Trying to gulp air through a straw

February 22

Water’s about to boil for coffee, the dishwasher’s humming (I forgot to start it last night), three sleeping dogs are scattered about the room, and my phone just buzzed to tell me there was a two-hour delay for school. Now the water’s boiling, spitting angry flecks out of the too-full kettle.

I’m a bit on autopilot mode. Noticing things one at a time, trying to stay on top of the stuff I really need to do. Looking at the mound of tasks at once would paralyze me. One saving aspect is that all of these “DOs”, mostly having to do with cooking work or challenge groups, have deadlines. Deadlines are my friend. I’ll stay up forever (or wake up early) to punch out something that needs to be done, if it’s due tomorrow.

Someone asked me yesterday why I feel so buried. My description is that I’m ten feet under, sipping air through a straw. That or bobbing up for a frantic gulp of air before being sucked back down. Part of that is energy akimbo, which might not be the right term but feels right to say. We’re grappling with a big decision for our family (all good), and it’s amazing how much it absorbs my brain power.

Our daughter’s good friend (age 12) was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Monday night, which also occupied brain space. A lot of brain space.

Part of it, though, is that I’ve had some last-minute cooking gigs to take care of. Being called 48 hours ahead of an event is a little challenging, I’ve found out this past week, which is actually surprising. I can pull off the planning, shopping, cooking, and delivery pretty quickly. So why do I feel like I was thrown against a wall to see if I was done, like you can do with spaghetti?

I like planning my week. I like knowing what’s coming when, and when I will have time for things like writing this blog or getting my homework done for class. I like knowing I can go to lunch or a walk with a friend. I also like getting the checks from cooking work, so saying YES to a last-minute gig feels like the right thing to do.

What I forgot to do, though, was to look at the priorities list I created in January. Focus on my family, it said. Make time for me, it said. Those were overlooked, for the most part.

Wednesday night involved a massive merging of worlds. I had an exercise group to lead after school (20 minutes west of town) and food to deliver in town, all within as tight a time frame as I could make it happen. Permutations abounded. Another one was added to the mix as it became clear that our friend would be out of the ICU and in the regular ward at the hospital – and the only time to visit would be after those two events.

I called the school and left a message for my daughter, telling her to stay at school. Car packed with all the food (lucky it is cold out – my car is a fridge!). Workout done. Food delivery done (daughter manning the frantic texts coming in). Off we went to the hospital. Then pick up dinner, head home, and deal with homework. 

I was in bed at 9.

Cartoons make it look so easy, staying underwater and breathing through a reed or a straw. The calendar made it look so easy, taking on those last gigs. I don’t think actually sipping air though a straw would be fun; the turmoil these last two gigs threw into my mental life wasn’t fun either.

I had a good time cooking. I rediscovered an old recipe that is absolutely gorgeous and delicious. I managed to pack a lot of life into one afternoon on Wednesday, not forgetting my priority of my family and friends.

Now I need to remember to find time for me.

Happy Friday!

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