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

Saturday, April 30, 2011

BADD 2011 - Be aware of My Best Buddy

To be honest, it is hard for me to be honest.  I am a glass-half-full kind a guy.  I like to tell people what they want to hear.

Life goes easier that way, people are happier.

In my college days, I had a weekly column in the Oregon State University "Daily Barometer" titled 'Witticisms' - imagine that!  My thought was that if I could get people to smile, or feel anything, I could get them to think.

One time, it was disability awareness week.  I felt a burden to promote the awareness.  I was up all night.  I was ranting and raving about accessibility problems around campus, and how tough it was to be disabled and going to college.  I looked at what I had and I realized nobody was going to read my angry words.

I took a different tact.  I took my readers, sat them down, and gently put a pair of my shoes on their feet.   I told a story of my best buddy.  I told of some of the obstacles that my best buddy faced in the course of the day and the ways he got around them.

People who knew me knew right away who "my best buddy".  They were affected by my words.  The sports editor, who I barely knew, called me and told me how much he like the column.

My best buddy.  Twenty four years out of college now.  Twenty one years working as support staff for child welfare.

Life has been good to my best buddy.  Twenty one years ago he married a girl he had met at a elementary school for disabled kids.  Their life goal was to not have kids, but to take care of each other without relying on outside help.

Five years later, God surprised them with a son.  Family and friends were there to help.  The pregnancy, birth and early years, but there was never a lack of love and support behind them.

One time my buddy and his wife tried to by a lot in Beaverton on which to place a manufactured home.  The owner would not sell it to my buddy and his wife because he did not think my buddy could work, even though he did have a job.

On the other side of the spectrum, a few years ago when my buddy and his wife needed a larger van to haul both of their scooters, my buddy found the perfect van on the internet.  My buddy, his wife, and their son drove to Seattle to look at it.  It was decked out with a ramp and restraints.  It was expensive,  but the dealer and the bank worked things out.   A week later the van was their's, one of the simplest transactions in their lives.

My best buddy's wife is now in a powerchair full time now.  At first she felt that laying down her crutches was a form of giving up.  It has proven to be a much greater level of independence for her.  Even so, it has been a surprise to her how many local business don't have automatic doors.  She has to struggle with the door herself, or wait for the kindness of strangers to help.

My best buddy uses a walker much of the time these days.  It bothers him sometimes when people are in such a hurry to get around him that he does not have time to get out of their way.  It bothers him that walkways are narrow and/or cluttered in such a way that hurried people can't get around him.  It bothers him that he always needs to get out of the way.

Forget being aware of my best buddy's disability - be aware of my best buddy!

This is my contribution to Blogging Against Disableism Day 2011.

Blogging Against Disablism Day, May 1st 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

World's Last Typewriter Factory Closing Its Doors | News & Opinion |

World's Last Typewriter Factory Closing Its Doors | News & Opinion |

Momentous day. Last typewriter factory closing.

I learned to type when I was seven at Holladay Center. My handwriting would get me nowhere fast...I can barely read it!

When I was mainstreamed in the fifth grade, a typewriter followed me from class to class. In high school, my typewriter was in the special resource room.

At home I had my brown IBM. I used the white paper corrector stuff...such a mess! I then got a Facit self-correcting. In college I always had to make special arrangements with my professors to use a typewriter for tests.

The hassles of disability. Such an understatement. Gotta embrace it and roll on...or you go crazy.

In my work life, I have had a typewriter follow me around. Now that the IV-E adoption assistance and guardianship assistance forms are finally on the computer, I really have no use for it. And we no longer have a contract for getting it fixed.

The only thing I handwrite now is my signature on those pesky receipts. For any other handwriting I need to gulp down my pride and ask for help.

The end of an era. I would not have gotten where I have without this technological bridge to the computer.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I finally got one...

I have wanted a Kindle electronic book reader for years.  Mom got one for my stepdad, John.

I have been using the pc version of Kindle on my netbook for awhile.

My reason for not getting one for so long is that I don't read a lot of books.  I consume news and blogs.  I am addicted to Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader.  On my Twitter I follow many news outlets, reporters, and favorite people.  Google Reader I follow disability feeds, google trends, national and local feeds.  On Facebook I follow family and friends.  I find out more about what's happening at work off Facebook than anything I hear at work.

I am an informational junkie.

Any books I read are non-fiction - "Angel Face" about Amanda Knox, and "The Case for God".  I am not that good of reader because  I speed through everything.  I am just looking for the facts.

Well, my new 3g Kindle has surpassed all my hopes.  I did not realize that I could access the internet with it.  It handles Twitter, Google Reader and Facebook wonderfully, and the mobile connection is free!   My Gmail is not very easy to navigate on the Kindle, though I did finally find the best link to use.

The keyboard on the Kindle is not very "Troy" friendly.  Punching in my passwords is not as easy as I like.  The mousepad is small and tricky for me to use.

Even so, my Kindle is proving to be quite the dream for this info junkie.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Eric and the order of the towel

This is Holy Week.  Tonight we had a Maundy Thursday service at church, a commemoration of the Last Supper.

Three of our high school freshman, including Eric, took part in washing people's feet.  These kids have been through a peer ministry course, equipping them to listen to and serve other kids their age who need help.

Eric and Robert were at one of the foot washing stations.  Jodie went up in her power chair.  Eric took one of her shoes off and they washed her foot.  Jodie does not have toes; she has a couple stubs.  A big reason she has had to use crutches her whole life is because she does not have toes.

It took courage for Jodie to go up for a foot washing.  Just as the disciples were not all that comfortable with having Jesus wash their feet, neither was Jodie with having her son and Robert wash hers.

Jesus set the example of what it is to be a servant of all, pretty much opposite everything our culture sees as success.

Tonight Eric earned his towel; success that is out of this world.