Friday, July 23, 2021

In Place/Out of Place

The Microwave and Toaster Oven are Now In Place

Thanks to my caregiver yesterday afternoon we unboxed and set up the toaster oven and microwave.  This afternoon I got Ed's knives placed in their rack.  That's about the extent of new placements that are intended to stay put since...I don't know...Sunday?  The rest has been a swirl of chaos including bringing in two more van loads of stuff and a grocery shop.

The Corner Connecter and Figure 3 Brackets

I spent most of Monday afternoon and evening getting those figure 3 brackets mounted on the shelf unit I built Sunday.  I learned that it would have been much easier to mount them during the build process. Not least because I had to pull everything off the shelves that I'd placed there Sunday. 

It took me over six hours to do it the hard way often pulling another 'cube' or shelf out of the corner connecters while wrestling the brackets onto another one.  By the end of the second hour my thumb and first two fingers on my right had felt the same as they once did after pushing a needlepoint needle for eight hours.  They still feel bruised five days later.

I learned another important lesson about those shelves: Measure the item you are trying to place on them and don't force if there is resistance.

A Displaced Shelf

When I tried to put a box of notebooks on this shelf Thursday morning it was a smidge too wide and it popped off the corner connecter on the left and dumped the box to the floor spilling out the notebooks.  But it didn't happen immediately but a good half an hour after I finished placing as many items as I could from the boxes we brought from Mom's Tuesday, trying to clear the table to make room for the anticipated haul that afternoon.  One of the items I place on top of the box of notebooks was a tray full of my desk toys or as they are known among the autism community--fidget toys.

Desk Toys aka Fidget Toys

When this box fell the items in it scattered from the breakfast bar to the edge of the tramp, under the table and all the way to the edge of the area rug in the bed alcove and nearly to the front door.  It took me a really long time to pick them up and be sure I had them all.  This also meant that This morning, instead of breaking out the box with the second shelf unit and starting to build it, I had to fix the first one beginning by pulling every thing off the shelves which was an extra challenge in light of the new load brought in yesterday afternoon.

Then as if that wasn't enough, either while pulling it off the shelf or putting it back on, I unplugged the wifi box and took myself off the Internet which I did not discover until after I had the shelf fixed and everything back on the shelves including the wifi box.  To plug it back in I had to pull the unit away from the wall at least two inches to get access to the cord and the back of the box.  I took a big chance doing that without unloading the shelves first as I could have popped one or more of the corner connecters off if I put too much strain on them.

Jumbled Ribbons

Yet another chaos ambush happened at Mom's Thursday afternoon while pulling drawers of craft supplies out of one of my three rolling carts and packing them in a box.  I bumped a large box of well organized ribbons over and ended up with what you see in the pic after chasing them all down.  That is going to take me hours to untangle and reroll.

Sewing Kit Chaos

While packing those rolling cart drawers tho I re-discovered a similar jumble from when one of those drawers got pulled out too far and spilled.  I didn't have time at that moment to reorganize it so I put everything back in willy nilly.  The items in this drawer were some of the most frequently used while working fiber art projects so I expected I would deal with it soon but then Ed died and I stopped crocheting.  Since most of the items in this drawer were part of the traveling kit I took with me to Ed's every Sunday, it was very nearly a grief grenade to encounter it suddenly like that.  But I did not have time to indulge in feelings.

I'm not yet done with the chaotic displacement theme for the week.

Soon after my caregiver left on Thursday, I discovered that I'd lost yet another pair of reading glasses sometime since leaving the house.  My habit is to hang them off my collar or stick them atop my head but they always fall off when I bend over too far.  So who knows which time I bent over that afternoon was the time they fell.  But they were the second pair I'd misplaced that way this week.  The other pair is definitely here at my place somewhere but I did my best to trace my tracks that day and did not find them.  I can't put anymore time or energy into it.  So I was glad that I'd grabbed a third pair from my note taking station at Mom's.  Glad that is until I discovered that they were one of the extra strong ones and I have to have my nose nearly touching the item I'm looking at to get it in focus.

