Tag Archives: family

Coming out of the fog

Since finally being unemployed, a few things have cropped up, and mostly they are things in my head. I have referenced a couple of times that I’ve been dealing with major anxiety, which sort of snuck up on me and took over for no reason that made sense to my logical brain. The past couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle; it’s been hard when it gets dark out, it’s been hard when the TV is on and when it’s off, it’s been hard when my wife kisses me or if she doesn’t kiss me.

Luckily, I have a kick-ass relationship with my awesome therapist, and she knows me well; she hooked me up with a doctor who could prescribe things that might make me feel better, and after exactly 18 days of nearly paralyzing anxiety, I am finally starting to feel clear-headed.

looking towards clearer, happier days

This is something that’s sort of tough to write about, but also really, really important to read about. I find strength every single day from reading Karen’s blog, Uncomfortably Honest and Honestly Uncomfortable: she is such a cool person and if she lived closer I would want to be friends with her, but also she deals with all this crap stuff all the time and talks about it in such a normal way.  Plus!  Heather Armstrong of Dooce routinely references the tough mental stuff she’s gone through – and all of this, I think reaches people who realize that it’s really okay to ask for help.

Again: It’s okay to ask for help.

So if posting has been a bit less entertaining than usual, it’s because real life has been a bit more challenging than usual.  But it really is getting better.  And along those lines, I want to thank Karen, for helping me realize that there is hope and that I am not the only person in the world who is dealing with this; I want to thank Ellen for sharing her experiences with anxiety, and how they’re over (i.e. There’s hope! There is an Other Side!); and I want to thank my wonderful wife.

Turtle and I have been married for four months today, and the last four months have been wonderful and challenging.  For the last 18 days, I have been needing her support more than maybe I ever have before, and you know what?  She’s there.  She’s checking in with me, checking on my meds, making sure I don’t get into bed with all my clothes still on.  She’s stretching her own limits and she is doing a damn good job.

best wife, on a better day

When we say “in sickness and in health” (which, actually, I am not sure we did say), I picture someone in a hospital bed, or vomiting over the toilet, or needing a ride to a doctor’s appointment.  I don’t picture the mental health aspect of it, but that’s it, too, you guys.  In sickness and in health is checking in, saying, “How are you feeling today?” and just asking about moods and emotions.  Funny, the things that we promise that we only learn the meaning of later.

And this, four months in.

So, to my readers: thanks for sticking it out, despite the foggy posts.  Knowing you’re out there makes it worth all the trying.

And to my wife, as I said yesterday, and the day before that, and the day before that: Thank you, in all the ways.

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Across the Shoreline: The biggest smiles

First of all, my wife is kind of amazing.  I have been dealing with some pretty major anxiety for the last, oh, 13 days, and she has been a rockstar.  She checks in with me, she lets me whine or cry, she makes sure I’m taking the right amount of meds, she reminds me to check in with my doctor.  Ladylove, you are wonderful.

So while we’re talking about the other member of my fantastic marriage, why not show you some more pretty pictures?  After we danced our way back up the aisle, we took off together!  I had heard of couples taking some time between the ceremony and reception to have some quiet time together, to giggle and be excited and take in the enormity of it all, and somewhere along the line we decided that the ideal place to do this was in a boat.

Don’t worry! We do know enough about boats to realize that we won’t go far without paddles or while facing the same direction…

This made for a lot of fun and some pretty great pictures, but we also had a lot of people looking at us.  I didn’t feel like we could go very far (Look! Everyone’s waiting for us! They’re waving! They’re staring! Are they bored?), but it was really wonderful to get out on the water, just the two of us.  There were two guys out fishing and they seemed to get a kick out of us, two brides, out on the water, too.

We made our way back in, took a group picture, and then it was family picture time.

all of our friends and family, except our amazing photographer friend. we know she was there because we have all these amazing pictures without her in them. thanks Ellie!

They say you have to smile a lot, and we did.  The thing was, though, that it wasn’t hard to smile a lot.  We were pretty damn happy.  People kept saying, “Kiss! Kiss!” so we kept kissing and making faces.  It was all sort of whirlwindy and wonderful.

us with our immediate families

us with a portion of my extended family (I LOVE my grandma and brother in this picture!)

I think the prompt was "everyone look at Bird!" How could I NOT make a face? Also, isn't my family beautiful? The answer is yes.

us with Turtle's mom and grandpa. I love this picture.

Next up: our kickass bridal brigade photos!

You know, I used to think that all the family portraits were sort of silly and not for me.  The truth of it all is that it was really fun getting to spend time running in and out of these little groups, and hearing our photographer prompt everyone, and having so many people around us, all being so excited!  The only thing I regret about these pictures is that I wish I had more! I wish I had some with just my siblings or with each of my parents individually, or each of my grandparents.  But I do love what we had.  If you’re on the fence, more is best! That’s my new take on things.  If you’ve done it already, what’s yours?  If not, what are your thoughts?

