Crops can be tough for the chronically painful. You sit in a sometimes-unforgiving chair for hours on end. The crop machine can be set too high for the wheelchair-bound, there's no place to park your cane while you use it, and the arm may require your full bodyweight to pop out one weensy mailing tag. A crop set in a store has some added obstacles, with all those seductive aisles of magic metallic powders, sheets and sheets of paper, and inks...let's not forget the inks...
No matter what, you're probably going to return home in more pain than when you left, but I've found a few tricks that help minimize the punishment on flimsily constructed bodies like mine.
- Try to sit near an outlet. If you mention you want to be near one when you make your reservation, it will help a lot. This way, you can bring along a heating pad which can help a ton when the third hour rolls around. If you can't get an outlet or you don't go for heat...
- Be prepared. Bring along some of those instant cold snap-packs. They fit easily in your purse and are there when you need one. They aren't funny smelling like icy-hot, a substance I personally deplore. They also make instant hot stick on patches that can be handy provided you don't squirm around too much. I haven't had much luck keeping them stuck to me but they'll do if there's no other option or you don't like being tethered to the wall. If you get desperate for a cold-pack, see if you can swipe some ice from the cooler or buy a soda from a machine. It won't stay cold as long, but it'll do in a pinch.
- Space out your die cutting if you are using a manual cutter. I always feel worse when I die cut for 30 minutes solid, than when I split it up into short intervals. Know when to stop, too. If you start feeling the burn...you probably aren't doing yourself any favors, no matter what Richard Simmons tells all those unhandi-peeps.
- Bring a friend who really likes you. Don't be a pest, but most of my pals don't mind making a few die cuts for me, squeezing a punch I can't get to work, or bending over to help me pick up my cane when I drop it. Friends are great when it comes to grabbing stuff from low shelves. And if they're hot, you can enjoy the view, too, naughty girl!
- Always pack your pillbox in case you need a pain pill or muscle relaxer. It sounds obvious, but it's also easy to forget when you are packing up your stuff.
- Don't be afraid to leave early if necessary. You got to hang out and have a good time for a while right? There is no shame in quitting while you're ahead. You don't have to try to make it through the whole thing. If you got a few good hours out of the crop, that's a whole lot better than being stuck in the house all day.
I'd love to hear suggestions from others...leave a comment here and I'll add my favorites to the list. Don't be shy...I'll draw a name at random to receive a Stampin' Up page kit I put together myself (yeah, I'm a demonstrator--how'd you guess?) as a RAK! Make sure to leave your email or Fiskateer number so I can reach you if you win!