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

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Okay....I'll bite...

What did Pastor Roger do?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Never assume...

I had to go to the dentist today. My half yearly scrape....scrape...

I went to the elevator. A guy was waiting at the elevator, so I waited and waited. The guy walked away from the elevator and walked down the hall.

I looked at the button and noticed the light was not on. I pushed the button and the elevator opened immediately.

I had assumed that the guy had pushed the elevator button. Now, I don't know what he was doing.

Never assume...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Return to Ambridge Event Center

I was asked to participate in a review of the steps that the Ambridge Event Center has taken since my recent experience there.

People from Salem and people from the Service Delivery Area office in Portland were there. I was glad to see Heather from the SDA office there. She uses a power chair and is versed in the ADA. She had a lot of great input. I am a writer, but I am not very verbal. Joe, a person from Salem who handles ADA issues did an accessibility checklist, one for the basement and one for the main floor. The facilities manager and receptionist for the center were also there.

The upstairs is more accessible, but the room up their rents for ten times as much as the one downstairs. The state is always trying for a deal, but the person who heads the training department was resolute that accessibility should not be sacrificed for cost.

We all pointed out areas of inaccessibility in the center, but the facilities manager had a solution or a reason for each deficiency. Doors were heavy, but there would be someone there to help. The confusing buttons on the basement door were all removed; that door will remain unlocked when there is a State training down there. The restrooms that adjoin the downstairs training room are not at all accessible, but the ones out at the end of the hall are.

Heather has a minivan with a side ramp. None of the handicapped spots available had space on the side for the ramp to come out to. The facilities manager promised to set out a cone to create such space in the future when there is a training.

One excuse that was used many times as to why the center was not accessible was that they building was old and the building was "grandfathered" into the ADA - basically not required to follow aspects of the law due to the age of the building.

Accessibility and older buildings is a difficult marriage. Accessibility is expensive. The head of the DHS training unit said she now sees that assessing a venue's accessibility takes more than going through a checklist over the phone. Seeing a place, and watching a PWD (person with disability) maneuver through a place, is much more informative.

Hats off to the Ambridge Event Center for their good faith effort to make their building accessible, however makeshift it may be.

I am satisfied that my employer, State of Oregon, Department of Human Services, saw that accessibility is more than a checklist. Accessibility has to involve real input from people with physical challenges.

Whatever the outcome is from this exercise, I am excited that the conversation of accessibility has moved beyond the classroom and into the real world.

King of Dodge Ball...out of commission for a month...

The kind of call you don't want to get at the end of the work day. My son had broke or sprained his are playing dodge ball during PE. He tripped over his friend's feet.

My in-laws care for E while Jodie and I work. They were on the way to pick Jodie up from work, and the going to the doctor's. The x-ray showed a fracture. He is wearing a splint for a couple days until the swelling goes down. The doctor will see then if he needs a cast.

After breaking my arm twice, I know what the pain is like. I wish I could go through it for him.

He is taking Tylenol with codeine. A short while ago he was feeling pain and we had to encourage him to take a pill.

E will not be playing in the basketball tourney this weekend, though we will be there to root the team on.

He was telling us how he is the king of dodge ball. A month is a long time for me...I hope he can handle it that long.

Hopefully it will not interfere with his baseball season.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Scare at the drive-thru

We stopped to get burgers tonight. Talking through the speaker, they don't understand me very well...and they can't hear Jodie from the passenger side, so E stands over me and speaks the order for us.

He shouts, because one drive thru we have gone to requires us to shout. The order clerk told us not to shout. E toned it down a bit, but the clerk still was not getting it. Then Jodie tried. We thought they got the order.

When we got to the window, they asked us for our order again. We paid, and proceeded to the next window. We waited....and waited. The cars were stacking up behind us.

It was a long time.

A guy from a few cars back got out of his car. He came up to the order window and asked the worker "What is this? Senior citizens night out?"

He saw our van....and our two scooters. He was a little rough looking. I rolled my window up. We were a little afraid.

I drove off without our food. I was going to park in front and go in for the food. As we drove around front, an employee ran out with our food.

I don't know why we weren't asked to wait in the "grill" parking places for when orders take longer.

Mark that B'ville off our list for awhile.....

Back to CarToys

The shop manager never called back with any resolution to my car stereo problem. Expensive radio, no AM antenna...very poor reception.

My mom called me the other day at work to find out more about the problem. I explained what the guy at the shop said as well as I could. Mom said that John laughed when she called him at work and told him that I was upset over not getting AM reception in the car. He said, "Only Troy would get upset over that!"

Mom and John met me at CarToys this morning. I sat in the van until I saw them. Mom was irked that a bunch of employees were just watching me from inside. Finally, the salesman I bought the stereo from last Saturday came out. He had not been there when we returned last Sunday when we returned because of lack of AM reception. He seemed to have different reasons for why the AM didn't work...something about a European plug....and add-on radios versus stock radios. I asked about the reasons we were told last Sunday...he was like "Oh yeah, that too."

He had the shop look at it again to see what they could do. In the end, they ran a wire from the stereo to the AM radio.

Why didn't they do that for us last week?

