Five Hours Outside!

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

I tried to post yesterday evening – I really did. Unfortunately, I only got about three words into the post before I realized that I was sitting there with my eyes closed and there was no way I’d be able to type out much more than that. I went and sat on the couch to have a sandwich and talk to J but I kept falling asleep and smeared peanut butter over the front of my shirt. Yep, that’s me – keeping it classy. J went through her spectrum of voices to try and convince me to get off the couch and go to bed, everything from “friendly reminder” to “supportive” to “stern wife” to “I’m pretty sure that’s a threat”. Finally, I managed to get moving, brushed my teeth, and then I fell asleep when my head hit the pillow.

As has been pretty common lately, yesterday I woke up tired. I really need to figure out what’s going on with that. Anyway, I had breakfast, did my exercises, sent my texts, and did some stuff around the house.

Much to my surprise, the weather forecast turned out to be accurate – it got up past 20C yesterday! J and I had moved the truck out into the driveway Wednesday evening and it was still sitting there, covered in dead leaves and still wearing last winter’s dirt. Despite that, I really didn’t want to go outside and had to argue with myself for half an hour or so before I finally forced myself to go outside.

I got all of my motorcycle/car washing stuff (bucket, wash mitt, Zip Wax, nylon scrubbie, toilet brush, bottle brush), hooked up and untangled the hose, and went out to the truck. Just as I was about to start, I noticed this:

Puddle Under TruckWell, crap.

I ran my finger over the puddle, gave it a sniff, and determined it was dirty, oily coolant. Or dirty, coolanty oil. Or coolanty, oily dirt.

I popped open the hood, grabbed a flashlight, and tried to find where it was coming from. Then I grabbed my ground pad and very ungracefully scrabbled along the ground until I was mostly under the truck. The truck has a skidplate, which is great up until you want to find where something’s leaking from – everything leaks onto it and drips from the edge so there’s no telling where things are leaking from. I was too lazy to take it off, so I spent the better part of an hour shuffling from one side to another, feeling around, and stretching and bending parts of me that don’t normally stretch or bend, until I found this:

Coolant LeakAH-HA! So there’s obviously a coolant leak. The stuff on the ground was dirty and oily because it puddled in the (dirty and oily) skidplate before ending up on the ground. I hope that things are leaking because of the clamp – it looks really rusty and might be broken, which I may be able to fix myself. A couple of years ago I would’ve been able to replace the hose myself but I don’t have the self-confidence to do that right now. If the radiator is cracked or has a hole, then I’m definitely not going to be able to fix it. Fortunately, the truck isn’t being driven right now, so there’s still some time to investigate some more and figure out a plan. If it has to go to a shop, the local garage has been pretty good so far.

After I was done investigating, I took a 15 minute break to relax and calm down before I gave the truck a good wash. It took quite a while – it was pretty windy and parts of the truck would dry so quickly that I’d look back at them and couldn’t remember if I’d properly washed and rinsed them – but eventually I was done and the truck looked nice and shiny – not bad for a ten year old truck!

Washed TruckAs I was washing the truck, I kept an eye out for rock chips and scratches so I could go back with some touch-up paint and a q-tip to fix them up. There were quite a few of them so it took me quite a while to get to them all. Where the bottom of the tailgate meets the truck has quite a few deep scratches and chunks of paint missing (there were rocks stuck in it) so I took the tailgate off and put it in the garage. I’m going to lightly sand and then spray down the whole area with fresh paint to try and keep rust from starting there. If the paint doesn’t 100% match, it’s no big deal – it’ll be hidden by the tailgate.

By the time I was done putting everything away (and taking pictures), I’d been outside for about five hours and I was getting pretty anxious to be back inside. I went back in, fired off a couple of texts, and got an interesting one from my mom. She asked, “Did you enjoy it (and you can’t lie)?”

