Slogging along

Life is just a series of ups and downs, with a lot of steady slogging in between. I’m in a slog phase now.

Good things happening

Some friends visited last weekend. This particular couple and I have been friends for several years. We first met when I lived in Chicago and they lived a few hours away in a rural area. They were hosting a podcast with a lot of great information about running a hobby farm while they also held down full time tech jobs. At the time we started building a friendship, I was married. In the intervening years, while I got divorced and eventually moved to the Bay Area, they remained a couple and moved to a different country. They’ve now moved back…to the Bay Area! We’ve been able to maintain our friendship and we had a very good time last weekend.

The relationship with the BF (I’m going to refer to him by his first initial, M, to make it easier for me going forward) is going well and growing. So far we’ve spent every weekend together and I’m continuing to get good vibes from him.

Despite my odd (for the west coast) need to leave social settings around 8 PM most of the time so I can get adequate rest for work the next day, I’m still able to fit in an hour or two of evening fun things like knitting group and volunteering. I had dinner at a friend’s house one day this week. She’s someone I met through knitting group and we’ve been connecting very well and spending some time together outside of knitting group occasionally. So, I continue to strengthen my social networks, while sticking to my budget.

Budgeting is going well, too. Yes, I’ve overspent in some categories in previous months, but I’m making adjustments, as needed. That means I’m either spending less in other areas, or being more realistic in my monthly spend. For example, my pet expenses have been much higher than in past years due to Hannah dog having a few minor health issues last year, some training expenses, and increases in pet care expenses since I don’t have a housemate or partner to care for her when I go on business trips. I’m able to afford it, but I need to make my budget reflect that line item more accurately.

I think my budgeting is also being helped by spending time with people who are also focused on optimizing their spending. My friend from knitting is not in a lucrative career so she doesn’t want to go out and spend money, and M is also a frugal person. M and I tend to cook at home and stay in, rather than going out for meals and drinks. This helps me stay on track towards my savings goals. 🙂

Bad things happening

Mom ended up in the hospital with pneumonia the week before last. She’s prone to respiratory infections because she has (poorly controlled) asthma. Usually that means she gets bronchitis at least once a year, but this time it was pneumonia. I spoke to her the day after she was admitted and she sounded OK. Now that she’s been out for over a week she seems to have lost ground. She’s listless, her throat hurts, and she’s chipped a tooth somehow. With both the throat and tooth bothering her, it’s uncomfortable for her to talk, but in even the brief moment I was connected to her today she sounded like she was drifting away.

Stepfather had to take her to the pulmonologist yesterday for a scheduled check up, and the doc was concerned about how much water she is retaining in her legs. He ordered a diuretic and said she should get some sort of cardio test, but he didn’t order it himself for some reason and Mom’s primary care doc refused to order it. Or so says stepfather, at least.

So, we continue to have challenges with coordinating Mom’s care. She can no longer provide any sort of input or background to us, other than to tell us how she feels at the time she is asked. Stepfather can’t fill the gaps, nor can sister. While sister spends a lot of time on the phone trying to fill in the details that stepfather can’t seem to grasp, and takes time off work to bring Mom to specialists, it’s still not enough. I can’t see how I can provide any help here other than to dutifully send money every month. I have taken on some phone calls myself, but when it comes to scheduling things on Mom’s behalf, I can’t help there.

Besides, I have quite a bit on my plate just taking care of myself right now. I’m back at work full time and it seems like I’m tired all the time. It may be because my body is still recovering from surgery, or it may be that my hormones are still not adequately controlled, or it could be both of these things. I’ve found myself climbing into bed before 8 PM some nights because I’m just too tired even to sit on the couch and watch TV.

I think this sense of overwhelm may be why I’ve been so cranky about Mom care. I’m having a hard enough time just taking care of myself these days.

Just today I’ve started a new estrogen patch that I hope will bring me some renewed energy. And it is Friday, so I can sleep past 6 AM tomorrow. Hurray! As long as Hannah dog doesn’t wake me up, that is. 😉

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