Project Awesome

Making my life more awesome

Complaining about being grumpy: I get more cheerful every day.

Today I am gloomy.  Like Eyore. Full of gloom.  It is raining outside. My insides are not happy.  I’ve just watched Die Hard 4.0.  I have enough reasons to be miserable.  But, largely, it’s because I’m post-operative.  You know when you’re getting over something, and you’re just a bit bored, and a bit too tired to actually *do* anything? Like that.

Elective operations are a stupid idea.  You go into hospital feeling ok, you wake up feeling sick, tired and sore.  You spend days recovering.  Haemorrhoidectomies are incredibly painful.  General anaesthetic makes me hideously sick.  On Thursday morning I wasn’t sure why I was doing this.  On Thursday evening I woke up feeling… well… really quite healthy.  On Friday I was positively cheerful. The anaesthetists did an amazing job of stopping me being sick.  My bottom was only uncomfortable.  Pretty good going.  I even squeezed in lunch before I was discharged and picked up by a lovely friend.

On Friday night my sister stayed over to help me with the girls.  She collected them from nursery. She made tea. She even got them to sleep (she came down after half an hour. “How did you get them to sleep?” I asked. “I just sat with them.  It’s ok, but you couldn’t do it every night”.  Seriously? If I could get them to sleep by sitting with them for half an hour each night, I would be celebrating.  I would be dancing. I would attempt to write some sort of childcare book based on the strategy, though I would probably have to dress up ‘sit next to them for half an hour’ with some kind of pseudo-science and probably a sleep chart).  On Saturday morning she left for home and they left for their dad’s.  I headed to bed with my laptop, season 6 of West Wing and a Guardian (after a trip to the newsagent to argue about the Weekend magazine not being delivered and a trip to another newsagent to buy a new copy).  That was Saturday.  I quite liked being a hermit, having an excuse to stay in bed, recover, and do exactly what I wanted.  I had a tv delivered, courtesy of another very kind friend, as mine has inexplicably stopped working.  Yet another friend visited in the evening with some food and cake and good company.  Like I said, I am surrounded by kindness.

Today? Well, I just feel grumpy.  I’m still uncomfortable (yes, really.  I am complaining about being uncomfortable three days after having an operation on my bottom.  There is no limit to what I will complain about).  My stomach is not happy about the laxatives and fibre stuff I’ve been prescribed.  I miss my children but am also despairing at the thought of endless disturbed nights.  I’m tired. I’m bored.  I want to binge-watch West Wing but I’m not prepared to waste Season 7 on a day like this.  I am wasting a child-free day by lying around in my pyjamas feeling miserable.

I don’t really mind being grumpy.  It’s just part of getting over an operation.  Last night I slept all night. Tonight I’ll sleep all night.  Hopefully I’ll feel more well in the morning.  My children will come home and be pleased to see me.  And, well, the piles are gone.  Success!



My post-operative parachute

I don’t post much at the moment because I don’t get chance. I don’t get chance because Small Girl doesn’t really sleep.  She won’t feed to sleep, she won’t be patted to sleep, she doesn’t want me to lie down with her.  I have no idea how to get her to go to sleep.  What she does like doing is mucking around with Big Girl for hours until she’s exhausted and crying and then, eventually feeding to sleep. There’s usually some refereeing needed when she pulls Big Girl’s hair or pinches her – I always assumed it would be the younger child who needed protecting from the older, but it seems not.

So tonight the children are at Ex-Husband’s house.  And I’m at home alone, preparing for my operation tomorrow.  After the bowel investigation I’m going to have my piles sorted out.  For the past few weeks I’ve been mentioning that I’m going to have a small operation done, which leads to people trying to look like they’re concerned without looking like they’re prying. I don’t mind telling people what I’m having done, but I don’t like to say because I imagine people don’t really want to think about my bum. However, by avoiding telling them, it becomes a massive thing (and, yes, a blog post. Another one) and then I end up explaining anyway.

It feels a bit weird. I’m having at least a week off work, possibly more.  And then I’ve got a week’s annual leave. So I kind of feel like I have this massive holiday ahead of me, which will be very pleasant after the stressful few weeks at work. I just keep forgetting that (a) I’m going to be really sore. *Really* sore. No, apparently even more sore than that.  And that (b) some of the time I’ll be trying to look after two children who don’t really understand the concept of post-operative recovery.

And it feels a bit weird because I’m going for an operation with no-one waiting for me when I wake up. Ex-Husband won’t be there to look after me. I am rubbish with general anaesthetics and tend to just cry until someone makes me stop.  There won’t be anyone there who knows how to make me stop.  It feels a little lonely really.

Except – well, I’ll get to lie in a bed, and sleep, and I imagine someone will bring me tea and toast every once in a while.  I have a friend who is going to pick me up and bring me home. My sister is coming to stay the night and help me with the children and be entertaining. Another friend has offered to come and help with the children next week if I need it. And I can lie on the sofa on Sunday and Monday and watch as much West Wing as I can fit in.  I am overwhelmed with love and support. It is strange going from having someone who I can completely rely on to look after me to being alone but surrounded by friends – it’s like jumping out of a plane with a parachute you’ve never had to rely on before, and discovering it works – beautifully.

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A year ago today Ex-Husband left me.  On the Friday he told me we needed to talk about our relationship but it ‘wasn’t terminal’. On the Saturday he told me he was unhappy and had been for a long time. On the Sunday he told me he’d had a long think and he didn’t want to try any more. And that was it: my marriage was over.

Last night I was thinking back to that weekend last year.  He’d been working nights so he went out on Saturday night and stayed out all night, thinking.  I didn’t know where he was and his phone was switched off.  I was waiting, increasingly anxiously, for him to come home, not realising he was never really coming home again.  Unable to imagine, comprehend what was about to happen.

