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Thread: Living Alone

  1. #1

    Living Alone

    Hi everyone,

    I may or may not have a job very soon: I made it through three rounds of in-person interviews, at the end of which I was told that they considered me a very strong candidate, and that they were supposed to see one more person, but he or she would have to do *extremely* well to get a leg up on me. I should know by this time tomorrow whether or not I got the job.

    Since the job is about two hours away from here by public transport, though, I'll likely be looking to move if I get it. I have friends in the new city (which is why I would actually like to move), but none that I can move in with right now. I would probably be living alone.

    In and of itself, living alone doesn't scare me. I basically lived alone for close to seven years when I was still in school. But that was before I became a full-time wheelchair user. For the past twelve-plus months, I've been living with my parents. My mother usually prepares the hot meals, and because she has rheumatic arthritis, we have hired help to do the cleaning once a week. If I had a job, I might be able to eat a hot meal at work once a day during the week, but were I to move out of my parents' house, that would still mean I'd have to cook for myself on the weekends.

    Groceries are no problem: I can get them delivered on my doorstep by a supermarket close by. But cooking and then eating hot meals has proven to be somewhat logistically challenging for me, when I've tried to do it over the last year. Actually, when the supplies are all stowed in a place where I can get to them easily, the cooking itself isn't even the problem. It's that I can't seem to figure out a safe way to transport the cooked meal from the counter to the dining table. If I try to bring pots and pans to the table, I burn my thighs, and if I try to bring a full plate to the table, nine times out of ten, it drops to the floor before I get there.

    Also challenging: using a vacuum cleaner, taking out the trash, and transporting heavy loads of laundry while outdoors (I need to be able to do this, because I don't drive, and I won't have the money to buy my own washing machine right away).

    If anyone has any pointers on how to accomplish any of these things independently, I'd be delighted to hear about them. Keep in mind that I will be renting, so remodeling options are limited to moving some of the furniture around.

    Thanks in advance!

    - Sara

  2. #2
    Sara, I can't think of any pointers right now, but just want to say that my fingers are crossed for you to get the job - I hope you hear good news about it no later than tomorrow, and preferably sooner!

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    last house on the left
    My single most used device for lap safety is a nice thick plastic tray with a raised lip all around. It is how I carry hot dishes to the table, and if it happens to slop over the side of the plate it is easy to just stick the entire tray under the faucet. By yourself a couple of those silicone hot mats too, as they can also just be rinsed off unlike the cloth versions. They serve the added benefit of acting as a non-skid device for the plates you have put on your tray. I have a cordless vacumn cleaner. It isn't terribly powerful, but it saves the nightmare of wheelchair wheels and cords being hopelessly entwined. I have hardwood floors so it is fine for those, and mostly I am sucking up cat hair anyway. I really do not cook, but I microwave a lot. Everything from the predictable already made meals to soups and even omlettes can be done in a microwave. For laundry I have a canvas bag that holds a bunch of clothes and can put it on my lap to carry.

  5. #5
    As far as transpoting pots and pans, a narrow tray with the rubberized pot holders to protect the legs and belly if you have a quad belly like me works well for me. Good luck!

  6. #6
    X 2 on the tray. I have one. I also have a box...just a box that fits between my tires, for when I'm picking up debris around the house or carrying clean clothes to my room. To deal w/ trash, in the house I tie up the bag and carry it on my lap, w/ my teeth. (This is disgusting, I know, and I hate it.) My trash barrels sit outside my back door, I just throw the bags in. The hard part is getting the barrels Down to the street, I live uphill. I just found a bungie cord that fits the rail bar thingy on the back of my chair, and the handle on the wheeled trash barrels that the city requires.

    It's a HUGE challenge.

    The other day my son and his friends pulled up just as I was bungie-ing the trash down. I grinned, watched their faces "No way, dude, look at your mom."

    I hollered "Who's mama's a badass??! CHO mama's a badass!!"

    (Yes, 2 20 somethings in the house and I'm hauling trash. But that's another story. Yay for independence!)

    ETA: One of the greatest things about living basically alone is eating straight from the pan. Less dishes! I'm becoming like a feral cat, uncivilized and non-domestic for sure.

    Edit again-Steal a basket from your grocer immediately, those things are invaluable! I need 10, tho, mine is full of mail I'm procrastinating. While I teach you the joys of independence, do as I say, not as I do...lest your stolen basket be full of important mail and unpaid bills.
    Last edited by betheny; 07-31-2011 at 01:46 PM.

  7. #7
    Moderator jody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    east o the southern warren
    funny beth, you are badass, and it is so good to see you posting again.

    Saranoya how awesome! Im so excited for you.
    Good luck with your new job, an house hunt.

  8. #8
    Sara, I think the most important thing is to have an accessible kitchen and bathroom. It makes everything much easier.

    Everything in my kitchen is electric, the benches, the sink, the cabinets so I can take them up and down.

    And do like Betheny tells you, steel a basket from the shop. Why haven't I been thinking on that before. Beth, you didn't tell me I'll do that tomorrow
    TH 12, 43 years post

  9. #9
    Senior Member ZEN12many's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Woodland, CA, USA Old male, T12 incomplete TM 2004
    Re laundry, I use a net draw string laundry bag. I put the string around my neck with the bag in my lap and adjust the string so it doesn't fall off my lap. After the clothes are washed and dried, I fold everything big and stack it on my lap. The small things go unfolded in the laundry bag. Then, I put the string around my neck, and tuck the bag beneath the stack of clothes on my lap to keep it altogether.

    Re cooking - microwave.

    Re carrying your food - I make up my plate in the kitchen and then carry it in one hand while I wheel with the other. Then I switch to the other hand. I wheel in semicircles until I get to where I am going.
    TM 2004 T12 incomplete

  10. #10
    Thanks everyone for the pointers!

    Bente, the kitchen with benches and cupboards going up and down is something I would very much like to have, and I can even get some of it funded by the government. But it's something I can only do if/when I buy my own home. I've calculated that I need about double what I have in savings now in order to get an affordable mortgage, so it'll be a while.

    @ZEN12many, wheeling one-handed requires a lot of space between the furniture in order for me not to bump into it. I know, because I've tried that at home, and it earned me my mother's wrath . But if I can find a big enough place (or just don't put much furniture in it), that might work. Thanks.

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