Unsettlingly Unsettled

Do you ever have that feeling of just being unsettled with life in general? That combination of external events combined with internal things leaving you feeling completely out of balance? That’s where I have been lately. Unsettlingly unsettled. This post is not so much about the house, but more about my general well being, so feel free to skip if you aren’t interested, I won’t be offended if you do.

At the end of April, I posted about feeling frozen and unable to get anything accomplished. I then went on to outline my plans to complete five priority projects to get the ball rolling. So, it is nearly three months later and I decided it was time to come clean about whats going on, and provide an update on the status of each of them.


Project Level of Completion Status/Notes
1 Install dryer vent to exhaust out of basement window. 25% I started this and then abandoned it as other things got in the way. I still need to cut and install the window panel for the exhaust vent. In the meantime, we have been exhausting the dryer towards the open window when we are doing laundry.  So some of the hot air and moisture is being sent outside, but its not a very efficient solution.
2 Replace powder room floor. 0% I have spent far too many hours thinking about how I am going to go about doing it. I have ordered the lumber and it’s been sitting in the reception hall since the beginning of June. But I decided the workbench needed to be completed first in order to ensure there was enough space in the basement to work on the powder room floor.
3 Build workbench in the basement. 20% The lumber was delivered and I got a good start on the workbench in early June, but the second day of working on it, I got derailed when I strained my lower back causing me to halt all work to allow my back to heal.
4 Replace ceiling in guest bath. 0% I was hoping to work on this before the summer heat set in because it is going to be a hot and very dirty job and I want to complete it during mild weather to avoid heat exhaustion. This is possibly on hold for now.
5 Replace guest bath shower. 0% We have been showering with a plastic tarp around the inside of the tub since last year and although it is about unglamorous as you can get, we recently decided that we should wait until the master bath is completed before we work on doing this shower. We don’t want to risk having no shower at all should there be any delays in getting this one done.


So I guess the big question is “What the hell have I been doing?” Seriously, what have I been doing this past three months? I did complete a drawing class and I also found a new passion in woodcut print making, there is that… And there has certainly been some progress and there are definitely small wins here and there with the house. But honestly, nothing of any major significance has happened. The laundry list of reasons why varies, but primarily it boils down to the physical and the mental. As April turned into May, then May to June, etc, the motivation to get stuff done just wasn’t there. This is where things get personal and I get to share a bit of where I am at and why the lack of progress.


[Image: Status is the same as it was when I posted this picture in April.]

First, I’ve said this before, but I am not twenty years old anymore. I simply cannot keep up the same pace of work I once was able to do, and with my birthday falling this week, I am truly reminded that youth has definitely slipped away (although I must add that wisdom is magical). I may still be in my early 50s, but I simply cannot put in the effort I once did without paying for it dearly the next day in physical discomfort. It’s actually very frustrating to me because my brain says I should be able to get X, Y, and Z done in one day, and I am lucky to get X done and maybe part of Y, but definitely not Z.

My general overall health is fine according to my doctor during my last physical in December. I an fortunate that I take only a single daily prescription along with an over the counter drug. But, beyond my general inability to complete as much as I once did, I have experienced the return of past injuries (primarily Plantar Fasciitis) and experienced relatively new aches and pains in my lower back.

Fortunately, I seem to have recovered from my back pain for the most part, but after celebrating a perfect month of 30 minute daily walks in June (averaging 13k steps a day. WooHoo!), my plantar fasciitis flared up in my right foot leaving me with an intense burning sensation in my heal and squelching my daily routine. Every time I would stand up after sitting for a few minutes, or in the morning, I would have shooting pain in my heal and be virtually unable to walk at all. This makes getting up at 3AM to go the bathroom an especially painful experience. I have to hold onto the bed frame, and door frame, and walls to make my way into the bathroom. The pain was also a challenge during the 425 mile drive home from Provincetown recently. Cruise control helped, but slowdowns and stop and go traffic kept my right foot busy between the gas pedal and the brakes. It didn’t help when my leg cramped up in the middle of stop and go on I-95 in White Plains, NY. But I got through it.

Fortunately more than a week after getting home, this too seems to be getting a bit better. I started acupuncture last week and I’ve done my best to stay off of my foot in general (except for the 13 miles of walking last Friday). There is no quick fix for Plantar Fasciitis, but with time it will get easier, and I am hopeful that the acupuncture will help as well.


[Image: I made a lot of progress clearing out the space to put the workbench in, but I haven’t gotten very far with actually building it.]

