Category Archives: Domestic Engineer

My first 10k and my 40th winter

I logged on here to share my struggles with the coming of winter and cold weather and then remembered I hadn’t blogged about my 10k race last weekend. So we’ll take care of both here, if you don’t mind.

Yes. The cold weather. I don’t hate it. I love winter. I grew up in Michigan and I love all the seasons, but winter is a favorite. However, my body does not love it. It really resists the change. So as we are crossing over into colder temperatures, my body is screaming at me in protest. My joints ache, my muscles spasm, I have random throbbing nerve pain, and I’m just plain ol’ tired. All I want to do is curl up in a couple warm blankets and hibernate the days away. Which I could totally do, if it weren’t for all the things that need to be done. I’m behind on the laundry, dishes are constantly needing to be washed, children and the hubby like to eat once in awhile. Oh and I have doctor appointments to set and bills to pay. So now that I’ve pushed all of those tasks to Friday, it’s a pile threatening to overwhelm me. Argh. One day at a time, Mindy. One day at a time.

And then there’s the race! I actually ran the 10k I had set out to do, and I ran it in just under 90 minutes. An hour and 26 minutes, to be exact. I keep saying to people though, it was so much harder than I had expected it to be. But I don’t give up. My dad took a video of me finishing and I look incredibly hit up and worn down, as if I might possibly be actually dying, but then a minute after the finish I was smiling and laughing. Because I had finished. On my own two feet.

What was really extra special about this race is that I had my dear friend, Staci, running right by my side the whole way. She was my eyes and ears, to make sure I stayed on the course. It was wonderful to have her there next to me. Also, my brother Brett and sister Kari ran it as well, though they are faster so they ran ahead and met me at the finish line. My dad and younger brother, Josh, were there to spectate, so it was really a sort of family affair, and they were all celebrating with me. I think they all understand how far I’ve come and can truly appreciate what a victory it is for me. I could not have done any of this without their support and encouragement along the way. It was an extremely memorable day.

In the aftermath of that difficult race I was saying I would probably not be running a half marathon any time soon, as I had previously hoped. It just seemed too daunting. But then I was chatting with a friend on Wednesday and somehow we both decided we would train together to run a half marathon in the spring. So we will see how this goes! Training through the winter will be more of a challenge, but having a friend doing the training with me to hold me accountable should help.

I saw my neuro-ophthalmologist this week and shared with him my running victories and plans, and he cautioned me about training too hard. He suggested I talk to my primary neurologist for advice because she’s a runner and could give me some sound advice for training with multiple sclerosis. It’s a tricky thing, to find a balance so that I’m training enough to be prepared, but not so hard that I throw myself into a relapse.

I can’t think how to properly wrap up today’s post so I will just wish you all a Happy Friday! Have a great weekend!

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Another random, lame update

It’s Wednesday. I had a great visit with my neurologist this morning. It was nice to be able to tell her about all of the positive changes I’ve been making and my lack of MS symptoms. However, I did bring up my concerns with brain fog. A friend shared a really great article the other day about this, and it very eloquently listed what people with chronic illness experience. Sadly, it’s not just limited to people with MS. I am walking great, I have no fatigue, no pain (unless you count the occasional headache), and I’m overall feeling really fantastic. However, every day, throughout the days, I have issues with short term memory loss and cognitive function. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up the stairs and forgotten why I was there. I will often use a wrong word or name when talking with people, and not realize it. Sometimes even, I’ll forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence. And friends and family will encourage me that this is just a normal part of aging and that they experience it too. Which is nice, and appreciated for sure, but I really don’t believe that they experience this phenomenon with the frequency I do. So I told my neurologist about this and she said it may or not be MS, but there are ways to check, starting with testing my blood to see if some of my levels are out of whack. If that’s the case, I suppose it’s a simple fix with supplements. If not, there is always the option of memory testing and exercises. I had no idea that sort of thing existed, so it gave me some hope that this is a problem that has been addressed by the medical community, and I’m not coming in with some sort of weird cognitive mystery.

In other news, I slacked on laundry for one measly day and it magically piled up and threatened to take over my bedroom. I folded (and put away!) five loads of laundry today and now I would love to nap but I need to stay awake so I can answer questions for my grocery shopper, and then be up when she delivers my groceries. I LOVE grocery delivery, people. Love it.

So I think I’m going to make a glass of sweet tea and read a book or do some crocheting while I wait.

