Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ahhh King!

I just returned from Barns and Noble where I returned Christmas presents for the third time. I received a 25$ gift card from my boss and I used them to purchase a couple of gifts which were not what the folks wanted. I returned them a couple of days ago and got a more desirable gift and had enough left over for two paperbacks. I have not had anything new to read for so long. I have been getting by with an Orson Card compilation of science fiction and his stuff is good but I can only read so much of his material. Reading Card is like reading science fiction lite. So I got a couple of books I thought would really keep me occupied for the next couple of months only to find, when I retuned home, that I had in fact already read them. The reason I made this mistake was that yesterday when I went to B&N I took my granddaughter with me. I should have known better then to think I would have got some serious perusing accomplished, with a 7 almost eight year old in toe. When I shop, I have t have time, time to look at the volume I am contemplating, time to hold the book set the book in my lap and feel the books weight and rollround as I explore other possibilities. I approach buying a book like everything else I purchase. I agonize over the decision, will I make a mistake, will I experience buyer’s remorse? I cannot enjoy this type of agony being pestered at how long we have been there, when we are leaving and will you buy me this book? So, I grabbed a couple of volumes from a writer I know I like and headed for the checkout stand.

Today was bliss in comparison, albeit after I got the strange look manager, that “hey weren’t you in here yesterday exchanging stuff?” I just dumped the bag with her and left. I rolled all over the store, this B&N is one of their mega stores which replaced our quasi-quaint corner store I had loved. I sniffed the coffee, dodged kids and checked out what was on the “giant discount” tables and read backs and backs of books. I stopped the science fiction sector but soon I was over whelmed with new titles by authors I know nothing about-not welling to take a chance on a piece of fiction. So much of what today passes for science fiction, new age studff or magic or hobbit material. And I do love my Tolkien but don’t try to pass this stuff off as science fiction. I was about to give up when I wondered over to straight literature. And found myself facing the Stephen King section and even though King’s stuff is labeled “Horror” I have to admit like the Kings tells a story. I also did take a chance on a write I did not know from beans, a novel of military intrigue, high tech and action this should get me through and I know I have never read this guy before.

So I am home and I have something great to get lost in for New Years. The weather freaks are calling for snow tonight—TV sucks so maybe I’ll be with Mr King, warm and reading.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Vacation Grind

Its been a while but it HAS been Christmas but the fact I have just been lazy. I need to write these ‘blog home up-dates’ in the morning because one I get going on the day I get busy and by the time I am back at the computer I am too tired to be any kind of creative.

We have received tons of snow this Christmas and the cold temperatures to go along with the snow. I have been pretty much staying inside and keeping a low profile. The snow falls have not been as hug as the weather guys suggested they were going to be but the Christmas mood was here because of the white-stuff. I made a few long distance calls, the obligatory ones but for the most part laid low. Dianne went over to Ani’s to assist her open her packages. The “Christmas Morning” has been a tradition since Anakah was born. I have gone when they were at our home but I have not been one for going over super early and watch one kid , but this helps Dianne enjoy the even. I am old and cynical—Bah Humbug!. Dianne was home by 12:00 and we ‘nested’ the rest of the day watching old movies and answering the phone. Not my best Christmas ever but OK.

It has become a tradition with me to take the week following Christmas off mainly to keep my Vacation from being ripped off from me by the State. I never do anything, I am a bit of a bore and down deep in my heart I think I would rather be at the office. We have the granddaughter for the next couple of days and already I am going crazy. I plan to use the stress to motivate me into getting socks on and actually leaving the house to go out and purchase a novel that I can escape too for the remainder of the year. I would also like to get a decent pair of head phones. I have a card for Compusa, and I should use the card before Comp. shuts it’s door for good as I under stand they are going to do.

I’ll be taking my van, yet again, tomorrow into the shop to see if we can get the motorized seat repaired. It intermittingly stops an trapping me in he van until I can get the seat operating enough to get in my char. Justin thinks it might be a short or something, hopefully the fix will be simple and inexpensive. But, today I am going to escape to do some shopping for me and try to enjoy some of my vacation.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stopping By The Wood on a Snowy Morning



New snow came during the night, actually came in, last night as I was leaving work, with a vengeance. Hail, lightening, end of the world clouds and lots of wind. I watched the storm roll in all afternoon and I kind a wished the storm had held off for an hour or at least forty-five minutes but sometimes one has to play the cards their dealt with.

When I had left for work yesterday morning Dianne had made me promise her I would call her as I left the office I made the call but all I got was Dianne’s voice mail. I left as message and left the building. The wind was blowing sideways when I emerged from the office, zipped up in my two red coats looking like a fifth grader at least I did not have mittens connected by string. The snow was still partially hail, meaning the snow had not started laying down. The temperature was still dropping yet still above freezing. I had my hood up over my head, and my jacket zipped all the way up to my nose, keeping my head down as I made my way to the train station.

Is was not till I disembarked the trained that I knew that going was going to be more of a challenge then I had anticipated. The wind was still driving the snow horizontal to the ground but flakes were not hard little hail like balls but huge wet flakes looking like white feathers. I looked , a little hopeful, but I did not see the van in the “pick-up lot” so I took a deep breath and zoomed down the ramp, across the rails. The snow storm had traffic backed up, the commuters were late and seemed to be headed down 3rd West, my usual route home. IO had to weave in and out of several cars, since many were crowding the asphalt I usually roll down till I get to a sidewalk I can access. As I worked my way down the side of the road, I head the horn of our van. It was Dianne and Ani, stuck in traffic. There was no way there were going to be able to get a spot where they would be able to deploy the lift and pick me up after which then would first, have to get back into to traffic and head home. I stopped long enough to tell them they needed to head for home and I was OK and would be OK and I would see them at home.

Ten minutes later Dianne passes me to inform that she is driving Ani home and be home as soon after as soon as she could manage. As I said the traffic was bumper to bumper as I rolled down third west but the vehicles began to thin out as I got to the intersection of 5900 south and third West. I felt I was being crowded as couple of jokers made a lane next to the actual traffic lane. I waved my arms as I wove in between the cars to be sure the drivers saw me and did no try a right turn right over the top of me. By the time I had crossed the tracks and turned on to our street I felt I was trapped inside a robber Frost poem, “… all quiet and downy flake”. There was a couple of cars but not too many. I was riding the crown down the center of the street almost having fun. I was intoxicated with the idea of being out in my power chair, actually going places where others could not for one reason or the other.

I was soaked when I finally pulled into the front door of the house. My shoes and foot plate were caked with snow and ice. I was not necessarily cold but I WAS glad to be in from the night’s storm. I pealed off my red jackets and hung them over floor vents to dry and grabbed a hair dryer and started working on drying out my wet pants. I was glad to be home.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Always Look Both Ways

Transit accident

Commuter hit by TRAX train at 2100 South station

The Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated: 12/19/2007 01:13:14 AM MST


A man was dragged 80 feet by a train that hit him as he was running toward a TRAX platform Tuesday evening in South Salt Lake.
The man, thought to be about 45, was in critical condition but talking coherently when he was airlifted from the TRAX station at 2100 South, police said.
Witnesses saw him running to the platform at about 6:45 p.m., police said. He appeared to be trying to catch a northbound train when the southbound train hit him.
"There's certainly a message to holiday travelers to be careful," said South Salt Lake police spokesman Gary Keller.
As of 9 p.m., the train had not moved and was blocking traffic on 2100 South. Southbound TRAX passengers were being bused from 1300 South to 3300 South.
- Erin Alberty

I have written before about my belief that most people who die, die stupidly. You look the news article or the obituary and say to your self how could someone do anything so stupid.? The article from our local morning paper illustrates this point. Granted the consumer did not die but easily could have. And you say to yourself, “Gah! How can anyone Be so stupid?” But I know how easy something like getting run over by a train like this example could happen. In fact I have been almost run over a couple of times. It’s easy. Your brain/my brain is so focused on the train which is passing you from the South a person gets the impression this is the only train in the world and you don’t even think about the North bound train on the track and the next thing you know you’re paste. I have to be most careful right at the Trax stops. There have been times when I am anxious to get started on my way home and as I start to cross the second set of tracks the train driver blasts his horn- which actually will almost nock one over, and I’ll slam on my brakes, and the train will swoosh past. I will just sit there and ponder what it would have been like if the horn had not sounded and had I lunged onto the path of the oncoming train. How the article in the local newspaper would have reported the story would be interesting or how the accident would be the teaser for the Fox Nine o clock news a bout how someone in power wheelchair died stupidly

So, once again, I have started being more cautious: looking both ways before crossing the tracks, even though its obvious the tracks are clear.

