Disability training required!

Firstly, a quick reminder for the newer folk around here, and numbers do seem to have exploded viewing this, so…I’m on holiday now, in Seattle. What this means for those lucky people who know to read both blogs, there’s no point, they just get copy and paste treatment, as most would want to know the same things, and besides, I dont have the time to write 2! So… Yes, I know, its been a while, but more on that in a moment!

Strictly, the holiday made an early start on Thursday, as I went into Am Dram mode again in Cookridge, with a couple of work friends. I would spend time praising the performance to the hilt, and telling you to go see it, but there were only 3 shows, its finished by now, but…It was really good, I must say, as was the meal before that, both the food, and the company.

I was going to post something on Friday re the reduction of stakes on the ghastly machines in betting shops nowadays, from £100, to £2, but firstly I ran out of time, having my hair done (shock horror, I’m not a natural blonde!), and then packing to come here. So it never happened. Mind, as the reduction wont kick in until 2020, I shall probably be rude about the betting industry before then!

Yesterday was just a typical US Travel day in so many ways, that I’ll only pass on the interesting details. Yes, Manchester Airport redeemed themselves this time, though they get one more chance to mess up yet. As does Seattle, where a lovely young lady not only helped me through, and got my baggage for me, she actually ran me over to where the hotel courtesy shuttles pick up, and I’m sure thats not in their job description. But the middle one… No, it wasnt bad, just the opposite in fact, really good service, but…

Every other airport I’ve seen in the US (even before I needed this ‘old crock’ service) has either had a separate line for wheelchair passengers, or mingled them into the crew column, or a mix of both. Ah, but this is Vegas, so…Its not the biggest International sector, I suspect it doesnt need it. So there is a crew column, but access passengers…no! Seems we, regardless of nationality go into the US there, in the US citizen queue. So yes, lol, dont tell Trump, but I’m a US citizen, of sorts! Not really, but yes, it was amusing.

Today has been relatively quiet, as I gave the body chance to recover in advance with planning. In truth, with the warmth here, less needed, but anyway… Just to say, for those who care, I now have an active US cell phone again, until next Sunday, so if you wish to talk, for any reason, just ask for number. If I dont know you of sorts, tell me why you want to talk to me, OK? Not saying I wont give it, but just curious, thats all. Only works for 8 days anyway!

OK, there has to be a down point, doesnt there? Yes, there is one, though hopefully the Mariners will sort it out, they have been emailed already. The game was great, the only snag being that the seat was up more than a few stairs, which didnt help, but I got there eventually, with only minimal soreness. No reason they should have known, I’m not obviously disabled (brace is under top/skirt, and fact not mentioned), so how would the poor guy picking my seat know? I did come down after 7.5 innings, I needed to go ‘somewhere’, and never went back up. Actually found a more comfortable seat for the other 3.5 innings, as it went to overtime. Then, after Seattle had won…

Given I was sore, and given there was a sign for a disabled elevator nearby, I decided to use that to get downstairs, rather than struggling down a large number of stairs, in a large crowd of people. Unfortunately, the lady in the elevator had either failed her disability training, had never been given any, or just didnt think it applied to anyone in less than a wheelchair! So when I, and another lady who said she had walking difficulties got into the lift, she bluntly told us that the lift wasnt meant for ‘people like you’, and pointing at a couple of mothers, with buggies behind us, said, “Its meant for them!”. I have no objection to them using it, but it does say its a disability elevator, so… Complaint email has been sent to the Mariners accordingly! Do I expect anything more than platitudes from them? Probably not! But put it this way, not that they will care, but I had planned a second game at some point Friday, or Saturday, but certainly wont be bothering now! I know, whats 1 customer to them, but all the same…

Fine, video time. I couldnt think of a song that really fitted in with all this, so just made a random choice of an under rated Soft Cell song.

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Behind the Green Card

Fine, you have to love politicians, not. No, before anyone gets excited, this isnt about UK politics, my job is too good for that. On the other hand, the chaos ensuing in the US, where the bewigged, orange idiot is in charge…?

I wish I could convince myself that American government grinding to a halt doesnt suit his plans, but I’m failing badly. Anyway, thanks to some of his crazier ideas, let alone the racist ones, the budget agreement in US has ground to a complete, and utter halt. I’m not saying the Democrats are perfect (they probably arent), but compared to the craziness of the Republicans, yes, its not hard to work out which party I feel sorry for.

No, its not either of them, its the poor workers who have no idea what is going on, when they’re going to get paid, or anything! Thankfully, despite everything, the main issues are protected, which doesnt help with the amusing jibe in my blog tonight, but I can bring it up, anyway.

