Tag Archives: coffee

Mainly Rainy with a Chance of Showers

Day 15 with no caffeine and nearly* no alcohol
*I had a glass of wine Friday night

EXCITING UPDATE:

The headache went away on day four. I don’t have to pee nearly as much as I used to, and I am much less dehydrated. I know this from the colour of my urine. Did I ever tell you guys that when we first viewed this townhouse that we’ve owned for nearly 10 years, there was a urine colour chart thumbtacked to the wall behind the downstairs toilet? It told you whether or not you were dehydrated based on the colour of your pee. Yes, there was still a bidding war for this townhouse.

COMMENTS FROM MY CO-WORKERS:

First co-worker: Wait until you get to day 15. That’s when the withdrawal really starts.

Another co-worker said: I like you better on coffee. That’s not an insult! But you seem kind of down, like too much Eeyore, not enough Tigger.
(It helps not at all that I’m the one who told her about the Tigger/Eeyore personality types several months ago. She is a Tigger, obvs.)

Another co-worker responded to my self-assessment “more low-key, in a good way” with: I can’t imagine you getting any more low-key.

What the co-workers are actually seeing is me in my natural state, without the desire to pretend to be something I’m not. All raw edges and narrow eyes. I am not pretending to be interested in a story I’ve heard a hundred times from you, co-worker, and you read that as lack of enthusiasm. You are not wrong.

DEPRIVATION IN ONE AREA MEANS GLUTTONY IN OTHERS

I’ve had to re-adjust my diet because at the beginning of the month I allowed myself to eat or drink anything OTHER than alcohol or caffeine, which is not strictly good for a body. Like pizza three days in a row or a bag of gummy bears or several helpings of doughnut. By the second week I was feeling even more tired, and bloated, and irritable as well. I re-declared my intention to not eat as much wheat or dairy, two food groups that bloat and irritate me, and to modulate my sugar intake as well, and presto the last few days have been quite enjoyable.

You really can get high on just half a doughnut, if you’re free of stimulants for a few days.

I am getting sick of herbal tea, though I got a very tasty orange Rooibos from a fancypants tea place in Yaletown. It’s a good time in history to be drinking herbal tea, if you have money.

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS ANYWAY?

The reasoning behind DETOX CLEANSE LIVER REBOOT (SEO!) of 2016 is to make more room in my life for important things. One important thing is right up front in my face right now: writing.

In November, I applied and was accepted to the Writer’s Studio program at SFU Continuing Studies. I am in the narrative non-fiction stream. It is a part-time program in the sense that there is one class every Saturday and a workshop every two weeks on an evening, but a full time program in the sense that in between the structured parts you are meant to be writing as though it will save your life.

To make more room in my life for writing, I considered getting up earlier, but 5:20 really is my limit. I already write most days on my commute. I could probably get away with writing at work but on the other hand I like my job enough to want to actually do it. The only other time in my day is after the kids are in bed. From 7:45 until 9 pm, that’s where my time is. To make that time functional time, rather than relaxation time, though, required me to remove alcohol from the equation. Alcohol makes me sleepy. Sometimes it makes me want more alcohol, which makes me even sleepier. Often the evening ends with TV and Cheezies.

And when the evening ends like that, the morning is not all it could be. Much lolling about in bed, moaning about getting up, moving towards the coffee like a zombie. Sometimes having more than one cup. Getting sleepy again at 2 pm, moving towards home and that evening glass of wine like a zombie.

I wanted my evenings back, and I wanted my mornings to be more efficient. I wanted to not be always chasing the next thing like a donkey following a carrot on a stick. Getting rid of the false things that drive me, in a sense, seemed like a good way to reset and reconnect with what really drives me.

I Fell Asleep Writing This

This is my second day without caffeine in my body except for the negligible amounts found in the single piece of Almond Roca I consumed this afternoon. (For the sake of Science: I always drink one large cup of coffee per day and about twice a week I have a second cup later in the morning. Once or twice a month I have espresso at 4 pm) Anyway! I have this to report:

I AM SO TIRED

Sand in the eyeballs tired. Up since 3 am tired, even though I was fast asleep at 3 am and in fact turned out my light last night … well, I didn’t turn it out, I think Saint Aardvark did, near 9 pm. Last thing I remember I was reading. And then I was awake again at 5:20 am feeling distinctly UNRESTED.

Shouldn’t the whole point of ridding your body of stimulants and depressants be that you magically find the middle spot on the teeter totter and balance there with a half smile on your face forever? I guess not. It feels like my body wants to sleep enough to make up for all the sleep that got put off by coffee since I started drinking it at 18.

