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, January 11, 2013

Slow but Steady

It is hard to believe that it has been seven weeks since I fell. I remember sitting in the emergency room hoping but not fully believing that I would be recovered in time for Christmas. We are now past the holidays and, much to my chagrin, I am still feeling the impact of my tumble.

My legs have definitely improved since the injury, but the damage that was incurred is going to take longer to heal than I anticipated. My residual limb remains tender especially when donning my prosthesis or fully extending my leg. The first few steps in the morning are excruciating as I work my way into the socket. Thankfully after my leg is on, the pain subsides and converts into a dull ache.

My ankle is now more troublesome than my residual limb. It constantly feels like it is stuck and needs to be cracked. It is a wonderful relief when I am able to pop it, but the discomfort always returns. Although I am able to walk and get around, I find myself constantly fretting about the ankle turning and my falling again. I'm not sure if my worries are simply fear because of the initial injury or if they stem from my sensing that the ankle is weaker.  In either case, I am definitely more cautious when I'm walking!

Everyday I am feeling an improvement, but it is slower than I had hoped. I'm not particularly good at being patient. I want to resume my normal routine which includes going to the gym and working out. I can't return to my work-outs until I can walk up the stairs leg over leg and, right now, that's not comfortable.  Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be bouncing up and down the stairs again.

Perhaps a mixed blessing but the leg injuries have forced me to slow down. Instead of feeling compelled to bake, clean and craft, I have been spending more time reading, writing and playing board games with Robby. The switch in paces has been difficult and frustrating for me, but I'm learning that I don't have to be in constant motion. Hopefully when I recover I'll be able to strike a comfortable balance.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chicken Little

Unlike many of my friends, I am not particularly fond of shopping for shoes or clothes. Scott can spend hours in Best Buy and computer stores, staring and dreaming over boxes of assorted chips, cards and wires. My guilty shopping pleasure hits a little closer to home: I love the grocery store.

Specifically, I relish shopping for bargains in the grocery store. While I come nowhere near the savings achieved by the Extreme Coupon-ers on television, I can hold my own with the average mom. I am good with coupons; I excel in the reduced meat department.

Robby and I can spot the coveted  yellow "Special" sticker in the meat case from across the store. From overstocks to soon-to-be-expired, if it is cheap and we'll eat it eventually, I'll buy it. My freezer is stocked full for the much touted pandemic that, according to the Doomsday Preppers, is imminent.

Yesterday morning I popped into the grocery store after dropping Robby off at school. Wednesday mornings the butcher marks down the most products, and the early bird always catches the cheap worm! Ready with a cart and trying to act casual (although my adrenaline was already surging with the anticipation of scoring a deal) I turned the corner and saw my beacon.

"Special" stickers were lined up on a row of whole roaster chickens. I didn't recognize the brand, nor could I read the label because it was written in Spanish. Undeterred, and knowing that the language of the chicken wouldn't impact the flavor, the price of $3.50 each sealed the deal. Without thought, I nabbed every chicken that was on sale, leaving an empty space in the cooler and looks of confusion from the slower shoppers.

I came home and stashed all but one of my cheap chickens in the freezer. I took one upstairs and began to prep it for a day of slow cooking in the crock pot. I cut open the wrapper and rinsed the bird. I then went to pull out the neck and the icky bag of organs that is typically stuffed into the cavity.

I threw the neck in the sink, screamed like a six year old girl and ran to hide behind the refrigerator. Tiptoeing back, I peeked in the sink and my fears were confirmed. The head was still attached! Staring back at me was a cloudy bird eye, sad looking beak, and the remnants of what had been a face.

After ten minutes of pacing back and forth, I finally garnered the courage to grab the little face (with tongs) and throw it into a waiting trash bag. I hastily prepped the now headless bird, trying to get the image of him staring at me out of my mind,  and carried the little face to the trashcan.  With one bird beheaded and prepped, I was left with in a quandary.  What was I going to do the remaining Spanish chickens, all probably with their heads tucked into their chests, that were stashed in the freezer?

Knowing that I was not about to deal with another head and doubting that Scott would relish the task, I was left with only two options. I could throw out the chickens , or I could swallow my pride and ask for help. I retrieved all of the birds from my freezer and drove over to Mr. Bill.

