Category Archives: Announcements

Apologies and a quick update

Hey gang,

I’m sorry that my blog post did not go up as planned yesterday. It has been a very strange and stressful week.

Originally, I had planned to head north to Massachusetts later this week to spend time with my Boss and his family, do our yearly inventory, and work at ConnectiCon. Unfortunately, SC and I had some financial scheduling issues, including tenants that were several months behind on rent. We had to go to our family for assistance in making our mortgage payment. I had canceled my trip, rescheduling it so that it fell after SC’s next paycheck.

Late last night, my boss called me, asking “How soon can you get here?” I was/am still flabbergasted. My train ticket is covered. I have less than 24 hours to pack. I LOVE my boss. While he won’t ask it of me, I plan to work my tail off.

So, the month of July is going to be incredibly busy. I have Fourth of July with the Boss and family (fun!!), Inventorying tons of t-shirts and plushies, and ConnectiCon. Then I come home with just enough time to do laundry and kiss SC before heading to Otakon. While at Otakon, we have my Blogiversary and Shark Week! So very busy! Lots to do, lots to share with all of you!

Best,

PuzzlePaws

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Donation Day! Or, Sharing is Caring.

This is another of those prose heavy posts.

For the last few weeks I’ve been going through my puzzle piles. This has become incredibly necessary as yard sale season progresses. In the summer, when my health allows, I love to shop yard sales, estate sales and thrift stores.  Unfortunately, this means that the number of puzzles I have outnumbers the amount I can feasibly do.

What to do? For me, I share the wealth! I had to face my phone anxiety and call several of the local senior centers, senior homes, and our local children’s hospital. In doing so, I found which places would only receive brand new puzzles and which would happily take used ones.

SC and I sorted and photographed all the puzzles for tax purposes (Remember! Can’t pay the IRS in puzzles).

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Then everything was boxed up for transport. We spent yesterday afternoon driving to 2 different locations for puzzle delivery. One was one of our local Senior homes, and the staff was super helpful and glad of the delivery! They have clients in various states of ability, and my mixed box of puzzles was sure to be a hit.  The second location was the city-run senior center. The staff there was a little less enthused, but still helpful.

SC and I are planning to expand our search area, contacting the local Veterans Association as well as community centers and checking out locations in the next nearest city. I’m getting closer to this blog’s first year anniversary, and it seems that donation days will happen more often as I grow.

Disclosure: Some of these puzzles I bought, and some were given to me  for the purpose of review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

Feeding the Troll, Blogging and Services Rendered.

Spouse-Critter says “Arguing with a troll is like wrestling with a pig. Both of you will get dirty, but only the pig is having fun.” He is most likely right, but I need to post this.

Back in December, I received this comment on my Day 8 Christmas post. I didn’t see it until after December 22, as I’d been in New York on family business.

screenshot_2019-01-23 comments ‹ puzzlepaws — wordpress com

This person, hereafter referred to as Troll, chose not to leave a name or email so I could not contact them.  Now, as a point of order, I have to, in fairness, point out that there is no reliable way to convey tone within text. So the little disapproving “church lady” tone I read this comment in is entirely in my own head.

I was hurt, and at the time did not have the words to explain. So I spent a few months being alternately angry/frustrated and depressed. Never a good combo. I fought my way to the surface, spoke to my representatives at various companies, and spoke to both professional writers and other bloggers. I was introduced to a novel concept. If I’m being trolled, then I’m doing something right!

So I started blogging again. I put myself out there, solicited new companies for reviews and worked out a schedule that worked for me.

Then I woke up this morning to this:

Capture

Sorry Troll 2.0, this time I have the words.

The thing is, every product I receive must be logged at either wholesale or retail value and I MUST pay taxes on them. The IRS doesn’t care; I cannot pay my taxes in puzzles and coloring books. I can and do sell some of the products I receive after doing my reviews, but that doesn’t generate enough income to pay taxes, much less regular bills. Other products  I donate to my local VA, senior center, and children’s hospital; because I believe in sharing.

I am disabled, but I fall in that not-so-small category of people who are in the process of applying for benefits, but not receiving any yet. Spouse-Critter works a good job, but his job doesn’t include health care or much in the way of extras. If I want to buy products to review, like LEGO® or high-end wooden puzzles, I need income to do so. That is why I have both Patreon and Ko-fi set up. If you read my Patreon, you’d see that I have it set as a way to sponsor different projects.

I’m of the opinion that if professional authors and other bloggers have Patreon accounts, then there is no reason why I cannot as well. Patreon is a platform to pay for services rendered. I write and do projects, and I recieve money for services rendered. Effectively, it makes my hobbies into a job. As for the accusation of being shameless and asking for money? Have you read my disclaimer at the bottom of each post? I’m not begging. I ask you to consider it. Being a patron is a choice!  You can choose to be one, or you can choose not to. Simple.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Adventures in the offing, and Courageous Conversations

This last week has been crazy. You see, SC and I are heading off to the first of our big three conventions. During the Spring and Summer, I work as a part time vendor selling plushies (stuffed animals) at anime and science-fiction conventions. However, once a year I get to switch my seller hat for a buyers one. We start our year at Toy Fair!

Toy Fair New York is a trade show for just about everyone involved in the toy industry. Buyers, sellers, inventors , and investors, they will all be there.

For four days, SC and I will browse through a mindboggling array of booths looking for both plushies for the Boss and for new blog material for me. There are roughly 1060 vendors there, I’ve managed to winnow it down to a list of 200. Still, that’s a lot of people to see and talk to!