OUCH MY HEAD

I went to work yesterday. Everything was fine until lunchtime, and then my head started to hurt. It sort of felt like I had been lightly punched in the nose. A throbbing in my forehead and eyes. Staring at my computer did not help. I made it go away with ibuprofen and then it came back this morning at about 10, so I took more ibuprofen and then it started to sort of sneak in on the right side of my eyeballs at 2 this afternoon so I took MORE ibuprofen and I think we’re cool now.

PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS AND SHOULD BE KEPT FAR AWAY FROM ME

I lost track of how many times I dropped the f-bomb into a small rant delivered to my supervisor. Luckily she is amused by me. Also, luckily, she was in the mood to be obscenely angry with me about the stupid things people do. Alright! Sometimes we use empathy and sometimes we use SWEARING LOUDLY.

BUT ON THE OTHER HAND

The slight fog that I’m inhabiting while I move around in the world seems to make me more approachable; I have had many strangers smile at me in the past two days, I think because I look dazed and confused and people feel sorry/want to take advantage of me. No one has tried, mind you. Just more friendliness and sympathetic looks in my general direction. Or maybe I’m hallucinating.

(The other thing I’m abstaining from is alcohol, which so far has been a snap because who wants to drink alcohol when they already have an eye-jabbing headache? Only a true alcoholic, I suspect, which I am not.)

In a weak moment I googled caffeine withdrawal symptoms just so I could read about the headache I was already enduring. And then I read the comments, which went from comparing caffeine to heroine (sic) to someone picking on the typo to another person arguing anything can harm you if consumed in great enough quantities, just look at water, and then another person having an actual paragraph-laden argument with that person about oh god I don’t even know but it did not make my headache better so it fails as an internet webpage of any use.

In sum: All hail ibuprofen and onward day three.

Scraping off the Frost

We have been cold and frosty and foggy of late; fog so thick you can see it swirling in the light, when the light makes it through. Frost so frosty it piles up in your mitten like snow and then you throw it up in the air and pretend it’s real snow, at least my kids do, deprived of real snow as they are.

I guess it’s called hoar frost, the frost so thick it looks like snow and confuses us every day when we look out the window? Yeah, hoar frost.

The name hoar comes from an Old English adjective that means “showing signs of old age”; in this context it refers to the frost that makes trees and bushes look like white hair.

Henceforth shall refer to my own head as ‘hoary’ without a blink of regret.

This morning I was running in the park and there was a wee, dead mouse on the path. We were running a brief distance this morning, not the full 10 km park loop, because we haven’t run the park look together (there are two of us, I am not speaking of myself in the plural) since early November and we are out of shape, or so we thought until we got going. We ran 24 minutes into the park and then turned around and went back, so I saw the wee, dead mouse twice, and the second time I was expecting him — actually expecting him to be gone, since the park is home to many hungry creatures that might like mouse for breakfast — so I spotted him quickly and then even noticed as I ran over, as in stepped over, him that his whiskers were entirely white with frost. Poor wee mouse in the middle of the path, intact, with frosted whiskers.

Tonight Saint Aardvark is starting an ambitious project to watch all the movies he has acquired over the years (Hint: THEY ARE MANY) and to blog about each of them. Tonight’s film is BLACK RAGE on VHS tape. There is one black man and one ‘albino’ black man and a lot of white men, some dubious music and a lot of running around.

My own ambitious project is to abstain from alcohol and caffeine for the next month, starting tomorrow. I would have started on January 1st but I still had delicious wine left over from New Year’s Eve because on New Year’s Eve I went to sleep at 10 pm after falling asleep on the couch watching Fast Five, one of the Fast and Furious movies. It even had The Rock in it and who doesn’t love The Rock and still I slumbered on the couch until prompted to leave it. Anyway, now all the wine is gone and the coffee is off limits and I got the idea to do booze AND coffee from David at Raptitude who speaks highly of the experience, so I will let you know how it goes. *drains glass*. Possibly even tomorrow.

Seventy-Nine — Sweet Relief

Today was a gift.

We all woke up happy and mostly healthy. It was sunny, but not blisteringly hot, and there was a bit of that edgy September morning chill. I made Arlo oatmeal and Eli drank a glass of milk and I had coffee and wrote in my journal out on the porch. I had remembered to move the chair cushion last night so it wouldn’t get wet from the sprinkler that goes off every morning at four o’clock. It’s taken me all summer to remember to do that.

