Thursday, February 12, 2015

Weathering the Storm

We've only been in California for 4 months yet we have experienced not one, but TWO "storms of the century" with record rainfall and high winds. As much rain as the area has seen in a whole year dropping down over the span of a weekend. Apparently, a "storm" in California is a lot of rain. Everywhere else, we would just call it....a lot of rain. But such is life in a place with not enough rain, too many hills and likely the worst urban planning imaginable. Who builds a city, by a bay, on so many hills? They aren't hills. They are mountains. Ask anyone with a 5-speed who attempts a drive through San Francisco - they are mountains. People in Boston, upstate NY and the like must laugh themselves silly when they hear about our "storms", as they shovel out of 8 feet of snow, with more to come. At least I don't have to shovel rain. It is a fairly low-maintenance storm. I heed the forecasts and batten down the hatches, bringing lawn cushions inside, securing garden items and pool toys, tucking away patio toys to make sure they do not blow into the windows. I even made sure the lemon tree was stripped of any ripe fruit so that flying lemons would not be an issue. No flying lemon issue, but now I have a "what do I do with 50 lemons" issue. We can only drink so much lemonade. All of that to say that when I hear about a storm, I listen, I prepare, I survive. I need a similar strategy for the rest of my life it would seem.

The last few weeks have been - simply horrible. All of the big things that would normally be causing me such trouble - like the kids acting crazy or the house being a disaster, or the husband traveling again - that was all absolutely fine. My kids actually couldn't be sweeter. They are playing so nicely together and behaving so well. We have had lots of fun spending extra time reading together in the big bed and playing board games after school. They've been helping with dinner prep and actually eating what I serve.....crazy talk, I know. The husband has been working a lot and traveling a bit, but - not more than usual and when he has been home, he has taken special care to give me the time I need to not be on-duty, to not cook dinner, to not have to wrangle the kids out of the bath. But that has somehow not helped me feel any better about being here. It is like a big wave of homesickness washed up to my doorstep and it won't recede. I have been reading a book I found about homesickness that explores how it was viewed and handled in Colonial America. I'm not very far through it - it is a thick, textbook with very small print - but it has been rather interesting. The term homesickness was coined much more recently. Previously, such feelings of longing for home were called nostalgia, from the Greek Nosto, for return home, and Algia, for pain. As is the case now, some people are severely afflicted with it, and others not. Back then, those that suffered were considered to be weaker than those that did not. Even now, many see it as something that primarily afflicts children. But I am a grown woman and I am not weak and I can tell you that it affects adults, too. I am suffering from nostalgia. And it just won't budge.

I am trying to find new doctors that accept our insurance and have availability. I am trying to get our license plates returned to Virginia for a refund and get a status update on our home in Virginia that others are occupying right now. I am attempting to sort out our travel plans for the next few months as family prepares to visit and summer vacation is technically right around the corner (if we want to not go bankrupt with the airfare that rises in price as the date approaches). I'm trying to find a change counter so my son can empty his piggy bank, which is a ritual at our house for New Year's. Yes, we are a little behind. I'm just trying to live. And it hurts. And I have started to think that if I treated my nostalgia like a storm, one that needs attention and preparation to handle, then maybe I could survive a little better.

So how do I prepare for my storm? I need to keep taking care of myself. I attend a fantastic boot camp 4 mornings a week and even though it is at 5:30 in the morning, I love going and I feel great. When my husband travels, I can't go and I end up hating my day. So I need to make no excuses about working out and even when he is gone, get up and Tae Bo in the living room. I recently got a pedicure and it felt decadent. I don't care the cost - I should treat myself to one of those on a regular basis. I need to stop the food sabotage and eat right, even when I don't feel like it. I've decided that as much as I like wine, I am probably using it far too much these days and it is losing its value for me. I'll refrain from drinking until I go out. I need to accept social engagements with freedom and uncertainty, which I had previously been doing but then I just got so tired of trying and going and doing. Thankfully, I continue to meet really great people and I have a few people that I adore who keep me semi-grounded these days.

I need to sew. And sew and sew. And create and enjoy the process. It is one of the few things I feel that I brought with me that has not changed much at all. I am finding great comfort is doing something by myself, for myself, without regard for what else I might be doing with my time. I don't have a very busy social calendar these days so sewing fills in the gaps nicely. I am not suggesting that I become a sewing hermit, only that when I'm feeling a little blue, I can use it to settle down, channel some of those stormy thoughts and get my mind back in order.

The recent rain storm we had did no damage. Lots of wind and rain but nothing tragic. I returned things to their rightful place in the yard and took a deep breath. And I decided that if our little yard and all of our little things and the people in the city and people where real storms happen can all make it through the turbulent bouts that come their way, then so can I. With a little preparation and attention to my own needs, maybe once the water recedes, I will not only return to my rightful place in the yard, but I'll find a way to enjoy being there after all.


  1. Change is difficult. I find that I just take one week or one day at a time and try to live it to the fullest. I retired from a teaching job in which I taught teachers... and I loved it...but it was time to retire. It has taken me over a year and a half to find my stride again... one day at a time. Now, I'm filling my days differently, but it kind of becoming the new me. Maybe you need to create the new California you... one day at a time. Try looking forward more..

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