Slide In All Directions

Me? I’m a homebody.  I like having my routine.  Without serious provocation or enticement, I will get up at the same time, shower in the same water temperature, have the same thing for breakfast and sit down at the desk at the same time to churn out words.

It’s not so much being boring, as getting the little decisions out of the way, so I can sit down and face the big decisions: what is motivating this character?  What does she do now?

Or if you prefer, I’m a sorry little woman who lives only vicariously.

Ever since High School I displayed both a passion for routine, and a low boredom threshold.  What this meant is that my ideal job was of course one in which I do the same thing every day and it’s always different.  Writing is like that, and so are a number of other mind-professions.

If you squint and shake the snow globe, you could say that I’m removing the stress of breaking routine so I can have the stress of creating.

All of which would be true.

The problem is that life doesn’t stay still, and this year (and last) just about the only family member not in a transition/major change situation was younger son.  And frankly we’re not at all sure about him, since he’s very introverted and secretive.

What this means for a family that has more or less always lived in each other’s pockets is that not only has my cheese been moved (all of my cheeses, including physical) but also that the movement of everyone else’s cheese is reflected back at me too.

Things I recently found I no longer know how to do include shopping for this family, because we never know if Marsh will be in for dinner or not, and what I cook for a dinner routinely lasts Dan and I two meals.  So stuff I bought just sort of accumulates.  That’s okay.

This is all made worse by knowing I’m in a temporary location, so I can’t really settle in to a routine.

This is not an excuse for being this late — no, the excuse for being this late is that I was sidetracked to look at house listings, which I’m sooooo tired of doing and which vaguely depressed me — but it’s what I was thinking about, because all of us go through periods like this.

Transition.  Things sliding in all directions.  You can’t tell what the final configuration will be.

I was sort of okay housewise, while I thought I knew where we’d be moving.  Not okay, but far less stress than having no idea where we’ll end up or what configuration.

But then, in these transitions, and leaving aside the house matter, that is often the essence.  And when you think you know how things will end, it’s often not so.  I.e. I know I thought Robert moving out would play out a different way.  I both miss him more and less than I expected, and the change gives us BOTH a chance to grow in different directions.

Transitions are needed because often people like me get ossified into a routine and don’t even notice it doesn’t fit them anymore.  No, you do what you’ve always done.

They are difficult, because breaking routine is difficult.

But as I deal with this unusually prolonged house search, the hope I hold onto and what has been true more than once in these transitions, is that on the other side of all this mess there will be a new, can’t dream it yet, and even more satisfying routine for me.

One that will allow me to put up blog posts on time, natch.

Girl can dream.

67 responses to “Slide In All Directions

  1. First? I am also a creature of habit, and think having the right habits is key to living a long and healthy life. I went so far as to pick up the domain name when I meant to write that one up…

    Optimizing for important stuff vs tiresome chores, for example. I buy a large number of identical socks and dump them in a drawer unsorted after washing. I have four identical all-black workout outfits so I don’t have think about what to wear. I eat the same things in the same order every day, except for dinner which varies between 4-5 standard meals (which keeps the peace with the other members of the household!)

    • Ha! You remind me of my mom.
      My dear departed mother only made 6 different meals all the years we were growing up. On Saturday, Dad grilled steaks.
      It made her shopping very simple.

      I like variety too much for that.

      • I find that if I don’t get enough variety, I can develop an aversion to something. I have a near-aversion to Ramen noodles, for example (not enough to make me throw up, but I can only have it once every other week or so); I also have a near-aversion to oatmeal (after eating it every morning for a while, it got to the point that I’d almost throw up if I tried eating it — but I can now eat it every so often now, without throwing up).

        I also like the idea of simplification, and I have a tendency to raid previous menus to get an idea of what to do for future menus, but I find that having two weeks of different things is almost, but not quite, there…and even then, it helps to have a day or two to try something new…

  2. 45 years of ‘lack of routine’ in the military and civilian life have put me in a position of never having to ‘break’ routines, but I can understand how people stagnate in the same patterns when they don’t have a reason to change. As you’ve said, this might be the time to look at things that need changing in your daily life.

