Fibronaut At Home

If It Ain’t Broke…

This post has been a couple months in the making.  In my life pre-fibro, I was a pretty efficient person.  If I could, I cut out unnecessary steps wherever, whether at work or home.  Post-fibro, I’ve had to become much more of a pacer.  Getting the job done without hurting myself, has become my main priority.  Last month I had an epiphany.  I thought that I could make laundry easier on myself, if I worked on it every day.  I decided that if I washed, dried and folded a load, every day, I’d always be “caught up” because I would not longer have baskets full of dirty, washed, dried, or folded laundry.  No more laundry purgatory.

Boy was I wrong.  The biggest obstacle was having to work on laundry every day, whether I felt like a lump of doggie doo or not.  The bad days were bad.  We have four laundry hampers, which I would dig through, looking for the specific load I was washing that day.  Then, the next day, I’d have to pick a new load to wash.  Basically, every day, when I’d just start to feel like I could maybe accomplish something, I’d have to do the thing I hate most in this world.  Not surprisingly, after two weeks of this, I gave up.  Even though I thought I’d been washing each type of load equally, my son ran out of pants and underwear, so at least two types of load were being missed.  Plus, some days, especially the doggie doo days, I “forgot” to work on laundry.

The good days, I had no trouble doing the one load, but then other things were being put off.  In using all that energy just for the laundry, which I think I mentioned I hate doing, I wouldn’t feel like getting anything else done.  When I do dishes, the natural progression is to clean counter tops and then all those clean spaces make me want to clean the floor.  Getting a load of laundry done, when the hamper still has a ton of clothes in it doesn’t entice me to do anything but wash more laundry.  As long as I’m digging through the laundry looking for a specific type of load, I might as well separate it all and keep washing.  If I’m able to get all the loads washed and dried, I can enlist people to help me fold and put away.  At least they are clean, so even if they don’t get put away, people can dig for what they need.  I just have to get better at ignoring baskets of clean laundry, no matter what state it’s in, when I don’t have the ability to get it folded or put away.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the way I do laundry may not be very efficient and it may take me 4 days minimum to finish, but it works.  I might not be very efficient any more, but I’m not twiddling my thumbs either.

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Be The Tortoise

Going slow and steady, you’ll get more things done than if you are zipping from task to task.  Seriously, who can zip at all anymore?  Fibro and CFS alone have made any kind of pep in my step more like a plop.  Working on laundry today it hit me how much I’ve had to adapt the way I get stuff done.  I thought I’d list some techniques that I use when doing housework.

  • When I’m doing laundry I read every label for the care instructions.  I skip the socks, towels and unmentionables.  Just taking the time to read all labels ensures that our clothes last longer and slows down the process enough that I don’t wear myself out.
  • Reading the labels also gives me a chance to find humor in the very boring and somewhat stinky task of sorting laundry.  I snort every time a label says “Wash separately” or “Hand-wash only”.  Yeah right!  It occurred to me today that almost every label tells you to wash with “like colors”.  I started reading that in a Valley Girl voice “like totally” and that made me laugh a little bit.
  • I take breaks.  Not long breaks, just maybe ten minutes to stretch or put my feet up in between baskets or trips up and down the stairs.  Once the laundry is all sorted, I get longer breaks in between loads.
  • I don’t sort hunched over and I don’t fold sitting down.  I make sure if I’m bending down for anything, to use my knees.  Folding sitting down puts so much strain on your back and shoulders.  My doctor didn’t get it either but I take breaks to rest my legs and stretch my arms and my back is so much happier for it.
  • Even if the family is digging through baskets of clothes that have yet to be folded, that is better than hearing “I have no underwear”, “I have no socks” and the dreaded “I have no pants”.
  • Do what you can and don’t dwell on what you can’t get done.
  • If your family is like mine?  Are they without opposable thumbs making scraping and rinsing their food dishes an impossibility?  At the end of the day, I’m too tired to wash dishes.  But, I can usually scrape the food and soak the dishes, making loading the dishwasher the next afternoon so much easier.
  • I do nothing in the morning.  I may make my three-year-old daughter’s lunch and help her get ready a little, but other than that my older kids have learned to step up to the plate.  It is so much easier to be a drill sergeant in the morning than to actually do the stuff myself.  My husband can usually tell if I’m comatose or not and he then directs the little elf’s in getting their sister ready.
  • I do nothing in the morning and I don’t feel bad about it.  It is just not my time of day anymore and probably never will be again.  Until my medicine and coffee kick in, it’s safest to avoid eye contact or any kind of contact for that matter.
  • Cleaning the bathroom.  Ugh.  I do this as little as possible.  I don’t have elbow grease anymore.  I slow this down by doing one task a day.  Anything more is too much.  The bathtub I let soak as long as possible in whatever cleaner I have.  I straighten the bathroom everyday, especially since all it takes is one bath and my daughters have toys, towels and dirty laundry spread so you can’t even see the floor.  Sometimes they clean that up.  I put brushes, hair gel, hair things, toys, dirty towels, dirty laundry and trash (we have a trashcan people!) away.  I rinse out the toothpaste encrusted sink and wipe off the back of the toilet.

