For my regular visitors, if you find that this blog hasn't been updating much lately, chances are pretty good I've been spending my writing energy on my companion blog. Feel free to pop over to Moving On, and see what else has been going on.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Round and round we go

I've been seriously lax in updating this blog.  That's not a good thing, since this is where I'm supposed to be keeping at least some record of our home schooling activities.  I've discovered a few different short cuts to posting, some of which don't require actually being on the computer, that should make things easier - I just have to remember to use them!!  Most of the time, I've been using them to make more posts on my companion blog

One of the main issues that has been keeping me away from my writing has been my husband's ongoing health problems.  He's been working from home quite a lot lately.  I am so incredibly grateful for how supportive his employers have been!  Just to give an idea of how often he can't make it into the office; this past week, he made it in to the office on Monday.  Tuesday, he lasted until 11, then finished the day at home.  Wednesday, he worked from home again, but by Thursday he was in so much pain, he wasn't even able to do that.  Friday, he worked from home again.

With as much absenteeism as he's been having, it was no surprise when, a while back, he got called into a meeting with the new HR person.  It's always nerve wracking when that happens.  There is always this fear in the background that he's going to lose his job.  Each time this has happened, however, he's only been asked what was going on, and if something at work has been causing problems (high stress levels, for example).  The last time this happened, he had been called to a meeting at office headquarters, which is just a few blocks from our place.  He can't really walk the distance anymore, so I drove him in, then found a place to pull over so I could drive him to his work site after.  Instead, I got a text saying to go home.  The person he was meeting was running late.  She ended up being 20 minutes late, breezing in with a passing apology, then started asking him about the absenteeism.  By the time he described what was going on with his back, the entire atmosphere of the meeting changed dramatically.  He got a much more serious apology for her lateness, as well as for asking him to go to HQ for the meeting instead of her going to his work site or just having a phone meeting.  After more discussion, one of the things that came up was how painful it is to sit for extended periods.  We've been able to set him up at home where he can sit with better support for longer, plus he can go lie down when he has to, but he doesn't have anything like that at work.  In the end, with a prescription for a proper chair from the doctor's office (did you know you can get a prescription for a chair?  You can!), she started to ball rolling and he soon had a new chair at the office that provided the lumbar support and adjustability he needs.  Things got a bit weird when they suddenly came to take the chair back - it turned out to be just a tester - but his on-site boss had a bit of a fit when he found out about it and was able to get it back again, rather than waiting the 4-6 weeks it would take to get the paperwork finished.

Yeah, 4-6 weeks.  Did I mention he works with a government office? :-P

Anyhow; his employers have really been bending over backwards for him, and I just can't express enough how much that means to us!!

There are two downsides to Dh working from home so much, though.  One is, he really doesn't have the temperament for it.  He's gotten a lot better than in past attempts to work from home, but I think it has more to do with the fact that he has little choice than because it's gotten any easier for him.  Even so, after a while, he really starts to go stir crazy.  He *needs* to get out and to the office.  Interestingly, he often accomplishes more working from home than in the office.  Fewer disruptions, no getting pulled into sudden meetings and so on.  That probably goes a long way to alleviating any concerns his employers might have to his working from home so often.  Still, sometimes he just needs to get face to face with his co-workers, the client and so on.  On top of that, cabin fever starts to eat at him and he starts getting all jittery and stuff.

Meanwhile, he didn't even bother to mention the problems he's been having with his knees, ankle and a few other issues he's been having. 

As for treatment, he's been in a bit of a bind.  One of the best things he can do, and recommended to him at the spine clinic, is swimming.  He's got a gym membership and he's supposed to do more to improve core strength and try to lose at least some of the weight to take the pressure off his back.  The specialist at the spine clinic didn't make a big deal about the weight and was very clear that he understood that this was something Dh has little control over.  As long as he can manage to improve his core strength, it'll help, even if it doesn't translate into lower numbers on the scale.

So Dh has started swimming.  He's starting slow; just once a week, doing breast stroke laps.  Unfortunately, even taking it as easy as he is, by the next day he can barely stand upright, never mind walk, from the pain.  It's going to take time and we know it, but it's incredibly frustrating.  Dh has always been very physically active, so on top of the frustration, it's a pretty huge blow to his ego.

The other downside of Dh working from home so often is that he needs the desktop.  Which means the girls and I get it for 2 hours when he takes lunch.  Yes, when he's at home, he takes 2 hour lunches, which involve lying down.  He doesn't take any of the 15 minute coffee breaks he's supposed to.  At the office, unless he goes out to lunch, he eats at his desk then closes his eyes to music.  It works out.

One thing he has learned to do when working from home is to "leave the office" at the end of the day.  In the past, he ended up working longer hours from home than he would have outside of home, and that was just not a good thing at all.  Now he's very firm about ending his day.  He does, however, still enjoy his Warcraft, and the office chair we've got at home is still the best one we've got in the house for his back, so he does come back on again later in the evening.

Which means the rest of us have just a few hours to catch up on the things we need to do on the desktop.  Eldest often has pages to scan for her online comic, or paintings to scan in pieces and stitch together to post in her online gallery. She's got her photo blog now, too.

Eldest has really been focusing on her art.  She's now set up to do online sales and commissions.  She's pushing to get a large buffer of pages finished for the comic so that she doesn't have to worry about it during the summer festival season.  For one of them, which will be weekly in a nearby bedroom community, I plan to set up a booth and sell my crochet, too.  We're hoping it'll work out better than last year.  A few changes have already been made that should improve things.

Youngest is still in a bit of a funk.  She wants a direction to aim for, but has no idea where that is.  She's still enjoying her guitar lessons, though she isn't practicing as much as she knows she should, which bugs her.  She's been working on her own art skills which have been improving, though she's having a hard time seeing that in herself (flipping through old sketchbooks helps).  Her interest in mythology has had her finish going through all the Norse stuff she could find and she's now working her way through Icelandic sagas.  She still detests Greek and Roman mythology. *L*  She's been working on a few crochet designs, and has taught herself to knit, which had her almost immediately doing cables and now she's working on a pair of socks for me using elastic yarn and 4 needles. 

Then she wonders why the rest of us are all agog at her progress.

We haven't been able to take her out driving as often as we expected to, so we're planning on using some of our homeschool funding to pay for her to go to a driving school.  I have to find one that does purchase orders, which means I need both the computer and the phone at the same time; something I haven't had during business hours with Dh working from home so often. *sigh*  She's also wanting to get herself a job, but doesn't know what job she wants to apply for (though she knows what she *doesn't* want, such as cashier or sales).  Will need to help her with that.  There are lots of jobs available right now, so it's mostly her own self doubt that is keeping her from going out there and getting one. 

As for me, I've been teaching crochet classes, but as a job and as private lessons.  Not a lot of people around here are interested in taking classes, though.  Instead, I've been getting commissions, which is kinda nice.  I'll use this summer to see how doing market sales will work out, and I still need to sit down at the computer and write out some of my patterns to international standards so I can start selling them.  I've also got some writing work that I need to step up on, as well as a novel to finish before I can start doing re-writes.

So while things have been quite on the blog, it's because things have been hectic in the real world - which means I've had plenty to write about, but little opportunity to actually do it until things start getting quite late. 

Like right now, as I finish this at past 2 am!!