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, March 08, 2013

The Gambler

Yesterday Scott and Robby enjoyed another snow day. Both boys were elated when we received the calls that classes were canceled, and although I was happy, I was a little frazzled when I realized that the weather was not favorable for outdoor play, meaning that I was going to be contending with a bored six year old if I didn't come up with a plan to keep him busy.

After toying around with a few ideas, I settled on something that would propel me into the strata of "World's Best Momom" again. I called Robby's friend and arranged to take the two to a place that equates to pure utopia for elementary aged kids. To the delight of everybody, we were going to Chuck E. Cheese!

Despite pledging his undying love for the establishment, Robby has only been to there a handful of times. I don't hate going, but I have to admit that it isn't my favorite way to spend an afternoon. I find it noisy, crowded, and expensive. I decided to be a hero and pushed away my own qualms about the establishment as I grabbed my debit card and prepared for a memorable afternoon. Both friends were chatting non-stop as we drove to the kid-themed Mecca.

Armed with a cupful of gold tokens, Robby and his friend took off on their mission: to win as many tickets as possible. After setting up the table and getting drinks, I became bored. I absentmindedly rolled a token into a machine. I attributed my  winning only one ticket to my not paying attention. Deciding to even up the loss (most games give at least three tickets per play) I carefully analyzed the timing mechanism before rolling in my token. Shoot! I was too late and again only received the compensatory ticket.

I ended up spending the next 40 minutes trying to master the game. Finally I had perfected the timing and won the jackpot (100 tickets!) The siren wailed and I stood by the machine quite proud as the tickets began rolling out. Robby and his friend even stopped playing to watch me receive my spoils. 

After gathering my 100 ticket jackpot, I figured I had mastered the game and that winning again would be easy. I tried to repeat the timing of my coin release but was not successful. I was horribly disappointed to receive the single "you lose" ticket. In an attempt to prove that my jackpot was not a fluke, I reached into the little token cup to try again.

The cup was empty. Without knowing it, I had used all of the kids tokens trying to win one game! I quickly bought more tokens to replenish the stockpile I had squandered. I decided that I may have a Chuck E. Cheese gambling problem. It certainly is a good thing that we don't live close to a casino!

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Snow Day!

Judging by Robby's reaction, there is nothing better than waking up to discover that the yard has been covered with a thick blanket of heavy snow. He only stopped giggling long enough to hear what he proclaimed to be the best news ever- school has been cancelled for the day. He quickly declared a "Robby, Momom and Daddy day of fun" and requested a breakfast to fill his belly and give him energy for playing in the snow. He suggested a Hot Pocket, bacon and cinnamon rolls.  No wanting to squelch his enthusiasm, I acquiesced and prepared the unorthodox breakfast.

After wolfing down his food in record time, we dressed to conquer the snow and were sledding and throwing snowballs by 8:30 in the morning! Robby's peals of laughter echoed through the otherwise quiet neighborhood. It was a fun (and utterly exhausting) morning.

The snow was several inches deep and extremely heavy making walking and running difficult. Robby didn't seem to have any trouble, but I certainly struggled during our snowball fights. I found myself suggesting we make snow angels simply because I wanted to lie down and rest! After two hours and only when we were both sopping wet and freezing cold was Robby ready to come inside. The warmth and rest was a welcome relief.

We warmed up by the fire and ate lunch. Heeding the advice of our electric company, Scott and I prepared for a power outage. He brought in loads of wood and I baked cookies, brownies, cupcakes and a loaf of bread. After all, if we were going to lose power, we might as well be well-fed!

After baking and resting for a few hours, Robby and I headed back outside. I venture to guess that I pulled his sled up our hill at least 50 times! He seemed to be having so much fun whizzing down the hill that I decided to give it a try.

Now I realize that many of my stories begin with my prefacing "in retrospect, perhaps it wasn't my wisest decision." I will save the repetition by fully admitting that perhaps I am becoming too old to navigate a child-sized sled. After boasting that I was going to "school him in the ways of sledding" I straddled the small rails and plopped my ample bum on the extremely small seat. Trying to adjust my weight distribution, I momentarily lifted my legs from the snow.

Without warning the sled began zooming down the hill.  With Robby running behind me and cheering me on, I found myself barreling towards the tree house. Wanting to avoid a direct impact which would inevitably would have led to pain, I opted to bail. With only seconds remaining, I pushed my body to the right in an attempt to jump off the wild sled ride. My prosthesis became hooked onto the sled, causing it to tip over on top of me. I rolled several times before finding myself face planted into a pile of snow and dirt inches from the tree house post. 

Thankfully the only thing I really hurt was my pride. Robby congratulated me on my attempt but claimed that he was the best sledder in the family. I think he may be right. Perhaps it is time for me to pass the sledding torch to the next generation because I'm not sure I will emerge unscathed next time! I resumed my rightful place as sled puller, snow ball maker, and honorary target for the rest of the afternoon.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Gimp Porn?

Due to my job responsibilities, I venture to say that I spend more time than the average person on Facebook. I am fully immersed in the amputee community and have noticed a growing trend. Images of people with various handicaps paired with a motivational saying or quotation are being shared at an alarming rate.

The first few times I saw the little bilateral amputee girl running with Oscar Pistorius, I have to admit that I thought it was cute. I don't remember, but it is possible that I even clicked the dreaded "share" button making the poster available to my entire friend's list. If I did fall for this ploy, I must now apologize!

