Saturday, February 26, 2011

Target Optical to Matt: We can work it out

Rada, the manager of the Target Optical, assured me that my frames were not old like the other employee had told me and she agreed the different screws and creaking were wrong.

She said they would reorder the glasses for me. But when we sat to fill out some forms, she had another idea. Some different frames would help the creaking.

Now, I am just waiting for the new glasses. When they come in, I will give Target my original new pair and it will donate them to One Sight.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You better not park there

When I was in college, I went with some guys to a Richmond Braves baseball game. We had good seats and it was a fun time.

I was still walking, but I had a handicapped parking pass, which I brought but forgot in the car when we got home.

The driver gave it back to me, although one of the guys bemoaned the loss because they could no longer get a great parking spot when returning to their apartment from playing basketball.

I am sure I chuckled and took it back, but I wish I had been strong enough and self-confident enough to tell them they shouldn't be doing that. In other words, I wish I had been like my northern-most niece.

Her mother told me that she went to a recent hockey practice and saw a teammate pull into a handicapped-parking spot. My niece saw it and made her move, saying simply you can't park there. (Well, considering my niece is a high school senior, it was probably not simple and it may have included more interesting language.)

Anyhow, the teammate moved. But that's not all.

A coach then pulled into the spot (they apparently need more parking at the ice rink). You better not park there, the teammate said, or Matt's niece (she may have used my niece's real name) will get after you.

Thanks, my niece!

Rotten dinner guest

I coughed at dinner tonight, which caused my hand to jerk and nock over my water. My niece and I laughed, as usual, so did everyone. When my niece started coughing, I wondered if I could laugh back at her.

But I didn't feel much like laughing. It is just really hard to be reminded that my constant companion, like it or not, is Friedreich's ataxia.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Working the legs

I only climbed two walls last night at EarthTreks Rockville, but I got a ton of exercise.

We switched things up a bit, and my normal belayer P helped me climb.

While he braced my feet on the holds, I had to get my feet there on my own. It was tough. But he, like all my climbing friends, was incredibly patient with me. On the first climb, he even had me use his leg as a hold for my feet when no good holds were reachable.

Others I was with noticed that I was working my own legs more, so that felt good.

I continued to hold myself on the wall. I relied on the belaying rope alone just a few times, not that I am climbing without it anytime soon.

I also continued campusing, using just my arms. Usually, I just do it to kind of nudge me into a better position to reach a foothold.

No photos, I am afraid. Next time ...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Before 'Packing for Mars' make a quick trip to the wheelchair stall

If I come across grammatical or spelling errors in a book, it becomes really hard for me to read. To me it says bad things about the writer, the editor, whomever. (My excuses for mistakes: I have no editor, this blog is not a professional enterprise, and if I really screw up, it was just a test.)

I am reading a book by Mary Roach called Packing for Mars. I like it, and I have found no spelling or style slips.

But she uses the wheelchair stall.

She is explaining a look of confusion that has been on her face since she used the wheelchair stall, which had all sorts of "levers, toggles, pull-chains. ... I yanked a pull-chain, aiming to flush, and set off the emergency Nurse Call alarm."

She doesn't explain why she was using the wheelchair stall -- maybe the other stalls were filled, maybe she had an injury that required it, maybe she had a child with her and needed the space. She was at the Japanese version of NASA, so maybe JAXA has multiple wheelchair stalls.

But there's the favorite theory of one of my brothers-in-law: Occam's Razor -- the simplest explanation is usually the right one.

And I am afraid that the simplest explanation, backed up too much firsthand experience, is that she probably just used the wheelchair stall without thinking, confident that no one in a chair would need the stall in the moments she was in there.

I am still going to read the book, and I am just going to hope that Occam's Razor is way dull.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Deep end here I come

Interesting day at swimming yesterday. And yes, I still swim most Sundays, but it is not always eventful.

As I got there, one of my classmates was climbing down a ladder into the pool. This doesn't seem that astounding, I realize, but the guy normally walks down the ramp. He uses a cane and has an orthotic device on one foot. So really, this was pretty bad ass.

I asked the teacher after class when she would let me climb down the ladder, instead of using a ramp and wheelchair. Her response? Next week. She then said, "You don't scare me buddy." I suspect she thought she was calling my bluff, but I am ready for the ladder.

She continued: If you get that breathing thing squared away, we'll take you to the deep end and let you dive in. I've seen guys jump in from there power chairs.

How cool would it be to wheel up to the 12-foot deep end and dive in, leaving your chair behind?

My breathing is not up for that yet, but I have noticed lately that when I put my head under, I no longer get water in my nose. Instead, I subconsciously have started to blow out through my nose and make little bubbles, keeping the water out.

Unfortunately, this has another effect. I was swimming on my own mostly, not even the fat suit, and I made it two-thirds of the way down the pool. Then the teacher, who was walking next to us on the pool's edge, said something, and the volunteer, who usually stays behind my head, came up next to me and said, I can't tell. The teacher turned and said, I'll get a towel.

The volunteer said I had a bloody nose. I never have bloody noses.

The teacher came back with a rubber glove, tissues and paper towels. I was standing there holding the wall. She put the tissue on my nose and when she pulled it away, we saw it was a booger not blood. (I horrified my niece when I told this story last night.)

