Posts Tagged ‘TV’

I was watching some news for a bit. I felt like being nauseous, and the news is usually the best way for me to accomplish that.

The last thing I looked at was the story of the disabled man being tied up and beaten in Chicago. One news reporter mentioned that if this case is “raised” to the level of a hate crime, the four attackers could face up to 30 years in prison. Most of you have probably seen the news report but here is a link to what happened.

Chicago beating

As I watched the video, and read the report, I wondered something about hate crimes. Is not “hate” the motivator behind all crimes? People love to jump on the “No Hate” band wagon for their favored group. But is one group any more important then another? Politicians fight and babble over gun control. We can take the gun out of someone’s hand, but until the hate is taken out of the man’s heart, there will be no change. If not a gun, then some other weapon.

So we as society have decided how much hate constitutes a hate crime. And what if I disagree with the measuring rod? Does that make me a hater? Am I as guilty as the attackers in the video if I don’t agree with someone?

You are by now thinking this post ridiculous. Maybe it is. Just seems to me that it is just fine for me to hate, as long as I hate the same things you do. Just don’t let my hate leave the boundaries set by society.

But wait…what if we lived in a world with no hate, no violence, no crime, etc. Oh wait, that would be called heaven. I’m not there yet, but watching the news often makes me wish I was.


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Greetings fellow bloggers and blogees. What! Blogee is not a real word?! I can’t imagine. 😉

I was informed it was time for an update on the house. Not mentioning any names of course, but here is the update, as requested, from someone in South Africa. Fortunately for all of you other readers that are just tingling with excitement and anticipation, you get the update also. I will just tack on small notes to the pics, and the videos speak for themselves.  Enjoy!


The is taken from the back corner of Wendy’s and my bedroom. The door on the right goes into our bathroom and the door straight ahead goes into the hall coming in from the garage.


This is taken from the kitchen area looking down the main hall in the house. The first door on the right is the library. The last door on the right leads into Wendell and Hilda’s area of the house.


This is taken from the back corner of the dining room. The main part of the house is an open concept consisting of the dining room, the den that you see here and the kitchen is off to the right. The door on the left also leads into Wendell and Hilda’s end of the home. The two holes on the right that you see will be for the fireplace on the bottom and a built in TV on the top.


This is taken from the back corner of the kitchen looking into the main part of the house. Lots of Windows for lots of light. The double glass door will lead out onto the patio at the back of the house.


This is taken from the bathroom door in Wendy’s and my room, looking across the back of the bedroom.


This is the tub/shower enclose and my roll in shower in Wendy’s and my bathroom. The roll in shower is barrier free with a two inch slope down to an oversized drain at the back of the shower.



Front of the house taken from Avery Road.

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Welcome to the part of our home that acts as my “man-cave.” Of course it is rather difficult to have a man-cave with a wife and two daughters. So while I try to hibernate at times, my “girls” are running in and out, fashion questions asked and answered, blow dryers running and makeup being applied. But I do have my own space here in the bedroom where I read, write, play my xbox 360 or watch TV.

When we remodeled this end of our home, we intentionally made the master bedroom and bath extra large so that I could easily get around, but also so I would have a space to be alone when I needed to. Looking down the hall from the foyer you will see it is a straight shot into the master bedroom. If you were to take a right hand turn just before going into the master bedroom you would go down another hall to our daughter’s bedrooms and bath. The only modification that we did in their area was to widen the bathroom door to a 36 inch door. This made the bathroom accessible for me and any company we might have that are in wheelchairs as well.

The home had four bedrooms originally, but during the remodeling process we combined two of the bedrooms into one large master bedroom. By doing that we were able to add a walk-in closet for Wendy and make a large master bath. The bedroom has hardwood floors, a drop leaf desk for me, a wall mounted TV, book cases and remote controlled everything. Furniture near the bed was selected for space and also a place to hide all of my stuff that I need. One thing about being in a wheelchair is that I feel overwhelmed with “stuff.” So we wanted a bedroom that would accommodate that necessity of my life but also offer me a place to keep it out of the way. Another change we made was the height of the clothes rod in my closet. We had it installed at my level rather than the industry standard for most people. Just a simple change like that can make life a lot easier for someone in a wheelchair.

The original master bath had a 28 inch door, a small sink, toilet and shower stall. It was one of those bathrooms that you had to leave just to change your mind. The new master bath has a 36 inch door opening (minus the door) and is now 8 X 16 feet. There is a double vanity with large mirrors so that I can see in them. I have been in many bathrooms where the mirror over the sink is placed so that a person in a wheelchair cannot use it. The vanity has a cutout under my sink so that I can pull right up to it with plenty of leg room. There is also a 5 foot turn radius in front of the commode which complies with VA and ADA standards. There is plenty of shelf space for supplies, and a 5 X 5 foot roll-in shower which is my pride and joy of our entire remodeling project. I am able to take care of all my bathroom needs without any difficulty of getting around. Then when finished in the bathroom, I just roll to our bed to get dressed.

As I mentioned before, remodeling can be expensive. Each person will have to choose what he/she considers to be the most important area to spend money on. In our case we spent most of ours on the bedroom and bathroom. It gives me complete independence to get ready in the mornings and also a space to call my own.

Well now you have had the complete tour through our accessible home. We often have people who will come over for design ideas to incorporate into their home. So if you are ever in the area and want a tour, just let me know. Or feel free to email and ask questions. I can always send more pictures and offer some advice that may save you some headaches in your own accessibility designs.


