Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Refrigerator man

The refrigerator repair man came to the house because our fridge died last week. At first I thought I left the freezer drawer open which caused the stuff inside to defrost so I made sure it was shut tight and then a few hours later, opened it up to a sogging, dripping mess. (BTW, freezers with drawers on the bottom are a cluster f*ck. Stuff falls behind the drawer and the ice maker overflows all the time. And you have to Houdini your body to fit inside the drawer while using a mirror to try and put the little hook back into the little stopper hole. Like clockwork one of us working inside the drawer will ask, "Is it in the hole yet??" And the other will say "That's what she said." And then the other will say, "I'm freezing in here will you JUST TELL ME IF IT'S IN THE FRIGGIN' HOLE!?!?" and this happens about 16 times a month. 

So anyway the repair man came out to try to fix/diagnose the problem and by that I mean he plugged in the fridge, listened to a hum/click and 3 seconds later pocketed a check for $60. He recommended a family owned appliance store in town and then I told him that we have a back up fridge in the laundry room that we'll just roll into the kitchen (fyi, that task is a lot harder than it sounds). Fridge man's energy level kicked up a notch and he asked, "You have another fridge/freezer in this house??" I told him yes it's down the hall in the laundry r--- and before I could finish talking he spurts out "Can I see it?" (talk about someone who LOVES his job) I let him know that it seems to be working fine so there's really no need and when he asked to see it a second time I finally said, "I have a mean cat who's inside the laundry room because if he gets out, he will bite you." Fridge man looks at me funny and says, "Who? A cat?? You have a biting cat??" I simply say, "Yes."  Then he asks, "What would happen if you let the cat out?" I visualize the massacre in my head for a moment or two and then say, "It wouldn't be pleasant." His large appliance fascination has now been replaced by the not so friendly feline and he presses on, "Well, would he run up and just bite or would he approach slowly, like a lion, stalking me like prey?" At this point I'm about ready to lead him down the hall and say, "How about you find out for yourself buddy?" But instead I tell him that it depends on the situation, sometimes it's a run, jump and cling to a body part type of bite and other times it's a more calculated approach, when one least expects it. Of course this sparks more interest so he asks his age, what type of cat he is, how we got him and then in mid sentence notices the 3 litter boxes sitting atop our living room furniture and points to them, "Are those HIS boxes??" I wanted to say no, they're ours - our toilets are broken too but didn't and said "Yes those are his. He also has a bit of a marking problem." A look of horrified curiosity spread over his face and it's obvious he's not going to be satisfied so I figure, what the hell, let's just get this over with. "Do you want to take a quick peek at him?" Apparently that was the million dollar question. "YES! I have to see this cat!"  

I told him that I'll quickly open the door just a sliver to make sure Chumley doesn't escape. Refrigerator man stands behind me in anticipation of the viewing and I ask him not to say anything because that will get Chum really worked up. Once the door cracks, I hear Chumley jump off the dryer and meow (which sounded sweet) as he heads to the door. He sniffs the opening and Refrigerator man shouts, "He looks normal! He looks sweet!" (Umm, what part of NOT speaking did you NOT understand?!?) Then he kneels down ever so slightly and CHUM GOES APE SHIT. He screeches/hisses/growls all at the same time and whacks the side of the door like a wind up toy gone bad. I quickly shut the door and say, "So that's Chumley."

He left shaking his head, laughing but I'm guessing also a bit disturbed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

this and that

Let me just start off by saying DO NOT lick a Target receipt. Take my word for it here, just don't. ever. do it. (I typically don't make a habit of licking receipts but in the process of spitting out my gum, my tongue grazed the paper and oh holy Jeezus did it taste awful.) I'm not sure if it was from the paper, or the freshly printed ink, but this was poison on the tongue. Poison I tell you! 

Ok now where was I. 

Oh that's right I was shoving these chips into my mouth. Have you ever tried them?? They are insanely addicting so don't come crying to me if you end up hoarding 200 bags in your pantry because you just can't get enough of them. And I am willing to bet my life that most people who love chocolate could finish an entire bag in a 24 hour period. 

You know that saying, "Don't put off until tomorrow what you can do today?" Well I've realized that doesn't apply to a sun lover in Seattle. Today I had work that I needed to get done that could only be done in the office so as I'm getting my bag and keys to head out the door, I notice the sky starting to lighten a little. I rush to the window and realize it didn't look like much so I headed for the door. When I drove to the top of the hill in our town I notice more breaks in the clouds. I think, "Hmmm ok, well if that sun pops out and I'm stuck inside this will not be good because God know when we'll see it again, yet if I head home and it doesn't pop out I'm screwed because I'm not prepared for tomorrow!" (new class starting up) So what do I do? I say F it and turn around and head home. And the sun is gone. I start to think that this is what being in an abusive relationship must feel like. The false promises, the "I promise I'll change, I swear" these anxiety filled moments make for an exhausting way to live. I went back into my car, received a phone call and while I was chatting the sun started to re-appear so I said F it again, headed back in the house onto the deck to disrobe. I fell asleep in the sun. 

We've lived here for 1,016 days. I've probably felt "present" for about 200 of those days. I have lived the past 3 years anticipating summer, or any sort of change from the darkness that loves to settle over this tiny pocket of the world. And during those days it's impossible to live in the present when you're always hoping or waiting for things to change.  Motivation and perspective are difficult to find when a sense of hopelessness lingers just beneath the surface. It's true that lots of people suffer from S.A.D. during the winter months but lucky for us, our dark days can last a good 9-10 months so when your serotonin levels are out of whack for that long, it's an open door for the D word.