Well… I enjoyed the fresh air, the rabbits that kept scooting around or sitting and watching me, the music that I had playing, and I enjoyed the feeling when I stood back and looked at the truck and saw how clean and shiny it was. The first and last hour were quite difficult, though. Finding a puddle under the truck right at the start did not help at all – I wanted to go back inside and forget about it. I took a picture of the front door with the deadbolt in the locked position before I went outside and I looked at the picture quite a few times for reassurance. I also took short breaks every so often to sit down in the garage or in the truck and do some breathing and grounding exercises to try and keep myself from winding up too badly. As the afternoon went on, that became more difficult to do. Still, I think I’ll consider it a success.

Bunny!Of course, once I was back inside, I had to fight to keep myself from going back out and checking the garage and truck doors were locked. I ended up going back out twice but managed to keep it at that.

J was at a meeting and didn’t get home until around 8:30PM so I caught up on some reading and made myself a quick supper. By 9:00, my evening medication was already starting to kick in. By 9:30, the combination of being tired all day, the medication, and five hours of working out in the fresh air had me sitting on the couch with my eyes closed and peanut butter on my shirt.

Looking at Wednesday’s post, I didn’t get a few things done – I didn’t get the rust protectant applied, and I didn’t check out the spare tire. Still, I think I got a fair amount of stuff accomplished. Rumour has it that there’ll be a couple more nice-ish days coming up so perhaps I’ll get back outside to get more stuff done.

Stay safe.

Sun And Blue Sky!

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

I don’t really know how well I slept last night. I remember waking up several times and don’t remember having any nightmares, but I still feel like I’m running on fumes.

My homework went reasonably well today. It still sucks, it just seems to be sucking a little less. The weather was really nice for the walk part, though – blue sky and sunny. No water on the road, no mist hanging in the air… it was sitting around freezing but it sure was nice to see the sun for a change.

I sent out my texts today and had a couple of interesting conversations with people. I enjoy sending the texts and having little “no obligation” conversations.

Talked to my folks and my sister today. Everyone is doing well – my parents aren’t too happy about the weather (but that’s pretty normal at this time of year) and my youngest nephew’s hockey team has won its first two games so he’s pretty excited.

I spent some time hanging out with Lloyd today. He will follow a laser dot around in the tank. I don’t think he considers it food because he just kind of meanders toward it but it’s still amusing. Buddy is not a fan of the laser pointer, and Ralph doesn’t care.

It’s supposed to be very pleasant here tomorrow and I’d really like to give the truck a wash. J got home this evening at about 8PM and helped me slowly get the truck out of the garage and into the driveway. It was VERY difficult for me, but J was there helping and I was only going about 20 feet, very slowly. Once the truck was out, J gave me the OK sign, I shut off the truck, jumped out, and locked it. As we were on our way back into the house, J checked the truck door for me, too, so I’m a lot less worried about it than I was. Thank you, sweetie! 🙂

Tomorrow is supposed to be really nice and then it’s supposed to get cold and crappy again so I plan to grab a bucket, some rags, and the shop vac, and wash and clean the truck in the driveway. If that works out and I have some more time, I’m going to see if I can squeeze under the truck and apply some rust protectant in anticipation of that nasty road salt. I also need to remove, clean, and check the spare tire to make sure it’s ready to go in case I need it.

But I’m very tired again and need to get to bed. Have a good night, everyone.

Stay safe.

Yesterday (The 16th)

Song: N/A

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I was very tired yesterday evening so I went to bed early instead of writing a post.

It took me a long time to get out of bed yesterday morning. My alarm went off at 8:30AM and I spent the next hour and a half rubbing my eyes and alternating between trying to encourage myself to get up and cursing at myself for not getting up.

I did some tidying around the house and then went out to the garage to sit in the truck again. I didn’t go for my walk because I wasn’t sure if I had the time and didn’t want to worry myself more than usual. Unfortunately, I could feel that I was starting to wind myself up so when I went back inside I took a PRN.

FA stopped by just after noon, burritos in hand. We’d planned to play some board games but got lost in a very in-depth conversation about everything from fabric stores, to smartphone screen replacement, to the relative messiness of the various methods of capital punishment. J got home at 4:30 and surprised both of us – the last time FA noticed the time was at 1:30, and the last time I noticed it was at 2. The time just flew. I had a good time – conversations with FA often take some very curious and interesting paths, and yesterday was certainly no exception. I am very lucky to have a friend like her!

