Observations, Learning, and Activities for the New "Over 21s"

It’s Been a While…

It has been quite some time since my last post. For over a year, I have been in suspended animation. Little was accomplished day to day, and I avoided going outside of my new home. Driving was almost a non-existent activity–one full tank on my gas guzzler was lasting three or four months (yes, months; not weeks or days!). I felt trapped by my own anxiety and increasing depression. 

In December of 2015, my husband underwent a surgery to remove a kidney with a tumor so large that it caused the organ to cease functioning and begin to die. Christmas dinner was in hospital, and we barely made it back to the island to welcome in the 2016. 

At the end of January, I called my mother for her birthday, only to be frustrated by days of her not charging her phone. That was the last time I talked to her–she died shortly after from complications brought on by congestive heart failure that no one knew she had. She was 88. She must have suspected it would be our last conversation because she asked for forgiveness for all the wrongs she had done against me. To be honest, I had no idea which of her many transgressions she was apologizing for–there were so many. Neither my sister nor I would ever have nominated her for mother of the year. That people liked her amazed us; but they didn’t live with her. Despite everything, she was my mother, and I felt a loss and hollowness at her passing. 

After the funeral, I flew to Texas to visit with my son and daughter-in-law. R helped me get a new TX driver license since my old CA one had expired. R and my son had bought a beautiful new home since my visit a year and a half earlier, and I enjoyed the peace and quiet during my stay. Next, I was off to the Miami area to stay with a friend during my cataract surgeries. Neither of us anticipated that I would be there three weeks, but it turned into the loveliest of visits! 

Finally, back home to the island, where we were in the middle of purchasing an older condo across the street from the one we were renting. Packing, painting, moving, arguing with banks ensued. Finally we were moved in. And almost immediately we needed an air conditioner replaced. Then we got the word that both the solar heater on top of the house and the roof around it–the entire roof, actually–needed replacement. We did away with the solar heater and had the roof replaced and some minor repairs around the house made. In between were hassles with internet and cable connections–i.e., my means of communication with the outside world–which took four months to iron out, in part due to my husband’s refusal to deviate from his desires, even though he could not get them met. 

So, yeah. A happy move turned into a mire of gloom. Even though most things improved and resolved themselves, I found I was sinking into anxiety and despair. It took until last month to recognize both my depression and its depth. More than a year had passed since my mother’s depth, but I was feeling more gloomy than ever. Even a highly anticipated trip to become a certified Zentangle teacher became just another requirement that would take me from the relative safety of my home. Time for action.

My doctor prescribed an antidepressant that should have kicked in about two to three weeks later, on the outside allowing me to travel to Providence RI in better spirits. The Seminar was amazing, but still no improvement in my mood. Just as I was leaving Providence, I sensed a change. The meds finally kicked in! Better late than never, and in just the right time for my return trip home. What should have been a nightmare of delayed take-offs and missed connections–not to mention TSA search of my carry-on–I found amusing. I didn’t get too excited about the plane problems in Charlotte that would make me miss the last flight home out of Miami. Instead, I got to stay overnight in NC instead of Miami. I also got a seat on a direct flight from Charlotte to SXM instead of having to fly to Miami first. 

Of course, I got home while my luggage waited for me in Miami. I knew the minute that I went to the baggage carousel and my suitcase wasn’t waiting from an earlier Miami flight that my bag was still in the US. But I had to wait until all the luggage from my flight was unloaded before I could have my bag traced. Except for the fact that I knew my husband was waiting for me with a friend, I didn’t mind the waiting too much–despite really really craving a cigarette, that is. As expected, I left the airport with only my carry-on, and promises that my suitcase would be delivered as soon as it arrived. It was kind of nice to not worry about unpacking that night. I did miss the materials I purchased for anticipated classes, though. Those and my husband’s gifts were in the suitcase. But it didn’t hurt to wait a day. Actually, my suitcase arrived after I had gone to bed. But I didn’t know that until the next day.

That last leg of the trip would have been disastrous before the meds kicked in. It was uproariously funny after. One of the highlights of the messed up return was watching a TSA agent thumb through every one of my 1000+ Zentangle artist tiles that were in their original boxes from the seminar store–bubble wrap was removed, tiles were inspected, bubble wrap was less than perfectly replaced. An unsealed kit of class supplies was opened and a bag of tortillions was removed from the box, clearly stymieing the officer by the look on his face. The bullet-shaped paper blending tools were definitely outside his experience. The contents of my jacket pockets yielded nothing interesting to him, and the sealed box of kids’ art supplies was sealed in plastic and labeled clearly with the contents, so those were left alone, too. With a sigh of relief, he replaced my belongings as closely as possible to the way they were originally packed, and waved me through with a sheepish grin. He was probably surprised by the amused look on my face instead of the expected scowl. Had he only known how hard I was trying not to laugh, he probably would have had me detained on general principles. The poor TSA agents are not known for a sense of humor. But then, they usually deal with people indignant over having their belongings pawed rather than a little old lady indulgently looking on. Gotta love traveling in this age of distrust! 

So I have been back home for over a week. I have not chastised myself for getting little done. Instead, I have been enjoying the new-found artistry of my tangling. If you want to know what that is, scoot on over to my Zentangle-related blog site at TangleSXM.com here on WordPress. No sense in repeating myself here. 

If you want to know more about my journey out of depression, read this post. In it, I talk about the combination of meds and tangling that got my head straightened out a bit. 

Until next time!

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