Monday, August 6, 2012

Losing it

I think we can all agree that I've handled the stress of the last few months rather well, for me. Sure, I'm up a few pounds from some feeling-eating, but generally I've been upbeat, focused, and generally gung ho.  To some extent I realized early on that if I fully acknowledged my anxieties, they would mushroom all over me, so I've just put my head down and crossed things off lists, did things that needed to be done, and pushed that part of me that is freaking out, worrying, fretting, doomsdaying and naysaying into a deep mental corner (let's call her Lois, shall we?), and sat on her.  It was all going so well. *Foreshadowing!*

On Saturday David and I had a heart to heart about hiring movers, and he sanely insisted that he'd like to enjoy the first few months of our trip, rather than being crippled by back pain for them.  It all made sense, and after some hemming and hawing I booked movers through E-move.com. Not the cheapest, not the most expensive, with more reviews and favorable ones. 

And then I went out to the garage to get some bubble wrap and starting sobbing.  I can't exactly explain it, because it all made sense, and it isn't that much money, but Lois had apparently had enough. She'd been sat on for far too long, and she wasn't going to take it anymore.  I pulled myself together, blamed my red face on the hot garage, and proceeded to bubble wrap some fragile stuff and sniffle a lot.  I don't blame David for not noticing, or saying anything if he did notice. His education has been extensive.  I just wanted to work on punching Lois into submission, and wrap some teapots at the same time.  Eventually I regained my equilibrium, and we met friends for a birthday dinner out, and maybe a glass or two of wine finally was what settled Lois down to a grumble.

Part of the reason I didn't pour my anxiety out to David is that I know the peace we're existing in right now (what little there is) is somewhat fragile.  And there is always this fear that whatever issue awakens Lois will startle his own gremlin of self-doubt, and a domino effect will happen.  I will admit, however, that David has had far fewer expressions of uncertainty.  But then again, I think he's just that much better and stifling his own version of Lois (Louie?).

So getting back to this weekend, we were both doing ok. We delivered a load of stuff to my parents' basement, had a family lunch, ran some errands on the way home, and then got back to trucking along with packing things when we got back home.  We left our miniature poodle Ruby with my parents (where she'll stay when we're gone) so that she could avoid the stress of the next week before the moving truck comes. And then as we were packing things we realized that she probably wouldn't come back to the house to stay until we return from our trip. The next three weeks are crazy stressful, one week with moving chaos, one week with paint, cleaning, and no furniture chaos, and one week where we're homeless by Monday. While we'll see her in the next three weeks, she effectively had already moved out. So I packed up all her her toys, brushes, special shampoo, and her treats. I looked at David, and he looked at me, and we both felt blindsided. It felt a little like she'd died, which was crazy, because we'd left her bouncing off the walls at my parents' house a few hours earlier.  David was hugging me, and I was crying, but somehow laughing at myself at the same time.

It was just all too much, I guess. 

When I had some time to reflect about it, I realized what my problem with hiring movers was. It wasn't that I freaked out about moving, or had any doubts about the trip. It was that I know every dollar I spend on moving expenses is a dollar I don't spend in Bali, or Argentina, or Cairo. And while I know that spending money on movers rather than on physical therapy for David's back is a sound decision, tell that to Lois.

The Ruby thing is pure projection. It's all happening so fast, but this one snuck up on us. I realized that the last walk we took on Saturday night was her last walk in the neighborhood (for a year! Not dead yet!).  Packing up her leash, food and water dishes, and her soccer balls was this small (much, much easier) version of what we're doing with everything. And while I'm excited for the future, there is much that is bittersweet about the moving process.  You can't look forward all the time. You just can't.  And Lois, she's there in my peripheral vision, every time I turn my head.

Last night I did what I always do to calm myself down. I baked. I made granola and two types of cookies and used up ingredients and basically said goodbye to that part of my life for the next while. I got flour on my Kitchenaid mixer and in my hair. David licked the last of the batter off the spatula, and I kissed my baking career on both cheeks. It felt good to get to do it one last time, knowing it was the last time. It was so much better that way--not a Lois in sight.

And as much as I'd like to stash Lois at my parents' house along with all of our other things, she's probably along for the ride this next year (so! much! to worry! about!).  So I have two choices: I can either make my peace with her and try and hug it out, or I can keep pushing her into the corner and turning my back on her.  I haven't chosen a strategy yet, but I'll keep you posted.