About Me

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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, October 01, 2010

Booth Duty

Yesterday was a long day in the booth. Standing on my feet, smiling and trying to be inviting and engaging can be exhausting! I returned to my room and couldn't wait to remove my leg and relax for an hour before returning downstairs for dinner. Confidentially, I did order six chocolate chip cookies from room service in order to help me through the days!

There are a slew of new products on the horizon, and I can't wait to share some of them in future blogs. Prosthetics are offering more power and options while the size and weight are becoming more manageable. I learned about a liner donned by arm amputees with embedded electrodes which communicate with the prosthetic to facilitate natural movements. The next twelve months will be an exciting time in the prosthetic field!

I met some fascinating people yesterday. I spoke with prosthetists from all over the world. Despite the language and cultural differences, they all voiced the same basic concerns: what can they do to restore function to their patients? I loved meeting a fan from Kansas and enjoyed getting my photo taken with her. I met a man from Taiwan who told me (with the corresponding hand motions) that I was "very very wide." Needless to say, it was not my favorite booth dialogue!

Today promises to be another tiring day as the booth is open for ten hours. I'm sure I'll return to my room worn out with my head swirling with ideas and information. The one benefit of being so busy is that it keeps feelings of homesickness and missing my little boy to a minimum. I know he is fine and will return home full of new tricks. I can hardly wait!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hotel Memories

When I first started working at various conferences, I used to spend hours on the Internet researching local attractions and making plans for my "free time." I have learned through experience that down time at these events is virtually non-existent for me. When I am not working in the booth (which I am scheduled to be in from 8:00 am until 6:30 pm every evening, I can be found in my hotel room with my leg off and my foot up.

Preparing for this trip, I didn't have any delusions of seeing anything beyond the airport terminal and the confines of the hotel. I did no research on the hotel and, with the exception of the address, knew nothing about where as I was going. When the taxi drove onto the hotel property, I instantly knew that I had been here before.

In fact, nearly 26 years ago my entire family has previously visited this hotel. Accustomed to camping in a travel trailer and staying at an occasional Holiday Inn, for me this hotel right out of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I have vivid childhood memories of us swimming in the pool while my Mom was lounging in the spa whirlpool. Everybody was having a blast!

Unfortunately, I also seem to remember running down a hill in an attempt to escape the hotel security guards who discovered that we were not registered guests. It was that afternoon I learned that "fancy" hotels frown upon trespassers.

In all fairness, it was not my family's idea to utilize this hotel's facilities. We were visiting family friends in the Orlando afternoon. Bored one afternoon, and probably eager to give three wide eyed children a thrill, our "host" Tommy suggested that we drive to "this pool he knew" for a swim. We simply agreed with his plan.

Tommy went to his linen closet and handed us each a towel and directed us to put on our swimsuits. When we were driving to the hotel we were instructed not to speak to other guests and, as Tommy put it, "act rich." In retrospect, perhaps we should not have taken Tommy's stolen "Days Inn" towels with us.

We got through the gated security by giving my dad's name although he was not with us and not a guest at the hotel. I remember Tommy telling us that, when in doubt, always just say my dad's name because it sounds prestigious and no one questions it. By the way, he is correct as this tidbit has served me well, especially during my college years.

As it turned out, my sister cracked under pressure. A hotel employee casually asked her for her room number. I was nine and knew that any number would probably suffice. My sister sang like a canary, and then began to cry.

We quickly packed our belongings and "exited" over a gate, ran down a hill and quickly left the premises. I remember feeling as if we had just had the adventure of a lifetime! We must have been quite a sight for onlookers. It's not everyday that you see a middle aged Mom with three kids, along with a retired elderly man, break out of a hotel pool in a full sprint!

Being in this hotel has flooded me with childhood memories. As I recall, that was the only time we ever did anything elicit or illegal as a family. (Except, of course, for the time we tried to sneak popcorn into the movie. As I remember, my sister ratted us out then too!) The joys of memories of family vacations! It's great to be back--this time with my name on the register.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Last First Date

Ten years ago tonight I was primping in front of the mirror in my small one bedroom apartment getting ready for a date. I struggled with picking out the perfect outfit but finally opted to wear denim Capri pants and a red button down shirt. I even went to Victoria Secrets and laid down $40 for the "miracle bra" hoping that it would deliver its promise.

I was a teacher for visually impaired children. My position forced me to travel between several schools, resulting in my never feeling as if I fully belonged in any one place but affording me the opportunity to meet a lot of people. The 2000-2001 school year was my first in the high school where Scott taught which is where we met.

Scott had one of my students in his class. I was immediately struck and determined to get to know this cute teacher. I started popping into his class, offering my student a lot of extra assistance in her course. Scott was oblivious to my flirtatious efforts, as evidenced by the fact that he kept referring to me as "Miss Flemming" (my maiden name was Friedman).

Undeterred, I managed to weasel an invitation to the Happy Hour that many of the teachers, including Scott, frequented on Friday afternoons. Initially there was a large group at the restaurant/bar. Slowly, as teachers began to leave, Scott worked his way closer to my seat. After nearly two hours, it was just the two of us and another couple.

