Peeking Through the Clouds

Hello there, it’s me again.  Trying really hard to banish the dark clouds of fear, anger, pain and doubts.  So let’s see how things are today.  I have pain, no new thing that.  I have, however, gotten some stuff accomplished even with the aches.  We are re-arranging the kitchen into a more realistic placement of the things we use and where we store the food.

Which involves a lot of “move this on the counter, move those things into the newly emptied cupboard, move that over there and get those things from the counter and put them into this cabinet”.  Basically, almost everything in the kitchen is moving somewhere else.  But when we’re done…well, the pantry will be in cupboards next to the refrigerator so that when bring home the groceries, either of us can sit in a chair and turn left or right to put cold items or non-perishables in their proper place.  The (new) pantry has very deep shelves, so it will be a challenge to place things and not lose them in the back behind.  We’ll have a couple of large plastic bins that will slide out on the bottom-most shelf to hold categorized items–one for all my baking supplies, the other for pasta and rice or pasta and sauces….or maybe just all the canned goods.  Eventually, we’re talking about racks for the canned goods and shelves or drawers that can be assembled to screw into the cabinet and provide better accessibility (slide-out) for all those small(er) items.

We’ve acknowledged that while we love our china set (it’s the pattern/shape I had wanted for years!), it’s stoneware and heavy as hell.  I cannot lift more than two of the dinner plates (empty) at a time.  So that is now over in a cabinet where it is accessible, but not in the first line of reach-ability.  We have more Rubbermaid Premier storage containers than God…and we use them for a wide variety of things, including eating out of the ones that are compartmentalized plates that happen to take a lid for storage.  Those are now in (dinnerware) cabinets at eye level, easily gotten and easily used.

Where to put the glasses is the biggest challenge and we will be putting each glass through a test of “do we use this at all” and “do we want to keep it”.  I suspect a fair amount of drinkware is going to the thrift store.  (And BTW, we took three boxes of stuff there yesterday, so I am actually getting things weeded out and taken out of the house.  Yay me!)  We can put the glasses we want to keep but don’t use often in a different place than the ones we use daily.  Coffee cups will also have this same scrutiny and decision-making test because we’ve got a buttload of them.  (And coffee cups will probably end up out in the living room, in the same cabinet that the Keurig coffee maker will be living in, along with the coffee, sweeteners and such.  Keep all the stuff together for what you’re doing and it makes life easier.

The end result should be items in places that we can grab what we use often easily and stuff we don’t use as often on top shelves and alternate storage areas–for example, I’ve been using a 12 by 12 stack of open shelves for a pantry, in the same little room as the laundry and hot water heater.  It is a bitch to get food out of there.  All that food is going where the glasses are living now…so I’ll have these shelves to use as auxiliary storage for all the big mixing bowls, the roasting pans (and large stock pots) and other large items that are taking up space I can use for things I actually need daily.

We want to organize the spices into “the ones we use *daily*/often” and “the ones we use for specific recipes/ethnic cooking”, which is a better way to have them and then find appropriate storage places for each type.  We want to put all the related stuff to the Vitamix blender (www.vitamix.com, look it up!) near where the blender lives, so that means rearranging those shelves a bit.  There’s three canisters with tops and the cookbook, as well as the thingy that we use to push food down into the blades as it’s running…don’t know quite what to call it but it looks, um, well sort of obscene.  It’s cylindrical, with a hilt and a handle so that it never touches the blades and it helps get all the food blended.  All I know is, when the blender (and all) arrived in its box and my husband pulled that particular part out, he informed me that it was never to leave the kitchen.  (It couldn’t go into the bedroom.  Just saying.)

The nice part about this entire process is that it was my husband’s idea so he’s willing to put effort into it (not a solo project) and that it can be done in stages, so there’s opportunities to rest and take a break all along the way.  It is a large undertaking but not overwhelming and the grand finale will be a kitchen that is…handicapped friendly, accommodates my limitations and actually set up for the way our life really is.

If I can do this with my kitchen, can I do it with the rest of the areas of my life?  Maybe.  It does offer a break in the doom and gloom clouds I’m fighting.  By moving things around even with the pain (because I can take a break and rest when I need to)…I gain a sense of accomplishment, the idea that I am not completely broken and no longer able to do anything at all.  Even a little victory is still a victory.  And I need all of them that I can get.

Like I posted on my Facebook page, “Upsetting the World View“: “There are times when it seems so dark all around you, that there is no reason to go on. I understand this and live with it. So I tell you: there is ALWAYS a spark of hope. You must look for it and you must keep breathing so that you can blow on that spark, have it ignite the tinder and then the logs that will create a bright, roaring fire to light up your darkness. If there is no breath, the spark cannot make that fire. If you cannot find your spark, you must ask those around you if they see it and ask for their help to guide you to it. Never give up, never stop seeking that spark even in your darkest, blackest times because if you give up, the darkness wins. And the darkness…is an illusion. Keep breathing. Any day you wake up breathing is a good day.”

I am looking for my spark, or the next spark, to keep making the fires to light up my darkness.  And I keep breathing.  You do the same.

Namaste!

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2 thoughts on “Peeking Through the Clouds

  1. Katie

    This sounds like it had a lot of work involved but has been well worth it! My partner and I are moving to a new flat in July so I’m definitely going to bare stuff like this in mind. It’s not very big and it’s rented so the kitchen is already fitted but I’m sure there’ll be some ideas we’ll have to make it more user friendly for me.

    It’s always interesting reading about the other ways people cope with fibromyalgia.At the moment I’m going through a very bad patch and I’m stuck in bed so I’ve been looking for some new blogs to read to pass the time. I’ve started writing a daily one about my experience of living with chronic illnesses. If you want to check it out and give me some feedback then the web address http://www.chronickatie.wordpress.com

    I look forward to reading more of your posts.
    Love Katie x

    Reply
  2. Knotty Kitteh Post author

    We were very fortunate that our apartment was already set up for handicapped tenants, per our ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) so it’s the law. 36 inch wide doorways; the kitchen sink is lower so that I can sit to it, as well as a counter area that is also lower, same ability to sit and work there. (@Katie: Use stools or other sitting items of the right height for your counters.)
    The bathroom literally only had toilet, sink and tub–with room to push a wheelchair up to each and support bars in the right places. The medicine cabinet is on wheelchair level, in front of the toilet–it’s just a little disconcerting to watch yourself poo. Storage of the bathroom items has been a challenge and we have a stopgap solution of a 4 shelved corner etagere that seems to be working for now.
    We’re trying to get the living area better arranged as our next project–and it’s all about accommodation and the reality of how we use it, with less emphasis on decorative or frou-frou stuff. Will it be pleasant to look at? I hope so, but the main focus is that it will work for us. Beloved is organizing our meds into a single space, instead of his hither and yon and mine nowhere near his. We have a plethora of Ikea storage boxes (made out of material and with a zipper in the bottom to let them fold flat when not in use) in a variety of sizes and use them to organize the little stuff. At least keep it all in one place!
    I have found that it is easier to arrange when I make accommodation and access my focus, which in turn helps when I am fibro foggy…or in enough pain that I can’t be doing a lot of stuff.
    Hope this helps you, hope you’re feeling better.
    K

    Reply

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