My wife and I have been dealing with a lot this summer. July and August have been too busy and we're both exhausted. I've moved to another state, right after attending a conference for a week in Las Vegas. I had less than a full 24-hours between returning to Minnesota and driving to our new home in Pennsylvania. (And I had endured several minor foot surgeries, right before the Vegas trip and driving. Lots of pain.) Then, after the cats and I arrived, I had to deal with two plumbing emergencies, a home insurance issue, and one of our cats getting ill.
For almost two months, life has been tumultuous, at best. When J.C. passed away a few days ago, it was simply too much for me. I spent a lot of time hugging J.C.'s two brothers, hoping nothing else goes wrong. Alex goes to the vet tomorrow (Tuesday) for an exam because he's been losing weight. I never imagined the boys as anything but a trio, from the day of their birth.
Today I placed J.C.'s collar on Pumpkin. I told him to wear it with pride. I know Pumpkin doesn't understand, but he shredded his collar and needed a new one. It seemed right to pass along the collar to PK. I placed J.C.'s name tag next to Simba's old tag, the one she was wearing when we found her. And I felt myself getting teary-eyed.
Moving and starting a new job meant more space for the kids. More sunny spots and wonderfully large windows from which to see birds — and fireflies. I know I feel better in this house, but it still wasn't supposed to be without J.C. or Jordan. I had promised Jordan a nice sunny spot.
I skipped a faculty gathering this weekend because I didn't want to be around people without my wife. I must admit that one of the meetings I had last week didn't go smoothly; I said what I believe and what I know. I doubt my words were well-received. When I'm tired, I don't self-edit effectively, especially on issues of science and autism. So, I knew it was best to avoid people for a few days.
On Friday, I had to use my cane to keep my balance. It wasn't that my leg hurt, though it did a little, but that my body didn't want to follow my orders. It was like my body wanted to stay in bed and recover from everything. My arm was trembling, something my wife notices by the photos I've taken of the kids. The photos are blurry. When I'm tired, my body doesn't cooperate with my brain.
I'm anxious, and I know that the stresses of moving and starting a new job are affecting me.
This coming Friday, a tree that is damaging the house will be removed. The tree didn't choose to be where it is. The tree had no evil intentions when it started to push the wall inward, causing some minor damage. The tree is probably two decades old, maybe more, but it will now have to go so we — the cats, my wife, and I — can keep the house insured and continue to live here. Still, I feel sorry for the tree, though trees "feel" nothing. Even a tree can make me sad right now.
My support network consists of my wife, my family, and my cats. Cards from my sister have helped a lot this month.
Tonight, as I was getting ready for bed and feeling like I'll never meet my own standards in the new job, someone sent me a note that she had read my blog and bought the book to support what I do. A short note, thanking me for those times when I apparently write something useful for parents and teachers.
My mind hasn't been clear enough to make much progress on the next book, but I'll get back into a routine soon. I have to, because the lack of a routine is adding to my anxiety. I'd like fewer surprises in coming weeks.
Right now, I need to focus. I need to organize my time, stop getting distracted and moody, and get down to work. It would be much easier with my wife here to help, but she needs me to get back on track, too.
I've gotten used to skimming through hate mail, so when someone sends a nice note or a mention on Twitter it surprises me. Maybe I've come to expect the worst when I read my mail; experience has shown that people don't send many nice notes about the blog or my public appearances. When someone does thank me or say something nice, it restores my energy. It seems the nice notes come at the right moments, too. It means a lot to me that someone bought a book simply to show appreciation. At the same time, it makes me feel like the next book has to be much, much better so it won't be a charity purchase.
For now, I simply wanted to acknowledge that nice notes help.