After J got home, the three of us chatted for a little while and then FA headed home. We need to get together with FA and DM again sometime soon!

J and I talked for a little bit and then headed out for an appointment. Fortunately, it only took about 30 minutes and we were back home. We had a tasty pasta dinner and then settled in for the evening.

[Oh wow, it’s sunny out! I can see blue sky! It’s still below freezing, but at least it’s not grey and raining/snowing!]

J spent a lot of the evening reading and playing a game on her tablet, while I played some Star Trek Online while fighting to stay awake. Unfortunately, it was very laggy last night so I quit playing a short while later. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure if the game was lagging or if I was. Either way, it was pretty much unplayable.

Instead of watching a show like we usually do, I decided I had to go to bed. Between my evening medication and being very tired in the first place, I was having trouble keeping my eyes open and holding my head up, so I brushed my teeth and headed to bed.

So… yesterday was a pretty decent day. Hanging out with FA is always fun, and I’m really looking forward to being able to go and do the aisle crawl through the hardware store with her again!

Stay safe.

Someone Loves Their Chainsaw

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

Today was another kind of rough day. I woke up feeling like I hadn’t slept at all, and no matter what I tried I couldn’t get back to sleep. I stayed in bed far too long and got frustrated with things before I finally got up and started my day.

I had breakfast, then went downstairs to do my exercises. I kept losing focus because I was so tired so they didn’t go very well. After I was done them, I had a pretty lively debate with myself about whether I should go out and do my homework or whether I could take a day off. The weather suggested that I stay inside – the morning started with clear skies and some sun but it quickly turned cold and damp and drizzly again. I ended up deciding to go out for a few reasons: I would be disappointed in myself if I didn’t, J would be disappointed in me if I didn’t, I wanted to look at the cable the crew strung along the fence yesterday, and WHAT ON EARTH HAS SOMEONE BEEN CHAINSAWING FOR THE LAST TWO HOURS?

So, I put on pants (sigh) and went outside for my walk and truck time. It wasn’t actively raining while I was outside but the tiny little drops were just hanging in the air. Like a day that’s so humid you can see it. I made my way around the block and then checked the cable in the back yard. No writing on it that I could find, and it’s either made up of two cables (one thicker than the other) or it’s a single cable with something structural to keep it from sagging, or maybe hold it to things like a piece of nylon line.

Unfortunately, I did not find out who was running their chainsaw or what they were cutting up. Perhaps they were teaching themselves how to juggle, or maybe their kid was doing a horror movie for class and needed two and a half hours of chainsaw noises. Maybe they just got it and they were following some esoteric motor break-in procedure. Maybe they started it up, forgot they had pasta boiling, and left it running while they made tortellini or something. I don’t know.

After that, I went into the garage and sat in the truck with the express purpose of waiting until I hit the peak of my anxiety in that situation. It took a little over an hour, but I played music through the truck speakers today which was much more immersive than listening to it from my phone’s little speaker. I worked on my mindfulness and grounding and did breathing and muscle relaxation exercises to try to relax and keep the anxiety as low as I could. And I tried very hard not to feel silly about what I was doing.

Had a couple of text conversations today. One of J’s aunts has been wanting to get a cat since her dog passed away, and she finally did on… Thursday? I think it was Thursday. She actually got a cat that’s affectionate and pretty normal, which I think is great because she always feels sorry for the animals that not a lot of people would want. You know, the 22 year old cats with no ears or the dogs with three wooden legs and a ton of slivers? She has saved and given a great home and care to plenty of sick, odd, or downright evil animals, so I’m happy that she got one that doesn’t do anything really weird and actually hangs around her and purrs. Anyway, I heard today that her first weekend with her new friend went quite well, so that’s great!

J and I watched Hotel Transylvania 2 this evening. The first one was not too shabby. The second one? Let me just say it didn’t deliver and leave it at that.

I also got a text from FA today and it looks like she’s going to be coming over tomorrow for lunch and some games. It will be great to hang out with her again – she always has interesting stories!

Stay safe.

