As I write this, the winds are blowing fiercely and the snow is piling up like icy sand dunes — just another winter’s day in the frigid northeastern U.S.
Winter always seems like the longest season of the year but in 2014, it appears as if this extreme weather will never end. Since I work from my home now, thankfully I don’t have to go out and face the elements if I don’t want to. And I don’t want to. I’ve even changed all my appointments (doctor and otherwise) to dates in March, when hopefully getting around will be easier and I won’t get frostbitten.
But that leaves huge blocks of time to fill with something other than napping, eating and gorging on bad TV shows. I could use extra hours exercising, or cleaning the house (which is as strenuous as exercising) or finally finishing the book that’s been on my nightstand for months.
But I aim to be more productive, and so offer these ideas to keep busy until the weather becomes more bearable.
1. Clean my wheelchair. I’m not sure why it never occurs to me to wipe down all those parts of my chair that I sit atop, but from the years of grit and grime that have piled up on the frame, I’ve been terribly neglectful. So here’s my plan:
- Spread layers of newspaper (that haven’t been taken out to the recycle bin yet because it’s covered in snow) on the floor alongside my bed. (Sorry, but the garage is too frigid for this project right now.)
- Find the spray cleaner, paper towels, scrub brush, WD-40, necessary tools, and tiny scissors to cut away all the hair, Christmas tinsel, etc., that are wound up in the front casters.
- Crank up some music.
- Get on bed, flip chair over and wipe down. Don’t forget to oil up any parts that might need it, and tighten or adjust anything that’s loose.
It’s perfectly fine to nap after your chair is clean and shiny!
2. Prepare for the tax man. If you’re stuck indoors, you may as well take some time to gather the data you’ll need to file your 2013 taxes – specifically the receipts and other documents needed to claim health expenses. This link outlines what the IRS considers as deductible medical expenses.
I have a pile of receipts a mile high — copays for prescriptions, doctor visits and medical equipment — which I’ve added up three or four times getting a different sum each time. (Where’s that calculator when I need it?)
3. Start planning a summer vacation. This time last year I was planning an August cruise to Alaska, which didn’t warm me one bit up but did give me something to look forward to — and a glimmer of hope that winter would eventually end. You can read about my cruise in the March issue of New Mobility.
Perhaps you’re dreaming of sunny Florida, hot Arizona or tropical Hawaii. Now’s the time to look into all the access issues you’ll be encountering (hotel, ground transportation, attractions, etc.) and to make arrangements ahead of time to ward off any unpleasant surprises.
One good place to start are the Vacations listings found in the Classified pages of New Mobility. There are also websites totally devoted to accessible travel, including Accessible Journeys, a very helpful source of basic travel info.
I can think of no better way to spend long, cold winter days than dreaming about a trip to sun-soaked Spain or Italy — while sitting in my recently cleaned and polished chair. How are you spending your winter days?