Remembering that weekend felt slightly like celebrating Easter – I imagine that this sense was increased by the fact that my marriage was destroyed over the course of a weekend.  Christians remember the disciples’ grief and horror at Good Friday, then the burial and waiting on Easter Saturday (actually, the disciples were hiding rather than waiting. But as Christians already know the ending, they just do waiting).  And then the joy of the resurrection on Easter Sunday.

For me there hasn’t really been a joyful resurrection. It’s been a long slow crawl, pulling myself out of the hole I found myself in, finding support and love and encouragement from my friends and family – and everyone who reads and comments on this blog, discovering strengths I did not want to need, learning that if I didn’t do the washing up no-one would (really, I have put this theory to the test over quite a long time and it does stand up).

So I’d planned to celebrate today.  To celebrate myself and my children and the amazing people who have got me through this. I thought I’d have a lovely day out with my girls and then perhaps a really nice dinner.

It didn’t quite work out that way.  I’m at risk of redundancy at work so there have been assessments.  Today, rather than enjoy thinking about how far I’ve come, I’ve been in an interview explaining how amazing I am.  This is quite stressful. I also have a presentation to do on Thursday.  Small Girl has taken to refusing to go to sleep and then waking up and screaming and feeding.  This hasn’t helped. And at midnight last Thursday I discovered that my bathroom light wouldn’t turn off and the isolator switch for the extractor fan was fizzing as water dripped through it.  So it’s been a crisis weekend.

I’ve been thinking about how to move on from all this, to put what has happened to me in my past, to stop being someone-whose-husband-has-left-her-with-two-children to being… someone.  A single parent, but one who doesn’t need to tell everyone she meets about her tragic life.  Someone with an ex-husband, but without all the issues.

And I suppose this is the first step – to realise that my life does not need to revolve around marking the anniversary of my husband leaving me. Yes, it’s good to celebrate my achievements, and to thank people for their love and support, but this is my life now, this is what I’m dealing with now.  Maybe I can leave that separation in my past.


In the dying days of the year, I am mainly trying to reduce unhappiness

I have been looking, desperately, for ways to be happier.  I have thought about buying things. Mainly from ebay, because that way I also get the satisfaction of grinding my competitors into the dust by sniping them at the last minute.  I like having new things, things I really want and enjoy owning, but just buying more things doesn’t actually make me happy.  I buy chocolate and eat it, but it doesn’t really make me happier.  As I eat it furtively while Big Girl isn’t looking, I just feel guilty. And really, really, I *know* eating chocolate isn’t going to make me happy.  So I feel stupid afterwards for doing something which I knew all along wasn’t going to make me happy.

What I think is this: just now, it’s not about trying to be happier. That’s for Spring and Summer, the seasons of hope, things growing, days getting longer.  That’s a time for setting goals and achieving them. Autumn and Winter are for reducing unhappiness.  Working out what makes my life difficult and stressful and taking it away.  Some problems can’t be removed without a team of ninja assassins, something I don’t have access to.  But perhaps other things can.

So I’m trying to cut out the things which make life hard. For example, I’ve decided to eat the same food each week. For the past fortnight we’ve had macaroni cheese with peas in once a week.  This saves on making decisions.  Eventually I hope to have a whole week’s worth of meals in the calendar so I just don’t have to think about it. .

The constant sense of chaos engendered by the state of my kitchen is another thing which makes me unhappy. So I’ve tidied it. And I’m keeping it tidy.  This doesn’t really make me happy. But it makes me less unhappy.

And I’m giving up on the idea of reading much of the stuff which comes through my letterbox.  Or into my inbox. Seriously, I don’t have time to hooveer (oh wait! I could have time to hoover.  I just don’t want to). When am I going to have time to read the local newspaper? Or the Review section of the Guardian? Straight into the recycling bin.

I’m looking for all the little things which make me feel dismal, make me feel a failure, make my life feel difficult, and I’m getting rid of them.  John Stuart Mill advocated for ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people’. I look back over this past summer, over the the goals I set for myself and sort of achieved, and I think, I have been happy.  I think happiness can be realised. But just now, in the time of year most suited to hibernation, it’s time for a different set of goals.

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If you can’t say anything funny, don’t say anything at all.

I haven’t posted in a while.

There are some things going on at work which are huge and stressful. I don’t want to write about them, but it’s hard to know how to talk about anything else.

I started a couple of posts, one involving sick and screaming and lack of sleep. It was almost funny but I couldn’t quite get there.  It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder time again, so I find it harder to be funny about anything. And when I’m not being funny, I’m just whiney.

There are good things coming.  In November, the children are going to stay with Ex-Husband for a couple of nights and I’m going on holiday.  I think, after the year I’ve just had, I need a break. I’m going to Scarborough, as it’s by the sea and easy to get to on the train. It may also be bleak and full of despair in November. But I don’t care. I’m planning on going to the theatre and staying in a hotel with an indoor swimming pool.  I’ll be fine.

I’ve also started seeing a chiropractor.  In my head, chiropractic sits in a box with homeopathy and crystal healing and other things that I just can’t help being sceptical about.  But I have been told that the first three years of the training are the same as a GP’s.  And that it’s to do with helping your nervous system to work as well as it can. And about finding good health rather than just treating symptoms.  And about helping your body to deal with stress well.  These are all good things.  And as I have health insurance through work which pays for it, it can’t do any harm. If it just makes me prioritise going to bed, doing more exercise and eating vegetables, it’s worthwhile.  I had my first proper treatment today and I’ve felt sick and tired all day, so clearly it’s a good thing… But I am off to bed now.

I’ll be back soon when I can be funnier.