Monday, December 29, 2008

Lost Chances

I have been stewing over event which happened at the office last week and the holiday season. I cannot believe I let an opportunity of its magnitude slip through my fingers. I am usually so much more tuned into opportunities for altruism. As a firm believer of “bread on the water” mechanics of self-perseveration I give when I can and I usually keep a couple of “ones” dollar bills in my back pack to give hobos and panhandlers. I have learned in my life experience if one gives “here” one gets “there”. This I believe and this I know—this belief has never failed me.

If you have followed the blog at all, you will know that I work in the same building which houses the Utah Mexican Consulate. I am not sure what the consulate does but I know they channel through hundreds of folk through consulate each day they are opened. The consulate is not a low-income service agency due to the kind of vehicles which park in front of my window each day. However, because the consulate is governmental agency I am seeing more and more low-income-poor folk show up at out building. Lately, there has been this one old guy, even older then I am, lets call him Don Juan. The last couple of week Don Juan has been hanging right outside of our office door which is right next to the entrance to the building and Don Juan stands there by the doors and I thought was welcoming folk to the consulate, directing them up stairs and into the right office. But with the cold snap that the area has just finished the odor surrounding don Juan has become more and more intense. I mean this guy ,I think is peeing his pants I swear, and every day I don’t think the odor can get worse, the next day the odor IS worse. In fact one day, I swear, as I was going into my office I saw a puddle at don Juan’s feet—it was only later when I was visiting with staff over lunch that Red—our front desk person—indicated the puddle was probably Don Juan’s only way or retaliation against management for keeping the bathroom doors locked. The bathrooms on the second floor, where the consulate is, is rumored to have open bathrooms, but I am sure the consulate has already kicked old Don Juan off the premises.

Anyway the other day, my last day in the office, Christmas Eve, I over heard Don Juan approach some folks in line to go upstairs to the Consulate and asked for what I could make out was “Dinero “. The old guy was shaking down folks going to see the consulate. Don Juan was panhandling. I could have, should have given the old coots a few bucks—but he stuck, he smelled. Still I could have made a difference even if the difference was two bottles of rotgut rather then one. What I should have done was taken him out and found a tub to throw him in and cut some of the urine off of him. Maybe even got him a ten dollar gift card to Micky D’s down the street—then Son would at least have a chance at some protein before he started downing bad booze. But I didn’t I guess I was too self absorbed. I let my best ever Christmas miracle slip through my fingers and I have been repenting all weekend lone and probably will do so for the next year. I need to start thinking about my brother again—when did I turn away?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Hang Time

I call the week between Christmas and New years “Hang Time”. Hang time is thesplit second in time when a ball throw in the air or a skater hurls up in the air seems to be suspended before gravity overtakes event and it begins to descend. This time between holiday feels, to me, like being suspended in time. I usually take the time off from work if I can. The risk is low there will really be few calls in the Call Center during the in between week and few people will be in their offices or at least any type of decision makers. So I can stay home and just enjoy this Hang Time.

Snow has been good for a Christmas, lots of the white stuff along with the frigid temperatures. I forget how cold. Like yesterday I had to get out because I was going buggy but to do so required me going out and shoveling snow from the driveway beneath the lift on the side of the van where the lift deploys. I wore just a heavy sweater and that was all I needed. So I dug out the van and cleaned off some of the driveway and warmed up the van and drove to the market to do some shopping. The market was OK, I found a spot down loaded and closed the vehicle up. I don’t know why I did this time because one of the reasons I leave the vehicle open and lift deployed is to discourage other shoppers from parking too close; allowing me the space I need to load up when I get down with my task. I should have done this but I didn’t. Sure enough when I was done with my shopping there was a little vehicle with “crip” plates parked right next to my big old van.
I clearly had been ready to go but there was no way short of asking a stranger to get in my van and back it out so I could deploy and load. As I said the air is frigid so I had no choice but to head back into the market and keep watch on the van and vehicle so that when it finally moved I could flash out and start my process and get gone. I was kind of hopefull that then owner of the vehicle was going to be one of those fast in and fast out job. But of course this was not to be. I sat there on the other side of the automatic doors 3watching cars pull in park get out and actually shop then leave while I sat and watched a car that would not move. Eventually, a person abut my age came through the check out with her very own “ancient”. Her mom obviously. I could have acted like a snot but I didn’t. I did, however, glare as they check out(which seemed to take an eternity). I was wearing a face hood so just my eyes were visible-so I doubt people could really tell I was glaring but I watched “hard” just the same. When I saw for sure this couple were the one parked by my van I powered out to the van and watched them load their groceries. The daughter finally felt the stare and turned and asked if I needed anything and I did say, “ JUST FOR YOU TO MOVE SO I CAN GET IN MY VAN”

So its Hang Time , the space in between. I am going to B&N today, Anakah spent the night and the sun is shining brightly on the new snow. I think I love Hang Time.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Chistmas

Merry Christmas Everyone--quiet still early--I may write more today may not we'll see. I hope this is a beautiful day for all.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Well this week never end…

I have to admit I was kinda of excited at the thought of driving the new loaner hair into work this morning. I don’t know what I was expecting but after yesterday’s horrible snow fiasco, and later bathroom fiasco I did not think the week could have any further challenges well I was way wrong.

I don’t know this chair maybe as quick as my last chair. I first thought the chair was slower. But now am not so sure. The chair is smaller seems but I don’t know how that can be with my seat that I transferred from the dead chair to this loner chair I got from the ILC. I was pleased to find the loaner is easier to transfer into and out of the older chair—that is good. So, I was dressed and out of the door in pretty good time. When I transferred into the chair the sheep skin curled up under my but and kind of pitched me forward in my chair and gave me a “tippy” sensation but not “tippy” enough to cause me problems.

When I got into Salt Lake Planetarium station, my usual ending, morning stop, I came down the high block ramp, crossed the street and entered the parking area of the Utah Paper Box company . I come this way every morning—even though there is a sign which states “No though a fare” I take this to mean for autos but not for pedestrians. The controller on my loaner chair is quite sensitive I just barely have to touch the ‘on and off” button and the chair will stop, immediately seizing the drive wheels. This is new to me on the loaner chair and I still have to get used to the buttons sensitivity. So as I was traveling the parking lot I hit some rough ice which must have bounced my hand enough to hit the button and the chair switched off but I kept my forward motion out of my chair and onto the ice.

I found myself lying on my back in my great white coat staring up into the dark morning sky, there was a light snow falling and I traced individual flakes as they came into view and fell slowly onto my face. When I fell I lost one shoe and my pants fell dangerously down my hips I must have looked like Charley Brown being hit by one of those line drives—Shultz drew so graphically in the comic strip Peanuts. I was laying non my back, I could not move, I just laid there. My cell phone was in my back pack, which I could not get to. I was not worried because sooner or later I knew there would b e someone driving into work. This worried me a little with their sign posted about it not being a ‘thorough fare” So I just laid there and yelled for “help” I did this for about five minutes before I realized I was being approached by two fellow. It took a moment before I realized the two were asking me questions: “was I alright?” Did I need an ambulance?”. I assumed hem I was OK and did not need an ambulance but did need some assistance to get me back in my wheelchair. These two lads did not know what they were getting into but they were “gung-ho”. One grabbed hold of each arm and tried to haul me up into my chair but that a no go. The they pulled me up into a sitting position and tried to then grabbing each arm pulled me up again and almost made it. They ended getting me to sitting on the foot plate an then we all took a break to catch my breath. The we tried the “one two three” method and surprisingly enough they got my butt precariously perched on my the seat of my wheelchair, enough to let me hook my arm round the handle on my seat back and pull myself to the seats safety. In the process of this my pats had fallen to my knees. I asked the lads to give my slacks a pull and got myself somewhat presentable particularly with my great white coat pulled way down over my hips.

I thanks the guys for the assist and tore out of there as fast as I could holding on to my back pack and both shoes on top of the backpack. I finally got to the office. Stowed my gear and head to the bathroom to re-dress myself.

Again, exhausted before the day even starts—this holiday week HAS to end soon.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Need Another Nap!!!

I am just exhausted, my muscles hurt and I just want to lay my head down on my desk and sleep or an hour or so. I did not go into the office as I normally do, this morning. My goal today is to get some form of mobility device which I can use until I can order my new chair which will be 120 days at the earliest. I think, because its me the time till I get my chair much longer. When I was at the Independent Living Center last Thursday I noticed there was a Jazzy 1121, a power chair I thought I could live with if the Center would let me check it out for a couple of months.

