Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dueling dirges

One of my sisters and I both work in the newspaper industry, and these days it seems like we are playing Dueling Banjos. Only instead of the scaly song that is Dueling Banjos, lately our tune is like the death knell of the industry.

I find out that I am being furloughed for a week, she finds out about something crappy. People get laid off at her job; my publisher quits.

I am pretty certain newspapers will be around in the future, but this still kind of sucks.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A little romance

I am only moderately embarrassed that I rarely pass by a romantic comedy when I am channel surfing. They are almost as alluring to me as Star Wars, which I will sit and watch entranced whenever I come across any of the six movies.

I suppose the romantic comedies are chick flicks, but in my defense the actresses in them are universally accepted as easy on the eyes.

That then is my chief excuse for knowing more than guys might normally know about Ever After (Drew Barrymore), 13 Going on 30 (Jennifer Garner who is also the reason I have seen Elektra more than once) or Saturday night's diversion: Reese Witherspoon's Just Like Heaven.

I came to the realization Saturday night, perhaps when Reese's character's spirit, the guy she has been haunting and one if his friends try to steal her body out of the hospital before doctors pull the plug on her (she is in a coma). It was a funny scene with the hauntee, who is now in love with spirit Reese, getting cornered in the hospital, and he is just spinning her bed this way and that to try to find an escape.

Anyway, my realization, oh yeah, that. I think I watch this type of movie because I am pretty sure that to find love I am going to need a spirit or some other supernatural thing happening.

I mean I tried the cute dog. I put Claren up against almost any adult dog just on looks and then her personality is easily too cut for words. She has a problem, though, and it is my fault. I never taught her, as my college roommate suggested, to look for wedding rings. As a result, most of her good friends at work are married women. Or perhaps it is because most of my friends are married women. Maybe we both need to work on that.

I guess I could borrow my nephew, but he already likes moms. He goes to an after-school thing and ask him who he hung out with and he says Mrs. So-and-so.

Once again, I think romantic comedy fantasy is my best bet.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

I'm still alive

I managed to survive alone today, mostly anyway -- there were welcome distractions from next door although I now rue the day I found the Pepsi Pinball game on the Web.

I briefly debated using the new railings out front to get the newspaper to read this morning at breakfast. HAHA. Kidding! See, I am not stupid.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The bitter brand

I went to a class at work today where we were all encouraged to set up social networks to the nth degree and use twitter and other sites to help create and then foster our brand. I think I have some work to do.

There are a lot of people on the Web with my name. Except for Facebook, I have to go all the way to page 7 of a google search to find something about me.

It is sort of interesting to read about the Australian rower in the Olympics named Matthew Trott or an Australian soccer player.

Of course, do I really want to see other people using my bitter picture as T-shirt art?

Hell, yeah!

I guess I'd have to pay my sister, but I am the inspiration so maybe 90% for me, 10% for her.

I learned all this after taking my high-maintenance service dog to the vet and being told twice: "Your dog is spoiled, you now that, right?"

Actually, maybe 10% for my sister, 10% for me and 80% for Claren?

Monday, March 23, 2009

A mighty fine whine

I should have known it would not be a good day. The omen was right there staring at me as soon as I got to work. I unzipped my coat to use the bathroom, and a glove fell out and right into the toilet.

I should have known -- nothing good can come after fishing a glove out of a workplace toilet.

Sure enough, nothing good did come. A few hours later my company announced another weeklong furlough for its workers. Our last furlough program does not end till Saturday, so we weren't even able to embrace the illusion of full staffing.

It sucks, I am glad I still have a job, and don't get me wrong, it sucks for everyone: able-bodied workers and token wheelchair guy.

Of course, there is the added crap of Friedreich's ataxia, such as: having to stay late when your ride is waiting, having an allergic service dog who rolls on her back in the middle of the office instead of picking up the thing you wanted, coughing so hard you give yourself a headache.

I am not saying I have it worse. That would be bad bitter.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I am responsible for me (yeah, right)

I wish people remembered that just because I use a wheelchair, I am not stupid.

No, that's not fair. Not stupid, simple maybe. Just not able to understand life and its many risks as well as they do.

Lots of people do this. People I love, people I don't know, and everyone in between.

