Living and laughing with a disability - cerebral palsy; ordinary life, extraordinary circumstances.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Paying our debt to society

Jodie and I took last Monday afternoon of work to go down to the Multnomah County Courthouse to take care of our disabled parking infraction.

We had Jodie's scooter, but not mine. I used my walker. I didn't realize that the parking garage was so far from the courthouse.

The clerk at the courthouse was very nice. He asked to see ut disabled parking permit. We explained that it was in the car, in a disabled parking spot.

The clerk came out from behind the glass with a piece of paper on a clipboard and asked us to write why our disabled card was not up. Then he gave us a fax number to fax in a copy of our disabled card.

I was very impressed with the kindness and professionalism of the clerk. He did his job well, very courteous.

Lesson learned - never forget to hang the @#!#@! disabled card up!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Over the Edge

I was talking to Gorgeous Mel on the phone. I was lamenting the fact that when the policy comes we might need to stop paying some relative foster care providers.

My office manager and the office manager for our neighboring state office came to my desk. “Uh...Mel...I gotta go.”

I was handed a parking ticket. $360! Illegally parking in a disabled parking spot.

My mind went to this morning. I dropped my son off at school. I raced over to work. I was not feeling well. The nurse from my doctor’s office called it the “Onset of pneumonia” when he called with the results from my chest x-ray. I finished my regimen of antibiotics yesterday. I was hurting today, but I just wanted to get in the office and work through it. Work and a little Advil can chase any pain away.

I hoisted my bag onto the passenger seat, and carefully walked to the other side of my minivan. I opened the side door and grabbed my walker. I was trying to hurry, but with my cerebral palsy, my back pain, and a pain in my chest, I wasn’t moving very fast...but I was trying.

In my rush I forgot one thing: I forgot to hang the disabled parking card on my rearview mirror. I take the card of the rearview mirror when I drive with the windows down so that the card does not blow out the window.

I park in the same spot every day. My van has a inside lift for my scooter and an outside lift for my wife’s scooter. Our van is very obviously geared to the disabled.

There is a lot I could be unhappy about if I chose to be. Until the day I die I am going to see the glass as half full. God’s grace covers me and carries me.

I saw the “$360" and thought of our limited funds. I felt like crying. We don’t have it.

I called my wife, who is also Mel’s boss. My wife could not believe it. She asked if there was a number on the ticket to call. All three options on the ticket demand that you pay the ticket. You can pay by phone or mail; you can send in a written explanation, but it must include a check; or you can request a hearing, but a check has to be in the mail.

I called the number to pay with a credit card. The parking ticket was not on file yet. If I wanted a court hearing, or the give an explanation, it has to be done in writing.

Felony Mel called. My wife had told her what had happened and that I was stressing. “You know how many tickets I have gotten?” she said. I told her I probably did not have enough fingers and toes to count them.

“Right,” she said, “you just need to go in and show them your disabled card and they will reduce the ticket.”

Some day next week my wife on her crutches and myself with my walker will make our way into the Multnomah County Courthouse to see if we can catch some kind of break.