Who? Us?

We are two disabled, oldish women who have been adventuring through life for years. We are talking about how disabilities, both visible and not, change the way we enjoy our retirement.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Don't Call Me Honey

Don’t call me honey.  Don’t call me dear. And fergawd’s sake, don’t excuse your behavior by saying, “I do that all the time and nobody else minds.” We do mind.  

We were taught as young girls to be ‘nice’ and subservient to males. Always let them think they were smarter, faster, better than we were. Make sure our grades were not too high so they would know they were 'superior.' They were allowed to call us sweetie, honey, dear or what’s worse, girlie. Many of us think it’s just fine for men to talk that way. Most women think it’s cute. When we stop and think about it, do you really want to be thought of as a second class citizen, to be called any ‘endearment’ men can think of.  

This is not just an ordinary action of those awful men who whistle at women who are walking by their construction sites or for that matter, just sitting on a bench in the park. Men think it is is their right; they even think that it’s called for and we expect it. They think it’s a compliment. 

And when we become disabled, the comments worsen. We are called honey or dear by everyone, not just men. Somehow we become children again unable to care for ourselves.  Women finally have somebody to be better than.  So all of our lives we have had to live with catcalls and diminishing remarks from men of all ages, and now we have to hear it from women too.

I was visiting my dentist and we were talking about how we dealt with men who persisted in those habits. I told her that I always said to men, “Did we sleep together? Those are the only people who call me honey.” The dentist said she always says, “Are you aware of who I am?”

Love her response and may steal it from her. She may vary her answers as well.  

Disability does not make these discriminating comments go away, it magnifies them and makes most of the population feel as if we need to be treated as if we are under the age of 12.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

US Post Office - rating - 5 A tale of two PO's

Of course, the post office here in Mountain View meets every one of the ADA requirements.  Looks as if it was built that way from the beginning, but if it is a retrofit, it is a good one. Not a pretty building, but you could certainly tell it's a post office from a mile away.

I remember being in Whaletown on Quadra Island, BC and found this Canadian post office. It's so very cute, but totally unusable as a PO.

It might not be a post office. It had no one inside, but the door was open. I mailed a few postcards from there and as far as I know they are probably still in the box outside. But I loved the building so much I had to take a picture of it. This was probably 10 years ago while traveling from Victoria to Nanaimo to Tofino and on to Port Hardy where the island ends.

US PO rating - 5

Friday, May 29, 2015

Betcha Didn't know...

Actor Dick Powell was born right here in Mountain View Arkansas in this house. Aside from a sign in the yard, his birthplace ion Main Street s not restored or really noticed. I noticed it, but there might not be all that many people who know who he was. But those of us 'of an age' remember.  
I know this post is not about disability problems at all, but I found it interesting and I write this, so I make the rules.  May you be able to use this in a trivial contest sometime

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dick Powell
Dick powell - publicity.JPG
Photo taken 1938
BornRichard Ewing Powell
November 14, 1904[1]
Mountain ViewArkansasU.S.[1]
DiedJanuary 2, 1963 (aged 58)[1]
West Los AngelesCalifornia, U.S.[1]
OccupationActor, singer, producer, director
Years active1930–63
Spouse(s)Mildred Maund[1] (1925-27)
Joan Blondell (1936-44) (divorced) (1 child)[1]
June Allyson (1945-63) (his death) (2 children)[1]
ChildrenNorman S. Powell (Barnes) (b. 1934)
Ellen Powell (b. 1938)
Dick Powell Jr. (b. 1950)
Richard Ewing "Dick" Powell (November 14, 1904 – January 2, 1963) was an American singer, actor, film producer, film director and studio head. Though he came to stardom as a musical comedy performer, he showed versatility and successfully transformed into a hardbitten leading man starring in projects of a more dramatic nature.

Powell was born in Mountain View,[2] the seat of Stone County in northern Arkansas. The family moved to Little Rock in 1914, where Powell sang in church choirs and with a local orchestras and started his own band.[3] Powell attended the former Little Rock College, before he started his entertainment career as a singer with the Royal Peacock Band which toured throughout the Midwest. During this time, he married Mildred Maund, a model, but she found being married to an entertainer not to her liking and they soon divorced.[3]Later, he joined the Charlie Davis Orchestra, based in Indianapolis.[3] He recorded a number of records with Davis and on his own, for the Vocalion label in the late 1920s.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Days Inn Rating 4


703 E Main StreetMountain ViewAR 72560 

You would think that a motel in the heart of downtown in a small tourist town would really roll out the welcome mat for any visitors. They would make every effort to attract all visitors. i know it's an old building, but c'mon folks, you could have done better.  There's a tiny, steep ramp at the end of one of the walkways to the rooms, but that's it. I have not been in the motel, but suspect that there idea of a handicapped room is a grab bar somewhere or another. Let's hope you don't want a room upstairs because, well, maybe you don't want to stay on the ground floor because folks driving by can wave as they wait at the traffic light nearby. Or something.