My only other option was to tear into the pile of craft bags on the window wall of the bed alcove looking for the bag where I packed my collection of dollar store reading glasses in multiple strengths.  I really did not want to take that pile down again until it was time to unpack onto the shelves.  But after realizing what a hassle it was to read, write and thus blog with my nose an inch from the screen, I gave in shortly after I finished reloading the shelves in the living room.

Not done yet.

Earlier while I was writing the first sentences of this post, the tower of boxes by my left elbow that comprise the charging station for my electronic devices collapsed forward almost spilling everything out atop my Windows tablet directly below.  I prevented that disaster by throwing my left arm in front of the tipping tower and pushed my desk away with my feet so I could stand and deal with it.  That took an hour take apart and put back together smaller and sturdier.

Charging Station Tower Before the Fall

The weak link was the brown Amazon box.  I should have known better.

Visible directly atop the crate of books is the box of notebooks that I broke the shelf unit with Thursday.

The top one holds my DVD player. The second one down holds my Library of Congress Talking Book device.

The two 7 inch Nexus tables are now charging on the top under the lamp until I make my bed when I'll move them down to the bench where I can reach them without getting up. That was working just fine before I add the extra box yesterday.  I live with it.  This 'happy place' set up is temporary.  I can get fussy about minor details when I put together my long term writing and sleeping and recreation areas.

One last out of place thing for this post.  

The Table Shoved Away From Its Center Place

It is really bugging me but can't be helped.  I had to move the table from its place in the center of the room towards the far corner while putting the brackets on the shelves Monday and then Tuesday crammed more boxes under it, unpacked a few of them but added more Thursday.  I'm leaving it as is until I get the second shelf unit built but then I'll have to shift everything except the boxes up against the front wall  towards the front door to put the second shelf unit in place.  At that point I can unload most of the boxes onto the shelves and put the table under the light again.

At least I've managed to keep my tramp in place and free of clutter and continue to use it multiple times per day.  It helps calm the chaos in my mind.  I've also noticed far less issues with backache at the end of the day since I started taking rebounding breaks.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Multiplying Happy Places

Mini Tramp In Front of the Front Window

The latest happy place created is making room for my tramp in front of the front window.  It matters what I'm looking at when using the tramp and if I'm looking at ugly clutter and chaos I can't find the the serenity I need to process, recharge and prepare to move on.  Thus instead of proliferating peace I find anxiety increasing.

I know this about myself so in the weeks I had to plan for the moving process, I promised myself I would put priority on creating spaces of calm functionality in the midst of the chaos to facilitate the early creation of healthy habits in this new environment.  Because another I know is that bad habits once made are hard to unmake.

I'm loosing count but I think this makes five: The standing desk at the breakfast bar was the first.  The kitchen counter where I make my coffee, tea and salads was the second, the shower with the third.  All three on the first night, Thursday.  Then on Friday I set up the first version of my rest and recreate happy space where I can indulge in reading, writing, thinking, video watching, or crochet as the spirit moves me when taking breaks during the day or in the late evening after it becomes too late to be making noise that might disturb my neighbor on the other side of the bed alcove wall.

Where did the sorting station that stood here since the first night?  Well...

The Sorting and Unboxing Stations Merged

This was possible partly because the boxes left to unbox are dwindling but mostly because I now have Ed's tall table where I can stand at a yard square surface without bending over in the slightest.

The tall Table in the Center of the Room.

You could almost call this another Happy Place since sorting and organizing is one of my favorite things to do.  It's like playing solitaire or match three games--almost meditative.

Early today that table gave me a wake up call.  I had just woken up and was checking messages when I found one from my sister-in-law in the Rogue Valley Oregon informing me that Ed's Dad had passed that morning.  That makes four of my Davis family gone in under ten months-=Ed, his brother and both parents.

My first thought was that I needed to get over to the tramp before the grief grenade I'd just been handed blew up in my face.  The tramp helps me process thoughts and feelings.  It calms the raging anxiety and helps me organize my brainspace. 

As I turned away from the computer and took two and a half steps toward the front window already tearing up and in the act of raising both hands to my face I smashed nearly all of my knuckles against the edge just before crashing into the table which then scooted at least a foot towards the window.  I stopped its slide by gripping the edges on both sides just before my rolling office chair parked under the table tackled my knees. 