Feeling Weird All Weekend

Song: N/A

Mood: 5.5

Nightmares: 0

The weekend didn’t start off all that well. For whatever reason, I haven’t been feeling myself for the last few days, and it seemed like I was going to be a stick in the mud all weekend. I’m not sure if I’m waking up more than I remember, or if something’s disturbing me when I sleep, but I’m exhausted all day. I ended up going for a nap this afternoon and it helped for a while but I’m dragging pretty bad again.

Fortunately, hanging out with J always cheers me up. We had a couple of really good conversations this weekend about very random things, and just talking with her or watching shows with her or having dinner with her or sitting in the same room with her makes my world brighter. So I’m feeling quite a bit better but unfortunately, I’m still really tired. I think I’m going to set my phone to record sound all night again to see if I’m moving around a lot or we have squirrels running around or something.

I didn’t accomplish a lot this weekend. Cleaned up the kitchen somewhat and then promptly dirtied it again. Sometimes I wish the whole thing and everything in it was stainless steel with a drain in the floor and a power washer on the wall. Maybe one of those big red heat lamps to dry everything, or a big fan. Just leave everything where it is, squirt some dish soap around the room, and have at it with the power washer. Ah well…

The cable company parked a van, a truck, and a lift truck out front of our house today. I thought that was kind of odd (we don’t have cable) and was surprised when the doorbell rang. J answered it and it turns out one of their underground cables is broken so they need to run a temporary above ground one and it needs to go through our back yard. Not a big deal – J took care of the gate and the cable, and they did a nice job of hiding the cable along the fence. It seems, however, that they’re going to be coming back once their plans are approved and trenching out a run for a replacement cable. I’m not sure when that’s going to happen, but I expect they won’t want to wait too long, particularly with winter coming.

I’m also not thrilled about Halloween again this year. J and I talked about it quite a bit and I expect I will be cowering in the basement while she does all the work again this year. Yep, big old Mark is still afraid of little kids in princess and ninja turtle costumes.

Tomorrow it’s back to my walk and time in the truck. The tender is still hooked up to the battery so I think I might hook my phone into the stereo and turn that up instead of listening to music or guided relaxation exercises on the tiny little speaker in my phone.

But yeah, I don’t feel right. I’m not even sure if it’s a physical or mental thing. Maybe both. Maybe neither. Hopefully it’s just something that will pass.

Stay safe.

I’m Going To Bed

Song: N/A

Mood: 5

Nightmares: 1

Didn’t sleep well again last night and had a rough start to the morning.

Didn’t accomplish a lot today other than sitting in the truck, feeling weird.

Dr C appointment was difficult but informative. She wants me to keep getting out of the house and doing the truck thing.

Didn’t have the greatest evening, and now I’m going to bed early.

Stay safe.

Running On Empty

Song: “There Goes Norman” by The Undertones

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

Very short post tonight, I’ve been tired all day and my medications are kicking the heck out of me. Here’s a list:

  • Woke up a lot last night worrying about this or that. It wasn’t so difficult to get back to sleep, but I woke up so many times it kind of ruined my night.
  • Sat out in the truck again today. I really like the truck but sitting out there is quite unpleasant.
  • My exercises didn’t go well because I’m too tired.
  • Cold and gloomy again today. There’s a thin layer of snow on the deck right now. I hope it melts tomorrow.
  • Got another letter from my aunt today. I sure enjoy getting a good old-fashioned paper letter and reading it. I hope she knows how much I appreciate them!
  • Every time I close my eyes it takes a deliberate thought and effort to open them back up again. I feel like I’ve been about to fall asleep all day.
  • Dr W appointment was difficult but not too long (thank goodness). No medication changes, and he’s happy that I’m keeping busy and following what Dr C has me doing.
  • FA sent me a text today mentioning something called a “squirrel gym”. I looked it up and it seems like it could be pretty amusing to make. Plus, we have a zillion squirrels here and it’d be nice to play tricks on them without hurting them.
  • Had a lot of text conversations today. I know it’s not the same thing as getting together with someone (or even a phone call) but it felt good to communicate.