Yes, probably wisely, Immigration issues are one of those protected areas, where life goes on. Well, until they get sick of not being paid, or 3 groups of people finally see the light, and get things sorted, but dont hold your breath on that!

But fine, if anyone in that department, while they’re not being watched so closely fancies sending me a working visa, or a green card…? 😉 Would make a lovely 60th birthday gift, lol! No, I know, not going to happen, but I can hope! Then I’d just need a role, and…? 😉

Please, America, lets get something sorted out soon. But whether Trump, and his cronies will let sense happen, not holding my breath!

OK, video time. Well its got 3 of the 4 words in the blog title in it!

Review of the Year, Part Two

So, lets get to the last 4 months of the year now, when a few things might have happened!

To do it in strictly in chronological order, the first new experience in September, was being wheeled through an airport in a wheelchair! In truth, I possibly could have survived the security experience at Manchester Airport (especially as I would have got Fast Track routing as a premium economy customer), but there was absolutely no way I was ever going to stand in the Immigration queue at Boston, I went with the ‘full in’ option. So fine, at Manchester it didnt quite work as planned (twice, but more on that later), as I got wheeled through security, and to the gate, but no one ever appeared to take me to the gate! So in the end, I managed to get myself down, and aboard the plane, but ironically that meant I was last on, not first! Boston end, it worked perfectly, and I can safely say I have never got through Immigration so quickly in my life, even if you allow for the time I waited on the plane before I got off!

The first few days on Cape Cod was a delight (Saturday night in Boston, went down there on Sunday) with Kate, just relaxing, and giving my back a wonderful break. Then, on the Thursday, we both headed back to Boston, Kate to head off somewhere with her partner, and me to head to Mahopac, NY, via Stamford (c/o Amtrak) to go to a friend’s wedding. Initially I’d assumed I would be going as a guest, then told I was a bridesmaid, only to find out I was Maid of Honor! Thankfully for all the others there, I didnt catch the wedding bouquet lol! It was an amazing experience, thanks go to Stacie, and Eric for the honor of doing that for me. Also thankfully, I was relaxed enough over those last few days that I managed to lay off the painkillers for just long enough to be able to drink at the wedding reception. Fine, I made up for it that night, but anyway…

Flying back afterwards was entertaining. Firstly, for some reason best known to themselves, the airline staff at JFK started boarding people, before boarding me in a wheelchair. It seemed they realized pretty quickly, and sent me through, but it was an interesting journey through all these people who had no interest in giving way to a passenger in a wheelchair!

On arrival at Manchester, chaos ensued. As had shown at JFK, I was the only person who had booked a wheelchair. Therefore, on arrival at Manchester, one wheelchair arrived, for me. Thing is, 5 people suddenly decided they needed a wheelchair, and one woman (who had the physical strength to push me out of the way!) decided she was taking it! Anyway, in the end, after a bit of a delay, a few more wheelchairs arrived, though only 1 extra pusher, and we eventually got through, but after quite a delay, obviously. Not helped by the fact that one person clearly didnt have the right paperwork (not sure if she was from my plane, or a holdback from a previous flight?). In the end, I sort of got up, collected my case, and struggled through on foot (someone pushed my case, thank goodness) to where I was being met! I only hope Manchester Airport does better next May, we will see!

After that, its fair to say that the year settled into LGBT mode at work. A presentation to just over 100 people on working as an LGBT person in my Civil Service Department, and gaining a position on a committee dealing with LGBT issues within said Department are 2 of the delights that followed. Oh, and on top of that performance, was of course, the performance as an Elf very recently!

Lastly, on Christmas Day, on Facebook of all places, someone posted a picture in one of the groups, of a young lady, in Christmas mode, of an event that happened nearly 90 years ago (1929). Yes, an unknown lady, at a pre-Christmas event in Los Angeles, way back when. Except…she looked familiar to me. Comparison to a few pictures taken about 5 years later, and agreement from a couple of other people on the matter, that lady is no longer unknown, to a few of us at least. Yes, 99.9% certain its a certain Clara Johnson! Talk about dream Christmas present, especially as in total, there were 3 pictures! Oh fine, here’s one of them, of her, at 24!

And thats about it! Two more working days in 2017, Friday all day, and a half day on Saturday! Not expecting anything major to happen, but we will see?

