How to fix post holiday blues

Bleak winter landscape with one tree. Text: Trouble starting a new year is normal, Alicia Butcher EhrhardtUNIQUE TO DO LIST ITEMS DRIVE ME CRAZY

It’s surprisingly hard to get back to some kind of routine after holidays and a year ending – so many one-of-a-kind items – from tax paperwork to getting parking stickers for the next term to all those doctor’s appointments which have been put off to seeing friends in town for only a few days.

I am ready for all that to be over, and get back to routine, any kind of routine. Even snow – which is predicted for this weekend.

I should be writing up a storm – instead of chasing down the meter reading on the solar panels.

Anyone else in the same slump?

PWCs (people with CFS) handle change very badly

We’re bad enough with things we do routinely, such as laying out today’s pills, and watering the plants.

But each new thing attempted requires the use of a scarce resource: good time (i.e., when the brain is on).

I normally reserve that time for writing, and have ‘FIGHT for the RIGHT to WRITE‘ where I can see it easily.

But this time of year – between the end of one and the slipping-into-routine beginning of the next year – is a constant barrage of exceptions.

EVERYTHING claws its way to the top of the priority list

We have a solar system. On the first of the month I get an email which reminds me to send in the meter reading so they can credit us with SRECs (solar credits – don’t ask me to stop and look up the acronym!) so that we will eventually get a small check for any excess energy we pour back into the grid. There was a $500 extra cost when we were required to pay for and install a new meter (the government wouldn’t take our reading of the old one) if we wanted it to wirelessly send the solar company the reading – and of course we said no thanks.

The idea is that, once a month on being reminded of the need to send this information, I will go down to the basement, read the meter, and, while down there, perform the cleaning of the system that involves pouring bleach into the pipes and the pump, which will otherwise grow algae.

Except that I’m now having to force myself to at least go down to the basement once a day, because moving is difficult, the heart rate goes up, and my chest hurts if I do stairs. And yes, I have an appointment to visit a cardiologist for reassurance/whatever already scheduled.

So it had to be done, now – and I cheated. I just got the number and emailed it in and didn’t do the maintenance part. Which means half of the task – and a trip to the basement out of no energy – is still pending.

I am probably not unique

Everyone has these things on their lists; everyone has more stuff to do at the end of the year and beginning of another.

But I’m drowning, my assistant hasn’t made it for a week (she’s sick, on top of the holidays), and there is no end in sight.

Why am I telling you any of this?

Because I normally blog – and I have 30-40 half done posts, none of which I seem to be able to finish.

Not being able to finish a blog post is new to me, and I’m scratching my head. I understand how writing doesn’t get done – I can’t focus if I know I’m going to be interrupted in 15 minutes – but I hadn’t realized how even blogging needs some coherence.

I’ve been worried about obvious mental deterioration, and then I realized this morning that I’m probably not unique, but I am getting older, and changes in habitation location are coming, as well as a whole slew of problems related to that, and that the world probably won’t come to an end if I don’t have my handicapped parking space set up before this Sunday (another task which took time this morning) but that it was wise of me to try calling on a working day (they assure me it’s in the works, but they were just off for eleven days).

I’m working on it

That’s my motto for everything.

I will get to it, whatever ‘it’ is. Eventually.

Routine will return.

I will be able to finish something (I’m almost ready to hit ‘post’).

And now I go to find the proposal from 2004 from the HVAC people that shows we paid for – and didn’t receive – a duct cleaning back then. Because I promised the lady I’d send it today. Because THEY shred their records older than ten years – and I never throw anything out.

Because $300 is not peanuts.

Oh, well.

Happy New Year to all of my bemused readers (bemused at this odd post, not bemused themselves).

Stay warm (or cool, if you’re in the southern hemisphere). Breathe. Pray for the crazy lady.

Peace out.

You, too?


11 thoughts on “How to fix post holiday blues

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Hope everything goes well, and you get a non-arthritic hip, and back to your normal asap. Sounds as if you’ve made up your mind, Enough!

      Doctor visits cost me so much time. I spend three hours at an urgent care place today – bronchitis from a cough I’ve had two months which finally decided to get worse (wheezing). I lost today, and will probably lose the weekend, too – but am on antibiotics, and have been thoroughly checked out.

      I can’t afford the stupid doctor visits, and I can’t afford not to go. And I have nothing to spare, so I can’t write when I get that extra sickness thing going. That’s life.

      I hope I’m back fulltime soon; I get very frustrated and grumpy.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I don’t remember – does the southern hemisphere have its longest days at the end of December?

      What is the pattern? If I remember from geography class, the tilt of the Earth’s axis causes the seasons – and yours would be opposite to ours. But another feature is the distance to the Sun. You have summer when we have winter, but do the solstices coincide?

      Thanks for the sympathy – I am stubborn, but it does slow me down.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jennifer

        Our longest day is typically just before Christmas: it was on 21 December last year. The sun arises about 5.40 am, and sets about 8.05 pm. The days are now slowly getting shorter.


  1. Catana

    Aging does enter as a factor, more so as it advances. So I’m grateful to be mostly out of the circle of “must-be-dones.” I don’t observe holidays, so there’s no post-holiday slump. I have enough reasons for slumps, as it is. Being a renter instead of a home owner helps ease the way toward a peaceful existence, particularly when your son is the landlord and will go out of his way at a call. Of course, he often does that for his other tenants, so I can’t claim to be uniquely lucky in that respect.

    The little sister (or brother) of our earlier Polar Vortex is in full swing this week, so I’m staying bundled up indoors and pleased to still see no forecasts of snow here. Take care of yourself, and let hubby do some of that running up and down to the basement.


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Hubby is older than I am, and has had quadruple bypass 20 years ago (they told us it would last 20 years).

      I heard a funny sound, called down – he’s fine – and he went to the basement just because I asked if some of my special pasta was in the pantry, and it wasn’t.

      He’s in far better shape, with all his problems, than I am – and I am grateful we get along, and try to do as much as I can.

      Can’t wait to get out of this house.


      1. Catana

        Understood. *Both* of you take care. I hope the next home is basementless. I was on the third floor in my last apartment. Glad to be on the ground floor now, and it’s only a few steps down to the basement laundry.


        1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

          Next home will be a two bedroom apartment in a Continuing Care Retirement Community – in the same building as the dining hall and the pool and the gym – with a carpeted indoor hallway to all amenities.

          Just need to find one in California I like, near a university for the intellectual life, affordable, with great medical facilities – and not noisy!

          And sell this house if last chick is not going to need to return to the next.

          The to do list length keeps growing, but there will be an end some day, and we will start paring down.


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