About Me

My photo
I am a below knee amputee. More importantly, I am also Mommy to two boys, a very active 10 year old (Robby) and an mischievous toddler (Timmy). I have learned that being a parent with a disability can create some unusual and sometimes humorous situations. This blogger is available for hire! Let's talk and learn how a blog can expand your business.

Friday, March 21, 2014


A few days ago I woke up with an uncanny burst of energy and determination. Scott's computer room, which is earmarked to become the baby's room, was no where near ready to welcome our newest family member. Simply put, the room had turned into a vast abyss of wires, trash, antiquated computer equipment as well as a catch-all for assorted household odds and ends without a home. Although I've wanted to work on the room, each time I stepped through the door, I felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff which had to be sorted, discarded or moved.

With the baby due in less than two months, time was running out on readying the room. Feeling like it was now or never, I grabbed a bottle of Gatorade, a roll of trash bags and stepped through the computer room door. I was determined that I wouldn't stop cleaning until the room had been purged of its contents. 

I worked throughout the morning and afternoon, stopping only for snacks and to occasionally chat with my Mom (who provided constant motivation to keep working). I tried to take it easy, but I felt compelled to keep moving and working. I sorted everything, carefully separating the trash from the treasures.

After a few hours of working nonstop, I realized that I must be nesting.  I decided to take full advantage of this unusual pregnancy stage and kept working. Oddly enough, I never felt tired or uncomfortable. I only felt a growing resolve to clear the clutter from every aspect of my house!

I wish I had a camera handy when Scott came home from work. Greeting him in the living room was an ominous pile of trash bags and boxes, stuffed full with the contents of what had been his sanctuary. I was amazed and proud that I had managed to sort and compile a 7' high by 3 ' wide by 4' high wall of trash. With the exception of the computer and its desk, the room is finally clear!

This weekend will be spent relocating the computer. Although Scott is sad about losing his computer room he has begun to embrace his new space. We are converting our basement bedroom into his "man cave" with one caveat: it must never be filled with trash and junk again!

I think part of him is excited about the increased distance between our living area and his sanctuary. I am looking forward to spending the weekend prepping and getting the room ready for the baby. My Mom is coming down on Saturday to help, and I'm sure between the two of us, we'll be able to make a lot of progress.  Let's just hope that the nesting hormones keep me revved up until this project is over!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Ice Rink Issue

Lately I have found myself conflicted. While I am usually the first to stand up and advocate for my needs, I have learned that some situations warrant silence. Granted, silence has never been my strength, so trying to maintain my composure under frustrating circumstances has been difficult.

Before I explain my predicament, perhaps a little background information would be helpful.  Since he has graduated from "Snowplow Sam" learn to skate program to the "Learn to play hockey" classes, Scott and I have been able to take advantage of the seating provided for spectators at the ice rink. I learned early in Robby's skating endeavor that skate, like many other sports, operates with a strict hierarchy protocol among the parents. Violate their unspoken rules by infringing upon the seats before they have been earned only results in uncomfortable encounters and glares. When Robby had earned his way to the advanced classes and Scott and I had paid our dues by uncomfortably standing at the end of the rink, we were welcomed into the parent seating area. 

Being able to sit during Robby's lessons has morphed from a nicety to a necessity as this pregnancy has progressed. As the bump is growing, it is becoming increasingly difficult and painful to stand for long periods of time. Like many lower extremity amputees, I find walking less physically taxing than trying to stand.  The growing baby has only intensified the discomfort.

A few weeks ago we all bundled up and headed to the ice rink for Robby's hockey lesson. After dressing him in his pads, a task which takes far too long, he took to the ice while Scott and I headed for our seats. Low and behold, the seating area was roped off. Large "No Parent Seating, No Exceptions" signs were prominently hung along the boards. Rows of bleachers remained vacant as parents and spectators tried to wrangle for standing room along the rink.

Ten minutes into his lesson and I could feel my ankle swelling. My back was aching, and my limb was throbbing. I tried to shift my weight but was unable to fully alleviate the stress in my socket. As Robby's lesson progressed, so did my misery. By the time he came off the ice, I was nearly in tears because of the pain in my back, hips and legs. 

I waived to his Coach, who must have anticipated my query. He immediately explained that he didn't know why the seating area was roped off and that he had already lobbied for an exception on my behalf.  He was told that there would be no exceptions but suggested that I speak with the owner myself. 

