Popping wheelies in the hurricane

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“One if by land and two if by sea.” What is the signal for something coming by land and by sea? We in Florida are looking down the barrel of a nasty hurricane. I’m in the middle of the peninsula about 60 miles (96 km) from either coast – and therefore close to both.

We have worked for days preparing, and this morning the first bands of wind and clouds arrived. The first wind driven rain arrived at noon. How does a paraplegic prepare? What extra precautions do we have to take to accommodate wheeling through this safely?

First things first, and that means food and water. We had sent our “hurricane kit” to Houston, so we started over. Canned soup with pull tabs, protein bars, 2 loaves of bread, and a big jar of cheese puffs. Additional water, orange flavored carbonated water, and some Coke Vanilla Zero. Then we went back for paper products and that necessary stuff. It was a lot of trips between the car and the kitchen. Sandy lifted the reusable bags out of the car, and I trucked them in on my lap.

Having taken care of ourselves, we moved outside. I lifted the small and medium pots off the patio, and Sandy carried them to the protection of the covered and screened lanai. Thank goodness for good neighbors. IMG_0427.JPGThey lifted what would could not lift and reached what we could not reach. The flowers you saw in The Empty Pots no longer grace the patio. It’s devoid of everything. Then we moved to the front of the house and repeated the process.

 

Books! Too heavy if we’d have to leave. Ebooks, yes! Lots of them. Audiobooks. Are three enough? Maybe not. Charge our electronic devices. Do we really have that many? I’m guessing you have several, as well.

Pffft. As I roll past the kitchen island the sound came from my left tire. Flat. Fortunately, in a moment of brilliance, I had ordered spare tubes. I can change a tire if needed and proceeded to try. That was a no go. Enter again a good neighbor. An excellent bicyclist, he picked up the wheel, tube, and tire and proceeded to change it with just his hands.

Rolling again, it was time to prepare the wheelchair. You might ask why something so important was left to last. I don’t need electricity to prep the chair, and flat tires aside, it is something that doesn’t require help from our friends. Make sure tires are aired, chair cleaned, front casters rolling well. My cushion is washable, and I’d washed it last week when electricity was certain.

Well in advance of hurricane season I had talked with our county Emergency Management people about accessible shelters and transportation. They advised me to stay in my solid home if at all possible but to call if I need transportation. Never ride out a hurricane in a mobile or manufactured home. Just don’t.

We are experiencing outer bands 12 hours before we will receive tropical storm force winds and 24 hours ahead of hurricane force winds. And in a wonderful moment after a band of wind driven rain. a rainbow appeared. We’ll be fine!

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Pictures: Top photo is the statue of a lady holding grapes in front of a dark, leaden sky. Center photo shows the brick patio with everything removed. The final picture is the same statue taken through a rain soaked screen with a rainbow beside her. By the way, her name is Gina.

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Wheelies and waves

fullsizeoutput_149b.jpegI love ships – cruise ships. Big ones, small ones, new ones, and old ones if they’ve been refurbished. Cruises are our escape. Escape from the grocery, pharmacy, hardware store, watering plants, and running the robot on the floors. Escape to flip flops.

Oh, wait! I wear flip flops for everything. Let’s try this… Take my flip flops, my wheels, and my camera and go somewhere. Somewhere stress free and laid back and accessible. What is more accessible than the ocean if you have a beautiful ship?

Two weeks ago we drove to Port Canaveral and headed for the Caribbean. Sandy and I cruise differently than what one might expect. This week, for example, we actually used the dining room. My tux consisted of a shirt with buttons and soft, brown pants with the drawstring tucked in out of sight. And I wore socks!

This beauty is new and large. Very large with lots of carpet. Did someone find a sale at Captain Ollie’s Carpet Outlet? Wheelchairs don’t like carpet. I got pushed a lot more than I like. But other areas are nice and smooth with the freedom to roam around, get  a coconut cooler, hit the Coke Freestyle machine, and shop. I love to shop. This trip I bought some sunscreen and some spray aloe. I said shop. It takes money to actually buy!

DSCN1835We relaxed in the pool. Why are ship’s pools not accessible? Getting back into the wheelchair takes some doing. The lifeguards offered assistance. The water was warm and the fountains fun.

My favorite stop was the beach party. DSCN1801Caribbean. August. Hot. But the sidewalk is paved close to the water, there was a great breeze, and the lunch was fun. I didn’t attempt the sand. fullsizeoutput_1499.jpeg

You can make a cruise into whatever you want. Flip flops or ties. To this wheelie, the sea is the place to be.

Thank you for sailing with us. It is always a pleasure having you here. Try out the new Follow button!

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Pictures: The opening photo is a blown out flip flop with a repair tag that reads Flip Flop Repair Shop; Customer, Jimmy Buffet; Address, Margaritaville; Service Required, Fix blown out flip flop. – Small photo on the right shows a small, round pool with overhead fountains. Next pictures are of Sandy behind a life preserver and George under a palm tree on the beach. – Final picture is a large photo of George sitting partially turned in the wheelchair, in front of a cut out of a huge butterfly.

Where’s the Follow button?

DSCN1183 Last evening I received a nice message from my friend, Sassy Wyatt who writes the wonderful blog Thinking Out Loud. She was trying to find the Follow button. I knew it must have been there at one time. Nope, not there. Only by accident did I discover how to access it. This had to be fixed. And fixed it is. I cleaned up the side panel, simplified it, and added a nice, easy to find Follow button. If you are new here, I invite you to try it out! Meanwhile,  here is the link to Thinking Out Loud. I think you will like it, and I suggest you check it out. Thinking Out Loud

Thank you for stopping by. I always welcome your comments. By the way, Sandy and I just returned from a cruise. More on that soon.