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Snow day!

Snow Day at the Turtle-Bird Homestead

I have few sassy things to say today, but here’s what I do have:

  • My wife is really pretty and has been the most supportive partner I could ask for over the last couple of weeks/months/years.  I’ve been dealing with some weird anxiety stuff, and she’s 100% here, making sure all is being taken care of.
  • My dog is very entertaining and gives me a reason to get my unemployed ass out of the house every single day.  Thanks, Daphne. (Also, daily posts about her at Flying Dingo. Have I said that already? I’ll stop soon.)
  • We have big plans for today: there’s already 15 inches of snow on the ground here, but we did our Ikea shopping trip last night so we have lots of projects to tackle. Fun!
  • Oh and I’m on APW today!  And I’m interested in hearing your thoughts on boyfriend/girlfriend vs. partner vs. spouse vs. husband/wife.  Comment there or come back here and tell me what you think!

Hope some of you are having a wonderful snow day and others of you are warm wherever you are.  Nothing like 1 foot + of snow to remind me how grateful I am to have a home.

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Reflections on a year I was grateful to see go

Well, hello, there!  I said I’d be back in the new year, and here I am.  I missed you!  But I also spent the last couple of weeks masquerading as a slightly insane petsitter.  Slightly insane only because I think sane petsitters occasionally say no to jobs so that they can occasionally care for their own pets; I, on the other hand, had up to 13 jobs in one day.  Thank you a billion times over to my beautiful wife for taking care of our own beasts!

I both love and hate year-in-reviews; sometimes I find it really boring to read about other people’s years, but really, if you find this boring? Skip it.  Because when it’s not boring it’s really interesting, so I’m banking on everyone loving my version of a year in review.  It’s a bit more of a reflection than review, but that’s what you get. Ready? Let’s go.

Our 2010 year started off with us screwing up a dinner party.  Seriously.  We thought we were being invited to just a “let’s all hang out, it’ll be fun!” party and we showed up 2 hours after it started.  Um, fashionably late for a regular old party, right? Yeah, well, as I mentioned – it was a dinner party.  Being 2 hours late is very, very bad.

I tell you this because, in retrospect, it seems like an appropriate beginning to the year that 2010 was.

In 2010, we had in our lives or in the lives of people we’re very close to a birth, a death, jobs lost, new jobs started, a separation, a wedding, we moved, we got a kitten, we lost our kitten, and we each turned another year older.  That last part is just how things work.  Other notable things: I started blogging, I started classes, I dropped classes, I got rejected by roller derby (twice!), our dog bit someone, I changed my life plan, we changed our last name, we merged our finances, and – yes, I already mentioned the wedding, but it feels worth mentioning again – we’re married now.

yes, I know you've seen this picture before... but it is one of my ALL TIME FAVORITES. So here it is again. Enjoy, because it's beautiful.

What I mean to say is that 2010 was a really big year, and I am really grateful that it’s over.  When the clock struck midnight and our little group of friends yelled “Happy New Year!” I felt this sudden and huge wave of relief.  Really, that’s sort of silly: who knows what 2011 brings?  Maybe more stressors, different stressors.  But I find a lot of hope in this: we made it through this last year, and we did a really good job.  The chances of all of these things happening in the same year again are probably not very high, but, regardless, I know we can handle it.

Being engaged and then married has been an enormous blessing throughout all of this.  When things get hard, I know that there’s someone by my side, someone on my team; even when we’re having a rough time in our relationship, we’re in it for the long haul.

So here’s to 2011, with hope that it is full of love and new beginnings and is only somewhat eventful.  Happy New Year, you guys.

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Tradition… tradition!

Tonight begins our first Crazy Intense Holiday Celebration Week While Married.  Writing that sentence was sort of overwhelming, and the festivities haven’t even started yet.

Holidays this year are a little funky.  In years past, we have trekked the 30 minutes to my parents’ house and gathered there with my parents and brother (all of whom lived there) and my sister and her boyfriend (who definitely did not live there).  This year, things are a little different, and we are hosting!  Whoa, hello there, Being a Grownup, I think I was entirely unprepared for your arrival.  But sure, pull up a seat and feel free to go through anything in the fridge.  Yes, help yourself.  I can handle you because I am now a Grownup and can make up the rules about what time of day I get to start drinking.

Being a Grownup

Kidding.

Since the arrival of the holidays amidst a fractured family can really emphasize what’s missing, my lovely wife and I decided that we need to embrace some new traditions.  One of them we realized we already have: Solstice.

Solstice is the shortest day of the year, and this year there is also an eclipse.  Exciting!  Last year – and now this year as well – we are staying at the Inn of Wedding Fame, and then tomorrow we will go for our annual walk in the woods.  We exchange a couple of small gifts, spend a lot of time reading in front of the fireplace at the inn, and enjoy a lot of good tea.  It’s nothing fancy, there’s not a lot involved, but it does feel sacred.