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One thing to consider, when purchasing or remodeling a home for accessibility, is the size of the rooms. Our home was not being lived in when we first saw it on the market, so we had an excellent opportunity for me to roll around the empty rooms and get a good concept of floor space.

Since the home was built in 1970, one thing that was an immediate concern was the size of the bathrooms. There were three bathrooms in the home and I was not able to get into any of them. The picture you see on the right was a combined laundry room/bathroom that is off our kitchen. There is also a pantry cupboard in the room and a door to exit into the garage.

It was obvious that this room was impractical for me, and the half bath (where you now see the washer and dryer), was about the size of a phone booth with a 28 inch wide door. Wendy did not like the idea of three toilets to clean in the house anyway, so we decided to remodel this room. When we remodeled, we eliminated the half bath and moved the washer and dryer to that side of the room.  We also replaced the 32 inch door going into the garage with a 36 inch door. We have no other furniture in the room, which makes for a very spacious laundry room with a large pantry cupboard.

Moving to the other side of the kitchen there is a doorway that leads into our den. This door is only a 32 inch door, but since I can fit through it fine, we decided to leave it as is because there are built-in bookshelves surrounding the door in the den. We have a lot of books and did not want to give up bookshelf space if at all possible. Once again we have hard wood floors in the den, but you will see from the picture that we added an area rug. When choosing the rug we made sure it was durable and not very thick. Pushing wheelchairs on carpeting or thick rugs is not an easy thing to do.

The two pictures of our den with the fireplace in view were taken from the doorway leading into the foyer. A couple of things to point out here: the fireplace and the computer desk. The fireplace is equipped with gas logs that are remote controlled. The remote makes it very easy for me to ignite the logs and is a great safety feature for anyone. The older style gas logs had to be started from inside the fireplace which was difficult for me to do. I would much prefer a fireplace with natural wood to burn, but, unfortunately, that is not the most practical thing for me any longer.

Finding a computer desk that is wheelchair accessible will probably send you on many shopping excursions. The typical design of computer desks is to put the keyboard on a tray that pulls out from beneath the surface of the desk. That does make good sense but rarely allows enough height distance to roll a wheelchair up under. My knees hit the keyboard tray, and that is as far as I go. So what we did was purchase a library table large enough to set our desktop computer and accessories on. This allows me plenty of leg room, and I am able to reach everything that I need when sitting there.

The last thing to mention in our den is the TV. Thanks to the new style of flat screen TV’s, we mounted ours on the wall which freed up a lot of floor space. A large entertainment center can be very nice if you have a room large enough to handle it and still leave plenty of room for maneuvering a wheelchair around in. Floor to ceiling bookshelves are great because I keep my books on the lower shelves and Wendy uses the upper shelves. We also have multiple other bookcases spread throughout the house with easy access.

One last thing to point out in a den is placement of furniture. Most dens will have sofas and chairs surrounding a large coffee table for entertaining, or placed around the TV for optimal viewing. In our case you will notice that the center of the room is obstacle free. We have three beanbag chairs to crash on when someone watches TV. Then they can be easily tossed into the corner to get them out of the way. Not the most aesthetically pleasing look for most people, but it definitely keeps open space for wheelchairs.

And for my next post, we will travel into the bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Remember to check out www.rickhuntress.org for book ordering details.

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It is strange how the things that matter most in life, we tend to put the least amount of effort into. The importance of family is something that Icannot express enough. Yet for some reason we all find excuses to put our families last. I even made my excuses sound noble in nature. “Well of course I have to work 14 hour days, I’m providing a good home for my family.” For those of you who may remember the TV show “Gilligan’s Island,” Mrs. Thurston Howell III once said, “Anyone who says that money cannot buy happiness just does not know where to shop.” We may smile at that idea, but have we bought into it? Do we really need three cars, new laptops, the latest iPhones, the big screen tv’s, etc.? Or have all of us replaced family with things?

After my injury, my family rallied around me with love and support. Much of that love and support I did not deserve. I talk about this quite a bit in my book, Better to Be Broken, but let me expand on it a little more here. We were told at the time of my injury that 70% of all marriages which experience a traumatic injury will end in divorce. That was a pretty staggering statistic 15 years ago and it may very well be higher today. But why such a high percentage? Let me go out on a limb here and offer an opinion–hedonism.

People can be hedonistic about many things and desires in life. We are so wrapped up in “what I want and what will make me happy,” that when something bad happens to us, or around us, we just pack up our toys and move on to the next playground. As a counselor I hear many excuses for the way people act. And much of it is just that, excuses. We love to play the “he said, she said” game as a means of justifying our motives and actions.

I was talking with someone about a month ago concerning their choice of direction for their life. I listened to all of the reasons given to support their decisions and how they had no choice in what they were doing because, “That is the way I feel.” While talking, the phrase “I feel,” was repeated many times. Feeling something is nice, but don’t toss out thinking and logic in order to live a self-centered life. What if Wendy, my wife, had allowed only her feelings and emotions to run her decisions at the time of my injury? Odds are we would have become part of that divorce statistic. I had disappointed her as a husband, let our children down and was living a life that “was all about me.”

And while lying in my hospital bed, I realized what a selfish person I had become. I wanted everything my way and was running on what made me feel good rather than focusing on what was truly best for my family. I was fortunate that Wendy loved me enough to offer me a second chance that many do not get.

Recovery from any tragedy is difficult enough, and your family plays a critical role in that recovery. So maybe you have some fences to mend, apologies to make or just need to reset your priorities. Take a step back, stop focusing on yourself, and check the temperature of your family relationships. Do you see room for improvement? Then make some changes in your life and start putting your family first today.


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