Aside from my physical health, there is the issue of my mental health. I haven’t shared this publicly before, but I have a long history of periodic depression. Its usually mild to moderate, and only occasionally severe, but it has been a part of my world as far back as my teenage years. I am thankful that the severe form hasn’t been in my life in nearly ten years, but the moderate has level most certainly been lingering about lately. I have been on a daily medication for it for most of my adult life, and nearly all the time it works just fine and life carries along. But lately there have been a few days when the chaotic headlines have sent me into a tailspin of depression, fear, and anxiety about where things are headed.

I tend to avoid politics here, but If you have been reading my past posts, it is pretty easy to figure out where I land. The constant barrage of bombshell news reports has had a huge impact on my mental health. Just talking about it can get my blood boiling. This endless diatribe of pandemonium has left me in a near constant state of feeling morose, depleting my energy and my will to get anything done. Without going into details, I will say that if the Supreme Court reverses my right to be legally married to my husband, we will need to revaluate things and very seriously consider our options. I spent my entire life feeling like a second class citizen until Marriage Equality passed, and I do not want to go backwards. With that said, I’ll leave the topic right here.

In addition to the physical and mental impacts of this past few months, there have been other external factors as well causing the period of general malaise. Adjusting to a new city is never easy, and while we both have zero regrets about giving up our NYC lives to dial things down here in Philly, we both know that it will take some time to settle in and adapt to our new life (especially the more prevalent summer humidity). To that end, I am committed to moving forward, and plan to pick up from where I left off in May. I hope to finish the dryer vent and my workbench soon, and then dive into the powder room floor. The other two items will likely be resolved following the completion of the master bath.

So, now that I have gotten all this off my chest, I do hope you will stick around and follow along. I promise many pretty things to come! In the meantime, I will leave you with a shot of tiny Bondine Hancock Street [CORRECTION: This is Hancock Street. See it here: https://goo.gl/maps/3BdpQDaaVpt] I recently discovered in our neighborhood.



[Image: South Bodine Hancock Street in Queen Village. This street is about six feet wide and totally cute.]








Till next time. . .

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  • Helen says:

    WOW…..all I can say is, welcome to the Golden Years! Whoever called them the ‘Golden Years’ is full of it, but it is what it is.
    I started following you back in the fall (can’t remember when exactly…..another perk of getting old) mainly because you are doing and have done what I always secretly dreamed of doing….and you have done a phenomenal job and you will continue to do so….just at a slower pace.
    One piece of advice that I have done….turn off the 24/7 news and I quit reading the newspaper, which by the way is not usually “news”. S*** is going to happen with or without me fretting over it…..and, I’m sleeping better.
    I’m almost 25 years older than you, and I totally relate to most of your ailments, but like Rosanne Rosanna Danna said, “it’s always something!”
    I plan on living vicariously through you, so Keep Calm and Suck it Up!
    I look forward to your next post.

    • Devyn says:

      Thanks Helen! You are clearly ahead of your peers when it comes to your internet savvy. I can only hope I am as on top of things in 25 years.
      I do try to limit my news to Morning Edition on NPR and that fake (and failing) newspaper, the NY Times, as well as the local Philly Inquirer (cause I need to know whats going on here too). But it’s hard not to have concern about where things are headed.
      It is true that we are not on a hard timeline to get things done but we are very much looking forward to the day when we can move into the master bedroom and have our guest room done. The kitchen will come later, I can live with what we have for a few years.

  • Happy birthday, Devyn! I think a lot of us can relate to your current perspective. Helen’s advice is good, and I second it; most of the “news” on TV and the papers is designed to keep people on edge, and it works. It’s simply not healthy to absorb too much of it – politicians will do whatever they are hell-bent on doing and our approval or disapproval won’t change things a bit. I assume that ALL politicians are scumbags unless proven otherwise; I don’t waste what time I have left on the planet fretting about them.

    You’ll find that if you can tune out some of the political drama from your consciousness you will begin to feel better – both physically and emotionally.

    I have a lot of the same issues as you do regarding procrastination. It’s difficult to jump in and tackle a project when you don’t feel great, and hard to keep the momentum going. Most of the projects I’m involved with now are
    tasks that will take months or a year to complete… it’s easy to get depressed when you feel that progress is slow.

