May 2021 Wrap-up

It’s been a really big month. Honestly, I spent a bunch of it withdrawn – not hiking, not exercising, not leaving the house, not really posting on social media much. The combo of 14 months of pandemic and incredibly early onset heat in SA this year (many days in the 90s already) made it a tough May. My antidepressant isn’t working as well as it should be – potentially because I’ve gained weight and thus might need an increase, potentially because I’ve been eating too few carbs and too much fat, which causes more side effects with that medication (like it feeling even hotter than it actually is). Now add the foot that won’t heal regardless of what I do, a wrist that is getting worse and about to undergo surgery, a new bp issue thanks to taking time off exercise, and a new SI joint inflammation issue (also re: taking time off) that is so painful that I can barely walk around. I do not feel good.

But the world goes on around me. Laurence interviewed for several jobs (top photo is at his first) and chose to work at Wing Stop. (Note from June: This did not work out. It’s a long story. Essentially, he showed up for his first shift and discovered that his hiring manager had moved to a new location and expected L to magically know this and move with him, without ever informing him.) Ambrose spent a week cat- and house-sitting at my sister’s house in Dallas. It was his first time flying alone and living alone, which I think was really good for him as he’s almost 19 and needs to experience a little more of what adult life is like. Morrigan and his roommate/best friend since kindergarten moved into an apartment together in Kansas so they can stay up there over the summer. My nephew Kyler turned 2. My half-sister graduated from high school. Several of my best friends had birthdays. And unfortunately, as much as I hate this part of life, Ash crossed the rainbow bridge at the end of the month.

Needless to say, it’s been both a big month and a tough month.

Reading and Watching
Because it’s May, the book I’ve spent the most time on is my multiple-re-listen of What Alice Forgot. Ever since discovering the book 2019, it has been my go-to survival book for this month of really strained PTSD flashbacks and triggers. One of these years, I’ll no longer need the book, but for now, it’s a lifesaver. I listened to it three times this month, sometimes stopping other audiobooks in order to go back to it again. I did have quite a large reading month beyond that, though. My TBR grew wildly thanks to a new Discord server I’m on. It’s far larger than it’s been in like a decade, heh. I got a ton of books from the library, and finished six books total. My favorite, other than the multi-read of Alice, was Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge.

Other than that, I’ve been watching a lot of cooking shows – Britain’s Best Home Cook, and The Great American Baking Show: Holiday Edition. I meant to watch Shadow and Bone this month, but couldn’t be bothered. I did spend a lot of meaningless time scrolling through Tiktok videos though, heh.

Goals
Ha. Ha. Ha. Why am I even keeping this section around? My big goal right now is to train for Emory Peak in October, and at this point, my foot says that I can’t walk and I can’t not walk, so wtf am I supposed to do?

Health
At the beginning of May, I decided to take 4-6 weeks mostly off exercise to try to help my foot heal. This…hasn’t helped. Actually, it’s made things about 1000x worse. Due to being sedentary for the first time in forever, my body basically fell apart.

  • My foot has gotten worse. It swells worse if I don’t exercise, and now it hurts both with exercise and with rest.
  • Because I have to sit around all the time, my SI joint has become severely inflamed. My lower back, right hip, and thigh are in constant pain. I can no longer lean forward, bend over, squat, or sit without pain. I might need injections to improve this.
  • I’ve never had any problems with my blood pressure, but very suddenly, after weeks of not exercising, it has skyrocketed and now I’m on bp meds on top of everything else.

So yeah. My body feels very under assault right now, and it’s all just getting worse. Tomorrow, I have surgery on my wrist that will require another 6-8 weeks of healing. I need to find a different ortho doctor to look at my foot, someone who will focus on the current problem rather than the problem from four years ago. I have three new rounds of imaging, and maybe more, coming up – ultrasounds and CT scans and possibly another MRI of my head/neck. I have an appointment with one specialist in June and another in November (their first opening). I feel frozen, unable to do anything as I get passed from one doctor to the next to the next, my body getting more and more painful and unmanageable.

House
Wish I could say we’d made some progress this month. Unfortunately, we made a very big mistake: we listened to the employees at Lowes. In April, we painted most of the deck floor. You can see a picture at that link. There was a bit of painting left to do, and some second coating in places, and then we needed to poly the whole thing to make it durable. May was a very rainy, humid, wet month, so we had very limited time for this kind of work. Eventually, we did get everything painted. It looked awesome!