Tomorrow I have a Dr C appointment in the afternoon. I’m not sure what else I’m going to be doing yet. Hopefully I sleep well tonight and tomorrow is a good day.

Stay safe.

Another Gloomy Day Outside

Song: “Downtown” by Mrs. Miller

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 1

It’s not tough to tell that fall is here. It’s been dark, gloomy, rainy, and cool since the end of September. The sun comes out occasionally, but it doesn’t seem to be enough to clear the dampness from the air or warm things up much. The street has a thin cover of fallen leaves, which are sticking to everything because they’re damp. From late morning to the middle of the afternoon there was a decent breeze blowing, too. I’m really hoping for a warm spell or two before the snow arrives for the season but I don’t know if that’s going to happen.

It looks like it’s been a couple of days since I did much of an update. I was pretty happy that the truck started on Sunday but I didn’t mention anything about my Dr C appointment or anything like that. Let’s see… my appointment was difficult again. We started out talking about how my week went, and then I handed her the list of things that bother me in a normal day (I went through it a couple of times and changed the font and margins and got it down to two pages) and we talked about that for quite a while. I had the items on the list organized from the things that bother me the most to the least, and Dr C asked how I thought we should start in on it. I was of two minds – get through a couple of easy things first to build up to something more difficult, or work on a hard one to prove that if I could do that, the others would be easier?

We talked about that for a while (lots of talking in therapy, go figure) and then we talked about a goal that I wanted to achieve. I replied that I would really like to be able to reliably get to the local grocery store so I can pick up groceries so J doesn’t have to do 100% of the shopping. Considering the impending winter and a couple of other factors, we decided that I’m going to take little steps to drive the truck to the grocery store and pick up groceries. To do that, I needed to get the truck running again since it hadn’t been started since March and the battery was completely shot (wouldn’t take a charge and read 4V for you battery geeks out there).

My self-confidence is (at best) 97% absent; despite maintaining vehicles since I was 16, I was very nervous about swapping out the battery and making sure the truck was in good condition before starting it. The longer it sat, the worse I felt about it. Things fell into place this past weekend though. J picked up a battery tender and a new battery last week (thank you!!!) and when my folks came in on Sunday, Dad gave me a hand changing out the battery and giving the truck a good once-over before I turned the key (thank you!!!). I was worried that various truck juices had leaked/evaporated and after being that long without power, the belts would’ve cracked, or the computer would’ve forgotten the chips in the keys or the signal from the key fobs… all kinds of things.

Turns out I was worrying about nothing. The various juices were in the right places, at the right levels, and the right colours, and the truck fired right up. I even put it into gear and drove back and forth a little bit while Dad grit his teeth, hoping I didn’t bump the side of the garage. The only thing I lost were the time and the radio station settings. That should only take me six hours to figure out (or four minutes if I break down and look at the manual).

So… that was a lot of talking about a little truck. Long story short – if my goal was to drive the truck to the grocery store, I needed to get the truck running first, and with an enormous amount of support from J and my parents, the truck is ready to go. I am so, so very lucky!

Baby steps, though. Sit in the truck for a while. Start it up and sit for a while. Back it down the driveway, take it slowly around the block. Play lots of music. Remember to do grounding and mindfulness. Push up against the discomfort but don’t jump into the panic zone. Baby steps.

As for today, it was alright. I woke up worrying four or five times and a nightmare jolted me awake once but after going out to the living room for about half and hour I was able to head back to bed. I couldn’t get back to sleep after J went to work, so I got up and started in on my day a little earlier than usual.

I went for a short walk between spots of rain and then spent some time out in the garage, sitting in the truck. Sitting there by myself, it didn’t take very long for me to get pretty uncomfortable. I felt anxious and silly at the same time. I hung on, though, and waited out the peak of the anxiety while my phone’s tinny little speaker blasted upbeat music from the dashboard. The anxiety felt like it was just going to keep building until I started to panic, but eventually it started to back off a bit. I grabbed my phone, hooked the battery tender up to the truck, and darted back inside, scaring the rabbits in the back yard in the process. I’m calling today a success. Uncomfortable and felt like eternity, but a success nonetheless.

