It was a struggle at times, as I learned a good lesson #MentalHealth

In hindsight I did what I had hoped to get done this weekend for the most part. But it was a real struggle for most of it. But in the end, a big yard project was done, some vital errands were accomplished, some hobby projects were done. And it was quiet for the most part, with the kids all surviving some sleepovers and plenty of fun. In retrospect I did learn an important lesson for future reference.

First, the lesson. As I told Kim yesterday morning, the next time I mention taking time off when the kids have the day off from school, stop me. I can take a weekend, because the weekends are often split up between the two of us, and I don’t have all that much time when it is just me with the kids. But 4 days is really too much at this point. I did my bet to do my own thing, running some short errands, and not really asking much of the kids. But it was still mentally exhausting. By Sunday morning I was done. I mustered the energy to go shopping, and ran the D&D game, which actually helped me recover some. But in general, it is just not advisable or necessary for me to take days off just to be with the kids when they are off school. I should only take the time off for family breaks, or if they are in school so I get that time to myself.

But, like I said, I did get some good things done. We did all the Parent-teacher-student conferences on Thursday. I understand why they make the kids a part of the meetings, but I still would like to have some time with just the teachers. All the kids were good, no surprises with any of the kids. Danny is improving, Jimmy needs to stay healthier, and Emily is right where she should be.

I ran some other minor errands, just little stuff. I was hoping to do a little more but things seemed to keep getting in the way. Jimmy and I were able to move the piles of rock and asphalt from our drive way to the area in the back where the worst of the water seems to come from. It looks good, and we won’t know how much of a difference it will make until we get our first good rain storm.

I did some painting, but not as much as I might have liked. One of the things that was bothering me this weekend was my eyes, I don’t know if it was off lighting or what, but I had a real hard time staying focused on my painting, or liking the results of what I painted. But I did take some time to sort through, organize and label my miniature cases so I now know where all of my figures are, so if I want a particular figure for D&D I can find it.

Halloween was actually nice for the most part. Getting the kids in costume and out the door was much smoother this year. We did the big mass event in Old Colorado City, which was very crowded, and not as ‘lucrative’ as in years past. By the time that ended however my feet were done, my toes had seriously inflamed, and when I tried to put on a different pair of shoes they wouldn’t take it. So Kim took the kids on her own over to her old neighborhood while I was stuck on the couch. Then she brought Danny home, he crashed on the couch with me, and then eventually she and Emily were able to come home.

This led to my spending much of Saturday night and Sunday morning feeling terrible. With Depression feeding me lies about being worthless, not able to even take my kids trick or treating. That combined with exhaustion from dealing with the kids for a number of days put me in a bad head space. But I kept repeating the mantra that Depression Lies, that I have a wonderful wife, and I don’t have to do it all when it comes to parenting time. And on Sunday I was able to work through it, to have a good time with the boys and a good remainder of the weekend.

In the end, I found my times to be happy. And I can look back and be happy about what I did get done. And chalk up the negatives to some lessons learned. And just move on. It is 3 weeks until Thanksgiving week, and I am not taking extra time off work to spend time with the kids that time around.


A huge thank you, and then seeing the difference

First of all, I know I mention her a lot. And I know I rarely fail to acknowledge all that she does. But I want to take a moment this morning to say a


to my wonderful wife Kim.

This week was just a taste of what we can expect the rest of the school year. Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Wrestling, orthodontist/dentist appointments, now therapy appointments, she does it all. And she does all of this in the afternoons after putting in 8 hours of extremely physical, tough work. I don’t thank her enough for all that she does, so I will do it again here today.

Second, remember yesterday how I commented on how much trouble Danny was having when I dropped him off to school? By last night that was all gone, that appointment with the therapist made another big difference. And this morning he was just fine, getting dressed, none of the trials of stomach aches and need for multiple hugs of encouragement. It’s just amazing. And all the reassurance I need that that is time and money well spent. I just think that if he keeps this up, it will make his life so much easier, which fills my heart with joy.

