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Archive for January, 2013

images“A lovely ranch style home in a desirable neighborhood. Main living area graced with a beautiful stone fireplace and a wonderful option for a skylight. Home comes with a bonus closed in porch and is equipped with satellite TV. Surrounded by natural landscaping, this home can be yours! Now at a reduced price, a little TLC can give you your dream home.” Don’t you just love real estate ads?!

For the past couple of months I have been experiencing the “joy” of looking for a new home. There is much to consider when anyone is about to make such a large investment as a home…so to make things more interesting, let’s toss in a disability.

The two choices are to build or buy. The home we currently live in we bought and then renovated to meet my needs of being in a wheelchair. If you check back at some of my earlier blog posts, you can read about and see pictures of the modifications that we made. Not to get too personal with numbers, but I do want to give you an idea of pricing. Our home is a ranch style and not huge with 2100 square feet. It was built in 1970 and needed some changes made to it for accessibility. All told, our modification bill back in 2002 was just about $50,000. Now granted, I did go a little excessive on things in order to make it not just accessible, but also maintenance free and esthetically pleasing (at least to us). The bill could have been much less if I was only aiming for accessible.

Finding a ranch style home already built, and then tacking on the additional costs of modifications in today’s market, made me consider new construction. That would allow me to build what I want/need ground up and actually save money. So I started looking at the plethora of builders available. There are certainly many to choose from, but the list can be culled down fairly quickly depending on need. I was surprised to find that many builders do not offer ranch style floor plans. I do understand that building “up” cost less and makes more money for the builder, but when a nice ranch is available, it is sold almost immediately. Location and size is what it boils down to. We are pretty sure of both, so then finding the right floor plan, at the right price and in the right location becomes the goal. Let’s just say I have been going through a lot of Motrin lately.

My personal saga is ongoing and probably will be for some time with so many family members and their desires to consider also. But if you are also considering a new home, so far, I have found building the way to go. The contractors are more than willing to work with me and the necessary modifications needed to make our next home, the right home.

 

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Now here is something that is a definite to aim for!

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imagesCAHFCRGBVehicle parking for individuals in wheelchairs can be a challenge. I know I wrote about this in a previous blog, but some things are worth mentioning twice. My focus here is going to be on parking spaces that are intended for vans that have either ramps or lifts on the side of the van.

This is going to be a very short blog because I am not planning on turning this into a whining session. The laws are such that businesses are required to have a certain number of handicap parking spaces per total. Problems arise for vans with ramps because many spaces provided are only suitable for cars. Most van ramps fold out from the passenger side of the vehicle. Spaces that are allotted for vans typically have a larger no parking zone as part of the space.  Unfortunately, many disabled people driving a regular vehicle will park in the larger spaces, even though the spaces are marked with signs for van parking only.

Here is a suggestion that I have for businesses and the ADA laws. Most people driving vans with lifts are in wheelchairs. People pushing a manual chair, or are in power chairs, are not overly concerned with parking 10ft from the entrance. We just need a place to park that will allow us to get in/out of our vans independently. imagesSo let’s say that a business is required to have 20 disabled parking spaces. Locate 10 of the allotted spaces on the front row near the entrance. This would allow for people that have difficulty walking to park as close as possible. But place the wider spaces designed for vans with ramps or lifts near the back of the parking lot. People that do not need the wider spaces would not be tempted to park in them, and they would remain available for people that do need them.

This may seem like I am joking, but I am quite serious. I believe there is a problem with disabled parking and that the ADA needs to address it. Enforcement of the law is not possible since most parking lots are considered to be private property of each business, and cars cannot be ticketed or towed.

Perhaps you have some better ideas? Let me encourage you to start writing letters to Senators encouraging them to address the issue. Time to think outside the box.

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A philosophical question for you to ponder.

I recently had a discussion with someone that was philosophical in nature and posed the question of fences or fountains. Actually in this case, only one fountain.

The premise of our discussion was “Would it be better to live in a world with or without fences?” The fences representing rules, laws and regulations. In this world there is only one fountain and we must drink from it daily for survival. The fences act as checks that would always keep us in sight of the fountain.

Each person has the choice of living in a free-range world with only the fountain and no fences, or, living in a world that has the fountain and fences. The danger of having no fences is the possibility of wandering too far away from the fountain and dying in the wilderness. The danger of having fences is that we only stay near the fountain because we have no choice to do otherwise.

