Restocking My Cupboards; Entering a Madhouse

I want to end my trilogy to the winter blast of 2008.  I believe the following story will shed a lot of light into what it can be like when I go grocery shopping.  

The Saturday after Christmas, I had no food in my house.  So, I made a ride to go shopping.  I wanted to be at the store for two hours.  However, the bus picked me up late.  Adding to the time was the fact that both the driver and my personal assistant had to chip out a path before the power wheelchair could reach the bus!  

By the time I got there I  only had one hour before my ride to pick me up was due.  The recent bad weather drew everyone to the store that day.  It was a madhouse.  Getting things on my list was difficult because everyone was in my way.  At first, I bypassed all the heavily crowded isles, but time was ticking so I plunged into the masses.  People are aggressive when it comes to restocking their cupboards after being stuck at home by a winter storm, and the treat of another one hitting! 

It was amazing, people were walking in front of me, and cutting me off.  Hello!  Did they notice that I was driving a 200 pound power wheelchair?  I once took a class that taught me how to use the power chair as a weapon in case I ever needed to protect myself.  So, I know I could hurt someone if I ran into them.  Were the other shoppers in such a hurry that they were willing to get hit by a power chair?   Again, I am assuming they must think I’m a darn good driver.  Sometimes, I wonder what people are thinking when they step in of me! 

There were only a few more items left on my list, and I was beginning to relish the idea of escaping from the masses.  I was exiting an isle when a high school friend and her husband approached me.   At this point I had twenty minutes left before the half hour waiting time for my ride home started.  Of course, she wanted to talk a bit.  Why is it that whenever I don’t have time that is when people want to chat.  I like and need more than just a few minutes to talk with my friends, because communicating with my communication device can take a  lot of time!    When we finished the conversation I had about ten minutes left. lot

I got the last essential things, and was waiting in line to pay for the groceries; when I  heard my name being paged. I have a theory!  I suspect the the bus service has me hooked up to a GPS which monitors my sweat glands.  If I’m sweating profusely, dispatch notifies the drivers to pick me up right away.  If I am as cool as a cucumber, that’s when dispatch will tell the drivers to take their time in getting to me!  (Of course, they don’t really do that, but from time to time it sure feels like what they are doing!) 

I had my personal assistant go talk to the bus driver.  When she got back she said the driver would go around the block and then wait 5 minutes.  My body went rigid, and bang, I instantly got a nasty  headache.  I didn’t know if I should stay in line or abandon my cart.  I could have asked a clerk to put the cart into cold storage, and had one of my sisters pay for the groceries later.  I decided to stay in line, and risk losing my immediate ride home.  

When the driver came back he saw that I was paying for my groceries.  I saw an attitude change in him when he saw me. He was kind and waited for me after all.  I didnt have to wait 2 or 3 hours for another ride home, however the headache remained for the rest of the day.

Escaping at Last!

12/24/2008

Thirteen days of being trapped inside my home, and I’m finally being freed!  Hallelujah, amen!  I could not have gotten out if it wasn’t for my brother-in-law John, and one of my personal assistants; they literally had to dig a path out for me.  Three inches of snow turned into a stunning six inches beside the sidewalk! 

 

I was so elated to be outside in the fresh, crisp air.  The snow was so glaringly white, I had to squint my eyes.    My sister, Marilyn helped me to transfer into the car.  I pretended to have strong roots so that my feet slide out from under me. (I always believe in the power of positive thinking!)  I love leather seats in cars, because my bottom just slides right into place, and I was again thankful that my brother-in-law has good tastes in choosing cars!     The parking lot was a mess of snow and ice; none of my neighbors had been too ambitious about digging out to freedom. 

 

I thought once we got out to the main road everything would be smooth sailing, but no the roads were still treacherous and very bumpy with snow and ice.   John was sweet  and drove my personal assistant down the hilll to the transit center so she could catch a bus.  It’s amazing what three inches of snow, tire chains, and two weeks worth of bad weather can do to roads, potholes were  popping up everywhere!  The car hit some jarring ruts, and we psssed some downed trees which made me aware that an iced limb could come crashing down on us. Definitely not a comforting image!  I absurdly thought, oh just take me back home where I am nice and safe!  We made it safely my sister’s house, which is the opposite direction of the transit center, and about two and a half miles from my apartment.  Again, we gingerly made it into the house. 

