hello grief, my old friend…

It’s been a while since I posted anything related to my journey of grief.  Just so you know, this will be a bit of a downer post… heads up.

When my dad died in 2012, I turned to blogging as an outlet.  It helped.  A lot.  And in some little way, it felt good.  It felt good to ‘get it all out’.  It also felt good to know that in some small way my words might help someone else.  Of course, I’m not sure if they ever did, or ever will; but I know as I muddle(d) through this thing called grief, it certainly helped to find people who had walked in my shoes.  People who had ridden the same inexplicably powerful waves of grief that can be all consuming.

Grief is a funny thing.  It comes and goes, much like a bathtub filling up.  At first, grief can be overwhelming, like a bathtub filling quickly, and it overflows.  Over time, the water still fills the bathtub, but a little more slowly.  It never goes away, and you never ‘get over it’.  You simply adapt to a new way of living.

Grief, in my experience, can also lie dormant for a while.  After you get used to the idea that your life has changed forever, and that you need to keep pushing forward, grief somehow finds its way to the backburner. I guess it’s the process of ‘getting on’ with one’s life.  But it never really goes away.  It lays in wait.  It lays and waits and strikes at the most obscure, inopportune moments.  Much like the line from “The Godfather”… “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in”.

Grief never lets you go completely.

I sit here tonight, my kid is in bed, my husband is watching some Walking Dead/Game of Thrones type show downstairs.  Life goes on.  The earth is revolving.  I am getting ready for another school year to start.  Life is quote unquote “normal”.  And from out of nowhere, I feel the tsunami swelling.  And I know it’s going to hit hard unless I have an outlet.

And here I am.  Using my outlet to help make sense of how I feel.

Nothing ‘happened’ to make me feel this way.  I did spend time this week talking to a friend about her mum who passed a few weeks ago.  In my own small way I wanted to let her know I understood, that she is not crazy when she bursts into tears while doing laundry.  I wanted her to hear words no one ever told me, that it’s ok and it’s normal to feel like you’re on an out of control roller coaster.

Maybe that’s what triggered it.  Maybe it was learning that my life long next door neighbor (whom I wasn’t particularly close to) died yesterday at the ripe old age of 62.  Cancer claimed another one.  Maybe it’s the fact that my empathy kicked into high gear as I thought about the excruciating journey her three kids and husband are about to take as they process her passing.  Been there, done that.  Don’t want the t-shirt.

Who knows what triggered it, but today is ‘one of those days’.  Everything I look at screams my dad.  And I got angry.  Today, a wave of anger hit me, and hit me hard.  I found myself at one point shaking my fist and screaming to no one in particular “why did you leave us? Why did you leave us? I know you can hear me.  Why did you leave us?”.  And no, I’m not crazy. This is the ugly side of grief.  One minute you’re up, the next you’re down.  And sadly, no one except those of us in this shitty club get it.

I try most days to be grateful.  My dad’s sudden and tragic death put a lot in perspective for me.  Unfortunately it took this to make me realize how fleeting life is, and how most of what we consider ‘problems’ are really not problems, they are minor inconveniences in this thing we call life.  Most things, if you really think about it are not worth getting tied up in knots over.  I guess it’s easier to focus on first world problems than to think about alternatives.

So where is this ramble going?  My original intent was to face this latest wave of grief head on, and cut it off at its pass.  I also hoped that someone out there might read and identify with my words.

But tonight I miss my dad.  I weep for my son who lost a grandfather.  I worry for my mother who lost a life partner of 40+years.  I feel for those just starting this roller coaster ride.  I am angry and sad, two emotions I haven’t felt in a very long time to this degree.

And so I ride the wave.  And hope it will pass soon.

Peace.

the week in rants…er, um I mean review

It’s Friday.  This about sums up my week.  Read on.

1. I started my morning by overhearing my four year old singing a Katy Perry song.  Apparently, all those times I listened to “Friday Night” in the car with him because of it’s upbeat rhythms, he was actually memorizing the words.  Imagine the shock I felt when  I heard my kid sing “There’s a party in my head, there’s a stranger in my bed” as he brushed his teeth.

