Casual Friday + Bird Poop

Last weekend I was standing in the middle of our backyard (without any trees or power lines nearby) when a bird, circling overhead, decided it was time to lighten his/her load…and pooped on my back.

One minute I was standing there enjoying the sunshine and the next – *plop*!

And that basically summarizes my week.

Beautiful weather and clear skies – with some proverbial bird poop dropping in from out of nowhere.

Nothing remotely bad happened but I felt very unsettled and anxious (I think I managed to avoid grumpy, so that’s a win?) for the first half of the week. I’ve never been a fan of transitions and this felt like an especially hard one.

Let’s discuss the stressors first, and then I’ll take a stroll down #Joyfinding Lane.

  1. Renovations. The work that started while we went away went well (or so I’m told). But now I’m fretting about every little detail. Did they put enough insulation under the subfloor? Did we buy enough flooring (we did; a tape measure and some simple calculations alleviated this fear)? Did we make the right decision on X,Y, Z? I hate this spiral of What-If thoughts, but renovations park my butt into the front seat of an Anxiety Rollercoaster like nothing else. There feel like limitless (and expensive) ways a renovation can go wrong and I seem to make it my mission to think through every single one of those worst-case scenarios. I also had a very intense/negative experience with a subcontractor last year that left me rattled and extra nervous. And…the renovation is in our main entryway which means we have no hooks or closet at the moment which lends to the feeling of chaos. To repeat: nothing remotely bad has happened…(yet)…I just feel uneasy.
  2. Lack of routine. We’re back into a quasi-routine, but nothing will be fully structured again until September. The kids are registered for a week of day camp, but we’re purposely leaving the summer flexible for travel and sabbatical fun. Family will be coming to visit for several weeks, but those dates haven’t been solidified. It’s all good stuff, but the lack of future structure is already making current me stressed and for no good reason, except I feel a general lack of control.
  3. Vacation slump. Leaving South Carolina is impacting me the same way the week after Christmas always leaves me feeling blah. It has been so long since I’ve visited (15 years) and I know my kids + their cousins are growing fast and it feels sad and hard to have that trip behind us since we had been anticipating it for so long. A post-vacation letdown is normal, but it was a little more intense than I expected.
  4. General life stress. I always forget the low-level stress involving house/kid management that is off our plate while on vacation. All of sudden I’m back to thinking about dirty floors and laundry and meal planning. Do we need more toilet paper? Are we out of milk already? Also, there has been an ongoing challenging interpersonal situation for ~8 months that I completely avoided in the US and it felt jarring to start dealing with the situation immediately upon our return home. [Update: after I wrote this little blurb, I received Cal Newport’s latest newsletter where he talks about how famous authors – which I am not, but let’s stick with generalizations here – often retreat to small/cramped/odd locations outside of their home environment to focus on writing. Newport ends his essay by saying: Home is where the heart is, but it’s not necessarily where the mind reaches its full potential. And I’d add to this: home is not necessarily where I feel the most relaxed. I often classify myself as an introverted homebody but, too often, when I’m in my own space I get distracted by all the things I could/should be doing and can be too paralyzed by my to-do list to relax or maintain a singular focus on work. Anyone else relate to this?]
  5. Work nerves. It was hard to transition back into work routines. I wrapped up some major projects before I left for the US, so things were relatively quiet the whole time I was away (technically it was a working vacation). I had a hard time getting my “head in the game” after being away for two weeks, but I really needed to be on the ball. I’ve been planning a virtual research conference for several months (which happened yesterday and, spoiler alert, everything went fabulously well) which was making me nervous all week.

Now: onward and upward.

SOCCER | The kids started summer soccer league this week and it was great. Watching them play as the sun set over the field – carefree and enjoying physical activity with friends in a team environment – was so fun. The next practice was in the pouring rain and that was great too. I had an umbrella and they didn’t care!

READING | Nothing to report here. I deferred my holds while were in the US and no books came in this week. I love reading, but it also feels good to have a concentrated break. For the first few days after arriving home, we didn’t even have any picture books in the house which felt sad, but also indicative of the kids moving into a new phase of life (somebody hold me).

Our library; one of my most-loved places.

FRIENDS | What a great week for friendships.