  3. Yes. Routines are comforting and I turn to reading fiction to avoid boredom.

  4. I like having my routine.

    I’m right there with you. A routine that encompasses a great part of one’s day to day affairs is a labor-saving device. Yes, it can become stultifying, but with a modicum of attention it need not do so.

    Many decisions about how to conduct one’s affairs can be “canned,” “poured out of a jug,” “made in advance,” phrase it however you like. That’s what a routine really is: a jug of pre-made decisions. If you’re getting plus mileage out of it, more power to you.

    Concerning the house search, I wish you all the luck in the world, as it seems you’ve had “a run of deuces” up to now. Kind of makes one wonder about those folks who move every five or seven years and never unpack all the boxes, doesn’t it?

  5. What is this routine you speak of?

    More seriously, while I suspect it would be a very nice thing to have, I suspect it requires some degree of predictability in life.

    Speaking of predictable matters, those of you who pray, it looks quite likely that Mom will have to get her other hip replaced this summer, if you wouldn’t mind adding her in.

  6. Yeah, my routine is badly broken. Oddly, though, not by the biggest things, but the smaller.

    I’m spending two weeks every two months in California with my parents. My mother’s in home hospice care and determined to beat the doctor’s latest guess at life expectancy. But those trips are just a flip to a whole different situation. I flip back quickly when I return home.

    No, it’s my husband sort-of-retiring that’s driving me up the wall. He’s a consultant, and the work has dried up. Mind you, despite coming up on his 66th birthday, he has no desire to retire. So _he’s_ not transitioning to taking up hobbies or whatever. And I have to deal with him home full time. Banging around, whistling, asking what I want him to do, asking what’s for dinner, deciding to vacuum the house . . . I’ve gotten so used to peace, quiet and uninterrupted hours in the middle of the day, that what never bothered me in the evenings and weekends has me ready to run away from home. And hoping for the price of crude oil to rise (sorry, everyone) so he can go back to work.

    Sarah, you’ve had your home life disturbed so many times in the last year, I’m amazed you can get anything done. I can only wish you peace and quiet (or your preference of noise and bustle) and hope you can manufacture some bubble of normalcy to work in.

    • Amen on the oil. I like the less-expensive gas. I don’t like sweating the school and charitable group(s) budgets because no one can afford to make donations to good causes anymore.

      • The price of crude affects the most interesting things, that seem totally unrelated. I like the cheap gas for one of my main sources of income, because it involves lots of driving (several hundred miles a day) and lower gas prices means more customers spending money. On the other hand it very adversely affects the fur market, because the biggest market for furs is Russia, and when the price of crude is down Russia doesn’t have the money to spend. And a local businessman, an antler buyer, claims that four dollar a gallon gasoline is, “happy making” because his markets will be much better.

    • BobtheRegisterredFool

      Maybe his professional organizations could use some volunteers?

      I’m pretty concerned about the price of crude myself.

      • Some say Trump has driven down the price of Crude, but I see others holding it up.

        • BobtheRegisterredFool

          Trump is mainly contributing to domestic political instability right now. What’s going on with crude seems mostly OPEC and international instability. Which is more Obama’s portfolio.

          • It’s mostly OPEC, trying to destroy the fracking in the US. But their obligations have grown to take up all the slack in their oil income, and they won’t be able to maintain this drop in their income for long.

            • Especially since quite a few of them have their populations on a permanent stipend, and if that goes… well their populaces are known for their rather bellicose natures.

              • Free-range Oyster

                The house of Saud at least has announced plans to transition to a more diversified income base. No idea whether it will work or not, but it certainly seems like a prudent idea. I’m a little torn on the outcome: it’s good to see a government showing prudence, but given their role in spreading wahabism and all the evil it’s wrought I don’t exactly wish them well. *shrug* Even your enemies have virtues you can learn from, I suppose.

                • The question becomes: In what? Part of the reason they’re so dependent on oil is they don’t have a lot of other prospects (pun intended). That, I see, as their most difficult hurdle to over come.

                  • And they didn’t use the oil income to build a robust economy. They used a good part of it on family pensions for the very large Saud clan. Most of the jobs they created are in the government. Real work? They bring in foreigners.

          • What’s going on with crude is all those horizontally drilled wells. Not yet fracked, but ready at a moment’s notice. And think of this. NONE of Saudi Arabia’s fields have yet to be fracked. I haven’t seen anyone do an estimate on the recoverable crude there if/when they start to frack in their “depleted” fields.