And this weekend we have a few things on tap. I have the final night of the boys first adventure campaign. I plan to take a little time to emphasize that tonight, that this is just the end of their first campaign. It was a learning experience (for all of us) and just enjoy tonight. Tomorrow Jimmy has his first therapy appointment, which I think can help him. I can tell he is in that rough spot. He has his buddies his age, but not everything they do and like is in his wheelhouse. He has started to spend some time with his older cousin and his buddies, all older high school graduate age. And I get the sense that he is feeling a little torn between his less mature buddies, and this other group. He is at a tough age, where he may be more mature than his buddies, but is not any where close to being an adult. I just hope that the therapy will help him reconcile that. And of course help him figure out how to cope when he gets one of these illnesses or headaches.

Danny has a Scout campout Saturday night, so it will be a little quieter evening that night. It is events like this where I can really see the difference in him. He just wouldn’t want to go a year ago, certainly not without Mom or Dad. Just another little difference, like his 2 sleepovers last weekend.

And should be a quiet weekend as far as being lured into watching any football. There are lots of other things I can be doing instead. I have a couple of yard projects to work on at Mom’s and our yard that will help fill up the time. It should be a good weekend.

Getting back up, dusting myself off

Well it has been a rough couple of days, a week really. But I have hope for the future, with plans and excitement for the weekend. School is almost done for the kids, 1 week for the little ones, and 8 days for Jimmy. We are taking advantage of the opportunity given us by the flooding to reconfigure things in the house. And this weekend I have my Denver game, which is something I really look forward to.

I am definitely excited for school to be over. It will be nice to be down to only 2 days a week at most having to get up and make lunches etc. I can really take advantage of that to resume a better morning schedule and maybe get in some exercise again. And of course the kids are just as excited. I may make the occasional remark about the kids getting older and bigger, but in reality that excites me more than anything. Get Older! Get Independent! Become Interesting Human Beings!

This weekend I move from emergency basement clean up to doing some honest purging. The bookshelf has become a disaster (again.) And to be honest, if the kids are going to read, they are more likely to read e-books. So the time has come to clear out everything but a few essentials, books I cannot get or series that I worked hard to complete. The plus side of this is that I will get the chance to move at least some of my hobby stuff out to the main room as a result.

I envision the basement becoming a recreation/hobby room. With space for Lego, kids play toys (barbies etc.) And also room to play games, where I can run D&D games. And also maybe get a hobby area for myself where I can have my painting projects set up semi-permanently. if I am honest, I miss having that kind of space in the house. So I plan to seize this opportunity with both hands and not give it up.

I am excited for my monthly Denver game this weekend. It is nice to get that time to myself, the long drive alone does not bother me in the least. And it is a great diversion and escape for a day. And definitely needed at this point.

Last, on the mental health front I have found something out, that might help. I recently have begun to notice something. Often when I get these bad days, or anxious or whatever, just drinking a soda helps things (and sometimes some junk food but that is a different issue.) So I did some research on Depression and Caffeine, and it turns out that Caffeine is actually a bad thing for Depressives. And what is likely happening is a bit of withdrawal. Which leads me to a course of action that I plan to undertake: namely dropping all caffeine. I plan to wait until after the dust of school end settles. But at that point I am just going to have to do it. It is not going to be easy, and it is entirely likely I may fail, or at the least will be pretty anxious for a little while.

I have tried this before, but for different reasons. And this time I have considerably more motivation. Because I know that if I can cut out the caffeine entirely I should be able to level out my moods better. All the research indicates that is the case, and I need to keep doing things like this for my own well being.

So yeah, I took a couple bad shots last weekend. Got knocked down. But I am getting back up, dusting myself off and moving on. With some exciting plans, and some things to really look forward to.  And I have come to realize just how important that is, without something to look forward to life just feels like a death march.

