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Poor House Romantic Getaways Gone Awry


Hi guys,

I have avoided telling you some big news. It’s been on my mind all summer and now that it is fall I should just say it.

I quit my job / am in the process of closing my business. Kind of, but not exactly.

What the what?! Rewind. I can tell that may have felt like an abrupt way to begin this post and now I am not so sure I feel like talking about it. But still- I wanted you to know and now you do. This probably means more time for blogging, at least for now. So that’s a plus!

So let’s start again, shall we?

Still 9/22/17

Hi guys,

I hope you are all having a super day! I am currently in our home office watching a serious rainstorm (complete with thunder!!) drench the world around me. Oregon has been on fire all summer long with Portland herself enveloped in an eerie pseudo apocalyptic haze for much of the last month, so even us sun worshippers have been praying for a solid downpour.

Don’t think I don’t know what you regular readers are thinking. Yes- I realize this blog is full of posts bemoaning the unremitting rainfall of last fall/winter/spring here in Portland. Guilty. But hear ye, hear ye (!) never again shall I publicly decry water- PAC NW’s greatest natural treasure.

And while on the topic of mother nature, I am officially sending a virtual blog hug to all those people and places dealing with natural disasters of a greater magnitude than what my little Portland bubble world dishes out. My brain struggles to comprehend, but my heart and the empath in me feels the feelings. And this little reactive sergeant in my mind instructs- Andrea, Oregon’s big one is long overdue. Get your emergency kit in order- now. And figure out how to carry Riley piggyback style, just in case. 

I actually awoke this morning to see this alarming text from my nephew- Andrea the world is about to end September 23 2017. I heard the rumor, but this guy stated it as such a casual truth. When taken in combination with everything else that has been going on, it gave me pause.

But you see, I take days to write a blog post and it is now 9/24/17 so I can conclusively report that we still here. Hooray!

I tell you though, all of this reminds me of a story. Not an earth shattering story, just one that makes me think about the vulnerability certain communities face when an alarm bell rings. So I present-

A Story from the Poor House: Romantic Night Alone Gone Awry

Jump back with me to approx. 1.5 years ago.

Me + Ri = ♥♥♥♥

FullSizeRender 69


Whoops, I got carried away up there with all those hearts! I swear, hand me a notebook,  let me daydream for a moment and I morph into a lovesick teenager doodling Ri ♥ Dre all over the cover.

What I meant to write-

Me + Ri on our first (ever!) overnight trip minus a caregiver person. We didn’t go far- 15 minutes or so to downtown Portland. It was a test, I guess, to see how the 2 of us balanced romance + travel + working as a team in Ri’s physical caregiving routine. It felt like a long time coming.

We picked a pretty bougie joint, because, you know, treat yoself!!

Everything was perfect- the linens, the accessibility, the robe I donned. Riley even got his biannual haircut to mark the special occasion. Only regret- not taking a bubble bath (darn!). But yes- all perfect until, approximately 2:30am when we abruptly awoke from what was easily the deepest sleep mutually experienced in a year or more, to the piercing ring of the hotel fire alarm. Nooooooo!

Not so fun fact. Did you know that fire alarms (this one, anyway) actually change octaves based on how long they have been ringing? Somewhere in the 25-35 minute range, they escalate to a full on – GET the F*** out the building (I seem to recall a voice on the loud speaker actually saying that but it was late so I can’t be sure…) ear drum shattering pitch. But who would stick around long enough to learn such things? Only someone (+ girlfriend) stuck 9 stories up or so, unable to get out of bed let alone walk to the nearest exit, in a hotel with no real strategy to handle such a scenario. So there I was- puffy eyed and waving down staff, trying to figure out what to do (their conclusion was to stay put…smoke was a couple stories down…probably some kid smokin’ a doobie) as Ri lay in bed, pillows wrapped tightly around his head in a failed attempt to muffle the intensely distressing cacophony. I actually took a video, but it is really unflattering so I can’t share it. Around minute 45 the alarms ceased, though our headaches and tinnitus lingered for another day or so. And a feeling, a vulnerable kind of feeling stuck with both of us.