In the bottom photo, the ramp is hidden behind the yellow post at the very bottom left of the photo. So small, it's hard to take a picture of it.

Rating - 4

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Please, no pity.

Do not feel sorry for me. Do not pat me on the head, in fact do not touch me at all unless you know me very well. What is it about being disabled that makes total strangers think they can come up and put their hands on my shoulder?  No one has patted me on my head yet and they best not unless they want to pull back a bloody stump. 

 Good grief, I am not a ‘poor thing’ to be talked over as if I am not there.  I have been talked over in jest, but really having people act as if I am not there is one of the most demeaning things ever.  Don’t do it. If you have something to say, say it to me. I shall respond to you. My ears work fine. You don’t have to talk to your friend or worse yet,  a stranger passing by about how brave I am to be outside by myself. I am 73 years old, old enough to be outside alone. And driving my car does not make me brave either. I’ve been doing that since I was 16 years old, back when the earth was misty. 

And don’t pity me either. No reason to. Nothing is worse than being pitied for any reason. Rolling around to grocery shop certainly doesn’t call for pity. 

“Being an inspiration for us all?” That gets old in a hurry, if it ever started to being with. I have never been inspiring. I have lived a regular normal life, working, paying taxes, conquering problems. Just like you.

I didn’t overcome anything to do what I want to do, go where I want to go. I did those things when I walked. What makes you think I can’t do them now?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

White River Council on Aging - Rating 4

White River Area Agency on Aging

606 Sylamore Ave
 Mountain View, AR 72560
(870) 269-3807

In keeping with the prevailing attitude that almost is good enough, the Council on Aging of all people tried  to make do. They built a ramp to the door and then didn't give us enough room to open the door   and get in the building without falling down the steps.

In the first picture, you can see the handicap sticker on my dashboard, yet another label we are forced to display that sets us apart, marks us as not good enough. I'm surprised we don't have to sew a star on our shirts. Might as well. Can you imagine every single day of your life, you must be reminded that you don't fit in, you are not normal, that you are less than? Just once I'd like to hang, oh maybe Mardi Gras beads or fuzzy dice on my rear view mirror instead of my label marking me as inferior to everyone else. Just once.

Rating - 4

Monday, May 25, 2015

It's Memorial Day

What used to be called Decoration Day is now Memorial Day. And our little town of Mountain View, AR, population well under 3000 people, is celebrating the holiday as it should be celebrated.  People have been cleaning the graveyards all week and by the end of today, they will be cleaned and new flowers will be in place. People here take this holiday seriously.

When I lived in New Orleans, graves and cemetery cleaning was saved for All Saint's Day, the day after Halloween where folks brought picnics to the cemeteries, whitewashed the tombs while having family time that included all members of the family, past and present.

As you probably know, New Orleans is mostly below sea level, so graves are built above ground. Huge concrete vaults that contain generations of one family have been built. As the vaults get full, old remains are just pushed to the bottom and new occupants are installed. Cemeteries in New Orleans are considered tourist attractions and tour busses stop at them.  When Hurricane Katrina hit, those vaults were rearranged and sometimes Uncle Louie dropped by for a visit.  It was hell getting everybody sorted out and back where they belonged.  I'm not sure if that reinterring was all that successful, but at least people now rest in some tomb,  just maybe not the right one.

Regardless this holiday is taken seriously both in New Orleans and in Mountain View. As it should be.

So many people have served our country. Getting only one day to honor them doesn't seem like quite enough. Think about it today. And tomorrow, next week and next month. If someone in your family served, say thank you. If a band marches in a parade at your house, let the booming bass drum affect your heart like it does mine. It doesn't matter if I can stand up or not when the parade passes. The feelings are the same.

I know this post is not about accessibility, but today is a special day when we remember not just my disability, but the problems that all our vets endure.  Honor them.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Have You ever Noticed?

Have you ever noticed? Maybe not, I dunno.

While you are wheeling down the sidewalk and other people are approaching, we who need more room try to meet like cars do. We stick to the right side and the walkers stay on their right side. Just like a two lane road. Works pretty well. Even groups of people and in this town where it's mostly tourists do the same thing.