I was debating this unusual world with someone that I consider to be very intelligent and also has a good dose of common sense. We landed on different sides of the spectrum. He thought we needed to live in a world without fences and have the choice of staying near the fountain for our survival. That was his way of expressing loyalty to the fountain for life.

I on the other hand prefer fences to be present that serve the purpose of keeping me near the fountain. I believe I can stay loyal to the fountain, but would have the added protection of the fences in case I start to wander too far.

So what type of person are you? Fences or no fences?

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A Great Read

51YVKoNVsHL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-70,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_I want to pass along a free Kindle download of a great book written by my Publicist Janet Clark Shay. A must have for your Kindle collection.

http://www.amazon.com/Prayer-that-Makes-Difference-ebook/dp/B0087T9OOE/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1358257348&sr=8-2&keywords=janet+shay

Enjoy and spread the word!

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lombardo2Do you remember the first time the “concept” of a New Year struck you? I don’t remember my exact age, but I do remember the way I felt. Christmas had come and gone and now everyone was talking about a “New Year”. I thought “How exciting!” I wondered what it would look like. Would there be a change in colors, would lights flash, would it make a noise as it changed?

 
My parents, my middle brother and I were all sitting in the living room watching TV. The big box-like TV that was crafted to be a piece of furniture (No entertainment system in those days). We got three channels on it, and it had a pair of “rabbit ears” sitting on top complete with aluminum foil crumpled up around the ends for better reception. Dad and mom were in their favorite chairs while we were spread out on the floor. And the goodies! We had chips, onion dip, Chicken In A Biskit crackers, soda (or tonic depending on where you are from), and homemade Root Beer floats! Life could not have been better. Today of course my parents would probably be arrested for allowing us to eat so much junk food.

 
We were watching none other than Guy Lombardo of course (imagine there was life before Dick Clark). I believe he was pretty much a staple in every household at that time.  I was mesmerized by the huge crowds in NYC, the music and most of all the giant ball waiting for its few minutes of glory. Then it began!

 
Slowly the ball started sliding down the long flagpole atop the 1 Times Square Building. In just 60 seconds, the world was about to change and I was going to see it happen! The crowds on TV began counting down…10, 9, 8…we were counting with them at home. And then it happened! Nothing. The darkness outside the windows was still there. No trumpet blasts. I ran to the bathroom to look in the mirror. All of us still looked exactly the same. We were in the same house with the same TV, and sitting in the same place in the same pajamas. The crowd on TV was going wild, but in the sleepy little town of Shapleigh, Maine, nothing.

 
Mom and Dad said Happy New Year to us, got out of their chairs and started collecting leftovers to take care of. “But what changed?” I asked. “Nothing Happened.” My parents sort of chuckled at me and said the only change is a different date on the calendar. Within 30 minutes all lights were out and we were in bed. I lay there in the dark listening to the cold winter winds moaning through the pines behind our home. I could hear dad filling up the woodstove one last time for the night. All of my thoughts were still the same. I felt jipped.

 
Now at least 45 years later (my how time flies when you are having fun) I no longer feel jipped, but I do understand my childish thoughts those so many years ago. I wanted the world to change for me. To bring great and wonderful things into my life…new toys, another dog, new comfy chairs for mom and dad and no more red hair and freckles for me! I really did think it was all about me. But even though I understand now, the tendency to still think it is all about me is very real and present. New Year’s resolutions focus on self improvement: Losing weight, finding muscle, new job with more money, etc. I don’t think I ever made a resolution saying I am going to make more nursing home visits this year, volunteer at a homeless shelter or give more money to needy charities. If you have, then kudos to you! You are a much better person than I am.

 
As adults, we often make resolutions each New Year. I gave up making resolutions long ago (I never kept them anyway). But like a paraphrase of what the Grinch said, “Maybe New Years…perhaps…means a little bit more.” It is NOT all about me no matter how much fun I want, or how much I may think the world owes me. So maybe this year…perhaps…I can give rather than take? Oops…was that a resolution?

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Better_to_Be_Broken_Updated_CoverHave you ever met a person and wondered what they were really like? They seem nice enough now, but you wonder…were they always the way they act now?

If you have been reading my blogs, perhaps you have wanted to know more about me. Well now is your chance.

For the rest of this day, 1/8/2013, you can get a FREE copy of my book Better to Be Broken. It is a very transparent view of my life and failures. But, the message does not stop there. It is a book of hope and encouragement that I found.

Maybe you need some hope and encouragement in your life right now.

Then Better to Be Broken is the book for you.

FREE today only for Kindle on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Rick-Huntress/e/B008874896

 

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