I called the Center a little after 8:00 am this morning and asked to speak with their A.T.(Assistive Technology)coordinator, Janice. Janice and I go back quite a ways so I figured it would be a pretty straight forward project but Janice directed me to the new guy who was handling the equipment loan program. I got hold of the new guy and he basically said the chair was there but he had not checked the chair out yet and the final word would be Kim, my best friend’s who associate director of the Independents Living Center. I figured I would go head shower and dress and drive on down to the ILC and by the time I got there Kim would be in.

I have to admit I was a bit intimating. It has been a long while

since I really pushed my manual chair on the outside—out in real public, transferring in and out of my Quickie even just rolling down my ramp can be terrifying knowing that if one my front casters hits a crack the wrong way I could go flying out of my chair. But if I am going to get myself back to being in the game I am going to just have to be careful but keep moving forward. I opened the door and found snow blowing sideways to my front door.. I took a deep breath and rolled down my ramp. The night had been warm temperatures in the mid 30’s—the ice was melting so at least there was not the ice flows which have been on the ramp of late. I wish I had spent more time this weekend on snow removal. Oh yeah, I did not have a chair to use. I have forgotten how hard it is to push my wheelchair in the snow. It’s damn hard. I got stuck, took me for ever to get to the lift and then to get on the lift and then to raise it up because I was so unsteady. Eventually though I was in th van and driving to the IL.

I was pleased and surprised at how well project of getting the loaner . Kim was GREAT!! Kim adjusted here and lengthened there and soon I was ready to go. I drove myself over to Magic Rest, where Saturday the tech said if I were to get this chair they would change my old seat from the dead chair to the loaner plus my new puncture proof wheels… Everything worked—just the way it should—so rare in my experience. The loaner is not as fast as I would like and I am not as comfortable as I would like but I can make it and I well make it. Now I just have to put the pressure on Randy and on to the new chair!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Nap Time

It's that time of the season when there does not seem to be enough time for anything. I have been neglecting my blog the past few day. When I have had the time to write I have not had the energy. The cold weather is sapping any extra strength I have as well; cold weather and stress. But to catch up here a s glimpse of my last week. On Thursday we had the staff holiday function—very different this year. No going out eat as we have done in years past. This year we just sort of hung round the office as Claire surprised us, staff, with bringing in to the office an actual masseuse—since she is pretty sure hold outs like my self would never do a massage on y own accord. I still have the massage Claire gave me for my birthday pinned to my office bulletin board. Each staff member got a 15 minute massage. The massage was not bad. I got through it with my clothes on.Still I don’t think I would ever pay real money for such a luxury.

I think we probably would have gone to lunch but I was a bit of a humbug. Thursday was the day UILC had their Christmas/holiday offering to the community and I have been their Santa for the last decade or more. I must do a fairly good job since the Center keeps asking me back year, after year. This Christmas function has changed over the years from a community open house to a consumer—in the old days the function would run from four to seven or later. This was a major event for the Center, as I am sure it still is but I feel clientele has changed significantly. No there seems there are interlopers, from a couple of care centers and special education programs who bring in what seems like buses of folk. Severely disabled developmentally disabled folk—I suppose their coming is just as well, over the years the regular consumers from the office have faded away. I have uploaded my entrance.

Friday I accompanied Dianne to Anakah’s school pageant an exercise in controlled chaos. Dianne has become a kind of “room mother” to Anakah’s class. Dianne grades papers on Thursdays and just helps the teacher out so Dianne has a bond with the kids and it show. We got in the back door, behind the scenes visiting Anakah’s before show time. The event was fun being the grand parents. Bridget sat with us and the whole thing was just Celestial. We did some shopping and returned home in the cold snowy weather. I was exhausted the rest of the day.

Saturday was Anakah’s dance recital. More chaos and holiday stress battling with other parents and grandparents and who knows who and what else might be lurking in the audience. This is Anakah’s first year but she did well. This is not like a ballet school in the traditional sense a neighbor hood mom with re3all ballet training earning few bucks and keeping her fingers in the dance pie—she has three kids of her own in the class but all the kids are cute and Anakah seems to like class. I` plan to write more on this later. But as I was getting situated for the class I noticed my chair would only turn in circles. The motor was gone. Later Dianne and to Magic Rest who gave the final diagnosis and pronounced the chair dead! Magic Rest did provide me with loaner but one which is way too small and way too painful to use. Tomorrow I hope to get a loaner form the IL. I am just exhausted. I need a nap.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside.

A hobo just walked past my window pulling a wagon with a massive sleeping bag rolled neatly in the wagon and a small dog at hobos side. The hobo was dressed in winter garb, a hat, over alls, and rubber boots. He pulled the little wagon behind him holding on to the wagon’s handle with both hands—his hands looks old, weathered and cold. The hobo’s hands looked like my dad’s hands when he would come in from feeding the cows “evening hay” in winter. I wonder if the hobo would wear gloves if he were given a set. I should carry an extra set of gloves for just the purpose. I wonder what he would do if I made such an offer.

My office is a couple of blocks the main shelter and soup kitchen and many hobos pass in front of my window daily. We are also just down the street from a major Salt Lake City park—Pioneer Park. This park is where a lot of the hobo’s spend their time when they have to be out of the shelters. The city is trying to take this park away from the hobos and the homeless(is that redundant) by gentrification. The new yuppies are taking over-

Monday, December 15, 2008

Walk In s

This has been a Walk in Day. A day when people walk past the building and drop in looking for services, really do not deliver any individual services but these folks do not know this. They just see the name on the building and assume we do provide services. And, since we are downtown not far from the shelters for the homeless it is not surprising. Many times these Walk Ins are quite colorful and many times they are also heart breaking. I suspect one of the reasons the frequency of these walks in increase is the cold weather and a few minutes in a warm building is worth the indignation of submitting yourself to a State social services agency. As I said we ( my parent organization ) is not a social services agency but since my part of the organization is information and referral these folks are hustled into my office where I do a light version of an intake and try to refer them to the most appropriate agency or program.

Today it was Joe the Bummer. I had just poured and doctored, and had returned my desk to leisurely wander through my emails and transcribe the weekends phone calls when Frank ushered Joe in. A young looking guy, possibly even handsome under other circumstances; dressed in winter street clothes packing a backpack with a rolled up sleeping bag. Joe’s hair was a little messed but eyes looked bright and aware. We shook hands and he informed me that he had been in my office earlier in the summer. I kind of remember Joe but truly, I did not—I see many folks in the course of the year as they walk in my office for one reason or another. I like what I saw though and wished there was more I could have done for Joe. I sat him down in my office, and we visited as I struggled to ascertain the level of his need and where might be services to benefit Joe. I found he was homeless, in need of mental health services, vocation and housing services.

I finally felt I had enough information I could refer him to at least three different agencies. I left him sitting in the front office as I returned to my office where I looked up each agency and copied and pasted the referrals to convenient document for Joe. I was just pasting the last reference to the file when Red called back to inform me that Joe had left the building. Joe had left a note, apologizing for smelling bad, looking bad and not being in the right frame of mind. Sure enough he was gone, slipped through my fingers—I don’t know if I offended him when I left him to go type up the referrals or what. I man I was close to him and I did not smell anything. It looked like he had some trauma of some sort to his face which had me a bit worried.

I had another walk in today a well, a slick operator who was looking form an “in”. He had a voice like a radio announcer and the hair of a model and made all my “shields go up” when he entered my office. He had a program he wanted me to refer folks to but I backed away—Slick made me feel like he was the ain character in a Stephen King Novel. Of my two visitors I think I would rather have lunch with Joe the Bummer

Happy Birthday Jaemine you are fantastic!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Just Another Sunday Afternoon

More images from yesterday Dianne Birthday dinner...

Yesterday’s snow has melted and froze and was snowed upon again today and now the temperature is dropping an there shall be a hard freeze tonight meaning tomorrow’s commute in and out to the train will be quite a struggle. I am not concerned so much about the temperature a much as I am concerned at the ice flows which will be all over he sidewalks. People usually do a fairly good job of clearing the walks of snow it is the industrial section which I travel I am most worried about. The folk who do the snow removal only the industrial sidewalks usually just push the snow off the end of the walk right into the cut out at the end of the walk, where the side walk meets the street and there snow “bergs”, turn to ice, and remains until the thaws. I am not worried…much. When the snow and ice is like this I am really thrust into the street, even more then I like. I just have to be careful. I now have the new tires with good tread and this will help to some degree. I also have my new, huge white coat and I should be warm as toast no matter where I go.