I opted to wait until the next day to return to the ice rink. My frustration, coupled with the pain that I was experiencing, would have led to an explosive exchange had I pursued the issue the night of the lesson. After I was able to rest and regain my composure, I drove to the rink, preparing to plea my case for a seating exception.

As soon as I walked into the lobby I heard the owner say, "I know why you are here. There are no exceptions under any circumstances. You will have to stand like everybody else." I smiled, which was a feat because I really wanted to lunge at him and scratch out his eyeballs, and took a deep breath before speaking. With a calm voice I retorted, "I just wanted to explain my problem. I'm an amputee and standing for long periods of time is extremely difficult. I'm also 7 months pregnant which makes everything harder." He didn't even look up from his notebook before curtly responding, "It's my rink, I can do what I want. I don't want people to sit. That's that."

In that moment, I knew that engaging in a verbal exchange was not going to be beneficial. After all, there are some people which whom debating issues and facts is simply fruitless. This man obviously did not care about my disability nor was he the least bit interested in accommodating my needs.  Angry, but still composed, I left the rink.

Since that exchange I have been struggling with my next move. I am sure that I could press the issue and demand seating. However, doing so would definitely interfere with Robby's access to the skating rink and his beloved hockey lessons. Although I doubt the owner would have legal cause, I am confident that he would complicate Robby's enjoyment of skating. My little guy has worked so hard and loves being on the ice so much, that I would never want to put his access to the ice in jeopardy.

There are no other ice rinks in our vicinity which makes patronizing this establishment an unfortunate necessity. If I remain silent, I will be committing enduring hours of unnecessary pain. If I fight the "no exception" rule, I will be risking the activity my son adores. My devotion to Robby is the only thing that would ever keep me from fighting such an inane rule! 

Right now, I am in a situation which I cannot win. My only solution is to pull the boxes of Christmas decorations off the wheelchair and bring it to the rink. Perhaps seeing me wheeled into the establishment will shame this individual into providing the simple seat that I require. I hate using the wheelchair and avoid it at all costs. Unfortunately, right now this is the only solution I can find.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Plow Gal

I fully admit that I have a stubborn streak. Unlike many people, I don't consider this to be a negative trait. My stubborn streak, although I prefer the term tenacious, has helped me overcome obstacles and has allowed me to enjoy some wonderful opportunities. I have never been one to back away from a challenge, and I don't see this characteristic changing any time soon.

I have been known, on occasion, to dig my heels in over the wrong issue. When this occurs, I often find that I am in a situation where I am pushing myself beyond my safe physical limits. This past Monday, I found myself in this familiar predicament of starting a project which common sense would tell me to avoid.

Scott woke up with the stomach flu which had rendered him down for the count. I sat in my living room watching the snow pile up on the driveway, fretting over its removal. I became hyper-focused on the fact that we were not going to be able to drive to the hospital should something happen. I hate feeling vulnerable, so I decided to take hold of the situation. 

Although I have had no experience driving the John Deere plow, I had full confidence that I would be able to figure it out. After all, how difficult could it be? I am an educated woman who is fully capable of pushing snow off the driveway. I bundled up and headed to the garage to conquer the plow.

Starting the machine was my first obstacle. I am embarrassed to admit that it took me at least 10 minutes before I had the engine humming. Apparently the steps need to be completed in a precise sequence in order for the mower to start.  Satisfied that the hardest task was behind me, I inched the mower/plow out of the garage and prepared to clean the driveway.

It definitely took me awhile to get the hang of the operating the plow, but before I knew it, I was creating a wide swath of clean asphalt. I am sure that creating some sort of pattern in my swipes would have been beneficial, but I wasn't agile enough with the machine to make that happen. Instead of plowing in an orderly pattern, I adopted the "if I see snow, I'll try to push it to the side" mentality.  It worked, but it certainly wasn't efficient or pretty! At one point I was feeling so proud, or perhaps cocky, that I stared serenading myself with the theme song from "Bob the Builder" as I pushed the snow out of my way.

Unfortunately my snow removal attempt was not without a few mishaps. The pedals to go forward and backward are nearly identical and I continually confused them. In an attempt to go backwards I pushed the wrong pedal, accidentally plowing down our previously neatly stacked wood pile.  To my dismay, my heirloom hydrangea bush was also the victim of a similar pedal mishap. In the spring I will have to reseed a portion of my front yard which is approximately two plow widths wide. Thankfully Mr. Bill has a forgiving heart, because I also have to reseed a large section of his side yard.  Those pedals really should be differentiated better! 