Gripping the table edge probably saved me from a bad fall but it nearly brought me to my knees anyway as the pain in my hands exploded.  Worse than the pain tho was discovering that my hands had stopped working.  I could no longer grip anything, i couldn't flex them, I couldn't use the pincer movement between thumb and index finer, I couldn't do any of the fine motor skills.

It was the weirdest sensation.  It was a bit like when your hand goes to sleep from laying on your arm in your sleep but it wasn't numb.  It wasn't the pain itself causing this.  It was more like my hands had stopped taking commands from my brain.

It was a very long half hour or more waiting and wondering.  I couldn't get on the tramp without the use of my hands as I have to grip something as I'm climbing on and off and I wouldn't be able to break my fall if I lost my balance.

So I did my waiting and wondering in my read, write, rest and re-create happy place.  While I sat there the bags I was sitting on started to slide out from under me and one of the bags of clothes in the pile next to the door fell and another shifted like it was about to.

So while my hands got a hold of themselves, I contemplated how I was going to re-create my recreate happy space.  Less than half an hour later I was able to make my coffee and type my reply to my sister-in-law.  I sat in my recreate space planning my day.  I realized it was very important to have the tramp in front of the window so I tackled that smaller job first so I would have the tramp as a happy place when I needed breaks from the huge task of moving and repositioning every bag, box and misc item in the bed alcove.  That took over two hours and when I finished it looked like this

My Rest and Re-Create Happy Place Day 4

The hassock storage box is now up against the wall in place of the bag of coats I'd been sitting on.  That's the only change I'm going to name here.  It is just obvious comparing the pic from last night's post of the same area that there is more order in spite of the amount of stuff still occupying the space.

And now I know exactly where each bag is and what is in it.  Speaking of which: two bags put on the craft wall had to be move over to the clothes wall because...well...sweaters and scarves are yarn right?

A Happy Place In the Making

This will eventually be another happy place but right now tho it has the functionality it does not have the beauty and it will not until all my books are in place.  Right now its function is to play musical shelves with me as I shuffle things from here to there.

Yet I try to arrange at least a few things pleasing to my eye as I sit across from it against the bed alcove wall recreating my life


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Stuffing My Place

Closing in on my first 24 hours alone in my new place.  Above are a few of the new things I acquired in the weeks since I learned I was next in line for placement.  I broke them out to celebrate my first night with a relaxing herbal tea--Ginger Peach Turmeric.  

The little electric tea kettle is made of silicon and has accordion pleats that allow it to collapse flat.  The little cup on the left came with it and also collapses flat inside it's lid.  The water boils faster than a teakettle on the stove and uses less electricity.

Against the wall hiding the outlet and ugly cords from the kettle and computer is a mini dish drainer which I've still not used as I haven't moved in my cleaning essentials collected from Ed's apartment last October.  I can't clean up anything that needs more than water and paper towels so I'm trying hard not to make any serious messes.

My goal for this first day has been to create several of these  little oasis of peace and functionality amid the chaos so that I can establish some healthy routines even before everything is moved in and put away because to wait for that would risk making bad habits in the several weeks it is going to take me to reach a minimal order--bad habits that would likely carry forward or at least be hard to un-make.