Making the best of it, finding solutions

That was an exhausting weekend. So much so that I ended up adding an extra day just to finish some stuff and then recover. The weather over the last part of the week and weekend was just crazy, and really almost unprecedented. And that caused more than a small problem as the basement was flooded multiple times. And to top that off we were hosting a Mothers Day event, so the house was full of people. It was all very trying and difficult, but we found a way to make the best of it all and ended up using it all as an impetus for a good change in the house configuration.

 We, Kim especially, have puzzled over 2 problems for a while. What to do with a room that is effectively wasted space? And is there a way to maintain better order in the basement rec room when all the kids try and share the space? Well Kim had mentioned some ideas and then this weekend came up with what is really the best solution.

We moved the kids electronics up to the dining room area temporarily for Mothers Day, just so the XBox would be available. Then Kim said why not make that permanent? Move the good table to the kitchen, since the kitchen table is falling apart, and then put that table downstairs. And also since the dining room table was effectively unused, and just ends up as a repository for stuff that people just dump when they come in the door.

So now the dining area is now officially the electronic gaming room, with a small new couch and rug. Which will also mean that the basement room can be more dedicated to other gaming. And as a result maybe easier to deal with if the room floods, and also gives more room for things like our D&D games and other stuff. Who knows, I might even get back a permanent hobby area in the bargain.

 The flooding, above is what things looked like Saturday morning, after spending Friday evening trying to carry out all the water we could. And then, after spending Saturday morning cleaning it all up, cleaning the gutters, making as many other adjustments as we could, after another torrential downpour the room ended up right back to that same state. All told I would say I spent about 12 hours working on the flooding one way or another on Saturday. And yes, Sunday morning it was all wet again. To be honest the carpet is still wet today in many places, and damp pretty much everywhere else.

It was a really tough day for me. I got lots of help, the extended family all really pitched in on Saturday. Jimmy was a great help all weekend. And poor Kim worked her tail off both days, even having to clean up the house on Mothers Day! Yeah, it was not the most fun thing we have ever done.

In the end though, we had a very good Mothers Day event. We made some very good food, that was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The weather finally cooperated so people could spend time outdoors. And we all ended up making the best of it all.

And Monday Kim & I rested together, gathering our energy. And getting the new configuration done. And now we are ready to tackle the end of the school year. So we made the best of it. I could not have done so without help from all those different people. And also realizing what things I could and should do to maintain some level self care. So we are through this disaster with colors still raised high.

Productive, but at a relaxed pace

We actually got a lot done this weekend. Almost finished the kids cars for Pinewood. Began the process for a science fair project. The usual cleaning and picking up, doing laundry. Filed taxes, prepared taxes. But we did it all at a relaxed pace, not obsessively rushing to get it all done, and made plenty of time for recreation time for everyone. It is funny how just the gradually improving weather can make such a difference mentally (along with the return to health for the family.)

This is the time of year that can very easily overwhelm everyone. As we try to get the year end projects done. Kim even made up a list of all the things we needed to get done. But while that looked overwhelming it really wasn’t once we broke it down and got started. I tackled the always annoying process of finishing the Pinewood Derby cars. I think I did what I needed to make Danny’s car more competitive this year, but cannot be sure. We took the time to get the supplies and decided on what Danny will do for the end of year Science Fair project.

The kids were actually pretty helpful when it was time to get the house picked up. I think I have come up with a trick for getting the little ones to do their part but not feel overwhelmed. Instead of just pointing to a general area and saying ‘clean the living room’ I instead will just give them very specific jobs, ‘pick up items X and take them where the belong then come back to me.’ It also helped to have Jimmy back to full health and therefore able and willing to do his part to get things done. That was especially nice.

But in spite of doing all that, including the added chore of dealing with taxes, we were able to move at a relaxed pace. Since nothing really had a time deadline over the weekend we were able to just get it done without the usual frantic rush to get things done.

And we were able to get in some fun time. I was able to paint some. I had my game with the boys on Sunday. I got through about half of Daredevil. And then enjoyed Game of Thrones and Mad Men. And I got myself up and out of bed for some walks (mixed with running) both days.