2.  No more Katy Perry songs.

3. Everywhere I turn I see this stupid dumping ice water on your head for ALS.  Don’t get me wrong.  Drawing attention to a worthy cause is admirable.  Jumping on a bandwagon for 5 minutes of fame is not.  I think most of the ‘donation’ part has been ignored.  It’s just a bunch of fools dumping ice on themselves. And most of them probably don’t even know what ALS is.  Stop it and get on Wikipedia to figure out what the hell you’re dumping water on yourself for.

4. I went back to work this week.  My first day back was an 8 hour death by power point “workshop” which required me to sit on a hard, backless metal cafeteria bench.

5. Note to self- take pity on the children their first day back.

6. I am having a time getting my four year old to get to sleep in a timely manner.  I have officially been outsmarted by a four year old.

7.  I read some really interesting articles about being in one’s 40s.  To sum them all up, when you’re in your 40s you don’t give a crap about what people think.

8.  I love being 40.

9.  I am desperately trying to meal plan now that I’m back to work.  I’m frantically and furiously scouring meal planning websites for ideas that take neither a lot of time, nor money.

10.  We are on our 5th night of spaghetti and chicken nuggets.  I give up.

Happy weekend.

Peace.

20 little known facts about me

Given the fact that I am tired of writing profound posts and I’m a sucker for lists, I thought I would share some facts about me.  After all, you’ve clicked on my page (thank you) so I feel I owe you.

Here goes…..

1. I love to read bumper stickers, t shirts and tattoos.  I think they tell a lot about a person.  After all, everyone has a story.

2. I like surprising people.  Often I’ll pay for the person behind me in line at the coffee shop drive thru.  I get a kick out of seeing someone receive a random act of kindness.

3. I am a crier.  I read other people’s obituaries and weep.  Even if they are strangers.

4.  I secretly want “WTF??” written on my tombstone just to get a reaction from people

5. I assume that I will become a statistic every time I fly.

6. I got lost in Paris on a school trip in high school.  I saw my first hooker (as I stood on a street corner waiting to be rescued), and got tour of Paris in the back of a police car, courtesy of the cops who helped me get back to my hotel.

7. I chased down, caught and took to court the teenage punk who broke into my house and used my computer to surf porn.  Sometimes having a teacher voice and the tenacity of a dog on a pant leg helps.

8.  I regret not becoming a journalist.  Or a photo journalist.  Sometimes I just fantasize about being a plant waterer at a garden center.  Plants don’t talk back, have their mothers storm into your classroom to tell you off, or repeatedly ask to use the bathroom.

9.  I cannot wink my left eye.  Shocking, I know.

10. I used to run.  One summer I was bored so I took up jogging. (Obviously I was young, single and did not have a child).   I managed to almost run a 10K.  Of course, that never, ever happened again in my life.

11. I feel out of place most of the time.  I pretty much assume I don’t fit in, but I’m getting better at not caring.

12. I’ve never met a celebrity, but know lots of people who are connected to them by a few degrees of separation.

13. I hate hotels.  Usually I disinfect them before I actually unpack any of my belongings.

14.  I never, ever took a biology class in high school, nor did I take an English class in university.

15.  I have a profound love of Ikea, Target and Wal Mart.  In fact, I claim to have my own parking space at our local Wal Mart and get pissed if someone is in it.

16. I love movies about time travel.  Not the stupid science fiction kind, but the “Peggy Sue Got Married”, “Back to the Future” kind.

17.  I believe you can be spiritual without having religion crammed down your throat.  Just because you can quote the Bible (in my opinion) doesn’t automatically qualify you as a good person.

18.  I believe in signs from loved ones who have passed. (no judgment here please)

19. I cannot stand it when people walk in my house with their shoes on.  Ah, hello, you know that public bathroom you just walked through? Thanks for bringing that crap into my house. Literally.

20.  Stroking my son’s forehead while snuggling him is my favorite thing to do.

Peace.

funkadelic restlessness

Something has been off lately and I can’t quite put my finger on it.  I’m not depressed. At least I don’t think I am.  I’m not angry. I’m not sad.  I’m not, well, anything.  I’m just sort of …blah.  Nothing seems to entice me these days or pique my interest. I have nothing to complain about, I just feel like a very blank slate.  I’ve never really been one for t.v, but I find myself frustrated when I do turn it on.  We have a bazillion channels and a hefty cable bill.  Nothing I turn to holds my interest, so usually I end up turning it off.  There is only so much one can stomach from the Kardashians.