So the week that I was at the hotel, Jason put the first layer of poly on. When it dried, instead of having a glossy sheen, the deck looked milky and the paint was all streaked. Clearly that was wrong. So Jason began to do research, and went back to Lowes, and found out a bunch of things he’d been told incorrectly. First, outdoor floor paint, which we’d gotten from them, does not come in every color. There is a limited number of colors to chose from that will mix properly. The ones we bought were not from that set. The employees mixed them and said they’d be fine, but…no. Second, outdoor floor paint does not need poly over it (they said it did). Third, the outdoor poly does not work on paint, and will destroy it. The employees literally had to call the manufacturer to find this out while Jason was there asking about the white streaks.

This photo shows the milky streaks across the wood. It looks like the deck is partly wet in places, but the whole thing is completely dry. The lighter parts are where the poly completely ate through the paint and destroyed it. You can’t really see the purple stripe much, but that’s what ended up the most damaged.

In the end, Jason had to sand everything back down, re-putty all the nail heads, sand all of that down, and repaint the deck floor and the bench, which he’d also poly-ed to make it more durable. All that, with rain scheduled for the rest of May. And in brand new colors from a limited selection that don’t exactly match the color scheme we chose based on our old palette. Uuuugh.

(beginning the starting-over process, May 21st)

Jason has worked really hard to get this done in the few sunny days we had, and it came down to the very last day of the month, heh. But he made it! The deck is finally done. Hurrah!

In a week, we can put the deck furniture and plants back (just have to let the paint fully cure). And in the meantime, we already have our next house project set to start. I mean, we were planning to take a break and not do more house projects for a few years, but as it turns out, there’s quite the smell of mildew wafting from underneath our kitchen cabinets. There’s no visible mold inside the cabinets, which means it must be either behind or underneath them. Time to rip more cabinets out, (sarcastic) woohoo!

Favorite Photos
I didn’t take a lot of photos this month. I hardly went anywhere, and mentally, I was also very shut-in. So in the end, I only have four favorite photos for May.

Top, left to right: I’ve been taking photos of my 2021 reads for FB and Instagram, and I particularly love how this portrait of What Alice Forgot came out; my Lady Lizard does not appreciate me following her around on her adventures; early May harvest. Bottom: rose given to me at India Oven on Mother’s Day

Full photos – those are cropped quite a bit – are on both FB (album) and Instagram (story highlight).

Highlights of May
Ugh…May. There were days, sometimes a full week, where I didn’t find anything happy or anything to photograph or…whateves. So this is my (fairly short) list of the good bits from May.

  • first harvest of purple and white beans from the garden
  • seeing the HS one-act play, and Laurence getting an award afterwards despite not being an in-person student this year
  • my RLGS pins arrived (very late – I thought they may have gotten lost in the mail!)
  • We already have hummingbirds using the new feeder!
  • hit our family deductible for health insurance early in the month, woohoo!
  • my “Outside With Pride” pin for my hiking bag
  • getting to eat at one of my two favorite restaurants in SA, India Oven, for Mother’s Day
  • an actual in-person 5K! (Pic is Yoli and me sprinting/jumping(ish) at the finish line, ha!)
  • one of the athletic brands I love, RSport, sent an email to their subscribers and included my review/pic as one of their endorsements inside, which I admit was both flattering and surreal!
  • happy to find a good new swimsuit!
  • discovering Britain’s Best Home Cook on Hulu
  • rocking with laughter at a particular best-friends-being-silly account on Tiktok
  • we got a knockoff roomba and while it’s dumb and kinda ridiculous, it does a good enough job and that’s one less thing for me to try to keep up with (it’s a lot, given FIVE CATS – scratch that…four cats now *sobs*)
  • my new haircut, which I really didn’t think was going to come out the first time, because I forgot that I should never, ever cut my hair when it’s wet, but thankfully after it dried I was able to clean it up and make it look awesome
  • finding out there’s a new Mistborn character on Fortnite. I don’t play Fortnite, but still
  • a very kind vet
  • when my mental health was too poor to attend my sister’s graduation in person, I was able to follow a youtube livestream that the school district created specifically for covid reasons, and I’m so grateful that the pandemic gave them that incentive
  • also, my sister gave a really wonderful speech at that graduation
  • my two-year-old nephew, who is in a shy stage, has refused hugs every time I’ve seen him, but at my sister’s graduation party, we began to play a tickle game, and he was laughing a lot, and when my family had to leave, he came right up to me to get picked up into a long hug, and it was the best thing ever

Coming up in June
Surgery tomorrow. Hopefully much better mental health.

(On that note: I’ll be limited to a single hand for awhile. The procedure is supposed to be minor, but I might not be on the blog for bit until I can type again. I don’t have anything pre-drafted. I guess I should’ve planned better. Oh well, heh.)

About Amanda

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