Posts Tagged ‘life’

492 Days

Posted: March 2, 2020 in Uncategorized
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I thought that I would take some time to create what is the first post of 2020.

It’s been a very difficult time over these recent months. So let me clue you in on what has been going on with me.

The 17th of October 2018 is where I will start. I already wrote a post shortly after this date that my apartment caught fire. Everything was lost. But thankfully nobody was seriously hurt.

I spent two full months homeless, living in a hotel and living off of donations that were graciously provided from friends and strangers alike.

In early December 2018, I had found an apartment complex who had taken the last two people who hadn’t found something more permanent. Myself and another neighbor.

It took some adapting to and eventually I would meet people and build relationships with a few of those who lived in the sixteen story high rise.

After the brutal Texas summer had passed and autumn was creeping in, I started not to feel very well at all.

Imagine being in warm weather and still having your body shake and shiver. I knew something was going on.

I thought that it was “just another infection” as I get them commonly because of the Spina Bifida.

By the 11th of November, I could no longer withstand whatever was trying to keep me down. It turns out that whatever it was… was not trying to keep me down, but rather it was trying to take me out. This infection that I had was trying to kill me.

So I went into the hospital that evening on the 11th of November.

After at least a dozen surgeries, the infection had eaten a hole on my body and was going deep towards the spine. Doctors said that just by looking at the wound, that they could barely see the bone of my spine because the hole was that deep down.

A dozen surgeries and all of them done within two weeks. The last one being an attempt to close the wound with a skin graft. And it was serious. The plastic surgeon continued to threaten to amputate my leg so that he could use the skin to cover the wound.

The amputation however did not happen.

My last surgery was on the 26th of November. Then began the difficult task of basically being in bed for 30 days without getting up or even sitting up. I had to be flat the entire time. Not a very easy thing to do.

I think that I was more upset about the fact that I was starting to spend holidays away from home and either a hospital or in a rehab hospital.

I had only been in the hospital for a week before I received a call from my brother that the apartments that had been rebuilt. ONE week!!!!

Christmas was difficult. And my birthday in January was coming soon. I had made plans for that day to go to San Antonio, Texas that day. And I was afraid that all the money that I had spent would go to waste.

In early January, I was sent to “skilled nursing.” But don’t get me started on that because I will bitch and complain from start to finish.

But I did receive some medical and wound care there. Then finally, on the day of my birthday this year, wound care said that my wounds were all gone and they had nothing to tend to.

And yet I missed my trip to San Antonio, Texas. In order to save myself from financial destruction, I had to sell the tickets to the concert that I had. I lost about $60 USD in that adventure.

Finally in the month of February, I started pushing staff about a discharge date. While I was there, I was receiving physical therapy and occupational therapy as well as the nursing care.

I pushed and I pushed hard. Asking just about every day when I would be released from both types of therapy. And I had done so until I was given a date for discharge.

I was focused to do whatever it was that I needed to do to make sure that I did in fact LEAVE on that date.

Family flew in from Atlanta to give some extra help in those first few days but after 492 days since the fire, the apartments were rebuilt and I finally returned to a brand new apartment.

And at the time of this being written, I am on my second week of being here and still trying to get used to things. I am happy to be out of the care of any medical facility and back to a life of independence as much as I had before.

I’ve learned so many things about my own personal health and I learned about how other people in my life, no matter how big or small, actually love and care about me.

But for now, it is very slow. I cannot be sitting in the wheelchair for very long. After a few hours, I have to lay down. And I am hoping that soon that I will heal from the inside as well as the outside and I can get passed this current situation and get on with life.

Going to shows for a while, are going to be very few and far between. I’ve been to two already and heavily paid the price for doing so with fatigue and pain.

Also moving forward, I’ve put out a poll on social media. The response is that I should go back to doing show reviews. So every show that I attend locally or whatever, I will be doing blog posts. But I will start fresh and create a new blog specifically for that purpose.

I’m looking forward to putting all these days behind me and leaving them to be nothing but a faded memory.

 

The Second Chapter

Posted: December 24, 2018 in Uncategorized
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“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”~ Winston Churchill

The next part of this crazy journey since the fire is off to a good start. And just in time before Christmas.

I am so glad to be out of the hotel life. I found a new place to call home. And there’s so much going on around here that it appears to be even more social than SGC ever used to be.

But here I am and this is where I am to stay until SGC rebuilds.