The video, big clue in the title. A live version of the song, from 2012, which means no Kirsty MacColl, but the woman gives a decent, if clearly rather starstruck performance

 
Tomorrow, a look forward to 2018, and what might, or will happen

Everyday Hurts

Regardless of my current physical issues, one thing I’ve always tried to do whenever I see anyone in a wheelchair is acknowledge them, even if its only a quick glance with the eyes, I always try to do something, just to show my support. Even more so now, in the sense that in a couple of weeks time, proverbially at least, I’ll be in their place. Fortunately for me, at the end of it all, I will be able to get out of the wheelchair, and walk away, to some degree at least, even if my back ensures it wont be that smooth an event. But of course, for most people in a wheelchair, thats not an option. Probably why, to some degree, I feel guilty about requesting a wheelchair, but being practical, I cant stand long enough in one place to join the standard Immigration queue, into the US, and in truth, getting through security might be challenging too, if I dont time it right! So fine, it needs to be done, but even so…

Yes, thankfully, I’ve got to the point where I can accept that as a fact, so I’m finding it easier to live with it, even if its not the perfect situation. I see one gentleman reasonably regularly, using the same bus service as me, to and from Bradford, and we’ve now acknowledged each other so often, I quite often get a wave, rather than a nod! But no, it wasnt him yesterday that made me think about my scenario in a fortnights time.

I was walking back from work yesterday, into town, and saw a woman in one of those motorized wheelchairs approaching at as much speed as I’ve ever seen one go! I tried to acknowledge her, but I think she was more focused on setting a qualifying time for a Grand Prix lol! No, I wont get a motorized wheelchair at the airport, I’m pretty sure, just being pushed along, I’m sure. To be honest, I have to, at some point look up what the etiquette is for these matters, as I suspect one of the places I might need assistance is in the check in area, but how does anything get sorted out before I check in? If anyone knows, and is prepared to comment, I’d love to know. If not, I’ll have to try and find out online, hazard of being a solo traveler.

To be fair, I should point out that it wont be my first time being pushed in a wheelchair, but the last time was nearly 50 years ago, and for a few weeks at least, I couldnt walk, as it was after both my knees were surgically operated on at the same time. Since then, no, never been in one. Well, not until a fortnights time, at least!

Yes, I do feel sorry for those, who unlike me, having got through the rigors of Boston Airport, wont be able to just get out of their wheelchair, and walk away, and know how painful it must be for some, when they see the rest of us walking around them, with too many just ignoring them. But yes, as a social experiment, it will be interesting to see how others react to me, all the same.

The video, an absolute oldie, just hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

I’m already torn

Well, more snapped than torn, but anyway, minor details…

I got a follow up call on Thursday, while at work from the surgery, and no prizes for working out what it was about, my back. In fact, I was going to ring them on Friday morning to get the update, but they actually beat me to it! No, they’re not waiting a few weeks to see how the back settles down, I’ve already been referred for a bone density scan check, so that doesnt sound good? No, still waiting to hear when it will actually happen at present.

So yes, MIT, if someone reads this, and you need a guinea pig for some back strengthening robot type thing, I’m your girl! Chrome body would be an additional bonus lol! If reprogramming comes as part of the package, thats not a put off! 😉

One snag I’ve since worked out, given that I’m due to fly to the US in less than 6 weeks time, is my inability to stand still for more than a few minutes at present, without the back giving way, even on painkillers. I can walk fine, though not quite as fast as normal, I can sit relatively comfortably too, but just standing still, no!

The issue, I hear you ask? Simple one, US Immigration! The last 3 times I’ve been through, the average queue time would be almost an hour. I know, some of that time is shuffling along in the queue, but I suspect that will be nearly as bad for my back as standing still! There is one obvious option to take, but typically me, I feel guilty about it, though several have already told me not to be. Yes, for want of a better term, especially in my case, the ‘medically disadvantaged’ situation.

Let me say that up to now, I’ve only ever needed to use a wheelchair once in my life, about 50 years ago, when both knees were first operated on. Yes, they were soft on children back then, though yes, it wasnt long before I had to use them again. But fine, I needed one for a while, I simply couldnt walk! But now, I can walk, and I can sit just fine. I can even stand for a couple of minutes at a time, but any longer…nope!

I know, arrange a wheelchair to meet me at Logan Airport, get whisked (relatively) through Immigration and Customs at the airport, thats fine. But what I know I would then feel guilty about, is getting up, and walking away, relatively normally. I know, cant be helped, just do it, but this is me, so…if anyone wants to mind control me not to feel guilty about doing it, it would be appreciated!