My best friend celebrated her birthday last weekend. We ended up meeting for an early-morning walk followed by coffee at my place. Later that day she texted to ask if our whole family could come over to enjoy some birthday dessert (strawberry shortcake) after supper. I had already showered and was in my pajamas (let’s ignore the fact this was 4 pm on a Saturday) but I love this friend enough to get out of pajamas. The strawberry shortcake was delicious and there was lots of merriment and good cheer.

Another friend/neighbour recently returned from a year in Ireland and he came over for an impromptu BBQ after church on Sunday.

Monday, in a last-minute change of plans, I hosted the final session of a book discussion on friendship (using Jennie Allen’s Find Your People). I’ve missed about half of the sessions (facepalm), but it has been a great experience getting to better know this group of honest, funny, and generally delightful women.

Tuesday after school I took the kids to a local playground to meet up with friends and that evening I took my best friend out for supper (my birthday gift to her every year is supper out at a local restaurant, followed by thrifting!).

Pre-supper photo op
We always start with a custom trio at a local Mediterranian place; the roasted red pepper dip (centre) is our favourite but the cucumber mint (far left) was also delish.

On Wednesday a friend who recently started working in Wolfville stopped by on her lunch break. It was only a 30-minute visit, but the spontaneity was delightful. I’m not always a fan of spontaneous company, but this is the one friend where I literally would not mind if she stopped by when every toilet in my house was overflowing.

And Thursday at supper we celebrated the end of Bible Club (a weekly event the kids attend) with a Pizza Party.

THE JOY OF GETTING STUFF DONE | I think the biggest source of my anxiety/angst this week was the feeling of having a gazillion loose ends. Being gone on vacation + the looming break from routine over the summer make me frazzled. One day I decided to power through a slew of little things that were bogging me down. I tackled 2 months’ worth of mail (you know, the stuff that can’t be thrown out/handled immediately and grows into an enormous stack that needs to be filed in about 175 different locations), I changed furnace filters, I cleared pictures off my phone, I drafted an itinerary for our trip to NYC, I finished registering the kids for daycamp, I bought and delivered a gift card, I sent random e-mails, I returned phone calls, I tackled work miscellany, I cleared out the freezer and prepped some meals for summer company. None of these tasks was hard on its own but felt daunting when considered in totality. Crossing them off my to-do list cleared up so much mental headspace.

ADVENTURES | John took the kids hiking to Cape Split. Levi did a stint on John’s shoulders on the return trip but Abby walked the whole 15 km+ distance! En route there is a giant tree where people carve their initials and they found a set John and I had carved ages ago (maybe 15 years?).

And while I was out for supper Tuesday night, they went to some of our favourite local spots: Scot’s Bay for skipping rocks and “The Lookoff.” The beauty of Nova Scotia never ceases to amaze me.

Another day = ice cream at a local farm market. He (Levi, not the goat) gets a haircut next week; the fluff is adorable, but it gets so long, so fast!

WORDLE | The pictures say it all. This week marked our 4th and 5th times of getting the word in 2 tries; the thrill never gets old (though we’ve stopped screaming so loud it scares the children).

And that was the week – lots of fun, along with some anxiety/restlessness…and one giant dose of bird poop on my shoulder.

Happy weekending friends. May your skies be clear and sunny, with nary a defecating bird in sight…

Header photo by Meritt Thomas on Unsplash

21 thoughts on “Casual Friday + Bird Poop”

  1. I got a worldle in two tries this week, too! I can’t remember what it was, but it was very exciting. (It was NOT girth — I only got girth on the very last try and it was super stressful!) I’ve only managed to get it in two tries 5 times in the 117 times I’ve played.

    And I completely relate to the feeling of being at home and having too much to do. There’s always a distraction — and not a “meaningless” one like surfing the web, but something that you will have to take care of eventually. Laundry, prepping dinner, taking out the trash, etc. etc.

    The lack of a structure would also have me at loose ends. I hope that you get back into your routine and that things smooth out.

    1. We’ve gotten in 5 times in almost the same number of attempts! It is exciting each time.

      There is a constant to-do list that churns through my head when I’m home; I’m productive and also like to putter, so on days I’m in the right “headspace” it all goes well and I really enjoy being home. On other days it feels overwhelming and/or like pure drudgery. Like everything, it’s all about balance. But it was delightful to have a week off from thinking about meal planning or kids lunchboxes or even how tidy rooms were! I loved the lack of routine on vacation, but now want that free spirit at home…but can’t stand an overflowing laundry basket.

