Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Surpreyes........

So. 

I had my first cataract surgery on 19 July and in August I had my post-op check, at which the optician confirmed that I would be referred for surgery on the other eye.  At that point I anticipated a fairly lengthy wait, probably until sometime next year.

Last week I was contacted to make an appointment for a pre-op assessment, which was carried out by phone on Friday.  At that point they said that they anticipated the surgery would be scheduled within 14 weeks, so then I was cautiously hopeful that it might be done before Christmas.

Yesterday I had a phone call offering me an appointment to have the surgery..... next Monday!!!!!  I'm still in shock.  To have both eyes done within 11 weeks is frankly unbelievable!  In some areas of the UK patients are having to wait up to 2 years for cataract surgery, the delay likely exacerbated by the effects of Covid.  

We are so lucky to have a stand-alone Opthalmology unit in Bexhill, which must help.  Also their policy of doing both eyes is a factor.... in other health authorities the second eye is not treated as a matter of routine.

I also suspect, that being of working age, (while the majority of cataract sufferers will be retired) and my work being reliant on excellent binocular vision, may have helped secure me the speedy appointment.   

I was very apprehensive last time, but having experienced the surgery I'm much less nervous this time.  Also my appointment is for 8.00am so I won't have time to get worked up on the day.  I should be home by lunchtime.  

In the immediate aftermath, after a few days for my vision to stabilise, I should be able to use some cheap single vision reading glasses (unfortunately my temporary ones will no longer work for the second eye) to enable me to resume close work.  I've been driven demented by having to put them on and take them off every few minutes while working, so at the 4 week post-op check I've decided to opt for varifocals, so that I can wear them all the time I'm working without the tedious on-off-on-off mallarkey.  

All being well, I should be fully operational again by the beginning of November, which I'm so looking forward to.  In the meantime, as I'll be unable to do any tiny doll work, I'll be concentrating on my new kits, which I'm tentatively hopeful will be ready to release sometime in November *fingers firmly crossed*.









Sunday, 26 September 2021

Guilty as charged.....

I am soooooo bad at sticking to one project at a time.  I invariably have at least two or three projects on the go, which I'm sure is a common issue familiar to miniaturists the world over. However, at the moment I have a grand total of six, all competing for my attention following my eye surgery lay-up.

SIX!!!!! 

Even by my standards that's quite a lot.  To be fair, it's all completely my fault, as just a few weeks ago I only had five, which, admittedly, is still quite excessive.  Then I was sorting through my ideas box and one thing led to another and now I have six.

Of course, instead of parking the sixth project, to concentrate on the others, which are all much more advanced, I did the complete opposite, and plunged head first into the sixth one and now I'm starting to panic as juggling six projects is just a one way ticket to misery and madness and the workroom is a complete mess and I'm getting all muddled up with what I should be doing......

*STOP! Calmly.... breathe*

So anyway, only two of the six projects are for myself.  Namely a 1/24th scale shop kit which PP got me for Christmas 3 years ago, and my Mignonette Doll Box which I'm doing along with members of the Mignonette Doll Club as our 2021 project.

Don't you just love a project which has a set timescale?  Back in January I was convinced that a whole year was more than enough time to complete my box, and I did get off to a flying start...

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

I have made more progress since then, including installing a musical movement plus all the layers and compartments,  and I've made a start on the 1/12th scale doll but as my eyesight has been compromised she's not quite finished.

I'm sure I could complete it in the next three months, but I'm not making any promises which I know I will probably break, even if those promises are to myself.

The other four projects are all work-related kits, and I'm tantalisingly close to completing two of them.  So it would make so much more sense to push on and get them sorted than starting a completely new one, but hey....... that's just the way I roll.






Wednesday, 1 September 2021

Sight for sore eyes.....

Had my post-op eye check up and sight test last Thursday.  The operated-on eye has healed nicely and the new lens is sited perfectly.  So all good there.  

The other eye however, is struggling, and as a result I have been referred back to the opthalmic surgeon to have it done too.   I will probably have to wait several months for a date for the surgery though, and in the meantime I really need to be able to work, so as an interim measure I'm having new glasses for close work, which should hopefully be ready to collect later this week.