I like to think I understand the risks of life as well as other people. I can even sort of explain credit default swaps and how they have hurt the economy (although I cannot suggest how to solve the economic problems). But some people still think I need to be protected. From myself.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I lost my house and pants

The foundations of Stately Matt Manor flopped down around my ankles last night just like my pants did a few hours ago when I did a little walking on the ramp to Mom and Dad's.

As far as the pants debacle, which really happened, Mom says it proves I am not fat and only need pants with a bigger waist than length because I am stuck in a chair. Personally, I am just happy all the police in the area this afternoon were concerned only with our kooky old ex-con neighbor, not a flasher. Not concerned enough to take him away, though. I guess they need a battalion just to have a chat.

As far as the foundation flopping, let's be fair: It's not like it was stable to begin with.

I got an email from a stranger who also has Friedreich's ataxia and who got the name of my horse-riding blog from a U.S. para-equestrian.

The gal sent me her blog and as I started reading, the walls upon which I have built my life began swaying in heavy winds.

It quickly becomes clear in reading her blog that she has friends. I have used my disability as the reason that if something really bad happened tonight, the only people I could call for comfort are family members.

Apparently, though, it is not a valid reason. This sucks.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Matt and the economy

I am no longer immune to the economic crisis.

Sure, this is not really a surprise because I was furloughed for a week last month, but that was OK -- now things just suck.

I think it is official now: As I feared, the Geese Police are gone, and holy crap, do I miss them. Judging from the poop spread all over the area, it was like a goose Woodstock. Or maybe just the inside of a port-a-potty at a goose Woodstock. You could hardly move without hitting some. It is bad for wheelchair users but even people who walk have to play hop-skotch to walk down the sidewalk.

The other way the economic crisis is hammering me: The other people I work with are now on furlough. This week, my boss is off, meaning I am meeting boy. And that means I am moving around a lot.

You know how when you are little, you put cards or something in your bike wheels because it sounds cool? It is not so cool when you have to go to meetings and every step is a click because something is rubbing on your chair. I even looked but did not see anything. Mom found and removed a stick when I got home. Otherwise, I might have gone crazy.

And finally, I am doing my part to pull the economy out of the crapper (not the goose one). I am spending for a house and I recently bought a coat. It is warm and green and great. You won't see this coming so don't try to imagine where I am going.

While wearing the jacket, I was sitting back down in my chair after going to the bathroom, just about there, and the collar of the coat shifted up under my glasses and fiddled with my right eye. I flew out of my chair, staggered to my feet, and tipped over Claren, who tried to get away but just laid back down when she realized she was screwed.

At the last moment I grabbed my chair and managed not to squish my dog or even fall. So now I will continue spending and bring this economy around.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Stranger in the same land

It hit me on Saturday as I was out in the Back Lot playing with Claren: We were trespassing.

Mom and her brothers sold most of the land in a deal that closed a few weeks ago. The land that did not sell has lots of trees and shrubs so it is not as friendly to wheelchairs and dogs that eat poop. (Well, it is really friendly to the poop eater in that she often finds a snack; it is not friendly to those that have to deal with her.)

Gram died more than three years ago, so it is time the land sold. And rest of the Back Lot is where we will build our house, my little sister, her family and I. It will be great, for sure.

But it is not built yet, or started, and I just feel like a trespasser.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

This was new

I stood up this morning so I could then sit down. My knees as usual locked, but usually I unlock them gently. I was holding on to multiple grabs bars, but they still just buckled.

I did not fall but my knees crashed into the wall with a loud crack. Fortunately, the wall did not break. My skin did, but that was OK.

Everyday is something.

Monday, March 9, 2009

My tizzy loses steam

I worked myself up into a righteous tizzy today because the actor who played Jason Street on Friday Night Lights used the description "wheelchair-bound" in a story he wrote about the show.

What a surprise, a callous actor, right? But Jason Street was paralyzed in the first episode of the season. The actor really ought to know better.

But later in the day, as people rushed to the stairs to leave rather than wait for the elevator and as they walked to their cars in the garage while I sat and waited for Dad to drive me home, I started to feel a little wheelchair-bound.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I played hockey today, and basketball, soccer, football and lacrosse. I walked, too. I sort of regret it.

I am so dead and every part of my body aches, especially my legs, but I did want some exercise.

