Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Power and Exhaustion

My son’s 10-day sea wall repair task in the San Francisco area stretched out to 17 days. Every day he would call and complain how cold and damp it was, how they had to maneuver through thick fog, how they had taken summer clothes and needed winter jackets, and how they were freezing their proverbial ’butts’ off. As I listened to him chatter I was sweating, swearing, and swooning. Down L.A. way we were going through a heat wave. We were so hot that it took almost more energy then we had to pick up the phone to listen to him tell us how cold he was.

I didn’t write during the time he was gone because my life was so busy and complicated that I couldn’t find the time. When he came home I thought everything would just naturally fall into its proper place. I could give him back the major responsibility of rearing the two teenagers and I could once again become the keyboard-taping grandmother. But one of the debilitating symptoms of PPS is the weariness. When I physically and emotionally returned the teens to his care I was totally taken back at how overwhelmingly exhausted I was. I had no idea that I had over extended myself. In fact, for the first time in my life I was so bone weary that I would fall asleep while reading the newspaper; and I read three a day!

So, this past week I have limited myself. I have worked hard to do as little as possible. This resting business can be exhausting in itself. But I have regained some of my old energy and I will be up and running full steam when my son is shipped to one of our southern cities to repair another sea wall in October.

One of the reasons that I was surprised by my total exhaustion was because I thought I was delegating tasks with remarkable efficiency. I delegated, they ... did?

One thing they all pitched in and helped with was food. John even woke up from his nap to help with food suggestions, and my granddaughter graciously offered to do the actual shopping for me. All I had to do was make a list, give her the money, drive her there, and she would do all the leg work.

She had never done grocery shopping by herself so she was excited by the uniqueness of the task. It was 95 outside in the blazing sun. My job was to sit in the car and perspire while she went into the air conditioned store and bought food according to the list. She did a reasonable job of accomplishing the endeavor and, in her words,“Found the POWER! If you go into the store alone, and you have the money in your pocket you can buy what YOU want. It is total power, Penny. Total power!”

And did she wield the power. She bought everything that SHE liked, and if the boys bitched about the food that had been chosen she just smiled that smile that a woman gets when she knows that she had the POWER!

The purchase that had my son and I in stitches was the small ready made chicken salad. She bought it and came out and sat in the car and ate it with a can of cold lemonade on the side. It gave her so much added energy she forgot to unload the groceries that she had put on the bottom rack of the shopping cart she had been pushing. Luckily, the cart was still where she had left it when we hurriedly drove back into the parking lot. We were able to retrieve the forgotten food. In fact, that made her feel so good that she pulled out the cute new hair tie she had added to the grocery list.

And just before we came to the store that had the water and ice cream on sale she pulled back her hair, put in the new hair tie, and applied fresh lip gloss. This store was the one that had some really cute boys bagging the groceries .... she was going into that store to REALLY spread some power. And as I watched her stride across the parking lot I thought to myself, “Thank goodness my son can come home every third day when he goes south in October!

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