            • One their fields are “depleted”, probably 60%+ of the original oil is still down there.

              • BobtheRegisterredfFool

                What made the Saudi fields worth investing in was the ease and cheapness of extraction. They run through that portion, and there are safer probably more lucrative places to use that same tech.

          • Oil is interesting now. Were seeing a cartel being completely disrupted by American ingenuity despite the Bamster’s efforts to quash it. I pray that the terrorist enabling shieks, emir’s, kings and despots lose control when they can’t buy off their subjects anymore. What I fear is their doom precipitating WWIII

            • I see where they are trying to bring up the price. the problem is as they drove the price down, to undercut the US drilling, the US companies have figured out how to get oil and gas cheaper and cheaper, until now, the US companies will make good profit well below the level the Saud need to pay for their corks to hold in the pressure social programs. Now no matter what they do, they either go broke, or don’t have all the control they want.

        • Think I just got Sam’s meaning. ‘Cause it sure looks like Trump has introduced a lot of Crude into politics as of late.

    • A friend once noted, regarding the semi-retirement of her husband, “I married him ‘for better of for worse’, but I don’t know about this ‘for breakfast, dinner and lunch.'”

      • Bwahahaha! Yes, exactly. Dammit, I’m a hermit by nature. this constant “I’m here, include me in all your plans.” is driving me up the wall.

        • It drove my mom nuts. Which is why dad only retired at 80. I think Dan and I would be fine, because when we are together and alone for any length of time, each wanders off to write on his own novel, with occasional plotting meetings. 😀

    • I would think I’d died and gone to heaven if my unemployed consultant husband would offer to vacuum or help around the house!!


      • I have the opposite problem. He doesn’t do idle and quiet very well, or often enough. Luckily he is a reader, so all’s well, in between “I can’t find anything new on my kindle, didn’t you buy me something . . . “

        • Oh, mine reads constantly, he is never without his Kindle. That might even be my problem! He’d rather read than help out around the farm or house.

  7. I like a basic routine with variations inside the main structure. Teach, write, travel a little, a pattern I make and can decide on (within reasonable limits – illness and stupid drivers and budget cuts don’t ask permission). I do not like having my box shaken, some pieces removed, others tossed in, and then trying to rearrange everything.

    But today it is 70 degrees with a light wind, the roses are exploding into riots of color that are probably illegal in some jurisdictions, the carpets are clean, my day-job work for the week is done, and my head cold isn’t too bad. And I survived the treadmill at the gym (no lifting weights until the head/sinus thing improves). There’s cabbage-n-sausage for supper, and jalapeno bread scored on deep discount, and for this moment and hour, the world is a really, really great place.

  8. Variety is the spice of life– it’s something you use in moderation with good ingredients that you are familiar with to make everything nicer.

    Sorry someone shook a half-dozen different cans into your pot of beans.

  9. Girl can dream.

    Of the stars? No, not the pale imitations that Hollywood has to offer, but the brilliant shining ones spread out in space … Yup. Dream on.

    If you keep sharing your dreams … and even your nightmares … I believe that I can assure you that we will keep reading. 😉

  10. Apropos of absolutely nothing applicable but still massively cool:
    For geology nerds like yours truely.

  11. Routine is necessary when your life is divided into 3-hour chunks which each include a 35 min. nap. If I don’t get food in quickly, it chews up some of my ‘good time.’

    It still amazes me that on many days I get a period of time during one of those chunks during which I can actually write.

    Blessings on your home search – I would be completely useless.

  12. Blond_Engineer

    I am very easily bored. On the plus side, I’m also easily amused, so it usually works out okay for me, though it means my craft room gets a bit crowded at times as I move on to new and exciting hobbies without necessarily wrapping up the old ones first.

  13. I like a routine with variations in it.

  14. That link on Instapundit left out some of the good stuff, like everything Tubman did she did with a brain injury that caused her to go to sleep suddenly and without warning, which she got at age 12 from trying to help another slave get away.

    But she had a deep trust in God, along with a mystical expression of prayer and feeling of God’s constant presence and care. As sometimes happens with people who have suffered a lot, she seems to have been one of those people who could ask for and get miracles and guidance on a daily basis. She had plenty of smarts and cleverness, but she attributed her successes to God.

