“Crisis” is acute, rather than chronic. It demands swift action, and, though it’s extreme, it normally passes pretty quickly. I don’t know what to call it, when it goes on for a long time. Depression, maybe? That doesn’t sound drastic enough. I’m sure there are some people who live with constant crisis: those who are living in war zones; those who have serious disease in their family; the homeless; the desperate. It’s hard to think about.
In my life, crisis is a short-term thing. Life bumps along, with minor ups and downs, and a few unexpected curves. Then something happens, and suddenly I’m in crisis!
It happened to me recently. On the day after Thanksgiving. I was working at the hardware store. Freight had come early, because of the holiday, so most of it was already put away. Olya, the young woman I often work with, helped me to finish that job early. Then, we looked around for our next project.
We had already taken a few days in the previous week to unpack and set up all of the Christmas items, and decorate the store inside and out. We are working on an on-going basis at fixing locations, straightening shelves, and updating prices. Bringing over-stock up from the basement or down from the high shelves is also something that we work at daily. Along with customer service, these things aren’t a “project” so much as just a regular part of the job.
The nail section definitely needs attention. Because of current manufacturing issues, some regular inventory is unavailable, and we’ve had to substitute others. The fill-ins come in various-sized boxes that don’t fit into our display. In addition, a group of inexperienced summer help resulted in many things being put away in the wrong location. So, that section is a huge job that would involve moving shelves and rearranging thousands of boxes of nails and screws. Too big a job for the day after Thanksgiving.
In this way, we looked around, noted things that needed to be done, and assessed our time and ability. Winter hats, gloves and scarves had to be brought upstairs. The big order for the last ferry boat has to be considered. Ice melt has to be brought up from the basement. The chain saws have to be displayed.
We started with the chain saws. There was room on the high shelves over the paint-mixing area. They’d be visible from the entry door, and from the front of the store. A ladder would be needed to get them down, but that was okay. The slow selling items that were on display there would have to be moved up to the even higher shelves. All of the shelves would need to be cleaned; the merchandise would all have to be tagged.
I started on the eight-foot ladder, then quickly realized I’d need the bigger one. Olya carried the short ladder to the back; I carried the twelve-foot ladder to the front. It was then, or in the next few minutes when I was on the high reaches of the ladder, leaning out to rearrange the inventory and wipe down the shelves, and hefting heavy chain saws up and over to arrange them on shelves, that I noticed my back was going out.
I know the early signs, and have learned to pay attention to the warnings. Once, I was so crippled with a bad back that I had to spend an extra week downstate, unable to move without assistance, let alone drive! I was seeing a chiropractor several times a day, and laying around my sister’s house the rest of the time, leaning heavily on muscle relaxers and pain pills. I’m sure I was the poorest company she’d ever had!
So, when I feel that twinge, that tells me I have pushed too far, I know to listen. Ibuprofen immediately! That allowed me to finish my day at work. We finished the chain saw display. I brought up two side shelves, one spinning display, and three totes full of hats and scarves, and got most everything out and displayed.
At the end of my work day, I went home and started my regimen of heating pad, gentle exercise, ice packs and ibuprofen. I know what works, and I know it’s important. When my back goes out, it is always a crisis, but if I take care of it, it’s just a short term inconvenience.