another face in the crowd

Some people want to be noticed.  They rock pink hair. Go goth.  Wear skinny jeans and your grandma’s glasses. Buy big trucks and sport the redneck lifestyle. Show lots of boob. You know the types.

I am not knocking them – it’s just that I always wanted to blend in. 

One of my first memories of that desire was as a kid in school when we played Heads up, Seven Up. Did you ever play that game?  Well, the premise is that a group of kids put their heads down on their desk, close their eyes and make a fist with their thumb up. Another set of kids tip toe around and each select a kid’s thumb to push down. The kids with their thumbs down then guess who did it.  I hated playing. They always knew it was me. The click of my crutches gave me away.  I also can’t make a fist so the whole game was a reminder that I was different.

Another time I wanted to blend in was Halloween. That sounds a little ironic, I know.  It’s just hard to be a super hero, sexy nurse, or butterfly on crutches. It makes no sense. Halloween parties tend to involve booze. Which triggers extra friendly people and lots of questions on why I added crutches to my costume.

I’m sure we all have felt this way to a certain degree. What things in life make you wish you were just another face in the crowd?

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Morning Blend

Ever feel like you can’t catch up?  You have a million things you want to do. A list of things you should do and few you’ll desperately try to put off. The whole concept of maybe if I ignore it long enough, it will go away.

This year has passed so fast. I can vividly remember December 31, 2010.  We were home. We have a toddler so nights out don’t happen much. My son was asleep. My husband fell asleep on the couch unusually early for him, the guy who goes to bed insanely late and still manages to tackle work, school, home and hobbies with a smile.

So the boys were sleeping and I was watching all the Rocking in the New Year shows. The people on TV were having fun. They were laughing and wearing cute outfits. They looked rested and pumped for what 2011 would bring.

Our past year was spent revolving around our son. I know being a parent does that and to a degree that is okay. I also wanted a little of me back too. I missed myself.  While Train danced around wearing really tight jeans for an old dude and Justin Bieber’s voice filled my living room, I swore that in 2011 I was going to take care of me. Yeah, so it’s a really vague resolution but I didn’t want to box myself in. I’d let the year take me where I was meant to go and make an point to do the things I had been neglecting.

I missed writing. Surfing the web. I needed a job that challenged me in the right ways. I wanted to fix my shifting teeth. Exercising more was a must. I was going to get over my fear of public speaking. I wanted to make new friends. Solve my ear issues when flying. Find a new church. Get to know my neighbors.  Read more books.  See my girlfriends. Experience silence. Laugh.

I love how one idea in life can push you in a new direction and you stumble upon people and opportunities you never thought possible. I started blogging in July right after my 32nd birthday. The year was half over and I was great at writing Facebook status updates but that about as far as I got with my writing goal.  In the last three months this blog has led me to amazing people who share my world with AMC. In addition, I like to think that maybe I helped others gain perspective on what it’s like to be different.  This led me MilwaukeeMoms.com where I have begun sharing my adventures with other moms in the community and now on November 21 please watch me on The Morning Blend (Channel 4) sharing my story.  

I am trusting that my public speaking fear is about to be eliminated or you are about to get a very good laugh. Regardless, I’m excited for life. Every day offers so much and not enough hours to do it all.  That drives me crazy because I want to try everything, but I also really like to nap.

When I read the quote below it haunted me.  They are now words I remind myself often. When I start to feel dumb after a new blog post. Or when my heart stops at my turn to speak in a meeting. Encountering new people or having lunch with strangers.  And now in November when I go in front of others to talk about how I’m not perfect and what it’s like to have a disability. I hope it inspires you too.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. –Steve Jobs

 

 

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crutch talk

This annoys me more than I even know how to put it into words. Every month the metal breaks through the tip of my crutches. It is paralyzing. I suddenly have a super slippery metal tip that clunks with each step. It always seems to happen at the worst time possible. I am either stuck with them like that all day or I end up running to Walgreens to buy an overprice kit (and pray I don’t slip and fall during the process). 

Let me explain…

Drug stores do not seem to carry just the replacement tips anymore. They sell the whole set which includes the arm pads, hand pads and tips. So I have a huge mound of these accessory parts that I don’t need. I also have wasted a lot of cash. To get the tips separately I have to go to a medical supply store/well stocked pharmacy (which seem to be never open) or order in bulk online.

