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May 2019

Why I Don’t DIY

By | Physical Therapy | No Comments

It was dark the first time I saw our house 12 years ago.  I couldn’t see the backyard very well.  We live on a pie shaped piece of a cul de sac so the backyard light only went so far that first night.  I remember asking Matt “How’s the yard?”

His reply – “The yard is fine”

You may or may not be surprised to hear – the yard was not fine!  The yard was a hot mess.  There were planter boxes that had not been put together well and were never maintained.  There was a spot where the playground used to sit that was covered in wood chips.  And the retaining wall was bowing outward.

Imagine my shock the first time I saw our new yard – on the same day we signed the paperwork to make it ours.  But we loved the house so we could figure out the yard.  Or so I thought.

We spent 10 years trying to figure out that yard.  We raked up all the wood chips and planted seeds to renew the grass.  We tore up the planter boxes and used the dirt to make flower beds.  And we completely rebuilt the retaining wall so it fit together correctly.

We weeded non-stop to try and stay on top of it.  And every year I bought different plants trying to get my yard to grow.  I had friends give me plants that they were sure would survive.  Most of them did but some of them, well, not so much.

I spent 10 years trying to make this yard into an enjoyable place to hang out.  I bought different patio furniture, planted, weeded, trimmed – in short, I spent a lot of money, time, and energy.  And no one wanted to hang out in my backyard.  Except the dog.  Who does not have very discriminating tastes.

I was so frustrated that when Wendee entered my life I sprung at the chance to get help with my yard.  Have you ever been to that point of frustration that you are willing to do whatever it takes to find an answer?  Well, Wendee had the answer and a magic touch with plants.

Wendee came out to my house for the first time a year ago and we spent the entire day playing in the yard.  She tasked me with rebuilding the “river stream” we have running around the yard.  She helped me build a pea gravel path to get to the air conditioner.  Wendee decided that the extra rock needed to be used to build a pathway to the little table in the corner of the yard and we should plant succulents along the side.  Along the way, she trimmed, pruned, weeded, and worked her magic on my yard.

Then she taught me about the difference between mulch and bark.  Let me just say, mulch is good and helps your yard.  Bark is just pretty and washes away.  Trust me, mulch!

After our first day together, the yard looked amazing and I finally found some peace in spending time in the backyard.  The mulch greatly reduced the number of weeds so the yard stayed weed free for the rest of the year.  Plus, the bushes weren’t going out of control so it made mowing way easier.  For the first time in 10 years we actually hung out in the backyard.

Wendee has been back twice since then and each time my yard looks better.  This spring I almost didn’t have Wendee come out because the yard was looking great.  But a few hours of her magic hands and my yard looks amazing! I am so glad that I had her over and so grateful for how she magically transforms my yard into an oasis that we enjoy hanging out in.

Why didn’t I hire Wendee sooner?  Well, you see, I thought I could do it on my own.  I mean, it’s yard work.  I grew up doing yard work.  I can pull a weed!  And it seems ridiculous to pay someone to do something so simple.  But I didn’t weight the cost of the stress I was carrying from having a yard that I didn’t enjoy.  The frustration from not being able to do yard work right.  I mean, who can’t do yard work right?

Three lessons from my DIY experience:

  1. After 10 years it’s time to give up and hire a professional. How much time, energy, and money are you willing to spend before you solve this problem for good?
  2. Professionals make their work look easy and the solutions appear out of thin air. We pay people good money not just for their skill but also the expert knowledge they carry in their heads.
  3. Getting the problem taken care of clears up head space. What are you focusing on that could easily be taken care of by someone else?  What would clearing that space allow you to create?

Sometimes we are like a dog on a bone in our fierce independence to get something done by ourselves in our own way. What would it look like to allow someone to help us with that problem so we can put our brains to work on more interesting tasks?

Let me know if you need help solving any body aches, pains, or movement limitations.  Let’s free up your body so your mind can go and do great things.  And, if you need a landscaper, please let me know.  I am happy to give you Wendee’s contact information.

Memories from DC

By | Our Clinic | No Comments

Do you have a city that holds an emotional place in your heart? They may be positive emotions:

  • where you got married!
  • where your first child was born!
  • where you ran your first marathon!

Or they may be negative:

  • where you got your first speeding ticket
  • where you broke your leg
  • where your parent died

Sometimes, you have a city that just triggers you.  There is a memory or a time that was spent in that place that was either so positive or so negative that you constantly place that emotion on that particular city.