“Can you play Monopoly?” Eli asked me while I was packing lunches.
“I’m packing your lunch,” I replied.
“Am I going to SCHOOL TODAY?” he asked.
“Yes.”
“ALL DAY! FINALLY!” he said.

Indeed.

Also that’s as many words as he’s uttered at one time since last Sunday.

At 8:45 we got backpacks on and walked to school. My tank top was a bit optimistic, a bit more yesterday’s weather but it was a refreshing walk. We were caught up to by the neighbour kid and his mom and we walked companionably to school, the mom and I talking about resort vacations and the kids talking about whatever they talk about. Minecraft, poop, Lego.

The bell rang and Arlo went off to his classroom. I walked Eli to the kindergarten door and gave him a hug. “Bye,” he said. Parents were hanging around the door, peeking in the window, but I resisted the urge and walked away. Back down the hill, alone, carrying nothing but my keys.

It was 9:05 and I had five blessed solitary hours stretched ahead of me like an empty road. This was it, the moment I’d been waiting for for five years. Five years of spending all day every day with two small children and here we are, down to none. Not even a cat to bug me. (sniff)

I went for a run. I came home. I showered and stretched and folded some clothes and put them away. I made myself a smoothie out of a banana, some blueberries, some pineapple coconut water and the remains of my morning coffee. It tasted vaguely like a fruit mocha and was not as horrible as it might sound. I read things on the Internet. I tweeted. I went to Safeway and the liquor store and the vegetable market. I had lunch and read some more things on the Internet. I washed dishes and free-wrote for ten minutes and ate black licorice and did a load of laundry.

I walked in a most leisurely fashion back to the school and at 2:00 the door opened and Eli came out. He pulled his spare underwear out of his backpack, put it on his head and ran around the kindergarten playground with a few other kids. Then we hung out in the big playground for a while, because the big kids didn’t get out of school until 3:00. He found a cool caterpillar and played with two boys from his class.

After the bell, and Arlo joined us, we stayed at the school and played until nearly five o’clock. The weather returned from warm to September chill and I had trouble finding sunny spots to stand in. Two parent friends and I stood around and chatted while the kids played the kind of game you store in your head as a rebuttal for when people say kids don’t know how to play any more. Something about leaves as money and other leaves as taxes. There was robbery and tax evasion and restitution paid.

Reluctantly, we came home, had ice cream, then dinner, then more ice cream and now I’m having beer, and I want to say Thank You Friday, for being the day I spent this whole week wishing I could have.

Sixty-Nine — Next

Further to yesterday’s post about my state of decrepitude, I have sketched out a plan of action.

1. Eat all the pineapple. Body wisdom.

2. No more alcohol. Last night I did not have my customary evening glass of wine because I still felt nauseated and worn out. This morning I woke up feeling not only not-nauseated but very much like a merry ray of sunshine. Could the merry ray of sunshine be related to the lack of wine? Well, they do rhyme. Only one way to find out.

If I’m going to stop drinking alcohol I will need to do it entirely. I recently implemented weekday limits of one glass of wine because if I have two glasses it will sometimes lead to three and three is too many for a weeknight. But even with the one glass maximum last week I was feeling crummy in the morning. I don’t want to feel crummy.

My relationship with alcohol is not an addiction, but it is a habit. And breaking a habit is hard. *fidgets* It’s helpful to replace with another habit, like pineapple consumption! Or going for walks. Or yoga, or cheese popcorn, or writing your feelings down in your internet diary. Hi!

3. Maybe limited coffee too? This morning, after waking up feeling great, I had some coffee and the nausea came back. Seems a clear message, though a deeply sad one because I love coffee and when I don’t drink it I get headaches. But on the other hand, nausea. The headaches will pass and the nausea does not appear to be passing.

No booze, no coffee. You guys, in the words of that Wonderpet duck, THIS IS SEWIOUS!

***

We have a solid bedtime routine at our house. We have messed up in many, many ways but not bedtime.

At 7 pm we go upstairs. (yes there are exceptions) Sometimes bath, sometimes shower, then toothbrushing, pyjamas, a story each, and goodnight. Door is shut between 7:30 and 7:45. On weeknights I’m in the habit of handing this duty over to SA, since he gets home from work between 6 and 6:30 and doesn’t get nearly as much quality time with the children as I. (Lightbulb: maybe that’s why the bedtime routine is so great, because I’m not responsible for it? Moving on.) I will occasionally help out if bedtime is going sideways with wrestling, shouting, butt-smacking, etc. but generally I stay out of the way downstairs reading or breathing deeply or washing dishes or whatever.

