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

Monday, December 31, 2007

Walgreens...where's that voice coming from?

Yesterday after church, we stopped at Walgreens to pick up a prescription. We were at the drive thru window and were greeted by a woman's voice. The only person I could see looking at the round mirror into the pharmacy was a man. He never came over to help us.

"Turn your car off!" He voice was not too friendly. Our Jet White is diesel, and is loud, so the request was not unreasonable. What was unreasonable was that there was no face to go with the voice.

With the way my speech is affected by my cp, I don't like talking over speakers. I prefer seeing the people and them seeing me so they know why I speak with difficulty. I drop my debit card in the tray and they get my order.

Jodie gave the voice her name. The voice said there was nothing being held for her, that we waited too long to come in. It would take 30 minutes to fill it.

E came back with me later to get the prescription. He shouted into the mic "We need to pick up a prescription for Jodie Wittren!"

Virginia came to help us. She has helped me before. A friendly face with a name tag.

Much better than just a voice!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Another wife in the car!

Jodie and E got me a Garmin for Christmas. I never use to get lost when I was driving somewhere. Now, I am over 40.

We were at Target in Fairview, OR, tonight. Our home is just a few miles away.

I turned on the Garmin. Earlier it was showing our location as Kansas. Finally figured out that you need to flip the antenna up.

The satellite picked us up at Target. I punched in our home address.

I drove out the driveway onto Halsey. The Garmin had wanted us to cut through Fairview Village.

I went down to Eastman. The Garmin was not happy. A female voice kept telling me what way to turn. When I did not turn as I was suppose to, she would say "Recalculating".

All the way home, the Garmin kept telling me to go right. It wanted me to take another street home and kept telling me to go right at every street I passed in order to get to that street. Each time it said "Recalculating".

We were all laughing, because every time is said "recalculating" it sounded more and more annoyed! Just like a wife!

Turns out the Garmin was trying to get us to another address the is similar to ours. I must have keyed in "av" instead of "pl". I'm not sure...I just know that we have had a lot of pizza places have a hard time finding us because our address is similar to a couple other locales.

My life story...every turn I make..."Recalculating!"

Jodie wants to change things

Jodie and E painted his room basin blue...while I was a work. I don't know how E moved his dresser and the bookshelf. Ignorance is fine by me. I thought it would look too dark...but it actually looks nice!

Jodie wants to move our office out of our garage into our third bedroom. That means emptying our third bedroom of he 300 plus doll collection. They will be going into storage, into the garage.

Last year our family added insulation and walls to finish our garage. We have two "L" shaped office cube-style desks so that it makes a square "U". I have my 13-inch tv in the corner. I like it out here in the garage...but it is colder out here. We leave the door open that leads into the family room when I am out here. Jodie and E are usually in the family room at night; I'm usually in the office. My objection to that plan is that I will be far away from Jodie and E at night. Jodie contends that she will be in the office more at night if it is in the house where it is warm.

Another piece of the equation is Bonnie and Clyde, our beloved mutts. Dachshund/Yorke mix, brother and sister -- they are wild and untrained. Owners to blame; we except that. We have gotten in the habit of leaving our bedrooms closed....otherwise they drag out all sorts of interesting stuff. Under the new plan we will keep stuff picked up and doors open. Faith and hope that they take the responsibility of having run of the house serious.....riiigghhttt!

As any good husband knows, you don't want to get in the way of a Woman and her plan...

Final tip earned...

Seven years this waitress put up with it!

Foul-mouthed customer leaves waitress $50,000 -

Working during holiday week

I took Christmas Eve off this year. Except for the 2 holidays, I am working all the rest of the time. Jodie let a lot of her workers have Christmas Eve off, so she worked that day and took the rest of the week through New Years.

Jodie has a lot more vacation time than I have. I am trying to save time for out Grand Canyon adventure next summer. Yes, I know the Roloff's did this in recent episode of "Little People". We thought of this before seeing them do it....

Work has been so slow. I am suppose to work New Years Eve day also. Jodie and E want me to call in sick. I am tempted, but in 18 years on the job I have not used sick leave this way.

But being at work when my family, and my brain, is on holiday is really hard!

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Christmas Star

The word given to us at church through our new associate pastor, Pastor Karl Hestor, greatly inspired me. We get set in out spiritual set that we forget about the miracles and wonders of God.

Christmas is about God banging into our world and shaking things up. It happened at the birth of Christ 2000 years ago--the miracle we commemorate tonight. But it also happens today, tomorrow, and every day.

Our eyes of faith are weary. Miracles don't usually happen in our straight-on vision, but rather the peripheral. We focus of what we want to happen rather than what is happening.

The business of Christmas is stress. The right gifts for the right people. Cards sent late...oops! All the preparations.

Take a time out this Christmas to consider the mystery of God in a manger under the starry night 2,000 years ago...and of God in our world right now.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New disabled parking rules coming to Oregon

Willamette Week had an editorial on SB716, a law that takes effect 1/1/08. It creates two classes of disabled parking plaques - wheelchair users, and non-wheelchair users.

The issue is the over use of the free parking privileges downtown (costing the city bucks), and the lack of disabled parking spaces available to true wheelchair users.

The law, as capsuled on the kptv website:

Senate Bill 716 directs the DMV to create a "wheelchair only" placard -- in addition to the standard disabled parking placard -- for Oregonians needing parking spaces large enough for a wheelchair-bearing vehicle. The bill requires some parking spaces to be reserved for use by wheelchair users only. Use of a wheelchair only parking space without permit will be a Class A offense with a minimum fine of $190.