This year I m going to try something I have not really tried in years past. I am going to report ice flows which cause people walking and in wheelchairs to have to be in dangerous places. I kind of did this last year to limited positive result but this year I aim to put the full press on the Murray city government and whine, cry and bitch to make sure my path of travel is safe. Just a Sunday night.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Thanks--happy Birthday

I have said it a million times—I don’t write to be recognized, I write to force myself to write in hopes that some day I will be a writer. I doubt I will ever be a “writer” with tweed jackets and elbow patches and a pipe but I continue to write when ever I can for the pleasure of writing. So, I don’t look at my page every day with the hopes that someone has written a message or something; I am pleasantly surprised when I do see an indicator that someone has left a message and even more so when that someone is not a brother or sister of nephew or niece type person. Not, that these folks are comments are not credible or appreciated it’s just they are family and usually they have to love you and accept you. So, I was pleased yesterday when I was looking at my blog and noticed a comment and the comment was a long comment -actually the comment was a blog entry in and of itself.

The comment was written, I believe, by one of best friends, especially in grade school. He did not sign his comment but he left just enough identifiers I know who it is. He is a consummate professional having careers in the Unions and the Federal sector. He is a professional and lives and acts like it. He is smooth and calm. I don’t think I will ever be a professional like him; I am just too “un done”. I am so “un-done” I am honored that he would leave a comment like a rock star or Palin stopping by the blog and leaving me message. He is methodical, logical and empirical. Here is an example, of how cool he was, from my blog of a couple of years ago. In fact when and if I do write a life history or a novel of my child hood, I think I could easily conceive a couple of complete volumes of just my life and times with friend his brother and my brother. So thanks for writing, thanks for stopping by and saying “hi”. Merry Christmas to you as well and hopefully I can visit with you more this Christmas season.

Today is Dinne’s birthday we are cooking and staying home to enjoy the day. Dianne, Bridget and Anakah and I are baking cakes, bread and shrimp etouffee and having a pretty good time. It snowed this morning and there is still more snow forecast for today and tomorrow and beyond. Dianne brought in arms full of wood last night for the stove. Its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas. Happy Birthday Dianne…I love you.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's ten oclock Do you know where your gimp is?

A couple months ago I lectured a graduate social work class for a friend of mine here at the office. I love doing graduate classes because the classes are generally more intimate, students are more mature, and they usually offer a stipend. This class is a class on disability and I show up and till my story and leave. I can go on for ever if I need to after all I get to talk on my favorite subject…myself and then there is always the Q&A, where you get to ask the gimp everything you have always wanted to but good manners and good conscience prevented you. The question asked that evening was “what did you parents do which h helped you the most come to grips with your disability?” Yesterday at lunch as were all yammering over our lunches, my office mate ( who I did he lecture for) indicated that the class really liked my lecture specifically the parent question and so the same question was asked again and I had to once again answer that I think the best thing my folks did was treat me no different then any of the other kids in the family—this was how I say it. Actually the more I have thought about this I really don’t know anymore. The best think the parents did was not to restrict me. In the years following my accident in 1966 to aboutn1972 when I got my first car with hand controls I did a lot of hitch hiking. We lived on a small farm about two and half miles South of Boise and I would take rolling toward Boise and either sit there on the side of the road with my hand out (my thumb did not work) or if I rolled long enough someone would drive by stop and ask if I wanted a lift and I would say “yes” and away I’d go.

Many times I would not get back from town till after 12:00 A.M., I remember only once of rolling all the way home. My mom had the habit of sitting up and falling asleep in front of the TV and often I would come home to her sleep and then she would get up and go to bed.—still there were other times when they went to bed. These two prayed a lot and so often I was consigned to God’s hands Who always seemed to bring me home safe and sound. I would never have that kind of faith. I am a parent now and if my kids were quad teenagers and out on the town on a Saturday night, even if that Town was Boise in 1968, I would be shadowing them in my big old van. And maybe that’s the difference my parents had the faith in my abilities where as I love my kids but my faith in them or their ability was not as strong. Humm I am not sure if that came out right.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

"I'm Out of the Office right now..."

I work in a State office and my phone system is part of a greater system which has automated answering services. I hate the phone system we have—I feel the phone system is alive and it lives just to make my life miserable. The phone system is one of those which supposedly allows a person to record a message so when people call and when you’re not at your phone and the message clicks in and lets the caller know if you are in or not. And my boss wants all the staff to update their message daily. This should be a simple process but for some reason whenever I try to update my message, the updated message never makes it my phone’s box. And what I end up with is messages which can be anywhere from a few days to months old. To make matters worse I have two mailboxes I am responsible for my mailbox, and the mailbox for the office phone So now the problem is compounded.

My first order of business every Monday morning after I turn on my computer is to take the messages off the phone service. Every Monday I have eight to 15 calls backed up on the machine. I am usually by myself when I do this and often I listen to the calls on the speaker phone so I can write the information down as I hear it. This frees up my hands allowing me to write the information better. This Monday Chapman was in the office as I took the messages. One of the callers griped that the message on the machine still said “October” something and he made it sound like we had no been in the office the date. Since I know the phone system I out to get me—I don’t pay any attention to the remarks and just go on to the next call. Well, yesterday Chapman heard the call and kind a of put her off, that someone would be so rude as to leave such an unkind remark. I really never think bout the rudeness, I mean I used to work as a telemarketer an I have heard rude comments—and I deserved the remarks I got, and those remarks were delivered in person and not put on the safe medium of a recorded machine.

Maybe one day I will exorcise the evil spirits lurking in my phone’s answering system but until them if you call me and get my service and the message says it’s “July 24 2006” just know it’s the phone gremlin at work and that I am in the office or away from my phone and just leave a civilized message and I’ll get back to you just as soon as I can…

Monday, December 08, 2008

Autumn Snow

The snow is tumbling from the sky like a 1980’s love song, you know, snow turns to rain on Christmas Eve while reliving a old time love affair, which did not happen but should have. The snow has been tumbling all morning. I knew it was supposed to snow but I did no think there was going to be this much snow—luckily the earth ism still warm from the past couple of weeks of autumn heat the snow will not lay down. However, that is changing now I have noticed the past hour the snow IS beginning to lay down. The grass outside my window is now white and the median in the street has a white skiff of snow. The temperature is holding right at 32 degrees and I think that is making the difference a few more hours of the snow and the 32 degree temperature and I’ll be riding home in the snow.

This is not going to be a big snow, I already know, the weather guy said so, but this is a precursor to change to our weather pattern: mean, dark cold storms setting up to :”march” through the region beginning the end of the week. Storms forecast for the next three weeks even Christmas Day!! Of course I will believe all of this when I see it with my own eyes. However, a cold white Christmas would be a nice twist to the season. It’s almost two in the afternoon and I am hoping and almost praying the snow stops by six when I have to leave for home on the train.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Steady As She Goes

I am going to do it. I have made my decision I am going to jump in and order my chair. Ordering a new hair is not as easy as it sounds but I am going to start the process. The scariest part is I am going to be responsible for about $4,000.00 after my insurance pays its portion which I think will be round $8,000.00. I think I can get a little assistance from different programs but I will do some scouting round and see what I come up with. So now I have decided I want the chair to be here yesterday but realistically speaking I doubt I will see the chair until February and that’s if the chair were ordered today. Brent my DME guy is not about to order until he has been assured I am good for the insurance and my part of the of the payment. Hell, he still has to take the authorization back to my physical therapist what has to rewrite the order so the order will fit my needs exactly—and this is all going to take time. So what I have to do now is keep my other chair alive until I can get the new product. I really cannot dump anymore dollars into the old chair but I must keep the chair going. The $150.00 for the new tires is the last I am going to pay. I am concerned that right motor my give way any day but I guess I just have to keep the faith. I suppose if the chair does completely fail, I can beg a chair from the local IL or maybe I can rent one from the DME but I should not have to—oh and that rent would be for the insurance to pay. I realistically don’t think that is going to happen, but one never knows…stead as she goes.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Lights, Action Camera!!!!

I would have really liked to post yesterday. In fact I would have loved to post yesterday I certainly had the content but I just did not have the time. Yesterday was the second broadcast of Access Utah Now, the production I am doing on the Website. Tory and I spent the morning setting up the camera’s and trying to make sure everything was OK and online. In fact we had actually ne exercise the day before and everything looked like a go, but as we got closer to the 11:30 broadcast time something was desperately wrong. I had brought my old Sony DVD cam corder in and had figured out how to run the content from the camera directly into the computer then on to USTREAM.TV but as of 11:00 yesterday when we tried to broad cast our video the other office machines were not getting the content. We have other staff in the office monitor the broadcasts for two reasons: one to build audience and two to see how the broadcast ise coming across. It was not until Tory had the great idea to call Dianne to see if anyone else was getting the broadcast we figured and Dianne was getting the broadcast just fine so we figured the State has some sort of filters on the State computers and cannot pick up these broadcasts. We ended uo taking off the camera I had brought in the DVD cam and replaced the camera with the computer cam we used last month. I want to try again with the DVD cam and see if the camera broadcast a better picture. Also with the DVD cam we would much more ability to produce better shots of the show ability to do close-ups and move the camera from speaker to speaker would increase the quality and watch-ability of the show.

