The raisin and the good day

So, if you read yesterday’s post, you know I have a massive splinter in my foot.

What you don’t know is that the teenager told me to put a raisin on it.

Apparently, she saw it on TikTok* and my follow up research suggests that there is something in the chemical construction of the raisin that helps the splinter get out.

*edit: The teenager informed me that the raisin came from a discussion in English class not TikTok.

So I went to work with a raisin under the ball of my foot.

And stood on it for 10-plus hours.

They made those of us on 10-hour shifts in outbound stay the whole day even though everyone else in the building went home at 3. There was probably 10 of us left behind.

But here’s the amazing thing—

We had a meeting and I still managed to fold 175 fixes. The goal for a ten hour day is normally 162, but the 15-minute meeting drops it to 157-158.

My process lead called me a beast.

My supervisor confirmed I did 110% of the daily minimum expectation.

Nothing, other than the splinter, hurt. For the first time, the first day, in years if not decades, I didn’t have some body part malfunctioning.

Did the splinter in the ball of my feet change my alignment?

I slept well last night but still didn’t even get 7 hours sleep. I ate the same meals I’ve been eating all week.

And yesterday I was miserable.

So what changed?

Something to ponder.

I came home and checked the splinter. There was no swelling where the raisin had been.

I took a shower (because I worked so hard today I was smelly), soaked my foot in Epsom salts and applied a fresh raisin to the swollen pocket.

And then the dog forced me off my spot on the couch.

Tuesday recap of goals, safety and math

I intended to write this post two hours ago as a form of relaxation when I got home from work. Instead, I got sucked into the proof of TRAPPED that came from the printer, and writing instructions on how to pitch a press release for a local high school student.

Opening page of TRAPPED

My spine is hurting, but as far as Tuesdays go today was a good one. I think I may have hit 98% if my metrics in the QC department of the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy.

Tuesdays typically leave me rather crippled— but for some reason this week I am doing better than usual. I performed 108% in Freestyle Sunday, and then my process lead and I found an error in the computation of yesterday’s metric in QC. The computer at first assigned me 91%. I suggested that might be wrong. That by my calculations it should be around 95%. Turns out my lunch wasn’t in the figure. So the computer thought I should have hit a higher goal.

My process lead seems perpetually impressed by my ability to perform math, and my tracking of my own performance. I also don’t agree with the official distribution of targets throughout the day, and eventually I will have my own numbers. (I basically have them now— but I’m still honing them. For instance, they say 40 by 9 a.m., whereas I aim for 42 by 8:50.)

Today might have been my best day since before the shift change. Not only because of the numbers but because I did a pre-interview or something like that for the safety team.

I’m not even really sure exactly what the safety team does, but I think I can bring perspective and the ability to explain to others with me to the table.

Apparently one of my former Midnight Society teammates “talked me up.” And it appears I did not disappoint. They had an ice breaker of one fun fact— and this colleague had to think I would talk about Parisian Phoenix or my cat fostering.

I warned him I was going to say something that would surprise even him. I mentioned my most exotic vacation included a visit to Mogadishu.

“Didn’t see that coming,” he said.

He then proceeded to tell them that I was a very interesting person with whom to talk.

All of that made today a little special.

“Put me in coach”: A Work Story

If you stop by here often, you know that last Wednesday I spoke with some more people at work about my disability and that whole day I was given my preferred/easier for me fixes.

I achieved 96% for the day, folding what are called refixes, fixes that had problems that got rejected and needed to go back to be fixed. So the fix needs a fix.

When they return from the refix department, they are boxed in the box they were originally slated to ship in and they are on top of the cart instead of on the shelves.

I really struggle to reach shelves seven and eight so this is a huge help.

And since neither the physiatrist nor my neurologist have responded to my recent concerns about my mobility and my coordination, I have not asked for official work accommodations yet.

Yesterday was the first day of my work week— I did something like 89% in Freestyle, folding clothes and shipping packages for the first 8+ hours of my shift. At 3:30 p.m., I moved over to returns processing where I might have hit 75%.

Today was Monday, which means the warehouse was firing on all cylinders. I was in my home department, and I might have gotten 40 refixes today. So 3/4 of my work involved a lot of bending, crouching and twisting.

