We are foster failures. I never thought I'd be proud of failing at something, but I'm proud of this. I will tell you the story of Kai, our rescue dog. It all started with me wanting a dog. I grew up with dogs and since moving out of my parents' house, I missed having dogs around. They are your best friend, sources of unconditional love and smiles. I wanted a dog. My boyfriend however, did not grow up with dogs and didn't really know what to expect. He is very busy and is working hard to finish his masters degree with the best grades possible, so the distraction of having a dog in the house did not appeal to him. Also, there was the question of me having an unpredictable health situation: can I walk with him at all times, or is that another thing that will eventually rest on my boyfriend's shoulders, just like chores in the house, doing groceries and a lot of other things I often can't do because of my limited amount of energy.
So, no dog. For some reason, I really could not let the subject “dog” go. I was very lonely. Being ill and housebound isn't good for you mental health. At all. My boyfriend is often away for university-related things and even though I fully support that, it does get lonely. It often happened that I didn't go outside for days. I really don't like to walk alone. It seems that the only thing to focus on during solo walks, is my heart pounding, shortness of breath and dizziness. I wanted a dog to walk with, focus on and maybe meet other dog owners. But Boyfriend wanted to be able to travel later on, when he is done with his studies and I am better (wishful thinking, gotta have hope!). A dog would complicate that.
So we compromised. We would be a foster home to stray dogs, to teach them how to behave so they would have the most chance of finding a forever home. On facebook, there are a lot of pages introducing you to dogs that need fostering. My god, you want to save them all. The heartache I felt looking at those dogs. Kai stood out. He is an old, black/gray messy long-haired dog. For some reason I felt connected to him. We chose him to foster. The month before his arrival took soooo long! But the day finally came that we could pick him up from the airport. He was in a travel-cage when we first met him, all drugged up and traumatized. The story of Kai goes like this: he lived with his two sisters in a garden until his owner died. The family of his owner threw them out on the street because they didn't want to deal with them. A friend of the owner, though, got them back because she knew how much those dogs meant to the woman. She put them in a private (outside) shelter, which is better than a public shelter but still very, very cold, and then I found him on Internet and got him here.
Kai turned out to be a sweet, endearing old dog. He got very attached to me pretty fast and followed me around all day, probably out of fear that he would be left alone again. He definitely has issues in that department, poor thing. We are working on that.
Anyway, the foster failure part. About two weeks later the subject of him leaving came up and that feeling didn't sit well with us. So we kept him. We adopted him and he has found his home with us. Charmed his way into our family. Everyone adores him. Which is only logical, because he is very adorable.
I'm proud to be a foster failure! Any other failures around here? Please comment below!
As I'm sure I already told you (because I tell everyone), I'm reading The Happiness Project from Gretchen Rubin, which is a book I highly recommend. If I had the money I'd buy it for everyone I know, but I don't, so you'll have to buy it yourself if you want to benefit from all the great tips and have a good time reading a nice book.
So today I will tell you about the One-Minute-Rule. As many of you (well, at least my familymembers) know, I'm not very focused on keeping my house clean and tidy. I want to, but... I just don't do it. Although, it's more the tidy-up part I'm too lazy to do. I do try to keep things clean. This is not something I can blame my illness for. Things like vacuming, doing dishes, changing the sheets of the bed, those things are hard for me to do because of ME, but keeping things tidy doesn't have to take much time and effort. So that's not an excuse. It does give me a lot of energy though when my surroundings are pleasant and zen.
Apparently, Gretchen Rubin, the author of this inspiring book (yes I will keep bugging you to buy it), wasn't very much focused on keeping things tidy herself, but like me, she did love it when the house was nice and became annoyed when it wasn't. So she came up with the one-minute-rule: everything you can do in one minute, is not to be posponed. No excuses. Just do it. It's a matter of discipline. Once you start to honor this rule, you can keep cleaning up because as it turns out, a lot of things only take a minute. But that's not the point. If that's too much all at once, just do a couple of one-minute chores a day. So I have been honoring this rule for some days now, and I must say it really makes a difference.
