I Think My Brain Is Broken

“What time are you going to Sequential Art tonight?” my husband asked this morning. I gave him a blank look. “I . . . don’t know.” I said.

He looked a little confused. “Really? Because you usually have this all figured out.”

And it’s true! I am the lady with the plan, the girl with all the answers (and the spreadsheets to prove it) and I just. Can’t. Get it together this week! I feel like I’m running in 50 different directions (with a baby crawling all over me at the same time) and I cannot focus.

This is how bad it is: I have a mostly blank Monthly Meal Planning spreadsheet in front of me and . . . I can’t think of what to put in it, because I definitely can’t think of cooking everything. What is happening to me? It is already May 5!

Fortunately, my lovely husband talked me through a plan that will get me to Trophy Room at Sequential Art Gallery, an exhibit of “real life” costume and props inspired by comics (that I helped put together), while he gets the kids fed and taken care of. So that’s taken care of.

But it’s clear I need to both 1) create a better, more workable schedule for myself (kids, blog, GeekCraft Expo PDX, other side project) and 2) relax. These two things might seem like complete opposites, but I actually relax when I start making schedules.

Right now? I’m going to get Sarah and me dressed and go get a cup of coffee. Because we’re out of coffee, because I haven’t been grocery shopping.

In the meantime: any suggestions for breakfast and dinner ideas? I could really use them before I throw my laptop across the room! Haallllp!

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Hey, Stressball: Take it Table by Table

Braunschweiger

Braunschweiger, so yummy . . . image via Schallerweber!

Quick post today, but I just wanted to get this out there: I am stressed as hell. I feel like everywhere I look, there’s stuff that needs to get done: the house, despite my best efforts, is drowning in clutter and I have no place to put it. The backyard needs to be raked and pruned. Our patio furniture needs to be put in the shed–except that would require me to reorganize our shed (which I just cleaned and reorganized last summer). Except that would require me to patch a hole in the roof so everything in the shed doesn’t grow a layer of mildew (update: everything in the shed is growing a layer of mildew gahhhhh).

So. Even though you know I love Christmas so, so, much, decorating for Christmas, on top of everything else, feels like . . . slapping lipstick on a pig? Making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear? Something porcine. My mind is racing, I can’t focus, and I feel like I’m already out of time.

This was helped greatly today, in part because my parents (wonderful parents) showed up with a new bookcase my Dad made (more storage for our many, many books), braunschweiger sandwiches, and Christmas ornaments. Plus, my Dad fixed my fence gate, something I’d actually forgotten to be stressed about. Yay, thank you awesome parents!

However, I also recited a mantra I learned when I was a waitress: take it table by table. I spent most of my restaurant career in Martha’s Vineyard, a popular vacation destination that was beyond slammed in the summer. When I started out, I quickly realized that if I started my day thinking about all the tables I would have, all the customers who could get mad at me, all the mistakes I would make that day–I wouldn’t show up for work, because I would be cowering under my bed.

So I took a breath and decided to take it table by table: instead of obsessing about all the things I needed to do or things that would or could happen, I would deal with them in the moment, as they happened. It broke down some 18-hour days into something bearable, and it’s a technique I still use (when I remember!).

Today, taking things table by table meant focusing on cleaning up the basement (where the bookcase is now, and where the Christmas tree will stand tomorrow) so we’d be able to take advantage of the extra storage space right away, and I cranked our patio umbrella down so our wind and rainstorms wouldn’t knock it over. I got that done, and I’m breathing a little easier now.

Does that sound goofy? Probably. What are your stress reduction tips? I highly recommend braunschweiger as well.