Today I bought a new desktop computer which happens to be an “All In One”. I will admit it didn’t make too much sense to me at first, but I caught up.

There has been a really good response to my needs. I think that people are beginning to understand that when I say that I lost everything — I mean “everything.”

Dishes, towels, and soap and other assorted toiletries keep coming in. I also received a brand new television, a microwave, and other things. So after that, I connected internet services. But I had blasted away the data on my cell phone. I am happy that I don’t have to worry about that any more.

Things are really looking up and forward at this point. I am able to return to this blog and write as much as I want again.

I am looking forward to getting through the rest of 2018 and enter into 2019 with a new chapter in life, ever hopeful that it will be more positive.

There are some other stories that I am contemplating discussing on this blog. More of the same head-shaking nonsense that I have come across. Life does not stop because of tragedy. And apparently neither does stupidity.

Merry Christmas.

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Well hello Dambreaker Nation!!

I am finally able to return to a keyboard and computer where I am able to write this to you.

There’s plenty to talk about. So let’s start at the beginning, which is the 17th of October in 2018.

The attached image was taken from my cell phone on that day around approximately 4:00 in the morning on the 17th.  My apartment building was on fire.

I was awakened by the sounds of someone screaming “Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!…” over and over again.

The first thing that I remember was that I could smell smoke. But I did not identify it s such. I thought that one of the neighbors was burning incense or something and it got out of hand. But that didn’t make sense at 4:00 in the morning.

As I opened my eyes, my window was just filled with a bright orange glow. Something was in fact, on fire.

I got up and went to the window and looked out, expecting to see the apartments on the other side of the fence burning. But I saw nothing but darkness. Then I looked up above and saw more of the orange glow. The neighboring building was not on fire…. I WAS ON FIRE.

I ran for my desk and quickly had to make a decision on what was most important and vital for me to take with me. Keys, wallet, cell phone, rings, cash, coins, etc. Thankfully these items were all in the same spot.

My wheelchair did not have the foot rests attached so I reached for them in the dark, the smell of smoke was becoming more and more apparent.

But I could not see in the dark what I was doing. My next thought was to quickly turn on the light to see. However, as I turned I noticed another bright glow from the ceiling inside of the air conditioning vent. Inside the vent in the ceiling was in flames.

It was at that point that I had decided to abandon everything else and get the hell out before something serious happened.

As I approached the front door, I felt around to see if it was hot. When I realized it was safe to exit, I opened the door slowly and was met by much more fire and smoke. Once I opened the door, I went as fast as I could to get away from the building. And in the process of it all, I felt and heard snapping noises from beneath my wheelchair.

The frame broke.

The neighbors began to pour out onto the sidewalks and I noticed that it was starting to rain. I thought to myself: “Great! From fire to water!!”

The fire department and the police department was swarming all over the property. A police officer made the suggestion that we leave the area because the smoke was about to get worse.

A school bus was sent to pick up the neighbors and I and take us to a local high school gymnasium in order for us to get away from the area and out of the rain.

There are eight apartment units in each building here at SGC. With the exception of two buildings. In the building where I was, there was one unit vacant due to a move out, leaving seven residents living in that building. Four people with walkers and three wheelchairs.

ALL SEVEN OF US GOT OUT WITHOUT INJURY!

The displaced sat inside that gymnasium for just under an hour before they brought us back to the property and placed us inside of the community building where the offices are. It was a mad house but at least we were back.

The apartment manager made some phone calls for those of us who were displaced. My sister and brother were called.

Within the next hour, my sister arrived to SGC. She was ready and willing to help out with the immediate needs. By then I was mentally gone.

I remained inside the community building with only one thought running in my head, “I need a place to stay. How the hell am I going to pay for it??”

The American Red Cross was there and they gave some aid to the displaced. It was not a lot, but it was more than what I had before now that I had lost everything to the fire.

I am thankful for my sister and her efforts to help me. Especially during those first few days. She and her son was in a fender bender the month before and it seemed like their situation was just as bad in their declined health. But she came out to help me.

My brother in Georgia jumped into action as well. Making phone calls and talking with connections to see if he could help in some way.

By the end of the day on the 17th, I still had no idea where I was going to go. The apartment complex just kept asking if I found a place to stay. And I just had to ask them for help.