So, I got the bright idea to pick up reading again.  I used to love to read, but being a teacher, I fell out of it.  I read all day at work.  I teach Language Arts.  The last thing I feel like doing when I come home is to read a book.  Plus I have a four year old.  There is not a lot of time for reading for pleasure.   I perused the NY Times best sellers and paid a visit to my local library.  I checked out a really great book.  I started to read it.  But, like all other books, I found myself drifting, unable to focus and wanting to just cut to the chase, skip to the end.  *sigh*

I can’t seem to figure out what I want to eat either.  Nothing tastes good to me.  I need to lose weight, so I’m trying to meal plan but I can’t seem to muster enough energy to do so. I make sure my husband and son are fed and then, well, I just sort of lose interest.

I’m not sure what this funk is that I’m in.  Maybe it’s the end of summer blues. But lately my patience for the  inane is very short.  I long for peace and to fly so low under anyone’s radar that I’m just left alone.

I’m in a funk. I’m restless.

I need a jumpstart.

happy new year (sort of)

I sit here wondering what to write about.  It’s been weeks since my last post.  I’ve been on vacation.  I spent almost 4 weeks at home with my mother, walking the beach, looking for sea glass, forgetting about how dirty my house back home was getting and trying to get through yet another summer without my dad.  As much as he is missed, his presence as the loving grandfather he was is a huge loss for my four year old son.  I not only grieve for my dad, but for the gaping hole that is left by his loss.

After a marathon travel day back home, here I am.  Finishing out the rest of summer, waiting for school to start.  For teachers, (or for me, anyway) late July/August is sort of like a new year.   We have finished out a school year and look forward the next, resolving to do things differently, better and become more organized.  After a break, it’s nice to feel like a blank slate, ready to face the world again.  That feeling lasts for approximately 11 minutes once I step foot back into my classroom.  *sigh*

I could write about how I’ve been cleaning and purging my house in an effort to start off my new work year on the best foot possible, but that’s boring.  Who wants to read about how many closets I’ve cleaned and junk I’ve purged just so I can feel better about having my house in order (one less task to deal with as I get my classroom together).

I could write about my dead father and his loss.  Boring. Been there, done that. Depressing.

I could write about the thrill my husband and I will have in a week or two as he sends off his last child support check as his child is turning 18.  As cold and cruel as that sounds, it’s a long story, and his ex has abused the checks, created a hostile relationship between him and his now estranged son  blah blah blah.  As much as he will never give up on his child, there are certain losses that must be cut and his ex wife is one of them.  And in a few weeks we get the pleasure of severing our ties legally.  It’s very liberating because for a decade we’ve put our needs on a back burner in order to dance to her tune.

I could write about how much I am enjoying down time of my vacation.  I never take one minute of my time off for granted.  I savor every moment I get to make my own choices on my own schedule, a luxury not afforded to me during the school year.  But that too is a little boring.

I could write about how summer has a magical effect on me, how I become more present, clear headed, focused and grateful, much like the feeling many get January 1 when they look at the year that lies (or is it lay?) before them. Snore.

I could write about how big my son is getting and how he is growing into a neat little human with a cool personality, and how this upcoming year in daycare will be his last as he prepares for kindergarten, and that I can’t believe how grown up he is… but every mommy blogger pretty much says that.

So really, I don’t have much to say.

Except that I am grateful, each and every day for the day given to me, I am appreciative of my blessings and the time afforded to me to regain balance.

Happy New Year to me (sort of)

Peace.

what I did on my summer vacation

I have been on summer vacation for about 2 weeks now.  I made the very long trek home to Canada with my 4 year old son.  My husband stayed behind to supervise our money being sucked out of our house the installation of a new air conditioning unit.  I am not living in Little House on the Prairie.  I need air conditioning.

So, over my vacation I have spent lots of time preparing for this trip home.  It started with my son getting sick with a stomach bug.  A really gross, really long stomach bug.  Thankfully he was gracious enough not to puke or have diarrhea anywhere on public transportation.  He kindly waited until we were at our final destination (my mother’s house).  I felt so lucky I thought I should have bought a lottery ticket, but I digress.   Thankfully he is over it.

