Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Outhouses and other inconveniences

The other night when it stormed, I blogged about our family cabin in the Indiana Dunes and how I loved to watch storms roll down the lake and how I treasure the memory of summer times at that cabin. The outhouse was a memory I don't treasure so much. The cabin fronted, high on a dune, to the lake, but out the back windows was woods--lovely, Midwestern woods with lots of undergrowth and tall trees--dark and beautiful during the day but scary at night.
The outhouse was maybe a quarter of a block down the path into the woods--it seemed like a mile. I hated having to go down there in the middle of the night. You never knew what would jump out of the woods at you or what you'd step on or if there was a spider on the seat. Flashlights, always kept at the ready, were minimal help. I was well grown before I stopped making my mom go with me.
Last night I had sort of the same experience. The only working toilet was the one in the guest house. I wakened at three or so and knew I needed to go to the bathroom. Lay there fighting it and considering my alternatives until four. Then in a burst of--I don't know what--I jumped out of bed, grabbed a flashlight and cane, the key to the apartment and my cell phone (I was a Girl Scout--Be Prepared) and went out there as fast as I dared. Came in and slept soundly, congratulating myself on my bravery. I'm not a particularly brave person--in fact, I'd say I scare easily. My balance is bad and gets worse after dark, so this was an especially courageous move for me--or not. Necessity is necessity.
Today the toilets are fixed--well, they were, until Jacob demonstrated accidentally that the tank in the small half bath off my office didn't fill and he couldn't make it flush. Another day with the plumber tomorrow.
I'm in a patch of self-doubt, anxiety, whatever--and one thing I know is I should keep congratulating myself on the things I do instead of dwelling on what goes wrong. The other day I had a difficult time driving to physical therapy, although once I got there I was fine. I have overcome my driving woes--or thought I had. So when I headed home, I considered longer routes but "safer" ones. Then I told myself if I did that once, I'd never go the direct route again, and I can't let anxiety rule my life. I drove fairly calmly, but oh my, was I glad to be home. The dark of the night trip to the apartment falls into that same category. I know my stride is better and my muscles stronger--so why hasn't my self confidence kept pace?
Tonight I went with friends for happy hour at some other friends' new condominium, and I was so awkward about going up the tiny steps or the grassy slope that I made Jacob hold my hand and he complained I was holding too tight. Really miserable. But I enjoyed the camaraderie, and once I was back on familiar territory--the restaurant where we dine every Tuesday--I was just fine.
Another thing I'm trying to tell myself is not to worry about going to physical therapy Thursday. Don't bring that anxiety up here and let it build. Tomorrow? I wait for the plumber, go to the grocery, fetch three little boys from school, and have dinner with Betty. Oh, and there's that next-to-final proof of a manuscript to read. I don't have time for anxiety.

2 comments:

LD Masterson said...

I try to follow a bit of advice I read once...find the edge of your comfort zone and go one step beyond. The edge will keep moving.

Judy Alter said...

Good advice, and what I'm trying to do. Sometimes it's just putting one foot in front of the over.