Lunch Date From HELL!

Shantel, and her friend Jaz, decided they were going to go out to lunch after class a while back. They agreed to meet in the school cafeteria after their last class, walk to the shopping center behind the school campus, where they would stop at Sally’s Beauty Supply to pick up a few items Shantel needed for her hair, before catching the bus that would take them to Macayo’s Mexican Food restaurant.

When they arrived in the school cafeteria, an elderly student, who is a mutual friend of Shantel and Jaz, asked them if they would mind watching her “stuff” for a few minutes while she took care of something she needed to do. Shantel and Jaz agreed but asked her to hurry because they were going out to lunch. Shantel said as their luck would have it, the elderly lady was late getting back which made Shantel and Jaz late leaving for the shopping center.

However, Shantel and Jaz still had enough time to get to Sally’s before the bus came but they would need to just run in and grab the items they needed and get right out so they wouldn’t miss their bus. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t work out so well. By the time they got out of Sally’s Jaz told Shantel the bus they needed to catch was just pulling away. Well, not to worry… The girls decided to kill some time, they would go to the Starbucks right there in the same shopping center and get something to drink. Unfortunately, that plan went south as well, because they got behind some people who didn’t know how to order anything so they had a bit of a wait again. Then, while they were standing in line to get their drinks, Jaz looked at the Sally’s receipt and noticed Shantel paid $20.00 for an item they thought was $7.99. No time to return the item that day so Jaz told Shantel to keep the receipt and they would make a return trip to Sally’s later that week.

By the time the girls finally got their drinks at Starbucks, Jaz noticed the next bus they needed to catch was just pulling up to the bus stop so Jaz had to shove the drinks in her backpack, because no food or drinks are allowed on the bus, and off they ran to catch the bus, which they did finally get on this time.

The girls finally got to Macayo’s restaurant, but just as they stepped off the bus, the bag from Sally’s broke spilling all the hair product items out all over the sidewalk. Jaz was scrambling to pick them up and had to cram them all into Shantel’s purse, something Shantel was none too happy about because she doesn’t like ANYTHING dirty to touch anything of hers.

Once inside Macayo’s, Shantel of course had to go to the restroom where she was met with yet another opportunity to overcome a challenge when she got stuck inside the bathroom stall. Lucky for Shantel, Jaz knows karate and was able to kick the door open and get Shantel out.

But the fun was not over yet. When it was finally time to order lunch the girls asked for two orders of mini chimi’s  but only one arrived at the table so they had another wait to get the second order. Go figure. 🙂

Shantel and Jaz decided they are going to go back to Macayo’s again this coming week. However, they have a better plan. They are not going to “stuff” sit for anyone. They are not going to go to Sally’s or Starbucks, They are just going to leave school right after class and head straight for the bus to Macayo’s so they won’t be so rushed and hopefully they won’t have another “lunch date from HELL!!!”

Stay Tuned!

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Tim, A Man of Integrity

Tim is a delightful young man our daughter, Shantel, met at college. He is twenty-six years old, married, and has two children. Last semester, when I took Shantel to school, and had to wait with her in the cafeteria until Disabilities Services opened so Shantel could pick up some braille books, and/or the testing center to open where Shantel takes all her tests, I had the good fortune to meet and spend time with Tim myself.

At first glance, Tim is not the type of person I would normally be drawn too, but I am so glad I didn’t pass up the opportunity to get to know him. When I first met Tim, he had wild, orange hair, would always wear short sleeve shirts with suspenders, and talked a lot about comic books, and in particular Spiderman. He has Spiderman licence plates, his school Id hangs from a Spiderman necklace, and even his phone cover is Spiderman. Tim said he is a self-proclaimed Nerd, and proud of it. He was VERY excited that he was going to attended four days at Comicon (comic book convention), dressed as Spiderman this year. Personally, at the time, I found that strange for a twenty-six year old man, but I thought hey, who am I to judge?

Shantel and Tim became good friends over the past few months. Shantel would come home and tell me how her friend, Tim, would help her understand her math homework and that he would even come in early on days when Shantel had tests and drill her to help ensure she would pass.

Over time, as I had opportunities to visit with Tim, I got to know and understand him on a deeper level. He shared with me that he served our country in the US Army. He is devoted to his family, loves cars, and science. I also came to understand that Tim is wicked smart. He is currently working his way through math and the sciences and earing his way to a double major in Physics and Chemistry. When Tim completes his studies this year, and has his degrees from South Mountain Community College, he will move his family and transfer to the University of Texas.

This year, we are so fortunate that Tim is taking the same level Chem Class as Shantel, and he agreed to be her lab partner, and take notes for her in class.

Shantel came home yesterday and told me Tim sent her a private Facebook message the night before letting her know he was asked to come to the school office and sign papers so he would be paid to take notes for Shantel in her Chem class. Notetakers get paid $75.00 per credit hour. Chem is a four credit class, so Tim would make $300.00 for the semester. Shantel said Tim wanted to know if she had any issues with him doing that. Shantel told Tim she had no problem with him signing the papers, and asked him why he thought she would. Tim told Shantel ” I don’t want to profit off your misfortune, but if you don’t have any issues with it, I can really use the money.” Now, that, speaks volumes to me about the integrity of Tim.

Integrity: A concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcome.

I’m dedicating this blog post to Tim because he is such a special and unique person, a true friend to Shantel, and truly a “man of integrity“.

Stay Tuned!