I was going to use the funds that were donated by the American Red Cross for a hotel for the night, but after that I had no idea where I was going to end up. The social worker found a hotel and tried to use the funds but it was refused. So the apartment complex used a corporate card and paid for the first night of hotel. My brother paid for a second night. It is the one and only time that management paid for a room.

My sister taught me how to connect the Wi-Fi to my cell phone. Thankfully it has been free. So it is a struggling and learning process to figure out how to remain on the Internet with a cell phone.

Nobody who was displaced had insurance. The fire was determined to be an electrical problem in the roof.

During the day, I had people reaching out to me asking questions and what not. And one of the local bands here in Austin, whom I cherish and love so much, created a GoFundMe account. And it was shared around the Internet those first few days.

Those first few days were brutal. But today, is just a memory of hardship. I stayed in the hotel for a few more days after that. But after paying over $325 (before taxes) for just three nights, I knew that I needed to find some place else to stay.

The GoFundMe account has really saved me. I am so thankful for each and every person who decided to donate.

I left the hotel and my sister and I went hunting for something more affordable. Something that I could do from week to week. We went all over Austin and couldn’t find much.

After a reservation finally was made, we went to the front lobby and immediately was met by a woman who said that they had NO ground floor rooms available and there was no elevator on the property.

But eventually, we found a place to stay which had much more room and was on the ground floor. And I have been there since. And I will remain there.

In the meantime, my sister has given me help in transportation so I could find a more permanent place to stay. I have applied everywhere in Austin. But it is all the same. There is a waiting list. And those lists are usually six months up to three years.

Eventually I was told that there was a place willing to open their doors to those of us still displaced. However there is a massive pile of red tape and paperwork ahead and I just don’t have any idea when this opportunity is going to open up.

It would be nice as far as the social life is concerned as it is only about a mile away from the downtown area. And I could stay there until SGC rebuilds. The word on the street is “six months” but nobody believes that time frame. Everyone has their own theory that the rebuild will take about a year.

In the meantime on the day that I am writing this. It has been 34 days since the fire. I’ve been blessed to be able to get out of the hotel and still see live music. However taxis are super expensive. So I have to really pick and choose who I want to see.

I find it necessary to go because of my own mental state, which is shot by now. So it provides me with a distraction from this awful situation. AND…… it is important that others see me at their shows, so that they know that I am still alive and unharmed.

But I can’t afford to go to every show that I had originally put on the calendar to attend before the fire.

This morning I jumped on a city bus and returned to SGC because they are having a Thanksgiving meal. This is usually the only opportunity that I have to do something for the holiday. Usually November and December holidays are just another day.

So I arrived early and had some coffee, spoke to some of the neighbors, and sure enough the gossiping still thrives around here! As if I should have been expecting that.

Today, Day 34 since the fire, I have learned that out of the seven people who are displaced. Two people have left the area and found a place to live. Three people remain to displaced (including myself).

And to my surprise the remaining two residents displaced have been moved into other apartment units that were vacant at the time of the fire.

I am pissed!

Like…. SUPER pissed off!! But I am trying to hold it together because I don’t know just how these two residents were selected to stay here and how the others were left to fend for themselves. I don’t know and I don’t get it. And that is frustrating. Why them and not me? And so on.

While I am back in the neighborhood, I’ll stop by the stores and markets to help myself out as much as I can.

But because there’s no ending in sight, it is a massive struggle so I have included the GoFundMe page below. I hope that the URL works.

I only ask that if you cannot donate that you share the campaign as much as possible. This campaign is the only thing that is keeping me afloat. Nobody else is giving aid. I fear that because nobody wants to talk or give answers as to what’s going on in the near future, that if those funds run out that I will be in deep trouble.

The GoFundMe account is keeping a roof over my head and a bed to sleep in. And sometimes food in my stomach.

Not knowing is the worst part. I have to have faith that the light at the end of the tunnel will soon be brighter. I’m doing my best to stay living in Austin, Texas for the time being until this situation gets corrected.

I know that this will come to an end eventually. However once I get out of the hotel and into a place more long term, I’m going in there with literally NOTHING. And I am going to have to start over again.

It still is true today since I started saying it on day one. I am not in any position to say no to anyone who wishes to help.

 

GoFundMe Campaign

PayPal: send funds to the e-mail address:
joelhaskell@hotmail.com

 

Penske+Truck“There is nothing more provocative than minding your own business.” ~ William S. Burroughs

Apartment complexes are starting to become a fascinating hobby. Especially the one that I reside in.

