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» Travel

Handicapped ladies travel group
I was with a travel group for handicapped ladies. I was along in a position I generally describe as wheelchair wrangler. (Do you know how heavy a power chair is?) All the ladies had traveled since being handicapped. However there was a lady I will call Bea. Bea had lost a leg 25 years before, and had been quite active, but she had lost the second leg just three months earlier and this was her first trip with no legs.

I believe there were 17 handicapped ladies on the trip. Three were bunking with their significant others, while the other 14 were paired up as roommates. No hotel has 10 handicapped rooms, but half the women need no special facilities at all, and we figured that those who needed special bathing facilities would use the two handicapped rooms. Bea was booked in the room with the roll-in shower. Her roommate and two other ladies were intending to use that roll-in shower.

Problem: There was no roll-in shower. This hotel had never had a roll-in shower. Furthermore the two handicapped rooms we had booked had wide bathroom doors, but no other features. There were absolutely no handholds around the flusher or the tub. The hotel didn't even have a single shower chair. This hotel had booked a convention of handicapped ladies with absolutely no legal handicapped rooms.

The hotel manager lived a hours drive away, and had just gone home after being stuck at the hotel for a few days. Also our "camp director" was coming in on a later flight. So you had me and a couple other hotheaded men, a few distraught ladies, and a couple of hotel assistant managers who were in way over their heads. The hotel manager told me flat out on the phone he was not coming back to the hotel, as he had already told another man. I think that right after my call his wife told him he had better go to the hotel.

Actually it was probably for the best that the hotel manager didn't face the hotheaded men and the distraught ladies. The camp director rolled in just before the manager. She was pleasant but firm. She cited him chapter and verse of all the laws he was violating. Then she and the manager and another man went to the store where she had the manager buy shower chairs and support bars and whatever.

The manager had only worked there a few months. This dilapidated hotel had just changed chains with the promise of a $2 million renovation. The chain reservation office had let us reserve the roll-in shower because they knew all their hotels had a roll-in shower, but this one did not yet. Now that he knew his hotel was so non-compliant, the manager said he would have the new handicapped rooms built early in the renovation, but the renovation had not yet begun.

Everything was okay after that. We joked about the "disabled ramp" in the back lot which was itself an amputee (it was missing a foot). Tragedy was averted but just barely. Bea's left hand felt okay, but her right hand was as cold as ice. She had no circulation in that hand. If she had fallen while transferring from wheelchair to shower chair and injured her right hand, she would have lost the hand. That would have been a notorious story, but thankfully we all lived happily ever after.
(Wed 24th Apr 2013, 6:19, More)

» Professions I Hate

Mental health people
I have a general dislike for anyone in the business of fixing things: Doctors, lawyers, auto mechanics, etc. I distrust them all, because they "provide a service", so I am expected to pay them for the service regardless of whether the service did me good or ill.

The worst of these are the mental health people. They come with various letters after their names, indicating the particular prejudices they have been trained in. (BTW, "CHT" can be Clinical Hypno Therapist or Colon Hydro Therapist.) Many of them can impart some useful information, but that is done within the first 20 minutes of the first session. After that, they would like you to come back several times for "help".

Of course there is no objective definition of help. If I eat at a restaurant and find an eggshell in my sandwich, I get the sandwich free. If the therapist provides no help at all, I'm not trying. If the sandwich makes me puke my guts out, I can ask the health inspector to shut them down. If the therapy has me puking my brains out, I'm fighting the therapy.

I have OCD. I have always had OCD. I will always have OCD. Telling me I have OCD is not help. Telling me I don't have OCD is not help. Telling me to stop having OCD is not help. Telling me to act like I don't have OCD is not help. And telling me to plan on not having OCD is not help. If I were blind the therapist would tell me I'm just making it harder on myself by not seeing.
(Sun 30th May 2010, 0:05, More)

» Oldies vs Computers

Text looks like dots
This didn't happen to me, but a friend. He's the tech nerd of the company, and he's called for every tech question there is. One day the boss's secretary has him come over for a question about Word. She opens up a doc and there's just a bunch of dots, no text. He's mystified, and says "I've never seen that before." She says, "not that". She selects the whole text and changes it to 10 point type. It's turns out the clever secretary was changing her documents to 1 point before saving to economize on disk space.
(Tue 26th Sep 2006, 6:45, More)

» Accidental animal cruelty

I sat on the Airedale
My friend Tere had an Airedale named Major. I was sitting on the couch with Major lying next to me. I stood up to grab something just out of reach, then sat back down without looking. My feet hadn't moved, but Major had stretched out amd I landed right on top of his hindquarters. I fell to my knees, and for half a second I had 80 pounds of enraged carnivore going for my throat. Then Major realized I was a friend and it had been an accident, and he started nuzzling me to make up.
(Fri 7th Dec 2007, 19:12, More)

» Crap meals out

Dining at 110 Decibels
On two occasions my Aunt M arranged family fetes at a particular restaurant in Hollywood. It's a famous old place (since 1909, which may not be old in Rightpondia, but in Hollywood that's as old as old gets), and the first time I was looking forward to dining at (what I thought was) a snooty restaurant.

I get to the restaurant, and it's a huge box. Just a big mess hall with about 300 people. There are no draperies or tapestries. The ceiling is plain flat plaster. There are no internal walls or partitions. There is not one millimeter of sound absoring substance anywhere to be found, except for eardrums. It's a big echo chamber with an incessant clanging of plates and cutlery, plus the sound of a few people screaming to be heard by their dining companions.

I tough it out for the sake of the family. Afterwards my mother mentions that I wasn't very sociable. Yeah, right. I tell Aunt M that I had a terrible time due to the noise, and she asks "But wasn't the food good?" I try to explain that the quality of the food doesn't enter into it. I would rather have a McBurger than go into that echo chamber.

Aunt M and I will never agree on food. Her idea of good food is food you can neither smell nor taste. I rarely have objections to such food, but I do not wish seek it out nor pay high prices for it.

A year later Aunt M does it again. I am called to another soiree at the echo chamber. I point out how noisy the place is (which Aunt M does not recall). I suggest we go to some place quieter where we can chat. Again she asks "But wasn't the food good?" Anyway arrangements have been made, and someone is in town who must be taken to a "good" restaurant.

This time I arrive with a raging headache, and the restaurant is even noisier than before. As soon as the waiter takes my order, I walk outside. I come back a while later, eat my soup, and since there's no food yet, I go outside again. I come back, find the food still hasn't come, but I sit and wait for it. After I eat, I go outside for the third time. A half hour later, my mother comes out and sees me and says "Oh that's where you are." We discuss the meaning of being sociable. I point out that I am standing in the cool and quiet, ready to engage in conversation, while the others are inside the echo chamber. This wins no points.

A day or so later, I'm chatting on the phone with Aunt M. She passive aggressively berates me for walking out, though she admits it was hard to talk with whomever the guest of honor was. Then she adds "but isn't the food really good?" I again say the the food is irrelevant, and tell her categorically that I will not go to that restaurant again. Then she displays just how well I have communicated my point:

"So you didn't like the food?"
(Sat 29th Apr 2006, 20:05, More)
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