He looked surprised when he opened the door and saw me standing with a bag full of chickens. When I explained the head dilemma he began to laugh--not a little chuckle but a full blown belly laugh. After teasing me for being a city girl and claiming that I ran to him like a chicken with my head cut off (pun intended), he directed me to put the chickens on the counter with the promise that he would take care of it.

A few hours later Mr. Bill returned with my cheap chickens, minus the face. I suspect that this incident will be the fodder for teasing and stories for years to come! Scott and Robby seemed to enjoy the dinner I prepared. Although I sat at the table with them, I ate a peanut butter sandwich. I just couldn't stomach eating something after it looked me in the eyes. I packed up the remaining bird, added a large helping of macaroni and cheese and delivered it to the doorstep of my hero: Mr. Bill, the chicken beheader. 

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Recess Drama

The transition to full day school was made less difficult by Robby's wonderful classroom teacher. Robby and I both instantly felt a connection to her. She has been able to strike the precarious balance between being kind and patient while still maintaining high expectations for her students. She makes learning fun, and Robby loves nothing more than earning her accolades.

She has demonstrated that her skills are not limited to her students. I fully admit that I was as nervous, if not more so, on Robby's first day of school.  Within the first few minutes she managed to calm my fears about the transition. Let's face it, dealing with my worrying ways is no easy feat!

As the year has progressed, my positive feelings about his teacher have continued to grow. When Robby was ill with Dengue Fever and couldn't receive visitors, she stopped by in the evening and left a package of letters from his classmates, a gift, and a balloon by the front door. I didn't even know that she had been to the house until she phoned on her way out of the development to tell me about the delivery. She emailed daily to check on his progress and, yet again, proved her stripes by keeping my worries about his academics in check.

Since Robby returned to school he has been "invited" to stay inside his classroom during his second recess. While his classmates are running around on the playground, Robby quietly reads with his teacher, practices his arithmetic and finishes worksheets.The quiet time has been a godsend as a means both to reserve his strength and to allow him to catch up academically.

I never imagined that Robby staying inside with his teacher would be the source of controversy. Unfortunately I consistently underestimate the petty nature of some individuals! Yesterday morning I dropped Robby off at school and inadvertently stepped into a meeting between the school administrators and Robby's teacher. I was surprised when I learned that Robby staying inside during recess was the topic.

Apparently a classmate complained to her father that Robby was receiving preferential treatment from the teacher. Rather than ask the teacher, the parent took it upon himself to skip protocol and called the administrators to file a complaint. Keep in mind, this whole controversy could have been avoided if common sense had been employed. After all, in an effort to avoid miscommunication and rumors, all the parents of Robby's classmates were informed when Robby was diagnosed with Dengue Fever. This parent knew how ill Robby was and that he had missed a lot of school. It certainly wouldn't be hard to conclude that he was staying inside to catch up on school work? Rather than ask and learn, the adult whined and complained.

Once the Administrators were reminded of Robby's absences and his stamina issues, they agreed that our recess decision was appropriate. In the same breath, his teacher was also forbidden to keep him inside during this time for fear of "hurting" the other students' feelings. Only in a school could this logic be used to make opposite decisions during one meeting!

I do not want to jeopardize his teacher's standing at her school, so I am begrudgingly going to abide by the dictate. I will go to his school every afternoon and work with him myself. It is a mixed blessing that the whiner parent is uninvolved in the classroom. While I feel badly for his child, I know that my only interaction will occur when we happen to pass in the hall as he drops off his child in the morning!

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Return to Normal

Robby's recovery from Dengue Fever has been steady and strong. Although he is not where we would like him to be (he continues to fatigue quickly and has difficulty concentrating), he improving at an impressive pace. Last night Robby achieved yet another health milestone in his march back toward wellness.

After much contemplation about his strength and endurance, Scott and I agreed that Robby could resume ice skating lessons. He has been chomping at the bit to skate since his fever broke. Waiting has been difficult for him, but last night his patience finally paid off. We bundled him up and took him to the rink.

Scott was nervous about his falling. I was apprehensive about the activity sapping his strength and causing a setback. Robby's only care was making sure we arrived early so that he could have maximum ice time. I guess we need to take a cue from the six year old and learn to relax!

Wearing his snowsuit and sporting his new skates, he was grinning ear to ear as he stepped onto the ice.  Robby had a blast skating and his giggles were heard across the rink. Dutiful parents, Scott and I hovered at the edge, shivering in the cold and ready to leap on the ice at the first sign of a struggle or fatigue.