I don’t want to be a stupid obit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Better Customer Service

Tomorrow, I am supposed to meet with one of the funders of my program. I wish the meeting was considered a social event of the season but alas the meeting is give this funder a big dose of customer service. Talk on the street that this organization is questioning our service performance. So all day I have been compiling data and other bits of information to illustrate our programs level of service: I also will work on my office in the morning. The office is not a mess but it can look a lot better. Luckily since the paint job my office received last quarter I have not let entropy progress too far. I don’t know if the department rep will make her way to my office but if she does I need to be ready. My boss and myself hopefully will meet with her in my bosses office or in the small conference room—but the small conference room is still full of toys waiting to be delivered to the reservation so I think we will meet in the bosses office.

I have to admit I was kind of freaked when I started get word from the community regarding the veracity of my program. I have really become complacent; I have not grown like I could have. I am fortunate to have a boss who is very understanding and pushes me out of my comfort zone when I need pushing. So rather then fear the event I am now excited and am looking forward to the event and really want to know how our organization can better serve our funders. I have the meeting tomorrow and the other meetings in January and February of 2008.

A good case of our customer service refocus is going to be the Calendar Page on our website http://accessut.org/eventscalendar/eventscalendar.html . I have traditionally been pretty selective on the dates I incorporated into this page, I tried to keep it focused on dates which were not tracked by other Calendars. My bosse’s vision is much larger and she wants any date on this page which has ANYTHING to do with disability. Seriously, if someone has a question about disability they will just naturally think first of our website. This task would be a lot easier if these folks would contact me when they had something for the calendar but I have never seen this happen.

A bright spot in this whole issue came up today when I was speaking to the director of another program which served folks with disabilities and he brought up the meeting when these information about my program started becoming public knowledge—he actually volunteered to support my program anyway I might need. He also indicated he knew other folk on my board were also supportive and would. I do not know how much I believe this but, the discussion gave me hope. So I am excited at the aspect to make my program better—to offer a better product to my customers and their consumers.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Seasonal Questions

I have noted with interest an increase in emails on our Groupwise account. The increase in emails is almost like many folk have waited till the end of the year to catch up on their emailing for one reason. Of course I am I am anticipating the increase in email use due to the Christmas/holiday season and many sending thinly disguised official “State” holiday greetings. I am also seeing what seems to be s surge in ‘retirement” functions which, I guess, would naturally lead to a flurry of job announcements. And I really don’t care about this activity , one way or the other, except when the email comes through the system to my machine and I am in the middle of another project the project momentarily will seize my system throwing me off. I hate this.

With great relief I was informed that my Santa Services would not be needed at the staff Holiday lunch Thursday. I have been dreading this event ever since the boss came upon the idea after I informed her that I was doing Santa at the local Independent Living Center(ILC). I doubt I would not be so reluctant to play the elf if I could dress myself in the outfit—and this is not as issue at the ILC because my old buddy Kim does the honors at the old ILC. Her at the Council it’s quite different being the only male employee and again its not as if I will be disrobing of my regular clothes to put on my red suite. The Santa Suite I use is just pulled over the clothes I am wearing but I would have to have one of the women in the office dress me which would be awkward at best. This would just be weird.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Do Gooders






When I left the office on Friday the “do-gooders” had just left. They had been there all day bringing in bags and bags of clothes and toys to be sorted wrapped and designated for families down on the reservation. I thought the wrapping of gifts and such was going to be a one day ordeal but I was wrong. I understood as the volunteers left the office they were coming in on Saturday as well to wrap and most likely will be there on Monday and who knows how much longer.

The volunteers are mostly from the office directly above ours the ARC (used to be the Association of Retarded Citizens but was not politically correct, so now it is just the ARC). The ARC staff radically changed in the past year becoming much younger with an infusion of VISTAs . Young, committed women who are out to change the world ; A number of the VISTAs morphed into actual staff. They have massive amounts of energy and has re-energized the whole building. I had hoped to spend the day catching up some projects, drinking coffee and taking calls. But what I had not taken into consideration was the doors to the office and hall(which is not heated) were left open to assist with the off loading of bags of toys and the constant coming and going of the volunteers. I froze my butt off all day and it was a very long day. So tomorrow I have more of the same to look forward to—happy Santa’s helpers wrapping and bagging. The only bright spot is the ARC administration is feeding these folks pretty well, cookies, potato chips, sandwiches and pop and what comes in our office is shared with our staff…namely me.



The new staff starts tomorrow, the secretary, so this will be interesting—the office will be in a bit of disarray as the new person gets her bearing. We are also having a Christmas function later in the week, an open house of sorts so I am thinking the next couple of weeks will be lost weeks. I am supposed to be off the week following Christmas so my year is just about over. I just need to show up and go through the motions. Traditionally the calls fall way off as we head into Christmas week. I am still breaking in the new person so I guess if I have any downtime I will use it to train my new person and try to catch up on some of my projects. I still need to do any Christmas shopping I am going to do in the next week and half. We don’t have much funding for Christmas this year but the vehicles are basically working OK, we have food, heat and each other and the Spirit of Christmas we are just about set. Provided that is that some trauma of one sort or another does not occur. I am holding my breath though, there are a couple of snow storms forecast for the next week and this could change everything.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

HO HO HO

I just read my post from last December 14,2006—the last time I played the Santa person at the Independent Living Center where I used to work. It’s been a year and here I am again: Santa Clause. I brought the van in today knowing I was doing the Clause thing and even though I could make it to the Center with public transit I thought I would be responsible to myself and work and drive over. The morning progressed well with light call flow till about an hour before I had to leave and I started getting calls and some intense calls taking more time then I had today and the new girl TT is still too new to let her walk into some of these type of calls—she is taking the calls way too serious.

I wanted to be out of the office by 11:30—in fact Kim had called to remind me and I told him I was leaving right then. But just as I was leaving a cruncher call came in and TT was freaking but I finally had leave TT hanging and I dashed out to the van. I had left the van open with the lift down so no one would park next to me. I guess this was a bad idea so when I got on the lift and tried to raise myself up, the lift would not rise. I was effectively locked out of the van. It took me a few minutes to realize that the battery had drained some how. I drove in-in the dark-so I may have left my lights on, or maybe there was a dome light on that I did not see which drained the battery. I dashed back into see if someone could “jump me”. TT was still in phone hell so I could not ask her and I tried Sandra our front desk temp and sure enough she had a vehicle and a jumper cable and she knows how to use it. Sandra was way cute, she is a very short native American, a little wide, a great smile and likes to help. She just backed her car up and whipped out her cables, hooked them up and soon had my vehicle going. I was late but not so late as to be too messed up. I jumped out of my chair and on to my power seat in the fan and the “forward” motors would not work!!!! Now I was beginning to sense stress. I don’t know what is wrong with my power-seat but the motor seems to struggle forward and back, very slowly, but usually the seat gets me close enough to drive safely. I have found when the seat get to a point when the seat just will not move if I wait and be patient eventually the seat will move or if I can get close enough to the steering wheel and throttle that I can get out on the road , there seems to be something about the van in motion the seat will move more freely. I am going to have to take the van in again and have Justine look at it and hopefully get the seat fixed. I was finally able to get the seat moving forward enough so I could get out on the road A and then the seat worked just fine. I took the Interstate to 33rd and soon was at the Center. I was forty-five minutes late. Kim met me at the doors and took me to the Director’s office where I would change in to the red suite, feeding me chili.

