Self-Care

Meant to publish this last Saturday the 14th.  I may do another entry later today — it’s a goal, but I also have other things that I have to do first. We’ll see.


Barely written in a week.  The ConstantObligations have caught up with me and taken journaling away.

It is a conundrum:  Self care is necessary to combat stress, for wellness, for some sense of order and inner peace.  But when you are too busy and have zero energy, it becomes impossible to care for oneself.  The people with the most to perform self-care have no bandwidth to do it and the people with the least need get to go to spas and practice yoga and meditate and eat healthy all day every day and maintain their excellent care of themselves.

I tried, briefly, on Wednesday morning, to do an entry.  I started with a list of things and wanted to talk about an interaction with my mom but got called by work at the end of it, had to log into computer systems using terminal shells and do some sleuthing to figure out what was going on.  Three hours later I finished that and the day had officially launched — there would be no going back to journaling.

The Obligations had started.

This was what I had written:

  • Cleaned a section of the basement where I will put the new industrial steel rivet shelving
  • Opened the two 80lb boxes — one for each unit — and carried various pieces, metal slats and particle board shelves — down the flight of stairs, moving slowly, trying to be careful about my bad knee
  • Cleaned the wall that will wind up being “behind” where the shelving goes, the idea being once the shelving is up, it’ll be tough to clean that wall, so this might be the last time it gets cleaned for the next forty years
  • Swept the area.
  • basic work stuff, 6 hours of coding, a meeting, some planning and organization
  • review FSA rules, make plans to enroll next year
  • Transfer money around accounts for me and Jennie
  • Take mom to bank, get the check cashed (This took three hours end to end, long story, may write about it)
  • Help Jennie pack ornaments, take tree down, pack into box, put in basement
  • Read Damnation Spring for an hour

A list of things for today

  • opendiary (didn’t manage to do this)
  • gym, need to do biceps and shoulders today (I didn’t get that done)
  • PT, need work on knee
  • covid shot at 12:30, this is the multivariant booster and is my 5th shot
  • Review insulation above joists against back wall where shelving will go in the basement, make sure they are foam sealed correctly, replace any insulation with black moisture
  • Start putting shelving together, goal is to get one of the two units up
  • Work in the afternoon

The covid shot on Wednesday really screwed me too.  I got the bivalent moderna booster, my 5th shot overall, the last one being August of 2022.  They knock me out.  By six in the evening my face was flushed, by ten I had a 100.5 fever and was shivering.  I could barely sleep, my muscles ached, I tossed and turned.

On Thursday I got called by work again at 7AM, I started working on some computer stuff that was broken, restoring services, shivering from a fever that hadn’t gone away.  Two hours later I solve that problem, go back to sleep briefly, wake up, do another thing for work, get an “emergency” work meeting scheduled right over my therapy appointment — I asked to reschedule the meeting and they compromised and did it half an hour later so I did therapy for 30 minutes instead of a full hour and then joined this meeting to talk about another “emergency” (I use quotes because the emergencies are frequently fake — people feel something is incredibly important when in fact it can wait) —

When that meeting was over I did a little bit of follow-up work, sent another email, looked at the clock and saw it was 4PM and I hadn’t showered or exercised since Tuesday, the kitchen was a mess, I started cleaning and half way through it just almost collapsed because I was so tired, at which point I got into bed and slept until 6, woke up again and Jennie was getting home from work and parent care and we talk about her parents (it’s not going well, that’s a long story too) and I manage to make an absolute shit dinner, just tater tots and baked chicken nuggets and then it’s 7:30 and I’m just starting to feel a little better from the after-effects of the vaccine and Jennie asks me if I’m going to assemble the small coffee table that came in the mail so I do that and then it’s nine and I go shower and the day is over at that point, I slip into bed and put on an old animated show called Dr Katz on the television and we cuddle for an hour and sleep


Yesterday, Friday, my coworker called out and I spent the day doing a bunch of “critical” stuff that he was supposed to be doing and had to be finished by the end of the day.  I was on zoom meetings for four hours, got behind on my own personal projects as a result, and didn’t finish until six.

