Saturday, August 15, 2009

Handling disappointment

It used to be so easy; hit the CoGo's. Spend $10 on sun chips, fudge rounds, strawberry milk and pepperoni rolls. Eat on the way home to the point of uncomfortable fullness, but stopping just short of the nasty pukies. Grab some Tums on the way in for the inevitable reflux and pass out. Disappointment = handled. Dealt with. Put in its place.

That was the past.

These days, I don't quite know what to do with myself. It's a very uncomfortable sensation, to have all of these feelings swirling around that I now have to (here's a novel concept:) deal with, instead of numb and push away with junk food.

So, there I found myself yesterday, mulling over this stuff all day, since that is now what I do instead of consuming half a package of Oreos in a sitting. Friday, the third of three days off in a row, during our kid-free week. The weather, which had been way too cool to be called summer if you're not in the Pacific Northwest, was finally cooperating. Hot and sunny. We spoke of grand plans: Camping, jetskiing around downtown, going out to a movie that wasn't rated G or PG. What did we end up doing? Painting the kid's room and furniture and building a corner cabinet to match the new bed. It was one of those projects that you look at and delude yourself:
Painting: 2 hours
Furniture painting: 1 hour
Cabinet building: 2 hours
Cabinet painting: 1 hour
Putting the room back together: 1 hour

What really happened:
Cleaning out the room: Oooops! Forgot to take this into account. Couple hours.
Painting: 2 days, the second day finishing up at 3am... so, almost 3 days. Fucking hot pink paint took 3 coats.
Furniture painting: Priming it alone took 3 hours. Complicated by the fact that the first tray of paint got crumby crap in it and I had to dump it out and start over... and had to re-sand and re-prime the drawer that got all crumbed up.
Cabinet building: 2 days
Cabinet painting: 2 hours to prime, with 2 people working on it. (It's beautiful, though. If Dan ever wants to quit his day job, he could build furniture for a living.)
Final coat of paint for all furniture and newly-built cabinet: Has yet to happen, but it took us an hour last night to set up the gazebo tent and clothespin plastic "walls" to it, so that Dan can use his commercial paint sprayer to finish off the furniture.
Putting the room back together: Scheduled for 10pm tonight, after a 12 hour shift at work.

So, yeah. A disappointing way to spend hot, sunny days when you had other things in mind. Dan encouraged me to get out and do what I wanted outdoors. However, I'm a team player. I can't enjoy leisure time if my teammate is busting his ass on a project I could be helping with. I was ok Wednesday. It rained half the day and we had set the day aside to get stuff done. When Thursday night rolled around and it became apparent we'd be still working into the wee hours, I wrote that day off too. Friday, I showed up dutifully, hanging on to a shred of hope. The dog paced the house and yard, stopping to sit and stare hopefully at me, "Going somewhere? We going somewhere? Huh? Huh?" Pent-up. I know just how she felt.

The day wore on, frustrating setbacks happened. It again became apparent that this was going to be an all-work-and-no-play day. I yelled at the dog. I snapped at Dan. I threw a paint brush. All the while, I could have been using one of two of my other coping mechanisms: Eating, or expressing what was wrong. I opted for the latter. He admitted the kid-free week ended up kind of a big disappointment. Magically, with that out in the open, the stressors of the entire three days melted away. I felt like we were on the same team again.

Moral of the story: It's really hard and it sucks to deal with your feelings. But, it doesn't give you the guilt, nausea and heartburn of Oreos.


  1. I hate having to be a grown up when I'd rather play. Because "play" is so rare, you hate to miss an opportunity.

  2. aah yes, the life of a grownup. I think you handled it all very well though. While I never binged, I can absolutely relate to the emotions and feelings that are much more easily suppressed by eating. You put a productive foot forward, and even though it wasn't relaxing, you got a lot of shit done and didn't binge. A+ in my eyes.