Ten minutes later I was out on the floor smiling and yelling “HO,Ho,Ho,”. The consumers crowded round and the picture taking began—one image for each consumer and child—lots of babies on my lap and a couple of family images but it was a long two and half hours. They were happy I came, I was glad I came, mostly, hopefully I earned enough karma to get me home tonight…ho, ho. Ho.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I Am always Stronger in the Morning

It’s cold out there. I have been watching the temperature all ay at the bottom of my computer screen and the temperature been struggling all day to rise above 30. The clouds from the last storm finally moved on last night and the temps plummeted. I have been watching people pass in front of my window all day. Folks and kids bundled up like steam coming out of the mouths and noses like engines. I am always surprised at how many folk do not wear any kind of protection against the cold. I guess I can remember years when I was driving my van everyday to work, day in and day out an I was rolling straight from my van to the to the building and back. I hated wearing lots of clothes because too many clothes would limit my ability to push my wheelchair when I was still pushing a wheelchair a lot more then I do now. I never had time to chill down. Now, just seeing the snow on the ground and people pushing white billowy clouds out of their mouths just gives me the chills.

I drove the van in today because I had to be home as soon after work as possible. Tonight we are celebrating Jasmine’s birthday at 6:30 and I need to be home at least by 6:00 so we can follow Mark over to Mark’s father-in-laws where the party is too be. Mark is supposed to meet me at my house a little after 6:00. If I took the train today I would be way late for Mark. Too use the van required me getting gas at some point today if we are too use the van tonight. So I hurried myself through breakfast and dressing and stopped in at the Phillips 66 not far from the house. It took me forever to find the controls to stow my lift after I got in the van this morning. The clouds which had caused a great deal of refracted light in the evening the past couple of night had moved way and inside the van was very dark. I dropped the pendant( controller for the wheelchair). A stiff cold wind was whipping round the rear of the van. I had a hook with me and I was trying to snag the pendant but to no avail. I frustration, however, I pressed my hook down on the pendant and hit the correct button to activate the lift and ‘button-up’ the van.

I often elect to do these kind of chores early in the morning as I can. I am strongest in the morning and lifting my self in and out of my wheelchair and into the drivers seat a couple of times is going to take as much strength as I can muster. I finally drug myself into my power chair, in the process, I pretty much pulled down my pants so I had to dress myself again! I was fortunate the station attendant saw me struggling and turned the pump on as soon as I got the nozzle into the tank an I pumped $70.00. I was totally shocked because the gas gauge indicated I had at least a quarter of a tank. I stopped at $70.00 I am sure the tank would have held another $10 or $20 bucks worth of gas. The tank registered ‘full’ as I drove away . The heater pumped warm air into the cab of the van as I listened to NPR—I am always stronger in the morning.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christms Miracle Number Three

The snow came again on Friday, a lot of snow, not making me wanting to go out on Saturday very much at all. However by the afternoon the snow was beginning to melt and Dianne needed me do a little shopping for her. I welcomed the excuse to get out of the house and try out my new lift, the streets were clear now and I felt quite safe.

I got to the shop of my destination without issue. I made my purchase and I was heading out of the shops parking area and was really focused on the traffic in the traffic I was intending tom turn into, which would make me have to cross the lane immediate in front of me. I thought I saw a break in the traffic and gassed the van out across the lane—immediately I knew I had made a mistake maybe fatal! To my immediate left was a late model BMW charging at me! I thought about gassing the truck and getting out of the BMW’s way but there was just too much traffic coming from the right. I wanted to close my eyes and wait for crunch quite possible the last thing I might ever hear. But I kept my eyes open and I saw the Beemer had stopped how I don’t know he just had. I took my van across traffic looking at the BMW not wanting to make eye contact with the driver knowing he was going to be making stupid faces at the stupid driver, me; just I would if I were in hi place.

I just got out of there as fast as I could 45: South to Ninth East and then South on 900 East and as I drove I did not shake or anything as dramatic as that, I just relieved the moment in my minds eye, playing it over and over again knowing I should messed up critically bad maybe even dead! For sure to have my Saturday wrecked if not my whole holiday season. Even if nothing happened to me, the van would have been totaled, my vehicle with the new lift I had installed just the week before. But I hadn’t wreck somehow I had dodged the ‘bullet’. I had been stupid and looked stupid but being stupid and looking stupid are small prices to pay for getting out of a predicament as I had unscathed. I could not get home, I had driven into some sort of a probability storm. I swear I was nearly hit by two other vehicles before I was able to pull into my drive way, safe and sound. I downloaded and stayed in the house the remainder of the day.

Do they say miracles come in three’s? I don’t know, but I am counting this near collision as my third Christmas miracle. I have no idea why I am being blessed so great this Christmas season but I am and I must just accept the gifts as they come. Merry Christmas one and all—I am just full of the Spirit.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Lost and Found

I was on a call when I got a call from the university rehab department secretary Pat. I knew she had news, i just id not now if it was good or bad news. Actually, it was good news: my wallet had shown up!! It was being held in Security and I would have to show up with at least one form of ID to claim the wallet. Pat also explained that I had to get to the university security as soon as possible because the wallet was in a safe and the safe could only be accessed by the head of Security who was only there in the morning.

I finished my call and talked with my boss who indicated that I needed to take off and get my stuff--this of course would necessitate a ride up to the University on the train, time consuming but It had to be done. I put on my coat and cap and was gone. The train I needed was pulling out just as I got to the station meaning at least a 20 minute wait. So I cooled my wheels at the Galvin Center. The day is over caste but not too bad. The University train finally arrived. I dozed on my trip to the U-Medical Center.

I had not had time to charge my chair before I got the call so I was blinking on y last light for my whole trip. I knew I would make it, one way or the other, the blinking red just makes me nervous. I finally found the Security Department( ac cross from the Pharmacy. The Security Department is of course will hid and the door is of course locked. I knocked on the door and finally some little security geek answered. I gave him my sepal about who I was and showed him my state ID as well as my transit pass. he slowly eye me up and down then informed me that the corporal was on a "call" and I would have to wait outside of the door until her returned. How Barney Fife.

The Security Office is sandwiched in the back of the Pharmacy waiting area. rows and rows or people sick and dying waiting to have their scripts from ER filled. kids crying, wives weeping and battles going on next door in a social worker's closet office. some guy from mental health ward was shipping out but his social work forget to bring some paper work and left him sitting next to me. Soon the guy from "Psych" was stretched out laying on the floor. I just sat still and hoped no one would see me. Eventually the "top dog" showed up and handed me the wallet, I signed and was one. Later in the cafeteria I went through the wallet everything was there except the cash which was disappointing. Cards, photos and license was there. I got off lucky, I actually got the wallet back $25.00 is a small price to pay.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hear Ye Hear Ye

I found out this morning I need to testify at a hearing this afternoon! The hearing is being held by a sister agency as part of their year end report. The problem is that the agency thinks it's a hot shot agency but really has a pretty week reputation in the community. I would not even go except the director of the project e-mailed me specifically and my boss is going and knows how I feel about this agency.
Its cold and cloudy and i have to saddle up and go to a hearing I don't care about and somewhere on Monday at the Information Fair at University Rehab I lost my wallet

Monday, December 03, 2007

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABLED PERSONS!!

INTERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABLED PERSONS!! I have been up at the University all day celebrating the event by sitting at a table passing out information to students and medical professionals at the University. University is always great duty to begin the work week with. I am out of the office, at the university, were youth abounds, and easy access to a pretty cafeteria. The only problem I am experiencing is I cannot depend on my power wheelchair. Even after charging the stupid batteries all night I am seriously cranking down the light on my power level meter dropping the lights until I am thriving on one light blinking red and that is the danger zone!!
I have been spooked all weekend worrying whether I’ll make there and back again without major support. My van is still in the shop so what ever I use to distribute I am going to have to get up to the U on my own. Actually I solved that part of the equation early this morning right after I got to work by see some folks from Rehab was going to participate in the Information Fair too so I was able to get the guys by the office to pick up my things and drop off at my table. In a flash of last minute panic I threw my charger in the materials box so , I hoped, I would be close enough to power outlet O would be able to charge my batteries while I sat at the table.

I was about half the way down on my power meter when I got to the information table and there as no outlets anywhere close to my table. As the light meter continued to drop I flashed on an idea. The out patient Rehab unit, I had frequented all Summer, was literally the corner from where we were sitting. I decided to bolt and see if Rehab could assist. I transferred from my chair to one of the rehab units chairs, a very nice rigid frame, and had them plug my power chair in to one of their chargers. I was able to get a solid two hour charge which really “lit me up”. I’m back at the office now and all is well. I have not even plugged my chair in since I got back all lights are strongly lit and I am confident I have the power I will need to get home.
I have had two competent folks tell me I have a bad core, or battery of the two I am running on. Ken from UCAT tells me they may even have a battery they could replace the dead core with which could really help me out until I can get new cores after the first of the year when my insurance kicks back in. So, maybe on Thursday or Friday when I have my van with the new loft back and running , then maybe I’ll drop by UCAT and they can install at least one new core.

That’s how I spent my INTRERNATIONAL DAY OF DISABLED PERSONS—this is verbatim, I know it should be INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES. People first, always people first.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Snow

Snow came today! A lot of snow for Murray, Albert my neighbor shoveled my walk and ramp and all I could say is ‘hi’ and ‘do you want a drink?’ Albert said’’ ‘no’ and went home.
I have been trying to revive my poor lap top all afternoon—no luck. I am going to have to call on Mark A—Mark A can figure it out. I am afraid there is much I will not be able to restore on the laptop but I will get back once my connection is restored. I am thankful that I still have my PC connection.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Age Rage



I had to run errands over lunch in downtown Salt Lake, so while I was out I stopped by the local Carl Jr’s to grab some fast food and get back to the office. I was surprised even though the time was about 12:30—right in the middle of lunch hour—the place was not too busy. This Carl Jr’s I always an experience since it is the “downtown Carl’s” which means this restaurant services the homeless an vagrant of the city. The clientele are always colorful if not frightening. But I amazed at how many middle class families are also in the establishment at any given time during the day.

I elected to pay for the meal with cash. I was pretty sure I had the almost five dollars it would the cost would be. I make my order and begin digging out the change from my wallet. I have a couple of paper dollars and I have couple dollar coins and assorted other coins. Then it dawned on me I really do look like a homeless guy, at the homeless fast food place, in my oversized red jacket in my power wheelchair hunched over searching for change. The little Hispanic teller who was waiting on be finally became exasperated and took a deep breath and grabbed what change was showing and said,” I am sure you have just enough” and handed number and I was sent over to wait round with all the other derelicts. Not

long my order came up and I rolled forward and grabbed my lunch which off course came with the receipt. I stowed the receipt into my backpack and headed back to the office eating my Green burrito on the way. It was later when I got back to the office and was going through my pockets and I came upon my receipt. The kid had given me the “Senior discount”. I must be looking this old anymore because I keep getting the Senior Discount! I know I should just accept the place where I am in life and enjoy getting my discount and just stop gripimg.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Christmas Miracle ?

Because I run the Sales Bank, our part of the website which allows people with assistive technology (used) a place where they can list their used technology for sale, trade or donation, I see first what is going on the “big board”. As some of you constant readers are away the lift in my van has been wearing out or sometime. We patch a part there and improvise a piece here but little by little the lift is wearing out. A new lift would be roughly $5000.00 obviously that is not going to happen, so I have been keeping my ear to the ground hoping a useable lift would be come available.

Monday I took the call. An older gentleman called with a lift he wanted to give away, GIVE AWAY!! I called my installed, Justin, who pretty much assured me that the lift should fit into a full sized van like I drive. The lift is three years old and for me this is practically new. The lift is a Ricon split lift, which means the platform portion of the lift actually IS split down the middle and fold up so when the lift is in the “up” position, people who ambulate can actually climb into the van through the lift. The split platform is a nifty feature but much more nifty is the whole thing is free. The installation will run close $500.00 but that is doable; just means no Christmas this year but for me.

I have accepted to do this project, albeit with a few twinges a guilt, but I am forcing my self through the guilt rationalizing like mad: this lift will provide dependable transportation allowing me to continue working etc,etc. Hopefully Justin can pick up the lift today inspect the product then if acceptable we’ll drop off the van and Justin feels he can take out the old lift and install the replacement in one day! We might be driving the lift van this weekend. This ould be sweet indeed.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I just Want My internet

As I approached the train station this morning for my ride into work I could see the electronic Time and Date read outs were flashing and displaying wrong time and date . “ This is not good.” I thought to myself, but a train had just passed a few minutes earlier so I knew the trains were running and I hoped, on schedule. This could be a “Black Monday”. It is being called “Cyber Monday” from the Christmas shopping angle would it not be interesting if there was a huge cyber crash today ?

I killed my laptop last night—actually I just killed the resident personality when I finally took the step and formatted the hard drive and of course I pretty much lost everything. I may even have lost the material I had backed up on the external drive I got last week! I was na├»ve thinking an easy format was possible. I seem to have lost my USB ports so I will be reloading software I can find or down loading drives off the INTERNET to try to make my laptop useable again. Oh yeah I also lost my router connection on my laptop which means no NET connection. So I cannot down load the software I will need until I am back up. I just hope I can get my hands on the CD Rom I need to find the connection.

I found this morning, on returning to work, interviews for Marianne’s position are to be Wednesday and Thursday: ten applicants and I shall be proctoring either the computer competency part of the interview or the writing portion of the interview. The only drawback is I have a lunch meeting with old staff members at 1200 at McgGraffs across the street. It’s pre-holiday lunch. The last interview of the morning is over about 11:30 ad the next is 1:30 so I think I can fit a quick lunch in there safely. It looks to be a busy week.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving was surprising great. I was a bit of a mess as the hour scheduled for the dinner approached(12:30) and people began to arrive on time and we were still putting dishes into the oven for cooking. I had been up since six and helped Dianne prepare the bird and throw the beast into the oven. A smaller beast this year not even twenty pounds but, I insisted large enough to feed the twenty family members who had RSVPed. I had made the coffee, cried threw chopping of onions and celery and I was doing fine. Dianne was upbeat committed to enjoying the experience this year. We were having just immediate family, two generations Dianne, myself, our offspring and our two granddaughters—is that three generations? So three generations. Just my family, no mom or dad person, brother or sisters, aunts or uncles or cousins just my family and the event was good. We had enough food, pie and Kristy’s red jello. Aunaka had made a great game the whole family was able to play and enjoy. Jasmine and Mark brought a game offspring we did not get round to playing: Killer Bunnies. We want to get the whole family together again so we can play Jasmine’s choice.