The end of this story is that our room was comped and we were contacted a few days later via email with both a sincere apology and a promise to properly address the gaping hole in the hotel evacuation plan. In hindsight, I should’ve mentioned that 4 good earplugs can go a long way in a situation like that, but at any rate, given that I am very much an action steps oriented kinda gal, I felt pretty pleased with the manner in which they addressed the whole ordeal.

A brief sidetrack to state that sometimes I feel like this blog should follow a more proven / standardized format, you know, to increase my viewership and what not. My posts would copy the templates I see all over Facebook and Huff Post- Ex). 10 Things I Learned on my First Overnight Date with my Quadriplegic Lover or 5 Ways to Prepare for the Big One With A Wheelchair Bound Loved One. But I don’t think that’s how I do this blogging thing.

This post happening right now, as an example, was intended to be a follow up to summer recap pt.1 , (because if there is a pt.1 there should logically be a pt. 2, right?), but rattling off our summer shenanigans when I had other thoughts on my mind and heart just didn’t feel productive. And besides, that’s why we have an Instagram account!

So let me bring all of this full circle. See the thing is, Ri and I returned last week from an all around incredible trip to Colorado, despite one of our most perplexing accommodation quagmires to date. The hotel experience (plus some auspicious conversations I had the day beforehand with new friends from Breck) really got me thinking.

Between fire alarm date night described above and right now (+ pre-Andrea Ri experiences that I like to pretend never existed) we have enough bewildering, baffling, mind boggling travel experiences to compile a formal dissertation on the subject. And up until recently, I was complacent, often making light of some pretty serious screw ups, poor communication and colossal examples of the lack of understanding the hotel/travel industry as a whole displays when interfacing with clientele with physical limitations / special circumstances.


Hotel Quagmires

But these days the topic has me all fired up! And I am not alone! Apps, hotel review websites, Airbnb style websites all focusing on this subject are popping up to cater to a huge subpopulation of people who want to travel with greater ease. Shall we explore some of these cool developments together? I think so- in a future posting, ok? I’ll also tell you more about how employable I am :).


So bye bye for now, you guys! Thank you SO much for reading!!! And sharing, maybe??

P.S. One of the pics from the incredible part of the Colorado journey!


Ri prepping for his talk at Camp 9600









Summer Recap Pt. 1- No More Blahh and No More Barriers Because We Went to The No Barrier Summit 2017!

I’m back and I’m bloggin!

Hi, everyone! If you were beginning to wonder where I, Andrea, went (Hi Mom, friends, those who have chanced upon my beloved Poor House…), the truth is that I took a summer blogging sabbatical. My late-spring state of mind, you see, as documented in this blog post HERE, was, what’s that word I used again? Oh yes, that’s right- blaaaaahhhhhh and I needed to take some time to examine why that attitude was lingering.

Question for you – ever feel like your blaaaahhhhhh is unwarranted, comparatively?

Maybe it’s just me (doubtful), but I find that when I’m feeling a little low/grumpy/whatever, my inner dialogue has this tendency to impatiently cut in, diluting and dismissing my totally legit and uniquely me sufferings down to, essentially, first world white girl problems. But that’s not cool, because while that mindset provides me with a pretty upbeat attitude, it appears to divert space away from actually exploring and giving credence to the breadth of the feelings my shadow side experiences.