A few years back my boss gave me an article about a few local engineers that designed a crutch prototype after one of them had to use crutches for 18 weeks. I read the article and tracked them down. In my note I mentioned that I beat the inventor Jesse’s 18 weeks by a good 28 years with crutches and had lots of ideas if he was interested.

He wrote back and I met with him and his team for lunch. They were gracious and seemed excited to hear my point of view. It was really eye-opening for me and I realized how much I know about crutches and my personal wish list. 

10 things about crutches that I really hate…

1. They ruin shirts. The rubber arm pads make my shirts bumpy and gross. It’s cool because I have an amazing shopping excuse and sad when it ruins my favorites.

2. They squish my arms and make them look fat.

3. They make a clicking noise.  Ahhhh! I cannot – let me repeat CANNOT stand hearing myself. My husband fills my crutches with super glue when I get a new set to help eliminate that issue. {true love}

4. They hurt bare arms and make summer clothes a big bummer.

5. They slip out from under my arms so easily on wet linoleum, greasy gas station tiles or Mc Donald’s floors. It never fails if I reach up for a straw at a fast food place they will pop out from under my arm.

6. They make walking on slanted terrain awkward. One armpit is being attacked.

7. They ruin Halloween costumes and generate unwanted attention/questions. Why is the ladybug on crutches?

8. When there is not a good place to prop them when out to eat, the waitress and/or other diners inevitably trip on them. They feel bad and I feel bad that I caused them to feel bad.

9.  When switching the hand pads I expect blisters until they are broken in.

10. They make it impossible to walk and carry my son, an umbrella, drink a beverage, talk on the phone, etc

I know there are some pretty sweet custom crutch gadgets out there and I have found my dream tips and winter accessories. I just can’t make myself spend that much yet. As much as I may have some crutch baggage, I also love them. They allow me walk, do my thing and be independent….well, that is until my tip breaks through.

bowling

I’ve never been bowling. 

Yeah, I have been to a bowling alley plenty of times but never tried throwing a ball or anything. I would usually hang with my friends, play the video games, slurp a soda and maybe keep score for them.

I recently had a night out with my hubby and friends. They wanted to go bowling and I was pushed to give it a try too.  Did you know they have adaptive ramps that you can set the ball on and with a good push it shoots down the lane?  Me either.

I am not a huge fan of using adaptive things.  It makes me stand out and look different. You know, because sitting on the chair doing nothing is so cool.  {eye roll}

I scored an 81 on my first game and then a 95. Sadly, my third game was not all that impressive. I’d like to call it bowler’s fatigue.  Three games is just too much.

5 Things I Learned Bowling:

  1. The shoes are super uncomfortable. I felt like I was walking on cardboard. It also feels slightly gross. Who wore those puppies before me?
  2. Teenagers making out look really stupid.  When I was young I remember witnessing such episodes of PDA and wanted a boyfriend too.  Now I wanted to break them apart and scold them. Does that make me lame…or getting old? Maybe both.
  3. I found out there is unspoken bowlers etiquette. Who knew it was not nice to go bowl when the person next to you was in action!?!
  4. No one cares. I felt like eyes were burning a hole in the back of my head when my turn was up.  But then I would turn around and find that no one was even paying attention.  Everyone was talking, drinking or perhaps making out. 
  5. Bowling involves lots of knuckles and high-fives.  For an AMCer, that a big downer. {sad face}

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my son – a brat?

My son is changing. He’s a few days shy of two.  To be honest, I don’t like this change.

Not a single bit.

There has been a constant sound of whining in our house. The phantom whiny cry floats through my head when I am at my desk at work.  That’s when I know it’s bad.

He has been pushing his boundaries and watching how we react. He throws his trucks and looks at me.  He pushes a kid at daycare and looks up to see what we will do.   If the TV is on he won’t look at us when we talk to him and getting him to sit at the table and eat has become painful, at times not worth the hassle. 

The tricky thing is that he’s getting stronger and it’s hard for me to hold him in a time-out spot.  Last night I took toys away as he acted up. It just backfired.  He would reach for the next toy and throw it.  I think I just made him more riled up.

I don’t want a bratty kid. I miss the sweet boy who loved playing with us, not the one giving us demands such as “matman” (his way of saying we need to turn on Batman) or “Choo Choo” (telling us he wants to play train games on the iPad).

I need to find a way to discipline bad behavior even though physically I am not going to be able to compete.  He throws himself on the floor and flops around and I don’t stand a chance.

Any suggestions?

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