Perhaps the best part of the afternoon was that all the kids washed the dishes freeing Dianne or me from the task. True, we had made a point to use as much disposable as possible. Paper china and plastic cups we had but I also thought we had plastic eating utensils—we did not. So there was a pile of pots and pans and silverware. Even with starting the meal at 12:30 pm and shooting to get people fed and out as soon as possible we finally got the last of the guest out round 4:30. The afternoon had been great visiting had taken place, real interaction and the dishes done and garbage taken out we were left lone. Dianne went down for a nap and I watched a video.

Friday I stayed home from the office. I cannot say I did anything productive but play round in my computer room and try to build my courage to format my laptop. I have been working on a project all weekend to take all my bank statements I have received since I resumed banking about ten years ago and put these statements in order and three hole punch them and place them in binders. I did it. I must still have a pile of these statements some where but I got all I had punched , sorted and stuck in a binder. I have to admit I learned a lot about myself and how I have spent money the past decade.

Yesterday I actually ventured out and shopped for groceries. I have yet to consider Christmas shopping. There has been so much discussion regarding Black Friday I am going to wait till at least December before I do any shopping just out of spite.

I cannot put it off any longer. I better go and format my drive…wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Frozen Turkey

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and I am sitting in the office “cooking down” the clock till I can go come for the holiday. Most the other staff have left the holiday and the Boss and myself are then only ones left. We have to have someone here until five as the time of operation states on our business cards and PSAs. Someone has to be here. I expect the boss to leave before 5:00 leaving only me, ‘alone again naturally’.

Lunch was really strange in the city today. It’s always seems strange to me to be in the city the day before a major holiday. I took a late lunch and I noticed the building were emptying as upper management and bureaucrats began to disappear for the holiday. Since my batteries have become so unpredictable I rolled up to the train and took the train round the corner to the mall to see what was available. I have hankering for some Long john Silver’s. But I had not counted on the construction going on downtown. The sidewalk I needed to get to the accessible entrance to the mall was blocked off my construction stuff. It’s beautiful today but cold as heck, I had taken off without my gloves, I was cold so, So I started a bee-line back to the office. Knowing I still had to drop off my weekly letter to my Mom, I knew I would be passing the downtown Carl Jr’s and I figured I would stop by and snag a burger or something. It may have been my imagination but the streets seemed to have been taken over by the homeless even on the train there were homeless guys sitting on the seat facing me. Many of these hobo looking guys were carrying a huge frozen Butterball turkey. There were lugging round huge 20 pound or more frozen rocks of turkey protein with a dazed look on their faces as if they had won the lottery.

Even if the hobo had the skills how would they cook their bird? Maybe they would stand on the corner, like scalpers, and offer the turkeys to last minute shoppers looking for a deal—perhaps they were planning on letting their bird thaw and then tonight cruising the fast food joints near the liquor store and get a couple gallons of grease and deep fat fry their bird tomorrow in Pioneer park or just maybe they are using their bird o parley their way into an invitation to a family who would trade cooking the bird and the rest of the meal to this provider for his bird. Maybe they just took the birds because the birds were free…and when you are broke and down and out you take anything free and figure out what to do with it later.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Board Meeting

I’m OK it is mid afternoon before my quarterly board meeting and usually by now I am ‘sweating bullets’ all nervous about the morrows board meeting. But not this time, I am cranking through my stats-and the stats are down but I am not bothered I have learned, we will by. I have found a good graphic which describes the visits to the website and I am preparing my quarterly Activities page with phone traffic. I still have to put some information together regarding projects I am either doing or plan on doing in the next quarter. I just have to make sure we have candy for the refreshments, my board loves refreshments.

I arranged to have this board meeting during Thanksgiving week to increase the probabilities that as few of the board members would show as possible and also to have the my board meeting out of the was so I might enjoy the holidays. In the past I have always had the board meeting the first Tuesday after the first of then year and I always fretted over the holidays especially knowing I had my board meeting the first week I get back from New Years. Not any more.

The last couple of weeks have been beautiful Fall weather, temps in the upper sixties, and plenty of sunshine –that ends to night however at 6:00 with the arrival of out Thanksgiving storm—rain for sure and maybe even snow and temps of only high forties. I guess its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Doubts

My lap top has been ailing for some time. I call my lap top Colossus from the 70's television movie about two computers which take over the world. My PC then is name Guardian—any way Colossus has picked up a couple of viruses and other things along the way and now is always being hijacked and is just plain slow. After Mark brought Guardian back to life last week and now have two working systems. I realized it was time I needed to re-install the operating system on Colossus and give the unit a new life. I have not done this yet because I would need to back everything up and this has been intimidating. Mark just looked at me and said “come on dad it's time. Get yourself a USB hard drive and just do it.”

Inspired by Mark's words I checked a couple of places yesterday and finally purchased a 250 GB Free Agent Drive by SeaGate. I figured 250 is big enough for my back-up needs. I brought drive home and last night I began backing up my ` laptop, the process is a bit timely but have backed images,music, and videos files everything else will either be reinstalled when I 'nuke' Colossus or I will install as I need the applications opting to use new up-to-date version of the software lost.

I started reading my XP Home book and I'm a bit more confident still what if I screws everything up...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

24 Hour Rule

It has been twenty-four hours since Amy from Express Recovery dropped the $459.00 bomb on me. I have had some time to process he phone call and visit with Dianne about the all since Dianne handles this kind of stuff at out house. Dianne just asked that I start getting as much information together as I can regarding the bill. I have found that my “24 hour” applies on just about everything. I always give an upsetting issue twenty-four hour before I really consider any action I might take.

I called the hospital this morning at my break and found out that it was not the hospital who had sent me to collections. I was encouraged when I finally got someone, in billing, to pick up the phone. I was momentarily encouraged when the lady in the billing office said they had not sent me to collections and if they had, the hospital has heir very own collection group and I definitely had not been sent to them. The lady then informed me that most likely the doctor who had treated me was the person who had sent me to collections.

So, I called Amy back at the collection agency, and she sounded just as perky today as she sounded yesterday and sure enough it was the ER doc. I cannot believe I have to pay separately for each of this medical experience. How can they o this…is their goal to complicate a persons life as much as possible? Now, I have to go back and check and check to see if I even got any notice from the ER-doc for services rendered. I do not remember seeing anything. I think I am going to be battling these guys for months if not years to come. But, I have to admit, Amy was pretty cool. She helped me set up a ‘payment’ plan. I will make payments as I work with my insurance carrier to see if we can get this mess worked out. Hopefully if we can get the insurance folk to be responsible they can compensate me for any payments I might make.

My cousin called this morning an my van should be finished by 5:00 o clock but I am not going to pick the van up today. If I get the van at all this week it will be tomorrow, I can deal with only so many financial matters at one time—I am giving my van 24 hours and hoping for the best.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

ARRRRRRRGHHHHH!

Remember last summer when I had to go t the Emergency Room because my then primary physician would lift me from my wheelchair to the exam table because moving the crip was too much bother and the doc essentially forced me to the ER and I did. I went like a dummy. Insurance had been working pretty good for us and I figured ‘what the heck?’ Well today I got called by the collections people for the hospital—seems the insurance people denied my claim because the event was non-emergent. Some post-adolescent dorkas named Amy called—and I answered and now the collection department has got me. This cannot end good.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nickle and Dime






I am currently in the middle of a bit of a make over for my power wheelchair. This make over is the recommendation of my stint this Summer and Fall at the Rehab unit. When the durable medical boys are finished with me I’ll have new arm rests for more stability with new padding( the sales guy thought was very special) and I’ll have a new Roho cushion. Roho is the cushion built from magical rubber “fingers” of air to keep your but free of pressure.