We interviewed UATP’s CREATE staff, briefly CREATE is Utah’s assistive technology re-utilization program. Long story and maybe I will explain in depth some day. But the two characters from CREATE arrived about 10:30 and had to hang out while we ran back and forth looking totally un professional but they seemed to be good sports and we did the show and all seemed well. Website. Tory and I spent the morning setting up the camera’s and trying to make sure everything was OK and online. In fact we had actually ne exercise the day before and everything looked like a go, but as we got closer to the 11:30 broadcast time something was desperately wrong. I had brought my old Sony DVD cam corder in and had figured out how to run the content from the camera directly into the computer then on to USTREAM.TV but as of 11:00 yesterday when we tried to broad cast our video the other office machines were not getting the content. We have other staff in the office monitor the broadcasts for two reasons: one to build audience and two to see how the broadcast ise coming across. It was not until Tory had the great idea to call Dianne to see if anyone else was getting the broadcast we figured and Dianne was getting the broadcast just fine so we figured the State has some sort of filters on the State computers and cannot pick up these broadcasts. We ended uo taking off the camera I had brought in the DVD cam and replaced the camera with the computer cam we used last month. I want to try again with the DVD cam and see if the camera broadcast a better picture. Also with the DVD cam we would much more ability to produce better shots of the show ability to do close-ups and move the camera from speaker to speaker would increase the quality and watch-ability of the show. We interviewed UATP’s CREATE staff, briefly CREATE is Utah’s assistive technology re-utilization program. Long story and maybe I will explain in depth some day. But the two characters from CREATE arrived about 10:30 and had to hang out while we ran back and forth looking totally un professional but they seemed to be good sports and we did the show and all seemed well. USTREAM.TV has this great function which is supposed to archive the show is done with its live broadcast. Well he show did not “archive” from what I could see. Actually, the show DID archive but not so the show would play when a person clicks the show image. I could see the broadcast sitting there but it would not play. Luckily I was able to down load a copy of the broadcast so I can load it to the website’s media page. Luckily I did this because I some how deleted the entire broadcast a few minutes later when I was trying to get rid some of the “test” broadcasts I made which had been archived. I was trying to get a “blooper” file but I was getting some pressure from other staff to remove them and that is when I think I deleted the CREATE broadcast. I think there is a way to upload video to the site I just have to figure it out. I have the next scheduled broadcast in January but maybe I’ll have a holiday broadcast sometime this December just for fun.
(Here is the ink to the Access Utah Now `page

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A Day of Transfers

What a day! I am exhausted with still a little over an hour to go. I had back two meetings today, back to back one across town from the other. So, I brought in my van today to cut down on the time for travel. I stared the day by stopping at the local Shell gas and go. I had really planned to gas up some time during last week’s long holiday weekend but that never happened. But that’s OK I was fresh this morning an left early enough so I had the time. I am not sure what the problem is maybe its because I am not driving every day as I used to and I am not transferring like I used to but I am barely able to make the transfer back to my chair from the drivers seat; transferring into the driver’s seat is no problem since it lower then my power seat. I can fall really good. I did find one of my sliding boards in the van and it worked fairly well…the transfer was still a struggle but not as bad as with out the board. Into the office , I took calls and worked on tomorrow’s broadcast and left for my meeting at the Buffmire center. Again falling into my seat and the transferring back at the center; by this I looked a real mess and quickly excused my self to the restroom when I rearranged myself—oh I forgot. At my office, there was a car parked too close to my van—one of the reason I hate top drive—and I had to back onto the lift which takes a bit of skill. I missed he lift gate a couple of times hitting and bending piece of metal on the end of the lift gate which now sprung out of shape prevented the lift gate to deploy. The sprung mental would hang up on the handle of the and not deploy. Luckily I got someone at the Buffmire to get me out of the van and I got some of the guy in the metal shop at UCAT to bend the metal back into shape.

Ninety minutes into the first meeting I bailed to drive to my next meeting. At least at this meeting they serve a fairly good lunch. But I still had to make a mad dash to the bathroom in order to throw myself together one again. To my frustration this time as I was pulling up pants an pulling down sweaters I had a massive leg spasm and lost both shoes: frustrating but not defeating. I finally got myself dressed again and made my meeting. Back to the office after meeting and another transfer cycle. The sun has set and I am finishing my day. I have just one transfer cycle left and I should be finished for the day. I seem to be doing better then I had anticipated I just have to pace myself now and finish the day. Tomorrow the broadcast.

Monday, December 01, 2008


I am waiting, patiently waiting for my durable medical dealer o get back in touch with me to give me a status on the purchase of a new power chair. I understood that Brent was off all last week, it being a short week with the holiday and all but come on. It’s the new week, people are back from grandma’s even with the air port closures in the Mid-west from cold and snow a good salesman would be back in the saddle. I am escalating by focus to order my new power chair since I am running into dead ends I have been trying all day to find a used or rebuilt motor but there does not seem, to be any such motors anywhere. The best I have been able to find is an outfit in Whittier ,California who will actually rebuild my motor but I’ll have to take my motor off and send it to these folks who will do the rebuild and send it back. Great, but what do I do for mobility in the process? The main cost of the rebuild would be $255.00 and what ever shipping might be involved and I just don’t know how much more money I want to dump into this chair if I am getting another at some time in the relative near future. I may have some options but these folks are also not returning my calls or at least it feels as if they are aren’t responding to my pleas. I am getting back and forth to work OK for the time being my chair is just handling a little squirrelly at the moment.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Holidays End

It’s Sunday afternoon already, almost three and three o clock is pretty late in the weekend not as bad as four o clock it’s pretty late. Too late to start anything new except the wash and maybe dinner, I rose late today and did not even get breakfast done till 12:00 and the breakfast today was garbroch, so the meal is still sitting with me. So I will not even begin dinner for another hour or so Today I want to make single meat meatloaf—just hamburger. I figured meatloaf will be the change from turkey we need at this point on Thanksgiving weekend. The turkey has been boned and the meat is either frozen in small pouches or waiting in the fridge for sandwiches or snacking, the pies are gone and only the fruit cake remains. I hoping to post this to my blog today but I can see we have lost our connection..again but hopefully the connection will reestablish itself before I go to bed. Dianne and I are become more and more frustrated, it seems there seems to be a good sized portion of every day when he have lost our broad band connection. This is not good sign we have been with our new carrier, for only a short while, and I think we have been off line more then we were with the last carrier, which was a local type carrier. We hated that carrier because that carrier could nor keep their cable TV side of their operation up and viewable but we always seemed to be able to access the INTERNET.

I got an email from my little sister, Linda over night—a mom update. Seems my mom is having some heavy duty issues. Linda and Paul spent a good deal of time with my mom this weekend. Mom is beginning to do some pretty weird things which really makes me feel her time is neigh. Today is Sunday, which is the usual day I call my mom. Dianne thinks I should call soon or loose my opportunity, Di thinks I calling every day now, since she has been placed on hospice support—which I understand is “the end game”. What do I do.

Last week, at the office I was talking to staff about the holidays and the issues that step kids face with the whole holiday meal thing, where to go, or not go and all the politics which come with the”step” orientation. She looked at me and said, “Oh you know what I mean you’re adopted”. I was startled because I did not know what she meant. In my mind being adopted is not the same as being a step-child. To my knowledge I had one set and only one set of parents and they were very stable. Since I was basically adopted before I was born, I never knew my birth mother. Even though the upper tiers of my family were adopted and kind of played the adoptee game my brother Ross and I, both adopted, lived a fairly normal life. The kids which followed me were adopted too but not quite the same. Their birth mothers were actually cousins—they came to know where they came from, got to know their cousins were actually their brothers and sister and though they have the mother and father I did they also knew and got to know their birth parents. I did not live “that” step environment. I suppose everyone thinks I did and that is kinda weird.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

New Treads

So this morning I had my appointment with my durable medical equipment vendor who is also my support group for mechanical issues with my power chair for the replacement of my mid-wheels. I figured that since I was there I would toss the other issues I have had this week at the techs and see if they could give me some direction. You have to dump on the techs this way cause their time is so limited or demanded.

