On a slow anger simmer

I had the last four days off and had hoped that Monday and Tuesday I would primarily be by myself. That didn’t happen and I’ve been on a consistent angry simmer for the last 48+ hours. Nothing I’ve done, or attempted to do, has gone according to any semblance of a plan I had ridiculously thought might have helped. Wanted to finally get all the taxes together and ready to mail, they’ve already been submitted electronically, just owe all around this year. Wanted to get some writing done for EPV, but my mental attitude didn’t lend itself to that either. Wanted to cut the lawn but couldn’t get the lawn mower started; think it needs a new carburetor. Needed to get the toilet guts swapped out as water is leaking into the bowl and making them run every so often; decided that would be a bad idea.

Rather than getting 5-6 hours of time to myself, to work at my own pace, I wasn’t alone except for a few hours on Monday but I was too far into the anger to have it be productive. The wife was supposed to be at her sister’s house until last night, but came home last Sunday instead because the accommodations there were hard to deal with. I get it, I wouldn’t want to stay somewhere that was cluttered and messy. Being forced to sleep on the sofa alone would have been enough for me to want to leave. The problem is that I’ve needed to get alone and work through some difficult issues and work up some plans that require focused thought to complete. My tolerance for the normal things that bother me is gone and I simmer all day on the edge of anger. At this point, short of a taking a day to myself outside of the house, I don’t think I’ll get past this overwhelming feeling.

Adding to the pressure is the fact we’re having a birthday dinner for my Mom this Saturday, at our house, with my brother in attendance. I’m off on Friday, but I already know that I won’t have any time to myself unless I just head out in the early morning and don’t come back until later in the day. That would most certainly cause more problems than it solves as I need to stay around and get the lawn taken care of. Dinner at our house means that we’re stuck with cleaning up after dinner. We’re also stuck with all the leftover food (we always have left over food) that ultimately will be lunches and dinners for the next few days into next week. I’m okay with the same thing the next day, but push it two or three then I’m just not hungry and won’t eat.

The wife is off this entire week and I already know that today and tomorrow nothing will get done. She’ll get sucked into working on something for the firehouse, doing something random that wasn’t planned, or just not have any motivation and do nothing. I’ll end up cleaning up the dishes, running the dishwasher and most likely doing the laundry. If it’s a tag team effort I don’t mind doing any of that, but when it’s me all the time because some time suck is occupying her time for days on end through the week, it quickly gets annoying. When I sit in my office or in front of the TV, I’m not just sitting there doing nothing. I’m inside my own head, thinking and processing, trying to work through anger so that I’m no longer angry. From the outside, it looks like I’m just being lazy further convincing me that her saying she understands doesn’t equal her actually understanding at all.

The next few weeks don’t tell me that I’ll have any opportunity for time to myself.

Swamped!

To say that last few weeks has been busy is an understatement.  I’ve been off my routine and my schedule is suffering because of it.  Nothing for the month of March has been “normal” and for someone like me that relies on routine it’s been that much more difficult.  There has been no opportunity for down time, the time that I take to sit down and write, and it’s starting to make me tired all the time.  I’ve attempted to compensate by trying to go to bed earlier and usually end up being futile in the end.  Adding to the strain is my anti-technology streak that is still continuing despite me knowing it would probably help out to a certain extent.  Something has to change as the pace I’ve kept up just isn’t sustainable over a long period of time.

The wife volunteers at the local fire house and they had their annual banquet over this past weekend.  Our house is no longer the headquarters for the basket raffle items that were all won and I have my Dining Room (soon to be home office) back.  The banquet, which I helped out at on Saturday, went well and made some money.  We’re not sure if this year was better than previous years as no one kept records of the financials.  My wife, the organized person she is, has detailed reports on everything and will preset it at their wrap-up meeting.  She’s made an impression with the fire house and is working on getting a part-time gig approved to do their book-keeping and light accounting work.  It will get her out of her current job, which she hates.

