Tuesday, May 10, 2016

When Homebound Becomes Housebound

You all know what happens - after spending a gorgeous week on your favorite beach (St. Croix, in case you were wondering) or cruising the Caribbean while sipping chilled wine (Italian Moscato, very fine) or seeing the sights in your favorite go-to vacation city (Savannah, oh the food and the architecture!), you return home and promptly collapse. It doesn't matter if you never moved from that pool deck chair or rappelled down into the Grand Canyon, you are going to collapse. No matter if you have to report into work at 8:00 the next morning or are retired and can sleep a little later - you are going to collapse, and worse, you are going to feel like you never had a vacation.  Bam!

For me, crossing time zones has always been a problem, and I happen to live in a state with two time zones. A road trip to Panama City Beach for a taekwondo event could whack me out for a week, even though I did not participate in the event. Flying, which I used to undertake easily and joyfully has crept onto my list of Worst Nightmares. Sometimes I think I am still recovering from a return flight I made from Greece in 2005.

So it was no surprise to me when I managed to shuffle off the ship and into our car parked at the Port of Miami, and thereafter crashed into a deep sleep for most of the drive to Kissimmee. This is, we all agree, normal behavior for many post-vacationers. I passed out in Sunrise and awoke only after we crossed over the border at Yeehaw Junction. We made it home, Rob unloaded the car, we cleaned up after our rowdy four-legged children, and I fell back to sleep. I was, by now, in considerable pain (you don't think I left the fibromyalgia on the ship, did you?) which withstood several different kinds of medication, and sleep was my only option unless I wanted to stay awake, moaning piteously. No way. Besides, I couldn't keep my eyes open.    

So here it is, The Day After, and I am back in the position of gathering spoons for my upcoming week. Today I am going to unpack, which is going to take me a ridiculous amount of time because I am moving about like a crippled turtle. And then, if I have any shred of energy left, I am going to knit some more on the Branching Fern Scarf.

I generally don't have a great deal to celebrate, but permit me a bit of pride over my stick-to-it-ness to this project, the result of some deep thinking during the weeks I cleared and organized a yarn stash dating back to the Nixon administration. Since I committed to finishing the UFOs in my closet, I have knocked off several pairs of socks and made major progress on the scarf. Normally I would have gotten distracted and started a shawl or something, but I did not, at least not after a stern talking-to or two I had with myself while perusing Ravelry.

While on the ship, the knitting was everything I hoped it would be: personally fulfilling, enjoyable, and relaxing. Which caused me to wonder, and not for the first time, why don't more people knit? (Or crochet - same lovely benefits!) Up until the sixth day of a seven day cruise, on a ship with several thousand passengers, I did not see one other person knitting! Knitting is not incompatible with cruising or television-watching, or even reading (audio books, folks). If I am not chatting with Robert or screaming at a basketball game, or keeping most of my political opinions to myself, I like to listen to music while I knit. Of course you have to pick just the right music and I have several playlists that enhance the knitting experience. You should try it. Knit, crochet, even needlepoint (which I love but find difficult on the eyes). Do something with your hands besides exercising your thumbs while texting or checking Facebook. Dig down deep to find your unused creativity. Go for it.

Yes, I realize you may be a bit embarrassed to ask for my help in learning how to knit, or perhaps you are hesitant to intrude into my fibromyalgic nightmare, or are faced with the sad reality that we live 1,156 miles from each other making a series of pleasant afternoons drinking coffee and learning how to slip-knit-pass-slip-stitch-over a bit difficult. I could point out that the year is 2016 and there is Skype and there is FaceTime if you would like to ask me for real-time assistance, but if you are an introvert like me who does not like to display my lack of coordination even to my nearest and dearest, there are books and there is the Internet with limitless search engine possibilities including glorious sites like Ravelry, Pinterest, and Knitty. No one need ever know that you dropped a stitch 10 rows down or that you can't figure out a way to wrap the yarn around your finger so that it flows evenly to morph into completed stitches, or that your stitches are so tight that the aluminum needles have been bent into a 45 degree angle. I certainly kept these little problems a secret all these years.

Seriously, if you have been thinking about trying to knit or crochet, I would be more than happy to point you in the right direction (regretfully, my lesson-giving days are over.)  I can even guide you through all the bad parts, like finding out you don't knit English or Continental, that you are neither a thrower or a picker, that you really do knit weird, and there is even a name for it.  If you want to crochet, I can help there also.

Sometime this week I hope to return to cooking. Standing has been problematic, but I'm working on it. The keys to success are the gathering of spoons and muscle relaxers, but figuring out a way to sit while chopping onions has crossed my mind.

As to this Day After, when all was said and done I did not unpack one thing, not even a little thing. Instead I let my backache be my guide and stayed upstairs in my room, mostly with my feet up, and quietly gathered spoons. And I don't feel guilty, not a jot or a tittle, because chronic pain is no frelling joke and besides I needed a few extra spoons in case I decide to do laundry...

... What was I thinking? Laundry? Cooking? Really? Two more days since I wrote that and I've spent them practically incapacitated, sitting on the bed feet up when I'm not passed out. Arms too tired to hold knitting needles, legs too tired to support me for a little Tai Chi practice, and all-over pain that prevents me from sitting downstairs to watch the NBA play-offs. Now you know it's bad.

And I still haven't unpacked.

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