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

Monday, May 28, 2012

Sometimes it rains...

I have been sorely neglecting this blog...I know.  I think of stuff to write, but the words do not come to me.  Maybe if I pound a few keys, the juices will flow and melt my writers block.

For the last month and a half I have been driving Jodie to Salem for a special project for work.  I have been working remotely from Salem on a very slow connection.  It is nice that the district allows me to transport Jodie and that my manager is supportive of that.

It has also been nice to work with Jodie again.  Jodie and I use to work side by side twelve years ago.  We worked well together.  My weaknesses are her strengths and vise versa.  I used to tell people "Yeah, we work well together.  She does everything I say!"

Last week was the final week of the first phase of the project in Salem.  No more three days a week in Salem, except for one week of phase two of the project next month.  It will be nice to be back in my office this week.

For the past couple weeks, the highlight of our life has been seeing our son's baseball team, Portland Christian, take second place in district.  They did so by beating Gaston 14-4.  Eric pitched well, the boys were hitting and fielding well - a beautiful game.

A week later, last Thursday, we were at Kiger Stadium in Klamath Falls for game one of the state 1A/2A playoffs against Lost River.  The game was at 5:30.  The team left at 7:30 in the morning for the six and a half hour drive.  It gave the boys a couple hours to unwind from the drive and to prepare for the game...perhaps not long enough though.

Jodie and myself, along with Jodie's mother and sister, Denise, drove our van, Jet White, down to see the game.

Observations from our road trip:

  • The Oregon 58 cut-over to US 97 does not have many accessible restrooms along the way.
  • It was snowing in the pass on the way home. 
  • The closer we  got to 80 mph, the more our van starts to shake and rattle.  I'm not sure how we figured that one out ;)
  • When you are leaving a motel at 5 in the morning and you see a guy hot wiring a sports truck as you are turning around in the back parking, you can stop and tell the girl at the front desk, but there really isn't much she can do.
Hmm...seems like I'm forgetting something...

Oh yeah...the did it go?

Eric pitched well, we thought. The ump did not concur with our assessment.  He was calling "ball" on everything Eric threw unless it was dead center in the zone.  Our fielding and our bats were off.  Perhaps car lag?  I'm not sure.

Our throw-out at home mysteriously became a "foul ball", much like the foul ball by Gaston mysteriously became a "grand slam" off of Eric earlier in the season.

We lost to Lost River 10-2.

Pastor Mike had the wisest words: "Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains."  I Googled it.  The quote is from the move "Bull Durham".  Great quote!

It says everything.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First day at SOOR

My first day in my volunteer position at the Special Olympics of Oregon.  I pushed and held the button to open the small, open top, elevator door.  Instead of the door opening, the elevator went up.

Arthur walked by and asked me if the elevator was working.  He went upstairs to help send it back down.  When I made it upstairs, he showed me how to jiggle the door so the contacts meet.  An elevator with a personality disorder.

I made it to to the cubical where the interns and community partners sit.  My supervisor, Ryan, helped me to sign into their system.  They use Microsoft Outlook for their email.  I found that interesting because at my regular job with the State they just changed us over from Groupwise to Outlook email, so I am now familiar with Outlook.

Ryan wanted to know how I take notes.  Basically on the computer...or memory.

I was having trouble with the computer keyboard.  It was one of those Dell keyboards that don't have much of an edge to it.  He offered me an ergonomic keyboard.  I don't do well with those either.  For people without the dexterity issues that I have, this is hard to understand.  I need time to get use to computers...the keyboard and the mouse.   My unruly fingers need to learn where to go and where to not go on the keyboard.  I also need to get use to the sensitivity of the mouse.

I don't do well with people watching what I am doing.  I get nervous and my CP really acts up.  Ryan was really patient with me.  I know it sounds weird, but I hate when other people have to deal with my disability.  I fear that I look awkward, or even incompetent, as I figure out  how to do things in a new environment.

 I asked Ryan if I could bring in my netbook to use.  I do really well with the small keyboard and room for my hands on the side.  He said that I could, and that other people do that.

Ryan gave me the assignment of finding the right WordPress them for the website, and then  to send him an email with my top picks.  It was a really good assignment.  I found four themes that I liked and I pitched them to Ryan in an email.

My mind went back 23 years ago when I was a volunteer with the State.  The office drama when I started was burnt popcorn in the microwave setting off the smoke alarm.  Yesterday at SOOR the office drama was a dead refrigerator in the break room.  People were trying to figure out what was still good and what wasn't.  The Drumsticks in the freezer were now Drumstick shakes according to one guy.

After my four hour shift, I headed out to the van.  Ryan was not there because he had a lunch meeting with a group.  Ryan saw me at the van and came over.  He had a chocolate doughnut from Starbucks for nice!

It's invigorating to do something new outside my routine.  I like working on websites, but I have not had much success at it yet.  Eventually I would like to make more of a career of it.

Week one down.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

New title: Intern

With humility and joy I would like to announce that I am taking on an additional title for the next couple months - intern.

I'm sure that when Ryan posted the craigslist as looking for a web intern that he was thinking more college student...not a guy 25 years past that.  We emailed back and forth.  He wanted to make sure I wanted to do this.

I was excited about having the chance to work for a great organization: the Special Olympics of Oregon.  Their life affirming mission rates high with me.  Jodie and I participated in some Special Olympics events as kids at Holladay Center, years ago.

I met with Ryan yesterday at the Oregon Special Olympics headquarters down on Macadem.  It was a bold step for me.  I have been dealing with a lack of confidence lately.   I have been working on websites for years as a hobby, but success has been eluding me.  I have been making free websites for years, for people who don't quite know what they want...and giving them exactly that!

Ryan told me that this is not a paid internship.  I told him that was okay, that I am just wanting to get experience.  We shook hands.

I will be working on the Bite of Oregon website.  Ryan wants to move it over to WordPress.  I have been working with WordPress lately.  There is no guarantee that the website that I make will be the one that is used in the end.

I need to step up with ideas, make my pitch, and produce.

Somehow I am going to move my work hours so that I can be at the intern desk down on Macadam.  I look forward to the challenge and the opportunity to learn.

My hope is success for that success to open doors for me in the future.

Prayers and well wishes would be really appreciated for me in this endeavor.