After realizing that I hit my maximum paid-time-off hours after my last paycheck, it was time for me to start taking some days off.  The wife had several that I needed to take because of random half-days and days-off my daughter has with her school.  The American school year really is horrible, but that’s a topic for another day.  We identified several days through June that I submitted for time off.  I added a few of my own, at random, that I’ll figure out what to do when they get closer.  I’ve been itching to get down to Ocean City, NJ for a day and one of those random days before the season starts might be a good time to head down there.  I always liked being down there when it didn’t have hordes of people around.  Some much-needed time off is in my future thankfully.

One more random subject to talk about is my daughter needing to get braces.  She’s counting down the days and it boggles my mind why.  I never had braces and to be honest, never wanted them even if I did need them.  It’s almost like she’s seeing them as a status symbol or a right of passage.  She asked me if they would hurt when she got them on and being blunt, I said of course they would hurt.  Every time she goes in to have them adjusted and tightened, her teeth will ache for a few days until the pressure lets up.  Not being phased about this, she is still excited none the less.  I believe she thinks she will get some special treatment or leniency on the consumption of screen time, but that won’t be the case.  The limits are there for reasons she’s not aware of and that doesn’t change regardless of the situation.

I’m hoping for more time to write in the near future.  See you all Thursday.

Music assistance for my brain

If you’ve been following me for a while and reading the Three Things Thursday posts (thanks to Emily at Full-Grown Nerd for that), you’ll have noticed the full album recommendations at the bottom. Whether you actually listen to them or not is not important, it’s the reason I’m doing in the first place that is important. In my acceptance with introversion, I’ve discovered that music is not nearly as much of a distraction as I had one thought, and in fact, helps me focus and concentrate on processing thoughts and feelings almost as much as writing does.

Since finding Spotify, which I now pay for (small indulgences), I’ve been finding all kinds of new music that I never knew existed thanks to watered down commercial radio. Never having been one to be offended by explicit content, I find that the music that contains it has an undertone of emotion you don’t get with edited or censored content. The service is truly something remarkable in how it uses the music you like, save, and add to playlists to then suggest similar music from various artists around the world. Just today, I found the band Hyper through their Discovery function on the desktop application. It isn’t my typical angry new metal rock that I typically listen to, but it has a very unique type of cadence to it that is mesmerizing. A running joke a few of my readers and I have is that anything we like is actually Russian propaganda disguised in normal things that shifts our mindsets subliminally. I’m onto it and just like the band, LOL

This is the first time I’ve written about how music plays a huge part of my life, but I keep coming back to it and attempt to put it into words that make sense and adequately express how it makes me feel. With my fairly wide tolerance for most music styles and genres, Spotify get confused sometimes so I’ve made playlists that are focused on one type of music and then use the “recommendations” at the bottom of the list to expand to new discoveries. When I see a lot of repeats after refreshing the list a few times, I move onto a different list and come back a few weeks later. It’s crazy how much music is actually out there and each time a song is played, the artist gets a little cut.

Perhaps the best feature that I’ve used extensively is the ability to play music offline without the requirement to have an Internet connection active. I’ve loaded up my 32GB micro SD on my mobile device with lots of offline music that I rotate on a monthly basis after adding my favorite songs to the appropriate play list. All this is done right through the app and its the same experience on the desktop, mobile, tablet, or on the website directly. They’ve done a fantastic job at making the service as seamless and spot on (pun intended) for the user.

As this wasn’t an attempt to sell you on the use of Spotify, it has become that unfortunately. I don’t get paid for referrals, I don’t even have a referral link to share. It’s up to you if you want to spend the $10/month for the service, but when Pandora is only $5/month, its hard to justify if you’re only looking at the cost. Pandora and Spotify are two completely different services. Spotify is like a jukebox you have all the control with and access to tens of millions of songs, Pandora has the same library but you’re at the mercy of their “playlist” and have only partial control with the thumbs up/thumbs down feature.

My brain is happier with me for providing it distraction free background music, sort of like my brains theme song for when it does its thing to keep me sane. I even picked up a set of premium noise-cancelling over-the-ear headphones recently that set me back a bit more than I was comfortable spending, but I saved more than I spent, so it justified the purchase. They’re sitting under the tree at home awaiting me to open them on Christmas as a gift from my wife to me. It’s easier for us to do that, really, we both just “get” what we need when we need it.