My back did okay, but my right quad and right foot burned most of the day and by 4 p.m., my hip hurt. It feels like it’s pointing directly behind me like a tail.

Despite this, I was in the neighborhood of 99%.

And at 4:25 p.m., my process lead asked me to go style card— calling me his “emergency style carder.” I would prefer the phrase “back-up.”

But it gave me a chance to move around and improve my hip functionality so I am grateful.

It made me feel like an athlete waiting on the bench, which then got the song “Centerfield” stuck in my head as I worked.

“Put me in coach, I’m ready to play…”

I would have made the reference to my process lead, but I think he’s too young to get the reference. But, the teenager tells me if he’s seen The Sandlot, he’ll know the song.

If you need to hear the song, here’s a YouTube link.

Vulnerability in the workplace and its role in building teams

Grammar police— this piece is full of tense shifts. I’m tired. Deal with it.

We’ve all had that corny job that encourages team building exercises and how uncomfortable that can be when they are telling you to trust someone that frankly you don’t trust.

It’s hard to be vulnerable with new people and new environments and this can lead to us seeming aloof or feeling alienated or shunned by the group.

Yesterday I had a painful day at work, and I’m still struggling emotionally with my father’s death, and compounding all of that is the fact that my sleep has not been that restful.

So imagine me… as the alarm goes off at 4:45 a.m., struggling to stretch out my stiff, spastic lower body and my aching spine. I went to the other side of my room to check on the cats’ food and had to use the vacuum cleaner as a cane.

I stumbled to the shower and afterwards managed to get my bra, shirt and panties on but saved the socks and pants for after coffee.

I prepare my coffee directly into my to-go mug, a FURR fundraiser item that keeps my coffee warm until my first break almost four hours later and lukewarm until lunch.

I email my neurologist asking for help getting a physiatrist appointment. I still wonder if I should be going to work at all. I tell myself if I really can’t function, I’ll call the chiropractor at 9 a.m. and see if I can get an appointment.

I decide it’s time to put on my pants.

But then my pants don’t button.

And I’m not talking about “these are snug,” these are all out as if I were trying to wear a child’s pants. Too much Taco Bell last night.

The teenager did a white wash so there is a pair of sweatpants in the kitchen. I put them on and wrestled with my socks.

I go to get my shoes. The teenager has piled the garbage on top of them. I find other shoes.

I then needed to decide between the pizza I can’t even remember when I ordered it and the pancakes from Friday for lunch.

I grabbed both.

Once at work, they have me assigned to line 5, table 8a. Now, they have the tables on line 5 labeled incorrectly. Somehow, they go 0, 1a, 2a, 3a, 5a, 8a, 4a, 6a, 7a. Someone is already working on the ninth table, which is labeled seven. So just to be clear, I ask my supervisor.

“I am to go to the sixth table, which would if you were going by the labels at the previous lines would be table five, because the actual labels are out of order?”

He looked up. “Oh, yeah. They are.”

But then someone is also at the sixth table which is labeled 8a. The lead on the line does the research and this interloper belongs on an entirely different line, but somehow ends up a few stations ahead of me.

I have to organize the station because it was set up for Freestyle not QC.

And then I see the person on line 4b, across the aisle from me, get an entire rack of refixes. That’s about three hours worth of work.

I went back to the lead who I approached about my interloper. I explained I had a disability and I was having a bad physical and emotional day and, let me paraphrase, I said I wanted refixes, too.

I got them.

The day shift support people and my normally favorite support person brought me refixes all day.

And I learned more about my favorite support person’s family history. And we discussed philosophy and gave each other a pep talk. And the day shift support person was also super supportive.

And it made me feel physically and emotionally better to share the weight of my burdens. I made 98%. Which is amazing — and I haven’t seen numbers that high since October.

My lead was pleased.

And I felt lighter.

Do until you can’t do

If you’re a regular reader here, you may recall I had a fall last week, at the hospital, when I went for a CT scan of my brain. If you missed that episode, you can read about it here

What I didn’t mention is that I also took a second rather more dramatic fall in my kitchen that same day.

I’m rather sure Dr. Nicole Jensen of Back in Line Chiropractic and Wellness Center cringed as I told her this story, and the story about my knee totally facing the wrong way.

This prompted her to adjust my ears— apparently I had some left ear congestion. The adjustment was a rather uncomfortable yank in my earlobes.