Early this morning there was a Penske moving truck in the parking lot.

Neighbors were amazed at the presence of the vehicle. I personally did not see it though. I guess it was on the other side of the property from where I am.

I did hear about it over today’s episode of morning coffee. It seemed as if nobody could figure out why the moving truck was in the parking lot at all. Nor could they figure out who it belonged to.

They failed to remember that they live in an apartment complex. A place of residence. A place where people actually come and go.

I believe that where I live, could be the exception for a majority of its residents as they are elderly and they have made their own decision to live here for the rest of their days.

That could be why they get all worked up whenever they see someone in the actual and physical process of moving their stuff out.

From what I was told, people flocked around the moving truck this morning as if they were holding a vigil for the truck gods. But they just could not figure out on their own WHO exactly was leaving.

Later on during morning coffee, a gentleman walked in to get his own cup of java. He stood back with a proud smile on his face and sheepishly announced, “I’m moving.”

Well, that answered that question!

And it should have sufficed. But you know what? This is SGC. It is never going to be enough.

I bet the guy felt like he was holding a press conference as everyone moved from where they were seated and crowded around him. Flooding his attention with more questions.

Where are you going?
When are you leaving?
Why are you leaving?
What are you going to do when you get there?
Who do you know that lives there?

Geez people. Calm the piss down!!

But the man was kind enough to go through the questions one by one and answer with them with brief responses.

He said that he was moving to Michigan.

Annnnnnd…. round TWO began!

Round two really didn’t have much in the way of asking newer questions. Just the same questions over again. This time around, asked with more curiosity and enthusiasm.

He got to the point where he stopped answering questions. And I cannot say that I blame him.

When the Q&A session was done, next came the input.

“It’s freaking cold in Michigan!”

Ummm… yeah, it is. Most of the time. Especially during winter.

But there they all stood. Eager and willing to inform him of the obvious.

After he had enough of the lecture, he spoke up and said that he had lived in Michigan for twenty years before moving to Texas.

The moment he said that, I tuned out mentally from the ongoing conversation. But it did seem as if everything wrapped up at that point. After all, if he had been there for that long … I don’t think that these Texas born citizens could offer any further knowledge that he didn’t already know.

Since I tuned out, I cannot even say for sure that anyone had wished him well as he said that he was leaving in about a week’s time. Poor guy.

Usually from what I have experienced with other people in the past who have moved out. They’ve either found a better living condition OR they had made the decision to go be with or around family. And that’s exactly what this gentleman’s plan was.

Not that it is truly any of our business. But SGC seems to think so!

And with each person that moves out, we know that in a few weeks that someone else will be moving in. The turn around rate is crazy!

Most of us get to the point where we start to see a stranger walking around on the property and don’t even give them the benefit of the doubt that they could be a new neighbor and instead, they hound them like private investigators. But that is for another blog post.

I am slowly and surely beginning to understand why more than 50% of the residents who move from SGC, do so at night. And why even a higher percentage of them don’t bother with farewells.

I would hate to see what they would do or not do if/when I leave SGC.

At least it killed the monotony of a typical Friday morning.

image-20160324-17851-1yv9q70“If you want to see the sunshine, you have to weather the storm.”~ Frank Lane

I am greatly considering either writing a book, or starting a brand new blog when it comes to the great people and experiences here at the SGC.

Allow me to present to you the events over the past 24 hours.

It is late March. Tis the season. Texas went through a lot of rain overnight and into this morning and early afternoon. However the insanity started to break when our beloved meteorologists were warning that “storms could be severe.”

Texas translation? MILK AND BREAD! MILK AND BREAD!! AND BATTERIES!!!

The corner gas station was completely wiped out of the items.

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On this day in 2014. Just saying Texas likes to be stormy on this day.

So it rained and rained. There was thunder. There was lightning. And there was a promising look of local flooding. But it all subsided. In the end, store owners got richer and the area got some much needed rain to help with the drought.

When the sun came up this morning and it was time to get that all important cup of coffee, I suddenly realizing that I had walked into a room full of outspoken and loud obscenities.

F bombs were flying!! “Fuck this and fuck that. Fucking fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” And when you are trying to wake up and having a hard time making sense of the day, being bombarded with profanities isn’t the best way of going at it.

It would have been easier to handle, if there was a point to it. But the guy just couldn’t stop swearing. He was just rambling on about various things. And then he finally stood up and left.