For now, I’m going to give it a couple of weeks, see if I get any more medication, and how that works before contemplating booking the service, but I will have to give notice, so…Its funny, I was reading an article that a number of people pull the assistance trick to get through security quicker, but thats not my issue, I hope! Rarely is the queue that long, that I couldnt cope, especially as you’re not actually stationary for that long, but the Immigration queue, eek! I know, I’m 59, I’m crocked, just do it, but its not my nature to do so! But yes, I suspect I will, all the same.

Right, video time. This is not the version of the song that everyone knows. No, Natalie Imbruglia covered this song! I do like her cover, but this is the far more rock laden original. Sadly the only live performance I could find was awful quality, so settled for this

Its no fun being an illegal alien?

Firstly, I’m not going to take all the kudos for this piece of Independence Day lunacy, because I was inspired by someone named Madi to come up with this idea. Oh, happy 4th of July to all US readers, regardless.

And no, let me also add that despite all of Trump’s neuroses over building a wall between the US, and Mexico, this piece also (other than the video?) doesnt relate to people from south of the border, either.

No, this piece relates to another type of visitor on Independence Day, though they were definitely not wanted by the US, for sure. But no, before anyone gets over excited, these were (I assume?) purely fictional. Yes, its movie related, though a very modern one for me at least, given it came out in the 90’s! Yes, the movie just known as Independence Day, when a large number of aliens visited the Earth, destroyed a few cities, and millions of people, in a fictional sense, before their weakness was found, and the ‘good guys’ win out in the end. Now I know the aliens didnt look as cute as this, but its the only apt photo I’ve got.

Yes, I would happily wear that, either for an acting role, or just for fun, given the chance, if someone bought it for me! Though fine, something even more alien looking might be even more fun! Madi actually suggested that this might be very suitable, and in truth, I would agree, very happily, though it might not look quite so good on a fifty something (nearly 60) with middle aged spread lol!

But fine, if anyone happens to have something like that, just laying around, in my size…? 😉 Yes, I’d love to do a photo shoot, or acting role in something like that! Would you believe thats actually from a 1933 movie? Well, yes, you can tell its pre-code lol! Katherine Hepburn, in Christopher Strong, if you’re curious?

However, before anyone shows any concern, I know of no alien plans to attack the US on this Independence Day, at least. So, enjoy the day, if you’re celebrating.

Right, video time. Yes, this is about the type of alien that Trump gets his knickers in a twist about. But dont worry, this is just 3 wealthy Brit’s, who have no need to sneak into the country in that way lol. Now, Donald, just give me that green card/working visa, and I’ll tell those other aliens to send back that attack force…lol?

What sort of wife would I like to be?

Earlier today, I was talking to one of my US friends on Facebook messenger, and we were discussing all the options to enable me to go and live in the US. The obvious one would be the work opportunity, but convincing an employer to job sponsor me, at my age, and with my list of skills, it might be easier said than done. It could happen, and if some employer reads this, and wants to offer me a job, then yes please!

The second one, which might be amusing at my, err, more advanced age, would be on a student visa. Not only is there the snag of being rather mature to be a student, especially given I never went beyond O Levels at school, due to a single parent scenario, where I had to get out to work ASAP, its not that practical an option either.

The third one, and I must say, one that fills me with amusement at the thought of it, is the marriage option! Fine, I’m laughing too, I’m 58, have been independently single for about 16 years, and not every man’s dream woman either! Well, I say man, but I’m equally open to a female partner nowadays, but anyway…

But yes, its not just the fact that I’m well used to doing what I want to do, when I want to do it, that might make being a good wife complex. As is well known around here, or should be at least, me and sex arent great partners! Thats actually over 17 years since I did “it” with another person, in fact! Oh, and I havent cooked regularly, or anything more than basically, in years! I know, dream woman, not!

Of course, my dream self as a wife, wouldnt have any of these issues, they’d be programmed into me. Yes, Stepford wife time! 😀 In truth, I’d probably love life as a 50’s housewife. I’m submissive, so having ‘my strong man’ telling me what to do, and think, would be heaven to me! I know, I’m funny, before any feminists bite my head off, but yes, I would love it, even if nearly everyone else wouldnt! Fine, I’d prefer the tweak of being the robot version, but if someone knows a way to make me a human Stepford wife, that might make a decent second prize! Still doesnt solve the issue of finding someone who wants me as a wife/partner, but anyway…its a start!

Apple Pie, any one? 😉

Equally, if someone just wants to turn me into a robot wife, I wouldnt mind at all!

The video. Well, I guess that if I was turned into a Stepford Wife, this might be how I feel?