Thursday, September 23, 2010

9/23/2010 Stressed out

Today was a bad stomach day, made worse by a forced face time at a pizza lunch with execs. By noon at work, I'm ready for a break -- and it's no break to sit -- or stand -- for an hour in an overcrowded stuffy room listening to executives answer irrelevant questions with long 10-minute meaningless answers.

Already uncomfortable, my remedy for a sour tummy and a bad mood had been to go running at lunch, but this became politically impossible. The bitterness only increased when I realized the person who demanded my face do time there had ducked out himself. I was asked many times why I wasn't having pizza, and while I had a lot of reasons, the truth was, I just didn't feel well.

A coworker asked if my chronic stomach pain is from stress. "Are you stressed?" she asked.

Am I stressed. Am I stressed? What a funny question. I was hard-pressed to think of something in my life that I'm not stressed about. I like my work, but the political aspects of the environment are emotionally stressful. My children stress me, but the guilt of being away from them stresses me more. Even the things I enjoy bring stress, in that I never feel like I can dedicate any real time or attention to them. Hovering over everything is nonstop, relentless, constant tiredness. Never getting the right kind of sleep at the right time -- weekend afternoons after a nap are the only time of the week when I feel sharp.

Today Dave picked up the kids, so I had a few relaxed minutes at home before the troops came home. When they did, Gabriel burst into the kitchen, threw up his hands and yelled, "I am SO stressed out!!!"

He did have a lot of homework, and I helped him with some of it, mostly just motivating him. One thing he had to do was to bring "clippings" of a "regional land form," but couldn't be specific about what that meant. I printed some photos of the Pinnacles from our trip last May, but I wasn't about to do all the work. So I showed him how the Pinnacles had been formed (with plates along the San Andreas fault carrying a split volcano 195 miles north over 23 million years), had him write him it down, and then we looked at animations of tectonic plates moving, how mountains are formed and how earthquakes happen.

That was actually fun. Somehow being with my stressful and stressed-out son tonight de-stressed us both.


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