The neighbors have labelled him as “the insane one.” From people who know him however, apparently he is highly intelligent. So there you have it.

The chaos train had started rolling at full speed.

Today was our special Easter dinner event. It was a catered event from a seafood restaurant and only a few select people could attend. There was a sign up sheet that the residents had to sign in order to be able to take part. If you were not the list, you were not offered any food. Easy enough to understand.

There was supposed to an Easter egg hunt, but due to the fact that at 11:30 AM looked like 10:00 PM and the rain was pouring down, that was cancelled.

In an effort to avoid bodies bumping into everything while trying to get in line to get food, they decided to go to the sign up sheet and call people’s name one at a time. Your name was called and you got your food. Once you were handed your food and you walked away, the next person was called.

It was a process that I felt worked out very well.

And the guy who had the potty mouth this morning?

His name was not called. His name was not written on the sign up sheet that the social worker had in her hands. And so, without his name being on the list, he was refused being served food.

GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT???

Round Two. Screaming and wailing. Minus the profanity for whatever reason.

Our resident who had coordinated the event with staff was trying to talk to him to tell him that she had his name on the list and that he can go ahead and get something to eat. But in his blinding rage, he did not hear her. And so instead of having that saving grace that he was in fact included on the list, he stormed his way out of the building and into the pouring rain with bitterness in his heart. Even though the coordinating resident was trying to get in a word over the shouting. She simply was overpowered.

Apparently what unfortunately had happened was that the resident attempted to e-mail the social worker last night to add him to the list. But the social worker never received the e-mail.

He was gone before the resident could resolve the problem.

Being that I was sitting at the same table as the coordinator, I heard the conversation between her and the social worker when they both realized what the problem was. And there was not anything they could do about it because technology had failed.

I can believe it as I was without Internet for several hours last night. So the e-mail probably was never sent.

Food however WAS set aside to be given to him after the fact. I do not know what happened when they went to deliver it to him at his home.

The other residents began their buzzing. One guy even came up to the coordinator and decided that he was going to put the full blame upon the shoulders of the social worker. He stated that the social worker handled it extremely poorly and it should have never went down the way that it did. And there were others that were just as willing to chastise and point fingers.

I realized at that moment that the craziness of living here would NEVER go away!! I understand that there are over 60 people who call this place home, and that means there’s probably going to be over 60 different opinions.

The fighting and the minutiae will forever be present here at SGC. And that’s why I wonder if I should start writing more and more about the events that go on here because it has to be wildly entertaining for some of you!!!

And finally to bring this tale to an end, the social worker decided that she was going to just hand out plastic Easter eggs to those who were in attendance because there would be no Easter egg hunt.

Inside of each egg were treats. Basically bite size pieces of chocolate and quarters. I stopped in the social worker’s office to say “good morning” to her early last week when she was putting them together.

Each person got several eggs. Most of which contained one piece of candy and one quarter. I believe the intention was to give out enough eggs that there would be enough money to use for the laundry machines. At least to wash your laundry. boot

I sat there at the table and I was making jokes about the social worker looking like the Easter bunny. But it went terribly, terribly wrong!!

It was probably the biggest faux pas I had made in over a year.

Instead of saying “She looks like the Easter bunny handing out treats.” I said, “She looks like the Playboy bunny handing out treats.”

It was met with dead silence until I realized the error and quickly corrected myself for it.

I swear I thought I was next to be crucified for it.

After I survived that scare, the social worker came back around a few minutes later asking for the emptied plastic eggs. They wanted to be able to keep them and use them in years to come.

A majority of the eggs contained Hershey’s Kisses. Not all, but most of them. hershey-easter-kisses-700_0

In a moment of quick thinking, when the social worker came around to collect the eggs from our table I said, “Thank you for the kisses!!”

The social worker busted out laughing so hard that she bent in half. And in the next moment the entire building was laughing as hard as they could.

I probably saved myself from certain social and personal destruction after the “bunny” comment.

I am not sure what “holiday” will be served up next here. If I had to guess, it could be Memorial Day or Independence Day.

And as always…. stay tuned!!!

4774425958_0550f68742_b“People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy.”~ Anton Chekhov

Welcome to 2018, everyone!

It is mid-January, which means just a few days until my next birthday. And also time for a new blog post. Since there were none in December.