How does music fit into your routine? If it doesn’t, what does?

Holiday season relief for an introvert

It’s no secret, yup, I’m an introvert. I prefer long stretches of time where it appears to an uninformed person that I may in fact be catatonic and unresponsive to external stimuli. I’ve never drooled on myself and why should I, I’m actually rather quite busy inside my own head. I’m a calm lake, windless night, snowfall silence on the outside. I’m Grand Central Station at rush hour, a mosh pit at an Avenged Sevenfold concert, an erupting volcano on the inside. For someone who isn’t an introvert, it is hard to understand just how busy it is inside our heads and how a common affliction like Misophonia can rattle our thought process like a California earthquake (noise cancelling headphones for the win!). This will be my 40th holiday season on this great planet, 22 of which have been spent as a bonified “adult” in the eyes of the law. I can’t say with honesty that all 22 years I would have described myself as an adult, but I digress. I’m going to share some of my tried and tested methods of relief, ranked in order of effectiveness (at least for me).

Solitude

This is often hard to find during the holiday season as its typically a time when you see family that you normally would never want to see under normal circumstances. I love my family, but taken in all at once, in the same house, with kids added into the mix; its pure torture and a Hoover Dam spill way in terms of an energy drain. Anyway, solitude is the most effective, yet most time-consuming method for me to get back to a comatose exterior and a New York interior. While its first on my list, during the month of December it’s shocking to everyone that you’d rather spend time alone over spending time with that Aunt that makes that one dish you mentioned as “good” 10 years ago and she continues to make because she thinks it your favorite….. A man can only have so many Spinach Parmesan squares before it’s “No sir, I don’t like it.”

Passenger Staring

This is by far the easiest thing to find especially when family is 1-2 hours away from your home. My wife already knows that either I drive TO our destination or FROM our destination, but not both, so she decides upon leaving which it will be. As a passenger, I can slip into a self-imposed hypnotic trance where it feels like I’m looking outside windows that really are my own eyes. The trance doesn’t need to last long to be highly effective, but can be troubling to someone witnessing it as it sometimes appears I don’t blink (but I do.) I’ll get the tap on the leg paired with “Are you okay?” even though I’ve been like this for many years. Making sure I’m alive and dashing the hopes of an insurance payout, LOL. Depending on the time of day, this can be a highly effective recharge.

Toilet Time

I struggled with a title for this section, cut me some slack. Finding a bathroom, whether you have a requirement or not, is always a good way to get in a quick reset. In a house with only one bathroom, this is obviously harder as it almost certainly means you will be interrupted. However, in a house with more than one bathroom, the chances you can get 10-15 minutes of decompression is much more likely. While this isn’t ideal, and similar to plugging in your phone for 30 minutes, it can give you an hour or two more of energy to deal with the holiday party or family get together. The success or failure of this method will be determined by how practiced you are at micro-meditation.

Alcohol

My least favorite and often least effective, it does have an almost guaranteed benefit of making time go faster when it really hasn’t. A mildly intoxicated brain isn’t as sharp or aware of its fatigue (energy drain) and of course it’s called “liquid courage” for a reason. I’m not a drinker, so when I do partake in some bourbon or beer, I make sure to carefully monitor my intake in relation to absorbing foods to ensure that I don’t go too far down the road to drunk. This might not work for others, but for me, it does help when there are a lot of people and things going on around me that demand my observation and sometimes, my interactions. I had a few at my parents house over Thanksgiving before dinner, I’ll most likely have a few at my parents house for Christmas Eve dinner, and I’ll definitely have a few at the family get together planned for after New Years. Other than these few times in the year, I rarely have more than one drink per month, if any.

Last Resort

Throw an angry tantrum and demand that it’s time to go. While this works in 100% of the cases, the residual effects can linger for hours and even days afterward. This method is to be used as a last resort, hence the title, so use at your own risk. There is always the tried and true “I’m not going” demand that, if accepted, could potentially leave you at home with an empty house for several hours, see Solitude.

What works for you to help keep your sanity during the holiday season?