Some of these oasis and/or functional routines with estimate of completion are:
  • 100% Keeping that counter space pictured above where I make things to eat and drink clean, cleared of clutter, functional and whenever possible also pleasing to look at.
  • 90% Put all food items in the fridge and cupboard for ease of access so food and drink prep does not always entail more of the same bending, lifting, searching, and sorting of the unpacking process.
  • 10% Locate, organize and place in temp homes all food supplements and over the counter meds.  I learned the hard way why this is important when a spasming back kept me awake past dawn this morning and I realized that all my pain relief stuff was buried under  piles of stuff stacked against the bed alcove wall shared by my neighbor's mirror image apartment. 
  • 100% Create a space or two for unpacking or unboxing and sorting stuff.
  • 100% Provide the bathroom with the minimal necessities for daily showers because if the last several days are to be typical I'll be sweating upwards of six hours a day for weeks.
  • 70% Create a space for sleeping.  This might include creating a routine for laying down the mattress and making it up with bedding for sleeping and then getting it all up off the floor before the day's work begins. I tried leaving it all on the floor this morning and it became clear it was a trip hazard as well as just being in the way when I needed to access the pile on the wall behind it.
  • 100% Create a space for sitting to relax, to write, to eat, to rest briefly when my back is screaming.  This is a challenge today as I have no chairs yet.  In fact there is nothing here yet that can be called furniture other than a plastic dresser for crafts and several as yet unboxed Amazon orders that include a folding desk, a beanbag chair and several shelving units that add up to over approximately 100 shelves around 12 to 14 inches wide.  All of which need assembling which is my first big task after I've established these oasis and routines as they are the linchpin of my organizing plan.
  • 100% Stack all the boxes and bags against the walls nearest to the spots they will find their homes once all my storage solutions are in place.
  • 100% Create a USB charging station for all my electronic devices--tablets, lamps, personal fan, rechargeable batteries, light boxes etc.  This may have to migrate or split into more than one.
  • 80% Establish a safe zone for important papers and for the essentials for leaving the house on errands
  • 30% Locate and organize the essentials for prepping self to leave the house.
  • 100% Create a standing desk for laptop for ease of communicating via message aps for routine messages as well as potential emergency as do not yet have the phone that comes with my Xfinity service.

The Bed alcove.

Can you believe all this stuff needs to find homes in this space and the closets in the hallway and still leave room for my bed which is currently a folding mattress but eventually I hope will be a daybed or futon couch?  

And it's not yet all here.  

I have four more 22 gallon bags of yarn and probably a dozen middling sized boxes of craft supplies to move over as well as several bushels of clothing, accessories and bedding.

From left to mid back wall is all clothes.  The mid spot is winter coats and bedding, in front of which I tried to create a place to sit on my folded mattress placed in front of the coats and bedding for back rest.  But it was too low to the floor and the mattress was still a trip hazard.  So I tried putting the mattress atop the pile of coats and bedding and sitting with my back against the wall but I kept falling off.  I finally repacked the two bags of coats and bedding into one 22 gallon Ziploc zipper bag as a more level foundation.  Still the mattress slid off.  So I removed the mattress from the concept and put two 11 gallon Ziploc bags under the coats bag--one full of plastic bags the other full of bubble wrap and foam scraps.  That is working.  I'm sitting on it as I type and it's been over an hour and it still feels solid and comfy.

In order to make it work as a writing and eating station tho I had to unbox and assemble the folding table.  I will get pics of that for tomorrow's post.

To the right of the bedding at mid wall and wrapping around across the entire window wall is all fiber art projects and supplies.

The long wall in the living room.

On the left is the charging station and the wifi box.  On the right are all the Amazon orders to be unboxed.  I created a station for the unboxing and assembling by rearranging the boxes to create a high 'table' and keeping tools like box cutter and measuring tape and scissors on the window sill.  All that as well as unboxing the folding table and the tower fan was done after I took the picture. 

The front wall.

These boxes and bags were brought in and placed willy-nilly last night.  It is hard to place most of them according to the rule--stack near their final destination--because they were also packed willy-nilly with a mix of categories.  I've actually managed to unpack and find temp homes for the contents of several of those boxes since the pic was taken.

That wall is designated for the soon to be moved boxes of papers, books and office/writing misc.  Once all of that is unpacked and placed on the shelving going up on the long wall I will have my writing station on that wall with my desk in front of the window. 

Tho the desk will probably be the one I assembled today which is likely to migrate according to tasks.  For example when I want to work on fiber art I might want the table near the materials on the window wall of the bed alcove.  Or if I want to watch videos while sitting on the future couch/bed I would set up the device on this table.  I will likely be using it for meals as well.  And any of the above except video watching can also be done out on the front porch or front or back yard.

One item, multiple functions.  That is a necessity for small space living.

The cubby space between fridge and back door.

