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?


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