Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: Stress

At a Crossroads Without a Compass

In 1995, at the age of 34, I walked out of a dead-end marriage. I was beyond stressed, not just about my marriage, but work too.

Anyone who has ever worked in advertising or marketing can relate to the ridiculous levels of stress one can experience in this world. In the beginning it was exciting, but one can only take all that BS for so long, and I had been at for 15 years.

I felt trapped at work and home. I felt like there was no way out.

Dead End Sign Maze No Way Out Danger Warning 3d Illustration

It was a co-worker who encouraged me to just set a date, and leave my husband. At first I thought the idea was nuts.

How do you just do that?

The worse things got though, the more it made sense. 

I knew I could only tackle one life-sucking situation at a time. Leaving my husband was a lot easier than figuring out what to do about my job, especially because the stress of the two made me brain-dead.

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Tying Up Loose Ends

By the time I post this my Son and I will have completed the gauntlet that was hell week. The week leading up to the band trip to Orlando. 

The reason I’m calling this hell week is because there is something every night leading up to our Friday flight to Florida.

Monday night is parade rehearsal along with an after school orchestra rehearsal, Tuesday is a mandatory meeting about the trip, Wednesday is Spring concert rehearsal and Thursday is the Spring concert, after which uniforms and instruments will be collected so they can be transported to Florida via truck.

Full Calendar

Thank goodness they are not squeezing in luggage collection prior to our departure. I was worried about that. Two years ago luggage collection was the day before, but we left on a Sunday. The process has been simplified, with the students bringing their luggage with them the morning they leave. Of course they have to be at the school at the ungodly hour of 3:30AM, but at least they can sleep on the bus to the airport and plane.

My Son and I could have bowed out of this trip, and we did come close, but being his Senior year, we both figured it would be a great way to end his high school marching band experience. 

Knowing now that my Son won’t be attending a college that has a marching band I am grateful we did. (His college of choice offers pep band, jazz ensemble and symphonic band, so he will continue to play, he just won’t be marching.)

Looking Back

This trip truly plays into the “year of lasts” which I wrote about at the beginning of band camp in August. At this point, we have checked off quite a few “lasts” already (last band camp, last football season, last winter concert, etc.. ) and in all honesty as we draw closer to my Son’s graduation we most certainly feel like we are tying up loose ends.

Kind of funny “The Walking Dead” has done the same thing. Capping off Season 8 with the final battle between Negan and the Saviors, and Rick and company, with Rick’s gang winning, thus opening the door for a new beginning at the start of Season 9. Just as my Son and I will face a new beginning when he heads off to college in August.

Quite the nice parallel for the final months of this blog. Thank you TWD.

TWD Finale

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Walker Brain – Too Tired to Think

OK, so for the first time in the four years I’ve been writing this blog, I’m coming up dry in the monthly theme department. It’s not that I have writers block, it’s just that my Son and I have been busy beyond even our normal busy. So much so, even my brain is tired.

Walkers Circling House

October is always a extra-busy month when it comes to marching band because parades (one short one and one endless one) are added into the mix beyond football games, but this year my Son’s school also hosted a Tournament of Bands, at which the band performed twice, and the music boosters ran the concession stand, at which I worked. So the weekend of the Tournament, there was an away game Friday night, the furthest we’ve traveled regular season in two years, the Tournament Saturday and a parade Sunday.

This gauntlet was taxing on everyone involved, but my Son and I felt it even more. Why you ask? We had just returned from a trip to Arizona for my nephew’s wedding the previous weekend. This was the furthest West either of us had traveled and going out it was wonderful gaining time, but coming back it really got us, particularly because we landed at midnight our time, which got us home in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.


We did take Wednesday to recuperate, but Thursday we were off and running, so we had little time to even catch our breath. Added to this I’ve been crazy busy at work, which makes my days just seem endless. Just getting done what had to be done at home was about all I could handle.

You would not have wanted to see my house the weeks after the trip, I had laundry sitting in the living room for two weeks before I could get it put away. Our suitcases are still sitting in the dining room waiting to be taken to the basement, along with unfinished project that have been sitting since band camp started in August.

Don’t get me wrong, our trip was an amazing whirlwind adventure, and one I would do again, but it did challenge me in the energy department, especially because I started with a head cold before we left, which put my energy and brain functions in a deficit to start. Add cold meds to mix I was in a constant state of brain fog.

Our trip West is a major highlight of the year and one we had been looking forward too since we booked our flight in February. I made sure I didn’t let the brain fog or low energy levels get in the way of enjoying time spent with family. Or the opportunity to see one of God’s greatest creations, the Grand Canyon. Words and photos don’t do this stunning piece of landscape justice. It most definitely should be on everyone’s bucket list.

One thing is for sure, if not for the wedding, I know I would not have gotten out West to not only see the Grand Canyon, but Las Vegas (at least the strip) and Flagstaff. My Son and I flew into Las Vegas, where we connected with one of my nephews and his family, then drove to Flagstaff. The scenery was spectacular. So glad I took my nephew’s advise.

So, although the end of October brought the end of the regular football season, I’m not sure November will be much different because the football team is undefeated, and we are now headed into the playoffs.

One thing is for sure though, nothing will compare to the gauntlet October put before us. The key thing though is we survived, and had a fantastic time, making memories we will never forget. And that’s all that really matters.

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2017. All rights reserved.

TWD pics courtesy of AMC

Time is a Walker

Why is it, the older I get, time just seems to fly by at the blink of an eye? And this time of year it feels like it’s moving at warp speed and all the things that need to get done are speeding by like a big blur.

16065826 - time space

My “To Do” list changes hourly, not daily, as I cross tasks off and revise. Tackling tasks based on due dates, like if it needs to get shipped, when is the latest date I can ship and still have the package arrive in time for Christmas.

Since my Son hit high school and is part of the marching band, my free time is even more limited during the football season. If the team makes the playoffs, which it has every year, the time I have to accomplish holiday tasks is seriously compromised. Add to it my hospital stay the beginning of November (see my post Dealing with Sudden and Unexpected Change https://wakingthewalker.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/dealing-with-sudden-and-unexpected-change/) which ate up the last of my vacation days and I’m more than strapped. Forced to only having weekends to get the big tasks done was been daunting.

Early in the month, as I contemplated all I needed to accomplish before Christmas Day arrived, I realized it felt like a horde of Walkers, adorned in ratty, blood and guts covered, extremely ugly holiday sweaters, was chasing me down. I didn’t have a tank to climb in, Daryl to swoosh in on his bike to rescue me, a walker guts poncho to mask my smell or a dumpster to crawl under. It was just me, armed with my list and the Walkers were getting closer no matter how fast I moved.


Even the best time juggling, multi-taskers can fumble and look like Andrea handling a gun for the first time. The safety is on and the Walkers have broken through the front doors. It’s time to panic, OR get resourceful and creative, just as the gang on “The Walking Dead” does when they are pinned into a corner.


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