The dmv website does not reflect this change yet.

I have several questions:

-Jodie and I use scooters. Do they qualify as a wheelchair?

-We use our scooters some of the time, but not all the time. Assuming we qualify for a wheelchair placard, are we breaking the law if we park in a wheelchair spot and don't use our scooters.

-When I use a scooter, parking close to the store is less important. When I don't use my scooter, my endurance is less. Parking close is more important.

Tips fron Grandfather Blogger

I need to grow a beard...

Top 10 Tips for New Bloggers From Original Blogger Jorn Barger

Another website done...

Roger, a friend of mine at church, is a minister to the homeless. He went to seminary a few years back...he can now be called Pastor Roger.

Roger and Ronald Nitz, a pastor from Holy Trinity Church in Portland, are starting a new worship community, a "koine'" community, in Portland.

A week ago Friday I met with Roger for lunch. He wanted a website. He has reserved the domain names and He knows that I do the website for our church, Resurrection Lutheran Church at He wanted to see what I could do for them. I told Roger I could set a Joomla site for them.

Roger emailed me content and pictures...makes setting up a website much easier. All went smooth except for a couple days ago when I logged out of the admin area...and the site was blank. I spent a day sorting through this problem. I googled and found there was a bug in the latest version of Joomla that was causing this to happen. I read through a huge thread on a joomla discussion board, and I replaced three of the php files...bug "hotfixes". Still, this site would not come up.

I started a new joomla site, very reluctantly. I was afraid the same error I was having in the first site would happen in the second site. I proceeded to copy files from the new site to the first site - the hot fixes were not working anyway.

I noticed something different between the two directories where the joomla sites are stored. The permissions on the first directory were tighter than the permissions on the second site. I must have changed then permissions, but I don't know how. A changed the permissions back...and the website came up again. I was so happy!

The website is here. The last challenge was to change the color of the template to match Roger's blog. I had to dig through the template files to find the graphic that made up the top of the website template. It was a small rectangle divided into three differently colored sections. The rectangle is repeated across the top to form the template. I used the rectangle and paint fill tools to change the colors. To find out the colors from Roger's blog, I viewed the source code to find out the color codes.

A lout of work...I know...but it worked!

The last step is to forward the domains to where the website is stored on my host. The domains are currently registered through Network Solutions. I was going to do the forwarding for Roger, but they charge $12 per domain per year to do this. I was surprised, because Godaddy does not charge for this. I researched the two companies. Network Solutions has been around since 1979...the beginning of web time. Godaddy started in 1997. The two are the biggest companies in the biz. It would be cheaper to transfer the domains from Network Solutions to Godaddy and then do the forwarding. I sent all this in an email to Roger. He's probably scratching his head.

Nothing in webdesign is ever simple!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas program

E's school had their band/choir Christmas program last night. His part was with the intermediate school band. He was in the back row with his French horn.

I loved "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch." At first it sounded disorganized, but then I realized that was part of the Dr. Seuss genius, finger painting with music if you will.

They combined with the high school band to play White Christmas.

The choir was spectacular. The program left my hands...I don't know the name of the songs. One song, I think it was German, they kept repeating a was fun. One of the altos (high voice...right?) was just incredible!

We ducked out at intermission. E had verse to study....and he was hungry!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Some Success...

For the last week, in my time at home, I have been working hard to update my church's website -

I changed the template, I added the poll, and I got "e-vo" to work. e-vo is a devotion that our new associate pastor, Karl Hester, writes and posts online. People can subscribe to it so that when he writes a new one, subscribers have it e-mailed to them.

I use Joomla cms for the church site. I tried to get various Joomla components to this. I was googling error messages and editing php files. Nothing was working.

I had Karl open a blogger page. I thought I could pull in a RSS feed from that onto the website. Blogger does not produce RSS feeds, but rather ATOM feeds. I tried everything to pull those into joomla, to no avail.

I finally found a free third party program to do the trick, a widgit from Springwidgits. And I found a subscription program with FeedBlitz.

Tomorrow I am having lunch with Roger, a friend from church who ministers to the homeless. He wants a website. He has a good blog going. I am hoping I can help him. I just don't feel real confident in my web design abilities.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Back to webdesign...

It is flustrating! Now I know why I slowed down my web design efforts a wilee back.

I am updating my church's website, Our new associate pastor, Pastor Karl Hester, has taken interest in the site.

He has a weekly devotion that he sends out by e-mail. Currently he is using a myspace account for this, but he wondered if I could add this functionality to the website. I have spent last night and today trying to do that.

I use joomla for the church website. It a great open source cms (content management system). I found three newsletter componants that would do what Pastor Karl wants. One was too simple and not functional enough, one was way to complicated.....I settled on YANC. When I wrote a sample newsletter, and went to save it, it wouldn't save.

Yes, I am pulling my hair out.

I found a nifty widgit from Feedblitz to allow people to subscribe to my blog.

I am testing it out to see if it might be a good solution for Pastor Karl. The main advantage to this widgit it that people can subscribe without being a member, as it is with myspace.

The other night I was trying to create a new website for the church. I had to log in to my hosting account through cpanel to change a file name. I don't know how, but I ended up deleting all this files...the whole website! I don't know how I did that...