The posters initially appear to be inspirational or motivational. After all, if the little boy with no hands can learn to write his name by holding the pencil in his mouth, how can one not be impacted by the quote underneath asking, "What's your excuse?" As these pictures became more prevalent on Facebook, I found myself feeling more uncomfortable. It has taken me awhile to understand why I was starting to cringe each time I saw another poster pop up.

Although seemingly uplifting, these messages portray individuals with disabilities as second class citizens. Many of the people shown are just living their lives, completing ordinary tasks. Why hold up the image of a man without a leg walking his dog as motivation? I've come to realize that society views amputees with such little regard that simply completing a normal daily task becomes something extraordinary.

In addition to perpetuating the low standards held for individuals with a disability, I have concerns about the ownership of the images that are being used. Many of the posters portray cute little handicapped children. Do their parents know that their snapshots have been taken and altered only to be shared and viewed by thousands of people?  The same images are often used with a different quotation. This leads me to believe that the owner of the photograph is not authorizing the dissemination.

In the amputee community and the larger family of individuals with a disability, I am not alone in my detest of these images. In fact, I've come to learn that they are referred to as "gimp porn." Although not sexual in nature, the images do appeal to people who  like to gawk or look at somebody that is different or unique. These "motivational" images have become the modern day version of the freak sideshows that were popular decades ago.  I hate these posters!

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

True Confessions

Confessions in Motherhood:

1. Everyday I receive an email that Robby and his classmates write at school. At the end of the email each student is asked to answer the same question. On Friday the question posed was, "What are you going to do this weekend?" Robby's classmates responded with answers such as "I'm going skiing" or "I am going to my Grandma's house." Robby wrote, "I am going to get man food at Sheetz and then me and my Dad will play XBox without wearing our pants." 

For the record and contrary to how it sounded, Robby does not play XBox naked. He was referring to wearing his pajama bottoms instead of his jeans. Unfortunately that was not conveyed in the email. Yikes!

2. When the lady in the meat department complimented Robby's army pants, in addition to saying thank you he felt compelled to add that "the deep pockets make it easier for me to scratch my privates. I bet you didn't know I was doing that while you were slicing the ham for us, did you?"  I think I need to find a new deli.

3.  A few days ago I walked by the bathroom and thought I saw Robby standing on the vanity. I opened the door to find him standing in the sink, with his pants down to his knees, trying to pee into the toilet which was on the other side of the room.  He was not successful, which is the real reason I had to scrub the floor.

4.  Robby has discovered a wonderful epicurean delight in the form of a Hot Pocket. He is so taken with this treat that Saturday morning he asked for one for breakfast. Tired and trying to buy time until the caffeine began to work, I agreed to the unorthodox breakfast. When I handed it to him, he hesitated and asked me to wait. He took off the blanket and hopped off the couch, which was the first time I realized that he was naked. "Hang on Momom. I'd better put on pants because that hot cheese might hurt if it drips on my privates."  I still don't know why he took his pants off in the first place!

5. A friend from down the street came to play on Saturday. I was in the computer room working on a web page when I came out to check on the pair. I asked if they wanted a snack to which Robby proudly proclaimed that he had taken care of it. It was then I noticed that they were both chewing on their own tube of raw cookie dough. 

I'm giving up on the Mother Of The Year award!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Lumber Jane

I love the tranquility and the connection to nature that comes from living in the woods. Robby loves spending his hours playing in the stream, climbing the trees and looking for assorted creatures only to return home sopping wet and covered with mud and unknown muck. There is only one not-so-small complaint I have about the setting: the upkeep is a bear!

Last year we had a large tree cut down and we discovered the high cost of tree removal. It took me nearly six weeks to roll the imposing trunk sections up the hill so that the yard would be clear. If it weren't for Mr. Bill's assistance, I'm sure that the brush, twigs and branches would still be littering our yard. Once everything was cleaned up, I vowed that I would, at all cost, avoid getting another tree cut down.

Scott apparently misunderstood my statement because when he heard that the electric company would cut down our large hickory tree at no charge, he jumped at the opportunity. I was saddened when the crew arrived last week to remove one of my favorite trees. It didn't bother me that it was beginning to lean towards the power lines, but I figured that it was better to be safe than sorry. If we could get a tree removed, it was probably a good opportunity.

The power company did cut down the large hickory tree, but I became agitated when the crew left the tree chunks in the center of our yard. Without bothering to change out of my pink monkey pajama bottoms, I went running after their truck to find out when they were coming back to finish the job. This is when I learned that Scott's free-tree-removal plan was fatally flawed.

The power company will cut a tree down, but they do not remove it from the property. I now have obscenely heavy hickory tree sections, each 4 foot long, laying throughout the my front yard. Each section seems impervious to my pushing. Incidentally, I learned that standing over it and cursing has no impact either!

Of course Robby is delighted with the cut up tree. The trunk pieces make an ideal playground as he playfully moves from section to section. I spent the weekend schlepping the smaller sections to the wood pile. After toiling for countless hours I had cleared everything that I could lift into the wheelbarrow, leaving the unmovable pieces for another time. 

I have thinking been about how to remove the trunk sections from the yard. Each idea eventually leads me to the same conclusion- it is going to be slow, difficult and probably painful. So much for our great money saving idea!