If you have been keeping up with recent weather events, you’ll know that a majority of the United States of America is pretty darn cold right now. Including right here in Austin!!

As a matter of fact, the entire city has been shut down. Monday was a federal holiday and Tuesday’s weather got really cold. A TRUE winter time here in Austin. It was going to be a shorter week, but due to the fact that temperatures were way below zero, and there was the threat of freezing rain/sleet/ice/snow, Austin just basically said “Screw it! We’re closed.”

Now it is Wednesday. Here at the SGC, we’ve not had much in the way of events since Thursday because staff chickened out and left early last Friday. But today, Wednesday the 17th, staff returned. The doors were open.

And glory glory hallelujah…. for most of us, that meant free hot coffee and something to kill the monotony!! I took advantage of it because I have been suffering cabin fever really bad.

But the temperatures are below 20°F/-6°C this morning with the promise of getting up above freezing sometime this afternoon.

Here I was this morning though, triple layers up top and single layer below. And suddenly I realized I am not the brightest bulb. But I got to the coffee before what I thought would be a mad scramble.

The usual “suspects” were already in the building. A meeting of the slow minds, if you will. Which is nothing against them, it is what it is.

As I sat there enjoying the warm cup of life, another woman walked in screaming at the top of her lungs, inquiring if anyone in the room had the flu.

To me that didn’t make sense. These are mostly elderly people. What in the world would make her think that anyone would be out of their homes if they were stricken with the flu? How many of them would honestly have the strength to get out of their homes if they were sick to begin with??

But there she was, insisting on answers in the most obnoxious way. Hanging around the door way with her mask on her face.

When nobody proclaimed to be ill, she removed the mask and made her way to the nearest available chair to sit in.

Minutes later she got up and left, only to return to start shouting again. This time she inquired about who was doing their laundry. And one of the slower neighbors said that he had something going on.

She cried out, “It’s done!”

The gentleman thanked her for her notice and went back to his conversation and coffee.

This pissed off the woman.

She cried out again, “Go get it so I can put my things in the machine.”

To which he responded with “I’ll get it here in a minute.”

And that was not good enough for her. He had already acknowledged what she had said to him. But like I said, he’s a bit slow. So it wasn’t like he was going to leap up from where he was sitting and skip merrily into the laundry room to change his clothes from the washer to the dryer. He just was in no hurry at all. And she was!

His lacking response caused the fight bell to ring as she literally shouted and screamed at him. “I need that machine NOW!!”

She was met with the same response of acknowledgement and the promise to get the progression moving “…in a minute.”

There was an eerie silence. I looked up and found her face turning a deep red.

She then left once more to go back into the laundry room, and she mumbled under her breath (loud enough for me to hear) that she was just going to do it FOR him. And that meant removing his clothes and discarding them elsewhere to where they were out of her way. And this was also going to be mean that she was not going to be all that concerned with where she put them, as long as they were free and clear of the washing machine that she wanted to use.

But her own physical capabilities are extremely limited due to her morbid obesity. So she realized that she wouldn’t have the stamina to go through with it.

She did the next best thing: Tattled on the guy with the one staff member present.

Staff came into the room to make a general “announcement” that when laundry machines are finished working that residents need to take care of it, so that the machines are open and available for other residents to use. It was also said that the apartment manager would be informed of this altercation when he arrived.

I think that was the appropriate response from staff.

The woman walked out into the hallway with an evil smirk on her face, realizing that she got her way. And the man who was slow in all senses of the word, attempted his best to get up from his chair so that he could go switch his laundry from washer to dryer. It did in fact, take him quite some time to get up to his feet and move towards the door. And she just couldn’t stand it any more.

She verbally attacked as he limped by her. And from what I think, she lost the upper hand when she followed him outside, berating him every slow, limping step of the way.

I was on my way out the door myself after finishing my cup of coffee and what happened next hasn’t happened since the great  Strawberry Milk Fight of 2011.

Oh Yes Indeed!!!

To put it plainly, he had enough of her shit talking and he retaliated with a physical vengeance. And due to her own physical shortcomings, she didn’t have a chance.

The battle was swift. And it left her retreating back inside as he continued his way to the laundry room to switch his laundry. The last words I heard was him in frustration as he walked into the laundry room grumbling, “Damn Fucking Bitch!”

