Thursday, April 29, 2010

Do you feel lucky, Matt? Hell no!

When I was younger, I used to read Gram's copy of the Smithsonian Book of Comic-Book Comics. It was full of awesome early comics. I am not sure where it is now – it was not in her house when she died -- but I was thinking about it today.

One of the stories teamed up Plastic Man with Woozy Winks, who I remember as the luckiest man alive. I have just learned, however, that was temporary. He was usually a bumbling oaf providing comic relief, to which I say: “Plastic Man needs comic relief? He is a jokey character.”

I was thinking of Woozy and wondering what it is like to be lucky.

Today, I went to LensCrafters to pick up some sunglasses that I had ordered weeks ago. I was a little nervous because I was planning to ask for a discount because the glasses were late.

We went even though my lower back felt ready to explode because I sneezed oddly or strained it in any of a half-dozen ways.

The best handicapped parking spots were taken by wussy sedans. Grrr. But I was on Cloud 9 in the store because I asked for a discount and he gave me one. It was pretty modest, but I did it. Yeah, me.

Then I went out to the car with Mom and showed her my glasses ... or tried to. A lens popped out right there.

I was running late to work so Mom said she'd drop me off, then go back. Of course, the check-engine light in the van came on.

It turned out OK. Mom defied the check-engine light, went back and eventually got the lens fixed. And before anyone says anything, I know I am lucky to have Mom.

But I just wonder what it would feel like to be Woozy and not have these kind of things happen.

I guess Woozy wouldn't need glasses, though.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I am going to drown, no way around it

In swimming yesterday, I was trying to go from standing at the wall to a back-float and then from a float to the wall.

It was ridiculously easy to go the float because I had on my swimmie, the fat suit. But when I tried to go back to the wall I had some issues.

If I bend my legs at the knees, I tend to go into a standing position, and the first time it worked perfectly. The second time I sort of rolled a bit. I should have gone under, but because of the float suit, I just rolled a bit back and forth and then reached the wall.

At this point, my teacher, who was watching, said: Yeah, when you are worried you might be going under you should close your mouth. I laughed because I had realized my mouth was wide open, too. Not just open, though.

Apparently when I think I am going under I try to take a last breath for good luck. Of course, I am not fast enough so I just inhale water.

Friday, April 23, 2010

No joke: Auto-flush toilet overflows on me

I am uncertain I agree with those who say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. For instance, I was sitting on an auto-flush toilet today when it overflowed. My butt, pants, shoes, chair, service dog, everything got wet, coated with who knows what. And for the life of me I do not feel stronger.

I wrote about auto-flush toilets being a bad idea a while ago, but I honestly never thought an overflow would happen, not with me sitting.

There I was, though.

It didn't flush automatically for a time, but then I sat down rather quickly and that caught its eye. I didn't even notice the water touching my butt. I heard it hit the floor and looked at Claren to see what she did. Instead, I saw the water trickling toward her. I yelled at her to move, but we were in a bathroom stall with the door shut. She had nowhere to go. Finally, I managed to stand up, open the door and motion her out.

That was about when the toilet overflowed again. Lovely. I pulled up my pants and sat down on my chair and got the heck out of the stall and water. I did not even button my pants as I fled down the elevator to where Mom was waiting to take me to give blood for some potential Friedreich's ataxia treatment in the test stages. Needless to say, we did not make it there. I did, of course, tell security to call maintenance.

I got home and showered. Mom, Dad and my little sister washed Claren, my chair, etc., and here I am, still alive but not stronger.

Damn it all.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why would I want to look like a tool?

It was Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day today, which was cool: I got no beef with the kids.

As I was leaving work, I saw a boy with his dad wandering around the lobby. The kid was walking around with his hands in his pants' pockets. He looked a little silly, but then it hit me: I can't walk around with my hands in my pants' pockets.

It is really stupid to be bothered by this because I don't want to walk around with my hands in my pockets, and I obviously have bigger things to worry about.

But I am still a little frustrated: stupid kid.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I am not Claren

Claren the wonder dog had some modest gastrointestinal distress this afternoon. She is fine, but all afternoon, instead of little doggy snores drifting up from under my desk, the silent but deadly oder of doggy farts wafted up toward me.

I wasn't really worried, but Claren's tummy was on my mind. The problem is I kept thinking it was me having the gastrointestinal distress.

This comes a few days after a friend retired her service dog. It is a wrenching decision, and again I hope Claren and I get hit by a bus. But the big take-away is that although I like to pretend I am a bitter, jinxed misanthrope, but I know I am so lucky.

Mom and Dad will adopt Claren when she retires. She will be right around for me even when she is too old to actively help me. So thanks.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The dead man's sink

If I am in a boat wreck, I am done for. That's a given. Today, I learned that my rotting carcass won't feed the birds. Even if I just lie on the water, I sink, so I guess fishies will get my toes. Maybe an octopus will eat my eyeballs. Unless, of course, my corpse bloats and provides buoyancy, which would be ironic because who needs to float when dead.