Every time I think of Paris I remember waking my 3 year old up at 11 pm to watch the pretty lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower.  It is no surprise she dreams of living in Paris to this day.

I should have expected the trigger when I landed in DC after a red eye flight.  But, in my sleepless haze, I found my way to the Metro and figured out which direction I needed to go to reach my destination.  I stood on the platform and enjoyed the sunshine.  When the Metro arrived and I sat down, all the memories came flooding back.

Lorelei and I were medevac’d from Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center 12 years ago.  Since Lorelei was not a big fan of sleeping we arrived in DC pretty groggy.  I remember searching for the shuttle I had arranged to take us to the base while carrying enough suitcases to last us who knew how long.  We had a return ticket for 2 weeks later but there was no guarantee we would be going home then.

The shuttle was only able to drop us off at the gate for the base.  This was post 9-11 and there were civilians on the shuttle.  I had to carry my baby and all our stuff up the ¼ mile long driveway to the hospital.  But it was okay.  I was finding answers for my baby.  We would be fine.

You see, Lorelei was very sick as a baby.  She cried constantly whenever she wasn’t being held.  She didn’t eat very well because she couldn’t poop.  Lorelei had become a ‘failure to thrive baby’.  They had sent us to a specialist in Germany who ran all the big, scary tests.  No, she didn’t have any life threatening disease. Yes, she did have muscles to push things out from that end.  No, we don’t know what’s wrong with her.

Lorelei was so sick that they had pulled Matt out of Iraq to come home and care for Ainsley so Lorelei and I could go to DC.  Okay, let’s be honest, first they told me to leave my 3 years old with friends in Germany while my husband was in Iraq and I took Lorelei to the US.  When I explained (read: yelled) about how I wouldn’t do that, they brought Matt home from Iraq.

I finally found the place in the hospital where we were supposed to check in and get our lodging assignment for our time in DC.  When I explained that Lorelei was the patient and not my husband the lady at the office said those fate filled words “Then I cannot help you”.  This was during the height of the war and this office was focused on helping families of soldiers who had been injured in Iraq and medevac’d to Walter Reed.  My baby didn’t count.

I was alone in DC with a very sick baby and no clue where I would sleep that night.  No clue what answers we would find in this place.  No clue what the next step was.  As I got back on the elevator to go back downstairs my luggage literally exploded all over the place and I started bawling while trying to grab all my luggage and pull it into the elevator.

Luckily an intern walked by and took pity on the crazy woman crying with a baby strapped to her chest and luggage that was all over the place.  He finally got the story out of me and figured out what needed to be done.  He marched me downstairs and had the information desk get me a hotel room for the night with a shuttle to come pick me up.  I continue to offer up thanks to that intern. I was, and am, so grateful for his help.

As it turned out the trip was non-productive.  They ran the same tests they had already run in Germany which led to the same diagnosis that we had received in Germany.  Which was “we have no idea why your kid can’t poop but she needs to be on medication for the rest of her life”.  It would be 5 years before we found the naturopath and nutritionist who would finally give us the diagnosis of celiac disease.  This would allow all the pieces of the puzzle to come together and allow for the healthy teenager we now have.

Therefore, I should not have been surprised when 12 years later the Metro brings about all those fears, anxieties, and tears.  But I was surprised.  I had difficulty breathing.  I became nearly paralyzed with fear.  And I had to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.

I started with gratitude for how much our lives have changed in 12 years.  That fussy, failure to thrive baby has turned into a beautiful dancer/8th grade President/super fun teenager.  And I was in the DC area for a conference to help me with business development.  Because I own my own business.  Which is so very awesome.

I was honest with myself and the people around me about what was going on.  I texted Matt to get some support and I also told my group what was going on.  I acknowledged that these were old memories surfacing which decreased their power.

I moved forward with what I was in DC to do in the first place.  I did let the memories have their time while I went for a walk before the conference started.  But, once the conference started, I let go of those memories and focused on what I was there to do.

Grateful, honest, and moving forward.

Maybe you find yourself in a place filled with fear, anxiety, pain, or overwhelm.  I encourage you to remain grateful for all the good you have in your life.  Be honest about where you are with people you can trust to vault that information.  And then figure out how to move forward.  You are not meant to live in this place.