The second new tradition?  Ornaments.  Not just the Gayest Snow(wo)man Ornament, which maybe should be a tradition, but this year we begin exchanging ornaments.  Can’t show you anything yet, since it’s still a secret from Turtle, but this is one I’m excited about.

And the tradition we are still struggling to sort out: our birthdays.  Mine is the 27th, hers is the 28th, my dad’s is the 29th, and my brother’s is January 6th.  This does not leave much recovery time.  Quick! Find traditions for EVERY DAY for a WEEK, stat.

New Tradition: Being Covered in Dogs

What are your holiday traditions?  What do you wish they were?  If you’re married, have you made up new ones with your new baby family?

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Hope and Healing

I had big plans for this weekend, involving festivities and relaxing, and then getting back to blogging on Monday with a clear mind and a lot of thoughtful things to say.

One thing that’s funny about blogging is how much personal stuff I do share, how much I can say about the bumpy parts of my relationship with my wife and finding balances with my family, how much detail I am willing to go into about dealing with depression and therapy and medications and even sex.  Well, the funny thing is when and how I am able to share all that: after the fact is fine, after I can parse it out and look back on it and it’s already a story.

I know I wrote a post called “the short version” last week, but this version is that I am feeling a lot and I don’t know how to say any of it. I spent a lot of last weekend visiting my dad in the hospital.  Don’t worry, folks! He made his escape, we returned his dog, and all seems to be returning to normal (though he declined our offer – nay, our plea – for him to take Daphne home with him tonight).  But this weekend my grandfather went to the doctor and was in quadruple bypass surgery within 24 hours of that visit. Will you, internet people, please send my family healing thoughts?  I would really appreciate it.

Seeing my grandfather and wife interact this summer was one of the best things of the whole summer.

Anyway… here’s what else happened this weekend: on Sunday we picked out our Christmas tree and it is naked in the corner of our living room except for the one ornament that we found and couldn’t not buy.

Really. How could we leave that at the store? We couldn’t.  It needed us almost as much as we needed it.

Our other purchase was the stocking to complete our little family.  Piper has always had a stocking and Daphne got hers last year.  Look, folks, I know the pets don’t care, but I felt guilty not having one for Jake, so I bought this:

What’s that you say?  It looks a little like Jake but has too many eyes?

Ahem. Problem solved with a pair of scissors and some sheer brute force (yes, they sewed AND glued those eyes on!).  Also, my sewing skills require some work, but I think it’s pretty clear that the fish says “Jake” (and hopefully is not read as “Jaxe”, which I was worried about).

Are you starting any holiday decorating or festivities?  Weekend highlights?  Please share!

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The Thrill of the Chaos

Some people enjoy the Thrill of the Hunt or the Thrill of the Chase… it seems, my friends, that I enjoy the Thrill of Being Ridiculously Busy.

though I am capable of relaxing! see??

Since I’m leaving my job in less than two weeks, and I know it might take me a long time to find another job, I decided to start stocking up on money-making activities here and there.  I mentioned I was looking for something extra and a friend called me when her company needed some data entry done; I put up my petsitting cards at a local petstore (guys, I know it’s owned by PetCo, but I love UnLeashed – such a good petstore!) and now I’m walking and doing some positive-reinforcement training with a puppy in town on top of my regular clients; I stopped in at my favorite cookie-only bakery (okay, so there’s only one of those I know of, but it would be my favorite even if it wasn’t the only one) to buy cookies and on a whim asked if they were hiring – now I’m working there a few hours a week.

sky's the limit on insanity!

So I’m basically working four jobs through Christmas, and yes, I am a little bit stressed out, but also – I feel SO GOOD.  Every free moment is a moment I could do something with.  Quick! I have five minutes while the water boils for tea! Time to make that Christmas ornament I’ve been putting off! Okay, here’s another ten minutes before I have to leave: I’ll put tape on the windows and put the plastic up in a few days when I have fifteen minutes to spare.  I am getting an absolute thrill from being so damn busy.

At the end of the day, I am exhausted and usually either asleep or incredibly grumpy (sorry Wife!) by 9:30 at night, but I also feel so productive.  Maybe I don’t have a Thing, but maybe my Thing is trying to keep my head up without losing my shit.  In a good way.

It's all a delicate balance, sort of like a giant chess game. Like THIS giant chess game.

Are you someone who prefers to be busy than, you know, relaxed?  What do you do when you have too much time on your hands?  Does anyone besides somewhat crazy me ever actually feel like they have too much time on their hands?

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Hopefully my posts don’t start sounding a little manic as these jobs pick up… please tell me if they do.  Or just sit in the corner being quietly entertained by me, and occasionally check in with my wife to make sure she’s doing alright.

*All photos from our Awesome  Honeymoon, which I may or may not someday get around to telling you about.  Er, about which I may or may not someday getting around to telling you. Yeah.

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