Most women will step aside if the sidewalk is not wide enough for everyone. Most men will keep right on walking and as if they never see the women riding in a chair. Funny, that. It’s not like we can’t be seen.  I have a bright red scooter and it’s not small. It’s about the biggest that can be bought short of a 4 wheel ATV. But evidently, men can’t see red. Maybe it’s because we are lower to the ground than they are and just don’t mean much to them. I am often tempted to increase my speed and cause them to need knee replacement surgery. Instead I come to a complete stop and wait to see what they will do.  Usually they will notice the obstruction in their way and walk around. Sometimes.

In grocery stores, exactly the same thing happens. In the wide aisles, men walk in the middle, never wavering, striding where they wish to go. Little old ladies, walking or not best get out of the way because men get to go where they want.  Matters  not the age of the man. He goes where he wishes and expects all others to move from his path.

Teens are like that too. Groups of teens are normally texting or on their phones and don’t see anything at all. They giggle, talk constantly and act like piles of puppies in the middle of their growing.  These groups are most likely to make nasty and rude remarks about anyone using a mobility device. Even use of a cane will engender some sort of bullying.  Makes ya wonder who brought up these bullies.

Down the aisles can be a nightmare.  Here we see young adult women with phones pressed to their ears. Often the phone cannot be seen. Or maybe they are just talking to themselves. Use to be we gave those folks medication to control those symptoms. Now they just attach a phone somewhere on their hair or neck and talk away. Usually they are telling someone where they are. Nonetheless they stand in aisles randomly throwing things in baskets and paying not a whit of attention to a huge red wheeled machine coming their way.

Men again….stand across the aisle and search for what they need. They won’t wear glasses for some reason, so they have to stand a very long ways from the peas if that’s what they were told to buy. Most likely they will return home and say, ‘The store was out of peas.”  Mainly tho, they are standing mid aisles - just standing and looking. At least they have no phones.  I have found the best way to handle this situation is to stop just short of whacking them and just sit there.  Or ask them what they need and just get it for them. Chances are they will never notice a huge red scooter in front of them.

Middle aged and older women will do everything they can to accommodate the scooter rider. Almost to a fault.

All in all, moving around with assistance in a grocery store brings problems others don’t even recognize or recognize just enough to sling bullying sneers your way.  Wonder if that will ever change. 

I’m glad Amazon delivers.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Verizon Wireless - rating 5

Verizon Wireless

409 Sylamore Ave, 
Mountain View, AR 72560
(870) 269-4395

Verizon is in another one of the dual businesses Mountain View is so famous for. Small buildings, tiny strip malls if you will, that house more than one business. Entry is fine here. Better be for all the traffic that cell phone retailers have. Easy parking, easy entry. No problems inside.  Nice.

Rating - 5

Friday, May 22, 2015

O'Reilly Auto Parts Rating - 5

O'Reilly Auto Parts

308 Sylamore Ave
Mountain View, AR 72560
(870) 269-7177

O'Reilly shows us what accessibility is all about. Drive up, park and roll on in with no problem.
Staff is helpful as well. Tell them what you want and they will point you to it, get it for you or if you don't know what you need, will figure it out for you. 

Rating - 5

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Dulcimer Shop Rating - 5 As good as it gets.

      Dulcimer Shoppe

1104 Sylamore Ave, Mountain View, AR 72560
(870) 269-4313

The Dulcimer Shop in Mountain View is near the Ozark Folk Center and a wonderful store to visit. Dulcimers are beautiful stringed instruments, looking a bit like a skinny guitar, but with fewer strings.  If you hear traditional mountain folk music, most likely you will hear a dulcimer. The owner makes dulcimers, and he is widely known for his artistry.
Of course, accessibility is easy as is moving about in the store.  The owner will sit down with you and give you a free lesson right there. 
Can you tell I bought one and find playing easy and most fun. The instrument was made by the owner himself.

Rating - 5

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wordy Wednesday - How we treat our Veterans.

The USA has been at war for over 200 years of its existence. The tragedy of war seems to be part of the fabric of our country’s being. The best and the brightest of our youngsters never return from war. Those who are injured return, but at what cost to them? We patch them up physically, some of the time. We seem not to care that so many have witnessed unspeakable sights of warfare and are in a constant state of trauma. 

We see veterans missing limbs. Oh sure, we cheer the few who play wheelchair basketball or ski on modified skis.  

But what of the ones we see homeless on the streets. We seem not to care about that. Since the advances in medical care, often made possible by the medical care learned in war, have made it possible to put the vet back together as best we can, but sadly when the maximum medical care is over, we think it’s just fine to discharge the vet from a hospital or rehab center and he or she will be just fine from then on.

