The deck is finished! The sanding, cleaning, staining, and sealing is finally complete. It ended up being more tedious and laborious than I anticipated, but also easy. There were no major snags that I couldn’t work around and even though it’s not a permanent solution given the age and poor condition of the wood, it should allow us to squeeze out a few extra years of use before the whole thing needs to be replaced. I’m proud of the job I did, even if it took a whole, frustrated me at times, and doesn’t look perfect. At least the latter issue is largely due to warped and splintered wood rather than the technique and precision of my work. There’s only so well you can make an old, broken board look!
This week is going slowly so far for some reason. I’m guessing it’s because I’ve been sleeping especially poorly, so I’m overtired and consciously experience far more waking hours in a day since I’m up virtually all night. My work assignment has also been unusually challenging, which means I have to keep taking breaks and can only put in a couple hours per day. I’m really going to prioritize setting myself up to get a good night’s sleep as much as possible tonight so I’m planning to take an easy afternoon so that my brain can wind down and stop spinning in dozens of directions simultaneously as it usually does during the day. If I don’t stop working, thinking, or being involved in emotionally-, cognitively-, or physically demanding processes within several hours before I intend to sleep, I’m unable to turn off my brain and body when I’m trying to sleep. Even when I give myself a 2-3 hour relaxation buffer before bed, I often still face issues falling and staying asleep. The sensory processing issues are often the culprit as I’ve previously described; these grow exponentially more problematic in the warm sleeping environment typified in the summer. Because I’ve had so much on my mind recently, it’s also common that I’m perseverating over these various things once I’m finally still and quiet enough in bed. My arthritic ankle asserts itself as well, filling the lack of sound and visual stimuli with excessively prominent pain signals. It’s a very undesirable pattern. Ruminating thoughts and intense joint pain certainly plague me during all daytime hours as well, but at night time, these issues are magnified because of the relative stillness and quiet surrounding me.
My mom told me that there were tornado warnings and huge thunderstorms on Monday night where she and my sisters live. In fact, my sister’s sister-in-law’s house was hit by lightning when they were all taking shelter in the basement. The house and all its occupants were fine, but it sounded so frightening. I could physically feel the fear my mom must have felt during the storms that she conveyed while relaying the story. We had thunderstorms here Monday night, but nothing anywhere close to what my mom described. It made me overcome with emotion when I hung up the phone, so relieved my loved ones were okay. I hate that my mom lives alone, although it’s comforting to know my sisters are less than a five-minute walk away. Honestly, I wish Ben and I lived in that area, but it’s much too far from his job and likely out of our price range. At least we’ve been making our house here nice and more comfortable, so it finally feels we are making our place more of a home. I haven’t had that true feeling of “home” since the house I grew up in, which was sold in my mod-twenties. A few of our apartments in Harlem had felt home-ish, but certain aspects seemed to be missing. Our current house still doesn’t feel as much like “home” as my original Amherst house, but it’s the closest I’ve come and it continues to earn that moniker more and more. It’s a comforting and assuring feeling.
I’m frustrated that we can’t afford to take on some of the larger, though necessary, renovations at this time. I guess I keep hoping we find some treasure chest with a false bottom stuffed with treasures and jewels that will help fund the various things we need and want in our life. We are fortunate to have our own home and the ability to mostly meet our needs, but we straddle that line too closely for comfort or security. I now understand why financial strain can test a relationship and cause interpersonal trouble; the stress alone is enough to challenge one’s attitude and resilience. I imagine all the people who live in poverty and I have a much greater degree of empathy for their situation, even though I’m blessed enough to not be in a truly impoverished position. We are so lucky and privileged. It’s important to keep any struggle in perspective.