I vividly recall my beloved grandmother once telling me that it takes a lot of time to recover from mental exhaustion. Steve and I had gone over to my grandparents one evening for dinner, following a crazy busy day for me at work. I work in the financial industry, so my day was filled with lots of lots of numbers. I was just go-go-go all day long. I was mentally exhausted, and it showed. As we were dining on her delicious Polish cooking (probably fried pork cutlets with mashed potatoes and green beans with that delicious butter and breadcrumb topping) my grandmother was telling me that although physical exhaustion can be tough on your body, a couple hours of rest should be enough for recovery. Mental exhaustion, on the other hand, takes much longer.
Folks, Steve is mentally exhausted.
Folks, this is making ME exhausted.
He walked into the house yesterday around 6pm. He just got back from a "3-day" that was his PC. Day 1 he flew down to the training facility. Day 2 he had to report at 6am. Day 3 he had to report at 6am, and by noon he was finished. He took a 1pm flight home.
When he walked into the door, I was at the stove getting a pan of water ready to boil for corn on the cob. "Daddy is home!" I yelled to the kids. CC came running from the family room, across the kitchen and into Steve's arms.
Steve just got his hair cut before he left, and I forgot. A man always looks so nice after a haircut. He looked so handsome. He was wearing a butter yellow polo shirt and nice khakis that always make him look so fit and trim. It is a nice treat to see your pilot husband in business casual attire, when you usually greet black polyester at the door.
Steve gave CC a big hug. She was so excited to see him...more than usual. She kept saying "Daddy....um.....um....ummm." Her mind must have been racing a mile a minute, but her little mouth couldn't spit out all the stuff she wanted to say.
"CC, do you want to come upstairs with me? I have to put away my bag and change" he asked her. "Yeah!" she answered, in her usual loud self.
By the time Steve came downstairs after unloading his bags and changing, I had moved into the laundry room and was hanging up some clothes. Steve was headed into the garage and started to say something to me. I don't recall what he was saying, because all I could focus on was his blood shot eyes! "Steve, your eyes are so red!" I told him. His response was "yeah, I am fuckin' exhausted!"
Steve was gone on July 3rd, which is when our town had their big firework display. I decided to gather all my strength and take the kids to see the fireworks. Yes, Steve was gone, but we still have to live! Fireworks like this come once a year...live it up!
We met up with some friends and had a good time....until the thunderstorms rolled in. Thankfully, we were in the car before the downpour started. While we waited for the fireworks to start, all we could do was talk about the lightening that was off in the distance and how much longer it would be before the storm hit us. The entire evening was just off, and it was disappointing that we couldn't just lay in the grass and watch the show. Ben kept telling me how "disappointed in Mother Nature" he was. So, I said "well, when Daddy comes home tomorrow, we can go to the fireworks in nearbycity." That made him happy. Plus, I thought this would be a great way for Steve to enjoy the holiday with us.
After Steve got back from doing whatever in the garage, he let me know that he wished I didn't tell the kids about the fireworks tonight. All he wanted to do was sit and stare into space, while sitting in the hot and humid outside air. His brain didn't want to process anything more, and he was still cold from being in a simulator building where they keep temps at 60 degrees.
Because I made a promise to the kids of another night of fireworks, I had to come through. Sure, I tried to redirect their thinking and offered a movie at the theater instead. They were convinced it was going to be fireworks that night. Hey, I tried. And Steve was now in the commitment. Poor fellow, I didn't know he would be this exhausted when I made the promise.
Thankfully, an informational call to our neighbors fruited us with front row seats at a local country club's firework display. I wholeheartedly thanked my neighbor and told her that Steve was just so mentally exhausted a smaller display without huge crowds was just what the doctor ordered.
Ironically enough, we got rained out again. But, we did manage to see a wonderful display and we followed through on a promise. We got home around 10p. Steve was rather quick to bed. Ah! But due to his marathon training he was up bright and early at 5am to get an 8-mile run in.
My alarm started going off at 7:11am (I am so random with the times I set my alarm) and I was in a doze for the next 20 minutes or so. Around 7:30a, a sweaty Steve walked straight through the bedroom and into our bathroom. "How was your run?" I asked.
"Shitty" was Steve's immediate response.
"Why?" I asked.
"Because it is hot and humid as fuck, and I am still fuckin' exhausted" he answered. Well then. Off to the shower he went. Then into his boxers he got dressed, and into bed he crawled to get in a little nap before the kids woke up. This man can nap anytime - anywhere.
The day then led him to watching the kids while I went to work. He also mulched the front garden bed. Mentally exhausted, yet forced to still go on as a normal father and husband.
This PC was just exhausting for Steve. He is an overachiever through and through, so despite the fact that he has been on the same aircraft since 2006 he still studies for weeks before his PC...and on the plane ride down...and while down there. That is a lot of studying. The CA that was assigned the same PC schedule called in sick, so I am not sure if that meant more stress for Steve? I am not asking too many questions at this point. Steve said himself that he hasn't been this exhausted after a PC since his last one as a CA with the regional airline he was once with.
I tell you what, I am glad he is done with it. I know he is sure as hell glad he is done with it. But what do I have to look forward to? His shitty-ass July schedule. Remember?!? Lots and lots of red-eyes! Fun and exciting! He still isn't totally recuperated from the exhaustion of the PC, and he is about to venture out into the world of red-eyes...only to fuck with this body clock a bit more. This is going to be a great month!
As much as I have sympathy for him, and I do (I actually took the kids to a movie this evening...imagine that, me and a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old in a dark and quiet theater so that we could get out of the house and let Daddy rest a bit), it still stings when Steve mopes around the house and is a shell of his normal self. When Steve is home I expect him to do all that I did by myself when he was gone. That is only fair, right? But, when he is like this I help out with bath time and bedtime and clean up time. That isn't fair. But, I do it. I know he is tired, and since this isn't the normal circumstances I bite my tongue, vent about it in my blog, and move on with life.
Tomorrow will be a new day...one more day into this month's shitty-ass schedule, which is just going to keep fucking with him. But, it is one day more we can mark off the calendar - thank goodness!