Figuring It Out

“Sometimes it takes a lot of pain to figure out what you’re made of.” ~ unknown

The pain may be physical or mental. It may be a combination of both.

Often, during the weeks end, it’s the pain of being away from my children. Trying to fill my time away from the job with meaningful activity. Working on the house helps, but I need time away from the house.

It’s a conundrum — I’m lonely yet I don’t want to be around others. Specifically, I don’t want to be around those who don’t really know me. And those who really know me. . .aren’t here.

Physically, the pain of the replaced knee frustrates me. Running isn’t as comfortable or relaxing as it used to be. My gait is stilted, my rhythm is off, and my foot drags on occasion. Riding the bike is painful until I can get warmed up and find a sweet spot. The slightest shift or movement can change that short-lived comfort immediately to an excruciating sharp pain — either in my bum or the middle of my thigh where the knee prosthesis is screwed into my femur.

But none of this is permanent. Eventually the kids will either be with me or I will adjust. I will eventually find friends in my community with whom I can be real. The physical pain of the knee will be remedied — either by continued use and therapy or by elective amputation.

In the meantime, I am learning my inner strength and resolve.

Adventures Can Be Lonely

“Nobody likes being alone that much. I don’t go out of my way to make friends, that’s all. It just leads to disappointment.” ~ Haruki Murakami

Moving five states away is an adventure, yes. Buying a new home and starting a job — exciting, yes.

Leaving your friends . . .your family. . .everything that was yours, behind, not so much. As the days pass, the sharp pangs of missing them and hearing their voices get less sharp but never go away.

Realizing that you can’t go back to your family every weekend is necessary. It gives you time to explore your new surroundings.

For the introvert, it is a hard thing to meet folks. Hard enough to learn the names and idiosyncrasies of new co-workers, let alone introduce yourself to others outside the work place.

Church is a given but still it takes time and trust to . . .oh I don’t know. I don’t like wasting time with useless small talk. It is difficult to discuss current events such as movies and music when I’m more of a meat-n-potatoes current events of national importance kind of girl.

Today was difficult. I had planned to visit my kids for Easter but unforseen circumstances made that impossible. I wanted to work outside but it was dreary and cold and drizzly. And I was on my own.

Everyone seems so far away at times like this. Text messages and phone calls help. They just aren’t the same.

Score: House 2, Karen 0

“What I love most about this crazy life is the adventure of it.” ~ Juliette Binoche

Although I would prefer to have large blocks of time to spend working on the house, in reality I have short segments of time in which I can accomplish small steps towards completion. Earlier this week, I spent time pulling up carpet tack strip.

Carpet tack strip is like a hardened noodle which is stuck to the bottom of a pan yet covered in prickly cactus spines. You don’t want to scrape the pan for fear of scratching it, but you have to remove the dried noodle. All the while you must watch out for the prickly cactus spines. In real life, this requires a skill level and ability to avert pain better than any video game could EVER devise.

So there I am: pry bar and hammer in hand. Tack strip nailed securely to floor. If you’re lucky, you can get a large strip to come up, otherwise it comes up in bits and pieces as the wood which forms the basis of the strip is small pieces, easily splintered. I was actually making quite good progress along one wall when a piece broke free of the nails securing it and swung up. In a split second, I had a tack from the strip embedded in the pad of my thumb. I responded by dropping the small, lightweight pry bar. However, I didn’t just open my hand and let it drop. Oh no . . . that would be too easy. Instead I tossed it into the air as I dropped it at which point it flipped and banged into my face, just above my eyebrow.

This was the signal to me that pulling up carpet tack strip was complete for the night.

Two injuries from one tack strip. House 2, Karen 0.