Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Looking for a job with chronic pain.

Being in control of your own workload and schedule for such extended periods of time put you (well, me anyway) at somewhat of a disadvantage when it comes time to look for work. Well, work in the real world. Where you are not approached for work on your terms but you have to seek it out, apply for it and then wait for the dreaded phone call, or lack thereof. I have reached that bridge that I have not been on for a long time and I have to cross it.  
Looking for a job with chronic pain.

First let's talk about the financial stress working only part-time and or being on disability gives you. Next to nothing. Even less than nothing is when there is only one person in the house providing for everyone including the person on disability.  I personally received from disability for one month what I used to make in one week!  I am not the only one in this position.
 Bills are past due, you are juggling who to pay and when, downsizing cable TV, letting your cell phone shut off and the list goes on and on. As if that stress wasn't enough you have the mini heart attacks that come every time the phone rings knowing somebody looking to get paid. It's not only headaches, tension, and increased  pain that are the result.  
Second lets talk about what it does to your spirit. You are not who you once were. You cannot do what you once did. You have guilt, shame, and cannot fully express it because you feel it would make you seem weaker than you already feel. It's emasculating, humiliating, heartbreaking, and embarrassing. To tell a landlord you will be late, or call the electric company and ask to be put on a payment plan, or to have to tell your kids they can't do all the extras at gymnastics because it cost too much, even though all the other parents seem to have no problem paying for it. It all adds up to nothing but more stress for our already taxed, beaten and exhausted bodies.
We reuse vacuum cleaner bags because we can't afford to buy new ones.
We don't get our hair and nails done because we can't afford it.
We don't get a massage after a hard day at work because it hurts too much, and even if it didn't hurt, we still couldn't afford it.  
Forget new make up or magazine subscriptions, drinks out with the guys, shopping with the girls, trying a new vitamin or supplement....none of that is really our reality.

Well, just get a job and we'll be able to have more money to get those prescriptions, haircuts, an extra gym classes for kids. Hhhhmmm.. Let's think about that for a minute.

Your hands, fingers,  and wrists will hurt from filling out all these applications. Gas time and energy is greatly drained going from place to place. And the mental capacity you have to have for the 20 minute "assessment test" they throw at you for the on-line applications might as well be a vacuum stuck to you ear sucking your brains out because you feel like you have none left by the time its over! 

Tip: try to find a generic one online and print it out, make copies and you may be able to leave your copy instead of filling out the new one every time .  
Trying to remember all the dates, supervisors, phone numbers and addresses with brain fog is practically impossible. You have to make sure that you have it all written down, saved in your phone or your notes or address book.
The anxiety of interviewing whether it's fog, anxiety, cognitive issues, or the fact that you're just out of practice is also stressful, and that's only if they call you back, which most places don't bother to do that anymore.
Tip: Write down what you want to say with some practice questions ahead of time. Run through it out loud in the mirror or with a friend so you will seem confident and ready.If you are still not sure, take notes with highlights and bring them. Notes can show that you are prepared and thorough.
So, now back to the job search. 
You can't sit too long, stand too long, bend over too much, lift heavy objects, or be in a loud environment. You can't be in an environment with a lot of different smells, odors or chemicals. You can't be in charge of too many tasks with deadlines a a time, or in a position with high stress. You need to be able to take time to move and stretch every once in a while, be able to take your medication when needed, water or food at the appropriate times so your body doesn't begin to get tired, shut down or you become increasingly confused.

Oh, and don't forget you need to find some place that will allow you times and days off for flares, doctors appointments, illness or anything else that might come up. We know how we can catch EVERYTHING that's going around.

Do you tell your prospective employer that you are on disability? Will they treat you differently or refuse to give you the job? Will coworkers treat you differently or expect less out of you because they know you have a chronic condition? Will they think you are looking for exceptions, or just seeking attention? Will they talk about you behind your back, or talk to you at all?

Do you have presentable clothes for your new work environment? There's another added cost before you have even received a paycheck! Should you try to find a job you can do at or from home? How do you find one? Are they scams? Are you at "that age" (which quite frankly at the speed we progress can be only 30!) where you need to take a class to refresh your skills or learn new ones? Can you afford it? Can you even do it? 
 I will stop here because not all experiences are this way. But for those of you who it is, you are not crazy! We go through this and it's not fun. 

Some of us are lucky and find a job with an understanding boss, great co workers and we are very lucky. Some us never tell our bosses and we push and push, and keep going and going, even when it seems utterly impossible. This always come with price, but we pay that price for the sake of a paycheck.
We do what we have to do sometimes, regardless of what we CAN do.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana stools get a new look!

Miley Cyrus has died..well, at least in my house! No one likes Hannah Montana anymore. That has been true for many years but the kids have been using EVERY darn day the Hannah/Miley stools they have at the arts and crafts table for homework, projects and other things.   

I have been looking for some appropriate stools for a long time to replace them..too short, too tall, too cheap, to expensive, too much wood or too much plastic. In an attempt to not spend any  money (as usual!) I started brainstorming ideas...then I remebered the card table project it dawned on me that I can do the same to the Hannah stools. DUUUUU. I swear the fibro fog makes some very basic, obvious things escape me for far too long. 

So I started by flipping over the stools and unscrewing the bottom from the top.

I used a flat head screwdriver to remove the staples as the staple remover was not up to the job!
Surprise! Its just a piece of cardboard with a thin piece of foam to protect the tushy.

