Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When is it worth it to fight for accessibility?

Over the years Mik has had to deal with a variety of issues being able to get access to things.  For the most part we have worked to get him access to things such as having the city put in a cut out at the end of our block in Tucson so he could go to high school by himself.  However, there also have come times when it just was not worth it such as eventually giving up on getting reasonable accommodations at school and him finishing his last year of high school through the district's home bound program.

This past weekend I think we came across one of the toughest decisions on whether it is worth fighting for accessibility or not.  For one, it is probably one of the most reasonable requests we have ever wanted.  Not to mention I am pretty sure the law is extremely clear on it being on our side for something to be down about it.  However, the fact we even have to fight for it from the very beginning made me make the tough decision that it was not worth it.

So what did we ask for? A push button be installed on the common access door to a condo building in Alexandria, Virginia.

This past weekend we went to D.C. on our first condo hunting trip.  Sure, I never expected it to be our only one.  However, after going through about a dozen units in 6 buildings we not only found the neighborhood we wanted to live in, but a unit that really felt right.  It was particularly surprising because one of my big non-negotiables was a balcony and it didn't have one, but it had a very open living room and plenty of windows for sun so gardening was still something we could work out.  It was also the best for Mik to maneuver around throughout and it had was a two bedroom plus a den.

The only thing that concerned us was it was also the only building we looked at that didn't have a manned desk and/or doorman and it also lacked an automatic door, so Mik would not be able to independently get in and out of the building.  Thus, we made an offer on the unit with it being contingent on the condo building addressing the access issue by installing a push button.  In less than 24 hours we got a response that the condo was unwilling to install one.

Perhaps we could have worded it better in that there are other options like a remote or fob activated thing, but mainly Mik requires an automated door for long term independence, which is the whole point of moving to the D.C. area.  Putting up a fight is something I am quite sure we would win as it is clearly discrimination that is not allowed under the Fair Housing Act.  However, after our experience with the HOA here in Huntsville, I do not want to start messing with the association before even living there when they clearly did not even care to research the possibility of making a reasonable accommodation before saying they cannot do it (there is slight financial hardship reasoning to get out of such things, but even then I am pretty sure it is actually something that can require a special assessment that they could have at least taken some time to consider ).

Apparently, that was not the right condo for us.  There was another building we had been considering between when deciding to make an offer, but none of the current units totally felt right (we wanted like parts of each being one).  However, it is part of a complex with automated doors for entry to the building and one part also has a manned desk, so maybe a unit we really like will come up there.  By the way, I think only one other building we looked at did not have an automated door and we asked the front desk about it. They said they always have someone at the desk that could help and they even have an actual doorman in the evenings.  We did like that building, but the location just was not really right.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mom's Reliance on GPS

Nothing wrong with using GPS in general, but I have found it increasingly frustrating to be in the car with Mom and here telling me to look something up on GPS.  Sure we still use the car navigation to not miss the turn when going to the lake house, but when it is something we in general know where it is it drives me nuts to spend time looking it up on my phone than at least giving us a chance to find it. I guess I kind of get in Huntsville, but it isn't hard with almost everything on two roads.

This past week I especially got annoyed at her because we were back in Tucson and we (or at least I) know the area and seriously if you can't find El Charro downtown without GPS can you say you ever really lived in Tucson!

I guess I'm sort of nostalgic in finding our way as I remember learning my way around Tucson when I was seven and not only was Tucson new to us, but also our nanny.  We got lost a lot, but I guess I loved adventures (i.e. misadventures) back then, too.

Part of why Mom's GPS reliance drives me nuts is also that it's like she doesn't trust we will get there without it.  Sure it doesn't always work without GPS, but trust me sometimes we will get there without it even if we have to go in a circle (look up Explorer Blvd., Huntsville and you'll see how a wrong turn actually was just the very slight long way and not worth Mom's GPS freak out).

Back to this past week and Mom asking me to pull up GPS to get somewhere for the second time that day.  First off, I'll admit we kind of needed GPS in the first instance, but I still say we would have found the place without it because I already had said there's just one shopping center on the corner left to look and she just had to first stop and pull up GPS rather than investigate firsthand.  When she tried to do that again later to find El Charro I told her it's like the song Automatic sung by Miranda Lambert, which she wasn't familiar with, so I successfully distracted her by working on downloading it while also successfully directing her to El Charro.  We didn't even have a misadventure unless you count going almost all the way around the block to find the entrance to the parking lot.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Motorcycle Mickey and Our Disney Front Porch

About a week ago I found out that Kmart had an exclusive line of Disney outdoor products.  The motorcycle Mickey really caught my eye because of the HOA warning I got last year for having my scooter on the front porch.  They said it was because motorcycles are not allowed to be parked there, so I figured I might as well put an actual motorcycle on the front porch this year even though it is a miniature.

