysfunctional family; some people write their way out of crises; some write to change the world. The very bottom line of my writing life has always been an unexplained and deep-rooted fear of wetting my pants.

I've successfully avoided any adventures in self-diagnosis on the internet, though I'm not sure what's behind all this interest in things. Usually, I don't give a rip, which is a better place from which to write than giving a rip about too many things.

See here, the corner of my computer screen indicates that these manic quick takes are one of many open windows to things I want to write. Files labeled, "Evil," "The secret life of the Catholic Mom," "Walker Percy," and "Parish Council Minutes," among others. Also, a loopy Medieval fairy tale with a heroine named Vicky that I regret having agreed to edit for someone.

There are, however, certain weary-making projects I never seem to find time for:

1. Putting the 500 pictures I recently printed into a photo album.
2. Moving clothes in and out of the attic: maternity clothes, winter clothes, summer clothes. Unfortunately, I have no idea which end is up on this one. Last week, I had to scrape ice off my windshield. This week it's 80 degrees. I can't stand to see my kids in fleece sweatsuits when it's 80 degrees--but that's where things stand.
3. Apple tree maintenance. I'd like to be organic on principal with the apple trees, but I'm only organic by default--which really means, we're not going to have any apples.

One thing I have accomplished is checking on the bees. After their attack last fall, I've been a little gun-shy about them--letting my dad do most of the dirty work. They all survived the winter, and in spite of the weird weather we've had, they're a little manic themselves on the first sunny day of the year. They have divided and swarmed three times this Spring. My dad recaptured them, but they need feeding, and they need more space in their hives, and all of this requires getting close to them. I don't relish it.

When we first started with the bees, I read about them constantly, thought about them in my sleeping and waking, sat out in the bee yard and watched them for a good time. But all enthusiasms eventually turn into a labor, if not of love, then of duty--especially when the hobby in question has a life that depends on you.

So I buttoned up this time, put on the mask and the gloves, was annoyed with myself for wearing shorts, since with my blue shirt, I could be mistaken for a flower with a tasty (albeit pasty white) stem.

I carried the smoker, the spatula, and the sugar water to the hives on a tray like cocktail waitress, and lo, they were happy to see me. Even when the smoker wouldn't light, everyone remained calm--and now I'm feeling cocky again.

All of this stuff going on in my life suggests that sooner or later, perhaps tomorrow or next week, I'm going to tank. You can't go without sleep for this long, you can't stay this busy without reprieve, projects will need completing--if not for anyone else's sake, than for my clarity of mind, and I'm probably going to freak out about it. And I haven't done any strength building exercises, pseudo or otherwise, on my spiritual life, unless crossing your fingers counts. Here's to praying for the desire to pray.


Theresa said...

Your manic thoughts make complete sense to me. I get it. Holy Cow! I get it. Hang in there and know that in praying for the desire to pray, you are not alone.

Let me guess, your husband is a one word answer kind of guy. The one with nothing on his mind when you ask him. And/or the kind that holds a conversation with you by staring at ...... your eyes. ;-)

Been following your blog since before Easter. I am sorry about your loss. There is no comfort that can be had. It just takes time. 4 years I lost my boy who would have had a May 18th birthday. And I still weep. The pain never really goes away, it just softens.

Blessings to you....

Maria said...

Just started reading your blog and appreciate your writing and honesty! I have so much respect for you mamas out there!! Re: trouble sleeping...ever tried magnesium supplements before bed? I used to have trouble sleeping and that has help me tremendously! God bless!

BettyDuffy said...

Theresa, you nailed my husband, to a tee.

Blessings to you too.

I've heard magnesium mentioned before. I should look into it.

Hope said...

It sounds like you are grieving your loss. I think holding/feeling that kind of pain is a prayer in itself. I have thought of you often since you posted of losing your baby.

I wasn't a Christian when I went through 3 miscarriages. One of the times I ate myself fat until I looked pregnant. One of the times I tried to drink the pain away. I shoved the pain all deep down where I hoped I'd never find it.

Then I had an ultrasound with my youngest at 7 and a half weeks and the technician pointed out his heartbeat. The pain of my losses rose in that moment, confronted by the reality of a beating heart.

When I went to rehab a few years ago we had to do a collage of our grief and losses. Among other pictures of people I had three babies on my collage. The first time I really allowed myself to feel them.

I hope good, restful sleep comes to you soon.

Dobrovits Family said...

Melatonin my dear...

Wishing you sweet dreams soon....


melanie said...

Since we don't "actually" know each other I am loathe to offer advice but I guess I will anyway. Had a late miscarriage myself about a year and a half ago. It took a very long time for the desire to pray to return ( some of that Being hormonal and some of that spiritual). But I got some really good advice from a priest when I finally got myself back to confession. He said, pray for healing. And leave it at that.
Also, remember that your hormones are probably all over the place right now. And yes yes yes, allow yourself to be crushed by grief if need be. Sometimes miscarriages are so weird in that the finality is so over powering because there is just nothing we can do about it so it's like are brain goes right into the mode of "okay well that's over time to move on and get my life back...". But really there is so much to mourn there...the more pro- life one is I think, the more connected to an identity we feel very very early. So remember, a little human child just passed away. Allow yourself the time to mourn. And pray for healing.

Calah said...

I love your manic takes. And I'm so jealous of your bees. But sort of intellectually jealous, as I have a debilitating fear of bees and would never actually be able to take care of them, even though I have dreams of natural honey for my minions.

I swear by Benadryl for no sleep-ness. Tylenol PM never works for me, nor does anything "natural", but two Benadryl and a beer knock me right out. (Ahem. The package informs me that I ought not drink with this medication. I do anyways, but you know. I feel like my slightly inadvisable-yet-effective advice might need a disclaimer.)

Mary said...

I haven't read your blog in a while, and decided to catch up today. I know what you mean about the volunteering... that is why we donate the money every year with our heads hung low. I can so relate to the recycling of junk around here too. So glad that you are around and I get to read your blog and your kids are here for my one and only to play with. I am so sorry for your loss too. I hope you are feeling a little better now... your sense of humour is great.

BettyDuffy said...

Mary, I'm glad too (though I'm afraid one of these days y'all will get tired of my kids asking you to buy them stuff for their birthdays).

Calah, do not be jealous of the bees. Three years of this, and we haven't gotten an ounce of honey out of them. Tonight, beer and benedryl.

Malanie, I appreciate your advice. I think you're right.

Hope--on eating oneself fat--yes.

Kimberlie said...

I have had lot's of sleepless nights in the last few months. I tell my husband, "my head-thinker won't turn off." I am like that. Nothing really works until I just get so exhausted that I finally drop off. Even writing out my thoughts. They just lead to others.

I like the beer and benadryl advice. I think I will try that next time I can't sleep.

I'll tell you what, next time I am awake at 2am, I will pray for you. At least that's something productive.

About bees, I love the idea of bees in theory but am deathly allergic. We have clover in our grass right now that's attracting quite a few bees. I'm giving them a very wide berth.

Robin E. said...

Praying for you, Betty.
Hey, my apple trees aren't looking so good either. :) But do know there are those out there you've helped with your words...

Suburbanbanshee said...

Audiobooks on an mp3 player with earbuds, turned down really low. Very calming of racing thoughts, because they all turn to the story and then you're asleep.

Valerian herb tea. (Though it's stinky.) Some people like linden tea instead, but I'm a little allergic.