I really wanted to explore some of that stuff this summer (next blog post will reveal some detailed thoughts on that) and as luck would have it, early June offered us up a uniquely awesome and auspiciously timed opportunity to kind of kick that off. Thus, Ri + Andrea + Ri’s caregiver made our way down to Lake Tahoe/Squaw Valley to attend the 2017 No Barriers Summit. Despite the fact that I am not the target demographic for the event (or maybe I am and that’s the point), it was a completely transformational experience. I’m at a loss for words, actually. It was one of the most authentic opportunities I have had in my adult life to play, make new friends, connect with old, and challenge those stories we tell ourselves about who we are and what we can do. We attended talks, concerts and were surrounded by innovators. And the product placement?! Totally on point with every banner, shirt and water bottle reminding us consistently that-

What’s within you is stronger than what’s in your way

Heck. Yeah. That’s a message I can get behind (totally rockin that No Barriers Summit shirt at this very moment).

You can check out photos from the Summit HERE to get an idea of the breadth of this amazing event. And please, check out the No Barriers website while you are at it. This organization is seriously the real deal.

And while you may have seen some of our personal photos posted to our social accounts this summer (hint hint- follow us on social-  Instagram Here and Facebook Here), here’s a recap!




This summer has been absolutely epic and I need another blog post (or 3) to sum it all up. So por favor, stay tuned, my friends and I shall deliver the deets!




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Accessible Vaycay Hawaii Style


img_3009Written by Andrea

Winter in the Pacific Northwest gets tough, you guys. So cold. So wet. No sun. Why do we live in Portland again? Check back late spring and I will remember once again :).

At some point mid winter, it just became clear- Ri and I needed the warmth of a tropical breeze to dry out our water logged bodies. We craved Vitamin D -straight up from the sun. We required vaycay.

So, we booked a trip to Maui with friends. This was a big deal for 3 main reasons.

  1. We had never taken a tropical vacation together.
  2. We had never taken a tropical vacation with friends.
  3. We decided to do this tropical vacation sans caregiver, meaning Ri and I were a team on all fronts.

I want to tell you something about Riley- he is a travel prep pro. My boyfriend keeps a grand master list of every possible item we need to consider/bring when traveling + he keeps a prepackaged travel bag filled with extra medical supplies, a travel sling and more. Check, Check and Check!

Add to that, Ri and our travel pal sourced an awesomely accessible accommodation, along with a ramp van and a hoyer lift, so we had every controllable aspect of the trip set up beforehand with, quite honestly, little to no effort on my part! I, you see, was conserving my energy in preparation for the actual trip, when, you know, all the uncontrollable stuff starts to happen. Which, if you have ever travelled, you know is inevitable.

We had  fair amount of that stuff hit us on this particular vacation. Flight delays, rain, food poisoning, pain, sleep disturbances…that all happened. But, all of those things were just speed bumps along the way. Outside of the bumps, we made some kick ass memories with really great friends, Ri and I went swimming together for the first time ever, and we watched the sunset over the ocean every evening. We relaxed, we read, we soaked up the sun. We did Maui and it was really nice to get away.

I was hoping to share a few wheelchair savvy travel tips throughout this post, but all I can say about that is – talk to Ri, he has it down. I do have some general travel tips though, which I have realized apply equally as well to general life as they do to travel (darn, I guess vaycay is still real life). Either way, enjoy!

Here are my travel tips-

  • Be smart, be prepared, and only do what your body and mind are up for.
  • Don’t push yourself! Duh, you are on vacation.
  • Accept that in between all of the wonderful moments of travel/life there will be a bit of nonsense, chaos, and well, hard shit. This is the adventurous part of the trip (life) and you will either laugh about this stuff down the road or they will help define and shape the person that you will become.
  • Get a lot of sleep. Like, a lot of sleep. More than you think you need. Oh, and drink a lot of water. But not right before you sleep.

I want to give a big shout out to the Hyatt Residence Club at Kaanapali Beach. It is a fabulous option for anyone with mobility issues, or anyone who just wants to relax to the max.

Lastly,  Ri suggested I write another blurb about my experience with the whole caregiving side of the trip. So, stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, examining the juxtaposition that is Caregiving (or as I prefer- Care-girlfriending) While on Vacation.