Tuesday, December 1, 2015

It's been a while, hasn't it?

About 15 months, to be exact-ish. What's up with that, hey?

Well, besides the usual stuff like family, work, construction, buying a house in Oregon, and generally taking care of stuff, there's also been a bunch of personal things that needed attending to. (Which I will get to later.)

My office is in boxes, as is a large part of the house. Why, you ask? Because we don't love the smell of smoke, of course! Most of the wiring goes back to 1924, when the house was built, except for the parts which were grafted on in 1946, 1971 and 1986, not to mention what we did when we bought the place in 2006. So it was a mess, and a lot of it was old knob-and-tube, cloth covered wiring, which had started failing in odd and exciting ways, like behind the walls. Where you can't see it. But you can smell it! Oh, joy!

To fix this little problem, we've abandoned the old wiring, and run new so that we can sleep soundly, or as soundly as you can sleep with a teenager who's almost 17 and feeling her oats. (More about her later.) But then there are all these holes in the walls and ceilings. Did I mention that the house is lath and plaster? It's not like sheetrock: it's kind of like thin concrete, only messier. Takes multiple coats, sanding between each coat. Which creates lots of dust. 

But we didn't really think that this was enough mess and uproar, so we decided to replace the failing upstairs windows at the same time. Old casement windows, they didn't meet in the middle any more, giving up excellent air conditioning in the winter and superb heat in the summer. Which we paid extra for! And since we're tearing open the walls, why not take out the windows at the same time, and save on plastering costs? Makes sense to me! 

And, of course, after all that, you have to paint, right? Why not do the whole house at the same time? Save on costs, take care of  the whole shebang at one time, and be done! A smart idea! At least I thought so until I came home and found my long-suffering wife huddled under the staircase muttering to herself about killing the plasterers and burying them with the painters.

I waved a bottle of wine at her until she came out, and wrapped her in a blanket (dust free!) and comforted her with the thought that it would only be another month and they would be all done. After prying her hands off my throat, I gave her some more wine and suggested a new prescription for valium. That was not well received, I can tell you. So tomorrow we'll meet with the painting contractor and find out exactly how much longer it will be. And then take a deep breath and hang on until they're done. With lots of wine.

Now, about that child. She's our youngest, and a dear soul. With her share of problems and issues, like all of us, compounded by losing her brother and sister and grandparents etc., one after another. She's a bit anxious, is what I'm saying. And she expresses this anxiety by occasionally (often) (sometimes), doing things of which her parents aren't exactly fond. Or are hysterical about, depending. Which adds to the general uproar that I was talking about up there. and of course, her parents aren't exactly completely stable either, given all the stuff that's gone on. 

So, now we come to that other part, which is me. I've had an increasingly difficult time since my daughter died 5 years ago. The technical term is "complicated grief", and I had seen a grief counselor, but that didn't really address my issue, which was that I was getting sadder and sadder as time went on. And more irritated, and less fun to be around. And my moods were darker and more unhappy than they had ever been. I've always been what is known as "labile" in my emotions (which basically means I change frequently and easily, so I was always called "moody"), but for most of my life this hadn't interfered with my day to day activities. Occasionally, I have had nasty spells, but then again, who hasn't? Don't most of us have ups and downs? It's not me, it's the circumstances, right? I mean, I lost my daughter, I lost my parents, how can you expect me to feel good all the time, hey? If everyone would just back off and give me some space, I'd be fine, I know it. But I must be a schmuck, how can my wife still love someone who's always sad, who doesn't listen well, who didn't stop their daughter from dying....

All day, and most of the night. I'd have good times, but they became fewer and farther between. And it got to  the point where I started to question whether I should just move out and let my family move on. And that was the point where I sought serious help, and got it. Thank whatever gods there are for a Dr. who listens and suggests, rather than just prescribes and prescribes, if you know what I mean. And so as of June 1, I am officially diagnosed with a mental illness (and if THAT doesn't seem odd to type, I'm not sure what will), and prescribed some useful meds and am much better. And can now DO the therapy that I was working on. Which is great, if difficult.

OK, that's enough for now. I'll be back, I promise.