Saturday, June 21, 2014

My First Paper Pumpkin - Just in Time!

I know, seeing as I'm a demonstrator you'd think that I wouldn't have waited until now to subscribe to Paper Pumpkin. There are a few reasons that I held back as long as I did. The first reason is easy, I'm cheap, hate spending money, I'll admit it. Hate spending money, and I will admit that this mentality has always ended up being more costly in the long run, but it's a tough habit to break. I'm working on it.

The second reason is probably a bit more common, I like to be creative. I see the kits in the catalog, or the subscription based ones and regardless of how cute they are, I find myself thinking that it seems to much like cheating. I mean, I want to envision something in my head, dig through every basket of my supplies to find just the right pieces to use, and end up with a creation that almost sort of resembles that seemingly unattainable perfect vision I had. It makes me feel like I did something. Sure, I didn't change the world, I probably didn't even make a difference in anyone's life by creating it, but I end up with a tangible product that is of my own creation.

The third reason? I like surprises, I do, but not when it's "surprise! your checking account went negative by $1 because you failed to remember that all of your scheduled monthly payments, regardless of when they are SUPPOSED to be debited from your account, were all taken out on the same day, which just happens to be the day your husband "forgot" to go to the bank and put his check in."

It doesn't seem to matter that you scheduled these automatic transactions at staggered dates throughout the month, or what kind of calendar you track them on, SOMETHING always seems to go amiss, and that $36 could have been spent on something useful! I don't do monthly subscriptions, not unless I can just pay for it ahead of time and not have to worry surprise overdraft fees.  

Last month I saw that Stampin' Up! was now offering a prepaid alternative for Paper Pumpkin. Yay! I thought about it for a few days, and figured why the heck not? I didn't want to wait until it was too late and see a whole bunch of cute creations start popping up in the blogosphere, and kick myself for not taking a few minutes and spending $19.95 to at least see what this Paper Pumpkin thing is all about.

At the time I also had noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to create much of anything, so I figured it really couldn't hurt to have something on hand that could be assembled without getting off the couch if need be. I have always just pushed through illness and injury, so it was more of a doomsday preparation than anything. I'm glad I had the foresight. About 3 weeks ago it became more than just "taking it easy". There was no pushing through, that made things hurt more. I had to admit defeat. I had to move from my new position on the couch, a piece of furniture that I have never spent much time with, to my bed. 

Bed? During the day? This isn't me!  Help! Fix it! Fine, I will see a doctor, or 10, just tell me what I have to do to get my life back. Not so simple. Getting to the doctor hurt, I'm no longer even driving, but the car ride hurts. Sitting in the waiting room hurts. But he has steroids, and he's the best around, and since he doesn't look panic stricken, this means I'll be back to myself in no time, right? Not so much. Steroids have always been synonymous with relief for me, seeing as I have Crohn's Disease. My logic says that even if he injected them in my big toe, I should feel slightly better. Why do I not feel better? It makes no sense. Back to bed for me after that appointment with nothing but more question marks looming over my head. I have the TV off, not necessarily because there's nothing worth watching on. No, it's a matter of principal for me. If you're at home during the day and staring at a TV screen, you have failed. I'm not judging anyone else, this is merely a picture in my head of what I did not want to do with my life, so the TV stays off. 

Ok, well that's great. I love a good book. Wait, books are all still the garage. With the exception of my Bible, my quad, and a few beloved Joyce Myer books and the Glenn Beck books I had autographed last summer, everything else is packed. Ok, love Glenn, let's read that. A few pages in, I realize that I don't need to feel more helpless. My head already feels like it may implode at any moment. But I can't think about anything like that right now, not when all I have is time to think and no way to do anything. Joyce Myer, yep, but they don't fill the whole day. Same for the Bible and all of my Scriptures. Definitely need them, but I can't spend the entire day reading anything. My vision is far too bad for that and my good hand is going numb. Can't have cubital tunnel surgery now, don't want to have it later, can't have arm in book holder mode longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Well ok then. Candy crush is only fun until you have no lives left. I'm not paying for them. I'm certainly not spamming the friends that I have managed to keep with requests for extra lives in Candy Crush. Plus, same as the book, can't hold an iPhone or iPad at that angle either. I've already skimmed through the last 10 years of Stampin' Up catalogs and miscellaneous magazines on crafts. I even read through Mom's stash of random magazines that she kindly brought over. Heavy on the pictures, because at this point there isn't much energy left to even think. 