My exercises didn’t go very well, unfortunately. Between being tired and still feeling rattled from my walk and sitting outside, I had a lot of trouble keeping my mind from zipping hither and yon. It still beat sitting in the truck, though, and I felt a little better when I was done.

I sent out my texts and had quite a few good text chats with people. One of my good friends sent me a bunch of pictures from a trip she just took. One of them is a black and white photo of her walking on the beach at the ocean, the waves splashing against her rubber boots as she stands there in contemplation. It’s a very striking and relaxing photo.

I went to do my daily banking and crafting stuff in Star Trek Online, but it was down for a long time due to a giant update, and after it came back up the banking and crafting was broken. It wasn’t just me, either – the chat windows were full of very unhappy STO fans. They’ve announced another maintenance window for tomorrow morning – hopefully that’ll fix some of the problems.

I was texting with DA and he mentioned that he’d just scored a super good deal on a 60” pull-behind mower. That got me to thinking about lawn tractors, which got me to thinking about welding, which got me to thinking about generators, which got me to thinking about lawn tractors. Some weird yet interesting idea was starting to form in my mind. I mentioned it to J later and she… well, she wasn’t impressed. Still, I think my idea will be on my mind for a little while. We’ll see.

This evening, J and I watched some more Parks and Recreation. We’re into Season 5 now and even though they changed the formula, I think it still works very well. I’m already a little sad that we only have the rest of 5, then all of 6 and 7 left. J and I have already decided that we’re going to have to watch them again.

Tomorrow I have my Dr W appointment. I am not looking forward to going all the way out there again but it’s been a while since I last saw him and I really need to keep making sure that I’m on the same page and doing the same things that I’m prescribed. Quite a lot has happened since we last had an appointment so I expect the appointment will go long. Hopefully things go smoothly and J and I are back home nice and quickly.

I have a Dr C appointment on Thursday afternoon – not looking forward to that, either. I think I’m going to start taping my sessions so I can play them back later. With all of the stuff going through my head when I’m out of my comfort zone, it’s very difficult to pay attention, never mind absorb information. I recorded quite a few of my sessions with Dr P and being able to listen to them when I was back at home and relaxed was very helpful. I will try to remember to ask Dr C if she’s okay with that.

Stay safe.

Snow’s Almost Gone

Song: “Get Over You” by The Undertones

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I didn’t sleep all that well last night. I was hoping that my luck from the previous night would hold out but I guess it didn’t. Oh well. Maybe it’ll show up every once in a while as a treat or something. Still, no nightmares and no panic so that’s good.

The snow that fell yesterday was still on the ground this morning, but as the sun crept across the sky, it slowly burned the snow away. It was still pretty cool all day but standing out in the sun felt pleasant.

My exercises didn’t go as well today but I was tired so that’s okay.

As you probably guessed from my earlier post, I listened to a lot of music while I was going about my day. Even brought some along on my walk, although my ear buds keep falling out when I move around.

I spent a lot of time writing and working on my homework for Dr C. I also puttered around a bit with the stuff for DA but he texted me the other day and said he bought a bag full of wireless motion detectors that he’s going to put up around the outside of his cabin. Still, I think I may play around with this stuff some more – I’ve been enjoying it.

My mom called too and we had a good conversation. Stuff is falling into place for their visit this weekend. I think I said this already but I’m a little nervous about it, although I am really looking forward to seeing them. I also feel guilty that they’re coming out here – J and I used to be the ones who would do the driving back and forth. Dr C, Dr P, Dr W, J, my parents, and the guy pouring concrete down the street all say the same thing – they’re doing it because they want to do it, not because they feel they have to.

So tomorrow I have an appointment with Dr C in the afternoon. I’m still not completely done my homework but there should be enough time tomorrow morning for me to finish it. It’s been quite interesting taking note of all of the things that bother me or that I worry about for whatever reason. Lots more stuff on the list than I expected.

But for now, it’s time for me to get to bed. Going to the appointments is difficult enough – going while being too tired to remember my name makes it harder to participate and remember what we talked about during the session.

Stay safe.