Diary of a Mad Allergy Sufferer

I’ve been up since 4AM. My husband gets up that early to go to work and I don’t know how he’s still standing at 9PM. My allergies have been nasty this winter. It probably has something to do with the house being all shut up and there being an extra cat (one of my worst triggers) here with Granny. So, I was awakened several times last night with that annoying little tickly cough and finally jarred completely awake at 4.

I’ve had allergies as long as I can remember and if you suffer too, you know the struggle is real. No, really. It sucks. Try going anywhere and staying overnight with your friends in a hotel. When you wake up in the morning and you’re hacking phlegm all the way up from your toes in that super echoy bathroom making your friends swear a 65-year-old lounge singer who’s smoked her whole life sneaked into the room sometime in the night and is using the bathroom. Like nature? Not since I’m allergic to air. Even though I have an admiration and respect for the flora and fauna that grace this planet, I catch myself leering at the fields of corn, soybeans, wheat, flowers…well, you get the idea. I love animals but when I look at them, all I see is the near future consisting of a box of tissues and itchy eyes. I think a combo of being a cleaner and allergic to everything makes me see things like intricate, ornate woodwork, ledges along high ceilings, or lots of knickknacks as an evil conspirator with dust. It also makes me dumb. Or just very unlucky.

I’m really good at cleaning so it only makes sense that my body would react to the activity like it was trying to put out a fire with my draining nose. It’s a cruel joke, in my opinion. But it doesn’t stop me from cleaning. If anything, I clean harder. Most of the places I clean I’ve been doing for long enough that the dust is under control. However, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve faced a problematic job since the end of last summer. With three people and five large breed dogs in the house, the dust is never under control. It’s dust chaos. If I were to try and remove it from every surface, I’d be there the rest of my life because as soon as I got through the house, which is over 3000 square feet, I’d have to start over again. The dust settles so quickly that each week, it’s like I never dusted at all. With my OCD, the part of cleaning that is so satisfying is seeing the difference I make. It makes my mind happy and all the physical work worth it. I see a sliver of it when I’m done for the day, but I know it will only last a matter of hours and that almost hurts. This is just proof that my love for cleaning is a mental disorder.

So, I decided to quit. I need the money but as I’ve mentioned in the post Open Doors and Benadryl , it’s not worth it. I’ve also lost numerous Fridays of possible productivity because I simply am too sick to get off the couch. The allergic reaction from being exposed to the dust and dog hair lasts into the night and often leaves me feeling horrible the following morning. I’m tired of losing time because of it. It would be one thing if I felt like I made a difference but I don’t. Not only is the dust always back, my hard work goes unacknowledged and even disrespected at times. It wasn’t until the day I decided to quit the first time (I got a temp position and thought I could quit cleaning), that I was told that I was doing a good job. I don’t expect to hear it every time I clean, but I need to know that I am meeting expectations. It’s necessary to know what I need to do better. I don’t like taking people’s money and not giving them what they pay for. It also lets me know that what I’m doing is helping them, and that’s the core of why I do what I do. I’ve had more than one occurrence of the family walking right over my wet floors as I mop. In the beginning, things were picked up so I could do my job, but as time went on, less and less was put away, causing me double the work in the same time frame. I’ve never gotten out in the agreed upon 4 hours. It was always 20-45 minutes longer and that’s time I was never paid for. I could’ve said something, but I was afraid to lose the job by asking for more money. Now, the money has become a secondary issue to my health.

Two more weeks, and I can walk away. I’ll be devoting my free time slot to my writing and my new job. Both of which give me more validation and respect. I wish the family the best and hope that they might realize they need more than a weekly cleaning lady. They need a full-time housekeeper. And that definitely isn’t me.

~L~

It’s About Balance

In life there are many times we can feel as if we love and hate something at the same time. For instance, women can love a pair of shoes while hating how it hurts their feet. I personally love chocolate but hate that I must limit my consumption of it. The same can be said for people like my husband and I who have a special needs child and social media. We love it and hate it. My husband now hates it and has deleted the Facebook app from his phone. I have been known to defend it because of the support groups that have proved to be an invaluable source of information and support. Lately, the negative effects on us have outweighed the positive.

With Facebook and other social media, users sign up to share their lives with other users. If I have learned anything from my high school social experience, it was the never ending drama that goes along with sharing so much personal space with other people. We can hope certain social manners will be followed but that would be silly considering we are “friending” many people we barely consider to be acquaintances. By allowing so many people so close to our personal lives, negative experiences are bound to happen. For us, it has caused disappointments that possibly have my husband finished indefinitely. I am still dipping my toe in the edge. I am involved enough to check in on a few friends but I don’t want to be over involved again.

Over the past seven years since we signed up on Facebook, we have tried to use our manners. We try to avoid arguments, we do not engage in political or religious debates, and we are respectful of the opinions and lives of others. The longer I use Facebook, the more I notice the lack of manners and general respect people have for one another. We have been pulled into fights and insulted. I have had to diffuse situations that blew up on social media for my entire list of friends to see. We tried to play it safe and hoped we didn’t put too much out there, but like most people on social media, we got burned because we assumed our “friends” were friends. Sadly, in some cases we were wrong. Some people just want to read posts to gossip, judge or disapprove of others. It feels like high school all over again. I am sorry but our emotional plate is full and we have had our fill of drama.

Another difficulty I have with social media is the lure to envy. We can all get caught up in it but for us, it can take a pretty hard emotional toll. I realize most people want to use the nicest photo of their family and desire to show off the greatest aspects of their lives but it is hard to stop comparing. Vacation photos are the hardest for us. I know a few couples that snap a picture in front of a great hotel where they celebrate their anniversary every year or families that are full of smiles while enjoying the latest weekend getaway. I keep reminding myself to appreciate what I have and continue to hope things will get easier. I do appreciate everything we are blessed with but it is difficult letting go of certain dreams. I look at those posts and jealousy rears its ugly head. My newsfeed gives me many more opportunities for those feelings to take over and make me feel sad about our life. I truly do want to be happy about my life. I am grateful for the positive changes we have made through difficulty. It is hard trying to continue to make those positive changes while dreaming of some other life.

I think that is what it comes down to for me, I can’t get caught up in some other existence social media provides. It feels like I am balancing two lives. I am working overtime with life one already. I love the continual support that I have found. I enjoy learning more about friends I have made and connecting with old friends but I can’t get so involved that I forget the little people in the same room. So I am choosing to back away for myself and my family.

I love my life in so many ways, but there are aspects I hate. I hate what has been taken from me but I love the compassion for life that has filled that empty space. I hate that I won’t know endless happy outings captured in photographs for the world to see but I love that I can appreciate the happy moments I am given. I love sharing in the lives of others but I hate it when I often feel alone. Just like my rocky relationship with Facebook, I am finding my balance. I have to nourish what truly matters and break it off with those things that bring me down.

*d*