After two hours and some collateral damage, the driveway was clear of snow. I felt the surge of adrenaline which comes from accomplishing a new task as I triumphantly drove the plow down the driveway towards the garage. Unfortunately I managed to drive the tractor off of the asphalt and into the woods, stranding the machine in the high snow. 

It's a good thing that I had plowed Mr. Bill's driveway because he was able to come to my rescue and tow the mower out of the woods. He only asked for one thing as compensation: a promise that I was done plowing for the day. After my adventures behind the wheel, I was happy to oblige.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

No Lucky Leprechauns

Robby declared an "all hands on deck" family mode Sunday night. In a near panic, he had just remembered that St. Patrick's Day was the following day. In our house that means one thing: trying to catch the naughty little leprechaun who visits us yearly and wreaks havoc.

It was requested that I immediately start baking a batch of leprechaun cookies which are known to be
irresistible to the little mischief makers. Scott and Robby commandeered the bedroom where the pair crafted a foil-proof leprechaun trap. After years of cleaning up after the leprechaun's messes, Robby was determined to catch the little guy this year!

I must admit that I was impressed with the trap that Robby devised. Deceivingly simple, he obviously spent a lot of time planning his trap. After the cookies were cooled, the trap was baited. All we had to do was go to bed and wait to meet our little prisoner in the morning.  Robby made it clear that he had no intention of harming or keeping the leprechaun, he only planned to rob him of his gold and release him. 

At about midnight I woke up and unraveled two rolls of toilet paper through the house. I scattered pennies around the floor and overturned some kitchen chairs. I carefully tipped over the trap, creating a plausible alibi that the Charlie Cat knocked it over after we caught our little intruder. A larger stack of pennies and a few gold dollar coins were apparently dropped in the great leprechaun escape.  Satisfied with the chaos created, I went back to bed.

I woke up early, waiting for Robby to discover the leprechaun mess. I was expecting squeals of laughter as he followed the pennies through the house. Instead I heard tears of disappointment and perceived failure. 

Robby missed the toilet paper, coins and overturned chairs. Instead he only saw the knocked over trap. He was convinced that his design had failed, and he was devastated. I tried to remind him that leprechauns are tricky and extremely difficult to catch, but my words provided little consolation. After talking for 30 minutes I finally managed to shift the blame to the cat, who obviously intervened and set the foe loose. Robby didn't talk to Charlie Cat for the rest of the day. 

Our St. Paddy's Day started with tears, and unfortunately it didn't improve as the day wore on. Scott woke up with the stomach flu and spent the day in bed.  Along with caring for him, I had to contend with a little boy who was nursing a broken heart because of an escaped leprechaun. The fact that he was left a trail of pennies, coupled with the cancellation of school because a foot of snow had fallen seemed inconsequential. Apparently the Luck of the Irish passed over our house this year.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Making Friends

The past weekend was monopolized by Robby's burgeoning social calendar. Between play dates and parties, I spent the majority of my time chauffeuring him around town. I suppose that this is simply a taste of what lies ahead in my future. All complaining aside, it is nice to see him so happy and busy with his friends.

Friday, while sitting in the parent area of yet another bounce house, I had a revelation. I consider myself a social person, put in a room of my peers and I can start a conversation with just about anybody. However, I don't seem to fit in with the parents of Robby's classmates. As they all chatted and joked with each other, I felt like a shrinking violet in the corner of the room. My laptop became a shield to keep me occupied and to keep the isolation at bay while everybody around me seemed to be having a great time. 

This isn't the first time I felt out of place among the other parents. At Robby's previous school I had a similar issue. Although I was liked, I felt as if I was never fully accepted into the social circle. I was heavily involved with the class, but always felt excluded by the parents. In reality it didn't bother me that much last year because I wasn't terribly fond of any of the parents. In fact, I considered myself lucky to not have to deal with them socially!

This year is different. Robby's classmates are more down to earth and grounded, and their parents seem genuinely nice. Despite my best intentions, I find myself reverting to my high school mentality when I am in social situations with this particular group of Moms. I tried to break down my self-imposed barriers and open a conversation, but it wasn't successful. It is awkward when everybody else is chatting and laughing, and my contributions are met with single word responses and uncomfortable looks.

I wanted to be chatty and engaging, but instead I ended up seeking refuge and hiding. Robby was having a blast with his friends, but I couldn't wait for the party to be over. It's ironic how he was surrounded by friendship while I felt so ostracized. It becomes so much harder to make friends when you are an adult!