    It is therefore helpful at times to find a short project that can be completed quickly; the sense of accomplishment achieved when done can be very therapeutic – you get an immediate sense of gratification. The delayed gratification inherent to long-term projects can be frustrating. So find a few really simple things that need to be addressed and do them. Everyone has a loose or missing knob or or other piece of hardware somewhere – I’ll find little tasks like that to take care of and when I’m done the sense of accomplishment I get can be used to propel me into a bigger project. It will also help focus your thoughts on the repair rather than things out of your control.

    I can’t help with the aches and pains other than to say that if you can start to feel better emotionally that it will help you to feel better physically as well. Hang in there, and go find some simple, achievable, tasks to conquer! We’ll be here to read about your future projects when you’re ready. The view of South Bodine Street is very nice; thanks!

    • Devyn says:

      Thanks for the birthday wishes 😊 Fortunately, I don’t feel as old as my age declares me to be.

      You are right about doing small things, and I have actually done several of them which I should put together and do a post on. My big win was redirecting a downspout to filter out leaves and stop it from getting clogged. This was an issue for what appears to be decades causing standing water in the back yard and we suspect has possibly undermined the brick wall on the rear “el” (There is a distinct dip in the floor along the wall where the downspout has been spewing overflow for years).

      The aches and pains are the reality of getting older, but I can be quite determined and will find a way to get things done.

      This tiny patch of South Bodine Street [CORRECTION: This is Hancock Street.] is barely a block long, and only about six feet wide. It is only a few blocks from our house and I only recently discovered it. It’s these little surprises which continue to contribute to our love for Philly. It’s so small, it isn’t on Google Street view, but you can see down the block from here: https://goo.gl/maps/3BdpQDaaVpt

  • David B says:

    It gets better, Devyn. No really, it does.
    Helen is right. Sometimes you have to tune out (turn off) the 24-hour news cycle. Focus on yourself and your relationship. Take a deep breath, give Yoav a big hug and count your blessings. Beauty will bloom throughout your home in no time. You are already surrounded by incredible beautiful.

    • Devyn says:

      Thanks David, you are right, it will get better. Fortunately, the feelings are mostly short lived. I have long believed that I will be taken care of regardless.

  • I, for one, cannot figure out how you got all that work done in NYC! After such a big push, a move. . . .a little time to decompress seems in order. As for the news, I just simply cannot believe what is going on lately. Enough said!

    So, cut yourself some slack – we moved a few months ago after a huge push to get a house ready to sell, and I too seem unable to get traction in our new place. Thanks for the post!

    • Devyn says:

      😊😊 I have often thought back to when we gutted and installed a new kitchen in our NY apartment (just two years ago) and marvel at how much we got done while I was holding down full time work and commuting. There was one period where I had only a single weekend off in five months. But I was damned determined to have my dream kitchen, and I did. And of course then we sold it to somebody else to enjoy.

      We will get there with the house. If I am patient enough, and the world economy don’ts collapse in the meantime.

  • Kim Domingue says:

    Happy birthday! I’ll turn 59 in December and, while being older doesn’t bother me, having to adjust to the fact that my body won’t do what it used to is a hard pill to swallow. I was raised with a bunch of big ole boy cousins and learned early on to push myself to my limits to be able to run with “the pack”. And I continued to “run with the pack” as a grown (very small) woman. Build a garage? Roof a house? Put up a six foot tall wood fence? Climb scaffolding? Use power tools? Lay flooring? Yep, there I was, bad leg and all, keeping up with the big boys. Then…..I hit my fifties. Hardest thing I ever had to do was to admit that I couldn’t keep up any more. I could still keep up with the pack as long as the pack was walking but as soon as they broke into a run? This old she wolf was a lone wolf. Ah well, the pack still depends on the old she wolf for her wisdom (such as it is) . And the old she wolf can still finish projects….she just has to take smaller bites and “eat” at a more leisurely pace, lol! It’s all good though….as long as we stay young at heart, open minded and with a youthful sense of wonder and curiosity, we’ll never truly be old!

    • Devyn says:

      Thanks Kim, I am 53 today.
      I completely agree that getting older doesn’t really bother me, but the slowing down of the body can be hard to accept. I am at the point where I will hire out things I know would take too much of a toll on my body or take too long to get done. But my expectations for quality work remains high which leaves me with much of the detail work.

      As for my curiosity… I have always been endless curious and hope that I never lose that desire to learn more.

