#1 Guess who’s going on a diet and getting a massive makeover this year?
That’s right: My house!
So far we’ve hauled two truckloads of junk to the thrift store, shoved off a minivan-load of books and toys to other families, persuaded some anonymous kind soul to rescue an ancient free-to-good-home sofa off the curb, and dispatched to the landfill sundry other items which had mistakenly taken up residence on our property — which has never actually been a landfill, it just looked like one, thanks.
While other people were piously praying the O Antiphons, Superhusband and our eldest daughter were mortifying themselves by removing 40 acres of popcorn ceiling. The other 4/6ths of us did support crew. (Thank you, Costco, for existing. Amen.) Hallways are now primed, painted, and back in service; after a break for the feast, the living room is underway.
Pro Decorating Tip for People Still Living in 1979: If your home is built like a cave, go for shiny ultra-white every time. Harvest Gold doesn’t look so sunny if there is not actual sunlight present.
Festival of light for us, indeed.
#2 This is possible because . . .
Whoa boy, I haven’t been this healthy, functionally speaking, in three years. I do not know what’s going on. There are several possible explanations that correlate.
Drug theory: In October I was the worst I’d been since forever. Went to my GP about the neuromuscular problems that had cropped up with a vengeance, he came up blank after mostly-normal bloodwork and referred me out, but the appointment is for May 2017. I know! That’s a lot of months of “try Tylenol,” kids. As it happens, my situation most closely mimics the symptoms of “mitochondrial disease” which I put in quotes because that’s a very broad category of problems, not a single illness. The going treatment is a combination of symptomatic support (aka, “try Tylenol”) and a set of available-OTC vitamins and, um, things. So I googled around, picked one of the vast number of debated protocols, and tried it.
Prayer theory: I checked in with several of my chief prayer-people back in October when the situation was very ugly, and they have been working on my case with extra diligence.
Random Coincidence theory: Lots of diseases have a relapsing-remitting course, and I might just be enjoying a lucky break.
Some Other Thing theory: Maybe I needed to accumulate enough hours doing carpool and then I’d be healed. Or who knows. We’ll see how things unfold.
#3 Regardless, it’s possible.
I was banned from painting anything, ever, way back sixteen-and-some years ago when we first converted the soon-to-be-nursery from Vintange Mint to You’d Be Willing to Raise a Child Here. (I recently got clearance to repaint some rusty shelving that’s going on the back porch, though. I think the craftspersons are either desperate or delusional. Or maybe the rule is: If we were otherwise going to send it to the landfill, Jennifer is allowed to try to paint it first.)
Needless to say, I’m strictly support personnel for this recent venture, since the goal is to make the home presentable to the general public. Still, even the low-profile jobs are a pile of work. In addition to emptying the living room and doing the house-diet runs, the boy and I have been cleaning up the yard. Since I track my activity level, here’s the change:
This time last year, I was good for an average of 5,000 steps a day, with one rest day a week. I was hitting a lot of higher-count days, and also I didn’t figure out about artificial heat sources until late in the season. [The deal with that: I was needing an extra two hours of sleep through the cool months to make up for the energy spent keeping myself warm at rest. That would be eleven hours of sleep a day. That’s a lot of time spent not-awake.] If I broke that rule and tried to go longer than a week without a rest day, I’d be completely laid low for a week or more.
This fall, going straight to avoiding making my body produce its own supplementary heat (at rest – when you’re up moving around, you generate heat regardless), and with a more regular daily routine, I was at 5,000 steps a day, steady, no rest day needed as long as I kept it mostly under 6K on the upwards end. Note that one cannot accomplish very much with this activity level.
That’s where I was mid-October, and also having Fun with Pain and things like that. (“Try Tylenol!”) I was completely wiped out by a cold in November, to the point that I skipped Thanksgiving. That was fine, emotionally, but obviously things were not good.
Once I got past the cold though, things went upwards fast. Pain and Things dropped off to non-interfering levels, and my stamina creeped up and stayed up. I can talk without getting lightheaded. I can sing, somewhat. I’m averaging 10K of steps a day, no rest days needed. Though I get the normal muscle soreness that comes from increased activity (yard work, moving things around the house, Costco), it’s all just the normal thing.
(That itself is a gift: Being reassured that yes, you have all along known the keen difference between normal muscle soreness and This Is Not Right. And kids? Don’t take Tylenol for normal. Not worth the side effects. Normal pain is just normal, enjoy it and use it wisely.)
So yes, things are astonishingly good here. By which I mean, normal.
#4 Dread Diseases Will Teach You Useful Skills
A skill I do not possess is the ability to sing well. I enjoy singing, but I am not skilled at it. Not being able to sing, however badly, did not make me happy. So over the past several years I’ve gotten practiced at lip-syncing along when there’s a hymn at church I really want to sing, but also I don’t want to faint.
You know who is grateful I possess this skill? Everyone who came to the early Christmas Eve Mass at my parish.
I was the parent-on-the-scene with the Junior
Miscreants Choristers up in the choir loft, who sound angelic when they sing, but are not, in fact, actual angels. Now, other than the part where I mistakenly signaled the children to kneel during the Consecration and they flopped around like pious fish in confusion, I was mostly a beneficial presence, I tell myself. But it would have been very, very unhelpful if I had sung along to the carols loud-and-proud like we do down in the pews. So isn’t it wonderful that I had several years of practice fake-singing-and-enjoying-it?
Yes it is wonderful.
You’re welcome, world.
#5 My living room is beautiful.
In a half-painted, construction-site sort of way. Also, my yard’s looking less and less like a landfill every day. Merry Christmas!
FYI if you were looking for interesting Christmas-themed reading, I’ve linked a few things in my Twitter feed.