Tag Archives: work

Homemade Lunch: No Communal Refridgerator Required


I have been a full-fledged, card carrying member of the work force for about ten years now. I have to say, being an adult and having a job is not nearly as scary as they made it sound in the brochure. However, there is one thing no one tells you about. It is the one thing that can make you fear for your life and run for the door. It is just as likely to be found at a fancy law firm or doctor’s office, as it is in the employee lounge of a grocery store, or post office. What am I talking about? None other than the communal refrigerator.

Almost anyone who has held a job outside of the home has encountered the communal refrigerator; if you have not, count your lucky stars. Communal refrigerators are notoriously icky. They are usually stuffed full of items that expired during the Clinton administration, and there is almost always an unidentifiable sticky substance lurking at the bottom of the drawers. The freezer is the safest place for your food, but everyone knows that, so good luck squeezing your lunch in there.

The communal refrigerator at my current job isn’t that terrible, but I am still not inclined to use it. Even if I was, the staff lounge is a tight squeeze for my wheelchair, plus the fridge is a side by side, so I can’t reach all the shelves. For me, it is much easier to just keep my lunch with me at my desk, but then there is the concern of keeping it cold. Avoiding the communal refrigerator is pointless if I get myself sick with warm mayonnaise.

I tried a number of lunch coolers before I found one that met all my needs; big enough for my breakfast and lunch, actually kept my food cold and fit in the backpack I use on the back of my chair. But finally the fourth one I tried fit the bill. This lunch tote by Thirty One, holds a lot of food, but its soft sides and shape make it fit easily in my backpack. This bag is also the only one I have found that will keep my food cool until lunch time without the hassle of an ice pack.

So if you are sick of eating out every day just to avoid the horrors of the communal fridge, try this cute little cooler. It can be found in several colors, so you can also stay fashionable while your food stays cool.

For the Forgetters

I have a friend who can remember just about everything. I met her 13 years ago and she can still recall, with clarity, many of the conversations we have had over the years. I would like to blame this phenomenon on the value of my words alone, but that is not the case; she simply has a great memory. My own memory is not so great; sometimes I can’t even recall what I had for dinner the night before. I think this is why I have always been drawn to writing and photography; these hobbies can help me recall the events in my life with more detail.

While these two hobbies have helped me remember things in my personal life, I still need a little help remembering things in my professional life; just last week I forgot to submit a very important nomination application to our graduate school. My boss was very kind about it, and thankfully, the mistake was correctable, but I was thoroughly embarrassed. I had put the deadline on my outlook calendar, but because I wasn’t sitting at the computer then the reminder popped up, I never got it.

While I am aware that this problem may not have much to do directly with my disability, as a person with CP I often feel the need to prove that I am capable and qualified, because more often than not, I am judge my strangers to be unable; I am held to not just a different standard, but a lower one. When I make a mistake in my professional life, I often feel like I am proving all the naysayers right. This wreaks havoc on my self-esteem, even when people understand the situation.

I have realized that personally, I cannot rely on technology in order to be less forgetful. Those little reminders are great if you happen to see them, but if you are away from your desk or phone, they are rendered useless. Sometimes, if you’re like me, you will happen to see the reminder only to forget it when something more important distracts you. For me the answer is old school: paper and pencil.

Of course, I am not talking about any paper. I am talking about a daily agenda . These things have been a lifesaver for me since I was 14. Without it, I might not have graduated from high school or even college. I am also very specific about the agenda I use. First, they have to have a nice big writing space for each day so that I can make lists of tasks and reminders for each day. Second, I look for one with a monthly calendar included. This makes it easy to get a big picture of when things are due, upcoming events, appointments and other important dates.

With this agenda at my desk, it is a lot easier for me to remember to do things. It is always in front of me, unlike those pesky phone and computer reminders, and it doesn’t go away until after I have checked it off the list. I feel more efficient, capable and most importantly, less stressed.

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