Deepest of breaths

It’s been (and still is) a time.

I returned with my son to uni on Saturday to get him settled for his third (and final) year. I’m crossing everything and sending the hugest of hopes into the ether that this year is relatively normal. That he both gets a proper ‘uni experience’ and does well academically (he still hasn’t had his modules confirmed — he starts classes a week from Monday; last year, he had his modules confirmed more than a month ago). So, please send good thought along for a very decent year for him.

We took the train – and I was sort of glad we did even though the trains are a mess currently for all kinds of reasons (but mostly lack of staff – thank you, Covid). We arrived on time, sorted getting stuff out of storage, and we set up his ‘studio’. At least his housing this year is very decent (vs horror shows the past two years). Did a small bit of shopping to get him set and ate at a pseudo Mexican place which was actually very nice.

But, as we were paying I checked my train back home to discover one part of it had been cancelled. So, quick goodbye, put him in a taxi with his shopping, and got myself on to another train – which meant I had a two hour wait for the second part of the journey. Spent the wait watching drunk football fans on their way home and re-reading the poet Michael Rosen’s book Many Different Kinds of Love about his experience in the health service here when he got Covid. It’s a beautiful and harrowing book, and well worth reading.

Finally got home around midnight, sorted self, and slept. Woke up feeling so twitchy.

Got dog from neighbours (I don’t think he wanted to come home – they have a dog and he really really wants to be part of a pack), and to keep myself from thinking too much did four loads of laundry (plus put the washing machine on for a deep clean), vacuumed upstairs and cleaned the bathroom, cleaned downstairs and the kitchen, studied some German, cleared out the top shelf of the kitchen cupboard, emailed the carpenter to set up visit regarding built-in wardrobe, and made appointment for boiler to be serviced. Dead-headed roses. Ate the last peach of the season – which ironically was gorgeous.

Then, tried to get petrol (gas) and no joy. This is another part of the current madnesses here. A run on petrol stations, leading to shortages. I’ve got over a half a tank left but I’ll need to top that up this week and am hoping there will be some deliveries. Ordered some pressed wood things for the wood stove (heating gas prices rising) to go with the chopped wood I already have.

Seriously, none of this is fun or funny.

And within all this I contemplated that my mother, who, had she lived, would turn 96 tomorrow (ie, Monday). What would she have been like now? Would she still have wanted to be around? No answers to those questions. In any case I always miss her like mad.

Lastly, I recently discovered and devoured a new series. Stephen Mack Jones August Snow books (three of them currently). Set in Detroit, former cop/marine Afro-American-Mexican protagonist who does good. Won’t say more except they are beautifully written but also formulaic in the best possible way.

So, hope you’re more on even keel than I am. Perhaps tell us some good things that are going on with you.

  • Dina C. says:

    I really sympathize about your son, Cinnamon. Mine is in his (hopefully) last semester of what has been a very long, drawn-out college experience. I hope they each have an excellent academic journey this fall, some fun, and some normal life. Since our daughter and her dog just moved away, my house is strangely quiet. Like you, I’m doing a lot of housework and trying to think of this as our new chapter as Empty Nesters. I need to spackle wall holes where shelves and mirrors were removed and do some painting too. Time to do some work.

    • cinnamon says:

      Here’s hoping for both of them. My next cleaning project is going to be the floors downstairs — wood which needs scrubbing and kitchen tiles which need a good thorough clean. Other than that now it’s maintenance given what I did on Sunday (sigh).

  • March says:

    Oh, honey. I feel your pain! I totally support finding things to keep you busy while your heart hurts … and COVID of course makes everything lonelier and weirder, because we don’t have the familiar world as a backdrop. This probably won’t help but when I despair, I remind myself that the 1918 flu pandemic did eventually pass, and this will too. We will get through this. Be gentle with yourself. (Boys just started freshman year of college and it all sounds pretty surreal so far, remote classes etc., but they seem to be taking it in stride.)