    (Parts of the Wikipedia article attribute all this to her head injury, which is basically a sign that people don’t have head injury experience. Concussions don’t usually provide you with info that actually works out and protects you.)

    It also left out a lot of her hard work and entrepreneurship, like how she supported her parents on a farm she bought from Seward, huge amounts of farmwork, or when she supported herself while a nurse in Union camps by making and selling fifty pies, a batch of gingerbread, and two casks of root beer, every night after work. She also wasn’t ashamed to work odd jobs or domestic service.

    She also lived the dream by getting almost her entire extended family out of slavery.

    Her story is pretty amazing. Even more amazing than what you learn in school.

  15. As I sit here trying to do the math, I realize that I’ve “moved” roughly once a year for the past fifteen years. There were times where I was returned to one town or stayed for two years, but then made up for it by moving twice (or even three times) in a year or something similar.

    Even as a child, I never lived in one place longer than seven years. Most often it was 2-3 years.

    It has made me odd, to be certain. My wife doesn’t understand why I find it so fascinating that she knows everyone in the community where she grew up, that even when she’s been gone for ten years or more, she remembers who runs which shops and who is married to who.

    Me, I can barely remember the names of some of my teachers and old friends. Why fix all the other things into memory when you know it won’t matter in a year?

  16. Interesting perspective and sounds so familiar. This is another fear, the fear of losing the routine and worry that it will never be the same again. I go through this on a daily basis. Of course, the opposite side of this same coin is the fear that no matter what you do, no matter how well you do it, nothing will change.

  17. First, kudos on the Leonard Cohen reference. Second, since I am dissociative, routine is not optional. I need an ordered environment in order to function. I have what I call “Memento days” where I lose time and I have to be able to use visual cues to remind me what I have done and not done in my daily routine. (At work I do projects in a particular order so that I can tell at a glance where I am in the process if I forget.)

  18. My wife informed me this week that she wants to move.
    *The house is too small. *I don’t like any of our neighbors. *I don’t trust any of the kids in the neighborhood. *I want to live on the other side of the interstate, closer to where I work. *I want a bigger yard. *I want you home more, we never see each other anymore.

    We have a 3 bedroom house with a two stall garage. No, the house isn’t too small, we have too much stuff. Mostly, it’s stuff that doesn’t get used anymore. She has two dozen totes of old clothes that she ‘might’ wear again someday, plus a rolling garment rack and a closet and a half full of clothes she is wearing, and a chest of drawers that’s overstuffed. Only one car fits in the garage because we keep buying a bunch of very large outside toys for our 5 year old. And now that we have a chest freezer and a third refrigerator in the garage, I don’t really have any place for my tools.

    There’s a couple of neighbors I don’t mind, the rest I try to ignore. Some of the kids are jerks, some are OK. We live in a cul de sac, which makes for a nice and quiet area with no real traffic going through. Our yard is pretty small, and I’d like to have a bigger one. But moving won’t necessarily improve any one of the things she wants.

    Our biggest problem by far is our spending. And she finally seems amenable cutting back on what she’s buying. I’m working 8 hours of OT every week just to keep the bills paid, so I’m not home much (I work evenings and nights). She’s a teacher, and the only reason she comes home by 5 M-W is because she has to pick up our daughter from school those nights. Before Little Britches came along she’d be at her school desk until 7.

    My ‘routine’ consists of waking up at 0600 when my wife’s alarm starts going off. Getting my daughter up at 0700-0715, and getting some nourishment in her. Then getting my wife’s lunch packed so I can get her out the door by 0730 and start to get Little Britches dressed, hair done, teeth brushed and possibly use the bathroom before 0800 when we head to school. I try to get back home right away and back in bed by 1000 to take a nap until 1300, grab a shower, throw some clothes in the washer, make lunch and throw something in the crockpot for them so I can head to work from 1600-2400. Somewhere in there I’m also supposed to take care of the yard work, maintenance on the vehicles, train the dog, and if I have time, vacuum and dust. I’m exhausted. She’s exhausted. The dog’s wild as hell. And our daughter complains that we’re never around. And NOW she wants to get a new house?

    Sorry to vent.