Nobody seems to care that the now pronounced ‘just fine’ vet is not at all just fine.  He needs a place to sleep, help with finding a job, help with medical devices, mobility devices, but nope, we have no money for that. 

We can pay billions of dollars for one war machine, but not a dime for a power chair for someone who needs it to function.  Hell, we can’t even put self opening doors on businesses, so if the vet can move, has a few dollars and needs to buy a shirt, he can't get in the door.

Aren’t we proud of ourselves!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Best Drugs Rating - 5

Best Drug Store

(870) 269-4329

Now this is the way to run a business.  No threshold. There's that door opening problem that is so easily fixed. Maybe this blog will encourage some Mountain View businesses to install self opening doors. The inside is a little bit cramped, but you can maneuver around with a bit of care. The staff in here is excellent attuned to the needs of their customers; they do a great job of dispensing prescriptions. There are two drug stores in town, not counting Walmart, and they are both well designed and do a great job accommodating everyone.

Rating - 5

Monday, May 18, 2015

Ballard CPA Rating - 3

Ballard & Company Ltd.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Again. This Time about Ramps.

You think ramps solve all your accessibility problems. If you are a merchant, you install one, either wood or concrete, and voila, you are in compliance with the ADA laws, right?  Uh uh.

Picture this:  An entry door is usually 36” wide and opens out. A merchant builds a ramp 36” wide and is in compliance with ADA rules, right? Any mobility impaired person can now enter and exit easily, right? Wrong.  

A prospective customer rolls up the ramp and is confronted with the usually heavy door that opens toward the customer. Customer leans forward to open the door and can’t unless he can go to one side. See where I am going with this. Customer can’t roll to the side without falling off the ramp. Customer can’t open the door without help. So customer gives up and leaves. Merchant could assign an employee to stand there and open the door for all customers, but that seems to be a misuse of human resources and awfully expensive. Merchant could install an electric door activated by an electric eye when customer approaches.  Problem solved. 

See what I mean.

Everybody is happy and all customers can spend money in merchant’s store or restaurant.

You may wonder why I spend time talking about ramps. Or talking on this blog every day. Sure, I hope to bring awareness to the merchants of Mountain View, Arkansas, and the rest of my readers.

 But mainly I am trying to make people understand that we who need different ways of getting from one place to another are not different from anyone else. We move differently, but other than that, we go to work, pay taxes, drive cars, commute, buy groceries, go to the movies, and expect to be treated like everyone else who does the same things. Is that so very difficult to understand? 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Outdoor Properties, LLC Rating - 1

Outdoor Properties, LLC
820 East Webb
Mountain View, AR 72560
(870) 269-3378

For some reason, this post is insisting on being in all caps and I can't fix it. So I am really not yelling at you. I'm just computer illiterate this morning.

As you can see, this property tried to do the right thing several years ago, but oops, the ground has subsided and now there's a step right up to the ramp.  Giant fail people.  Maybe I should be yelling at them.

Sorry about the all caps. I really have tried everything.

Rating - 1

Friday, May 15, 2015

Wings Shack Rating - 5

  1. Wing Shack-Cheeseburger Grill
  2. Barbecue Restaurant
  3. Address: 305 Sylamore Ave, Mountain View, AR 72560

Wing Shack is a huge and I mean huge building off Main Street, on the way toward the Ozark Folk Center. It rather looks like it was a roller skating building once, it's that huge.
But these folks serve wings and hamburgers. And wonder of all wonders. they have a ramp to get up on their deck.  
I don't know about the food because I have never eaten there. Their menu doesn't include vegan items and I am one of those vegans. But the parking lot is always full of cars and locals eat there. That should mean something, I suppose. The tables are accessible and easily moved if necessary. The staff is accommodating and welcoming.

Ya done good, Wing Shack.

Rating - 5

Thursday, May 14, 2015

State Farm Insurance

1104 East Main St
Mountain ViewAR 72560 

State Farm insurance is just as inaccessible as it looks. Perhaps somewhere in this little strip mall there is a curb cut, but I couldn't find it. I guess State Farm really doesn't want anyone 'not normal' to do business with them.  Too bad. It's so typical of merchants in Mountain View. It's almost as if they pride themselves on staying the way they have been for 100 years. Strange tho, because the population is so welcoming and congenial. They just need to be pulled kicking and screaming into this century.

Rating - 1

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Can she talk?

Several years ago, my partner and I were headed to the Pacific Northwest on a well deserved vacation. We would fly to Seattle, rent a car, drive to Anacortes, WA and take the ferry to San Juan Island. It was a long awaited trip and we love it there. It would be my first airport experience on wheels.