As of last week these items are beginning to finally arrive and had the arms put on my chair necessitating that I go my durable medical provider so they can install the armrests. My van also entered the shop this morning with what I thought was a radiator issue but just found out is the water pump and will be in the $400.00 range. This is a major hit but I guess is survivable, all things considered. I will at least have option in the bad weather coming this week. The point being that I am taking public transit to the vendor to have the work done which I did. When I got there the vendor was shocked that I did not have my van with me. He actually thought I was just having someone drop off my chair—so I think he could feel he could work on the chair at his leisure and not have to have me, the consume, looming down his neck. Plus he would not have to worry about getting me out of my chair and storing me somewhere during the refitting. In the old days leaving my chair was never an issues. Just sidle up to a chair, any kin of chair, and “jump” from on chair to the next and I was happy as a clam. Not anymore. When I tried the transfer I started slipping between the two chairs and I was a sad crawdad. Finally a couple of shop guys came out and threw me in to one of the chairs littering the floor where I remained for the next hour.

I sat there quiet watching as one older couple after another came in looking for a walker, or a power chair of one sort or another as the sales guys pounced on them and then started the “up-sell” almost immediately. The old guy did not have a chance. The “suite” smelled medi-care or Medicaid “blood” like sharks in the ocean. The sales shark was not even good at it either had them in his teeth and proceeded to chew. The shark actually spit one out for time being when he realized that the old guy did not have a precipitation from his doc. It was ad as he sort of separated the old teamster from the shiny red Jazzy 1170 and gently backed the Jazzy back onto the showroom floor, promising it to the senior when the senior had complied with all the requirements.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Fall Daze

Its a beautiful Fall afternoon. A gift. A warm blustery day as a front is pushing it self in with falling temperatures and the promise of rain for tomorrow. I am alone today and tonight. Dianne is at the cabin with Auni Bridget and Gabe. I don't go to the cabin, especially in the winter because the cabin is two hours away, with copious amount of snow and most of all not wheelchair accessible. I am a homebody I guess—which might not be fair to Dianne who spends most of her time at home during the week. I am glad the kids take her to the cabin so she can have a change in venue.

I spent a major part of the afternoon next door visiting with Al and Lanae, outside on their driveway. The visit was great and I am afraid it may be the last for a while as the inclement weather moves in. This saddens me a bit but such is the cycle of life and the seasons.

The wind has been brisk enough to assist many of the trees in our neighborhood dispatch the last of their leaves. Our plum lost most of its leaves leaving a rich red carpet on our lawn. Down the street there are patches of brilliant yellow under other trees and orange under yet others. The house is quiet, I turned off NPR a few minutes ago and the hum of the lap top keeps me company. I need to spend some time in the computer room working on Guardian, my big system but other then that this has been a quiet holiday Saturday along,, again, naturally.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Don't bother me...

I did not sleep well last night. Auni was over—though that had nothing to do with the quality of my sleep—just old guy stuff. But because of my lack of sleep I was a train zombie this morning, I had the dead eye stare which said “don\’t bother me”. I had my huge paperback collection of Orson Scott Card and I tried to hide in this tomb but I am sure I was not fooling anyone.

The stop after mine Mr. J got on the train. Mr. J. must be 85 or maybe even older, but he is a young 85 and quite spry. Mr. J is dressed in tans and browns nice shoes, great socks, slacks, white \shirt and tie , sports coat and a hat worn jauntily to one side. I once new another fellow who was aged and dressed similar, in Boise and the Boise guy was very interesting and bought me a lunch the first I ever met him.

I found on the first contact I ever made with Mr. J that he was dressed and heading in to Salt Lake at this early hour to do temple work—this is a quasie form of recreation for old Saints. I was deflated. I had much more interesting fantasies for this old guy. He seemed happy go lucky and we had a fairly interesting discussion.

It could have been me, it WAS probably me, with my ‘don’t bother me face’ and my diving into my book trying to be as asocial as I could be. Mr.J tried to make contact at one point drawing attention to how bad I was rocking with the train and perhaps I should sit another way. I just smiled and said something—not rude but limiting and returned to my reading , letting the train throw me all over the car only now accentuating each rock and roll the train made as it crossed its uneven rails. Mr.J was quiet till he got to the temple and got off but right before the senior left the train he turned to me and glared and said something like “ when you get off till the driver the electronic sign at the 45th street says May—its November they need to fix this, you tell the drive”. Having said this, Mr. J made a sharp about face went to the back of the train and left the train.

I swear the conversation was like something from a Stephen King novel. I had just nodded my head in response to his command. Each station is equipped with an electronic sign reading month, time of day and time till next train arrives-and any other bits of information “train central” feels the transit consumers need to know. Everyone once in a while they mess up but people survive and the trains come and trains go. Maybe it was safer for the old guy to unload on the sign then it was to deal with me in my sleepy dark mood. Ether way I told the driver nothing when he let me off at the End of the Line…I sure wish I has taken the guys picture.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

So Long Marianne




Marianne is leaving! She came in to my office the first of the week right after she informed my boss, that she was leaving at the end of the month. I have to admit I usually I really am only marginally interested when fellow employees decide to move on one way or another but with Marianne leaving I suddenly start feeling wave of anxiety, separation anxiety.

Marianne has been on board in our office for about two years. I don’t think I was too hot on her when she first came on board. She seemed arrogant, controlling and possibly condescending. But Marianne worked, very hard. Even though she was a pain in the butt sometimes the effort she put in on the office made a major difference. Marianne really does not get mad and we have folks in our office who sometimes can get under your skin but I have not seen Marianne

Really blow her top like I have with other front desk people. Marianne

actually has real negotiating skills, she is not frighten of drug crazies zombie street people who wander into to our office from time to time.

Marianne has a naivety which serves her well in communicating with state division heads, executive directors, consumers with developmental disabilities, their staff and parents. Marianne is also always learning—I think this is what I like best in the woman’s make up. there have been times when she has not know something, she should have known coming into this position. I can tell this from her questionsand mistakes she will make over and over. However, she will doggedly find the answer and become the office authority on this particular area.

So we are back to square one at the office and the boss and I both sorta feel that it will be along time before we find someone who can fill Marianne’s shoes.


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

On No Another Advisory Board Meeting

I just realized I am supposed to have a board meeting the twentieth of this month. The 20th is the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I know this is a horrible time to try to get anyone one for a meeting but I am going to try because I want to get the board meeting out of the way and not hanging over my head for the holidays. The downside of this is having to dump my data and get the data presentable in two weeks with a National holiday squashed right in the middle. I also have to get “meeting Notices” sent out as well as agenda. If I focus, I should be able to get these items in the mail by tomorrow evening( Thursday). I doubt anyone will really show but I’ll have crossed all the bases and will have the meeting done.

Ho HoHo…

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Weak!


This is me-an Americian turkey!

People are returning to the office. The boss returned from vacation last night and Marsha returned this morning too. The sounds of an office are filling this office again, copy machine grinding out copies and actual people to send phone calls to people dropping by to see the director. I am glad I was here when the boss got in yesterday—straight in from the airport. I sort of think Marianne was going to pick her up but Marianne’s daughter was sick leaving the boss to cab in from the airport. So there are three of us in today ad two out and I sense or I think I sense the boss beginning to grind her teeth.

The official word from the University Rehab Center is that I am out of visits, insurance visits that is. I am sure the Rehab Center would love to have me if I just rolled in and plunked hard American cash-soft as it is. Today was to be the first of my two weekly visits, at three o clock, actually the visit is at four but I must leave by three to take the train up the hill to make it by my 4:00 pm appointment. I actually emailed my therapist yesterday and this morning when I had not received a reply. I finally got a reply a few minutes ago which basically said “ see you in January”. This is cool with me I think we had progressed far as we cold go for right now. I also think we were beginning to tire of each other. I was also getting nervous at the amount of medical leave I was using. Even though I have the ‘ sick leave’ to burn I hate being away from the office and the phones as much as this dip into rehab has demanded that I be. Hopefully, if and when, I re-enter rehab after the first of the year I will have someone else hired who can cover the phones for me when I leave the office.

