All the Scattered Thoughts

On the day before Independence Day, my brain is full of too many things. I’ve been struggling to pull them into some sort of coherent order and failing. So instead I’m just going to list stuff without trying to make anything relate to anything else. Welcome to my brain which almost always has piles of unrelated thoughts in it.

I’ve been following through on my plan to spend the week prior to Independence Day posting links to people I think are helping my country be better. It has been fun to seek out people doing good things and to share them with others. The twitter thread is here.

I’m still watching Covid 19 graphs and case counts in my state. I don’t like the look of the graphs. I don’t like that Howard ran a fever last weekend (Covid test still pending, I expect it to be negative.) I really don’t like that apparently a worker at the Orem Driver’s License division was Covid 19 positive on the day I took my son to get his driver’s permit. I’ve reviewed the visit in my head and I think transmission to us is unlikely, but it still shows me how this is everywhere. I’m trying to not spend brain cycles worrying about what to do for school in the fall. We can’t make those decisions yet.

Howard continues to have good air days and bad air days. With the pulmonary function test claiming that his lungs work just fine, we’re entering a new round of testing where we kick the tires on every other system in his body. Blood tests, echocardiogram, various other labs. Surely some of this additional data will help us form a path forward. If nothing else it will help us prune some branches off of the massive contingency tree I’m holding in my head. I’m trying to stay focused in now, to answer today’s needs with today’s resources, but on the bad days, when Howard is really struggling to function, my mind races ahead to the things I might have to manage, to what long term looks like. In the mean time, Howard has focused all of his available energy on delivering a good ending to the Schlock Mercenary comic. Once that is accomplished, he’s under orders (from me) that health comes before work. And we’ll build a new life structure which prioritizes his health.

In the last few weeks I’ve given up on writing fiction. I’ll come back around to it, but I have to quiet my brain first.

The kitchen project is stalled because the next step is purchasing flooring, which is a big spend. With not being sure the extent of testing that will be required to chase down a diagnosis for Howard, and with the end of the comic meaning that our income streams are about to shift, and with the national economic downturn, now is not a great time to be doing a big spend. So instead I’ve done a much smaller spend on concrete pavers to create a patio in my back yard. I now have hours of digging, leveling, and setting pavers ahead of me. I’m really glad to have some sort of project where I can visibly see that my work turns something ugly (a dirt patch) into something pretty (a patio.) It is also work I can do with my hands no matter what state my mind is in. I need something like that right now.

I still don’t know how to build a path forward for my young adults who are cloistered in my house. The driver’s permit is our one push, and it is stalled because the car my son is learning how to drive has its Check Engine light on. Probably because the car didn’t like being repeatedly stalled while a 17yo learns how to drive a stick shift. It is such a tiny roadblock, but when I’m this emotionally worn any bump is enough to make me stop.

Local temperatures now top 90 degrees daily. This impedes my ability to bake as much bread as I would like because the AC struggles to keep the house comfortable when it has to fight with both heat from the oven and heat from outside. I’ve been exploring more stove top cooking as I’m trying to find uses for all of the vegetables that came in my farm share bag. I only get a bag every other week, but so far it has taken me that long to use what came in the first bag. Figuring out savory uses for fruits, and ways to make beets delicious has provided me with some focus during the hours when it is too hot for me to work on digging for the patio. Also, people need to eat anyway. Right?

I’m still paying attention to national conversations about race and police reform. I’m still learning new things and holding myself to the resolutions that I made several weeks ago. This is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m also spending some thought on how people hurt each other and how communities should prevent someone who habitually hurts others from doing that. I’m thinking a lot about punishment and shame as tools to control harm. They concern me because punishment and shame inherently cause harm even when used trying to prevent it. There needs to be a structure where we can prevent harm completely instead of just shifting the recipient.

I’m struggling with feeling like I am not productive enough, like I’m not using my time wisely. Then I sit down with that feeling and ask exactly what I mean by “productive” and why that should be more important than personal satisfaction in house tasks done. In some ways it comes down to money and stress over money. Because I’m worried about other things, the financial squirrel in my brain wants to stash away all the resources against possible future need. I want to make debts vanish and build up reserves so that I can handle every single one of the branches on that medical contingency tree. So I feel guilty when my day is spent on tasks that use resources instead of accumulating them. Which is silly, because the point of having resources is to use them. This includes time. However stress reactions are hard to short circuit and this is apparently one of the ways I react to major life shifts in the middle of a pandemic that has no end date. I’m working on letting go of the guilt, while simultaneously being understanding with myself that it shows up.

I’m being impressed with how kind some people are even when their kindness is invisible to everyone.

There are so many more thoughts in my head, but they are so fragmentary that I can’t even put them into sentences. Hopefully these pieces of thoughts will either coalesce or fade away. For now, I need to go make lunch.