How'll I blow my nose if I am in the deep end of the pool?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Books, books, books

I got a library card today! My first in years.

I wanted to read The Bone Collector because a friend kept recommending it. Mom was going to get it, but I found myself near the library today on my walk with Claren, so despite Claren's muddy butt (she was playing outside pre-walk) we went.

I asked the librarian for a card and asked him to fill out the form for me, then I looked for my book.

Seeing all the books just made me feel so good. Unfortunately, Jeffery Deaver books were on the top two shelves so I couldn't find the one I wanted. I had to snag another librarian, who grabbed it for me.

In good news, Deaver was near the opening of the aisle so I did not run over any books. I did, however, knock off one of those metal thingies that they use to hold up books when the shelf isn't full. But progress!

P.S. Not sure about the book.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Are you happy?

Mom and I were filling out this crazy long questionnaire for a doctor, and one question was: Are you happy?

I said no, but that isn't really what bugs me. I am not unhappy, just not happy usually. I am a bit sad today: Anther friend is leaving the company.

But the problem with this middle ground is that I cannot imagine anything that could actually happen that would any happier.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Matt to elevators: I must break you

I headed to an elevator this morning, but the door started to close before I got in. i couldn't stop, though, I was headed in. I banged into the doors and then they opened.

But they didn't close. They started to, but they were real slow and then they opened again.

I got another elevator, and called that one in when I got to my desk. They fixed it today so it was not as bad as the other elevator I broke.

I hope elevators are on notice: Don't fuck with me!

P.S.: Target Optical and I are working on my glasses issues.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

No, Target Optical, I won't be coming back

After six days, one of the lens in my new glasses fell out ... for no reason. Surprisingly, I hadn't fallen on them. I had been tasking them off with two hands. Everything you are supposed to.

But Friday morning, when I opened the ear pieces to put the glasses on, the frame made an odd creak. As I turned it over and over to try to find the cause, out popped the lens.

Of course, this was an improvement over the sunglasses I bought last summer. One of their lenses popped out when I out them on in the car to show Mom.

The folks at LensCrafters had wrestled the lens back in and told us to come back if there were any problems.

I decided that the main problem was LensCrafters. Only one of their people had ever tightened my glasses in a way that worked -- he bent the ear pieces -- and when I asked others to do that, they ignored me. Plus, I felt like the guy who sold me the sunglasses totally scammed me, selling me the glasses equivalent of undercoating.

This led me to Target Optical.

The service and selection seemed good. I was happy with my glasses till Friday and not just because the lens came out.

Mom ran the glasses up to Target Optical while I was at work. She showed the guy there the glasses and asked him to fix them.

He looked at them and said, these are old glasses, very old.

Mom quickly corrected him, then asked why he said they were old.

He told her that it was just because they used a weird screw. The glasses were fine, he said.

Seriously? I just paid hundreds of dollars for really old glasses? Or at least ones with old screws.

Today, that odd creaking sound started again.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I hear dead budgies

When I was 12, I got Marcus the parakeet. He was every bit as regal as the name. He was blue and black and white and was the best budgie one could ask for. He sat on my shoulder whenever I played games on the Commodore 64. He sort of talked; I can remember "pretty bird" being scattered in his chatter. Layla came a few years later. She was quicker to nip at me, but she was handfed as a baby so she wasn't scared of being scratched by my finger. She loved it almost as much as Claren. The last two, named either Ann and Nancy or Lilly and Roxanne came a few years after that. Someone asked the pet store I worked at to take them. I did, even though they weren't the tamest of gals. But that's OK. They were pretty. Even if they didn't talk in English, you knew they were around.

They are all long dead, but when I take a nap in the family room after work, I hear them chattering away. Really!

It doesn't matter what is actually going on: computer games, Law & Order on a TV in the other room, water dripping, food sizzling.

Whatever is happening combines with the hearing loss and ringing in my ears and voila: Budgie chatter!

If I strain, I can tell the real sound, but I want to nap, not strain.

Even today, when I was thinking about it and my niece and nephew were playing a loud computer game ... you know what I heard? Dead budgie chatter.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I'm sorry

You know how in It's a Wonderful Life, George comes home on that day Uncle Billy lost the money and when Mary asks what's wrong, he says, "Another big red-letter day for the Baileys"; then he yells at his kids, apologizes, tries to kill himself and is saved by his guardian angel?

Well, I promise not to try to jump off any bridge. I only have 4% power in my chair anyway -- I had to turn it off and on multiple times just to get enough power to get up the driveway. I couldn't get to a bridge.

I also won't dive into a cold river because I suspect my guardian angel would not be up to saving me.

Like George, I also have some apologies to make. I am sorry that:

  • I run into walls and scrape molding off. It wasn't on purpose. I didn't realize I was touching the wall.
  • I have roped people at work into helping me move my stuff to a new desk. I hate that I can't do it.
  • Just after getting a moving helper, I tried to move a desk tray and dropped it. It was heavier than I thought.
  • I laugh when I do something stupid or successfully stare down death. The alternative of weeping is much less pleasant.
  • The cleaning staff will think there was a raucous cocaine party at my desk because of all the white powder on the floor. Actually, I just spilled three packs of sugar.
  • I drive poorly in my wheelchair, particularly backward.
Finally, I am really sorry that doing anything these days -- even writing -- just seems too damn hard.

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