Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rugged Woman

For whatever reason, as a child I developed a habit of cleaning whenever I got stressed and that quirk, for better or worse, remains today.  I guess it all began with a desperate attempt to put some aspect of life in order when all else was out of hand, but now it's almost a cathartic distraction from whatever might be weighing me down.  Typically this means pulling out my magical Dyson vacuum cleaner, scrubbing the kitchen floors or sorting a large pile of donations for Salvation Army or Goodwill, but today was different; nothing short of renovation would do.

The last couple months have been simply overwhelming.  HB and I - somewhat randomly - decided to go house hunting and wound up purchasing a new home for our family in Virginia just two days before driving to Vermont.  Of course this purchase meant we needed to sell our current VA home and, much to my ignorant surprise, that meant so much more stress than any other simple ill timed move we've  done previously due to the necessity of showing the house...  Seriously, you try packing with two dogs, two kids and potential buyers under foot! Agh, what a nightmare!

Then, of course, we had the necessary shift in zip code for my six weeks of school in Vermont.  While this year our housing choice is far more stable (perhaps an ironic word) than either of the rental properties we experienced last year, this house of ours is 160 years old and, by and large, original.  So on one hand this means immense charm and fascinating history, the livable reality is that the word "project" thoroughly summarizes every inch of the place.

Thus, combining all of this and coming home to find an unfortunate oops of dog mess on the floor, I came to realize that no amount of windex or laundry folding would cut the stain of my stress.  Grabbing the hammer and handing my Mom a crow bar, I demolished several old, rotten shelving units from our rubble-floored basement and set her to the task of removing what we'd rather not clean: the carpet.

The thing about this old house is that somewhere along the line (likely in the unpropitious decades of decorating that were the 1950s -1970s) someone made choices to superficially add to the house things like a new ceiling here or a new carpet there without much effort.  Unfortunately, this means all of the completed "upgrades" weren't done well, but fortunately, this also means that most of the original house is still intact - including the random plank wood flooring!!  Talk about a best case scenario find! It's going to need a bit of restoration work (like everything else...), but that's for another time and another blog post...

Anyway, so with a gigantic roll of carpet, a disgusting pile of former shelving turned rubble and an old smelly couch thrown in for good measure, we call the amazingly accommodating local go-to hauler guy to arrange for a pick up.  Thinking that our front lawn would simply just need to look like some back woods place in Appalachia for the time being, I was blown away when he asked if I could give him a half hour before showing up... same day service? Who knew that still existed?! Sweet!

So thirty minutes go by and here comes LW with his huge flat bed truck.  Having exhausted herself with the crowbar and been unceremoniously handed a now wide awake baby, Grandmama supervised our efforts to toss the trash.  Sharing the load between us, LW and I tossed the bulk of the refuse over our shoulders into the bed of the truck.

Watching me hop up and back down with loads of rotten wood, LW turns to my Mom and says: "she's some sort of rugged woman, isn't she?"

To which she confidently replies, "Colorado women are made of stout stuff!"

Now, you might be wondering at this point what the heck this long rambling blog post about cleaning and stress and carpets has to do with diabetes?  Well, when this local Vermonter who has a) weathered a many frozen winter here and b) clearly worked honestly and hard his whole life bothered to pay me the compliment of being "rugged" my heart sang.

A lot has changed in my life since my diagnosis and I'd be lying if I said the self-pitying thought of being "sickly" hadn't crossed my mind a time or two, but today was like before.  I didn't look weak today.  I didn't appear diseased today.  I wasn't stuck sitting some place waiting for my blood glucose to stabilize today.  I was just as tough as ever and that, my friends, was way more cathartic than I could have asked for.  

Take that stress.  Take that diabetes.  Today, you don't get to win.

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