I am thankful to get my health on track and now understand why the Candida grew like wildfire. I swear all I did was crave carbs and eat sugary starchy meals upon our arrival.

"Recent evidence has also linked light exposure to the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is thought to influence mood. People who are affected by SAD appear to have difficulty regulating serotonin levels in their blood. That these levels can be increased by a diet rich in carbohydrates explains the intense carbohydrate cravings of many SAD patients. This theory also accounts for the success of selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitors, such as Prozac and Zoloft, when administered to patients suffering from depression."

And reading about suggested treatments for S.A.D. makes me even more SAD! But whatever it is what it is...

"The only known way to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder is to live in a warm, southerly climate. But that doesn't mean that those of us who have chosen the north as our home must suffer endlessly at the hands of winter. Following some of the these suggestions can help alleviate many of the unpleasant symptoms associated with SAD: 1. Get more natural sunlight by doing outdoor chores and keeping windows and blinds open in the home and office. 2. Go outside and walk briskly (even in cold weather) once during the course of the day-particularly effective at midday. 3. Sit near a window, preferably in the sun, whenever possible. 4. Join a support group with other similarly-afflicted people. 5. Try phototherapy. 6. Go south for vacation!"

The support group is key, as I've met and made many friends who also suffer from weather related blues. Some have lived here less time than we have and either moved back to where they came or opted for warm, sunny climates. It makes me happy to see them enjoying life again and I do not consider it a weakness on their part to move away. It takes a strong person to make a change no matter what the situation is and no more justification should be needed. 

It sounds like fluff to say that living in a sun filled climate would alleviate stress and worry but some of my most challenging moments in life happened prior to living here and during those times I was able to rationalize and keep perspective of those situations. There was no undercurrent of anxiety since I was mentally motivated to push through.  My dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2000 while we were in Chicago and then died in 2006 while we were in California. Those six years were filled with stress, worry, fear, anger all the things that come along with terminal illness. But there was never that sense of hopelessness. I was still able to function and stay present and aware of our blessings. I started this blog shortly after he passed because I recognized the goodness in in my life and wanted to journal my happiness with my family and friends. I CRAVE TO GET THAT BACK. (healthier than craving carbs I guess.)

As I sit here 3 years later, that S.A.D. lingers even as we near the end of July. I tried so hard to mentally prepare myself for this change but until you actually live it, you never know what it's going to be like and how it's going to affect you.  But today as I slept in the sun I felt a glimmer of my old self and that gave me some hope. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vamos a la Playa!

The good thing about summer in Seattle? We don't have to worry about overcrowded beaches.

I miss the seasons. I really, really miss the seasons, especially long hot summers. Even the harshly bitter extremes of winter and the oppressive humidity of midwest summers, which I'm certain sounds a bit wackdoodle to anyone in 100 degree weather right now. So many people are suffering through heat waves across the country and while that is no picnic whatsoever, the thing is, those waves don't last for 9 or 10 months a year, as our weather tends to. Same with the biting cold of winter. As soon as you're about ready to hit your breaking point from the bitter temps...alas, Spring arrives and the earth as well as your brain begins to thaw. Then there's summer and when you just can't take another day in the 90's or higher, slowly there begins a shift into fall with a much needed reprieve. The reason Seattle's climate can be challenging for people who are used to seasons is because we don't have those extremes (except in the summer, which, we're still waiting for. tick tock tick tock, why did I buy a new bathing suit this year???) Here, each month just sort of spills into the next without much variance from the last and before you know it, it's the middle of July and you find yourself on line looking to replace yet another rain coat. (fyi: North Face jacket zippers SUCK, I got stuck in my jacket again today and refuse to buy another North Face zipper product ever again. Actually had to use a fork to get out of it.) Anyway, the one thing about the Northwest is that the weather is very consistent and predictable which is why many people who do not like those extreme changes and prefer a cold, damp season year round really love it here. And for those who enjoy four distinct seasons, it becomes a bit of a challenge.

Outside of the Northwest and maybe Southern California climates, there is typically quite a difference in temperature within a 6 month span. I'll share a conversation between me and Tom to put this into perspective:

(me) "Tom, what was the name of that restaurant we took your mom to for Christmas?"

(him) "Salty's?"

(me) "No, not that one. The one up in Ballard. Right on the water."

(him) "Oh, Ray's Boathouse?"

(me) "Yes, that's the one!"

(him) "That wasn't Christmas."

(me) "It wasn't? Was it Thanksgiving?"

(him) "No. Mother's Day."

(me) "Oh My."

I seriously thought it was either November or December but was May. Hmmm.

This October we will have been here 3 years and in that short amount of time we've met others who have lived here less than that come and go. It's hard to say goodbye and I'm starting to understand why people initially are reluctant to make friends with transplants because people new to the NW have a reputation as being "short timers", not to mention those who move from a warm, dry, sunny place. 

I am grateful that I've been able to live in 3 of the 4 corners of the US and really feel that moving to a new place breaks you out of your own comfort zone. You either adapt gracefully, resist forcefully or allow things to just be, but hope for a better tomorrow.