They also reversed the view of the backup camera, so now now the view looks the same as I would see through a rearview mirror. I was getting confused with it the other way.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where's my Mark and Dave?

Jodie knew why I was upset before I did. "Troy, you need to email Mark and Dave about this."

Mark and Dave, 4 to 7, drive time talk radio at night. I am a member of their "cult", which is defined as:

WHAT IS THE MARK & DAVE CULT? It’s the exclusive group of listeners who listen every day from 4 to 7! For those skittish about the word ‘cult,’ Mark & Dave like to point out the dictionary definition of the word (Definition #6 to be exact): An exclusive group of persons sharing an esoteric, usually artistic or intellectual interest. That’s us!

Saturday we bought a new stereo unit for Jet White, our Dodge Sprinter. Because of it's hugeness, I can't see what is behind us. I needed a backup camera. For my birthday, Jodie wanted to get me one.

We went to a shop Saturday. They sold us a fancy Kenwood stereo with a built in Garmin, touch screen radio, and backup camera. It's a nice unit.

Sunday, I decided to try out the AM band. Using the "seek" button, only one station came up, and it was not 1190 KEX!

We went back to the shop. They pulled the radio out. They called the tech who installed it. We waited well past the half hour they said it would take. Out van was back in the lot, and they were not coming for us. We asked if they were done with the van. The lady behind the desk went to check.

The lady went into the garage area...then she shut the door. A guy came out to explian things to me. From what I could understand, the AM antenna is too far from the unit. They would need a AM antenna extender. Evidentally they don't have them and can't get them. I don't understand that part of it. It also had something to do with where the brain of our new stereo is.

I asked to see the manager. They were taking a long time, so I headed to the van. The manager finally came out to see us. We told him we had no idea that we would be losing AM radio when we got the new stereo. He offered to get us into a HD radio...but that we would need to pay for labor. We was going to call us, but he has not called us yet.

I did find out we can get so AM, but the reception is very poor.

I think I will need to have my mom or stepdad, John, go down to the shop with me. People have trouble taking the disabled serious...especially when they are mad!

I can't live without my Mark & Dave!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Cultural Competency class...accessibility takes a back seat!

Important Update: Upon reading the following blog entry, the Department of Human Services met with the manager of the Ambridge Event Center and immediate actions have been taken to alleviate the failings in regards to accessibility of the building.

The door that is on the side of the building where the disabled gain access to the basement will remain unlocked during trainings. No more buzzers to nowhere!

Thank you DHS! Thank you Ambridge Event Center!

You have each shown a high level of integrity.


Accessibility by law,
not accessibility in spirit.

In the course of my 18 years as an employee for the Department of Human Services for the State of Oregon, I have gone to dozens of mandatory trainings. Today I went to one facilitated by a dear gentleman named Miguel Valenciano was truly a joy to listen to.

Miguel won me over when he included disability in his course on cultural competency. Jodie and I have often complained to each other how disability does not get included in discussions regarding minorities. One of his case studies included a man with cerebral palsy. Miguel is a gifted man, and I gave him my full attention today.

The training was held at the Ambridge Event Center.

I parked my van in the parking lot this morning. Deb, my desk partner, parked next to me. I got my walker out and headed for the front door. There was no handicapped parking in front. I had trouble finding the curb cuts. I had to walk to the end of the sidewalk, a detour from the front door. I went up to the front door. Deb held the door.

We learned that the training was downstairs and there was no elevator. Instead, there was a door on the side of the building. It is a locked door, so Deb went downstairs to let me in. I had to walk back down the ramp, and around to the side of the building. It was quite the jaunt!

After Deb let me in, I had to walk down a long dark hall to get to the meeting room.

A worker from another branch went through the same thing. She uses a power chair, and her work partner caught up with Miguel before the training. She and Miguel went looking for an elevator together to learn that there was none. Miguel brought this episode up in the afternoon as an example of barriars that get in the way.

I was going to forgo lunch so I would not have to go through the hassle of getting in and out of the building. I had brought some snacks today....okay, I was bad--some candy bars and pop and a yogurt. Lunch came and I decided to go over to the burger place on the corner. Some of my coworkers were there--Social Service Assistants who transport kids and supervise family visits. I see them in passing...but never really have much chance to to visit with them. We had a pleasant time.

They walked with me back to the meeting, around to the door on the side of the building. The sign said to press the buzzer to be let in the door. There were about eight buttons, some for various offices, some were blank, no one button to indicate access. I pressed one button, then another, eventually all of access.

One of my coworkers walked around through the front. He asked the security guard about the buttons and was told "Oh, none of them work."

That is not access!

For an agency whose mission is "Assisting people to become independent, healthy and safe," holding meeting in a poorly accessible location (at best) is not acceptable.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Disabled man dumped from wheelchair...

Have you seen this video?

The sheriff has apologized.

According to an AP story:

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Four sheriff's deputies in Florida have been suspended over surveillance footage that shows one of them purposely dumping a quadriplegic man out of his wheelchair. Brian Sterner tells The Tampa Tribune that the deputy was "irked" that he wasn't standing up for a jailhouse search. He was brought in on a warrant after a traffic violation. The department's chief deputy says "anything short of dismissal would be inappropriate" for those involved.