Learning life without fatigue

I am still really super happy to be rid of fatigue. I don’t think that will ever get old. Not having fatigue feels a lot like someone just handed me my life back. Now I’m just figuring out what to do with it. I have all this energy during the day and I get feeling restless. But when I’m feeling restless it’s still hard to think of what I should or could be doing. I don’t really want to blame my brain for not cooperating, but it is what it is.

I recently decided I want to be more intentional about how I use my time throughout the day. “Going with the flow” is okay every once in awhile but I’m not real comfortable staying there. I want to be serious about keeping up with housework, but still give myself time to rest when needed (not to mention recognize when the rest is needed). My solution? I downloaded an app on my phone – because there is ALWAYS an app for that. It’s been helping me keep track of all my daily tasks, occasional to-dos, and ongoing habits I’m trying to form. Spending time with God, playing fetch with the dog, cleaning house – these are all things I want to be doing every day. The app awards me points every time I complete something, so I’ve added things like taking my medicine, doing the dishes, taking out the trash, vacuuming, and cleaning the bathrooms. It’s made doing stuff kind of a game, and I’m already on level 4! I haven’t quite figured out what I can do in the “game” at level 4 but I don’t really care because apparently I’m a simple girl and I’m happy enough moving up the level ladder.

I’d write more, figure out a way to cleanly close this post, but my tummy is growling at me so I’m off to the kitchen! Have a happy Friday y’all!

Brain Dump

What’s on my mind, you ask? (If you didn’t, feel free to move along…) Food. Coffee. Food again. Running. Writing. A cool breeze on the back deck, birds chirping.

Yesterday I signed up for a 5k that happens in six weeks. With the exception of this morning, I had not run since before school let out for the summer, on account of my knee and hip pain (see dumb butt post). I know I can walk a 5k, no problem, but my goal is to run it the entire way. So I’ve got some work to do to get back to that place.

Side note: the cool breeze is upgrading to a brisk wind. I may have to go inside 😦

The summer is over. There were a couple trips there at the end I haven’t blogged about, but I may yet. Late is still better than never, isn’t it?

School started for my kids on Monday. It was a half day, and they don’t have school on Friday due to Labor Day, so it’s what I would call a “soft opening” to the school year. The kids are thankful for that, but I would have been right on board with jumping right in with a full week. I like my weekdays. I can do my own thing and not have to worry about what the kids are going to do. It’s one of the luxuries of disability that I’ve become accustomed to.

You know what I’m excited about today? You’re gonna laugh, or groan, or both, but I’m really excited to eat macaroni and cheese for lunch. I stopped eating dairy and eggs in June, and it’s been so much harder than giving up meat (that was last November). I’ve since learned to drink my coffee black, and found some really great non-dairy milks, yogurts, and ice creams, but had yet to find a suitable replacement for cheese. At least not any that you would buy pre-made. My cousin told me awhile back about cashew cheese that’s easy to make but I just hadn’t gotten around to trying it. Well, I ordered the necessary ingredients a few weeks ago on Amazon (easier than trying to find nutritional yeast and tapioca starch locally) and finally made a batch on Tuesday. I’ve been putting it on burritos, tacos, pizza even, and it’s surprisingly delicious! So I have a box of macaroni noodles just waiting to be dressed up with this stuff, and I believe today will be the day.

My daughter started taking ballet lessons last week. She’s been wanting to for years (she’s only 7) but I just kept putting it off because it’s way out of my comfort zone. But I finally worked up the courage to get it going, and I’m so glad I did. The smile on her face when we walked into the dance shop to buy her ballet slippers was priceless. I had not seen her light up like that in a really long time. Maybe ever. And she’s loving the practices, and looks forward to it every week. I’m really excited to see how this goes.

My son, the big sports guy, is taking a break from competitive sports for the fall. He’s going to take swim lessons at the YMCA, to learn to be a better swimmer. Then when wrestling season rolls around, he’ll be back at it. The kid has so much energy we need to keep him busy or he’ll drive us both nuts.

I chopped 8 inches off my hair back in July and I am loving it. I actually think I want to go a leeeetle bit shorter. Just a little. And highlights. The highlights are happening next week, for sure. We’ll see if I end up with just a trim, or if I decide to cut it shorter.

Oh! And did I mention I get my groceries delivered now? Oh yes, I’ve been anxiously waiting for that service to come to our area and I’ll tell you it’s even better than I had anticipated. It is saving us (me) SO MUCH stress. I don’t have to plan our meals or grocery trips around my husband’s schedule. I need stuff, I just order it online and it comes right to the house. Just like magic.

