Yesterday was one of those days designed to either show me why humans have been brewing alcohol for a few thousand years or that I can get through anything without it.
I woke up to an intense ant infestation in my office/kitten nursery. Ants swarming through their food and even on their fur. Tonka the tiny black leopard appeared to have fallen into his own diarrhea and had to be washed. My dog had what appeared to be an abscess on her ear. And after washing Tonka and clearing out the litter box and mopping my office floor and setting out ant traps and rigging them up with kitten-proofing, the kittens all decided to PLAY in the litter box. 3 kittens with terrible diarrhea playing in the littler box is my new worst nightmare.
It turns out Chick had a seratoma rather than an abscess and the only way to fix it if it doesn’t stay drained is surgery which we absolutely can’t afford. So fingers crossed the antibiotics and steroids will keep an infection from forming and the blood from pooling.
I want to be working on my fiction. I haven’t got the brain space for it what with this litter of incontinent (though adorable) kittens and not drinking alcohol (if that’s your biggest way to relax your mind it takes a lot of energy to simply NOT do it). I had this revelation the other day that this year of not drinking can be anything I want it to be. I do feel pressure to make money to cover our increasing bills (rent went up by almost $200 a month, for example) but we’re squeaking by and not drinking means less money is being spent on alcohol. As long as I don’t replace that spending with some other daily spending, then not drinking is a little bit like making us more money.
This year is about rediscovering other modes of self care besides drinking tons of beer. It doesn’t matter what that might mean to other people, it’s about what it means to ME. It’s vital that I remember that fact. This is my life. I get to make up the rules about how I live it. What I strive for. What I work on. Outside of my responsibilities to my family and my animals, what I focus on is up to me.
It did strike me yesterday that I’m doing volunteer work. I didn’t really think about that before. These kittens are so much work and have taken up so much of my brain space and at the end of the day I couldn’t be mad at these little beings for helping to make this week really tough, and yesterday in particular. There are so many animals in need in this world. In need of medical attention. In need of being adopted, protected, nurtured. Being part of an organization that dedicates itself to the care of feral cat colonies is an honor. I say I’m doing it because kittens are adorable. And they are great therapy in some ways. But they are a lot of work. So that’s what I’ve been doing. Putting in a lot of hours to care for sick motherless kittens pulled from a feral colony. It’s worth it. I’ll need a big break from fostering after this. But it’s worthy work. Being part of the vast network of humans who are actually doing good for other animals on the planet.
One week down, 51 to go. I probably shouldn’t think about that too hard. Has it been torturous so far? No. It’s irritating more than anything. I’m more irritated than usual. With people. With myself. With the perpetual sunshine and heat. With food. With clothes. My tolerance for mess and chaos is lower. But so is my energy to deal with it all. There’s no treats I look forward to at the end of a hard day. I bought some potato chips because that’s something I don’t eat often, mostly because they make me feel disgusting afterwards, but I ate a few handfuls and realized that chips aren’t that good. Certainly not better than beer. There’s nothing soothing about them and they make my body feel like shit. Fuck that.
I’ve been watching a lot of Poirot. (I’ve watched them all a million times before, it’s comfort tv) The nice thing about watching it is that it reminds me of one of the reasons I have to stop drinking: so I can get my body back and get dressed up again. Not in full period deco costume. It just reminds me of how much fun I used to have dressing up and how I have no fun getting dressed now. It reminds me of how I would like my house to look. It inspires me and delights me. I re-watch the Miss Marple episodes all the time too.
I’m so tired from this week that I want to be on the couch all day watching more of both. Maybe eat some Chinese food. Look through magazines. But I have to cook some food to freeze so it doesn’t get wasted. I have to do some laundry. I need to do some yard work. But I don’t know, maybe I’ll just sit back and watch all the Poirot. I’m making up the rules right? The most important thing I’m doing is not drinking. And that’s a lot.