All right, no more grossness.

I did try the dead man's float and I did sink pretty fast. I remember that the dead man's float was about all I could do after my summer of lessons when I was 10. Well, that and going underwater, which I did to hide from JoAnne and the other girls in the next lesson.

In addition to sinking, I sucked in a lot of water. A LOT.

I am not sure why. It was through my nose, and I was saying to myself: DON'T. But I did. I am blaming allergies.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

It's Miller Time

I wish beer didn't taste like gutter water because this evening I really wanted to say It''s Miller Time and pop open a cold one.

I got out of my trike and chaise lounge all on my own earlier today. But those acts were just warm-ups for Matt's Independence Day.

The joystick arm on my wheelchair has been bent out of shape for ages. It is a crappy design that encourages bending, I think, although sometimes I am at fault.

One of the times I was to blame was when I yawned and a screw on the arm broke. I had to get the whole apparatus replaced, but I kept the broken one for parts.

In time, the arm became loose and wobbly again, so today, I dismantled the wheelchair arm and put the old one on, using a screw from the new one.

Matt. Doing physical, somewhat coordination-requiring stuff. How about that? Dad helped on the re-assembly but I was the idea man and the dismantler.

Friday, April 16, 2010

My hero

Here is the conversation I imagine one of my office mates had at his dinner table tonight:

"Hi, honey. How was you day?" (Yes, my office mate lives in the 1950s."
"Pretty good, pretty good. The company reported really good earnings." [Appreciative oohs] "Oh, and I helped a naked man back into his wheelchair, so, you know, kudos to me."

In my defense, I wasn't naked. My pants and shorts were just around my ankles.

It was bound to happen really. I have worked there almost 11 years and I have never fallen and been unable to get up except when I have been fully dressed.

Now I have got the monkey off my back, so to speak.

I stood up after using the toilet and fell, not badly or painfully, and I certainly was not worried about getting back up. I should have been, obviously.

I stood up several times and sat back on my chair even, but each time, my chair was just out of reach and I slid down. My right leg is covered with scratches from the metal toilet paper holder. I know it sounds crazy, but at the time of the incident I was glad of the scratches. I thought they might wake my goddamned legs up so they would work. No such luck.

Eventually, I slid to the floor and my legs were sticking out under the stall. No one else was in the bathroom, and I couldn't decide whether that was good or bad. I was sure I would eventually get up, but I was so worn out and I was worried if I really stretched my legs out to rest them I might not be able to get them back to my stall.

I was so noisy, too. If someone was in the bathroom, it would have been an uncomfortable repeat of the "Who does No. 2 work for" scene from Austin Powers.

I was thinking of calling one of my friends at work for help when someone came in. He asked if I needed help, and I told him, "I'm afraid I do."

He said wait a second, then he came over, I opened the stall door and he pulled me up. He offered to pull up my pants but I told him I got them. I was so out of breath. He checked on me once more, said how tired I must be and then left.

If he had mentioned how much I must have wanted to cry, he would have had my feelings down to a T.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Attention must be paid

Several times the past week, I have met this woman at the elevators.

Actually, to say I met her implies that I know her or that she even acknowledged me.

I don't and she didn't. She walked straight past me like I didn't exist.

This wouldn't really bother me, but both times she said animatedly: Hi, Claren.

If you are going to say hi to a service dog, you really ought to at least nod to the person on the other end of the leash. You can even acknowledge me second, but I will not be ignored.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Red (Bath)rum

Finally, Verizon came and fixed the Internet. The modem had gone bad and needed replacing. I say finally because they were due Tuesday morning, and Mom stayed by the phone all morning because if they call and you don't answer, they don't come. When they did not come anyway, Mom called. The vaunted Verizon support team apparently told Mom that they called and got no answer. But Mom told them not to give her that and that she was with the phone all morning. They replied: Oh, we'll come tomorrow.

In other news:

It never ceases to amaze me how much blood my toes hold. For appendages with poor circulation -- at best -- I would think they would be nearly bone dry. Once again, of course, I'd be wrong.

I scraped the top of one of my toes on the door into the bathroom this morning. I pulled the door open, and it swept over my foot until it hit the toe. I really hate doors. Greg Brady was so on to something.

I shrugged it off because I am tough, shaved and went to the bathroom. Only then did I notice the color change to the floor: red.

It wasn't as much as the gusher of blood in The Shining. But it was more than I could clean up.

Mom got it up quickly, although she did say she would have to empty the trash to get rid of the blood-soaked towel before the cleaners come.