Another thing she came up with is the evening tidy-up: every night before you go to bed, clean up a bit. Even if you don't want to. Even if you're tired and just want to go to bed. You'll be happy in the morning. This one I didn't try yet... But I'm sure it works perfectly. Maybe I should try it sometime. What are your tips for keeping the house clean while not spending too much energy?
Part of The Happy Spoonie Project is to give advice about typical spoonie-related issues, to tell you how I handle some situations and to tell you the little things I do to feel better about myself when I'm having a bad day. If you have any good advice on how to feel better, even if it is a tiny little thing, please share! We can help each other.
The getting out of bed part can be challenging, given that spoonies are exhausted most of the time and that pretty much everyting hurts. I am aware that the amount of energy and the amount of pain is different for everyone, so if you can't do the things I'm suggesting, please don't be offended.
Make your bedroom look nice
My bed is a mess, as I get in and out of it several times a day. Usually my curtains are closed and there are several pieces of bed-clothes lying all across the room. All this isn't very cheerful and doesn't make me feel any better. The bedroom is a place where I spend a lot of time, especially on bad days, so I figured it is important to do something to make the place look nicer and healthier. I started by opening the curtains. There is something healing about daylight, even when I'm sleeping, even when the sun isn't shining. Also, open a window. Very important.
Get dressed (or buy pretty PJ's)
I know it is not easy. On bad days I'm temped to stay in my PJ's all day, or wear something comfortable and baggy. But: that does not make me feel better (except that it doesn't hurt as much) and Boyfriend doesn't find that very attractive either. If you can't stand to wear anything but your comfortable PJ's, make sure you treat yourself to a nice looking one that makes you feel like you look nice. Make that investment. It's worth it. For me, I decided to wear more dresses, as they are comfortable and I feel good in them.
Call me superficial, but it works for me. On days that I don't want to do anything else to make myself look presentable because it hurts too much or takes too much energy, I found that at least wearing some mascara makes my face look less... ill. Less tired, less worthless. That tiny amount of energy is well spent because you feel more like a person the rest of the day.
Drink some tea
A lot of it actually. We need to cleanse our bodies everyday. Research states that not drinking enough water causes fatique. And we don't need more of that, do we?
What do you do to make yourself feel better in the mornings?
My oldest friend was supposed to come and visit today. I haven't seen her in ages: in that time she's gone to South Afrika with her boyfriend I've only met once, has had a few different jobs (I believe. I don't know exactly what she does now) and pretty much moved in with her man. I don't even know how long it's been, but that's the thing with great friends: it doesn't matter. When you see each other, you get right back to where you left things, like nothing ever changed. I was excited for her visit, but ofcourse, ME got in the way. Last night I didn't sleep well, which left me with weak feeling in my body all day and a "weak heart". My heart is not actually weak, in fact, it's fine, the doctor says. But when I'm this tired it feels weak, really really weak.
Anyway, I've been in bed all day now, sleeping. I really tried to wake up. Do you ever have that, that you feel like you got up and did what you're supposed to do (in my case, let the poor dog outside to do his business) and then you notice that you're STILL IN BED SLEEPING. I had that a couple of times today. At some point thankfully, I did wake up and let the dog out, but now I'm back in bed (blogging).
Of course I'm pissed off at my illness at the moment that I have to cancel on someone I'd love to see. I'm grateful that she, and my other friends and familymembers, never get angry for it. They get it. But still, it sucks. This illness, as I'm sure many more illnesses are, is so unpredictable. Yesterday I was fine. I had a normal day, a good day, I felt okay. And then today is spent in bed again, and I have no idea what I did to cause that. This is not what I planned for today. I was going to do groceries and make a lovely pumkin dish tonight. Now I will probably grab something out of the freezer. I was going to vacuum and walk a bit with my dog. Don't feel up to it, though I'm hoping I can do the walk later. Instead, I'm in bed, feverish, sweaty, exhausted. I have to take a deep breath and get myself together. It'll be okay. My friend said: "see you soon though, okay?". Yes. I really hope so.