Small photo at the top is a purple oval against a black background. Actually it is a light fixture from a cruise ship.

 

 

 

The empty pots

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It’s a truck load of flowers, and it is delivering a load of pleasure. Or is it? What do we see or feel or smell?

Near our truck are pots of flowers, fragrant and a delight on the patio.

But next to the truck is a planter of pots whose flowers could not take the Florida summer heat. Or maybe I didn’t water them like I should have. IMG_0349.JPG

What do we choose? Do we   dwell on the empty pots, or do we smell the flowers? It is all too easy, and I think maybe even natural, to say, “That bare spot is ugly,” when there is so much to enjoy.

This is something that I am having to tell myself over and over, literally every day as I try to rehab my arm and shoulder. How much can I get back? How much function can I, as a full time wheelie, hope to regain? The point here is that moan and groan while there is beauty and love around us is just not the answer.

I hope y’all are doing well and having a good summer. Thank you for stopping by, and I always appreciate your comments and will try to answer. You are the flowers in my garden.

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Photos: Top is a concrete planter in the shape of an old time truck with a bed of red pentas. Second is a row of circles, each featuring a healthy and attractive plant. Third is a large photo of a concrete planter with three empty pots. Bottom is an explosion of Mexican heather that is loving our hot, humid summer.

It’s not the fault of your set

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It’s a test pattern. Many of you probably have never seen one. Every TV station had one. Last month it became relevant in our subject of living life on wheels. We turned off the cable TV! What a relief!

In our family room we have a nice cabinet with an ugly plastic machine on it that never gets used. Between November and May we turned it on four times and didn’t watch it on two of those. With a phone call and a trip to the cable office to return the converter, we became $99 per month richer. (Richer being a literary term only.) We are now free to get TV the way the pioneers did it, snag it out of the air. Here is where the test pattern comes back into our discussion.

I knew what all those lines, circles, and numbers were for and could use them if some time machine were to take me back to 1958. TV station engineers broadcast the test pattern and adjusted the picture to make everything true to form. The portrait of the Indian Chief was to test clarity and sharpness of faces, which to this day appear on most shows. By turning off the cable we took a small step toward the test pattern. All we have to do now is buy a small antenna and get local weather free.

And of course there is the high speed internet and the toys that let us be our own TV programmers. And DVD’s. And the OFF button. So how has this worked out? In the last week we have watched the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati.

If you turn off the cable and don’t get 400 channels, “it’s not the fault of your set.” Thanks so much for joining me on our trip back in time. I always love to read your comments and share them with our community.

Picture is a large TV test pattern. It matches the standard TV format shape. It has a grid pattern and a large circle with a smaller circle in the center with lines of different contrast in all directions. In the corners are small circles similar to the center circle. In the largest circle is a portrait of an Indian Chief. If it sounds confusing, you have it right. It is.

 

Saturday selfie

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Oh, the much maligned selfie! It has become an art form in itself. But let’s start with a confession. I took the picture on Friday with the intention of writing on Saturday. This leads us to today, Sunday, and the actual topic. It’s about life on wheels and the less than glamorous things that happen. And the blog entries that didn’t happen.

I have not forgotten you. In fact I think of y’all every day and am thankful for each of you. Why has blogging not happened? In a nutshell, this invincible, wheelie warrior has taken some arrows (watched Avatar last night, hence the arrows thought) and is rolling backwards instead of forward. Hey, I said it was about life on wheels, the ugly with the awesome.

About 6 weeks ago I was removing the cover off the neighborhood pool’s lift chair when I felt a sudden pain that felt like someone had chopped my arm with an ax. As it turned out, that’s about what happened. I ruptured the bicep of my right (dominant) arm. The tendon ripped totally off the shoulder. Whack!

Now we have a paraplegic with a serious issue, as my arms are how I move around the mall – and do the essentials of daily living. Let us not forget the uninvited guest that moved in long ago called multiple sclerosis. MS does not like to be disturbed. The injury poked my MS with a big stick. Not good.

The heat has been oppressive with no rain for months (yes, no rain in Florida). Heat + MS = Fatigue. Multiply that by tendon and nerve damage, and we have ourselves a fight. Literally every MS symptom, you can find the list online or just ask me, has flared up.

The sunflowers are in the form of seeds. The potting soil is in the form of a bag in the garage. So you get a selfie instead of sunflowers. Sorry about that. I’m doing therapy every day and going to the office weekly. Yesterday we did Target. Today I cleaned the wheelchair you see in the picture. It’s my backup, and it has to be kept running, too.

Life on wheels. It’s time to get on with things, adapt as we have all done before and will do again, and keep on moving. I do think I’ll try forwards instead of backwards. What do you think?

Thank you for stopping by, and I’ll try to do better at writing and sharing.

Photo is a mirror selfie. Summer blond hair, round glasses with light brown tint, blue and white polo shirt, white canvas pants, and my favorite blue and white Converse All Stars, loosely laced. Titanium wheelchair with red casters, wood plank floor.

If you’re a mom

Happy Mother’s Day! You are the heart and soul of our families, and you are the glue that bonds the family. And to any single dads, Happy Mother’s Day, as well. You do the job of both parents. Wishing you all a joyful day.

Photo is a purple wildflower in foreground with dark green foliage behind.