I’m off work this week, and as a result, I have exactly no attention span.
I mean, normally my attention span is not great… But right now it’s extra horrible. Then again, so is my general ability to think straight.
The last week and a half have been a bit of a blur…
I decided late in the week to start a fundraiser I’d been working on with Sara of Sara Hickman Designs for the La Crosse Area Autism Foundation (LAF). My intent was to write a blog to cover it for posting on Friday morning, but I managed to not accomplish that… So if you’re interested in some super fun t-shirts, check them out here. Since this year’s big fundraiser for LAF has been postponed indefinitely, we figured they could use some help.
Plus Frodo, our older cat, has been in failing health over the last several weeks… He’s the cat who had most of his thyroid removed almost a year and a half ago due to cancer. We know he’s at least 15, and he’s lost a significant amount of weight lately. Especially in the last couple of weeks, he’s spent most of his time hiding and has started missing the litter box. So that’s also been weighing on my mind.
It’s also the time of year where we would normally be working on transitioning from our school schedule to the summer schedule… And while the school year ended, the structure and schedule of the school day has already been gone since March. Plus we’re moving into a summer without any scheduled activities (and no concrete plan to resume Nolan’s therapy services) because of the current pandemic.
Over Memorial Day weekend, the painters we contracted to paint our house called to say that they had a last-minute schedule change and ask if they could start on our house on Tuesday instead of later in June. I told them that was fine knowing that I still had work to do before they could start.
So I spent the rest of the weekend doing things like replacing the mailbox (which was on last summer’s list but didn’t happen…) so that we would have a house number up after I’d pulled the existing house number off of the house… I took down the front light, moved our yard art out of the way and trimmed the bushes out front so that everything would be ready to go.
The painting crew got part of a day in on Tuesday and a full day in on Wednesday. Thursday was a partial day and Friday the plan was to finish touch-ups over the weekend.
I texted my contact with the company on Friday to ask if we would be receiving an invoice or if they needed payment once the work was completed. She let me know that payment was due when the work was completed, and sent me the total.
And I was confused. I had a very different number in my head than what she texted.
So I started to think back through the numbers we were originally given. And then I thought back on when we upgraded from one coat on the siding to two. Okay, yes… her total made sense.
Somehow my muddied brain had looked at the contract wrong when I’d checked the numbers on it earlier in the week… The contract broke things out into different options for the siding and the trim and somehow my brain looked at those options, threw its hands up in the air, made a big “PPpppffffffttttttt!!!!!” sound with its tongue and went, “Nope. This much.”
Knowing my number was significantly lower than the contractor’s number, my mind started racing. “Okay, I know I have this much in this account, and that much I can access in that account… anything else is going to take a couple of days to transfer into our regular bank account where we have easy access. Let me see what kind of difference I’m looking at…”
I was already starting to worry. But then I grabbed my phone to use the calculator… And of course, facebook was open when I opened my phone. So the first thing I saw was news of George Floyd and protests in our neighboring Minnesota and throughout the country.
In short, here’s a quick equation for you: 2 ½ months of Coronavirus pandemic + money stress + sick pet + civil unrest (huge understatement-- I know… I’m not mentally ready to address it here yet) = near panic attack. I was nauseous and my head pounded from the stress. It felt like I stepped off a cliff without realizing it until it was too late.
I’ve had very few actual panic attacks in my lifetime-- so few I can count them on one hand and still have fingers left. This was close… My biggest focus in it, though, was the budget brainfreeze I’d had. Of course, it was the only piece I was directly in control of, so it took the focus of that anxiety.
I came home on my short lunch break to sort it out with Kirk, and we both marveled that something like this didn’t happen sooner. We tend to live in this cloud of mental disclarity from just trying to keep up with the day-to-day and minute-to-minute issues that need to be dealt with. It’s no wonder our brains are scrambled and somewhat worn out with my attention span running thin....
Even now my attention span is getting the better of me again… Is disclarity a word? I’d better find out… Thankfully I’m not the only person to ever ask that question before.
But now it’s Wednesday night (I think?), and the painting is still not finished which means no more payment has even been required yet. Frodo has perked up some, but he’s still thin and not nearly himself. Coronavirus is still an ever-present issue, and racism still exists in the United States. Nolan still has autism and keeps our heads on a swivel all day every day.
So the mental fog isn’t likely to clear any time soon. At this point it’s become more like part of the climate than the seasonal temperature I suppose. And while I may dream of clearer skies, I know that this fog is as much a part of this place I call home as the people I love.
All I can really do is be mindful of the fog around me and be careful to not walk myself off another cliff.