Yeah, don’t let the fact that the elderly are cute fool you at all. Especially not around here.

floridian-bar-10x6“I have absolutely no pleasure in the stimulants in which I sometimes so madly indulge. It has not been in the pursuit of pleasure that I have periled life and reputation and reason. It has been the desperate attempt to escape from torturing memories, from a sense of insupportable loneliness and a dread of some strange impending doom.”~ Edgar Allan Poe

Due to recent events, it is time to set the record straight.

I have been getting asked very frequently in recent days about whether or not I drink. Most specifically if I drink alcoholic beverages.

Most of my social life revolves around live music, which everyone knows. And of course live music venues are usually clubs and bars where the sale of alcohol is their prime business. A large percentage of people that know me, well that’s where they see me. In venues.

Happy to say that they are kind enough to want to buy me a drink. However, 99.98% of the time I either politely decline their offer outright or I tell them that I don’t drink and come up with a counter offer to something like a Coke or a soft drink of some sort.

Ever since I started enjoying live music, this is how I have operated. People are accepting of it and respectful.

The other night however I was spotted by a great number of people enjoying a beer. Suddenly, people were very, VERY confused at what they saw. One person said that they thought that they were dreaming.

And another night, someone said that they saw me having shots with some band members.

So now, this is my public service announcement to those who are stumped, confused, and essentially losing their mind over the subject.

I will start out by actually answering the question: DO I DRINK?

Answer: Yes.

As just about everyone else on the planet, after I surpassed the legal age of drinking, I did have my times of going to the night club, watching people, enjoying music, and drinking. And I learned what my limit was to where I knew that I needed to stop so that by the time I went home, I was sober enough to safely do so.

But after a while the money that I was spending on buying drinks was growing and growing that by the end of the month I didn’t have enough money to feed myself.

I finally stopped going to the night club because it got very boring to me, and I didn’t like how much money I was spending on drinks. I even stopped going to the store to buy alcohol.

This went on for a while and if I was drinking anything at all, it was at someone’s home. Usually during a dinner or some small gathering of friends.

And now with the atmosphere of live music, and the passage of time, the idea of drinking is less appealing. But that is mainly due to the COST of buying alcohol.

The other factor is whether or not the restrooms in the venue are actually accessible. If I am not able into a restroom at a venue or have a lot of difficulty doing so, then I will simply choose not to drink. And a lot of the times when I politely refuse it is because of the accessibility situation. And that is commonly what the situation is. If I cannot properly relieve myself when I am away from home…. I won’t drink.

My travels in recent years to Houston, I may have ONE beer if anything. But that is only because the venues that I have attended are not accessible at all. Some in Austin are a lot easier but not quite what I would need to make sure that I can get the business done.

Having Spina Bifida makes consuming alcohol more of a pain in the ass!! It goes through the bladder a lot faster than the average person. To put this very bluntly, if I am at some venue and I have a drink or whatever and I have to urinate, because of the decrease in bodily function and control, all it takes those few seconds that I am transferring from the wheelchair to the toilet before it just comes pouring out of me getting all over me and my clothes. And essentially making me unfit for social interaction for the rest of the night.

There have been times when I have been on antibiotics or other medication that warn against drinking while taking it. Thankfully, that is not the case all of the time.

So I am NOT necessarily against drinking. It has nothing to do with personal beliefs or anything like that. I’m not necessarily restricted from drinking. It just depends on where I am and what I am able to do when nature strikes. It obviously would be a lot easier to deal with at home as I can just clean up and if need be change clothes. It is not that easy to do when I am not at home. Even if I take extra with me.

And I am definitely NOT trying to offend anyone or hurt their feelings when they want to buy me a drink and I say no or counter offer them with something else. It is just my way of self-preservation.

I AM against the idea of being drunk and trying to ride the bus home. Bus drivers are instructed to deny passengers too inebriated from riding. I have witnessed others being told to get off the bus. I don’t wish to be stranded somewhere when I am not close to home. Or at all!!

So for those reading who have tried to buy me drinks, keep in mind the following:

If I can’t easily get into the rest rooms where I am at. I won’t drink.

If I am on medication, I won’t drink.

I will not go beyond my personal limit of consuming alcohol.

I have no problem with your courtesy, in fact it is appreciated. In fact, I would LOVE To have a drink with you!! And I will always thank you later for it. But there are just parameters that I follow when the question of drinking comes up.

I hope this answers the questions that you have had and/or clears up any confusion. Feel free to start a conversation in the comments below if there’s anything that I missed.