I got to Magic rest a few minutes before my appointment, and the time the place opened for business. What is weird is that these kind of places will leave their phones ‘turned off’ until their advertized time is at hand. I must have arrived at the shop about 9:50 a.m. The techs were there I could see them moving round in the store. But each time I called all I got was the recording letting me know there closed and their ‘normal’ business hours.
And sure enough, exactly at 10:00 the head tech turned the phones on and I got hold of as technician. I like to do this—I then have the technician come out to the van and collect my chair and let them work on the machine while I sit in relative comfort of my van. Really, it just easier this way . Years ago, when I was pounds lighter and much more agile I would never have a problem jumping out of my chair but is an entirely different story. So the came out and drove my chair into the shop and an hour later I was on my way and $160.00 poorer. The rest of the bad news included that I have a hole in my right motor which is the reason for the “chattering I have been experience the last could of weeks, plus with the motor running low on oil, the motor heats up and the chair shuts itself off until the motor cools down. Plus the cord which connects my controller to the drivers needs to be replaced. The motor, if I should need to replace could run as high as $1,500.00 and a $130.00 for cord. I am going to have to check with the head tech on Monday and see what they can do. There is a possibility of getting a rebuilt motor at maybe half price or something but now I really need to move forward with getting a new chair with the items and features I need. My sales guy has been out of the office all over the holiday but should be back in the office on Monday so no now I have to put the heat on. For the time being I have new tread on my wheels and kind of knowledge of what is wrong with the chair and that even if the chair strands me. If I am patient the chair motors will cool down and I will be able to continue on my way.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Thanksgiving was OK, we scaled down, did not go anywhere and did not have anyone over for dinner. We were about 7:00 a m and Dianne had the bird in the oven 8:00 am with a target of eating about 1:00 pm. We were a bit surprised when we got a call from Charles our youngest letting us know he and Aurora would be stopping by round 10:00. Not a planned event but it was great getting a chance to visit with Charles.

Mark came over just as our dinner was getting finished. I had asked that Mark come over and put the big computer system together—which he did and I was excited to have both systems working. We did run into one problem however: we could not get the systems to find the INTERNET and we had to eat and Mark also had to go and get his Thanksgiving dinner on the road. In fact I think the main reason mark came over was to invite Dianne and myself to dinner with his inlaws. We appreciated the invite but really did not want to one: wait to eat till 4:30; and two: have to endure the chaos of his inlaws holiday dinner. Not that we don’t appreciate these folks but the family is a typical mormon extended family “billions of kids, adult drama( all the time) and a drive to an area I am not familiar and coming home in the dark. We begged off and sent Mark off with my appreciation for helping me get my system back on liner.

Dianne and I had a great dinner, we were stuffed. Dianne had promised Anakah, that Dianne would visit after dinner. I stayed home and tried to complete my INTERNET connection, which I was not able to do and I ended up watching cable and dozing until Dianne got home. Michelle called and did the holiday visit and that was it. A little more TV before bed time then bed. But it was a good day. I think we enjoyed the holiday without the holiday family stress.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Serves me right!

I was trying to do an end run, save a little money and keep my power chair powered until I can get s new chair or something. I was going to give the reutilization project, I am part of, a try. I have been in conversations with tech and he assured me he had motors which would fit my chair and I should come over and we could check them out to be sure. I tried to go over yesterday but Jose was out on appointment so I sort of made an appointment for today. Jose assured me he would be into day but asked that I call to be sure that he was in just the same.

I waited until ten this morning before I made my first call to Jose, he did not answer his phone, which did not necessarily me Jose was not in—he could have been on the phone of with another consumer and surely would be free by the time I got to the Buffmire building. I was operating on faith but sometimes one has to. So, I took off to the bus stop for a ride to the Westside. I had been charging my chair since I got into the office this morning at about 10 minutes to seven so I knew I had the “Juice” to get where I needed to go. The morning had turned warm, autumn warm with bright sunlight showing. I waited for the 217 which runs on 15 minute head ways and the bus was there. One of the older vehicles which actually had a wheelchair lift. The new vehicles are kneelers with ramps. But I had no problems getting on the vehicle. I backed in and the driver tied me down or rather my chair down and we were off.

It was weird I had got the west side and to the street I needed to down load. The driver stopped the bus and walked back to me and undid my restraints and I turned on my chair but nothing happened. I just got “fast lights” blinking which means there is a problem somewhere in the electrical system of my wheelchair. No matter what I did I could not get my chair turned on so I could dismount the bus. The driver tried to be nice, as much as public transit operators can be but I knew she needed to get on her way. I decided that I was close enough to my end point if I could just get off the bus, and le the bust wander away I could call the Buffmire Building and I am sure the would send someone literally push me to the building. I showed the driver how to disengage the clutches which sets my power chair into “free wheel” allowing me to move by gravity or being pushed but having no control or my mobility. I was moved( excuse the pun) when the young man who had been sitting next to me volunteered to push me where I needed to go. This was quite a rave act for this young man—who’d to say I would not demand that h push me all the way back to my office. But he hopped off and he did push me the block to the Buffmire building where Jose was not but luckily we were able to run Jose down by cell phone and showed up in about ten minutes.

When Jose did get to the building he seemed a little distracted but was able to get me and my chair back to his work area. The time was about 11:30 and Jose then informed me he had a 12:00 pm doctor’s appointment. Here I was, once again, the kinda of consumer I hate, one who shows up for services thirty minutes before lunch or closing time. Jose worked hard and fast tearing my equipment apart trying to find the problem, trading part with other chairs and finally isolating the problem in the harness. Jose also indicated in the course of the search that my chair was newer then the chair he had harvested the motors from and those motors would not work on my chair. Sigh the trip had been in vane. I am glad, however that I chair decided to fail on my trip, at least there was someone there to assist me. The experience was a lesson. I am going to just have to accept the fact I am going to have to go through my durable medical equipment provider—pay the price what ever the price might be, and get on with it. I shall always be poor.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Chatter Chatter

I have done it again, I have waited too long, drug my feet and now I am looking down the barrel of some serious wheelchair trouble. This morning for the first time I am aware of the motors on my power wheelchair have began to “chatter”. I have been told this phenomenon happens when the motors began to fail. I guess what happens is the motor seize and release very quickly causing the chair quickly start and stop making a staccato or chattering sound. At this point the chair is still running ok, I am seeming to get everywhere I need to go but I can tell major issues are happening.

I am waiting, here at work, for my friend, Jose, who actually runs the local reutilization program. I am part of this program, a program dedicated to the reuse of good durable medical equipment. The program is not what I envisioned when we started the program but I have accepted the new direction and am trying to support the project. Essentially, the main point of the project to make this equipment available. I have never had to use the program as a consumer, as the program was designed but now I am going to see how well the program works.
What the program does is take in equipment which is no longer needed, like manual and power wheelchairs, the program fixes the equipment and check its durable. What’s great is they, the program, have literally piles of wheelchair motors and the technician feel they may have a couple which just might fit my chair and if they do, I can pick the motors up at greatly reduces cost.

Now, because there is a draw back to everything, I have to worry, if in fact I find a set of motors which will fit my chair, well the attention to my chair jeopardize the chance of my getting a brand new power wheelchair. The insurance company reasons if the old chair has new motors, batteries and controller why does the guy need a new chair if the old chair has all these new parts? But since I am getting the parts from the used parts program the insurance never needs to know.

Well, the day is now half over and the tech has not called and I have called at least three times. And what makes things really worse, when I returned from my meager lunch which was interrupted by only one homeless person who I guess did not realize that even civil servants eat lunch from 12:00 to 1:00 pm; Brent the sales guy I am working with at Magic Rest calls, the first time in weeks about showing me new chairs. I had just about given up on Brent and he shows up on the day I contemplate checking out the motors. I think I am still going to have to check out used equipment because I have to do to keep this chair going until I get something else and now that the chair is “chattering” I best be quick.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting Ready For T-Day

We bought the fixens for Thanksgiving Friday. We teamed up. Dianne drove me to the market and I in my power wheelchair zoomed round the market throwing items into my basket. Dianne stays in the van keeping it warm and making ready for a fast get away if we need it. I have worked out a pretty good system. I get a lap basket and a regular shopping cart and then move the cart to the end of each row I am shopping—or I will leave the cart by the check out area with firm orders that no one is to take the cart regardless of how deserted the cart may have appeared. Then I scurry up and down the aisle dumping my basket into to shopping cart when ever my basket gets full.

