I haven’t written in a while. Again. I’ve wanted to– I’ve started blog entries and not finished them. I’ve posted on Parisian Phoenix’s web site. Please, if you haven’t subscribe to the mailing list over there or on Substack. Or buy a book. From Parisian Phoenix directly or wherever you prefer to buy books. We have an affiliate shop on Bookshop.org, that’s another option to consider.
Meanwhile, forgive the cornucopia of prepositions in that title.
And I think it’s time to give another work friend an official nickname. I’m going to christian another work friend, the one with the stylish purple glasses that really complement her skin tone, as “Faithful Bizzy Reader.” She is one of my tribe, one of us who has migrated from Midnight Society to the Sunday cohort to traditional day shift at our Pennsylvania Stitch Fix warehouse. Those transitions, as brutal as they’ve been over the last 16 or so months, have made us a raucous bunch. At least, that’s how we behave at our lunch table. She’s noticed my sporadic posts, and today I admitted that my physical health has drained me to the point where I have nothing left to write.
The disability/cerebral palsy/dog stuff
As I’m sitting here, my Goffin’s cockatoo is grooming me, and I’m trying to get her to trim my hangnail. She’s really good at hangnails and splinters. If you never heard the story of the raisin that fixed my gait and how Nala the Goffin removed my splinter, you can read that story here.
I have dealt with various levels of pain on and off for more than a week now. I prayed that it would end with my chiropractor appointment last week, but it didn’t. It went from an eight to a two, so I was happy with the improvement, but then cycle of vacillating between slight and excruciating burning continued for days. My glutes, my lower back, my quads and sometimes my knees scream horribly. And when an “attack” comes upon me, standing there takes all my energy and makes me want to vomit. The burning sensation never goes away. My quads and lower back are throbbing with about a two of pain right now, seated in this chair at my desk. And my calves are pulsing. Maybe even spasming.
I tried taking more muscle relaxers. I tried exercise. I tried rest. Nothing seems to make it better or worse. I even brought Sobaka with me to the gym. (If you look at the photo on the right, that’s Greg who founded Apex Training with our neighbor princess dog who has been staying with us this week. Also, my name is very close to the upper left hand corner on the chalkboard wall.)
Interestingly, my trainer Andrew said my posture in some of my core related movements looked good. But man, every exercise was a struggle. Even the “pop-squats” he asks me to do, merely sitting down and popping back up as soon as my butt hits the bench required a lot of concentration. And I honestly don’t know how I survived hamstring curls as my legs haven’t wanted to cooperate with things like basic walking or stretching out my quads. But I did it. I was really hoping the extra blood flow would help.
But it didn’t. And after so many days of inconsistent pain, I just want to sleep for a week and stream TV.
My toe and my Morton’s neuroma have not been bothering me, but I did order my latest pair of shoes a half-size bigger.
And in positive news, I received an email from Susquehanna Service Dogs that they received my post-CTE (canine therapeutic evaluation) paperwork and will be reaching out to schedule a home visit. The final step between me and the waiting list for a service dog. “Both you and [The Teenager] provided awesome, valuable feedback in your emails,” my coordinator in the program wrote. “I’m glad that you had yet another chance to work with Miss Katydid– she is spunky!!”
The Stitch Fix stuff
I’ve been struggling at work. Luckily my stats, even at my worst days have remained around 100%. I’ve been on a downward spiral ever since I got sent to work in inbound processing for a day. That day, working on the back of a line on a table forcing me to pass baskets pretty far forward and to my right, shifted something. I don’t have an injury, but ever since that day, the pain I’ve grown familiar with in my hip has moved into my tailbone and quads. It’s nice that my femur no longer feels like it’s poking a hole through my pelvic bone, but now my muscles of my lower body always feel like they are overtaxed.
Anyway, whatever is happening in my body caused me to miss metrics three days in a row and now I’m in the middle of a probationary period of sorts known as “focus,” a first warning where Stitch Fix, my supervisor and myself work together to discover how Stitch Fix can “support me” because four rounds of “focus” can lead to termination.
Or I’m guessing will lead to termination.
I don’t know what to think– and once again I find myself placed in a situation where I need to be more of an advocate than I ever wanted to be. I enjoy my job. I love the people. I find the wages and benefits fair. But will it come to the point where I have to argue that 1. Their lack of following my approved medical accommodations during that day in inbound may have caused this whole situation (and I did not advocate enough for myself at the time, because I didn’t know it would f*ck me up) and 2. I have worked for the company for nearly two-and-a-half years and I have always experienced periods where I just cannot perform like the average person. Their recent change in metrics have placed me at a disadvantage, and I still have the capacity to do just as much work as the average person over longer periods of time, I just cannot do it every day. And the two days a month of grace they allow us does not fit my body.
So… keep in mind… yesterday I did 136 fixes, which is 105% of the daily minimum expectation of 130 fixes. I could have done 140, but I slowed down toward the end. In the old system, those extra fixes would have cushioned my numbers. Today, I did 130 while fighting nauseating pain and fighting for balance. I could have done 131, but again, it won’t matter. But in the old system, had I done 140 and 131, that puts me 11 fixes ahead for the weekly average, which means if I only made 120 later in the week, I would still hit my numbers.
I understand that they need consistent performance, but if you know an employee is giving 100% and that employee has a documented disability, that employee deserves a little bit of leeway.
I have a lot of questions about this “focus” concept. But, if once I get out of my focus period, how long do I have to perform at 100% before I end up clear of my record of first focus, because it’s only a matter of time before my body can’t do it. So, how long do I have to last before receiving a second focus, versus another first focus?
The fun Stitch Fix (fashion) stuff
There are several items in the Stitch Fix inventory I have wanted for a very long time. One is the Papermoon ember sweatshirt in dark gray that reads, “Weekend.” I love the cut of the Hiatus t-shirts. There is a Lagerfeld ruffle, striped tank top. Some Liverpool plaid pants. I could go on…
And since I received my discount back from The Teenager, I went on a bit of a shopping spree and bought some sale items. But, meanwhile, I kept thinking of the Skies are Blue Hannah modal blazer in magenta. It’s normally $88, incredibly silky, and the perfect color to represent Parisian Phoenix at events. Don’t confuse this with the Skies are Blue boyfriend blazer in magenta– the Hannah blazer is sleeker, softer and less boxy.
I earmarked the blazer as a favorite in my Stitch Fix account. It popped up in my proposed looks, as it does in the photo to the right. I already own that bag. I love that bag, the Urban Expressions utility tote in mustard if memory serves. I love the dress, but my middle-aged saggy mama belly couldn’t pull it off, and I would certainly wear those boots. But seeing this look made me cave and buy the blazer. Thank you employee discount! It headed out from the Breezy in Atlanta and should be here Friday.
The boring stuff
Finally, in household stuff: I still need to finish my local and state taxes, and pay the per capita tax. My drivers license renewal form came. I cleaned the air purifier in my bedroom (primarily caked with that chalky white bird dust) and must do a deeper than usual clean of the two cat boxes in my bedroom because I’m smelling ammonia in there. The Teenager had chicken quesadillas on the menu tonight. And I have a library meeting on Zoom at 7 p.m. I serve on the board of trustees at my local public library, the Mary Meuser Memorial Library.
So, there will be no sleeping for a week or streaming TV. Instead, I will attend my meeting and collapse in bed in exhaustion and get dressed out of the laundry basket in the living room because I just don’t have the strength to carry it up the stairs.