Even though I don’t help out with bedtime, I feel like I should stay home until bedtime is done, like I could help at any minute! If needed! I am available! But last night we needed milk. Bah, I thought. I’m not needed. I’m going now because then I’ll be back sooner. The kids were hyped up, bopping around the bathroom, washing their feet with their toothbrushes, that sort of thing. “Buh bye!” I said cheerfully and went to Safeway.

When I got back, SA said, “After you left, they settled right down. It’s like they only act up when you’re around!” Well.

Tonight I had planned to walk up to the library after they were in bed and then because SA wanted to go out later I decided to go before. Once again, I put my shoes on and left the house before they were in bed and when I returned forty-five minutes later, SA just looked at me and said, “You need to do this every night. Because seriously they are SO MUCH BETTER when you’re out.”

Done.

I guess I don’t blame them. If I was my kids and had just spent twelve hours with me, I would want me to get out of the house too. Or something like that. Maybe they want me to get out of their space as badly as I want them to go to bed. Think of that.

Two old habits for one new is a good start.

That Time I Gave Up Coffee

A long time ago I drank a lot of coffee. Well, a long LONG time ago I didn’t drink any coffee. But then I started, got out of control, and sometimes drank six cups a day. I wasn’t even a nurse or grad student. I was just someone who worked in retail and socialized at coffee shops and stayed up too late.

I gave it up, and then slowly started again. My average coffee consumption is one large cup, occasionally two, per day. Except when I was pregnant the first time, when coffee made me nauseated so I drank tea. (When I was pregnant the second time there was no way on this earth I would get from home to daycare to work to daycare to home without coffee, so that’s why Eli is crazy, because he was cooked in a caffeinated, stressed-out soup.)

One or two cups of coffee a day doesn’t feel like an addiction. A habit, yes. A nice, friendly habit. Something you do because it’s pleasant and you enjoy it, not because you have to.

As Saint Aardvark is fond of saying, “That turns out not to be the case.”

Over the weekend, our house had The Barfs. Really it was only Arlo who barfed, but we were watching ourselves and Eli closely because DOOMPANICNOROVIRUS has been in the news for months now and part of me was excited because we could get the Norovirus over with already and get on with our lives, but part of me–most of me–was NOT excited because I hate barf. Barf is not my speciality. And before you say “it’s not anyone’s specialty, you lunatic,” let me add, there are people for whom it is no big deal. I have met those people. I am in awe of them. Though many of them freak out at the thought of green snot in a child’s nose, so: parenting. It’s a buffet of things you may or may not hate!

True to our history with The Barfs, Eli didn’t get sick, SA waited until last, Arlo improved drastically within 24 hours and within that same 24 hours, I started to feel queasy. This is my thing. Two years ago it had me frantically googling queasy NOT PREGNANT Gastroenteritis NOT FLU cancer but now I know, it’s just how I get stomach viruses. I feel like I might barf for some period of time (the longest was two weeks. TWO WEEKS OF FEELING QUEASY NOT PREGNANT) and then one day I wake up and don’t feel that way anymore.

So on Sunday, that queasy, might-barf feeling in my throat, I cancelled all the plans because of course this was the weekend we had all the plans, drank a pot of ginger tea, got into bed, held all my calls, read stuff, and napped. And lo! Rest cures the wicked and on Monday I felt much better, which was handy because Arlo still felt bad and SA was on his last legs.

Yet! Yesterday I decided to not drink my morning cup of coffee, because when I have my queasy-times, a cup of coffee generally sets them off again. I had some weak tea and a lot of water. I got through the whole day yesterday without coffee, which to me said “Hey, maybe you could give up coffee! Or not? Your choice!”

This morning I woke up with a headache that felt like Tom Waits in a metal shed recording a new album based on the moral collapse of North America.

“Oh no, oh hell, oh what have I got now, is it ‘flu it can’t be ‘flu I got the shot, oh oh oh” I thought, or attempted to think. I came downstairs, drank a big cup of coffee and somewhere halfway through that cup of coffee felt quite suddenly as though I could conquer small countries if only the prime minister would give me the go-ahead and some money to hire an army and I had the inclination to conquer small countries. Not only that, but I could go for a run, come back, make healthy food, force the kids to eat it, write a novel, publish that novel, go on a book tour, get a master’s degree in country-conquering

you get the idea. I went into the kitchen, dancing, singing, “coffee coffee coffee coffee coffee COFFFEEEEE!” and so I think it’s safe to say that no amount of coffee is a safe amount and I am clearly an addict. And that I should probably never try cocaine.