It turns out that Robby only needed us to help him take off his skates, drive him home and carry him into the house as he fell asleep during the 10 minute drive. Skating certainly tuckered him out, but he was able to fully participate in the lesson. Last week he would not have been able to skate for the entire time, so I have no doubt that his strength is returning.

After being so ill, I'm struck by how difficult it is letting Robby resume his normal activities. I feel like a mother bird, hovering and trying to protect her injured little chick. Although I'm delighted that Robby is getting better and doesn't need me as much, letting him return to his "pre-Dengue" life is scary for me. I worry about him overdoing it, becoming worn out and susceptible to other maladies. I'll try to tame the urge, but this Momom bird wants to hover and to protect. Who would have thought it would be this hard letting him resume his activities!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Procrastination Kitchen

Since we moved into this house 8 years ago, there has been a lengthy "I need to fix" list that Scott and I occasionally ponder tackling. We mean well, but life intervenes and other priorities take precedent. I think when you live with something every day, the little imperfections that others view as odd simply become part of your normal routine and are easily overlooked for years In order to use our microwave oven, we had to open and shut the door quickly at least five times before pressing start. If we didn't open and close the door rapidly, or if we failed to do it for the required five cycles, the timer would simply count down without the appliance providing any microwave power. I stumbled upon the trick of five and, since it worked every time, we became used to the OCD like routine every time we wanted to heat something.

To guests in our home I'm sure it looked peculiar, but because the microwave continued to function with this idiosyncrasy, we never prioritized buying a new one. Last week our microwave passed away completely, forcing us to finally buy a replacement. Eager to use the shiny new appliance, Robby was the first one to put in a box of pizza rolls to give it a try. He excitedly put the box in the center of the microwave, pressed the keypad for 3 minutes, and- opened and closed the door five times. We actually had to explain to him that the new microwave will work without opening the door multiple times because the nonsensical routine was all he had known.

My Mom's refrigerator never closes correctly after the turkey is supported on the bottom shelf before Thanksgiving. From November through July, we have to kick the bottom of the refrigerator door in order for it to seal. Sometime in midsummer the shelf resumes its normal shape and the door does not need to be kicked to be closed. Of course, we are all so accustomed to kicking the door that we all do it anyway, regardless of the month. I'm sure when she finally does buy a new refrigerator, all of her grandchildren will continue to kick the door simply because that is what you do at Nana's house.

For the past four years I've had a large, ugly and completely broken slide-in range sitting in the corner of my kitchen. The only function of the range was to hold papers, potholders and all of the knickknacks that seem to accumulate in a kitchen. When the range broke, I immediately wanted to remove it and  and convert the space to a comfortable eat-in area.  Of course, life intervened and we never quite got around to it. Instead the range simply sat, collecting more junk and becoming an increasing eye sore.

A few months ago during one of my semi-regular coffee breaks with Mr. Bill, I mentioned wanting to get rid of the range. I explained that I have stools that have sat in the garage for years waiting to be used but that I need to get rid of the broken appliance first. He quietly listened and agreed that an eat-in space would be ideal in my kitchen. I vowed to call a junk removal company to get rid of the appliance so that I could finally have the kitchen that I've wanted.

Despite my good intentions, I never got around to calling. Mr. Bill asked me about the range when he stopped by on Friday, and I was embarrassed to admit that I still haven't made arrangements.  Deciding to take the bull by the horn, Saturday morning Mr. Bill showed up at our house with his hand truck and some ropes. Within 30 minutes, he and Scott removed the ugly old range, put it into his pick-up truck and drove it to the dump.

I was as excited as Robby on Christmas morning when the space was finally cleared. I spent the afternoon cleaning and rearranging. I not only had room for the stools, but the butcher block which only fit in the dining room because of the range now fits perfectly in the kitchen!

In one afternoon with the help of a wonderful neighbor and friend, we were able to create the kitchen I have always wanted. Robby has already claimed a stool as his own and loves sitting at the counter reading while I cook. I can't believe it took us four years to finally get rid of the broken appliance and build a functional and comfortable kitchen.

We really need to stop procrastinating. I think I'll make a list of everything that we should be doing while I sit in the new and improved kitchen. By the time Robby goes to college we might actually be unpacked from our move into this house!