  2. I could totally relate to each of the stressors you listed- having renovations in the house is unsettling (we were even stressed last week about someone coming to fix the fence, and that was OUTSIDE,) and returning from that amazing vacation would be so hard. Hopefully soon you’ll settle into some sort of summer routine, and things will settle down. Also, you need BOOKS! A trip to the library asap will make you feel better!

    1. I’ve actually enjoyed not having a stack of books to get through…but it means I’ve been watching a documentary series at night that’s keeping me up past my bedtime, so maybe those books would be a good idea after all!

  3. I knew this was coming, of course, this isn’t our first house renovation, but as someone going through home renovations too, I’d like to address your point: “Lack of routine.” I’m about losing my mind trying to live a somewhat normal life whilst there are people and stuff and unfinished projects all around me. We have no fixed end date, so like you said “I feel a general lack of control.” I am trying to keep my eye on the prize, but it’s summer and I want to goof off at home– and that’s not happening.

    1. Renovations are just…inconvenient. I can’t imagine people who live through full kitchen renos.
      Our work has been relatively minor and out of main areas of traffic within the home (the majority has actually be exterior) – so I shouldn’t be complaining. But I feel a constant drip of stress/anxiety throughout the entire process. I don’t like making lots of decisions and so many need to be made, but then each decision has trickle down impacts.
      Suffices to say: I see no future in flipping houses based on my tolerance for renovation stress!
      Eye on the prize indeed – after years of having a tiny entryway that needed to be removed from some wood rot (it’s original to our 1970’s home), I know it will be all worth it in the end!

  4. Coming back from a great vacation to reality can be really hard. I haven’t experienced that in a really long time since coming back from a trip with young kids is so different and I am usually desperate for us to all be back in our own beds! But pre-kids I would get the vacation blues big time!

    But I am glad there was lots of good amidst the not so good of the week. We had a pretty good week all in all, even with sleep woes and juggling Paul + work. But I am ready for him to go back to school next week!!!

    1. I remember a few trips with smaller kids where I almost felt like my skin was crawling from the overstimulation while being away on vacation (sharing rooms, being off routines, changing diapers in gas station bathrooms) and I just desperately needed my own space. But this time it definitely felt hard to come home.

      But…I’m feeling better about the transition with each passing day. I’m glad it has been hard, in some senses, because it’s the marker of a good vacation, which was our ultimate goal 🙂

      And I’m so glad you’re off COVID quarantining. What a looonnnngggg road for your family.

  5. Yep, I feel you!! Right there with you. Things have felt very unsettled around here too- extremely busy (but fun, so I feel guilty complaining) weekends, lots happening, inconsistent schedules now that school is out, etc. My big to do list never seems to budge much, so it always feels like it’s “looming”. I know exactly what you mean about the post-vacation blues. I love traveling so much, but it’s just a fact that it is also stressful. No matter which way you slice it, both pre-travel AND post-travel includes a lot of stuff to do. When you add in that semi-sad/ let down feeling, it doesn’t help matters, either. Hang in there! Hopefully the nice summer weather will keep your spirits up, and things inevitably will settle down a bit, eventually, into some sort of “new/ temporary” routine… 🙂

    1. I saw your post which touched on similar points; sorry you had an “unsettled” week, too.
      I shouldn’t complain because life was really great this week, but I have to acknowledge (I suppose not publically, but that’s the beauty of writing on a blog) that I still feel restless and on-edge.
      That said, things felt much, much better as the week went on. I tackled a lot of loose ends, I’m feeling a bit less dejected that our fun Southern vacation is over, and the work research conference is over. Onward and upward!

  6. Those Mediterranean dips look amazing. I wish I was eating that right this second. Oh well, I’ll be happy with my coffee, I GUESS.

    I can imagine you’d have major post-vacation letdown after such a great and highly anticipated vacation; it always feels kind of draggy for me to come home and just start dealing with all the usual stuff.

  7. I know it’s reached stressful levels in my own life when reading about your stress freaked me out, too. I just want to be the chill person I used to be! When I was ten.

  8. I am really sorry to hear that you have had so much bird poop in your life this week, that is hard and tough. I hear you on the coming back from holiday feeling, although we have not had a holiday like that in years so it has been a long while since I have felt it. The not having to do all the jobs that make the house run smoothly is bliss isn’t it, I hear you on not wanting to have to worry and think about them.