This morning, after a true breakfast of champions (doughnuts and tea), I went outside and down the ramp. I parked my chair, got up holding on to the railing, then pulled myself and sort of walked all the way up to the top of the ramp. I wished I had another chair up there, but there wasn't so I just sat on the ramp to get my breath. Then I walked down.

I was pretty tickled with myself, even if I owed my walking mostly to my arms and I held the railing so hard I still have black dirt and dust stuck in my skin. and I was pretty glad to sink into my chair again.

Then I played in some way just about every sport my nephew has equipment for. The only problem is that Claren feels left out and just lies there sadly chewing her ball.

She doesn't want to play with me as much as she just doesn't want me to play with anyone else. In her mind, I should just sit and watch her chew her ball.

It was fun, but there best be a gain for this pain.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The story

If you know Claren, you'd understand at once.

I realize she is more and more frequently at the bottom of things that I do that might seem a little rash. But again, if you knew Claren, you'd understand that, too.

She was romping around in the snow and I was throwing a ball to her. But I threw it poorly and it landed on the picnic table and disappeared under the snow.

The table is about four feet off the driveway. I had the lacrosse stick for throwing the ball, but I knew I'd still have to drive into the snow. I felt good about my chances, though, especially after I partially uncovered the ball and persuaded Claren to do an "up" on the table and grab the ball.

Needless to say, my good feelings were incorrect. Almost as soon as I started backing up, my wheels started spinning.

I called my little sister, who came out immediately and started tugging my chair back to the driveway. She didn't get very far. Then she found some planks of wood and tried to pull the chair up on to them. That was not a really help, either. Finally, she went in to get Dad, who I love but had not called him because he knows Claren but wouldn't get it. Well, he might get it because I suspect Dad feels my common sense gets ignored a lot. He'd be right.

Anyway, my sister returned with Mom, and Mom pulled and my sister pushed me back to safety.

My sister says I owe her.

She forgot to mention how I was a bull's-eye for giddy little children who insisted they were having so much fun as they heaved big ice snowballs at me. Despite my best efforts to cover up, one hit me in the bridge of the nose, staining my glasses with blood. As if that wasn't bad enough, my little sister's husband laughed and cheered when he saw the bandage Mom had put on my face.

Unfortunately, I suspect she is right. I do still owe her.

P.S. This took an extra long time to publish, not because I was watching Lost, but because I went to the bathroom before I posted and while washing my hands I sneezed and my forehead hit the faucet and farther back on my head smacked the faucet handle.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Really snowbound

Too late to write the whole story but my little sister saved me from freezing to death today.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I want to do whatever a spider can

After some heavy thinking, I have decided that I need to be bitten by a radioactive spider like Spider-Man.

A lot of other super-powers would just be no help at all for someone with Friedreich's ataxia.

Superman's strength and flying? I could probably handle the flying because once I got in the air I would not have a lot of obstacles around, but landing would be bad as I would touch down and just kind of crumple without my chair. The strength would not keep my muscles from spazzing out; it would just mean that when I accidentally kick my nephew in the face I would face a lot of dental bills.

Daredevil, my favorite superhero, had all his senses enhanced. I am not sure if enhanced balance would do much more than bring me up to clumsy. Plus, he can feel everything more, so when I fall, I'd hurt for weeks, not just days.

I am not sure what Wolverine's healing factor would do with a screwed up gene, but that might be useful. Unless it doesn't cure the FA because it sees that as just another mutation and it just does not ever let me die.

An Iron Man suit of armor would work, but who wants to live in an iron shell for all their life?

The magic of Dr. Strange or Zatanna might help, but Dr. Strange has never cured himself of injuries that ended his promising surgery career. I suspect you can't do magic on yourself.

While my eyes do work, so I don't see any reason I could not be Cyclops. It would not help me and it would be trouble to have lasers shooting out of my eyes.

Spider-Man's powers, now those would be beneficial.

If I had the ability to stick to walls, surely my feet could stick to floors when I try to get up, instead of sliding out from under me as they do now.

I would bounce back from injuries quickly.

I often wake up now and imagine shooting webs onto the wall in front of me to help sit up.

The webs would have also helped this afternoon when Claren pooped in a front yard that was just far enough out of reach that I thought I could grab it if I just undid my seatbelt and edged a little farther out ...

I was able to grab it no problem from my new seat on the curb. I did not even need spider sense to know that undoing the seatbelt was a really bad idea.

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