Mental Health Hours

Hi Everyone!

Last week was a doozy. I hope any of you that were in the hurricane, flood or fire zones are ok. We are in up in the hills and only got wind and rain, but with my two kids both living at the coast and numerous friends on the East coast it was stressful. I also had friends with family out west affected by the fires. Hopefully the only Mother Earth related event for a while is the possibility that we might be able to see the Northern Lights tonight way down here in upper Dixie. Of course I have to be awake to see them. I am writing this at 3:30 am. Not a good indicator of my late night sky viewing capability this evening.

My week has been filled again with paperwork, cleaning out and sorting. Honestly, we can’t see an end in sight right now. There is progress, but the volume is daunting. Our attorney says the worst should be over by January. A small eternity right now. My 7th business anniversary slipped right by me on the 10th of this month. I didn’t even realize it until tonight. I feel like summer slipped right by me too.

Last week the exhaustion and extended stress hit D. and I hard. We are both pretty severe introverts who are used to large quantities of alone time and we both have creative outlets that keep us sane. Alone time and creative time have been non-existent for the past two months. We also haven’t had any just the two of us time. Our almost empty nest filled back up but we didn’t have time to prepare. After a few uncharacteristic short tempered episodes last week, we realized we need some mental health time.

As of last week, Miss L is now going to the youth meetings at church on Sunday evenings and that opened up a couple of hours for a date night. We travel a good distance to church so it is too far for us to run back home to do more of the never ending work list. Forced leisure time! We had forgotten how nice it is to sit in a restaurant and be waited on! Mental health score #1.

Hunting season started this week. I will never understand the allure of sitting hours in the cold waiting for some poor unsuspecting deer to wander into the range of a bow or gun, but it fills our freezer with free meat every year. As D. has been making preparations for those hours in the deer stand I realized I was a little snippy about his going off alone for hours in the woods. Then it dawned on me. I was jealous. The only alone time I have right now are my work hours which keep getting longer and longer but not any fun. At least I was self aware enough to recognize why I was so cranky and after some discussion we decided that D. would take Miss L to soccer practice at least once each week so I can have a couple of hours for my projects and the time CANNOT be used for any form of work. Last night I FINALLY got to start on the SUMMER dress that I have had the fabric and pattern for since May. It’s not a perfect solution. I really need more than a couple of hours to be a truly pleasant person, but hopefully it will be enough to make me tolerable to the people around me.

Another mental health solution was to move our annual family chicken stew (for those not familiar with such an event, it is a regional tradition around here involving a large cast iron pot of chicken stew cooked outdoors and lots of other yummy food consumed with large portions of stories and laughter) from our farm to the nearby state park this year. Normally the weeks leading up to the event involve the last frenzied push to finish all our summer home and farm improvement projects, but this year we don’t have any frenzy left in us. We were both getting more and more stressed as October moved closer and closer. I don’t know which of us had the idea, but as soon as that payment on the large pavilion was made, a big ‘ole chunk of stress fell off our shoulders. The grandbabies won’t have the traditional horse rides this year, but we have the pavilion for the entire day at one of the nicest parks around and plenty of covered area in case of rain and a big fireplace to stay warm. Sometimes you can buy happiness!

It is now 4:45 am. I’m going to try for another hour of sleep to help toward the possible Northern Lights viewing. I hope you have a stress free week!

Lemuel Butler

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