September 2020 in Review

September was far more eventful than I was expecting. Choosing to leave school and begin on another path. The death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the ensuing political nastiness. Atticus escaping the house for a day. LOTS of construction, some of which was done incorrectly and required negotiations and hiring new contractors. Decorating for Halloween. Group hikes. Football season! I’m just not used to this month being so volatile!

Books
Most of my reading was RIP-related this month: 6 of 7 books. The rest of my reading was related to the Stormlight Archive – either rereads of books/novellas already out in the series, or the weekly pre-release chapters leading up to the Rhythm of War publication in November. I cannot accurately express just how excited I am for this upcoming release. My best description would be this: When I first read Words of Radiance (book 2) back in early 2016, I fell in love with the series so hard that I listened to the 48-hour audiobook roughly ten times in a row. When RoW releases in November, I will be at the store to get a physical copy of the book the moment the doors unlock, then I will spend the rest of the day and however many days beyond that binge-reading to the end. Then I’ll put on the audiobook – which I preordered months ago as soon as that was an option – and listen again from the beginning. At least once, but maybe more. I’m more excited for these series releases than I’ve ever been about any other book release ever. So…yeah. But since I can’t call the pre-release chapters my “favorite” read for the month (though they definitely ARE), and simultaneously I don’t want to use any of my rereads as favorites for the month, I’ll have to give this title to The Haunting of Ashburn House.

Goals
A big chunk of my goals had to shift this month, as I decided to leave school and pursue a different direction for my future. We also had a bit of backsliding on our financial goal due to necessary house repairs. We had to take out a loan, and due to some miscommunications, ended up with a regular loan instead of a home equity loan, which would have been a lower interest rate. But at least most of the repairs will be paid for with this, and we can go easy (fingers crossed!) for the next few years. It’s hard to tell, with a previously-rented home. And beyond that, nearly all the rest of my 2020 goals are either completed, or on hold re: covid…

Health
More transitions in this category. My mental health was suffering at the beginning of the month for multiple reasons. After getting past those hurdles, I’ve been having to claw my way back out of the holds of agoraphobia (still in progress). Some days were more successful than others – in fact, I even drove myself to a new-to-me location for a group hike mid-month. I also got in two long-overdue health appointments (put off multiple times re: covid), and have several more labs and specialist visits to make. There may be surgery in my near future, sigh. One of my doctors put me on a new medication that might possibly help with PCOS symptoms, but we’ll see. I’m wary of these kinds of medications, as they haven’t worked in the past. However, since I began taking it, I seem to sleep better. This medication changes hormone levels by increasing insulin sensitivity and slowing down the digestion process, and so that could be related. Either way, most nights for the last two weeks, I’ve been able to sleep through the night without any sleeping medications, which is a HUGE deal as I’ve been reliant on them since my insomnia began nine years ago!

Beyond that, September was not the greatest month for me in terms of fitness or general healthy habits. I had screens on past 9pm most days, hardly exercised for the first third of the month, drank way too much coffee, etc. As with my mental health, things began to improve as I entered the second half of the month and worked my way toward getting back into my good habits. I also had a moment of clarity on realizing just unfit I’ve become – ironically on a hike that came a day after I posted about body limitations, especially on major hikes. (pic shows four sections of the climb I was doing when I had this realization) I had to cancel my participation on a recent hike at Enchanted Rock because I knew my body wouldn’t handle the 450-foot climb at 30+ grade right now. That was both discouraging, and motivating, as I now have a specific goal to reach for. It’s ironic to know that it’s easier for me to run a 5K than to hike at that grade – and it’s time for that to change.

September’s sad totals: 19 days of exercise, for 983 minutes (16:23). 8 ST, 5 yoga, 3 runs (gah), 35.2 total miles walked, run, or hiked. 91 freggies (average 3 daily).

