How the Solo Week Went

As much as I enjoyed seeing Guy and Sue all week, I have to say being solo wasn’t that much fun for me.  It came as a bit of a surprise, because usually I relish my alone time, but this week there was a lot going on.  Turns out it was harder to watch my diet and smoking when Lee wasn’t around and although I kept plugging away at it, it was actually more of a struggle.  One positive thing I was able to do was delay the gratification.  When I wanted to smoke, I took Jack for a walk first and although I am still stuck on about 8 cigarettes a day I do feel like I made progress.  Jack of course really enjoyed the walks and we ended up going to the puppy park 4-5 times a day.  One unintended consequence of that was he started to get a little entitled.  He has a ton of energy to work off and wasn’t shy about letting me know he wanted to go to the park.

Jack passed out after a long session at the puppy park. Laying on the center console is new!

I also was able to put the time to good use and write some long blog posts.  I enjoy writing, but often feel I am squeezing in the time, so it was nice to be able to write for as long as I wanted.  I also worked on a baby blanket, watched some TV, and read a little.  All of which I could do on my own terms and in my own time.  Unfortunately I didn’t feel up to doing much else.  Sue and Guy offered several activities, but I really wasn’t feeling up to it.  I also didn’t take advantage of the many amenities the resort offers.  I just wasn’t up for meeting new people and the conversations at the dog park were about all I could handle.

It took me a while to figure it out, but eventually I recognized that I was depressed.  As anxious as I can be on occasion, depression is thankfully not something I deal with very often and at first it was hard to recognize.  Everything that happened in the last couple of weeks, and would be happening in the future just came crashing down on me. Since Lee wasn’t with me I didn’t need to put on a brave face.  I talked to my friend Kelly one night and she was really helpful.  She told me to allow myself to feel what I was feeling and take the time to process everything. Since there was a fair amount of anger wrapped up in those feelings, I thought it was good to take her advice.  I have an entire week, to get my head on straight and I needed to take advantage of it.

Jack was actually a huge help in this respect because he kept me going.  I had to get up early to take him to the park or I probably would have just stayed in bed.  The constant walks also had me socializing a little and kept me from getting too much into my head.  Sue was great about this as well.  She encouraged me to take nightly walks with her and throughout the day checked in via text or in person.  I felt bad that I wasn’t my normal self, but realized all I could do was be honest with her.  Since she had gone through something similar with Guy, she understood and just kept telling me it would pass with time.

What complicates things though is I am not sure how much of this is the Chantix and how much is me.  Depression is a common side effect, and although the first few weeks were fine who knows at this point.  I am not feeling suicidal or anything, which I know is a rare side effect, but I do feel depressed and not myself.  And it’s really not just about what happened, but also about what is to come.  The repair work, future hospital bills, and our upcoming summer job are all rattling around in my head and it has been hard to sort it all out.  One thing that has helped is I have had several errands that needed to be done.  Focusing on the now, really helps and I accomplished several things this week.

First, I had to take the truck into the dealer because of a minor transmission leak.  Although I made an appointment, it wasn’t on the books and initially I thought I wouldn’t be able to get the truck in.  Thankfully I had an excellent service coordinator and she took awesome care of me.  Not only did she squeeze me in, but when they didn’t have any loaners rented me a truck from enterprise for free.  I really didn’t want to be stuck with no transportation and was glad they had something available.  The only downside was I really wanted to drive something small, but all they had was a brand new Ford F150.  Don’t get me wrong it was a really nice truck, but I would have been happy with a focus!  Thankfully the leaks were minor, but they did require a new transmission pan but my warranty covered it and I only had to pay the $100 deductible.

Super comfortable Ford F150 with less than 1,000 miles

Another task I wanted to get completed was to go through our cupboards.  Even though we were trying to eat what we had, there were several items that were way too high in sodium content.  These were mostly seasonings, canned goods, and packaged foods, so I wanted to take them to a food pantry.  I found out there was a drop off box for food at the local Goodwill and spent several hours going through all of our cupboards.  This turned out to be a huge job and I ended up with 6 grocery bags worth of food to donate and 1-1/2 trash bags of food to throw away. It really needed done anyway because I found some food tucked into corners that had expired. I also spent some time looking through the Better Homes and Gardens Biggest Book of Diabetic Recipes which I picked up at Goodwill.  They had some really terrific low salt/low-fat recipes in there and all seemed to have lots of flavor.  Can’t wait to try some of them.