Since the op, although I haven't been able to do anything creative,  I have been gainfully employed with general admin and website stuff, as well as sorting through my stock boxes and re-organising things.  I've made some progress on the three project kits, which I'm hoping will be ready before Christmas, and in order to kick-start my return to full-time work I've booked to exhibit at the September Mini Miniature Show, which runs from 15-19.

So... less than a fortnight to completely re-jig my dealer page.... no pressure there then. 








Thursday, 12 August 2021

Selling platforms suck......

While I've been unable to do anything miniaturely creative, I've been catching up with admin and doing the eleventy billion work-related things which I don't normally have time for.

One of the outstanding items on my To Do list from last year (yes....and the award for procrastination goes to...... ) is to list my book on Amazon.  It's been available on the website since its publication last November, and since then I've had a few fruitless attempts to create an Amazon listing.  Why do they make it so damn difficult?  I only want to list ONE ITEM, but for the past few days I've been jumping through endless hoops to no avail. 

My seller account was dormant, so I re-activated it.

The credit card associated with my seller account was invalid, so I updated it.

I had to re-verify who I was, where I was and that I had a boney fido business account, so I re-verified.

However, it still won't let me create a listing and I'm all out of patience.

Back in the day, I used Amazon to sell books from my own private collection.  The process, although lengthy, was fairly straightforward.  Ditto Ebay and Etsy, where I sold my own miniature creations.   Admittedly I haven't used any of those selling platforms for several years, but exactly when in the interim did they become so impenetrably difficult to negotiate?

However the main bugbear is the fees structure, which is positively labyrinthine, and seems designed solely to strip every last penny of profit from sellers.

Here's a handy pocket guide to Amazon selling fees.

For individual sellers, they charge a flat fee of 75p per item sold,  Plus a referral fee, which varies depending on what you're selling.  For books it's 15.3% which seems a lot.

If you use Amazon Fulfillment, where the company stores your inventory and despatches it for you, they charge for those services too. 

Then there's a myriad of other charges, depending on what additional services you want or need.

As an individual seller you can't set your own shipping rates, and on checking the actual costs of shipping to each zone , I discovered that I will be losing money on every book I post.  Which means I have to increase the cost of the book simply to break even.  I don't ever make a penny on packaging/shipping charges, but I certainly don't expect to be out of pocket. 

Which just makes you wonder how on earth you're supposed to make a profit!

In any case, my seller account is currently sulking and won't let me list anything, so I'll just have to wait till it decides what to do. 





Monday, 9 August 2021

Eye rolling emoji......

Any novelty caused by not being able to work pending my eyesight disparity being resolved has waned considerably.  With two weeks still to go until my post-op assessment, I'm in a no-man's-land of wonky vision which has rendered miniature work impossible.  I have tried, but apparently, decent binocular vision is mandatory for doing really tiny stuff.

Who knew?

The best I can manage at the moment is further sorting out my workroom, and planning/making lists.  Also trying to make inroads into my admin, which is a sisyphean task.  My filing system can best be described as 'chaotic', and I rarely ever get to the bottom of the teetering pile of papers atop my desk in the office.   So while actually making anything is out of the question, I've been trying to detox my desk and generally get rid of all the extraneous clutter.  I mean, who really needs THREE pots full of pens and pencils?

Also the planning thing.  Back in spring I thought I'd be well advanced on planning for the kits I want to make.  Of course then, I didn't know that I'd be out of commission for the best part of two months while the eye thing is sorted, so I've kind of faffed about, tinkering round the edges... making progress, slowly.  But it's already August, and I should have my pre-Christmas kits underway if they're going to be completed in time.

Then there's the website which needs a thorough tidy up and re-organisation.  I'm always blaming lack of time for tackling that, but suddenly, although I have oceans of the stuff, I'm constantly finding reasons not to do it.

Which is obviously simply not good enough.

So today I'm absolutely, definitely going to make a start.