Finally, today is Election Day and my dirty little secret is I did not vote! I have some great excuses which include, they moved my polling place and I have not found the new, I cannot find my voter registration card, my wheelchair van is broken, the train caught fire this morning and this election is a small election. We have only one referendum and nothing much else to consider. Dianne said she would find the polls and vote or both of us. I cannot believe it how much I am noticing those quirky little badges they peel off their giant roll, at the election hall, and past on your shirt when you come out of the booth and you let em do it with a huge Gomer Pyle grin, proud as Pete that you did your duty. The first time sense Dianne and I got married. What this means I cannot say except that I am a poor American today. I did not do my duty an I guess I am just going to have to live with that.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Yawn



Its November 5th tomorrow’s Election Day, Thanksgiving is three weeks away and it 59 degrees out side my window. I was out at lunch running round up town and I could have sworn it was Spring. There’s a couple of big conferences in town lots of interesting folks walking past my windows. I need to be doing a million things but I just cannot seem to get movtivated. Maybe I am suffering from Setback malaise. The dull sleepiness the body suffers in the Autumn as the body adjusts to the difference times and perhaps more important adjusting to the change in daylight. I will feel that I am going home later because of the darkness of the eve even though I have put in the same amount of hours as I usually do.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Strange






It's not that I could have done any better it's that, it was just weird. Last night was the going away dinner/party for the Russians. The Russian docs have been i n town for their week and they flew back to Izhevsk this morning Standard time. The Russians like to party a lot and they have a party whenever they can think up an occasion to have any kind of celebration.

Last night's celebration was to be a dinner party. The event last Saturday night was a nice dinner party. Lots of cold cuts caviar vodka wine and various soft drinks. The dinner was held at a local apartment complex common house jut right.

Last night was totally different. We got the email early in the week the event was to be held at Totem's a private club on the North West side of Salt Lake at 7:00 P M. I have been to Totems in the past almost twenty years ago. A mix of country western and national forest: lots of logs. The place just seemed odd to host an event for our Russian friends. Dianne had become close to these folks in the events she had been instrumental in putting together and wanted to see them off. I was indifferent but in my goal is becoming more social I put forth the effort to go.

Totems is much larger then I remember. In a side of town I rarely go in daylight even less after dark, Totems is a private club meaning you can smoke and order liquor with your meal should you desire. However Totems still has the appeal of national park as and cowboys. It's a dressed bar, albeit a big bar, is still just a bar.

We were almost the first to get there , a couple of the doctors had been dropped off and were sitting in the midst of three rows of tables with table clothes and place settings. This was at 6:55pm and by 7:10 there had assembled a small crowd. A lot of hand shaking and hugging went on and ogling , as the group tried to take in the “opulence” of the logs, beer signs and working class folk sitting at the bar.

Sergey, one of the local docs hosting the Russians, gave a review of the week's events—every thing seemed to drag. I was getting hungry and there was no sign of food. Finally it was revealed that the dinner was to be prime rib, no ordering off a menu.

Two waitresses, which I later realized were bar maids, tried to take the salad orders—they were monstrously slow and Dianne and I were on the end of the end table. All during the pre-meal and now the meal there was a rumbling coming from what to be a curtained stage. I knew the sound it was band getting ready to perform and sure enough half way through the wait for dinner they started their mix of country rock and good ol' rock and roll. Good old LOUD rock and roll. Needless to say any verbal cultural exchange ended.

The prime rib was cold by the time I got mine I has to ask for steak knives three times before the knives finally arrived. I wolfed mine down like any survivor would thankful for the protein. We stayed till 9:30 then grabbed our coats and booked feeling safer each mile South and East we traveled. We had done our duty but boy was the duty weird.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Brain Surgery

It's past noon on Saturday--the laptop is working a little so I will swiftly post. I want to get into the big PC, who will no longer boot, and try to erase the CMOS. some of the Internet searches I have found indicate this may take of the issues I am having. The laptop I am afraid I am going to just have to nuke! I do not want to attempt this until I have Colossus running again--then I'll nuke Guardian.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Day of the Dead

Its Day of the Dead celebration for Mexicans. I guess Day of the Dead is big holiday South of the border but the folks up in the consulate upstairs are working. I stopped in after lunch and visited with my new buddy, Jose, and the consulate looked like they were about ready to party. I believe the shut their offices down at 3:00 p.m. I noticed big pink bakery boxes in their back room.

I am the only on the office this Friday afternoon and actually I would be gone too if my therapist had not called yesterday afternoon and left a message that I need not come in today for my physical therapy. Seems there are questions regarding my insurance. I should have a number of visits more but heir accounting is currently all messed up. So here I sit, charging my battery, watching the clock and getting ready to leave.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Trick or Treat




I had to stop at a shop on the way home from work, last night, which took me a block away from the from my train station. I have to admit I was a bit preoccupied; the evening was growing late though the sun had not yet set, a cool wind had come up making the evening colder then I would have preferred. I was scurrying through the buildings and block of the ‘metropolitan’ of downtown Salt Lake to the train station. Halloween night and I had noticed a few who had braved public humiliation and were out on the sidewalks as rock stars, slashers and cartoon characters…one Bob Square Pants. I pulled my jacket round my face in my best Dickens characterization and headed into the wind. I was heading west to war main street and came up on regent Street. There was a SUV type vehicle blocking my path of travel. You know people will pull up past stop zone and block the crosswalk? Well I did not pay much attention and accelerated my chair hair and went behind the SUV.

The pavement is very rough in this section of town, blacktop has been layered over blacktop for decades it seems and causes a wavy surface on the street. As I went behind the SUV I felt my weight shift as I negotiated these blacktop waves and I rounded the SUV I felt myself(chair) brush against the bumper. There was a bit ff a “thud” but I was OK and I was then on my way. I had a nagging feeling that all was not well, but I sped on my way, had a train to catch.

As I sat at the corner of Second South and Main street a guy, nicely dressed in a yellow dress shirt and slacks and asked if he could have my name—I thought he might be a reporter or something. He read my name off my ID packet I wear round my neck and also noticed that I worked for the State. He was very cool about the whole thing but I did have a weird feeling. Finally asked what he wanted the information for. Of course he is the driver of the SUV whose bumper I ran into. He went on to tell me that I had injured hi rear bumper and that was going to have to pay for the repair to the bumper. I was blown away so I just sit looking stupid on the corner of Second south and Main Street. I was the deer in then head lights. I even gave him my stupid business card. He was very nice about the whole thing but very serious too. I could not think of anything to say but I was sorry. I went round the vehicle and yup, sure enough there was a scratch. The SUV had that rubber like stuff on the bumper and that was what I had scratched. If the bumper had been regular chrome I doubt I would have left a mark of any kind. The guy said “of course I’ll have to get the bumper fixed.” Who knows what that means. I mean a bumper ? Holy Cow who fixes a bumper!! A two inch scratch! True I was preoccupied I should have been paying more attention on the street so the did cause me to brush the vehicle. I could try to fight the claim if it gets to the point where damages are levied against me. But what can I fight? I did it I hit the bumper—I have no defense except absent-mindedness. Maybe he was just trying to scare me. Maybe he was fed up with these no account, above the law street vixens who run Willie Nellie all over the down town sidewalks cutting people off, hogging the sidewalks and ramming cars. Well this one is going to pay for the scratch in my bumper. I probably will too…another expensive lesson. When will I learn?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Like Porn for Kids

Its Halloween and as I watch the sun head toward the evening horizon I can just sense the millions of little kids out “there” chaffing at the bit waiting until that time hen their parents will release them to canvas the neighborhood for the best candy. It looks to be a beautiful evening for trick or treating and the temps will facilitate the event as well as I am sure the temperatures will be in the fifties or so.