Please don’t read these posts and assume that my house is clean.  I want to give you little tips to help make your life easier, not for you to feel overwhelmed or like you aren’t doing enough.  My ceiling fans have an inch of dust on them.  My kitchen curtains are turning grayish-brown they need to be washed so badly.  Every floor in my house needs to be vacuumed, mopped, swept or all three.  My windows have never been washed.  I didn’t do windows before Fibro/CFS either.  Tortoise on friends.

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O Laundry Day

O Laundry Day

(sing to the tune of “O Christmas Tree”)

(lyrics by Susie aka Fibronaut at home)

O laundry day, o laundry day,

The chore I hate the most.

O laundry day, o laundry day,

The chore I hate the most.

My shoulders, arms and back and neck,

Are spasming-ing all to heck.

O laundry day, o laundry day,

The chore I hate the most.

(musical interlude, hum to yourself)

O laundry day, o laundry day,

Why must you try to kill me?

O laundry day, o laundry day,

Why must you try to kill me?

Who really needs clean underwear?

Just rinse them out or just go bare.

O laundry, o laundry day,

Why must you try to kill me?

(musical interlude, let’s whistle this time)

O laundry day, o laundry day,

No way it’s that time a-gain.

O laundry day, o laundry day,

No way it’s that time a-gain.

Just got last week’s loads put away.

Becoming nudist any day.

O laundry day, o laundry day,

No way it’s that time a-gain.

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

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Confessions (gasp!) of a Mommy with Fibromyalgia

My house is a disaster area and the next person who comments on it can clean it for me if it bothers them that much (hint, hint).

My 10-year-old and 8-year-old get themselves ready in the morning.

My 10-year-old and 8-year-old get their three-year-old sister ready in the morning too.  I do sometimes lift my head from my pillow to offer groggy, bleary-eyed and often unnecessary advice.  They are pros.

My husband gets himself ready in the morning (GASP!!!).

My husband gets himself out of bed in the morning (DOUBLE-GASP!!!)

I don’t do ironing.  Seriously.  Eventually the wrinkles smooth themselves out and that is what the “wrinkle-release” cycle on the dryer is for.

I always have laundry piled up, waiting to wash or dry or fold or put away.  Have I mentioned I really love the “wrinkle-release” cycle on the dryer?

My children (with the exception of the three-year-old and my husband) fold their own laundry and put their own laundry away.  Sometimes, they wash their own laundry.

I’ve made it one of my goals to do dishes every day.  I said it’s a goal, not a sure-thing.

Although my daughters and I require zero aim when using the toilet, the two who do have to “shoot for the target” and are therefore the most likely ones to cause the curious yellow stains around (and I mean AROUND) the toilet have NEVER (that I can recall) cleaned the toilet.  This isn’t really a confession, but a strongly worded hint.  I mean, really.  I only have so many “spoons” a day and to spend even a quarter of one of my spoons on the toilet is not only unfair, but cruel and unusual punishment.

My three-year-old gave me the nickname of “Sleepy-head-Mommy, wake-up!”

I don’t like to wash my hair every day and so I’ve gone poo-free so that my hair produces less oil and is less dry, requiring less maintenance.  I wash my hair with a baking soda and water solution and only put conditioner on the ends.  Don’t go “EWWW!”  I watched several videos on YouTube and read several blogs before starting this.  Google it.

I don’t clean the kitty litter until I either can’t stand it anymore or my husband complains about it.  I would now tell my husband to refer to the first confession on this blog but Alice The Cat is my cat and he’d probably let her outside for the fox to eat if I started asking him to clean the litter.

Sometimes, when I’m feeling particularly bad (pain, fatigue, PMS, depressed) and my children start whining, I let them do whatever they want.  Third bubble bath of the day?  Sure!  Play XBOX even though your room isn’t clean?  Why not?  Eat every junk-food item in the house in rapid succession?  Your Dad will be home soon so don’t let him catch you eating that.

My husband is moving my three-year-old’s toys to behind the couch to try to contain her mess to that area.  This isn’t a confession either, but I wanted someone else to laugh at him on that one with me.

“God made dirt and dirt don’t hurt” is my new motto.

Any and all word problems in my kids homework are saved for when Daddy gets home.

My three-year-old is potty trained but refuses to wipe herself after going #2.  She instead hollers “Mom!  I pooped!”  It sometimes takes me so long to get there to help that she has started singing to herself while she waits.  It’s almost like I’m on “Jeopardy”.

My kids have learned to read my lips.  Especially when I’m mouthing “Ask your Dad.”