I wanted to go exercise at that point. I haven’t been to the gym since Monday — this is an eternity for me and my body and mind both need the activity, it calms me down, relaxes me, it’s part of my rhythm and routines.

I couldn’t — Jennie gets home and she needs to make extra copies of keys for her parents house because her dad is stealing keys and hiding them around the house.  She wants help making them — she actually needs the company — and we head to lowe’s and I flag an employee down and he helps us with the key machine, we get out of there and I still think I might have energy to go work out and this is what I really want to do but Jennie says I need to eat, let’s eat out, I can’t take this anymore (there’s always this sense when I’m with Jennie now that she is about to crack under the pressure of the elder care and the full time job now.. that she’s right at the edge, at wit’s end, and anything extra might burst the whole thing, resulting in a raving choke-everyone-in-sight lunatic) so we go to a place called Cabot’s in Newton and have greasy burgers and split a sundae and I’m thinking of course that instead of exercising I’m going the other way, eating 1200 calories of garbage, and in no time at all if I can’t do better than this I’m going to become like my roly-poly diabetic brother.

Over dinner she tells me that she met with a social worker at her parent’s house today.  Both her mom and dad have dementia, her dad’s 95 and consistently surly and aggressive now, her mom’s 78 and a mess as well, unable to care for herself — the social worker, after listening to Jennie explain the situation, said “you seem awfully stressed out about this.  what are you doing for self-care?”

Jennie said I don’t have time for self-care, this is ridiculous.

I said to Jennie I am your self-care.  You come home and complain about your parents and I am your therapy, and then you ask to go to dinner, which is also a form of self-care, and I agree and go with you even though I wanted to work out.

This didn’t go over well.  I am saying the wrong things.  She had a good point, I should have just agreed with her.


We get home and watch a movie for an hour.  Slipstream.  Bill Paxton, Mark Hamill, science fiction involving a robot with Philip K. Dick type themes.  Later, in bed, Jennie asks me what I’m going to do tomorrow (which is now today.)  I have off, she has to work — about one day a month she has a Saturday shift at her library.

I say I am going to do self-care.  I am going to do my first journal entry in a week and then I’m going to work out until I die — I feel like I’m gaining weight and I’m unhappy not being able to work out more.

She says that sounds like the talk of an anorexic

I said I’m a very healthy weight, I just want to go work out, I don’t understand why you would say that to me.  I just want to go lift for two hours.  I want to tire myself out physically.

She says it must be nice to have the time for that, I never have time for self care.

I say why are you making it about you?  You asked me what I wanted to do on my day off, this is what I’m doing.   (I also think to myself, I ask for so little, I do so very very little for myself, and even when I do things for “me” they are also for “us” — working out makes me feel better but it also keeps me healthy and attractive and calmer mood-wise too, these things all benefit you.  Getting my covid booster benefits YOU — I won’t get covid hopefully so I can continue to work, keep the house clean, cook dinner, care for you.) 

Anyway, predictably, I said the wrong thing again.  There’s crying involved.  Somehow we patch things up but right before bed she says she’s getting up early to go to work and she asks if I’ll get up and make coffee and oatmeal for her and I said no, I need to sleep the extra hour and finally get myself right — I have to get better and healthy, I’ve had a headache seemingly since Wednesday night straight.

She’s disappointed.  I can feel it in her body.  She feels like I’m not supporting her, I’m not providing the care she wants and needs.

But I feel like no-one is supporting me either, so I must, as usual, do it myself.

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3 weeks ago

I read this yesterday and got lost in thought. Mainly I was glad to see you had found your way back to the keyboard. I found myself worried by your absence. That seemed odd to me, but I was relieved to see something new. I’m hopeful that writing helped with some of this frustration or at least gave you a bit of a respite. I think that’s mainly what it does for me. It’s difficult for me, though, to write when it’s all falling apart. I suppose it’s a bit like going to the gym when I just don’t want to. Anyway, I’m glad you’re back. I look forward to reading your latest. And I appreciate your kind feedback. It’s nice to hear that ordinary drivel can be engaging.

3 weeks ago

@justallie I don’t think I’m going anywhere, just had a rough few days and couldn’t find the right balance of time/energy to post.  Thanks for the comment — it’s great to know you are around.