Friday, March 23, 2012

Such an odd life.

First off, yay Spring! Right? The forsythia is blooming and the bulbs are spouting. I took the chance to step out of my work zone for a while yesterday and play with my newer camera. This is the first time my camera has stepped out into the garden with me. I am quite pleased with the results.
Of course, after a few minutes of snapping pictures I noticed all the weeds coming up and got my hands filthy in the mud, yanking out crab and quack grass, dandelions, and more. Bah. Can't wait for some more blooms to photograph.
So my curiosity today is my kind of *work* vs. a more conventional job. One of the biggest challenges I face working from home is doing anything but working. I mean, really, sewing is infinitely more appealing than scrubing the tub. And pinterest is research and development when you're a crafter, right? On the other hand, I can't work when the home around me is out of control. A delightful paradox, I know.
But before anyone harasses me for complaining that I get to be home with my kids, or that I can work in my pajamas, remember I can't really have a conventional job with fibromyalgia, a back that prevents me from standing straight up for more than 10 minutes most of the time, and a husband with a ridiculously unpredictable Army schedule. Even if my back is out, or my fibromyalgia is whack, I can sit on the couch and make a fabric flower. I can lift my arms enough to tuck pillows around them and prop up my knitting in front of me. I have no quotas to make, no boss to get angry if my fatigue is ridiculous...
Kay? Kay.
So as I was saying, I'm having trouble putting work down lately. I'm wonder if this will backfire at some point. I also wonder if those of you with more conventional jobs have the same issues. How does that work for an hourly employee? For me, I wake up, check Etsy, and start making things. Sometimes I make things before I get my first cup of coffee. Or turn the computer on. Sometimes I forget to eat! I find taking my son to preschool two days a week a serious disruption to my work flow, but a great excuse to go get more supplies. At night, when my husband wants me to spend time with him, I have to sew or knit next to him. I know most of the shows we *watch* by the voices, and steal glances up to keep track of what's going on. It is not uncommon after a new character has been on a show for a few episodes for me to suddenly look up and ask, "Who is that?" I can't keep my hands just resting my in lap. I would go crazy.
Setting hours for myself causes me unbelievable anxiety. Seriously, having a deadline is my worst enemy. I can't seem to concentrate on time; even having to think about time at all causes panic. Even waiting for the bus brings about a little bit of panic. I think it comes from the inability to focus which comes from fibromyalgia. Say, if I know the bus will be dropping Ben off in 20 minutes, during that time I can get sidetracked to the point where I have no concept of the 20 minutes window even beginning. I have to sort of force myself to prop open the door (easier in spring time) or have Hunter watch for the bus for me. So this working in bits and pieces, but having the freedom to go deep into my creative mode uninterrupted by time or rules, and having projects strewn around the house in baskets- this is just the way it works for me.
Another interesting thing I noticed yesterday? I consider cleaning the house a break from work. What planet am I from? Oddly, the cleaning in spurts works best for me. It is right in line with the concept of activity mapping- an idea taught to me by my physical therapist. The idea is that most people with fibromyalgia get a good day once in a while, and tend to try and get everything they've had to put off done on that one-good-day, likely resulting in 3-4 bad days, where almost nothing can be accomplished, thus beginning the cycle again. Sounds so obvious once you hear it, but I never noticed it until she pointed it out. It is a vicious cycle, and I used to live in it. I live by activity mapping, or deliberately spreading out heavy physical activities over the week so as not to trigger a terrible 3 day stint of fibromyalgia pain as a result of doing everything I possibly can on the one day I feel good. I don't actually draw a map, I keep it in my head. Hardest part is telling myself to stop. When you feel great and have energy the natural inclination is to keep going. I'd do 15 hours in the garden with nothing but a sip of water if I didn't stop and think. Tell myself, go hydrate yourself. Eat something. Wash your hand and sew a bit. Go sit on the back porch and knit for awhile. Likewise, if I've been on my butt sewing for hours, I tell myself, get up, get those juices flowing and vacuum the house. So weird when you lay it out like that. But also kinda cool that my job is the fun part, and the cleaning is the break.
This is all fine and wonderful. For now. I'm enjoying the creative flow. How great is it that I like to make things, and someone actually wants to buy them? I'm going to keep it up as long as I can. And as long as people are enjoying my stuff.
Is that what it is like for other people who work from home? My husband's job doesn't really stop when he gets home. He has to stay on top of e-mails, he gets random phone calls all-the-time about something being locked, someone needing something taken somewhere, lodging, etc. So I guess what I wanna know is in the real world do you folks really come home and leave work behind? Or does work come right through the dinner table, and plop right down on the couch with you later?
What about other crafters? I know a lot of people have workshops or craft rooms. My craft room is our dining room, which is attached to our living room. My desk is our coffee table. Do you carry your stuff around with you? Tell me. I'm dying to know.

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