Although I don’t want food to be my substitute for smoking I did treat myself a couple of times this week.  I got some Chinese food, which was pretty good, and bought a bucket of KFC.  Turns out the lower sodium in our diet is taking effect, because I found the chicken to be VERY salty.  Don’t get me wrong, I ate it…but don’t think I will be in a hurry to get it again.  Other than that I mostly ate whatever I had lying around, and consequently haven’t lost any weight this week at all.  I haven’t gained any either, but nothing positive in that direction which was surprising because I have been taking so many walks.  Sue and Guy were eating leftovers as well, but one night she invited me over for a great flank steak and pasta salad dinner.  I appreciated the company and eating healthy.

Yummy steak and cooked perfectly.

She marinated the steak in this Better Way sauce which has amazing stats and still is tasty. Turns out they sell it at HEB so I sent Cori a text and asked her to pick some up if she saw some. Unfortunately they don’t sell it on Amazon.

This is whole wheat pasta. I really couldn’t tell the difference.

The absolute best part of the week was I had the opportunity to hang out with friends.  Harry and Vicky were in the area and came over one afternoon and it was lovely to see them again.  Jack really took to both of them and hopped right up into Harry’s lap.  I know I need to work on his manners, but everyone really seems to enjoy him and Sue has taken to calling him Happy Jack because he’s always frisky and wagging his tail.

Jack and Harry

We also all got together for dinner when Deb and Steve were passing through.  Deb found a restaurant with a parking lot big enough for them and we drove up to meet them.  It was great getting to see everyone although everyone really missed Lee.  As they asked questions about how Lee was doing I found myself getting very emotional.  Deb and Steve have been with us from the beginning, and it was hard talking to them about what had happened.  No way I was keeping it superficial talking to them and the emotions were somewhat overwhelming.  Thankfully I kept it somewhat together and then we moved onto other subjects.  Public displays of emotion are really not my thing and crying in a restaurant is really not something I wanted to do.  I am really glad that we had a chance to visit though, because it’s possible we won’t see them for a while.  Our plan is to meet them in Utah, but that is 100% dependent on how long the repair takes.  If the repair drags on we may need to go straight to Oregon with only one stop on the way.  When Harry and Vicky heard this was a possibility, they shared their route to Washington State, which was incredibly sweet of them.

From left” Deb, me, Steve, Guy, Sue, Harry, and Vicky

I had an Italian Panini which tasted great but the bread all fell apart. I ended up taking most of it home.

And using the leftover meat and cheese for salads the next day.

Deb texted Lee to say she missed him and he sent her this pic. He looks tired but happy and I was glad he was enjoying his show.

Deb is so sweet. She stopped at an olive oil store and bought me a couple of flavored bottles and then talked me through how to easily use them in recipes. Incredibly generous and thoughtful of them. This company is supplied by Veronica Foods which Deb says is the very best.

The parking lot was packed by the time we were done eating, but Steve had positioned himself so he could get out ok.

I finally started feeling better by the end of the week and on Saturday Sue and I took an ATV ride.  We wanted to check out the boondocking spots up by Peralta road and she let me drive home.  The ATV handled great and I really enjoyed that and then we went and visited the pool and hot tub after a pizza dinner. They’ve been really great all week, but I miss my husband and am glad I get to pick him up tomorrow.  The show is finished at 1am Saturday night, so we both thought Sunday morning was a better choice.  Excited to see him and hear all about how things went and at least I have a few interesting things to tell him.

Sue was a great driver

Gorgeous day

It’s amazing to me how many Saguaro’s can be on one hill.

And the flowers were in full bloom

Some of the cacti started to bloom as well, which was different from a week ago when Lee and I went.


We found a couple of amazing boondocking spots

And drove into the Tonto National Forest to see some trail heads.  The boondocking is on Arizona State Trust land and you can get a permit to camp online.

Lots of great info at the trail head, plus clean bathrooms and a park ranger was answering questions.

Gorgeous rock formations

And I got to drive on the way back!! Felt totally comfortable, it drives like a small car.


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3 thoughts on “How the Solo Week Went

  1. Great to see Lee smiling and you enjoying some down time! If you are still in the greater Phoenix area there is a great olive farm sort of by you in Queen Creek , called the Queen Creek Olive Mill, where you can tour the olive farm and learn all about the growing process and they have a store and small cafe. Would be a good time to learn about cooking healthy with olive oil, etc. Keep up the great work and baby steps are a good way to make the changes last. We love your blog and appreciate your candid view of this lifestyle. Hope to meet you out on the road some day!!

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