I’ve also spent time this vacation with my 92 year old grandmother.  I am very lucky to still have her.  She is my only living grandparent.  I love listening to her stories and savored the walks I got to take with her on the beach.  I only get to see her once a year now that I live down South, and it pains me to see how much older she looks each time I’m home.   I am thankful my son is getting to know her, after all she is his great grandmother.

The other thing I’ve done on my summer vacation is notice how much everything has changed in the town where I grew up.  Of course, change is inevitable, but I’m not sure how I feel about this kind of change.  Let me explain.  I grew up in a tiny, liberal arts university town tucked safely away in Eastern Canada.  My town was very Normal Rockwell.   We had one traffic light. Need I say more?   Each time I come home I recognize fewer and fewer people.  A whole new generation of people have moved into the town, and the town itself has focused more and more on the artsy fartsy liberal arts university students.  Of course, once upon a time I was one of those artsy fartsy liberal arts university students, but I was a chameleon.  I was from the town, so I could play double agent; both student and town person.  I think I was the only college student that could meet up with her dad on her way to the liquor store (under age of course).  Yes, being a townie had some drawbacks.

Each time I’m home I sadly feel less and less conflicted about leaving my little Norman Rockwell town.  For years, every time I had to leave to go back to the States I cried to the point of gagging.  I plotted my escape back to Canada, but unfortunately for me, moving back was never an option.  I started putting down roots south of the border, and well, life happens.

Now when I’m home I’m starting to think of ‘home’ as a place I visit, not a place I am invested in.  And I’m not sure how I feel about that.  In some ways I feel like a traitor.   In other ways,  I feel I’ve finally made peace with my decision to leave the motherland.   It’s a battle of the heart strings I used to suffer greatly from, but it’s getting a little bit easier.

Something else I’ve done on my summer vacation was visit my dad’s grave.    I am indifferent about it.  I probably should be some blubbery, weepy mess, throwing myself at the foot of the gravestone in some dramatic fashion, but I simply stood there, pulled some weeds that had grown up around it, said a quick hello, turned and left.  It’s still very surreal to me that my dad is a bunch of ashes in an urn, in a box below the ground.  I know those are the facts, but somehow, as I look at his grave, it seems impossible that it is his name on the stone.  It feels like I’m standing in a graveyard scene in a movie.

I’m spending time at my parents’ place at the beach.  They have a seasonal place that has been in our family for over five decades.   Unfortunately, the times, they are a changin’.  What used to be our own little private Shangri-La with a private lane, private beach  and only two neighbors  is quickly becoming red neck central. Long story short, the field in back of our water front property does not belong to us.  The owners have decided to turn their land into a campground.  Yes, you read that correctly.  A campground complete with over a dozen fifth wheel trailers, fire pits, yapping dogs, children running amuck and proprietors that, for lack of a better word, dislike us greatly.  There are some on going “issues” between us and them and they simply do not care that they are turning a profit on the backs of others.

In short, our little slice of private beach paradise is being overrun by the Griswolds on their family vacation.  And it sucks.   Our childhood summer place has become infested with ignorami  (is that a word? the plural of ignoramus?) whose noise, campfire smoke, barking dogs, and screaming children permeate every crevice of our territory.   It puts us all in a bad mood no matter how hard we try to ignore it.

So what did I do on my summer vacation?  I think I grew up a little.  I think I cut a few ties with my past and I think I am beginning to accept the roots I’ve put down for myself.

I am trying to cherish what is left of my time here at home, but I’m really starting to realize that home is where you make it.

Peace.

helpless

This is probably going to be a downer post…just a small disclaimer incase you were looking for something witty or insightful.  Sorry, just giving you an early out.

I’ve used this space over the past 2 years as an outlet for grieving my father.  In the course of several posts I’ve vented, screamed, cried and bemoaned our sudden and tragic loss.  It was a Godsend for me to have writing as an outlet.  A grief therapist I saw told me to save my posts so I could revisit them if I needed to, to see how far I’ve come in the whole process. I’ve done that, and I am so happy I am no longer in the depths of despair I was almost 24 months ago.

Grieving is a very personal process.  Everyone does it differently.  There is no right or wrong. One of the facets of grieving I’ve dealt with is the feeling of helplessness.  Let me explain.

I called my mother tonight.  She lives a few thousand miles away in Canada.  The short version is that she is remarkably strong.  She has chosen to keep living even in the hardest moments.  She is amazing.  We have a close relationship and I call her daily.