We got to the first security check point. I was in an airport provided wheelchair and my partner was pushing it.  I kicked my shoes off as ordered, so was prepared to answer questions while in my socks.  We waited in line until our turn. 

The security person looked at me, looked at the wheelchair, turned to my partner and said, “Can she talk?”

I could talk just fine and let him know immediately.  And perhaps a bit louder than usual.

Have you seen these sorts of things happen? Have they happened to you? How do you respond?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

H and R Block Rating 3

H&R Block
1116 E Main St 
Mountain ViewAR 72560 

These are the tax people, ya know. They take care of filing your income taxes every year if you don't want to do it yourself.
This is the only business in Mountain View that has put that little ramp up to the threshold so wheelchair users can sail right in. There is that door to contend with but it sure is easier to get over the threshold with that ramp. There's a curb cut at the end of the little strip mall HR Block is in. A  ways from the car, but there just the same.
I suppose doors have to open out instead of in, so in case of fire or other need for evacuation can be easier for the customers inside, but geez, it would be easier for the folks going in if the doors opened inward.
Ya know I have seen some business that keep their doors locked and you have to be buzzed in. Wonder if you need to say a secret word or need a password or something. That just seems strange. I don't know if this business is like that. I kinda doubt it in this town where everybody knows everybody, what they are doing and who they are doing it with every minute of every day. 

Rating - 3

Monday, May 11, 2015

Flex Fitness? Rating - 1

Flex Fitness Inc

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Of a Sunday

Remember when you were a little kid and you overheard your parents talking about a friend of theirs who had (whisper here) cancer?  It was a word that was not to be spoken out loud. Maybe it was a fear of catching it, I dunno. As I got older, that same whisper was used when talking of a person of color (black). That  how the word was said in restaurants or other public places. Same reason, I wonder? Fear of skin color being catching?  Now it is happening with (gay ) although not so much.  Most of the time that word is spoken out loud and in pejorative terms. But what about (disabled)?  Do we say a disabled person? A person with a disability? Does it matter? What on earth is wrong with the word disability? Is having one something to be ashamed of? Is the word disabled somehow an insult?

Disability is looked upon as something to overcome. Certainly a better person would have already done so already. Disability happens to everyone unless they die first.  We who are disabled, live with it, work with it, love with it and learn with it. Isn’t that how you live your life?

So are we less than worthwhile if we are disabled? Do you ever think about that? Or do you look at the disabled person with contempt or pity, just glad you are not that way.

Years ago, I had a friend who has MS and relied on a wheelchair to get around. We were swimming one day - we were equally abled while swimming. She said, while we were joking about being similar in the water, but not so hot when on land, said that I would one day be disabled. That we all would be as we aged. Whether we needed a mobility device, some other aid to make our lives easier or just had to slow way down to keep our lives running nicely. No more sprinting through the grocery store, grabbing a few things as we hurried, no more running to the basement to get to the toolbox, no more bending ourselves under the sink to repair a leaking pipe. 

Ya know what? She was right.

Do not fear acknowledging your disability. Own it. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Shelter Insurance Rating - 2

Shelter Insurance

Oh dear, Shelter Insurance.  You suffer from the same problems as the most of the rest of the merchants on Main Street. There's a curb cut to the sidewalk in front of your door, but then there's that threshold again. Getting there and getting the door open takes two people.  I know, I know,  you are going to say that one of your employees will open the door for me, but I would rather just open the door and come in your office. 
Even a little 3" ramp would make it possible to get in. You don't even have to build those, you can buy them online and snug them right up to your door, inside and out.  It would make it possible for all of us to use your services. Shutting some of your potential customers out is not very good business, ya know.

Rating - 2

Friday, May 8, 2015

Hipps Modern Building Supply Rating 2

Hipp Modern Builders Supply

1404 E Main St
Mountain View, AR 72560

Hipps does a great job until you get to the threshold of the front door, the most important one, of course. There's that couple inch rise that unless you have a rolling start, you will not get over it. And then if you do come at the door headlong, you will run smack into it. No self opening, you see. So going to Hipp's takes two people, one to manage the scooter or wheelchair and one to push it and open the door.  Almost makes you want to go to TD's where you can easily get in the door.
Hipps has narrow aisles as well, so if you get it,  you can go straight to the rear of the store and ask the store personnel to get what you need. Pain in the ass, that.  If Hipps just made a small ramp to get over that threshold, the store would gain several rating points. Easy enough. Oh, and the door could easily be made to open by itself when you approach.

Rating - 2, c'mon, Hipps, you can do better.