      • Kim Domingue says:

        Your so right in that tackling a few small things can help when you’re down in the dumps. The feeling of accomplishing something, anything at all, can be a boost and get you going again. I like making a list of ‘got done’ instead of a ‘to do’ list. Hell, I’ve got a list of things to do that’s longer than my arm! If I looked at THAT list, I’d want to lay down and cry….like you, so many of our projects are long term. The ‘got done’ list let’s me see I’m actually moving forward….even if it is at a snail’s pace, lol!

      • Kim Domingue says:

        Then Happy Birthday again! I hope you had an enjoyable birth day!
        The hubs and I have recently begun to hire some things out and, to be honest, it’s worth the money. We had the house reroofed, a large cement patio poured and a patio cover installed last spring. Had we tried to do all of that ourselves, we might…might…have been finished some time in the fall. Instead, we got to enjoy it the rest of the year and turn our energies to other, less physically demanding, projects. Which, I might add, were more fun than hauling dirt and cement, lol!

        As for depression, I’ve dealt with it as far back as I can remember. It does, unfortunately, still carry a lot of stigma and people are reluctant to talk about it or admit to having it. The only way that I can see to remove the stigma is for those of us who have it to talk openly about it. There’s no more shame in having depression than there is in having diabetes or vision problems. It’s not a sign of a weak mind or a weak character anymore than diabetes or vision problems are. Thank you for opening up room for the conversation.

  • Lynn R says:

    Thank you for writing about your depression and how it affects your ability to get things done. You’re not alone, and there’s absolutely no shame in slowing down to take care of yourself. Small wins are still wins, even if they’re not all you’d hoped to accomplish. Re current events: It will take time, but I’m confident our country will recover from the damage caused by the current administration. Voters who got lazy and opted out of previous elections appear energized for the midterms, and young people are fired up to make a difference. Also, plantar fasciitis sucks. It comes, it goes, it burns…

    • Devyn says:

      Thanks for the kind words Lynn. This really is the first time I have publicly stated that I suffer from depression. It is amazing how much of a stigma there still is for something that affects so many people. Thanks to my willingness to get external help, I have been mostly depression free for the past nine years.

      Our move was in fact, partly based on the events of November 2016 in that we saw a shift coming and we wanted to “Gerd our loins” and dramatically simplify our lives. This move has so far accomplished that, but it was bound to stir the deep pot of emotions. I think it will take a long time to recover from the damage being done right now, but I have faith in the youth of our country and believe they can move us forward.

  • Sara Kalashian says:

    Hang in there Devyn! Life is at once stressful, hard, debilitating and wonderful! You will come out of this current period of ‘rest’ ready to go – give yourself this much-deserved break. You will be able to come at things anew and with new viewpoints!

  • Beth Choisez says:

    I love reading your posts!! Try Trader Joe’s Tumeric and Ginger tea for the plantars. It keeps inflammation down.
    I love your honest and keep enjoying Philly!!

  • Joanna says:

    A tip for the plantar fasciitis: this really worked for me, before you get up in the morning, stretch out your feet and ankles really well, it makes a world of difference. I also realized that while sitting at my desk, I was tucking my feet under and balancing on my toes, which aggravated the problem. So pay attention to things like that, you might help yourself by changing a simple habit or two.

    And yes, we’re all suffering from this chaotic time. Try to be nice to yourself, have some ice cream and play music that makes you happy, best to you…

  • Southern Gal says:

    sending big hug and happy birthday wishes!

    sigh i think any sane intelligent adult is upset and depressed at the nonsense spewing from washington.. i am working on weaning myself off cnn … bbc news helps

    i moved after 12 years in march and took only one week off work (the week of the move) since then i have been dealing with all the tasks and DIY things and unpacking on the weekend days.

    i keep comparing this move to the one 13 years ago (aug 29th) but i also had surgery about six weeks after that move and then was off work for six weeks… which made a HUGE difference. and i have to keep reminding myself when i come home each night to boxes still be unpacked (books!) and things to put together (ikea sigh)

    but 20 weekends later – thats only 40 days! – i am seeing some end … of course there are tons of things to do…. but i am working hard to give myself a break. i am my own worst critic and constantly battling my negative voices – and that i should be doing more – then i have to laugh and say … ok 40 days… really shut yourself up.

    you deserve a break too!
    keep calm and carry on

  • […] my last post I wrote about my frustration of how little I have managed to accomplish this past several months […]

  • […] to explain my absence, there have been several factors behind it. As I wrote in July, my efforts to work on the house have been hampered by some physical limitations, most of which […]

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