Let me introduce you to Jæger. He’s my ESP(emotional support plush). He’ll be popping up on both my Twitter and Instagram while I’m at Toy Fair.

That’s the fun part of this weekend, the not fun parts? We’re taking a train to NYC from Virginia. I love traveling, but hate the fact that my illness doesn’t agree with sitting for long periods of time. Also, NYC in winter is usually not my cup of tea. I hate being cold! The worst thing though, is that this year I’ll be renting a wheelchair.

I use a cane about 90% of the time, except on good days in my own home or at the homes of friends I know really well. I really only use the motor carts at the supermarket as an absolute last resort.

I don’t want to need to use a wheelchair, but after spending 9 hours on a train, arriving at 2 in the morning, and walking around Times Square to get to one of our favorite 24 hour diners (Tick Tock Diner), I’ll be completely wrecked. We did it last year with me on a cane and I ended up exhausted. I can’t do my job exhausted, much less out of spoons.

It sucks, and I had to deal with several anxiety attacks over the idea of transitioning to a wheelchair, even if temporarily. I fight constantly to keep as much of my independence as I can, and detest feeling like a burden.

SC, bless him, does his best to help me. He was the one to fight for me going to a cane instead of leaning on him for balance. I hated that back then, but he was right, once I got used to my cane it gave me back the pep and vigor I’d thought lost for good. Hopefully, using a wheelchair for a day or two will save the spoons I need to do my best at Toy Fair.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page.To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Travel, Illness, Trolls, and the Feeding Thereof.

So it has been a while since my last posting…Understatement, I know. The latter half of December went more than a little haywire, courtesy of the topics in my title.

Firstly, travel: I got called back to New York for a Happy Family Emergency. I’ll post that separately, as it’s a fun story; but the travel home was hellish. Said hellish travel feeds into the other two topics, illness and trolls.

Illness is self-explanatory, I hope. If not, well, you are obviously not someone with the messed up immune system that most people with a chronic pain/autoimmune/genetic disorder have. If I stress, I get sick, if I’m exposed to crowds, I’ll most likely get whatever ick is in that crowd. If I’m exhausted from traveling, having been exposed to crowds and temperature extremes and being stressed at the same time??? SOOOOO Sick. If I come home from this only to find a disapproving Troll on my blog posting negatively?? Cue Sick and Depression Meltdown!

I’ve spent from December 22nd to January 14th in a haze. Depression is made of suck, and it hits everyone differently. Christmas was a haze of blah, despite everything SC did to make things better. A cold that settled in my chest left me with little energy and Depression ate my motivation and all color. Yes, Depression is capitalized. It’s a proper name; Depression is a monster I battle. It wins a few rounds, mostly because it cheats with stress and pain, or I win a few rounds. It’s a cycle. This time it won 3 weeks of my life. I marathoned 12 seasons of both Ancient Aliens and Forensic Files. Mostly because I didn’t have to think while watching them. I did develop a great theory on Giorgio Tsoukalos’s hair.

Thankfully, I have a good support network of friends and family, both IRL and online. They were there when I started to climb my way back out of the colorless Blah of Depression. This is life. My world has color and purpose again; I want to finish the posts I’d planned for Christmas and start my 2019 posts on National Puzzle Day on January 29th, 2019.

And my Troll? I’m going to face them. I’ve found that I have a lot to say. I’ll feed my anonymous troll and hope they choke. 

 

 

Announcing PPB’s First 25 Days of XMAS!!

Hi guys! If you were wondering…yes, I love Christmas! So much so that I’ve plotted and planned a full 25 days worth of posts for it! Now, not all of the days will be Christmas themed, after all, Christmas is just one day, and winter is just one season. I hate it when all of my presents are winter themed and I can’t used them out of season.

Also, I’m announcing here and now that PPB will be scaling back the posting frequency for the months of January and February. This is in anticipation of some larger projects I’m planning as well as the fact that I’d like to be prepared for any possible illness that might crop up. There will be things going on my Twitter, Instagram and Patreon, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled!

Life reminds us that some things only depart for a while

Greetings All!

TL:DR – SC had to medicate PuzzlePaws for pain, so the next post will be late.

SC here, PuzzlePaws is feeling a touch under the weather.  She had an ambitious post planned and was about halfway through the initial filming when her knee (which has almost NEVER been a problem before) declared that now was a good time to report Level 9+ pain for no reason (i.e. injury, impact, weather, etc).

She tried to tough it out and “walk it off” with only OTC painkiller and a muscle relaxer, but the knee wasn’t having any of it (9 -> 7).  I caught her at it, dosed her with Rx painkillers, and sent her to bed for the rest of the day.

At this point, PuzzlePaws can’t string two words together and is grumpily sleeping.  She should be fine in a couple of days (or in less pain).

Chronic diseases are like this.  You’ll get some periods of time where the symptoms are tolerable to non-existent, and then…WHAM! Level 9-10+ pain.  You can’t work through the pain, because it is ALL you can think about.  When you medicate the pain, you can’t work because the medications steal your brains.  (For reference, PuzzlePaws’ pain tolerance is about 2-3x higher than a bog-standard human’s.  A “9” on her scale would put most people (likely unconscious and/or vomiting)  in the hospital.)

Posts from me will be rare (other than the occasional snarky edit here and there). I will be posting how-to videos on the Patreon (and occasionally here) when I have the time.

Ciao, SC

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!