Anyway, she mentioned that I tend to “just keep doing until I can’t do no more” which is 100% true and something I learned from both my parents. They both have incredible work ethics.

On Sunday at work in the Stitch Fix Bizzy Hizzy, I believe I hit 96% in packing Freestyle orders. Yesterday, we got shipped to women’s returns processing where I struggled in an attempt to hit 70%. Today I hit about 85% in my home department (QC) despite incredible amounts of pain.

My feet were burning. My joints a little achy. My right quad screaming. A slight nosebleed. And both sides of my hips felt wrong. So I checked walking asymmetry in iHealth.

Definitely periodic issues since yesterday afternoon.

If I’m still uncomfortable and having trouble moving in the morning, I’ll go to work and call the chiropractor when she opens.

The end of a short week

In less than 45 minutes— it is now almost 6:20 a.m. on a mildly snowy Thursday morning— I will be walking out my front door to get the CT scan of my head I originally had scheduled for December 30.

I am drinking my peppermint white chocolate Supercoffee, which arrived during the snow event Monday. Peppermint is my favorite flavor in coffee. Cinnamon used to rank, but there is something about the sassy, refreshing notes of warm peppermint and bitter coffee that excites me.

Last night, my Parisian Phoenix collaborator blind poet, Nancy Scott, joined the teenager and I for a dinner of Asian style cabbage and sautéed scallops over soy sauce ramen.

I have mild anxiety about the CT scan, primarily because I am unfamiliar with radiology at the nearby hospital, but also because of the anticipated cost. (You can read more about that here.)

My toe has been burning for weeks now. So much so I mentioned it to my chiropractor last week, that it burns maybe 15 minutes every 90 minutes or so while I am at work in the Bizzy Hizzy.

I thought maybe my posture is off with my hip persistently giving me trouble, but I noticed last night it’s extremely red and I think a little swollen.

Now I’m debating whether I need to call my podiatrist on top of everyone else.

The interesting news is that in the Bizzy Hizzy this week I probably performed about 65% in women’s returns processing during my overtime shift Saturday. My supervisor informed me I did 83% in Freestyle QC/ship on Sunday. Monday was a paid holiday. I managed 90% in my home department Tuesday and Wednesday— which is folding and wrapping 147 fixes.

While my pain levels are probably around 3 or 4, depending on my movements, my hip is definitely bothering me and my toe hurts all the time now. And of course, the back pain has been minor, but there, and I’ve struggled with touching my toes this week.

And I gained back the weight I’d lost.

I’m anxious to do some items for Parisian Phoenix today and maybe even write some of my fourth novel before a friend comes over for cocktails.

And please consider buying a book or two or three from Parisian Phoenix. I’m saving up for a new batch of ISBNs.

I had a good day

It’s been a while since I’ve had a good day. Sunday was okay, but then Monday was hard. I had to ask the question—

How can one day be so much harder than the day prior? Shouldn’t grief get incrementally easier?

I had either a mild cold or intense backlash from not taking my allergy medicine which really fatigued me. Combine that with my father’s death, no real Christmas to speak of and a formerly good friend reappearing Sunday night to gaslight me, again, hopefully for the last time.

I have been short-tempered, moody and a little meaner than usual. We all understand the reasons why, right? In addition to this very emotional stuff, I am still dealing with what is essentially premature aging in my spine and a new extended work day and a daily schedule that involves flipping my previous life upside down. I used to go to be at 2 a.m. and now my alarm wakes me at 5 a.m. That is, when cats don’t request a cuddle at 4:30 a.m.

The former friend in question here wished me a happy and safe holiday after ignoring me for the last three weeks— which unbeknownst to me was on purpose because I wouldn’t provide this person informative on a quasi-sorta date I went on. This person felt slighted and like they were not valued as a friend because I did not share something I felt was personal and none of their business (I told none of my friends) AND something that didn’t go anywhere worth reporting.

Apparently, this friend— who has a history of gaslighting— stopped looking at my social media, my blog, etc. Not once did this friend say anything to me.

This friend said nothing when my dad passed.

So, being at the end of my rope in every category, I lashed out.

I said mean things. The same mean things I have said to this person before and this person has responded not by addressing those issues but with points on how nasty I can be.