P.S. Claren the wonder dog and I got a shout-out in a friend's blog.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pretty Boy Matt

It's so simple, I can't believe I didn't think of it before. And I owe it all to the gun lobby.

Normally, when I complain about the existence of disease in the world, I get guff from Mom about free will and stuff, but now I know how to sidestep that issue.

I get Congress to outlaw all diseases and accidents because then only outlaws will have diseases and accidents.

And if I get declared an outlaw -- instead of being cured -- I become good "bad guy" like Pretty Boy Floyd.

Call your congressman today!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Matt keeps economy running

I have been doing my darnedest to keep the economy humming this week.

I went to the mall Wednesday and bought prescription sun glasses with all the bells and whistles. The salesman was probably laughing and rubbing his hands that he got such a rube, one who'd actually but polarization coating or something. But I just figure why would they offer it if it was worthless.

After the mall, I went and bought comic books.

Yesterday, I went to the bike store to talk about options for my recumbent trike. I lift with a new hand-cycle, having traded in my trike. It is pretty cool. Unfortunately, the Internet is a joke tonight so I can't find a picture.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

I am a dope

The mall does bad things to me.

Actually, it's not the mall, it's the parking lot and the handicapped spots.

When the spots are filled, as is often the case no matter how many there are, I start looking at the vehicles parked there and making judgments.

This is not something I am proud of, but I say to myself: "SUV there, disabled person could not get out of there easy, probably a scammer." Or "Oh, yeah, nice little sports car. No room for a chair or crutches or canes." Even a regular sedan: "Like you are a wheelchair user."

The worst is when someone in a handicapped spot gets out of a vehicle and easily (in my mind) walks to the mall. I might run them down, which is another reason it is good that I do not drive.

I know there are many legitimate reasons that people in SUVs, sports cars or sedans would have a handicapped tag. And people who walk easily can also have real reasons for needing a tag.

But I just don't care that much. The spots are all mine, just get out of my bleeping way.

P.S. After the mall visit today, I stopped at the comic book store and canceled all my Spider-Man books.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It would have been funny

I am reading The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde these days. It is a science fiction comedy set in a world like ours except nursery rhyme characters live among the people and no one worries that Mr. Dumpty is an egg. The other key difference is that police detectives have secretaries who write up the investigations for entertainment magazines. The best detectives, therefore, are often those who bend the rules --withholding evidence until they can use it themselves -- and make their cases suspenseful even when it's not necessary.

I was tempted today to make my life more suspenseful, just for this blog.

I was standing up facing the toilet and I sat backward to get into my chair. My chair was farther back then I realized and I wound up sliding gently down my chair and sitting on the footplate, which was down. That would have been a normal and uneventful slip. I could have just pulled myself up via the grab bars in the bathroom.

But (there's that danged "but" again) my arm snagged my chair's joystick on the way down and before I was able to stop it, my chair moved forward and squeezed me into the toilet so I was between the toilet and the chair.

I got my arm off the joystick and sat there wondering if I should call for help, not that I needed it, but because it was so unique.

I decided not to, because Mom and Dad were out and if I could reach my cellphone to call my little sister, then surely I could reach my joystick, people would ask. So I did back it up and got in my chair, went out on the porch to sit in my chaise lounge and fell on to the floor of the deck because I hadn't buckled my seatbelt after I left the bathroom.

I did have to call my brother-in-law to help me from that oh-so-common and boring fall. I deserved it.

Friday, April 2, 2010


Last night a friend said that my presence was "such a great blessing" to my niece and nephew, but I wonder what my niece would say to that after I ran her over.

Granted, it was her fault, but she's 6, so I suspect it was my fault.

I am not exactly sure of all these events, but they are the only explanations that come to mind when I replay the incident.

She was sitting on my left knee and driving my power chair. She was in third gear, which was one faster than I realized. Her brother had just fallen down and was being comforted by his parents, so my niece and I were on our own, more or less. I did have my hand on the joystick, but I let her steer.

She started going into the grass and up a slight incline.

Going over grass is bumpy so I suspect my left foot came off the footrest and my left leg, where my niece was sitting, became less a sit-able surface and more a slidable one. What I know is that she started slipping off my lap.

Again I suspect that I was leaning forward in my chair to hold my niece up with my left arm as she slid down. What I know is that I was leaning forward, which meant my right hand was pushing forward on the joystick and driving my niece farther under the chair.

Next thing I knew, my niece was disappearing under the footplate of the chair, yelling WHOA, WHOA, WHOA!

I am not sure how I stopped pushing the joystick. As my sister came running up after hearing her daughter's yells, I do know that I was bent over at the waist. Maybe I just pulled my arm off the joystick and my body flopped in half.

My niece's foot was all muddy and she was laughing a little too hard to convince me (and her) that she was OK. She also took a minute to push my body upright again.

I wonder who is really blessed.

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