I’m very short. This is something I regularly make fun of. Four years ago, I measured four feet, 8 and a half (or three quarters) tall. I’ve shrunk since then by maybe an inch, or two. (This was discovered over measuring my height with each subsequent pregnancy.) We’re not sure why I’ve shrunk. I just have. I tease my husband Rhys that I’ll be pocketsized by the time I’m sixty. David teases me about my height and eating like a bird. (Though, now that we have a pet parrot, Riley, he is starting to revise the opinion about ‘eat like a bird.’)
My lack of height was hammered home when one day, while my son was in 3rd grade (Year 3) I went to pick him up, and his classmates were either my height or taller. General reaction: O_O that’s your MOM?! (His classmates remembered me as taller; they used to come up to me for hugs when they were in grade 1.) Vincent is 9 and I rather expect he’ll be taller than I am by the end of the year.
I buy clothes in the children’s department, which has it’s own issues because while I’m the height of someone in the 12 year old size, I’ve got the full hips of someone who has borne four children (These hips don’t lie!) I can’t get any size larger because then the legs or hems would be too long, and the waistline will fall off me. On the other hand, I’m also able to buy shoes in the children’s department, and I can find size 5 shoes that fit, with a heel height that’s just comfortable for me.
But I can live with that.
What I’ve been discovering the negative effects of lately is the fact that I don’t fit into furniture that is sized for the average Australian. Since I moved here, I sit in chairs crosslegged because if I don’t do that, my feet dangle about a foot or more off the ground. The gas-lift chair we got for me to use at the computer always had to be at the full height for me to have my arms comfortably at the same height as the top of the desk; I have to climb in and out of my chair and pull myself into position by grabbing the desk. It took a long time before we found a footstool, and was able to get only one, for my work computer setup.
When I game though, David sets up a system for me to use in his room because it’s easier than yelling across the house. Sure, we use voice chat too for the rest of the team, but keeping each other company helps stave off the random flashbacks we both have of the day that Brandon died. (We have different ones that we focus on.) I’ll cheerfully admit that often, the severe depression I have had since then is bad to the point where I cannot find the energy to move. I don’t want to get out of bed. David urging me to go play gets me to do something other than sit and cry or sit and be numb. I also feel something else other than numb grief. Shooting virtual enemies is a safe outlet for my rage and loss (and I don’t have anywhere I can hang a punching bag) and frankly, I’d rather choke on laughter from listening to David’s near constant running sarcastic commentary when we have a miserable PUG (pick-up-group) than choking on tears. (I do other things too, but they don’t always require me sitting down.) There were long spates of my catching whatever shiny new plague the local elementary produced, so David also made sure to feed me (hot drinks, cup soups, soft boiled eggs, or anything that could be warmed up in the oven.) Before anyone asks: Yes, I’m seeing a therapist, one who I don’t want to strangle and works with PTSD sufferers. She’s good.
Unfortunately for me, the chair I was using was too short for the desk by a good six inches. My feet still dangled a couple of inches or so off the floor, but now I had the added problem of having to hunch myself up (I know, weird mental image) as well as cross my legs. Doing this for a few months for several hours a day (the time between the kids leaving for, and coming home from school) resulted in pain. Lots of pain. My feet were always in the en pointe position and straining the tendons in my soles, my shoulders hunched to accommodate forearms and access to keyboard and mouse, and odd hip positions to take all of that into account. Long story short, muscles and tendons are unhappy and I’m having problems walking now. This was making me increasingly cranky from pain – defeating the whole purpose of why I was playing.
So, today, Rhys took a saw to the table and shortened it by about a foot, with David’s blessing. We decided against shortening the chair I’m currently using because a footstool helps (I had a pouf that was too short for my workstation) because shortening the table the necessary foot and some inches would’ve made it too short to accommodate the computer tower. Hopefully given some time, my feet and back will recover, along with my temper.
We’re also looking at getting me a drafting chair, because those things have that foot rung on the bottom for me to put my feet on. Rhys is considering whether he should take the saw to the desk in our room and shorten that table by the requisite amount (the rocking chair next to it is the only chair in the whole house that doesn’t need modifying for me to sit in comfortably with my feet able to touch the floor!)
I’m somewhat upset that my other forms of therapy (walking, making foods like bread) are going to be put on hold for a while, but that’s just how it is. I can’t walk much until my feet recover.