I’m wondering if I need to block this person. I don’t want to, because once upon a time this person was a good friend. But circumstances outside my control have changed my relationship with this person.

And I don’t have the emotional energy to placate people any more.

And in those same terms— I am so grateful for those friends who keep checking on me. You know, the ones that actually pay attention to what is happening in my life.

But anyway… my good day…

I am realizing more and more that stress makes my aches and pains flare. And I wonder if that contributes to the burning sensation in my quads and my instability.

At work, it quickly became apparent that I was hitting my metrics! I texted the teenager and asked if she wanted to have breakfast on my 15 minute break. She made a Dunkin run and brought the dog to see me.

I think I maintained 95% in QC all day.

Lunch was delicious — leftover chicken with vodka sauce and fresh broccoli, kale, and spinach.

And I got to style card, which I also got to do yesterday. It feels good to do something different and work in positions not everyone in the warehouse knows.

It just felt like a normal day, and I felt like me, and not a foggy me.

Struggling to find a groove

Change is hard.

Sunday we arrived at work to learn we couldn’t punch in because engineering was upgrading the time clock system. I managed to ship 374 items in 296 packages as part of the Freestyle department.

And my dad— who has been struggling with Covid— ended up back in the hospital.

But then Monday rolled around and I was back in my home department folding clothes.

I was ready to try and excel as the change in shifts has been hard. The ten hour day is amazingly smooth, but getting up at 5 a.m. is exhausting — even if I go to bed at 9 p.m.

And then we changed software and the computers couldn’t keep up with the new system so everyone was working at 80 percent. Okay, I can’t prove everyone, but there’s a day shift woman who told me she always hits her numbers and yesterday she only did 108 instead of 130.

On top of this I had several fixes that I struggled to put in an extra large box and half way through the day the stats went down.

I am struggling to stay motivated and moving without my average time per fix being tracked, let alone no stats at all.

And then some guy drilled each of our table and attached new brooms and butlers. We used to share one or two brooms per valley, now we have about 20.

Many many brooms.

And around 2:30 p.m., a day shift peer was talking to someone who might have been a processing lead and she started hysterically crying for a good 20 minutes.

So I was very glad when yesterday was over. Not only was my back hurting, but my right leg is acting up again and I have intense pains in one of my right toes.

Then today started. My computer doesn’t have a keyboard or a mouse. Just a keypad. And the computer can’t “see” it. Lost ten minutes looking for a mouse until a lead stole one on my behalf.

One of my favorite second shift QC support people— we’ll call him Flying J in honor of the way he buzzes through the valleys with carts under his arms like wings of an airplane— brought me refixes! You know, the fixes that needed to be fixed and come on top of the cart instead of inside.

AND he told day shift that I liked them.

And one of the day shift support people came to see me and said she would bring me as many as she could. Then she paused.

“I don’t know how to say this without offending you,” she said.

“Honey, you can’t offend me.”

“I see the way you work and I see the way you walk—”

I interrupted her. “I have cerebral palsy,” I said. “And right now, my spine is bent the wrong way. I struggle to get the fixes out of slots 7 & 8.”

I was really moved. I am always touched when people want to help.

And today was our December employee luncheon.

Meanwhile, at home, the teenager did a ritual (at my request) for my father’s recovery.

After work, we took the dog for ice cream at The Spot.

Bean Dog eating ice cream video.

Wednesday is the new Friday and the Rogue Employees that Sit

Greetings, kind readers (and the surly readers, too)! We did it. I heard one of our second shift process leads refer to use as “weekend warriors” and the first batch of weekend warriors has left the building.

Working four days of ten hour shifts in some ways felt easier than the traditional eight hour work day, at least for me. The longer breaks and the staggered arrangement of those breaks mimicked the work arrangement we were already used to at Stitch Fix.

I am not currently making my numbers in my home department of QC but I think I am maintaining my current performance percentage from before the change.

Today was bingo day. They periodically called bingo numbers over the warehouse speakers. I did not win.

The monumental swing of getting up at 5 a.m. has been brutal, and I am looking forward to sleeping until 7 a.m. tomorrow.

The teenager took her dad grocery shopping as the insurance adjuster declared his car totaled after Sunday’s accident.

So I asked him to stop and pick up a bottle of special whiskey that I preordered from County Seat Spirits.