I had the kids pick out the fabric they liked. I certainly would have done all four matching in something a little more sophisticated but the stools do belong to them, and it's a new practice of mine to NOT be in control of everything...(gasp at the thought!)
 SO I laid out the fabric and got to stapling. (Before you staple read the tip below!) You have to pull and staple, turn it a little, pull and staple, and repeat a million times since its circular, you obviously want to make sure there are no bulges and gaps and when its flipped over its still in the shape of a soothe circle.
So after I was done I flipped it over to admire how awesome it was and ran my hand along it to revel in how smooth it was aaaaand I was immediately stabbed by my staples. BOOOO. No one wants the kids bums poked with staples!!

Tip: Make sure you are using staples that are not too big to go all the way through the cardboard. I knew the staple gun staples were too long, so I assumed without checking your everyday run of the mill paper stapler would do the job. WRONG
Staples out. Second attempt.
Glue gun. Worked great. 
Problem solved!

Next was time to cover with the vinyl.
 Same process but you MUST take care with the glue gun here!! If you dab the glue and pull the plastic too tight the heat will melt it and it will rip, and you may have to start over. Position it where you want it and then just gently push down into your dab of glue and hold till dry. My fingertips did get a little "warm" a few times here and there so I did  end up using a pencil to hold it down and give my fingers a break. I also used the pencil to mark on the fabric where the screw holes were so I could line it back up with the bottom and reattach. 

So here is the finished product. They are extremely happy.

 Of course in my mind I had envisioned something along the lines of ...this...
or this...

or this...

But when they are finally done with them forever, I have great visions involving a can of spray paint, some tassels and some new fabric. I think if the thin almost invisible layer of cushion is removed, it would make a cute little table for a tiny spot next to my rocker..hhmmmm...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Card Table Makeover

As you know when you get a burst of energy you have to jump on all the things you put off, couldn't get done or had no energy to do. Even if you know your going to pay for it later, unfortunately. Lately I seem to be more stressed than ever, out of key supplements, and generally not having a good few months.
I am back on the coffee because of it and it's terrible for my adrenals (about to "quit again) ..but today's post isn't about how I am doing. It's about what I have been doing.
Spring has Sprung!

Being cooped up in the house has had me on Pinterest a lot, and other random websites. It sparked a mental fire to get things done but since disability pays crap and work is only part time and sporadic, there are a lot of projects around here I had no money to start. So looking around, facebook, craigslist, my backyard and other places, I found a few things I can do for free or next to nothing. Then I just waited for the energy. And It came in an unlikely place. Stress. Although my brain feels like its melting, I want to drive far far away from my house some days, and I think I am going crazy....rather than eat or stay in bed (which are both VERY TEMPTING) I started some projects. And I have found focusing on that rather than all the crazy going on right now..its very helpful.

Covering a Card Table

What you will need:
1 1/2 yards of fabric
1 1/2 yards of vinyl (8-12 gauge)
Staple gun or stapler
Socket  or screwdriver

Hubby's Butt Ugly Table

Flip it over

Find the right socket (or screwdriver)

Unscrew all the screws and the remove the metal frame

This is the table without the frame

Pick your fabric. I got this at Target it was just a wool tablecloth on clearance for only 3.97!!! I got 2 because I loved it and knew I could find a use for them.

Lay your fabric wrong side up, smooth it out and place the table on top. A staple gun is easiest. Mine only had staples that were too long and would poke right through the other side so I had to resort to a regular stapler. Oh YES you bet, my hand were KILLING me afterwards. Whatever works! 

Staple the middle section on one side, then go to the opposite side and pull the fabric tight and staple in the middle. Then do the side, again  pull the fabric tight and staple.  Lift it up and check that the fabric is still smooth and then do the last side (in the middle). Now with each side you can work your way out to the corners with the stapler, pulling and stapling, pulling and stapling. Corners are  the same start in the middle and staple. then pull the sides around and staple them down. 

Now after you have finished make sure you use a LINT roller and get any fuzz or lose string off before you cover it! You don't want to have something random stuck under the vinyl driving you nuts or have to take the table apart to get it out. 

Do the same steps with the vinyl. I recommend 8 or 10 or 12 gauge for the vinyl. Any thinner it will tear, stain or get misshapen too easily. If its any thicker than 12 it will be too thick to lace the table frame on easily, but you are free to do whatever you want!!  I also recommend that if you want to have less work pulling and smoothing the vinyl take a hair dryer to it and from a distance  (you dont want to melt it!) wave the dryer around to get the wrinkles out...though as you can see here I felt no desire to go that extra mile. Woops!

So here is the finished table. A great improvement over what it was before. Now I wont be scrambling for a table cloth every time we use it and I can just wipe it down rather than have to also wash the tablecloth that I used. Anything that can be done around your house to make life easier, or for you to have less work is a win in my book.. Our bodies really cant go forever like the energizer bunny.
So total cost of project was $8.96
Tablecloth $3.97
Vinyl $4.99 
 (It was $9.98 because I got 2 yards but I used a 50% off coupon!)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Painted Trash Bucket

before the white veins in the leaf
Yes, I was bored and had a slight burst of energy so I washed dried and painted a trash bucket. 
I simply googled "vine stencils" and scoured the internet until I found a pattern I liked and just eye balled it using paint pens.

 It is now happily in my daughters room. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Bellydance dvd Giveaway!!

I am running a Rafflecopter giveaway on the website if you are interested follow this link for a few quick easy entries! Runs for the month of April

Click here for the article about Bellydance and its benefits for chronic pain.

GOOD LUCK and don't forget to leave your comment on the website!