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Poor House Romantic Getaways Gone Awry

9/22/17

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 = ♥♥♥♥

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MWAH!

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.

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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!

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Ri prepping for his talk at Camp 9600

xoxo~Andrea

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I want to tell you about Wheel Pad!

Written by Drea

I ask you this –

Where do wheelchair bound/paralyzed folks (anyone needing accessible housing, really) live when their former housing accommodations are inaccessible? That is a tricky predicament facing a lot of people in our country. For the newly injured in particular, this adds one more layer of stress atop an extremely stressful time. Even Ri, who had a multitude of family, friends, and community resources struggled to find accessible housing. He lived in a hotel for months until he found something half decent, and even now, 8 years post injury, we are still altering our home to make life as accessible as possible.

Short of expensive remodels or relocation, this predicament had few alternate solutions. Until Wheel Pad, that is. Wheel Pad, launched in 2016, is a 200 square foot accessible bedroom and bathroom module that has the ability to actually link up to an existing home, bringing accessibility right to your doorstep! Ta-dah!

The beauty of Wheel Pad is that it is an immediate short term solution. It keeps families together and removes the stress around creating an accessibility plan. I am all for easing burdens, so this is a project I am behind.

Check out this video below to get a better idea of what I am talking about (Wheel Pad on YouTube).

Oh, and keep an eye out at 1 min 38 seconds for the (2 second!) Ri and Andrea cameo!

 

So I’ll be straight. I dig Wheel Pad, in part, because it is a Riley Poor inspired project (no surprise there- if you have been reading this blog my adoration is clear). I also dig it because I find pleasure in watching Tiny Home shows and Wheel Pad is very “on trend” with the movement. Furthermore, I thoroughly enjoy Julie Lineberger and Joseph Cincotta, Ri’s godparents and Wheel Pad’s founder and chief architect, respectively. All of that, coupled with the accessible housing situation it addresses make it a win for the home team.

But really, the Wheel Pad project gets my stamp of approval because it is innovation with soul. Wheel Pad is a product of the ripple effect that was born the moment Ri dislocated his neck. It is, essentially, a proactive adaptation in response to a heavy, tragic moment- a call to action, if you will. While not a direct part of the design or building process, Wheel Pad unmistakably has Ri written all over it. The clean lines, the modern vibe, the materials, the design and even where it was built (Vermont- Ri’s childhood homeland and where he had his spinal cord injury) ripples right back to the initial source of inspiration.

So, without going off on too much of a tangent, my point is this- the actions or events we face (whether they seem good or bad at the time) carry with them the capacity to change the world in both big and small ways. Ri is firm in his assertion that he would change nothing about his path in life- and why would he when it is clear that he has inspired a lot of greatness in this world, with Wheel Pad being just one example.

Here is the link to Wheel Pad’s website. While it may not be a solution for everyone (cost and space are potential obstacles), you just never know who might benefit from this project, so don’t be shy about spreading the word :).

That’s all I have today! Thanks so much for reading! And please don’t be a stranger now – say hi, join my bloggity blog and let me know what you think!

~~~~Andrea