Tonight when I called her it took her a while to get to the phone.  When she answered she seemed to be out of breath.  This is not uncommon because usually she is outside gardening or doing yard work.  When she answered the phone tonight, I immediately knew something was off.  She had been crying.

My four-year-old son and I will visit next week.  She is very excited and is eagerly preparing for our arrival.  Tonight she was repurposing an old bike for my son.  As insignificant as this may seem, for us it is a milestone.  Bike riding is something my father never got to see my son do, and this was a task he would have relished doing; cleaning up an old bike for my kid. He was a good guy like that, always tinkering, fixing, repurposing, trying to help others.  My mother is now faced with the arduous task of filling his shoes.

It broke my heart to hear her sobs.  It broke my heart to hear her say “Your father should have been doing this.”  Because she’s right.  He should be here, but he’s not.  He was taken from us much too young (age 60).  He only got to enjoy being a grandfather for 23 months.

The Pollyannas of my life harp on looking on the bright side.  Yes, they have a point.  We should be thankful for the years we had him.  We should be grateful he was able to experience the joy of being a grandfather.  And most days we are grateful.  We know the true meaning of being blessed.

But sometimes, even the strongest crack.  Grief comes in waves, and when a tsunami (like this one for my mum) hits, it flattens you.  It simply reduces you to a grieving blob.  And it’s ok to be a grieving blob.  It’s ok to crack.  We can’t stay strong forever.  We are human.  And my mother has been tremendously strong through this tragedy, in ways I could only hope to be.

Tonight, as roles reversed and I became the parent, patiently, empathetically listening to her cry, I felt helpless.  I can’t fix it.  I can’t do anything.  I am useless.  There are no magic words I can say, no magic wand I can wave to make it all go away.  I simply sat there and listened, offering support where I could.

So, I am traveling home in a few days to spend a few weeks with my mum.  We will muddle through the best we can. This is the third summer without my dad. We will quietly recognize what would have been his 63rd birthday and their 42nd anniversary.  We will walk the beach where he died, trying not to look at the creek where my mother found him.  We will watch my son ride his bike, the one that my dad should have been here to fix.  We will try to laugh and remember something fun about the time we had with him, but there is a huge crater where his place was.  There is a constant puzzle piece missing.

And I feel helpless.

gratitude Friday

I am sitting here in sweltering temperatures.  It is almost 100 degrees outside and my air conditioning has conked out. If you have any sense of who I am, you will know that this does not sit well with me.  I am Canadian. I was not built for heat or humidity.

However, as I sit here in my tastefully decorated sauna, I realize I have a choice.

I can either thank God I have a house to sit in and the means to call an HVAC technician, or I can sit here choosing to belly ache about how uncomfortable it is to live in 80 degree temperatures in my living room.

I am reminded that some people don’t have such luxuries.

Deep thoughts for a Friday, but oh, so true.

Putting first world problems in perspective.

Trying to find the humor in a situation- something I was unable to do mere months ago.  Trying to find grace, gratitude and patience.  Something else I was miles away from mere months ago.

Blessings are everywhere. You just have to look.

Happy Friday!

Peace.

the other side of the dad coin

In the past week I have witnessed two friends’ marriages crumble.  One had already crumbled, and the ex husband was just arrested for not paying child support.  The other, who is in mid-crumble, had her husband arrested for domestic violence.

Two marriages.  Gone. Crumbled. Done. Finished.  Both have children.  So sad.

My husband has an ex wife.  For over a decade, we have been on the flip side of the dad coin.  Most of the time when you hear about ex husbands, dead beat dad comes to mind.  Of course, there are hundreds upon thousands of women out there who deal with awful situations and are forced to barely make ends meet due to lack of support from an ex husband. This post is in no way diminishing their plight.

But what a lot of people don’t think about is the ex husband.  Not all are bad guys.

My husband, is a good guy. (ok, I’m biased).  He pays his bills on time.  He is a good father and husband.  He was a good husband to his first wife too, but it was a different time and place and things just didn’t work out.  My husband has a son from his first marriage.  He has never, ever missed a child support payment.

In fact, my husband has pretty much been an open bank for the past decade.  Child needs money to go to camp.  Done.  Child needs money for school pictures. Done.  Child needs braces (twice because mother fell behind on taking child for orthodontic treatments)  done.  Child needs a band instrument.  Done.  My husband has never once denied his child any sort of financial aid.  He doesn’t deserve a medal or a parade.  He did what he was supposed to do… support his child.