We were invited to the other teacher's house for drinks on his deck. I agreed, excited about the prospect of making "progress" with Scott. I remember recanting the details of the bar date with my Mom on the drive to Anthony's house.

Scott and I talked all evening sitting on the deck. He asked me about my foot (it was already injured and I was on crutches). To my shock, he didn't seemed phased. Talking with him seemed natural.

We talked so long that Anthony had gone inside with his family, leaving us alone. What happened next still seems surreal, but I remember it as vividly as if it was yesterday. Scott stood up and began to walk towards me. My heart began to flutter as he approached. He began to bend over, causing the hair on the back of my arms to react by standing up. I began to pucker my lips in preparation for our first kiss as I felt his arm slip around my neck. I closed my eyes. And then, I felt it. He sat down on my lap and continued chatting without missing a syllable.

So there I was, sitting on deck of a teacher whom I did not really know, with the cute teacher I was flirting with sitting on my lap, happily yapping away nonsensically. I remember thinking, "This is strange. He's sitting on my lap. I thought he was going to kiss me, but he hasn't shut up. Why is he sitting on my lap?" I decided to just go with it.

The next day Scott picked me up to take me to dinner. I spent the afternoon cleaning my apartment so everything looked perfect when he arrived. I danced around and sang It's Raining Men. By the time he arrived, 40 minutes late, I was belting out I Will Survive. I had to wait while he moved an imposing pile of trash from the passenger seat to the backseat before I could sit down in his car.

My Mom taught me from an early age to always be prepared. On her advice, I made it a habit to carry cash with me whenever I went out on a date. In all fairness, Scott tried to pay for our meal. Unfortunately he didn't have any cash, and the restaurant was not equipped to accept debit cards. Thankfully I listened to my Mom and had money handy. My Mom is a smart woman.

The story of my last first date is not overly romantic. We did not go out for a lavish meal but I was able to pay for our cheeseburgers and french fries. I wasn't doted upon, but the object of my affections did curl up onto my lap. I am glad that I made the decision to just go with the flow ten years ago. Our date was anything but traditional but then again, I think tradition is overrated.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Think It Is Time

Yesterday morning I had a revelation. It came in the form of a hard fall as I was trying to get out of the shower. What did I realize? That my amputation is permanent so perhaps it is time to make my bathroom more accessible.

I hate falling. Yes, the physical pain is intense. Perhaps worse is the frustration and fear that I feel whenever I take a tumble. I hate feeling out of control which is precisely what is lost during a fall. With the exception of taking down my shower curtain and bar, nothing was injured during my ungraceful exit from the shower.

To date, my bathroom accommodations have been limited to putting together a shower chair and getting rails installed when we remodeled our main bathroom. The bathroom adjacent to our bedroom, the one which I use the most, has not been modified. I placed a suction cup grab bar on the shower wall in lieu of installing a more permanent, and apparently more stable, option. Take a note: suction cups do not maintain their holding strength indefinitely.

I use the grab bars that we had installed in our main bathroom, so I am not sure why I have been hesitant to modify the other bathroom. I think my procrastination is the result of not wanting to incur another expense and not wanting to deal with the hassle of locating a contractor. Perhaps part of me has been reticent to fully admit that I need a permanent modification.

When it comes down to it, there is a stark difference between what I need and what I want. I know that I need secure grab bars, but it certainly doesn't mean that I am happy about it! I don't want to have to modify my bathroom, but the reality remains that I need the assistance. My bruised knee and bum are all the proof I need.

Yesterday I was lucky. I didn't hurt myself when I fell, but the event did serve as a wake up call. I am not happy about it, but I know it must be done. Today I will be calling around to find a handyman to install a grab bar.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Scott and I have both remarked how comfortable our house feels now that the clutter has been cleared away. Robby been playing more in the living room, leaving my bedroom vacant at least a few hours a day. All of our extra "stuff" is slowly finding its way to new homes via Craigslist and our Black Friday shopping account is growing with the proceeds.

Inspired by the simplicity of my quasi-clutter free home, I decided to do something that hasn't been done in nearly 20 years. I've avoided this drastic change for years by employing a variety of excuses. Finally, I feel as if I have the confidence to proceed forward, and I have made the change. Yes, I have taken my hair back to its natural color.

Okay, if I truly went "natural" it would be streaked with gray. I can't be expected to be that self-confident! My hair is now one shade of dark brown, and to my surprise it isn't nearly as boring and unattractive as I remembered.

Playing off the success of my house and my hair, I mustered up the courage for my next project. I have been contemplating changing the design of this blog for awhile. I am always nervous tinkering with the design because I don't really know what I am doing. I have extremely limited html knowledge and even the most minute of changes often turn into an hours long project.

Yesterday was a rainy, cool day, and I am still fighting a cold and not feeling overly energetic. Robby seemed particularly content to watch cartoons and to play by himself with his new Matchbox car garage. It was Sunday, so Scott was occupied with football. It seemed as if the stars had aligned as I was given the time I needed to revamp The Tales of An Amputee Mommy.

Although I will miss the pink color scheme, I feel that the new design is more reflective of who I am becoming. I also wanted the blog to coordinate with my website. I am notorious for hating change, but I think this is a good one. Tell me what you think--do you like the new design? Change is difficult!