    Our lives are complicated and busy, it would be so lovely if that were not so all the time. I have been slowly reframing my feelings on this one, it is a hard slow process. I realised that the low level stress that you so beautifully describe was part of my need for perfection, all the time, which is not achievable or sustainable. An occasional dirty floor or a few days of not doing laundry is not going to cause any harm, similarly running out of milk or any other food item is a nuisance but also not going to cause harm nor is it the end of the world either, we can make do. I have mentioned it before but I have now realised that there are some weeks, related to the lunar cycle, when I am simply not able to deal with the low level stress so I am now trying to stop doing this, I am a work in progress. The little voice in my head that says leave it, it is ok, is getting louder.. I do what absolutely needs to be done for that week and ignore everything else until my energy levels are back to a point that I can. That doesn’t mean that there are piles of jobs to do when I am back in that place either as many are the things that have resolved themselves.

    You seemed to have moved from the cold of winter to the warmth of summer already. We are still in the throes of a cool spring here, shorts are not out of their hibernation yet and won’t be for a good few weeks yet. Whilst you have a very cold winter that feel like they last for ever we get a very short summer that is gone in the blink of an eye and sometimes never arrives. I have known summers where I wore tights and wooly jumpers right through. I love that your children get such a long holiday to enjoy that weather, here in the UK the schools don’t finish until around the 20 July and they are back in early September (not that that effects me ;)) Enjoy your time together, it sounds like it is going to a wonderful time this year with your husband at home with you too.

    1. I have major shifts in my sleep cycles with the full moon, and it would 100% make sense that would trickle down into so many other areas of my life.
      It’s all about a natural rhythm of being busy/having white space. Sometimes this balance seems to be off-kilter; either too much down time, or a long stretch of hectic living.
      It is raining today, but we’ve had a really beautiful full weeks of warm temperatures. The summer always seems to fly by and then another winter is upon us, so I’m trying to really appreciate the greenery and convenience of just stepping outside without a jacket and woolen hat for a few short months!

  9. The bird poop is a PERFECT ANALOGY, but I am sorry it happened IRL. You do such a perfect job of describing the school/summer transition and all of its anxiety, discombobulation, and anticipation. I relate to this post so much.

    1. Ha! I know people that have had a bird poop on them before but it just felt like something so out-of-the-ordinary. Especially when I was just standing in the middle of a lawn. But it did and…such is life!

  10. I hear you big time about vacation slump – especially after big trips (to see family you haven’t seen and won’t see for a while) and it’s rather anti-climatic to return and realize “it’s all over”. I usually have this “emotional jetlag” after every trip home and I know it usually fades quickly but the first few days are awful. I hope you feel better.

    And regarding the checking things off your list – that is the best feeling. I can go between calm and frazzled multiple times a day, but if I have a list and check things off, I can usually handle it much better.

    Love the photo of you and your friend <3 precious moments!

    1. Emotional jetlag. What a brilliant term. I’m going to start using this going forward; it actually spins things in a slightly more positive light, as well, as it ties it to the trip. No one wonders why someone is yawning after a Transatlantic trip. It’s jetlag. I guess we shouldn’t wonder why we’re sad after returning from a trip either. It’s jetlag!

      Yup. I haven’t had a good list to check off lately because of some summer vacationing (I know, I know – I shouldn’t be complaining, but I really do miss the lack of structure right now) and I’m itching for our late summer/early fall routine.

  11. I completely understand the challenges of coming back from a trip and having to re-enter normal life, and finding yourself at the grocery store trying to find the lettuce, when it seems like an hour ago you were on vacation and didn’t worry about where your next meal was coming from. My most recent challenge is the disappointment of my trip out east, combined with the debacle of getting home, and re-entry has not been fun this time.
    But, you had such a fabulous week for friends! I’m so impressed. And I love the picture of you and your best friend. Thanks for sharing! I wish you were able to share those Mediterranean dips too, they look absolutely fabulous.
    I hope things continue to smooth out… until the next trip. Of course. 🙂 <3

    1. Oh Anne. You’re dealing with this at a whole other level. The disappointment of not meeting your expectations for the trip + having such a traumatic accident along the way. It’s all so awful!
      Your example about the lettuce is so specific but really summarizes it all. It feels so odd to be back into your normal space, but it suddenly feels like everything has shifted off-kilter in the oddest of ways. I do find it unsettling every time!

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