I figure if I have one of the kids bring in some of the new catalog stuff that I will be inspired. Maybe I can envision something and turn it into a real creation. Ok, maybe, but even after trying this repeatedly, having them fetch the needed supplies from my desk and all, I find that I've gone through 3 whole sheets of Whisper White card stock just trying to stamp a simple sentiment to cut out. Not a one of the stamped sentiments was even close to useable. I can't explain why this is, but I certainly know that the frustration did not help boost morale any. 

So there I am, left with just my thoughts, and the 3 cats that are piled on me in a tumor-like fashion. This is not a good thing. I give in and take something for the pain, thinking that maybe if I'm able to eliminate just a bit of it I'll be able to do something other than lay in bed. Or maybe it will take away enough pain and my brain will be able to think creative thoughts. Ha! Feel so funny that creative thoughts are clearly not on the agenda. Yes, I'm a lightweight.

Scrap that idea. Even if I can relieve some pain and make it out of bed, I know darn well that I'm not going to take enough of it for a long enough period of time for that funny feeling to not bother me. At this point I am driving myself insane. I feel bad for those who have no choice but to be around me. I don't even want to be around me. 

And finally the doorbell rings. The neighbor is holding that little orange box that I have been looking oh so forward to seeing. Not sure why it was delivered to her mailbox instead of mine, but that's ok, because my husband is in charge of retrieving our mail these days, and had it been delivered to our box, I would probably still be waiting a few weeks more for it.

As clearly demonstrated here, not having something to occupy one's time can indeed lead to insanity. I was so happy to have that little orange box. I had no idea of what the box actually contained. But I did know that there was hope inside the box. I didn't care if I was just copying instructions. Any previous negative thoughts that I had harbored about kits being too simple or unoriginal were long gone. What had only one month ago been something that I was curious about turned into something that represented hope, a reason to smile, a break from my thoughts, and the highlight of my month. What seemed so simple not very long ago had become more than just an orange box that I had to worry about justifying spending $20 on if my husband saw it. Yes, this really was what I thought when I ordered it. Yet another benefit of the prepaid subscription.

I was finally able to make something. It sounds really simple. Even having lived for many years with a chronic illness, I don't think I could have fully appreciated just how big an impact something so seemingly small could have. It was the first time I felt something other than hopeless, frustrated, or upset in 3 weeks. No, it doesn't cure me. But I know all too well from experience that maintaining as much "normal" as possible in the face of adversity goes a long way to preserve one's mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

I apologize for making what could have been short an incredibly long story. I'm just happy to finally have been able to make something! This month's kit is awesome, too. I was hoping it was going to be something patriotic, and it is, but it's also a whole lot of cute! Even if I felt awesome, it would take a lot of time to track down the "ingredients" to recreate this. It would certainly cost a lot more, which was surprising to me. 

I plan to continue when I make a full recovery. You never know when you might need to make something on short notice. If this month's kit is any indication of what's to come, quality and cuteness are included, so you don't have to sacrifice those. I will admit that I was afraid that maybe the "ingredients" would be not quite the same quality as similar stand alone items sold in the catalog. They far exceed what I was expecting. And hey, if you ever find yourself down, it wouldn't hurt to have a stockpile of little orange boxes on hand. As I have found, this reason alone is more than enough. The beauty of the prepaid subscription is that you can buy it now and activate it whenever you want, or as a gift.

I won't lie, I'd love nothing more than for you to order some, but that isn't the reason I'm posting. I'm posting because for the first time in weeks I have a reason to. I imagine the other reason is probably fueled by pain meds, so I will apologize for that. Now you see what I mean when I say I don't like them. Mostly though, even though I thought I knew the value of this while I was anticipating its arrival, even I was shocked at just how much of a difference it made. I plan to buy a few one month prepaid subscriptions to hang onto and use as gifts in the future when someone else is going through a rough patch or needs some cheering up. 

I could have never imagined just how much one little orange box could make. Now that I know, I can use my experience to hopefully put a smile on someone's face in the future with the simple gift. And here is a picture of the 3 that I created last night. I know, they aren't an original creation, but I created something. Also, I love the little straws. I've been wanting to buy some for a while now, but the cheap voice in my head always won that battle. Loving the pinwheels too. To be honest, I'd forgotten how to make them! These are 100% idiot proof. They are also 100% cute! I'm in love with the paper.

1 comment:

  1. This is awesome! I have Syringomyelia, 3 non-cancerous tumors on my spine and arthritis. I have days, weeks and months like this. After my first surgery it has been somewhat better. Did you finally find out what was going on ?