Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oops, guess I should put a title in

Yikes. It's July. How's your summer going so far? I've had some ups and downs over the past six weeks or thereabouts. In no particular order, here they are:

I came out West for a planned working visit a few days ago. The day after I arrived, my mom's ability to function took a dramatic turn for the worse. She has Parkinson's and recently shifted from cane to walker, but overnight she suddenly became completely unable to walk or stand on her own. Sibling and I took her to the emergency room once it became clear that this wasn't going away, and we were glad to find out that there were no signs of another stroke. Mom did have a bad bladder infection, though, and unless the neurologist turns up something else today when he examines her, there's a strong probability that the bladder infection is the root cause of Mom's overnight loss of function. She's been doing better since going on antibiotics, and she reluctantly agreed to move to assisted living on what is hopefully a temporary basis. In the meantime, I'm working from 4:00 a.m. until early afternoon, spending the rest of the day with her, and then catching up in the evening. My sibling will be able to stay her longer due to a planned extended vacation/leave of absence from work, so I'll most likely be returning to New York this weekend even though Mom's not likely to be released from assisted living for some time.

And why is it so important for me to get back to New York? We're going through another reorg at work, so I need to be visible even though there are no plans for layoffs in the works as far as I can tell. After nearly two years of constant reorganization, however, I'm pretty burned out and ready to accept whatever happens.

A couple of months in, things are pretty good with the Aussie so far. We survived the first idiotic fight, and we're learning to catch cultural things that impede communication fairly quickly. One potential issue I see looming on the horizon is that we are very, very different when it comes to money. I'm not sure I'd call it a red flag at the moment, but its something to keep in mind if things start heading in a more serious direction. To put it succinctly, he makes a lot, but he also spends a lot. You know that's really not how I roll.

The more immediate challenge is that he's has had a steady stream of family visiting over the past few weeks, and although I've been invited to lots of things with them, the limited time to talk and spend time one on one has made things a little harder. I started feeling a rift that probably isn't actually there, and I think it's both because of the lack of time together and because while he's swamped with family obligations, my mom's problems are taking a heavy toll on me and affecting how I'm perceiving everything at the moment. We'll see what getting back to normal living brings.

Ran the Boston Marathon in April; I requalified for 2012, but wasn't happy with my time. I signed up for a second marathon only six weeks later, and in that one I ran a personal best of just over 3:30. I promptly got sick with a respiratory infection right before an out of state relay in June, which made that run all kinds of interesting. I'm over it, but still coughing (thanks, asthma!). I also gained a few pounds, and the knee problem that has been hanging around for the past year and a half has become much more acute. I'm supposedly doing a marathon in early October, but my mileage and fitness level have both dropped precipitously. I'm still planning on doing it but not expecting any miracles, especially with knee problems, lack of training, and the fact that this will be my fourth marathon in twelve months.

Haven't been saving as much as usual. Part of that is because of the unexpected expenses I wrote about in my last post (a $6000 "loan" [really a gift] to my New York parents and well over $2000 on a new washer and dryer), but I've also been traveling a lot (six trips since January, five of which involved airline tickets). Spending time with the Aussie has also meant much more eating out than I'm used to, but he's one of those guys who strongly prefers to pick up the check. There is a very big difference in our incomes, but it's still very hard for me to let someone else pay all the time when we go out. I do grab the check on occasion (never in front of his friends), but I can tell that he's not particularly thrilled about it. In any case, while going out for dinner frequently has been decidedly bad for my waistline, it hasn't had a lot of impact on my bottom line. Travel and the unexpected expenses I described are by far the primary culprits.

That sounds a lot more Debbie Downer-ish than I meant it to. I'm actually fairly optimistic that my mom will recover enough to be able to resume independent living, though I don't think it'll happen as soon as she expects it to. As for the rest of it, the big picture is that I don't have a lot worth expending energy worrying on, so I'm doing my best to focus on the important things and let go of the rest.

What's going on with you right now?

14 retorts:

mOOm July 7, 2011 at 6:35 PM  

Sorry to hear about your Mom. My mother has a form of dementia and conversations with her on the phone get more weird etc. It's a long way to visit (other side of the world) and we went last year...

I got a permanent job offer at the place I am at currently on a one year contract. It's at the rank of full professor (it's a big deal but my Mom didn't get it when I tried to explain to her...). And I'm about to go to Korea for a couple of weeks.

goldsmith,  July 8, 2011 at 7:56 AM  

I am also sorry to hear about your mom, and hope she will recover as much as is possible for her.

I have a lot going on that also sounds worse than it is. I am at the tail end of a victorious struggle with management for only a modest increase in work targets for this year, due to a number of health issues which arose more or less simultaneously. None of them are particularly threatening, but include several gallstones (ouch!), and depression linked to burnout linked to living with my disability. I was sent to an occupational health specialist, and made the point (which she fully supported), that it was better to support me with only sligtly increased work targets than run me into the ground now and then have me go on sick leave at my employer's expense, for months on end, with no work contribution from me at all. Having the social contacts at work will also be beneficial for the depression.