We’re doing a very scaled down version of Thanksgiving this year. Diane and are sick and all the extended families seem to be having their own dinners else where. A 12 pound bird, mashed potatoes and gravy, dressing, bake and serve roles and at least one pumpkin pie maybe two.` Sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and cranberry sauce. About $40.00 all told. Not bad. We have enough if someone should stop over needing a meal and if no one stops by we will have a great feed of our own with lots of leftovers. We stopped at the liquor store—which is one of my favorite places during the holidays. I believe the holiday spirits lingers best and longest at the State liquor store. I really didn’t need any lavations but I wanted to shop and I came way with a bottle of blush, amoretto and some Irish cream for my coffee.

Tomorrow begins a short week at work and the Boss is gone for the week and the new guy is in charge. I hope to be in and out of the office on different projects during the week and stay out of the new guys way. I hope to get the motors on my chair looked at and hopefully replaced. There should just be four of us in the office this week: Frank, Chapman, Red and me. Should be easy duty. I just need to stay out of folks way.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


There’s ghosts in our office, at least one. I don’t think about the office ghost much he or she is just there and I have accepted this and moved on. The ghost does not bother me and I don’t bother the ghost. However, the ghost came up this morning during coffee discussions at the office. Relatively new employees at this office who have not had experience of hearing or interacting with the haunt , of course doubt the authenticity of the tale, just blow the whole idea off. Any way the ghost IS here, whether they want to believe it more not and eventually all staff will be made aware of its existence. I don’t think I have shared with you’all the vid I made of one of the encounters I think I had with the entity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1-2-3 CLEAR!

I have been trying to get used to being a “one computer” house all week, ever since I made the decision I was not going to pay nearly a thousand dollars for a rebuild of my last system. I had called and told the technician to “button-up” my system an I would be to pick up the box sometime this week. Well, today Dianne was out and about and stopped by PC Lap Tops and when she asked for my dead system she was shuttled over to the store manager, John, who began telling her another story of what I was told. Essentially, Bill tells Dianne they can conjure up a working system from used parts for way less then what I was quoted for new parts. Granted, I did ask them to prepare a quotation on new parts, but I also wanted a comparable quote on used parts. Actually, another tech said he tried to build me one from used equipment but said there was not mother board which would go with my sockets or processor or some odd thing. Now there is a plethora boards and processors and low-priced power supplies which they will assemble and get my old system back up and running for less then $400.00 which is much more what I had in mind. I think once I have the system up and running I am going to start an aggressive program of replacing these used parts with new and powerful parts. Let’s face it I just could do the “one computer thing” for very long.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Work Sick

Council Day every staff member is needed to insure a good Council Day and I have had enough of being sick so I drug my sorry butt out of bed and went in—thank god Dianne was there. I actually could not make the lift from my bed to my wheelchair. I had to wake Dianne up and hold the chair steady for me—mind you that never happens and has me more then just a little concerned. I am hoping I am just a little weak from so much coughing and such. There are some other problems I need to address and I have been putting them off but now I have to come to grips with these issues so I can continue to live as independently as possible.

The cold morning air felt good on my face as I left the house and motored down the ramp, I stopped at the neighbors and picked up the paper off their drive way and threw the paper on their back porch and headed further up the road, I zigged and zagged but the cold air helped me focus enough to force the zig zags into more or less straight line. I was focused enough to wait for the train as I got to the station but not focused enough to read my paperback—so I just sat there with my parka zipped up to my nose and stared at the lightening sky. By the time I got to work I could tell I should have listened to Dianne and stayed home one more day and that today was going to be a long day a very long day.

I covered phones during the first portion of Council and I began to feel a little better as the day continued. I had not had time for much a of a breakfast before I headed out the door so when the caterer showed up with her full Thanksgiving dinner was ready. I got my plate of mashed potatoes and gravy scarfed it down and began to feel load better. This afternoon I have felt much better but I can feel my cough returning but know I am on he mend and tomorrow I will be better. I canceled the broadcast I had scheduled Thursday for two weeks from Thursday December 4th and the rescheduling has made me feel just tons better.

I am about ready to head out for home, Bill and Shirley were just in my office and I was about to show them what I have been doing with the broadcast project and I think I must have got a major endorphin jolt because right now is the best I have felt all day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Home Sick

I am home today, ill. I hate missing work but I could just not make it in to work today. I have been down all weekend long, really down, sick in bed down. I am having a problem bouncing back. I am hoping I will be able to make it to work tomorrow but at one-O-clock today I cannot say. I am stuffed up, a bit dizzy and I have something in my chest BUT I am not coughing like I have been and I feel if I can make it to work I can stay there all day.

And now for something really serious, I finally was able to call PC Laptop and got hold of Bill the head tech or something. Bill started off my telling me that my computer was next in line to be to be served or looked but that is what I told last Monday , that there were about three machines a head of mine so I was a bit chagrined and I think Bill heard that in my voice and so he looked it right there while I was on the phone and soon I had the grim news that I basically needed a whole new rebuild of my computer; mother board, Processor, power supply and whatever the hell else they can stick me for. The numbers tumbled and when they all fell it looked like the price will be over 700.00 dollars!! I cannot do that, not right now—maybe if I did not have the loan on the van I am having to pay off. Bill is going to leave the system on the bench for the next day waiting to hear back from me but I don’t know what else I can tell him, this close to Christmas, the economy or what ever. I would really have to come up with a great idea to justify this kind of expense. The other idea is purchase the parts little bit by little bit and have Mark A assemble the system as I go along. Bill thought this was a stupid idea but of course he would—however, Bill had good arguments like the PC Laptops would be there for support and help if I and when I needed the assistance and finally the simplicity of having someone else do the rebuild. So, I am just going to have to stop by and pick up my “box” it’s a nice box Bill said so.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thanks Mack You'll be Missed

Yesterday I was checking links on my Disability Links Page and I came across what I thought was a broken link. I would click on the link and it would render only a 404 page where Mental Health Association in Utah should be. Then just on a hunch I went to Google and did a search and again nothing; everything, every bit of the website for

I found out yesterday that Mental Health Association in Utah Health Association in Utah folded back in September victim of the economy, a private-non-profit agency here in Utah that I was fortunate to cut my web design teeth in. Dr Mack Gift, was the executive director, and a good friend of mine. Mack was working for the state out of the same office that I worked out of. He was hired on “soft money” and eventually Mack needed something an option with a bit more substance and that was when Mack took over leadership of the Mental Health Association in Mental Health Association in Utah. When I first went to work with the State I was required to learn enough web design (HTML) to update the website with was part of my operation; which I did. I learned enough I could craft a basic website an I was able to convince Mack to let me develop the website for the Association. I have to admit I amazed myself and in due time I was able to put together a web site, which ran for a number of years, and which Mack paid me fairly well over my involvement with the project. I learned enough to learn that I really did not like web design as much as I like the idea of being a web designer and saying that I ran a website—this maybe the fact that I was doing this only as am part time affair and doing the work after hours and on weekend which I was surprised to realize how much I resent ed the commitment. I liked the money. I eventually used the payments as my Christmas fund, not billing Mack until late November or early December usually giving me a $1000.00 or more to use over the Holiday season. Mack always paid, however, painful it was to him when I presented him with an invoice and I appreciated that.

Mack’s plight is the first( actually the second) I have heard as a direct result of the economy plunge. I fear many more are going to dry up and loose their private non-profit lives and then Staten and Federal not to mention all the other private sector jobs. Mack is even older then I and he might just finish up his existence on this Earth on his Social Security. I am tempted to go that route should my State position dry up. I should be eligible for SSDI now and I think I could live on it. Dianne and could make it together—our quality of life would not be huge but we would be able to live and keep the house. It would be survivable. I could make

Monday, November 10, 2008

Looking For Heroes

I love this time of the year—it s the time when miracles really stand out. I firmly believe in miracles are happening constantly but go unnoticed until now. It also a time when people, themselves, are more likely to step up to the plate and take a swing at being a hero.
I got a call this morning from a caller down South. Living in a fairly conservative city about a friend…an acquaintance living in someone’s hall way. The person is a women and uses a wheelchair for mobility and is basically homeless. The person who called had gotten to know the wheelchair person from just frequent public contact like at the market and other places. The caller says they are not friends but she has come more and more concerned and now wants to help this person out. So, I did the requisite to the local Independent Living Center and community action agency and between those two calls if each staff is any good at all should be able to link this person or point her to the appropriate program. In the process of the call I asked the caller if her home was wheelchair accessible. The said, she had never thought of that—I thought if the place was accessible in the least the maybe she could have the friend over for Thanksgiving—and interesting idea but the caller was going out of town.

