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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Spider Hate

Spiders are evil
They're creepy and will not die
I hate them

I've written about spiders before. My post titled "Tarantula" is one of my most viewed. This year around the outside of my house seems especially infested with the ghastly creatures. In fact, I've run out of bug spray--I must get more because nothing else gets rid of them! I tried shower & tub cleaner, window cleaner & disinfectant spray. They curl up, drop to the ground & the next day there they are with a new, more spectacular web than the one I destroyed the day before. Earlier in the summer it was small neon green ones who are very clever in their web building. They spin layered ones and sit in between the layers watching for their prey and laughing at me as I try to kill them with my ineffective sprays. Now there are orange and black tiger striped fat bodied short legged ones who are growing bigger daily. They also are unaffected by my cleaners. They build huge one layered webs places where I want to walk or sit--across the deck ramp, across the patio chairs, from a tree to the driver's door on my van, and from the bushes to my daughter's car. One day I was sitting on the deck with Hillary, just enjoying the lovely summer weather while reading a book when I looked over at her and one of those evil creatures was busily spinning a web between her wheelchair and the house! Not cool! Thank goodness I keep an old broom handy on the deck so I could get rid of it!  It's also terrifying when I'm outside relaxing, notice movement out of the corner of my eye, turn my head and see one of those vile things in the middle of it's gossamer trap undulating in the breeze not 5 feet away from me! It's bad enough when I look at my yard in the morning and see it's dotted with doilyesque patches highlighted by a heavy dew and realize the monsters were busy overnight decorating things. Even now, as I sit here on the deck typing this I see those silken threads caught by the sunlight stretching between the hydrangea and one of our cars. And don't even get me started on webs inside my van! That is s story for another day.

This is a picture of a spinner I enjoy while on my deck. It's nicer than a picture of a spider.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Traveling Fun


          Traveling with someone who can sit only supported in a wheelchair presents certain challenges others don’t think of.  When my daughter was younger and we encountered physical barriers we always managed to get around them by lifting her, wheelchair and all up stairs and over curbs.  As she has grown and we have aged the physical barriers are a bit more challenging.  Sometimes others step up and help, but mostly now we look for places that are wheelchair accessible.  We enjoy vacationing in small resort towns staying in hotels situated within a short walk of restaurants, shopping, and other low key attractions so that we get a break from the task of loading and unloading her wheelchair in our van.  Most of the buildings are old and some have been retrofitted with ramps and elevators which make for some interesting entrances.  There’s one restaurant we liked that had a flight of stairs to get to the dining area and bar which had an open elevator right inside the entrance next to a flight of stairs into the bar.  Since my daughter is unable to operate the lift herself someone must ride up with her, which means that for unwary patrons sitting at the table nearest the lift they are suddenly confronted with two heads rising from the floor.  It’s amusing, but awkward, forcing everyone at the table to move to allow for the elevator door to swing open and her and companion (usually her sister) to exit. It would be fun if they added a fanfare and sparklers emanating from the lift as it rises to give some flair to the entrance of the wheelchair user.  Another restaurant has built a ramp around the side of the building which opens into the bar area located on the second floor.  Here again people must move out of the way so we can gain entrance.  We’re fortunate in that we’ve never encountered anyone annoyed by moving, most are happy to make room for our passage. My funniest experience with my daughter and elevators came on a cruise ship.  When the other girls in her scout troop were graduating high school they celebrated by taking a 4 day cruise.  I was initially not planning to take Hillary because I couldn’t imagine how I could care for her alone without all the equipment I use at home and when we take a road trip.  After thinking about it and speaking with her troop leader it was decided that along with me, Hillary’s school aide and my older daughter would accompany the girls as chaperones and help with her care.  The accessible room we had was for 2 people so Hillary and I were on a different deck from the others in our group.  There were banks of elevators, which were in nearly constant use.  Meeting up with everyone became challenging when it was just my daughter and me.  I’d push the button for an elevator on one wall, and one on the other wall at the other end of the row opened.  By the time I got there with her one of two things happened: the car was full, or it took us too long to get there and the doors shut and it moved on as we approached.  I found it quite frustrating at the time, but when I think about it I laugh because it was such a ridiculous thing to be pushing buttons and hurrying from one side and end of the rows to the other with Hillary and her chair before finally catching one of the cars.

          Traveling with a wheelchair user presents some challenges, but somehow we always manage to make it work. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Park Days

Recently I’ve started going to the park more often, there are nice walking paths at our park in town and at a park in a neighboring town.  Our park is fairly young, built on old farm land and they are still developing areas of it.  I like to go there alone because the terrain is hard to push Hillary’s chair around since there are so many ups and downs and she is heavy.  Plus there’s a gazebo there where I like to sit and read or sketch.  It’s near the all veterans memorial and so pleasant when there is a breeze and all the flags are making that little snapping noise as they dance on the wind.  It faces, as well, out over a pond and there are trees and bushes nearby where birds twitter and chirp in the morning sun.  
Looking across a soccer field toward the pond at my town park.
The last time I went there I walked along the paved path until I got to a newer ball field with a dirt road running along it and followed that until it ended with dirt piles on one side and a gate blocking traffic on the other.  The look and smell of it brought me back to childhood and the “new road” by our house.  It was a dirt road edged by wildflowers and weeds on each side and eventually it was paved but for the longest time wasn’t and was blocked off on each end by phone poles.  We walked along that road to get to the local Acme grocery store, my friend Cathy’s house, middle school, and sometimes to walk to church.  I loved the sound of my sneakers crunching on the stones and used to pick Queen Anne’s Lace as I walked along.  Later at home I’d put the flowers into a glass with colored water and watch as they turned blue or yellow as they sucked up the liquid.  Those were nice days.  How pleasant it was to relive those times as I walked in the park, and reflect on nice memories as I sat in the gazebo sketching a tree that day.

         A few days later I took Hillary to the park in the next town over.  The paths there are easy to push her on as it’s flat there and wind through sunny fields and under shady trees giving us a nice mixture of sun and shade so we didn’t get over heated.  I love the smell of a field in the hot summer sun and Hillary enjoys being on the go and looking all around.  Later we found a bench along a tree lined path by the lake and relaxed there, having a picnic lunch and enjoying the beautiful day and scenery.

         A trip to the park leaves me feeling refreshed and rested as spending time in nature generally does.  It’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer months.