You can say things are going well. I’ve left out a lot, believe it or not, but that’s enough for today. Until next time…

It’s always good to be home

The kids and I went camping last week with my dad’s church family. It’s something the kids have been doing every summer for the past four or five years. This was my dad’s last year to be able to go, because he is retiring next June. So there was a lot of bittersweet floating around. However, I and the kids have been invited back for future years, since they have especially bonded with a lot of the kids there. We had a lot of fun. The kids swam, rode bikes, played gaga ball (??), went kayaking (my favorite part, may write a separate post about that), and played tug of war in the river. Lots of great memories.

My legs are in shambles. Good, old fashioned muscle pain from all the walking, I suppose. I walked constantly for the whole trip and I came back home to find I had gained 5 pounds. Seriously. I guess I forgot to mention there was a lot of eating as well!

I also woke up this morning with considerable nerve pain in my feet, which is unusual for the morning. It usually only comes around in the evening. I guess my body is just paying the toll for all the fun we had. I am more than okay with that. Just gonna keep moving forward anyway, with small breaks in between. No need to rush.

Speaking of waking up this morning… my husband woke me up to let me know that the refrigerator wasn’t working, and that he needed me to move the food to the fridge in the basement. He was on his way out the door to work but he is hoping to come back at some point to fix it. We’ll see. I’m just really grateful that we have a second fridge for these sorts of occasions. So that was my first task of the day, and I’m definitely going to take advantage of an empty fridge to get it all wiped out. There are lots of sticky spots and who knows what’s in those nooks and crannies.

The kids are happy to be home. The dog is happy we’re home. Hubby is really happy we’re home. Waking up on a Monday in our own beds is surely something to be thankful for, no matter what the day has in store for us. And coffee, of course.

 

New goals and stuff

Just real quick folks, I’m checking in to let you know today I am committing to every day – every day – starting with two things before everything else. One – time with God, praying and reading the Bible. Two – 30 minutes of exercise, walking, running, sit-ups, whatever. Those two things, in that order, must be completed before I do anything else each day. So if I know I have plans for the day that could interfere, then I just have to get up a little earlier to make room for those two things. Gah! We’ll see how this goes. This is certainly not the first time I’ve tried to get back to basics and keep these priorities in my life (well maybe for the first item, the second one is a more recent addition). So I’m not telling you because it’s new, but I’m telling you because if I post it here maybe I’ll remember that it’s here and that I made the commitment.

I think this will help me. I have been storing up a lot of anxiety lately over all of the details. Piddly little details, and I’m all worked up over them. So I’m just trying to get centered. Again.

Today I’ve completed those first two, even after going back to bed for the majority of the morning, and now I’m onto the next. Toilets to be cleaned, floors to be vacuumed. And I’m sporting my phone on my arm like a runner so I can groove to my techno station. Gotta make it fun, people!

Oh, and coffee. Another cup of coffee is in the works.

Wait, I forgot to mention – today my son turned 10!! That’s a really big deal (at least it is for him, and I still remember turning double digits myself) and I totally ignored it with this post, didn’t I? I think I’m supposed to share a nice photo and a story of his birth, or something like that, but nah, forget “supposed to”. We have celebrations planned for him, dinner with the family tonight and a party on Sunday. So I’m sure you’ll hear more about it from me soon enough.

Now back to the toilet business. *Focus, Mindy, focus.*

Checking the mail

I look forward to getting the mail. Yep, I’m one of those people. I never used to be, but now that I’m stuck home most days, with not a lot to do other than boring domestic stuff like cooking and cleaning… well, sometimes it’s the most exciting time of my day. The sale ads come every Tuesday, and that’s fun to glance through casually before tossing them into the recycle bin. Most other days it’s the normal bills coming in, which I’m always happy to handle. I still love accounting, so balancing the checkbook and managing the budget makes me feel like I’m still using my skills.

This time of year is especially exciting because we have been receiving all the end-of-year tax forms. And I love preparing tax returns! I used to do it for others, as a side business, but can’t do it now due to my vision. There’s just too much room for error. If I screw up on my own return, no biggie, but screwing up on a client’s or friend’s return is just not cool.

So I’m raring and ready to go on our 2016 return, but we are missing two forms that had to be resent, so I’m anxiously waiting their arrival in the mailbox every day. I’m also waiting for my new handicap parking placard to arrive, since it’s expiring this year. Unfortunately, today was not the day for any of these items. Maybe tomorrow!

And now for your amusement, I’ll show you what my husband thinks of when he sees me run out and check the mailbox on a Saturday, when he’s actually home to see my excitement…

Mailtime!