We packed a lot of things into the weekend, but it never felt like we were tackling some huge project or were in a rush. And that is when life is good, when you can have fun, but also get things done. And in a perfect world even have some fun while getting those things done!

A weekend with a little something for everyone

That was a full weekend! Yard work, house work, shopping, hiking, running, movies, sleepovers, play dates, games; you name it we did it this weekend. And I enjoyed it all (for the most part.) And I think the kids had a good time as well.

My main focus was getting some deep cleaning work done inside & outside so that we won’t be quite as stressed out before the weekend when we entertain. And we got it all done for the most part. Saturday I focused on the yard, mowing, weed eating, getting the kids to pick up their messes. There are still a few things to do, but those should be minor, and the yard is presentable for a family cookout. Sunday we focused on the main rooms: sweeping, mopping vacuuming, shampooing, cleaning out. With the kids being in school the rest of the week it should be pretty easy to maintain those areas, again minimizing the last minute work Saturday morning.

But we had fun as well. Rented a movie Friday night, went and saw a movie Saturday night while Emily was at a sleepover. I played some games, worked on some pictures. Even played some Magic with Jimmy, I hadn’t done so in a while because I choose not to get in the game of keep up with every new set with him. But it was fun. Chose to skip watching any football at all, saving myself for the opening of the season. 

Took the little ones on a Cub Scout hike as well, nearly 4 miles, got some great pictures, and survived some brief rain showers. I even got out on Saturday for a run on the eastern part of the Midland trail, was able to get a few pictures there as well. So got my exercise, and some pictures. I am starting to feel a little more normal physically, better able to handle those types of events. 

As I said it was a full weekend, the type that makes me glad I can better enjoy things now. And I feel that we have done the big prep work for hosting an event (or 2) this coming weekend with less stress over what the house looks like. 

Taking advantage of the feelings of well being

For a weekend that did not start out very promisingly it all ended up great. From a rather odd disappointing Scout event to ending up with a feeling of well being and a good scratch dinner and some binge Netflix series watching. In between there was a fun family gathering, I finally got to play a game, and I got started on some much needed yard work.

Lesson learned on the Scouting event. In the future there needs to be far more interaction with a group before signing up kids to volunteer so the kids (and families) know what they will be doing, when they will be needed and what it is all about. I had to get the kids up early after a late night swim party for the Girl Scouts and drive an hour or so up into the mountains to a reservoir to volunteer for the Fishing Has No Boundaries event. Which is a great idea, and seemed like a worthy Scout activity. However, we found that we were not really needed until 12, and had nothing to do, and no great way to entertain the kids for 2 hours. So we did the little that we could and came home. Which was disappointing, but beyond our control.

I was afraid that would set the theme for the rest of the weekend but I was wrong. I got home in time to watch the extra time and shoot out in the Brazil Chile game. And then the first half of the Colombia – Uruguay game. And then it was off to a family birthday party. Which I handled pretty well and overall had a good time. I was able to keep relaxed and just have fun with it.

Sunday started off well with a decent nights sleep. And then I was able to go play some Blood Bowl, for the first time in 2 months. I had some great luck, my opponent had some bad luck and I was able to pull off a close 1-0 game. I was really glad to be playing again, with the start of a new season. I stuck with the Lizards from last season, I enjoyed playing the Dark Elves & Dwarves, but the Lizards really are my best team.

Got home and just felt really good. Lots of energy so I was able to get out and tackle a lot of much needed weed eating. I got the entire front and back yards done, with time in between to watch the second half, extra time and shoot out between Greece & Costa Rica (Go CONCACAF!)

It was really nice to have energy and just feel good about things for a change. I have been in such a depressive rut for a while that it has been a struggle to get things done around the house. For once I wanted to do some work and felt good doing it instead of just doing what I had to do. Damn cycles, really hope that starting therapy and other things will help break that.