But there it is; someone thinking of someone else, maybe for the first time season. I believe this person is going to assist the other in becoming less homeless and maybe more independent. I stated toward the end of the call that she has become a hero. Of course the caller backed away from that moniker real fast—oh I am not a hero, she said. But you are I said. I know these things, I get calls day in and day out few ever want to know what THEY can do to assist the problem, to be the solution or even part of the solution. I told the caller that I envied her because she might be one of the lucky one to witness a Christmas Miracle first hand. She lused over the phone and said I did not know what I was talking about and I counter with I do know because this is hat I o for a living. I talk with those in hard places or going to hard places or know others going to such places. I am the guide, I see things happen—sometimes I actually guide them through the hostile land, or eviction, homelessness, poverty and hunger and I see the miracles o a daily bases but nothing seems so special as the miracles wrought by reluctant Heros.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I'm Back

We have been offline for two days now and just a few minutes ago Quest fixed our connection so I am back on line with a real posting instead of the Twitter posting which leaves a lot to be desired on all respects. I have rather sad news to relate however, in the time we have been off line Mark A came over and diagnosed our PC dead.

Our PC has been dying for sometime, in fact we may have killed the system ourselves, unknowingly but killed dead just the same. I have heard a fan slaving for the past couple of months now, every time we started the system you could hear a fan trying to start up. I should have taken the system in right then but I did not—I was sort of hoping the sound was a small issue—it was not. Something was not being cooled down. Actually it was something on the motherboard. Mark came over yesterday and we disconnected the big system—the biggest and best system I have ever owned. Major speed, storage and capability and I will miss the system. To repair or not repair, that is the question! The outfit which built the system are gone—they were just too good and pricey for their own good. I got good a number of deals on my equipment because Josh, a close friend of Mark A’s worked at the shop. Nothing “hot” mind you just some good prices on equipment that I would usually never consider because of price and sophistication. I got this “life-time” warranty on the system which has actually been picked up by a similar shop. I have thought about dragging my system in and having them “bench” it and at least perform an autopsy to see just what was the “cause of death”. But I am hesitant, I just know they would want a proof of sale of some kind, I would. Maybe I can check my bank account and maybe years ago there is some distant record for the computer purchase.

I am still thinking of replacing the unit with a system which may not have the speed or over all power but which will allow me to write, access the NET allow Dianne and I to be on system and on the NET at the same time. I don’t even need a new system for that; just one which boots and works. I have asked Mark A to be on the look out and he has a number of friends who are sort of in the computer industry and they might have access to affordable ‘used systems”. Economically this is not a good time to try and replace the “big guy”, But I hate having to rely totally on my lap top—I have had the Satellite for a number of years now and I would not be surprised if this system failed, and then we’d be un a real mess. It sounds like I need to make a healing chicken soup. Dianne is coughing and my throat is scratchy. I make healing chicken soup—I gotta go…I’m Back!!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Did Not Go...

Yesterday the snow came followed by cold air, really cold air. I was also supposed to drive up north to participate in an Information Fair in Syracuse. Not far maybe forty miles away. But this was forty miles (up and back)after a full day of work. Forty miles most of which would be in the dark after an all day storm. The snow fell all day till 3:00 pm and I was planning on leaving about 4:00pm because I wanted to at least drive up to Syracuse in as much daylight as I could. The Information Fair was to start at 6:00 pm and end no later the 8:00pm.

He snow worried me as it fell and luckily, the ground was still pretty warm from the recent Summer and Fall so the snow was not accumulating and no snow accumulation is good. I did not want to go to this I&R I could say I had a feeling but my boss seemed insistent that we go and really as the day progressed I kind of got into the spirit. I was going to go smile, pass out information and drive back very safe and leave early today with the two or three extra hours I would earn. As the snow fell, all day, the staff kept telling me not to go, Dianne called a couple of times worrying about me going—but I was going. I had driven into work and ofcourse some one was parked right next to my van and I could no access my vehicle and had to have Frank drive the van out—then there were last minute calls as I was trying to leave and eventually I finally got free of the office in my van a little after 4:00, the sun was shining brightly now and felt I could make the trip. As I transferred into the driver’s seat from my wheelchair my world stopped.

I mean literally stopped. I drive from, what is called a six point power seat. This seat swivels, raises up and down ad slides back and forth under the stirring wheel. What happen was some how there a short had developed not allowing the driver’s seat the ability to slide me forward! I messed and messed with the switch which drives the seat and the seats various functions, and eventually got the seat to move forward to a point where I could drive safely. I figured that when I got to where I was going I would b able to get myself out of the seat one way or another. The biggest fear I now had was to be somewhere in Podunk Utah and be trapped in my van after dark. I decided then and there I am not going to Syracuse—I am going home and I did—and I am sure that made all the difference.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Corporate Invisability

When I first came to Salt Lake, over twenty years ago, I came to work at the Independent Living Center in Salt Lake and I was hired as the Resource Coordinator and part of that job description was to work in the community to bring a more affordable, accessible public transportation to the great Wasatch Front. My job was essentially to make the public transportation system wheelchair accessible. In 1984 there were no accessible bus routes in the city, the city had purchased something like thirty buses from another transit authority which were wheelchair accessible but had been bolted shut so the wheelchair lift cannot be used. A major struggle in sued which lasted years, resulted in bus strikes negations and finally a fully accessible transit system—actually two bus system: an accessible main line service and a para transit system which has been which has been a sore reminder of one of my greatest failures, but the greatest failure is fodder for another blog posting.
One of the spin- offs which resulted from the days of storm and stress for an accessible fleet is the Committee on Accessible Transportation or (CAT). A committee rising out of the transit wars, developed by the transit authority management .

The CAT was and is made up of perceived local transit leaders—vocal folks with disabilities who possibly could influence decision makers. I was on the committee, there were reps from the blind community, physical disability a side from the Independent Living Center, Cerebral palsy, and others I have forgotten. The authority usually supplied a lunch and a year bus pass! The pass alone was worth hundreds of dollars but I soon realized nothing happened with the committee of any consequence. In fact real issues public transit and people with disabilities often “bottle necked” in the committee sometimes never getting out. There were battles in the committee of one disability group against the others taking months if not years to resolve. I would leave each meeting more and more frustrated and angry until I realized CAT is a holding tank!! What a perfectly, simple plan! Compromise the most, vocal, visible and committed transit advocates in the community give them a fancy dancy title and “buy” off with a bus pass. The transit authority, in one swoop, made the best advocate invisible from the board of directors, the folk who can make the “real” decisions . Once I made the connection I resigned from the CAT cut up my bus pass and bought my own, headed back to the board meetings where real advocates belong, where real advocates can make a real difference. I have also tried to get the other advocates who had been on the Committee realize what they were doing, what was happening to them, the best advocate in the system, but continue to frequent the meetings and I do not see a whole lot being done.
I heard earlier in the week the boss was considering becoming part of the CAT Committee, she knows how I feel about the CAT and how the people are being used by management. She says she is just going to go to see what it is like and what the CAT is all about. I just hope she does not become one of them!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Well This Day Ever End?

Its the first day following the switch back to Mountain Standard Time; I have been sitting here ay my computer yawning and falling to sleep on the verge of feeling guilty. It’s now late afternoon, the clouds for tomorrow’s storm have rolled in, blotting out then sun and bringing on an what seems an early evening. The dark prelude is not for an early evening but to an evening as usual evening, that even on clear cloudless nights the sun will be setting (what seems) too soon. The “too soon sunset” is only exacerbated by the new State work schedule of 4/10’s with quitting time being 6:00 pm and the world is dark when I leave for home. I leave for work in the dark now too so for the next for to sixty days , except for the weekends, when I am home it will be dark and for some reason that strikes me as weird.

But usually I stay focused and conscience thru my work day. I do not have time for falling a sleep in front of my terminal--I will be glad when I get passed this yawning behavior and again, look like the professional I am.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Cold and Rainey Day

It seems the Winter and wintery side of fall has finally arrived. Cold wind driving even colder rain has blown into the valley making the decision to stay inside wise and comfortable. Dianne even went out this morning to so some grocery shopping and returned with bags and bags groceries saying she must have been “winter hording” bug. We’re in now warm and quiet-Dianne reading and me writing and working on the computers. A perfect winter afternoon, I downloaded a piece of software for fire recovery just for the fun of it. I have the software scanning system now…I don’t know how well I like the software however, it seems to be taking a long time to scan my system or I don’t have any files to recover which I doubt. We reverted to Standard time last night. The day is dark and seems to be lasting for ever.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Gore...The Gore!