If what I wore to bed the night before is sweat pants and a t-shirt, I’m probably picking up my kids from school in it.

Actually, I should clarify.  That was the old me.  The new me has a new goal of taking a shower every day and so I usually do have clean clothes on by 2:30 pm when I pick up the kids from school.  If I’m not going anywhere else, however, I immediately change back into my comfy clothes.  Also, showering is another goal, not certainty.

The only reason, besides company coming over, that I clean my living room, is so I can do my yoga or my “Deepak Chopra’s: Leela” on the XBOX Kinect.

I don’t procrastinate.  I just forget.  Until it is too late.  Then I remember.

How long does it take three kids, one husband and one fibro-fighter to clean a house?  I’ll let you know if it ever happens.

Wait!  I had a Celebrating Home party in March and my house was clean then.  Unfortunately, that is the last time my house was clean.

My daughter once took a moldy sandwich to lunch for school.  I swear that I checked that bread while making that sandwich.  I’m also pretty sure that this happened before my diagnosis but I’m still using fibro-fog as an excuse.

I’m pretty sure I’ll think of more of these gems after I post this, but if I’m going to meet any of my “goals” today, I better get my butt off the couch.  Besides, my daughter has a friend coming over after school today and I can’t see my living room floor.  I jest.  I can see my living room floor, it’s just covered with crap at the moment.

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What is Fibro-fog?

Fibro-fog is dropping a full laundry basket on your toe because you have no reaction time to pull your foot back, even though you looked down and thought about it. Fibro-fog is forgetting the hell you go through every time you do laundry, so you do the same thing, like picking up a full laundry basket or folding a whole load at once and then wondering why you have spasms in your neck and shoulders, like it doesn’t happen every time you do laundry.

I’ll have more on Fibro-fog later. I hurt too bad to type any more.

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Every Party Has a Pooper

My favorite quote from my Mom is “Every party has a pooper, that’s why we invited you”.  I always say it to my kids when they are pouting about something but this last week, I’ve been the party-pooper.  It started on Friday, when I lost my key-ring with my house key and post office box key.  I always check the mail on my way to pick up the kids from school.  I swore I put the key-ring back in my purse, but I couldn’t find it.  I assumed I had dropped it on the street while my little almost-three-year-old angel was poking me with a stick when I was putting her in her car seat but it wasn’t anywhere and hadn’t been turned in anywhere.  After hanging with my kids at the library where the little angel ran through the library for the entire half hour we were there and then hanging at the only park in town with the local wild life, I had had enough!  I was exhausted (as I am every afternoon) and I was cranky and I hurt.  I took the kids home, cut a screen and shoved my eight-year-old through the window.  I just couldn’t take it anymore and I snapped.  I was a damsel in distress with no prince charming in sight (or that’s what I told myself anyway).

My party-pooper weekend continued at my Mom’s Miche purse party.  I sat all propped up on the couch, with my feet in everybody’s face and pouted.  The poor sales rep and my Sister’s friend tried to make conversation with me, but I couldn’t even do that.  I was so tired from the hour-and-a-half drive that it was all I could do not to close my eyes and fall asleep.  I love purses, so why did I feel like I wanted to cry?  I won a prize and I couldn’t even get excited about that.  After about an hour, I ended up in the spare room watching HGTV and then movies with my kids.  That part was great.  It wasn’t until we were on our way home and I was talking to my hubby that it really hit me.  The sales rep had mentioned that Northern Colorado reminded her of Germany with the way the country is so open with little towns in between all the space.  I just kind of nodded at her and didn’t even offer up that I had been to Germany.  When I told my husband this, he nodded and said “you have no rapid reaction”.  I can’t even make conversation anymore because my reaction time to every thing is so slow.  The one good thing, was my sweet Mom bought me a purse (which is very cute and stylish and I love it) and as I was cleaning out my old purse, I realized that the pocket with my keys in it was completely empty!  When I jiggled it I could hear keys though.  I had a hole in my purse pocket and that is where my keys had gone!  All that drama thanks to a hole in my purse pocket.

It is 1:30 in the afternoon on Sunday of my party-pooper weekend and I’m sitting here, fatigued and in pain.  I’m also nauseated and having cramping because my lovely monthly-visitor stopped by.  I need a hug, but not to hard, because that’ll hurt too.  I’ve started doing a pilates DVD called “Pilates for Inflexible People” which I really like but I’m pretty sure that the 25-minute session I did on Friday was too much so I think I’ll skip today’s session.  I have laundry to do and I feel guilty because the rest of my family is outside working on our yard and I’m supposed to be cleaning house, but I’m still sitting here because my legs feel like they want to cede from my body.  I need a new body please?  My spasms have been slowly getting worse.  I did dream last night though and I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that.  Am I rambling again?  Oh!  Before I go, I have acupuncture on Tuesday and I’ll let you know how that goes.

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