Doing Big Things

February 7, 2011

Most people don’t understand how big a big accomplishment is to someone who’s facing any kind of¬†disability, much less the agonizing chronic pain I’m fighting anytime I’m awake. Actually, even in my dreams I have pain now. Sleep can no longer be the hiding place it once was. It’s just no good when the nightmare zombies can catch you because you’re having a high pain day and can’t escape fast enough hobbling along on your cane!

Back on the big accomplishments though because zombies eating the weakest members of the human herd is rather lame. My big accomplishment is cleaning. I’ve been living like a slob since the first wreck in 2006. I moved just before I was injured, so most of my stuff was still in boxes. The place I lived before I moved was clean and obsessively organized, but very cramped and not in a very safe spot. Someone had tried to carjack me in my own parking lot the same week my landlord decided to raise my rent. That’s a lethal combination to anyone trying to keep their renters. My my pain hasn’t let up since and all my minor gains toward normalcy have been full of other requirements, like trying to graduate.

Now that I’m past the OxyContin nightmares of November and I have a new doctor who is actually willing to treat my pain rather than ignore it, I have a few functional hours each day that I didn’t have before. I’ve been in a flare since the American Idol headache started, but in my functional time before that went south and sent me back into last year’s pain, I cleaned. I even unpacked some boxes that hadn’t been unpacked in several moves. That’s a HUGE deal for anyone, but now try to do it in pain that’s described by many people who’ve been through both as “making childbirth seem like a walk in the park.”

Here’s an afterthought before photo of my bedroom. I’d already started cleaning when this shot was taken. The angle also hides a huge garbage bag of dirty towels, a tower of yarn, paperwork, and random junk as tall as my nightstand, my messy nightstand that was heaped up over a foot tall on the top surface and who’s drawers wouldn’t close, and the disaster spilling from the closet. I wish I’d been able to capture it all in a before photo, but my current living arrangement is cramped and it’s hard to get a picture of everything at once. I’d have to knock out a few walls to do that. So, before:

Now, here are two photos from 12 days later.


I cleaned everything. I even dusted, vacuumed, and steam cleaned the floors. I even washed the blankets on the bed, not just the sheets. How’s that for doing something BIG? I’ve still got a lot left to clean, and my pace has slowed drastically since my headache and nerve randomness has gotten worse, but I’m really proud of myself. It’s not staying quite this spotless, but running the vacuum every other week looks like it should be possible. I can’t tell you how excited that makes me. Heck, I’ve even washed my sheets since this photo was taken on the 21st. I’m thinking once a week clean sheets is something everyone should have.


Before I was hurt in the second accident, I got all 3 Wilton cake decorating certifications with the hope that I could work as a cake decorator to put myself through film school, either as a decorator or as a teacher of cake decorating. I can’t do much in the way of cake decorating now due to the arm strength needed and back pain from bending over the cake. I do still try and decorate for family and friends as needed. Though it tends to end in agonizing pain and even missing the event for which I tried to make a cake.

For my little brother Scott’s birthday, he was getting together with a few friends to drink, play video games, and generally just have a wild time. I really wanted to do something special. I had cake mix already which I talked my mom into baking into cupcakes for me since my power mixer and such wasn’t at her house for me to use. I can’t make cake batter by hand anymore either. Since I’m perpetually broke, I had Scott pick up some cream cheese frosting at the grocery store. I felt bad he had to buy his own frosting, and it’s much better to make your own frosting so you have better consistancy, but I couldn’t manage that either. I put color into the tubs he brought over and he whipped in the color by hand for me. He helped me to then decorate all the cupcakes to look just like beer bottle caps! It was really fun to teach him about cake decorating and get to make something nice for his party. We didn’t have time to google any pictures, so all these bottle caps were done from our collective memory.

The little bit of decorating that he and I did that afternoon still ended up being too much for me, but I think you’ll agree, it was worth the pain! Don’t they look great?

cupcakes decorated to look like various bottle caps

I can’t believe it! Santa brought me the scroll saw I wanted! He also included some scrap wood, impact resistant goggles, and bandaids. Interesting message. So far I’m in love with this saw! I will need to buy a nice stand for it though. You can drool over the saw here at Harbor Freight. I know I’ve got a million projects that will use it.

Image of bench mounted scroll saw