What is not really advertised is the short end of the stick good fathers get from their ex wives.  For the better part of a decade, my husband has danced to his ex wife’s tune.  We have spent a decade organizing our lives around schedules for visitation only she could approve.  You see, a little thing like a custody agreement means nothing to my husband’s ex.  That is the reason why my husband drove over 200 miles round trip every other weekend just to see his son.  Because she is immune to compromise.  My husband’s phone calls to his son (in the younger years) would go ignored.  We were lucky if she told him that his dad called.   No Father’s Day cards were ever sent.  A relationship between father and son was never fostered.    When we tried several times to gain legal custody, we were road blocked by her.  All over money.  Greed won out and she was too greedy to give up a child support check.  For over a decade, my husband’s ex wife has used her son as a pawn, filling him full of blatant lies about his father, loosely setting boundaries and basically shifting all responsibility and blame from herself onto anyone else on her radar.

Fast forward to 2014.  We are two months out from my stepson turning 18.  He has not technically lived under his mother’s roof since October of 2012.  The past two years have been filled with drugs, arrests, and total debauchery.  He is a 17 year old living like a rock star, and is being enabled by other family members and friends.  We have spent the past two years researching and contacting all kinds of help.  The system is flawed and unfortunately we are not millionaires.  We are simply middle class people with good insurance, most of which is not accepted anywhere we’ve looked (at facilities that deal with problem, addicted kids).  To top it all off, my step son doesn’t want help.  He has layers and layers of anger that are oozing out of the drugs he is smoking.  And there is nothing we can do.  Trust me.  We have tried.  Everything.  And his mother looks on (and looks the other way).

And yes, we have continued to pay child support to her through all of this, even though he has not resided with her for the past two years.  (He is with his maternal grandmother who lives on the same street).

I’m sure your first reaction is “WHAT???” that is not right.  My sentiments exactly.  However, unless we are willing to pay some very hefty legal fees to change things (and why do it now with two months to go?) we must follow the letter of the law.  And the legal agreement says we have to pay her x number of dollars per month.  Most of which has not gone to the child.    Keep in mind, on top of paying his obligated child support, my husband has footed the bill for medical costs and other incidentals for his kid.  In fact, he has on several occasions, dropped work and family plans to drive 3 hours (one way) to deal with “situations” that have come up with his son.

But no one ever hears that side of it.

His ex wife continues to jab and poke at him.  He has taken the high road, and simply signed the checks and done what he could for his kid.  But you never hear about that.

My stepson needs a mental health evaluation.  It is up to his custodial parent to arrange it.  His mother refuses to do so, saying she is ‘busy’.  So, my husband attempted to set one up.  The agencies he dealt with require the custodial parent to initiate the process.  Dead end.  Wall.

And it makes me angry that women like this appear to live their lives immune to consequence.  She just skips along her way, trashing anyone who does not serve her needs, ignoring her flesh and blood and karma has not visited her. Ever. Not once.

And did I mention she is an educated woman? Yes.  She holds a masters in teaching.

Sad, isn’t it?

So, dear readers… do not feel sorry for us.  But please know, there is another side to the dad coin.  And we’re on it.

Peace.

 

being good is so hard…

Tonight I went for a walk.  It is my third night in a row of walking briskly in my neighborhood.  I am trying to get back in the saddle, on the wagon, and anything else that symbolizes weight loss.  I’ve squirreled away too many nuts over the winter and my clothes do not fit me properly anymore.

I’ve always tried to eat well.  But I am human.  I have a sweet tooth.  And a savory one too.   Shoveling Heath Toffee bits into your face at 3 am in the throws of a panic attack while mourning your dead father tends to catch up with you and make your pants not fit anymore.

So here I am, ready to attempt to be a better eater and exerciser.  It is so hard.  However, I am inspired by the quote “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you”.  I’m not sure who said it, but whoever did was really wise.  I read it on Facebook so it has to be true.

I’m starting slow. I used to run.  I used to do a lot of things.  That was almost 20 years ago.  I am older and more tired.  But I am trying to be good to myself.

And boy, is it hard.

I will attempt to keep you posted on my progress.

Wish me luck.