*sigh*





Thursday, 22 July 2021

Aftermath......

I had my cataract surgery on Monday, as planned.  I have to say, although it was mostly painless (the THREE injections into my eye beforehand to paralyse it were 'uncomfortable' rather than painful) it most certainly wasn't my idea of fun.  I could 'see' the various instruments inside my eye as the surgeon was working, which was really disconcerting.  Thankfully it was over relatively quickly, and my eye was bandaged and covered with a rather fetching protective plastic guard.

After 4 hours I had to remove the eye guard and instill the steroid/antibiotic drops. The eye had been bleeding and was completely bloodshot on one side.... think zombie crossed with vampire.  Not a good look. 

I'm now three days on and slowly coming to terms with my new visual landscape.  Initially, my vision in the operated eye was very cloudy, but it's clearing now, and sure enough, for the first time in my life, I can see things in the distance without my glasses.  However, as predicted, if I wear my glasses I can't see with the new eye, and if I don't, I can't see with my old eye, although it's good for close distance.

This visual mismatch is making me feel dizzy, queasy and disorientated, and I'm alternately covering one eye or the other, depending on what I need to see.  My depth perception is all skew-whiff and flat surfaces look alternately concave or wavy/wiggly.  The surgeon had said that my brain might compensate in time, but I don't think it's got that message yet.  I suppose you need to have a reasonable degree of brain 'plasticity' to overwrite neural pathways, and knit two such different visual fields together.

The operated eye is extremely light sensitive, so I've been lurking in the twilight of darkened rooms, away from the blinding sunshine, donning sunglasses when I have to step outside into the unaccustomed heat, now that summer has finally decided to put in an appearance.

Work isn't on the agenda this week.  I was hoping to get back to it today, but after 30 minutes trying to thread a needle using only my good close vision eye I abandoned the attempt as I obviously need both eyes to work in harmony.  There are myriad other things I could be getting on with, but the heat is both searing and energy-sapping so I'm going to call it a day and retreat to the coolest spot I can find.

Thankfully the temperature is forecast to start dropping tomorrow, so I might get out of sloth mode over the weekend. 

Stay cool if you can....... 





Wednesday, 14 July 2021

The eyes have it.....

I'm going to be working like a demon this week, clearing my desk of all outstanding orders and one interesting commission, which is very nearly finished.

Yes, yes...... I know I said I wasn't taking any more commissions, but this one was serendipitous and interesting and, for once, I actually knew where to find all the bits I needed for it.

The reason for all this activity is that next Monday I'm having surgery to remove cataracts from my left eye.  My vision has been getting increasingly blurred and hazy over recent months and after tests and scans, I was approved for the surgery, which has been scheduled really quickly, considering the current situation.  It helps that it will be done in a dedicated specialist opthalmic department in a small local day hospital, relatively isolated and insulated from the chaos wreaked by Covid.

I've been told that it will take a few days, perhaps longer, until my vision in that eye settles down.  Having been shortsighted since childhood and having had to wear glasses since I was 5, I was amazed when told that I would likely no longer need glasses for distance, although, perversely, I would need them for reading/close work.  Four weeks post-surgery I will see an opthalmic optician, to asses the other eye and test my vision in the 'new' eye.

In recent years, as my near vision has deteriorated, I've worn varifocal lenses, with zones for far, middle and near distance.  I'm confused that post surgery, the distance vision in my left eye should be perfect, but I will still have to wear glasses for my right eye.  And my current pair won't be correct for the operated eye, so I'll be in the weird position of not being able to see properly with my glasses through the left lens.  But if I take them off, then I won't be able to see properly with my right eye.   Plus I'm also going to have to wear reading glasses for my left eye.

Nightmare! 

Hopefully,  at the subsequent optician appointment, I will be assessed as needing to have the other eye done too, despite the cataracts not being so bad, purely to balance out my vision.

Inevitably this will have a knock-on impact on my work in the intervening period, as I need good close vision.  With that in mind I may be unable to do some of the more intricate stuff... I'll just have to wait and see..... no pun intended.

Also this.....