Thursday, March 10 2022

feeding ducky, nightmares, and burnout

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Dear Journal,

Good morning, friends. Happy Thursday.

It's another beautiful day in the limbo between winter and spring. It's a sunny morning. Sitting in this chair at the computer, there's sunlight scattering all over the room. This week, Marissa is cleaning all the windows she can reach, as weather permits, and each time she finishes a room it's funny how much brighter it looks.

Before we get going with real rambling, let's do a diagnostic check. How does your body feel? Sore - check. How's your brain? Sleepy, but warming up. How does the coffee taste this morning? Divine, thank you.

Sip. I'm sore, but feeling well-rested. Yesterday was the brief, but terrible workout. It's excruciating - I leave big drops of sweat on the living room floor. But it only takes eighteen minutes. We can barely get through an episode of Seinfeld.

But we did a nice job getting to bed on time. We sprang off the couch at 11:10 AM sharp, relieved the dogs, made Rodney's lunch, and headed upstairs. I resisted the urge to grab a snack and stare at the spiders, but we still had to feed Ducky.

Clicking the light on in our bedroom, we found Ducky perched on her big piece of driftwood. Ducky only leaves her warm rock cave for two reasons - either she's hot, or she's hungry. It was a cold day today, so I knew she was hungry.

Like a stubborn toddler, we're having difficulty getting Ducky to eat her vitamins. Each time I dip a piece of food in the powdery reptile vitamin mix, she turns her nose up at the meal, refusing to touch it.

I wouldn't be outsmarted by a filthy lizard. I lured her out with a freshly molted male red runner, the filet mignon of cockroaches. I let her take the roach with no strings attached, just so she let her guard down.

Then I fed her a second, dusting the roach's backside with vitamin powder and feeding it to Ducky head first. She gobbled the bug in her jaws, wincing through the bad after taste. Everybody eats their vitamins in this house, Ducky. There's no escape.

With the Ducka-saur taken care of, we were in bed within the hour. Good sleep has been hard to come by these days. Rodney's been having a recent issue with nightmares. He wakes up around three or four in the morning, yelling in his bedroom. Marissa takes the hit, getting up to console him and tuck him back into bed. I just have a fuzzy memory of rolling over to check the time.

It sounds like most of Rodney's nightmares are about zombies and ghosts. But why all the nightmares all the sudden? I'm not sure. Nothing's really changed about Rodney's bedtime routine. We eat dinner, clean up his room, share a Monster energy drink and watch an episode or two of The Walking Dead - then lights off!

Had you going for a second, didn't I? If I had to guess, I think it's all the change and stress around moving. Rodney hears us talking about houses, we're moving furniture, cleaning out rooms, and starting to pack up boxes. Change is in the air, and it must be a lot for a five year old kid to take in.

We're also giving him more responsibilities. Last night, Rodney gave himself a shower before bed. He even successfully rinsed all the soap out of his hair. He shut the water off and announced to the house, "I feel like a grown-up."

"That's right dude," I said in approval. "Now don't forget to put away the bath toys."

It appears I'm a little light on content this morning. Before scratching 700 words, I'm totally out of notes. I guess that's a symptom of this stage of life. I feel restless. I feel trapped in my house. I feel like I don't have any time to think anymore. The days are bleeding together. The work days slip away so quickly.

I'm grateful to have a day off tomorrow. Yesterday, my teammates and I were talking about burnout. "Isn't it weird how these recharge Friday weeks seem longer? Like even though it's a four day week, it feels like five days of work."

"I think there's some cramming going on," laughed Derek. "Everyone is just trying to squeeze everything in before the day off."

This really does feel like my Friday, then. I have a few meetings and responsibilities to get through, and then I think I'll take a really long nap.

I'm having trouble getting more words out, and it's almost time to start work. We'll call it a little early this morning. Thanks for reading, and I hope you have a good Thursday. Hang in there, everybody.