Apropos of struggling with depression, I am also thinking now whether there are situations where "retail therapy" is just what it says on the tin: I lost a lot of weight last year, but was too cheap to update parts of my wardrobe, which, by my reckoning, still had plenty of wear in them. I have now gone on a shopping spree to buy replacement clothes that actually fit. This is lifting my mood considerably!

The frugal moral of my current story: It was easy to budget for psychotherapy, I only needed to lower my mortgage overpayments for a while, and the clothing budget comes from savings. Cool, eh? Even if I am not increasing my net worth much for a while.

Bonnie,  July 8, 2011 at 9:25 AM  

It really made my day to see a new post from you, FZ.

So sorry to hear about your mom's ongoing struggles. I hope that her stay in assisted living is as brief as possible for her sake.

I'm very happy to hear that things with the Aussie are still moving along. It sounds like you both are going through some really stressful and busy times and I think you're right to wait to reassess the relationship once things are 'normal' again.

I am really miserable in my current work situation and have had several disappointments (jobs that I really felt I had a good chance of getting that just didn't pan out) that have me feeling pretty down about my career prospects. I know I should feel lucky to HAVE a job when so many others don't, but in my selfish moments, I don't feel lucky at all. The fact that I am considering quitting this job without something else lined up in this economy should tell you something. Other than that, life is pretty good. BF and I have never been better; I would just really like him to 'put a ring on it.'

Take care, and please--we're begging you--consider posting more often and/or joining Twitter!

Revanche July 10, 2011 at 4:51 PM  

Eep, I was thrilled to see you post.

Congrats on requalifying for Boston! Best hopes for the knee, though, joint probs are always worrisome.

I'm sorry about your Mom's episode this week. I'm glad it's not a stroke, my fingers crossed that she recovers, even if slowly.

Also sorry to hear about everyone's (yours, FZ, goldsmith's, Bonnie's) job frustrations/obstacles. Seems like things are rough the world over.

I'm glaring at my job quite in some of the same ways; stress affects health, health affects work, work affects stress. Rinse and repeat. ;/

(goldsmith, perhaps tailoring some of those Still Has Wear pieces might be feasible?)

Life's overwhelmingly busy and tiring over on this coast, I'm trying to find balance again and it's a serious struggle. But we have a dog now and it's ... great. I love having a dog again. So there's that.

cathywit,  July 18, 2011 at 12:23 AM  

Hi, I've been reading your archives and I just love your sensible attitude. You have been a real inspiration to me! Hope the relationship/mother/job/marathon work out well for you. Please keep posting, it's disappointing when I don't find anything new here.

Best wishes!

Crystal @ Health Insurance Comparison July 25, 2011 at 1:41 PM  

I had no idea about everything that had been going on with you! I am so sorry about your mom. And your job. And pretty much all of the turmoil. Good luck!

karen ho fatt July 27, 2011 at 2:39 PM  

All the best, hope your mom is on the road to recovery. Unfortunately when you reach that age, family has to help out alot. I can understand as I have to deal with aging parents myself and their own set of health problems.

amr,  August 11, 2011 at 7:27 AM  

Hey FZ, sounds like all things normal in and downs that is. Hope your mum's recovery is consistently up even if it is going to be a slow road.
Good on the running times. You runners are all the same though...time, time, time is all that matters.
But see, poor run/time in your head, still qualified then a PB next time out. Bet you're still not happy!

Have to watch those Aussies. Damn carefree spirits they are. Probably because not much to worry about down here really and we are too apathetic to care anyway. Call him a 'drongo' or a 'galah' next time he spends too much or tell him he might 'come a gutsa' financially if he's not careful with the 'readies.'

Things are slowing down here, might get a recession, might not. Damn two speed economy, don't know what's going on.

Plenty of work & teaching for me so in my world all is still good. Training hard still 4 times a week even with broken bones (from training).
Somehow now have a weekly radio show as well with a couple of friends for a bit of fun, one of only 2 in the country talking about my line of work so that takes up any free time left.

Take care & post often FZ

Anonymous,  August 12, 2011 at 9:41 AM  

FZ, please post in August. Pretty please?


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Anonymous,  November 8, 2011 at 3:42 PM  

Blog time of death: 11:30 am July 7th, 2011. RIP FrugalZeitgeist's blog. Thanks for the fun times and good luck to you and your mom.

Another blog down, the fad is ending. Hopefully Facebook will be the next to implode.

Bonnie,  November 14, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

I really hope that Anonymous 11/8 is wrong about your blog, but I'm afraid he or she is not. FZ, would you consider posting and letting us know if you're dropping out for good? Twitter is always an option if you don't want to the do the regular blog anymore. Hope that all is well with you and your mom, too.

Avinuity December 19, 2011 at 2:29 AM  

Life is very fast there is no signal to stop for the peace of mind, just run for the money!!

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