I have the whole week ahead of me, which should mean lots of writing, lots of working on projects, and all of that. But it’s Monday, which usually just entails getting my bearings and trying to get my life together. It’s always hard to see my son go back to his mom’s for the week. You can’t help but wonder if you have done enough, and it is exhausting dealing with his needs, school, keeping a ten year old mentally engaged enough to not be bored out of his mind. Especially since right now he has no friends, and the schools seem to be concerned only with making sure the state and the Department of Education recognize that the teachers are earning their cut. Hence the Zoom meetings peppered all throughout the day which demand that you are sitting in a chair, interacting with the general chaos of the classroom online.

There is no middle ground.

When he is gone, I miss him like I have lost a part of myself. The house is too quiet. That takes over for about a day and I experience a sense of loss until the evening when I can actually feel productive. Throughout the day, my body becomes an experiment in equilibrium. Enough caffeine to keep me moving, then enough food, protein, sugars, fibre, etc. to keep my moods in balance. Too much sugar and I want to sleep and then I get depressed. I gain weight too. Too much protein and I’m always hungry, and protein isn’t cheap. I only eat a couple meals a day anyway. When you are alone, meal prep is time consuming and pointless.

This week, my plans, once I get going again, are to try to write ten pages per day, seek out leads for travel writing, post at least a few times here and on my travel site, and hopefully get a podcast in. I have been paying for extra time and indexing on my podcast site, but with everyone on lockdown, I dislike the idea of sitting around talking to myself for any length of time.

Sometimes it feels like writing is just sitting around talking to yourself too. As with talking to yourself, you start wondering if you are crazy, if you are saying anything worth saying, and are you wasting your time.

When I did almost nothing during the day at my day job and they rewarded me with money, that was such a weird experience. Now I work my ass off, and not getting paid.

I also have that fear that once this project is done it will just reveal what a complete prick I really am. And nobody will buy it. And I might as well have been sitting around eating paint all day instead.

Such a perfect day…

This last week was rough, but I think I’m turning a corner. Yesterday I got some writing done, went on a six mile hike at the Devil’s Backbone, and in spite of being stuck within the same four walls for a couple months, I chewed up those miles with hardly a blister on my foot to show for it. Let’s face it, not many of us have been treating our bodies very well on this lockdown. Too much drinking. Too much sleep. Not enough sleep. Junk food from take out places, or eating a bag of Chips Ahoy! for two out of three meals for a few days. Coffee. Lots and lots of it.

I’m slowly getting healthy again. I’m at the anger phase of grief. And just about done with that horseshit. I’m down to one season of Peaky Blinders. I had an apple for lunch yesterday and felt great! My son came back early today. According to the emails, it was to make up the week he stayed at his mom’s for “quarantine.” I informed her that her math was bad. One day doesn’t equal seven. She of course didn’t like that I pointed that out. Anyway, I picked my son up at 9am today. We started the day off with coffee, then just got settled in. I think he was happy to get away from the chaos. Apparently my seventeen year old daughter flunked the 11th Grade and will need to do summer school to avoid retaking the year. According to my son, his mom “just snapped” and actually spanked her.

I wonder who is going to call CPS on her for that? Oh, that’s right, nobody, because she is the one making the calls. If she can’t even agree that one day doesn’t equal six, and believes this, I’m sure there is a way she is justifying spanking a 200lb almost-adult. Cluster B should be renamed Cluster F. DSMs should be mandatory before all marriages too. Just sayin’. It’s a stupid thought anyway. As awful as spanking a 17 year old sounds, she’s still a minor, and it’s still allowed. It’s pathetic and won’t accomplish anything, but yeah, laying hands on someone when you’ve “lost it” has solved many problems in the past. I guess my kid just reallllly wanted some negative attention. And she got it.

Anyway, that’s their problem. That’s the relationship they have cultivated, and this is why I try to make my home a place of calm and words when we are frustrated. I made my therapist laugh the other day when I said things like this are their “love language.” She said she had often thought about writing a book of dysfunctional love languages for just such a reason.

Today I cleaned the dishwasher. It had gotten full of gunk and wasn’t cleaning the dishes right anymore. That was a few hours worth of work, putting my hand in all sorts of disgusting sludge, and watching YouTube videos on how to do it the best way. It works so much better now.

I went grocery shopping, then I did some laundry. Made dinner (ramen with some broiled steak slices and garlic) and then we went on a walk around campus. My son ran through the sprinklers, his favorite summer pastime, and I got another four miles in today. My legs are screaming. But we did see a pair of great horned owls on the roof of the gym. We startled one out of a tree just a few feet from us. Owls are so cool because you cannot hear their wings when they fly.

It was nice to just see people out on walks, instead of last night’s viewing of idiot college kids at parties playing Beer Pong. Sure, that’s sanitary!

It’s all about the simple things. Taking each day as it comes and not letting things bother you if you can help it. Exercise helps. Hopefully I can get over the insomnia soon. I have much work to do in the next few months. I’m sure if I stopped to think about it enough, I would scare myself silly, thinking about how I’m going to live writing full-time.

This is the opportunity of a lifetime. Might as well give it my best shot!

(I am trying to be hopeful. Really, I am fucking terrified.)