House
Hopefully, this will be the last month of major internal house repairs/construction. We replaced all non-tiled floors in the house, with either new carpet or wood. We installed a new dishwasher. Jason built new kitchen drawers to replace the ones whose drawer-facings broke off. The entire a/c system, inside and out, was replaced. Jason finished getting the new trim up outside the back doors, and he’s in the process of doing the inside walls in the same area. After that, everything should be done inside the house (I hope!). Outdoors is another matter…

Back in JULY, we hired some folks to dig and lay new deck posts so we could put together a new deck, with the instruction to make these foundational posts strong enough (and to city code) for an eventual three-season porch. They said they would begin in mid-August, but then didn’t actually get started until weeks later. Then it took them the entire month to finish. Most days, if they came at all, it was just one guy digging holes periodically while playing on his phone the rest of the time. They left their cement bags out in the rain – we asked them if they wanted to store them in our garage but they declined – so they turned into giant rocks. When they finally came to pour the cement, they used these cement-rocks as part of what they poured (see pic below). The posts wobbled so badly afterwards that we had to call these guys back out – clearly not even a regular deck would be supported – and they “fixed” one post by pouring more partly-mixed cement on top of it. Then they charged us more than their quote – nearly $2k – for this clusterf**k of a project. (I would have refused. Jason is much nicer than me.)

Which meant that we had to hire an inspector to come out and prove that these posts aren’t up to code (because they wouldn’t listen to us, of course). We then hired someone else to come redo all this properly (for about a third of the price, UGH!), while arguing about at least partial refunds from the original contractor (yeah right). The original guys were recommended to us specifically by someone they’d worked with in the past, so we were really disappointed by how poorly this went. (We also didn’t know until far too late that they aren’t licensed/bonded contractors, nor did they ever have Jason sign a contract back in July. I didn’t know any of this until after we’d paid, sigh.) We definitely won’t be hiring these guys when it comes time to do the covered roof and three-season porch bit! At least we found a decent contractor we can (hopefully) trust the second time around…

Highlights of September
Even though there were a lot of down moments and crazy happenings in September, there was actually quite a lot of good as well. Lots of highlights this month!

  • I finally found good brown boots!!
  • got to talk to one of the local library employees for the first time since March – he was my dad’s student when we were both in high school so I’ve known him a long time
  • Zooming with family for my nephew Rory’s 4th birthday, even if we couldn’t be there in person
  • my F**k Trump lipstick arrived
  • in-person hikes!
  • an extremely unusual cold front that lasted a couple days – I know this is an indication of climate change and weather disruption, but after so many weeks of 100+ temps, the few days that felt like San Antonio November were highly welcome!
  • our new carpet is so beautiful and soft!!
  • the opportunity to rearrange several rooms into configurations we like better, including a giant photo wall
  • the new a/c system
  • new season of the Great British Baking Show!!
  • decorating for Halloween
  • watching the Seahawks on prime time – especially on a game that was so nail-bitingly tense like the one against the NE Patriots! Go Hawks! (Really, what am I saying? The Seahawks always make these games intense. It was no different a week later against the Cowboys!)
  • a moment of hysterical laughter with Jason when an ad came across my social media feeds featuring a bra with corset lacing across each cup, and the ensuing discussion of other ways we could use the same principle: a zipper for each leg on jeans, laces across each toe of shoes… I can’t remember the last time I was so helpless with laughter.
  • standing eggs on the fall equinox
  • making ghosties!
  • even after two months taken off running outdoors, I can still run a mile nonstop – yay!
  • medicine ball slam – my new favorite strengthening exercise! Plus seeing that my calves are hella muscular despite my size – woot!
  • making our ghost circle outside!
  • seeing some friends I hadn’t seen since June

Coming up in October
October is a fairly manic month for me, where I try to stuff in so many autumn-themed events and activities that eventually I crash. Heh. I’ve tried to spread them out a little more, some in September this year. But of course, it’s Halloween, and Morrigan’s birthday, and Ambrose starts his accelerated classes, and it’s potentially Readathon, and early voting, and plenty more. I’m not wary, though. October always makes me so happy!

About Amanda

Writing. Family. Books. Crochet. Fitness. Fashion. Fun. Not necessarily in that order. Note: agender (she/her).
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