 

We were there for about two hours when the electricity went off.  Marilyn had just put two pumpkin pies, two loaves of homemade bread, and our traditional delicious Christmas Eve casserole  into her ovens.  She was fit-to-betide herself!  She didn’t know if she should leave everything in the ovens or what.  I was fit-to-betide myself, because even though I wasn’t without food at home, the pickings there was getting scarce, and I was salvating with anticipation of the delicious meal! 

 

I think maybe an half hour passed when we saw a PGE truck turning around in Marilyn’s driveway.  Marilyn went to investigate, and just as she shut the door, the LTD light on my communication device went off.  I nearly jumped out of my skin.  It’s not that I am afraid of the dark, it’s just that when the two things happened instantaneously, it felt a little unsettling!   I’m sure another person would have jumped, too.  My Pathfinder gives off a lot of light: some people have even told my that it lights up like a Christmas tree, although I fail to see the comparison.  John got their generator started, however the oven couldn’t run off it.  At least I could continue reading my book; I had something to do other then dwell on the dinner that might not happen.  Another forty minutes passed when the PGE truck turned around in the driveway again.  I had a feeling that they had found the problem, and the electricity would be back on very soon.  Within fifteen minutes the power gloriously went on. 

 

As soon as John switched the electricity back on, Marilyn was turning on her oven.  However, her large oven didn’t want to work.  There was some tense moments in the house.  John thought that maybe a fuse had blown.  My nephew who was really hungry from working hard on the farm all day, wanted to kick the oven.  Whoever started beating appliances to get them working again, must have been one desperate person, right?    Even though I agreed with my sister that he shouldn’t kick the oven, the desperate part of me wanted to help my nephew kick the energy back into the oven!  Finally Marilyn set the clock on the stove, and the oven decided to work.  There was a collective sigh of relief from all four of us, and soon enough we were relishing in consuming a wonderful delicious meal.   

 

 While our food was digesting we watched the movie, A Christmas Story.  My Christmas wouldn’t be complete without seeing this movie at least three times! 

 

Happy Holidays! 

 

Jan

Posted at 10:06 PM by useuraac@yahoo.com

I am Stuck in a Snow Globe

.Today is my Dad’s favorite day of the year. Today is December twenty-first; the first day of winter. However, more to the point, it is the shortest day of the year as far as daylight hours. Every day after this gets longer by 30 seconds in the morning and evening. The farmer in my Dad has drilled it in me that we should make the most out of every speck of light from the day, and in the recent years has practically declared it a national holiday!

It is hard to believe that winter just started today, since the Pacific Northwest has been hit with severe winter weather. On the fourteenth we had two to three inches of snow, and basically the weather stayed frigid for seven days straight. My personal assistants have been coming and going cautiously! Two of my personal assistants have been relying on taxis to get here, and two were fortunate to have their significant others drive them.

I have not ventured from my home since the eleventh! Do I have cabin fever? That would be an affirmative, yeeees! I feel like I’m in a snow globe! With the snow slowly falling, and the streetlights glinting on the snow making it look sparkling. Do you see me with my fists pounding on the glass dome mouthing, “Let me out! Let me out!”

The weather forecasters predicted that Friday and Saturday would be good days to get out. On Thursday, I had my personal assistant call the Lift to order a ride for me on Friday afternoon. Before even talking to a person, a recorded message told us that only life sustaining medical rides were being granted. I allowed myself to moan and whine for thirty seconds, and then I promised myself I would for sure go out on Saturday, I could wait until Saturday! It was suppose to be the better day to get out and about anyway. When we ordered the ride for Saturday, the ride was accepted. However, I was warned that the ride could be cancelled due to the weather. Still I was highly encouraged that they did not decline the ride right off the bat! Since the weather forecasters predicted another storm front hitting around 5PM, I decided I would just go to the mall for three hours so I could be home before the storm started.

Saturday dawned. It was already snowing at 8AM, with no sign of it stopping. You know, normally when it snows around here, I am afraid to leave my perch by the window because when I returned it was certain that the snow would have stopped. I have never in my life seen constant snow like this! This snow was the little flake variety; the kind that sticks. We usually see big sloppy flake snow; the kind that sticks for a few hours, and then melts away! My ride out of here was set for 10:30. At 9:20 when my personal assistant was an hour and 20 minutes late getting here, I cancelled my ride. If I hadn’t ’one it, I figured Lift surely would have!