This was hip-high last night and spilled over to fill the space all the way to the stove one bag or box deep but most of that spillover was food which got put away in the first hour I was here.  I got the back door unblocked before I went to bed and spent part of today bringing this pile down to knee-high.  One of my shelving units is destined for this spot and much of what's left here needs to wait until that is assembled.

The tub showing the shower curtain and water shoes

One of the tasks I had to do last night was find and hang the shower curtain.  Then I realized I don't have a bath mat so I wore my water shoes.  So far there is only two bags of stuff destined to have homes in this room.  There will be more when Ed's stuff is moved over and even more when the stuff I brought up here in 2013 at the time Ed got evicted down in Oregon gets brought out of the garage and basement at Mom's.

Not everything that was mine or Ed's before and during my 8.5 year stay at Mom's will find permanent homes in this apartment.  Purging will be a theme of the unpack, sort, and organize tasks.  I've been reading about and watching videos on the minimalist and tiny home living themes.  I tend to be a hoarder and I'm trying to learn to let go.  It is a slow process but I've already made significant progress in the last two years--especially on the emotional drivers of the condition.

The breakfast bar as standing desk for the laptop

One of the goals stated at top completed last night and functioning well all day.

A view from my front porch.

Looking down the sidewalk toward the lane.  One of the things I am grateful for about my new place is how much like a village this looks and feels.  It has the ambience of community instead of a parking-garage for people.

Earlier while I was still struggling with creating the faux easy chair in the bed alcove I had a blood sugar meltdown and needed to fix and eat food.  I was too tired and sore to stand at the kitchen counter to eat but I still had no place to sit except the throne which works for brief respites but not when food is involved.  So I fixed my meal of cold cereal with blueberries, nuts, dried cranberries and peach yogurt smoothie instead of milk.  Then I put on a visor and sunglasses, grabbed my cane and ventured down that front walk to the bench where I took my time, eating slow and soaking up the ambience of my new neighborhood.

That took big courage.  It was out of character for me even before vision loss made me a shut-in several years ago--unable to venture more than a few steps out the door at Mom's without an escort because of so many trip hazards.  The idea would not have crossed my mind if I had not just been studying the photo I'd taken shortly before the hunger attacked and my back and feet screamed NO to standing for a meal.

Well, it's officially been over 24 hours since I began living alone for the first time in my life.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Findiing My Place

Walking towards the front door of the efficiency unit duplex I was being shown for my approval nearly a month ago.  I approved.  This week I'm moving in.
The window on the left is the front room.  The window under the porch roof is the bed alcove.

My front door.
So many doors have shut for me in the last decade it is about time one opened.

Standing next to the breakfast bar for one with the kitchenette behind me and looking down the length of the front room.

Spun on my heels and took this shot of the back door with the breakfast bar on the right and the fridge on the left.

I stood in the empty space between the fridge and the back wall to get this shot of the stove, sink, counters and cupboards.  The breakfast bar is just out of the shot on the right.

I stood on the back wall of the bed alcove to get this shot of the long wall of the front room.  Most of it anyway.

Now I'm standing on that long wall next to that window looking into the bed alcove.  visible on the right is and accordion curtain that can be pulled across to close it off.  The entire space is barely bigger than a queen bed.

Now I'm standing in the hallway between the bed alcove and the bathroom looking down the length of the alcove at the window next to my front door.

Now I'm standing in front of that window looking down the yard square hall into the bathroom with the window onto the back yard visible.
two closets with double folding doors are to the left and right inside the hall.

The one on the right holds the water heater and shelving.
I had to stand in the hanging closet to get this shot so there was nowhere to stand to get a similar shot of the clothes closet.


I settled for a shot that showed the shelf over the rod.

To the left upon entering is the tub/shower.  I had to shut the door to get the whole thing in the shot.

To the right of the door is the sink.

There is a full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door.

Leaving was soooo hard.

Signed the lease and took possession of the key last Thursday.
Took the first load of stuff over Saturday morning.
Took the second load over today--Tuesday
Also got signed up for Internet which was the necessary thing for spending the night as I must have a way to call for help.
Hoping I will have enough essentials moved in by Thursday to spend my first night there.



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