Rather then packing up on sugar and candy treats and sit by the front door all night and pass out treats to all the neighborhood urchins, Dianne and I opted to take the low-road and and close up the house and move our bedroom in the back of the house and watch TV all night. We really did not think this an issue let alone a morale issue till Anakah called asking what we planned to do during the evening gaiety of little kids scampering across streets and yards filling the bags and pillow cases with tomorrow dental bills. When she found we were doing nothing Ani was aghast. You would have thought we had informed her we were going to drink heavily and drown kittens and puppies just for fun. Even after we assured her we just turning out the lights and watching TV in our bed room and after we signed a document certifying that no small mammals or any other animals were harmed in the execution of our Halloween evening Ani still wanted to do some kind of intervention. She even , at one time, offered to come by her self and pass out the candy just so our home would not be blighted with the label of, "the house which did not celebrate Halloween". Luckily, for us, Ani had a Halloween party followed by sleep over. Ani did the next best thing of things she could think of and that was to drop off a pumpkin in the spirit of the day, her last hope that that pumpkin magic would change our minds. It didn't. In fact it was best she was not here as we gutted the squash and placed the thoroughly cleaned pumpkin halves into the oven and cooked it for pumpkin pies. Dianne even made a small one for Anakah--we won't tell her where it came from until after she has eaten it.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Almost Halloween

I sent this image to many of my friends on the email as a Halloween card and i was surprised at how many returned the email wondering if I had caught my lips in a vacuum of milking machine--they did not realize the lips were plastic lips which used to be found everywhere there penny candy stores. My boss passed these out to staff this morning in honor of the this mid-level holiday. I like to hold the lips in my mouth as long as I can before I end up chewing the wax lips like gum.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Broadcast Done

Here is the broadcast--we did it yesterday and it came out better then I anticipated--at least that is what everyone ,who has seen it, is saying. The next broadcast will be in November and hopefull will be much better.

You will notice I have embedded the entire 28 minutes or so of the broadcast not that the broadcast was good, in so much as how bizarre I tend to come across on the camera and how huge I look on camera. Dianne has some suggestions as to how or why this happened. we used a typical webcam for this project and it caught at this totally weird angle--trully this is what Dianne said. But, I am now dragging my DVD camera and firewire out of retirement. I think if we use these devices on the next broadcast the quality of the product will be much better. Actually, I must admit I kinda of liked the experience and I am looking forward to doing the next broadcast with great expectations. I still have to get to know the software on this website much better especially the chatroom aspects.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Testing 1-2-3

Tomorrow is our first broadcast and we are not ready. I am going through with the plan anyway and I am sure we will learn tons but I will be hppy just to get the broadcast running nd have a few people log-on to the broadcast and to see how the system all works.

Bonnie and I went over to Office Depot(OD) this morning and found a camera which will work with VISTA . I VISTA but I am being forced to comply with Gate's change--I hve never really considered changeing from PC to Apple but today I am beginning to consider going to another system.

When Bonnie and I got to the OD is was closed and not to open for 30 minutes so we went to Barnes and Nobel to kill some time and I was able to find some more information about about thw books of David Foster Wallace, the writer who hung himself the middle of last month. B&N did not have the huge volume of his huge volume Infinite Jest but the volume was not in it's place. I will try to find it on the INTERNET maybe even order the volume and see how much the thing intimidates me.

When OD fifnally did open we quickily found the equipment we needed and retuned to the office and set up the camera an tried to figure it out. So now we have the camera set up but I am a little diappointed but I have some other ideas and we will have to explore those.

I f you want to see other test clips then go to If you want you can tune in to our first real broadcast tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. mountian.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Body of War

My office has become a political hotbed since my current boss has taken over a couple of years ago and that is cool. I like the office that way, this level of political involvement makes feel I am keeping in touch with the national scene. When I worked for Independent Living (IL) I felt I was on the cutting edge of all things political related to disability. Now I am working with an office atmosphere which is much more sensitive to developmental disability and not cross disability but still I like the daily tension the political decisions of our national leaders render and the tension and contempt to see and now how negatively these event will affect people with disabilities which to a degree equates to job security.

However, I am a pretty shallow duck and though I can be a political player on any level, local, state or national. I basically turn of the”juice” at five o clock or when the assignment is done, and pick up my “other” life. My boss, however loves the political scene, more then just work—she is into it following the national players like some follow movie stars live or national sport figures. This is really cool for the boss, because it gives her always something to do there is always some event happening or speaker coming into town or film and lecture to go. It makes me a little envious. Dianne has been getting deeper and deeper into the political spectrum as well. So when the boss started talking about Phil Donahue’s Body of Lies I perked up. Phil and company were coming to Salt Lake for a film and lecture in fact the film and lecture was part of a whole weekend lectures, other films and general activism. I told Dianne and showed her the hand out the boss had given me on Thursday as we waited in line to vote Friday.
Cool! I thought I was going to do some thing like the boss and become involved for free, just because I believed.

The lecture and film was to start at 6:30pm—by 3:30 pm we had voted, had lunch with my daughter Bridget and I was wasted. Dianne laid down for a nap and I just wondered round the house tying to nap in my chair but not being very successful. By 4:30 I had found the Medical channel was watching fat people loosing weight through the magic of medicine an money. Dianne was up and changed by 5:00 and getting ready. I was going to change into more “zippy” but decided to keep my weekend slacks and sweatshirt. I looked pitiful like a holes guy ducking into a film and a lecture(free) to get out of the elements an snag a few Z’s and maybe some wine if there happened to be a reception following. We drove the van into the city, I took a bit to find a parking place—It has been a while since I was really out in public after hours and needed a parking space. We walked a couple of blocks but go to the lecture just as introductions were being made and even though I m part of the Left and maybe even the Far Left. I forgot what the left looks like students, weirdo’s and radicals. In fact the disable seating was at the top of the seats and true to form there was a homeless guy, who looked just like the Uni-bomber. Even the Uni-bomber could not take it longer after about an hour into the film got up and grabbed his back pack and blanket and left the building. Dianne gave his seat the once over to make sure he did not leave any packages behind.

I had issues with Body of Lies, A film about the struggle of a vet wounded in Iraq a T-12 para who was just a boob. Phil seemed to makes as many mistakes a film maker could make in producing a film about a person with a disability. I can understand the need to “grab” your audience but use the old “gimp” in your face or rather “pathetic gimp” in your face trick.

The question and answer after ward was just as bad with all the folks who were out of the audience being abducted by aliens were lusting and fighting for the microphone to give the best personal Iraqi war story. Boy was I glad to get home. There is more today and even tomorrow but I might pass. I want to make soup.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Board meeting is over, done for another quarter atleast! And I more or less survived. Really only three of the six or seven board members showed up and the ones which did show up arte the good guys. We chatted, had Hershey’s kisses and finally got down to business of the meeting. I passed out hand outs, essentially the statistics of the following year and last quarter. I made it look effortless—thanks to Dianne and Tory and even they did not know the trauma and terror I passed through getting to the point of seemingly effortlessly passing out the handouts.

I realized with a start at yesterday’s staff meeting that I had now process the stats for the first quarter of our physical year which ended in September. I have been so engrossed in trying to complete the Annual Report that I totally spaced the Quarterlies. So yesterday afternoon I was downloading the totals I could get off the pathetic call tracking software I use and tried to think of a way I could process the data into some sort of readable document before the next morning. I should have been on this task all three days of my mega weekend but the boss really talked me out of it saying I should enjoy my weekend time. Really, who am mi to argue? So I zipped the data in my thumb drive and headed home on the train, as I swayed on the train a solution, a simple solution came to me: I already have graphs built for the Annual Report, if I could sort out my raw data in the same way and then, all I would have to do is plug the data results into the graphs.

This is what we did and even that took much longer then I had anticipated but we did it and finally got into bed about 11:20 pm. So get into work and download the images and print out the quarterlies and I am home free.

So I drag myself out of bed , as usual, at 4:30 and get to the office with two and half hours before my meeting more then enough time except for some reason, when I bring up my images to print the images come out alright but they are in black and white! Not only did I save the filed to my thumb drive, but Dianne also sent the files to my State email account! None of the files would come up—however, on the lap top the files came up as they should. So we pulled all the plugs and tried to attach the lap top to one of the color printers but did not have the right USB extensions. It was Tory when she came in asked why we just did not print the color documents we printed off yesterday? Bing, Ding,Ding…my printer as well as FDB’s (front desk bonnie) had color printers which also act as copiers and the day was saved. We were printing right up to ten minutes before the meeting began. Everything came away looking good, making us look good.

Once again a bullet dodged.