But back to work… We expected the transition to first shift to have some wrinkles, but my roster (and yes me among them) seems to have made a most egregious gaffe.

We had a meeting with one roster from second shift and two rosters from day shift in the main cafeteria at 9:15 a.m. Most of our roster entered the room together and we arrived quasi-first so we did what we would normally do at a meeting in the main break room.

We sat down.

The day shift representatives came in and stared and whispered. They asked, “Can we sit down?” No one answered them. No one sat down. No one said anything to us.

After the meeting, our process lead visited us one by one and told us we cannot sit during meetings because then the cleaning crew would have to clean the tables. (Part of the company’s Covid precautions.)

Many of our day shift partners murmured about our rebellion all day.

One day shift person came over to me, as if she needed to play the role of peacekeeper, and told me she told her peers that we did things differently. That we’re more laid back.

All because we sat down.

Apparently a rebellion.

Day 3 of 10-hour day shift in the warehouse: Podcast reviews

(And a foster cat and teenager update)

This new work week is certainly moving quickly although each day I come home more exhausted. I’m hurting more once I get home, but I’m fine for the first 9+ hours of my shift. If you don’t know what I’m talking about read these:

Yesterday

Sunday

The teenager kept my car as the last two of our fosters who needed to be spayed went to Canyon River Run today. That would be Mama Danu and her tabby kitten Baile from the Celtic Pride.

She hoped to bake cookies for the platters Feline Urban Rescue and Rehab plans to distribute to the many vets who assist the organization. Her eighth grade boyfriend came over to lend a helping hand so she also taught him to make bread.

Meanwhile I just kept dreaming of an iced cold Coke Zero. And an interesting thing happened — I got to work and there was a 4-pack of 20-ounce Coke Zero bottles with a post-it note declaring them free.

I brought them home. My guess is someone didn’t realize Coke Zero had been relabeled in the same red as classic Coke.

Which my metrics tanked by the end of the day which had me chugging this at 3 p.m. break.

My 4 p.m., I was trembling and about to cry. Do. Not. Repeat.

I treated the teenager to dinner at Tic Toc so she could get her last pay check. We both ate too much.

I did my physical therapy exercises and took a hot shower. By the end of the shower my right leg was very uncomfortable so I took a low dose muscle relaxer and covered my leg, knee and back with CBD Medic’s Arthritis Cream.

One more day.

So now, as promised, let me offer some thoughts on podcasts. The teenager and I compared notes on our Spotify end-of-year wrap up and she thought she was impressive with 17,000 minutes since we started using the service in mid-year. I have 88,000+.

MY FAVORITE PODCASTS I LISTENED TO SO FAR THIS WEEK:

  • This one surprises me. The Ellen Fisher Podcast. She’s a very interesting person with her journey to raise her own food in Hawaii with her brood of plant-based kids and interest in all things calm and positive. I don’t really don’t know how I feel about her podcast — but I recently listened to her episode on Mind Change. It was an interesting discussion of neuroscience facts blended with alternative healing techniques to deal with personal trauma to heal the body of disease and mental illness. The guests on the show discuss their experience that illness, whether physical or mental, is the body manifesting trauma that the person has refused to acknowledge and heal.
  • The Daily. I often force myself to listen to the Daily even when the topics don’t interest me. This week I found myself pleasantly surprised by their coverage of Stephen Sondheim’s death.
  • Snacks Daily. Snacks Daily is a brief podcast from Robin Hood, yes the investment folks. It’s an economic summary of course, but it also provides humor and the business side of the news.
  • I finished Sh**hole Countries by Radiotopia. The American host on that show grapples with the possibility that her Ghanaian parents want her to move to Ghana. Enjoyable but also not what I expected. The host uses much of her platform to talk about her queerness and human rights.
  • The Shit No One Tells You About Writing. Very useful and broad tips about writing, critiquing and publishing.
  • Africa Daily just did a good episode on fistula. I found that a surprising topic. I’m impressed. (Though they did not mention the prevalence of female genital cutting and its impact on the rate of fistula.)

Other notables: Power Hugh Hefner, American Scandal The Lewinsky Affair, Operator, Against the Odds Rock Climbers Abducted.

And here is a video of Nala the Goffins Cockatoo: Nala harassing foster cat tripod Louise

Good night all.