I also could not pass up on the solar powered Mickey lighthouse.  I was able to resist the Mickey and Minnie fountain, though I would not mind getting that eventually when we do get a condo if we do not already have too many things for our porch, which we might because we already had two Grumpy statues, a Mickey statue (I'm not attached to this, though), and the Grumpy planter that Mik choose online and also arrived today.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Turning a broken bowl into a work of art

Months ago Dad dropped one of the small plastic bowls and it broke exactly in half.  He brought it to show to me and I immediately decided to hold on to it to make something with it.  Around the same time we put in extra cabinets in the kitchen and I saved the leftover scrap from the counter top for the project.

Yesterday I finally got around to doing something with the bowl and counter top pieces.  I painted the edges of the counter scrap so it was all black using leftover paint from the penguin army project.  I then used a hot glue gun to attach the bowl pieces to the counter top scrap.

When Dad got home I asked him if he thought it would stay attached because when looking at some edges were clearly not touching the counter top.  He proceeded to grab one of the pieces and pull it off.  That clearly illustrated that it would not hold up to anything in the bowl, but that was already quite obvious and I merely was wondering if it was attached enough for its own weight, which they seem to be as long as someone doesn't pull on it!

After reattaching the piece Dad pulled off, I remembered I had some colored stones from an abandoned stepping stone project.  I glued those on to make it look like a flower is growing out of the bottom bowl.  At that point I was kind of wishing I had only put one half of the bowl on because the top bowl did not have enough counter top area above it to do a flower with the stones.

In searching around for other things to use to make something coming out of the top bowl, I found some wine corks and a bottle cap with an apple that got me thinking I could make an apple tree coming out of that bowl.  At first I was going to attach the bottle cap directly to one of the wine corks, but then I found the stash of used up tape rolls that I keep saving thinking I will make fun napkin rings some day.  I painted four of them green and glued them together to be the tree top and then glued the bottle cap in the middle.

The final decision came down to which of the two wine corks to use for the trunk.  One was a Kendall Jackson one, so it says KJ on one side.  The one I decided on, though, was the Black Opal one glued on with the Opal words facing out.  I mainly choose it because it was more porous and thus easier to stick on.  Also, the KJ would have been side ways whereas the Opal lettering is upright when the tree trunk.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Round Bed

I was looking something up on Facebook this morning and found this photo of when we first bought my round bed at IKEA back in 2007.  It was pretty much the only piece of furniture I had when I lived in DC.  Over the years we have moved it several times including around Tucson, which usually meant taking two trips.  Last month we moved it from our main house to the lake house we rented for this year and it was much easier to move in the truck.  Thought it was interesting to compare the first move with the latest move picture.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Mickey Gnome Rain Gauge Collage

Tonight we have more snow.  Yesterday's melted by evening, but now we already have the same if not more.  I decided to take some more photos. I took one of the Mickey rain gauge yesterday morning and when taking another tonight I was reminded of the frozen one I took of it back on Thanksgiving.  I thought it made an interesting collage combining those with one of just rain I took of it the first week we had it last March.  Kind of a look back at how precipitation has gone from something we didn't see much when we lived in AZ just over a year ago and the abundance of it we get now in AL to the point I have been totally over it (the rain, the snow is still a novelty!).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

One Year Later & Snow

Today marks one year since our stuff was delivered to our new home in Alabama.  I thought it would be interesting to compare my room now to the panorama I took of it the night our stuff was moved in.  My room certainly has changed a lot and actually for the most part is new clutter.

I wish I had one of Dad's office to compare one year later because it's more still in boxes than unpacked.  I guess the MAY part of my prediction last April was a NOT going to be unpacked after a year in the house, but actually we did sort out the attic or at least we do know what's up there and it all makes sense to be there.

Today also marks the first time we have a decent covering of snow.  I thought it was funny to see our Kokopelli yard ornament reminders of Arizona covered in snow.

Here's to hoping that in one more year we'll have everything unpacked/sorted out as any longer than that than maybe it doesn't need to be unpacked. This has never been what we would consider a long term home.  It certainly has been the right place for the past year, but after seriously thinking that on the river in Alabama could be our long term home we've come back around to DC is where at least Mik and I will always want to be and we're saving and planning for 2016.