Clear and warm who could ask for a better evening to go out?

I am alone at the office this afternoon, the mom’s took the day off to work with their kids to make sure they have a great Halloween and the boss is on vacation. But Vicky just left and we were talking about how in “our” day Halloween was always cold and miserable. That is how I remember the event. We lived on a small farm in South East Boise. We were one of number of small acreages in that area. My point being: in order to get enough candy one could not trick or treat on the farm neighborhood. There were just too few houses to hit. My older brother, who I was sentenced, to go with would put the pressure on the adults to drag us into the city or at least subdivisions which were beginning to crop up in the community in the late fifties and early sixties. ]

I don’t think I really ever like Halloween. I have no fond me memories of this quasi –holiday. What I remember is stupid cloth bunny or ghost costumes with eye holes which seldom lined up with my eyes, if there was a mouth to the costume it was the only orifice even close to a breathing hole. I was the smallest kid in the group for a long while. The goal of the evening was to get to as many doors as possible which meant running from door to door. The big kids had long legs to my short legs and a floppy costume and it seemed I was falling down all over. I was also, slowly becoming blind as my mask shifted and I no longer could see out of the eye holes in the mask. And the night of Halloween, as I remember, was always cold, deathly sometimes it seemed to me. The mouth of the mask had long become drenched with spit as I mouth breathed in the mask, the freezing soon had the wet area of the mask around the mouth frozen! This was disgusting. I was soon falling behind and getting yelled at by the big kids to keep up, the more I ran to keep up the more I stumbled and fell. Each new door to knock first had to be reached by climbing up a host of stairs. By the time our parents or whose ever responsibility was to pick us up I was exhausted, frozen and sore. I usually had just about half the take my brother had and I usually those weird treats like, apples, nickels or the dreaded popcorn ball with out any kind of a wrapper which would stick to everything in the pillow case.

Now a days probably thanks to global warming the season is almost spring like plus costumes which are light weight and built for comfort and individually wrapped candies. It’s almost illegal to give out home made stuff anymore.

Still Halloween is hard to justify anyway one looks at it. Its sort of like porno for kids.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Juice

Its 0828(in the morning)(obviously) and I am sitting at my desk top plugged into my charger hoping to squeeze enough juice in to my batteries to get up to the Salt Palace and UEA for another day and get back to charge a little more for my PT today. I just hate living this close to the edge. What I might also do is drag the charger up with me to the convention and charge while I sit at the information table, tacky as this might appear it would certainly allow to juice up to the maximum.
I checked on the charge twice last night before I went to bed to see the battery was charging. The green light was blinking and I assumed hat charging was occurring. But to my horror this morning when I went into the bedroom I saw the red and green lights of death. I pulled out the charging plug and sure enough I had but one green light on my power stack. In the best case scenario I would have a steady green light indicating that a full charge had indeed occurred. I have been kind of worried about today all week. Because even starting out in the morning with a full charge I know I Will need some charger time after I get to work to be sure to have the power I will need to train up to the university and through the hospital complex to physical therapy and more importantly have the juice for the long trip home: back through the hospital and then from the train station back home. In the past I have thought trying to figure out a way to strap my charger on to my wheelchair somehow and take the whole unit with me. This is what I did this morning when I took off. I had Marianne coil up the cords and we ended up sticking the charger under my foot and I drove over to the conference set up my booth and charged the entire time I sat at the table. I probably had enough power I just wanted to be sure.
I have been back from the conference for a little over an hour and I have been charging most of that time. I was hoping I could have charged for another hour be fore leaving leaving for the university.
I am home now. I made it and I would write more but my lap top is acting up so I am going to post what I have.

Monday, October 29, 2007

UEA




I just got back from UEA, where I am sitting at a booth. UEA is the Utah Education Association—sort of like the Utah teacher’s union. This used to be one of the biggest , well attended conferences in Utah. The vendor hall was enormous with over 1000vendors hawking their wares. The Vendor hall is a veritable carnival. Any one who has anything to sell in the area of education is there. Publishers of text books, teaching machines, teaching and general school supplies. Plus there is every weird idea and inventor can come up with in the area of teaching. A guy sitting right across the table from me was selling some kind of system to make your kids authors and there’s insurance sale guy, US ARMY Recruiters, even food dehydration and a complete paper vending book store is there. Teachers are supposed to attend, but I have noticed ever dwindling numbers of educators the last couple of years. Many teachers who do attend end up bringing their kids so there are hundreds if not thousands of kids running wild.

One of the cool things about the UEA conference the vendors usually are giving away everything from gobs of candy to all kinds of trinkets. Lots of pencils. Rubber balls, pens, slinkys, coffee cups, games and software. But really tons and tons of candy. In Salt Lake UEA is the pre-Halloween event.

Sadly the event is dieing. Used to be all of Utah’s schools were closed or this event. It must have been a wonderful holiday for kids. No longer the case. One school district I heard of down South of here is actually in class today and tomorrow. If you are a vendor the price of a table is way over priced. I was able to attend this event because someone is willing to let us share a table wit them for some sweat labor. I manned the table two hours today and two tomorrow. I agreed to do this before I found out the host table would not allow me to set some of my brochures out on the table. Tomorrow I’ll be at the convention from 9:00 to about noon and then back to the office to recharge my charge for a coupler of hours before I head up to therapy. When I asked about the allowing us to display our brochures they sounded freaked out and had to do that thing “we’ll have to get back to you. They must have felt guilty because they offered us a free table for their conference in March. We figured the trade as worth it. I took a second once I got squared away way and zoomed round the hall and found a table who would let us set up our brochures.

We have Aunakah over UEA, with both of her parents working watching the granddaughter seemed only natural. We had her most of the weekend as well. Sometimes it’s spooky at how natural watching the granddaughter is.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Punch




Last evening I moved the three-hole punch into my office and this morning I pirated the rotary paper cutter. I sort of encouraged the Council to invest in this device a couple of years ago. We have a typical lever paper cutter and scissors lying all over the place. I have never been able to get the standard paper cutter to evenly cut multiple pages and quadriplegia and scissors just don’t mix.

As I carted the cutter into my office, Marianne noted she has never seen any other staff use this device except me and she even suggested that I keep the cutter in my area since I am the one who uses it. I pretty much had the same conversation last night regarding the three-hole punch—‘keep it since you use it most’. OK, I will.

I am slowly turning the work station left when Dawn left last month into my work area. I am still getting used to having this much space. It’s great! Already, I sense the entropy is subsiding and the extra surface I have allows me to keep some sort of order over my general work area. The office renovation nears completion, the last two rooms: Marianne’s office and the ‘work room’ and we’ll will start moving items back into the rooms today and tomorrow so I have to start harvesting items I’ll need to make my work area complete in the next twenty-four hours. I figure I need to find an electric stapler and electric pencil sharpener but I tend to use mechanical pencils more these days then not. I still have to lay claim to my old file cabinet stored across the hall in the vacant office over there. I plan to be throwing way a lot of junk I have accumulated but I be getting back a lot of my resource materials and other items needed to make an office a home.

I spoke with my Michelle yesterday and she has ‘scoped’ the fetus and we have a new girl to add to the family. I will add an image of little Riley or whomever when I can access Shelly’s MySpace account—I cannot not from my office—you know the old State. So that’s everyone except Old Brooks…the pressure’s on.