Saturday, December 17, 2016

Homeless a little longer

We joke that we've been homeless for for five months. Actually we've been guests.  While we're immensely grateful,  it is hard work. 

We conform to the toddler's early rising, the big kids' Friday night sleep overs, sharing the kitchen and not grumbling about the menu choices. 

Being part of a larger, busier family empties my reserves of flexibility. It's like living in a dorm. But now I'm way too old for the free-flow. 

My perspective is decidedly selfish. I want to brew tea in my teapot. The family's Pandora radio station sounds like Muzak. I sigh to myself when all of the muffins I made yesterday are gone this morning. I'm no longer amused when somebody "borrows" the bathroom space heater. 

For months life has felt like jumping from ice floe to ice floe. We need an anchor. We long for our old routines and leisurely quiet mornings. We miss taking care of just ourselves.
The need for the structure independent living affords is great:  my chores, my way of doing them, maintaining our sanctuary.

Looming cancer treatment and whatever toll it will take on my husband make us feel it's imperative to find "home." It's urgent we create a new normal. 

Most of the future is unsure, beyond our control, rendering us helpless to make long term plans. When we move into our condo next week we hope it will be a fortress where we regain energy for the tough times ahead.

Craving routine is normal. Blogger Brianna Wiest said "The point is not what the routine consists of, but how steady and safe your subconscious mind is made through repetitive motion and expected outcomes." 

Having a few expected outcomes--finding the muffin is still there, that there's hot water for my shower, sounds good. I can't wait. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sky Scrooge

Holiday travel is gearing up. The airports look pretty, but you're bound to encounter some unmerry travelers.

I'm one of them. I turn into a sky Scrooge when I am crowded.  I cope by maximizing my personal space. (Proxemics is the study of human use of space and the effects that population density has on behavior, communication, and social interaction. Wikipedia)

1)    In long lines, hang back just a smidgen from the person in front of you. I think the extra breathing room makes the line feel less frantic.Scrooge

2)    Walk instead of taking the moving sidewalks. The exercise clears your mind and speeders swerve around you.

3)    Wait at a gate without a flight, but within sight of your boarding area.

4)    Don't board when your "zone" is called. I don't understand why all fifty people in zone two jump up to be stalled in a jetway traffic jam. And more people put more germs within reach.

5)    Make sure the arm rests are in place. It sends a subtle message - this is my space, stay out.
service dog at DIA relaxes travelers

6)    Pull out anti-bacterial wipes and clean said armrests, folding tray, buttons for lights, etc. Your seat mates will silently inch away because they think you're a fanatic.

7)    I don't make unnecessary eye contact or smile at anybody. This discourages conversation.

8)    Plant your feet wide underneath the seat ahead of you. Otherwise some big guy will think his size thirteens deserve some of your size eight foot space.

9)    Wear your ear buds, even if the cord dangles unconnected.

10) Pack light. If your carry on fits under the seat, you don't have to compete in the scramble for bin space. Plus, schlepping a bulging bag is bad for your back.

It's my theory that introverts probably dislike the close quarters created during holiday travel more than extroverts. Do you get irritated by the masses when you travel? Do you jump in and make new friends? Tell me what helps you travel smoothly at high peak times.

(December 9th Wall Street Journal has an article about how shrinking airplane head space causes anxiety. It corroborates my ideas about proxemics.)