    • cinnamon says:

      I’m better today. I think my biggest issue is I really want him to have one decent uni year — ie, the full experience. Indeed, somehow this will all shift. I am very curious about the ‘what next’. In the mean time, there’s lots to do so that indeed does help. Best wishes to the boys. Doing that stuff remotely is irritating.

  • Portia says:

    All the hugs Cinnamon,
    Good wishes for your boys last year of uni madness, both scholastically and personally.

    Well, at least the house is practically done except for the weekly upkeep. Just finished my Monday tidy, dust, vacuum. Halfway through washing the laundry and tidying the kitchen.

    Jin had 4 days off over the weekend. It was wonderful. We just hung and ate and vegged in front of the TV with the dogs.
    Perfect long weekend.
    Portia xx

    • cinnamon says:

      Big thanks. The time off with Jin does sound wonderful. Those sorts of simple activities make such a difference to our well being. And dogs always help — with everything.

  • filomena813 says:

    Good luck to both you and your son.

  • Musette says:

    I think you’re managing quite well, actually! (I admit I got a bit of a cleaning boner, reading of your accomplishments). Your son has my best wishes for a great uni year.

    Hang in there, darlin’. You’re doing GREAT!


    • cinnamon says:

      Thank you. I keep sending yoga breathing his way: he really needs a more than decent year. The cleaning was actually very therapeutic. I woke this morning feeling decent (and then was able to fill the car’s tank with petrol before yoga as well — so I’m sorted for at least two weeks).

  • Cassieflower says:

    It’s a perfect $h1t storm there for you. There are many reasons why- quite apart from covid – life for you is particularly challenging. But I won’t mention the B word. Hopefully your son has some semblance of normal uni life, it would be a shame to lose out on his last year of being footloose before reality hits.

    • cinnamon says:

      He has been focused on the academics — and this year is very important — but he really needs to be able to let his hair down (so to speak) and go dancing, play badminton, etc. They all do.

  • Tara C says:

    Sending best wishes for your son to have a good year, this has been very hard on the young people. And I hope your shortages and staffing problems ease up too.
    We’re on a waiting list to get another Papillon as my dog desperately wants to have a buddy to play with, she’s had a long and boring puppyhood due to the pandemic.
    As for me, I’m just trying to avoid thinking about the things that make me sad and regretful. I would like to hope that at 55 it’s not too late to have dreams.

    • Cassieflower says:

      Never stop dreaming and wishing, Tara. Sometimes the universe listens. Because if we don’t have hope then what do we have?

    • cinnamon says:

      Thank you. Joe the Lab would adore a companion but I just can’t see it right now. He’ll have to make do with play dates. On dreams, I think we all need them, all the time.

  • carole says:

    And I pressed send too soon. I can well imagine you’re missing your mom-grief is so odd-not linear at all. My mom died ten years ago and I really miss her, too. I hope, on the anniversary of the day she was born, that you have tons of good memories to draw on and tons of absurd memories to make you laugh.

    • cinnamon says:

      I’ve seen people say grief lessens over time, but I find it just changes. The intensity doesn’t abate. And indeed yes, there are loads of good memories.

  • carole says:

    I found this post so touching, and I’m sending you good vibes from Canada. I hope your son gets the courses he wants. And every time I’m too anxious I do lots of housework, too-it’s calming and comforting to keep cleaning and smoothing. You did so much in one day-I hope your mind allows you a minute to relax. The fuel shortages will pass-people panic buy, and create the situation they’re trying to avoid (happens here, too, and I work in fuel distribution so I have experience ). Look after yourself. Try and rest, even if you cannot sleep. Stay hydrated. It’s not easy-thank you for posting about what your life is like, right now.

    • cinnamon says:

      Thank you. Definitely need good vibes. Fingers crossed on fuel as well as everything else right now.

      • Alityke says:

        The U.K. right now is like watching Nero fiddle whilst Rome burns but from the inside!
        I’m right by you cursing the utter idiocy of the whole situation!