A more complete version of the story.

Good points taken by Tampa Bay Online:

•Why no training on how to frisk suspects in wheelchairs? Col. David Parrish, who oversees jail operations, says deputies are trained to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires disabled inmates to be assessed by a nurse upon admission. But deputies receive no specific training on how to frisk people in wheelchairs.

Parrish may be right that it should not be necessary to instruct someone "not to throw someone out of a wheelchair," but when a 22-year-veteran does just that, it indicates training protocols need to be far more rigorous.

• Has this happened before? Parrish says the jail handles hundreds of people in wheelchairs each year - it currently has 31 - and has never had anything remotely similar occur. But the deputy and supervisors in the video appear awfully relaxed about what's going on, suggesting such behavior is not out of the norm.

Gee's office should review the videos to determine whether other incidents have happened.

• Why didn't the supervisors report the incident? It occurred Jan. 29 when Brian Sterner, who was partially paralyzed in a 1994 wrestling accident, was booked for blocking an intersection with his vehicle and fleeing an officer.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Missing Tigard boy found...

This story puzzled my son and I. The boy was still missing when I dropped E off at his grandma's this morning for his ride to school with his cousin.

E was thinking the worst happened to the boy. I said we can't think that way until we know for sure. It his hard in this day when the worst does happen some of the time.

Turns out he missed his bus, tried to walk home and got lost.

The police were surprised the boy did not ask for help. We teach our kids not to talk to strangers.

Thank God he is okay.

Missing Tigard boy found

Writer's got their flag on the internet...

Interesting piece on what was one:

Writers’ Strike: Why the Web Wins | Newsweek From |

I can't wait until all tv is delivered over the internet.

It will be cheaper, more choice......right!!

Saturday, February 09, 2008


E had a basketball game at Madeleine this afternoon. NE 23 and Klickitat in Portland. It is a Catholic church and school.

I took the right freeway exit, but I was in the wrong lane and I wound up back on the freeway. The Garmin took me off the next exit, and got my to the school. I like my Garmin!

We got to the school and E started freaking out because we didn't know where the gym was. Chill kid! The Garmin cannot help us with that.

We saw a guy walking across the parking lot. He looked like he might know where the gym was. He did. "Upstairs." Upstairs?

Jodie has a much more difficult time with stairs than I do...but stairs aren't my friend either.

She told me to go up with E so that one of us would be there. E and I made it upstairs. It was a long staircase with a short landing in the middle and a door to the right at the top of the stairs. E helped me with the door. When we got upstairs, the guy we had seen in the parking lot was up there. He said there was an elevator on the other side, that he would run it for us.

I went to the door and looked down the stairs. I wanted to go get Jodie. I froze. Going downstairs is harder than going up. I froze.

I went back into the gym and headed for the other door. I thought maybe the stairs there were less daunting. As I started toward the door. the guy came back and said the elevator door was looked, and they didn't knew where the key for the elevator was.

I felt bad that Jodie had to stay in the car. But her attitude was that at least one of us were there for E. And Pastor Karl came to the game...that was very awesome.

Our boys were behind the whole game. The highlight was a short run in the third or forth quarter where we went from being 20 down to just being 8 down in just a minute or two, but then it went back the other way.

It is frustrating when inaccessibility gets in the way. Church's and private schools do the best they can do.

I should be more militant...I know. I am a fan of Mr. Magoo. We muddle through.

Yahoo says no.... Microsoft. Worldwide

Maybe Google?


Yahoo brand...Google is king of search...Microsoft is the behemoth in the corner.

Why did the proposed bid send Microsoft's stock down?

It's all about cloud I kind of understand.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday...Dems tie!

Hillary did not get the lead she was looking for. Obama made the gains he was wishing for...not a lead, but pretty much a tie.

Clinton is loaning her own campaign money. Obama raised $32 mil in January alone.

McCain is doing well....yawn! The only thrill on that side is that his future running mate, Huckabee, is helping to knock out Romney.

Google being out-Googled

I love Google. I have an igoogle page with ten, local news, blogs...I have feeds galore. I have my google calendar. My it tops! Google analytics helps me track the traffic on my websites. Blogger is wonderful...the auto-save feature I love. I have just earned my first $19 from my google ads. I save attached documents into my google docs, and then cut and paste the html code from the google docs into me websites. Googlepages needs work...I look for Google to offer free hosting with mysql database Joomla hosting...I can dream can't I? Google's Picasa and online photo album I love.

I am a Google addict!

I'm really surprised how upset Google is at the prospect of Microsoft buying Yahoo. Google's stock is down to $501. OMG! They were over $700 at Christmas!

Google is really whining.

Google is afraid that Microsoft is trying to take over the world.

The truth is that they are mad they didn't get to Yahoo first.

I hope this Blogger blog is still around tomorrow. Big Bro Goog...I'm sorry....

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Just heinous...

Horror struck me when I heard this:

Disabled women used to kill 91 in Baghdad - The Boston Globe

I know that extremists have different values than I, but this is a new low.