My sister tried several times to put chains on her tires. Each time she came back in dirty, sopping wet, cold, and frustrated! She didn’t much appreciate it when I told her that a guy on TV could put chains on a wheel in less then two minutes. (There is an odd thing you should know about me. Whenever I tease people I love, or feel really comfortable with, my voice quite often becomes crystal clear. And, that bit I told Carol about the quick chain putter-oner was crystal clear! I can remember sitting at the dinner table, and great zingers would float from my lips. Dad understood what I said, but he would ask me to repeat what I had said. Try as I might, I could never repeat the words even remotely with the same caliber of clarity as the first.) Shortly after that Carol’s family called to say they were going out to get a Christmas tree. Since they were going out anyway, she had her husband come to help to put the chains on. He had the chains on within five minutes. Carol came back in shaking her head in mixed awe and frustration that Kevin made it look so easy!

By this time it was around 11:30, and my personal assistant still had not made it here. She kept updating us on her progress. First Sara tried driving her pickup, but the back end kept fishtailing. Somehow she made it back home. Next Sara tried getting a cab. About two and an half hours later it shows up. The driver didn’t ’peak English, or at least pretended not to, and refused to take her up the hill. Her next option was to take the city bus. After waiting an hour and then some, someone walked by Sara and told her that the buses were not going up the hill. Carol decided that she would be brave with the chains on to go get Sara.

At two, six hours late, Sara finally made it here, and Sara barely lives over a mile from me. Carol and Sara made a deal that Sara would stay the night, so that neither woman had to worry about going out again at 10PM. By the time Sara got here, she felt sick with a cold. I didn’t want to get her bug, so I had her do the very minimum, but yet the crucial things for me. For an example, I forego getting in my recliner, because that would have required her to help me to do a transfer and she would have to get too close to me. However, I had her fix my dinner. I was starving; I needed to eat! I couldn’t send her home, because nobody was going to come relieve her in this freakish weather.

My deck is covered with about eight inches of snow.  The table and chair I have on the deck has a snow domes on them.  I wish I had a camera to capture this sight for you!  Oh, my goodness! I am sitting in my kitchen, by the sliding glass door. There is this scrawny pine tree about four feet from my deck, and about three feet from a storage unit/garage. The tree was already leaning at an 11:55 angle before the snow settled on it. The top of the tree was bowed down and resting on the garage roof from the weight of the snow. Just a minute ago, I heard a loud crack, I turned my head, and saw debris falling to the ground. The whole top of the tree snapped off! The roof and the deck still intact, thank goodness!

Right now it feels I’m going to be trapped in my apartment forever! Except! Except, today is the shortest day of the year. Seven days from now, the day will have seven more minutes of daylight. In just four weeks time, twenty-eight more minutes of daylight will be gained. I can hold on until whatever day I can exit my cave, because I know the worst of the storm is already in the past, or so that is what I am hoping! .

 

I am not entirely sure how many seconds of light is added to the days. I have heard some conflicting information. I am sure it is different amounts of time depending on what parallel on earth you call home. My Dad is claiming it’s a minute and an half at either end of the day, but he’s 82, and has some dementia. Perhaps a reader will set me straight! Whatever it is, all that matters to me is that the daylight hours are increasingly getting longer!

Posted at 1:56 PM by useuraac@yahoo.com

Knowledge is Power #1

12/12/2008

 I have decided to periodically write about words or assumptions people have that really bug me.   I’m premiering, Jan’s vocabulary Tips of do’s and don’ts, and other such trivia. 

 

My first word is,  powerchair.  My powerchair gives me the freedom to get me outside and into the community, without being pushed in a manual wheelchair under someone else’s power. 

 

When I got my first powerchair, I immediately went to the places I had wanted to explore.  The barnyard sat high on my list, and was readily available   I was twelve, okay my world was the farm.  Within fifteen minutes I found myself stuck among the sawdust piles.  Oh, the joy of discovery! 

 

I do not own an electric chair, as they are solely found in prisons.  When someone refers to my powerchair as an electric wheelchair, I get this vivid mental snapshot of me strapped to you-know-what!   So, now that you know, pass the knowledge around! 

 

Here is my disclaimer!  Some people may actually like the term, “electric wheelchair”.  Just use your best judgment when picking out the words you are about to say. 

 

While I am at it, I would like to tell readers that what you are reading comes straight from my life experiences, my thoughts, and ever so randomly my beliefs will seep into my writing as well.  It is not my wish change anyone’s minds.  I just want people think about things differently for a few seconds, or maybe longer!  I gladly welcome your comments!  However, please don’t send comments that you wouldn’t want to receive yourself.    .   

Posted at 5:31 PM by useuraac@yahoo.com