My Holly Day

Most women have special girlfriends in their life that they love, and call their “best friends forever (BFF’s). If we are lucky, we have one or two girlfriends in our lives that we consider much more than a “best friend”. These women are more than a friend. They are a sister by choice, or what I call a frister…A friend who has become your sister by choice if  you will. I never had a sister, but I have been blessed with two women in my life that I consider my sister’s by choice. These two special women walked into my life and changed me forever. I connected with them immediately, and formed a life-long bond with them that I know will never be broken. I trust and love these women with my whole being. And, I thank God everyday for bringing them into my life.

Today, I was able to spend the day with the first women I ever loved enough to consider her my frister, sister by choice, Holly. Holly and I met twenty something years ago when I first started working in Corporate America. Holly trained me in my position, and over time, we became best friends. Please know I never really had a “best” friend before Holly, because I grew up in family filled with mistrust  to say the least…

So, in the beginning of my relationship with Holly, I didn’t know how to react to her welcoming me into her circle of friends… but over time, Holly not only welcomed me into her circle of friends, she welcomed me and my family, into her life. Our families have shared holiday’s, and birthday’s together. And, when our daughter, Shantel, was diagnosed with cancer, and we knew she was going to lose her sight, it was Holly who showed up at the hospital, and helped me know “we” could deal with this…”we” would help Shantel learn how to live in her blind world…Holly, and her husband, Chuck, were my husband, Bill, and my life line then, and they continue to be a vital part of our life to this very day…

So, today, after several months of not being able to spend quality time with my sister by choice, Holly, because of circumstances outside of our control…Holly and I finally got to spend the entire morning and afternoon together… Let me tell you it was like going home for me… I LOVE this woman with all my heart and soul…and if I never said it enough to you Holly I’m saying it now… I LOVE You girlfriend!!

We started the day as we always do when we meet up by having breakfast at IHop:

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After breakfast we moved on to the East Valley Park -N-Swap. We love this park-n-swap because it is covered which is a welcome relief in the summer months…

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I was looking for a plastic pitcher, to replace the one Holly’s husband, Chuck, gave his famous Ahh juice to Shantel in, and I melted it when I put it in the top shelf of our dishwasher:

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What we found at the park-n-swap was, lots of clothes for adults:

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and for little children…how cute are these…?

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And funny hats, if you have a mind for that:

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We saw dogs in shoes:

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But we did not find an ahh juice pitcher.. So, we left to go to a discount mall, where we found vintage everything:

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We found a colorful cat, but no ahh juice pitcher in sight…

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Our last resort was Kohl’s department store where we were sure we would find our treasure ahh juice pitcher…but, no ahh juice pitcher was to be found…. However, I did score these pretty pants in black & white which were on the 80% off rack for only $12.80… now, no girl can pass that up… right?

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And, I scored this galvanized and painted tray which was originally priced at $30.00 for $6.00…what a deal…

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And as if that were not enough….I scored this colorful measuring cups/spoons set deal for $5.00 on clearance…When Chef Shantel bakes in the winter…we never have enough measuring cups/spoons soooooooooooo now we do…

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Nothing replaces time spent with Frister’s … aka, Sisters by CHOICE… 🙂

Stay Tuned!

Attention Shoppers

My daughter, Shantel, started back to college this week, and with that comes a new year of issues with using dial-a-ride.

Shantel has to use two dial-a-ride services. Phoenix dial-a-ride picks her up at her school and takes her just a few miles down the road, where she sits on a bench, just inside a Fry’s food store, until the East Valley dial-a-ride comes to pick her up and brings her home. Yesterday, the East Valley dial-a-ride didn’t show up when they were supposed to, so Shantel called them again and was told they would send another driver right out to get her.

When Shantel finally got home, she told me she knows she has been sitting in Fry’s too long when she starts hearing the same advertisements repeated over the intercom system. I asked her how many advertisements are run and she said “a lot, but I know them all by heart.” I asked her to tell me one of the advertisements she knows off-hand. Without missing a beat, she said ” attention shoppers, Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka has naturally infused fruit flavors, and at only 78 calories per serving it is a light, refreshing drink. Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka contains 30% alcohol by volume.”

What a memory that girl has. I was impressed to say the least, and I told her memorizing all of Fry’s advertisements  could be a good thing because, if she ever got a job interview with Fry’s she could tell them she knows all about the products Fry’s sells and she could quote the Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka advertisement as an example” Shantel laughed and said “I don’t think so mom, because with my luck, they might start thinking I was an alcoholic, not a good impression to leave at a job interview!”

That’s our girl, Shantel, forever keeping her sense of humor in all situations. I couldn’t be more proud of the beautiful, young woman she has become… 🙂

Other than the dial-a-ride issue, Shantel’s first week back at school went very well. She said she didn’t even get abducted by any strangers like she normally does the first week or two when people assume she is lost so they just grab her arm and start walking off with her telling her they will help her get to the office. I asked her what she says to the people when they do that to her, and she said she just tries to say as nicely as possible that she is not lost and she doesn’t need any help but thanks for asking. She said she doesn’t ever want to hurt anyone’s feelings and one day she might really need their help.

Shantel gave an example of when she did need help yesterday. She said she did get turned around once yesterday when one of the maintenance carts was parked in the middle of the walk way and Shantel got thrown off course. I asked her what she did and she said she heard some people talking at a table and asked if one of them could help her get to the path leading to the cafeteria. One of the women sitting at the table got up and said she would be happy to help. She walked with Shantel until Shantel told her she got her bearings back and thanked the woman for her assistance. So all is well that ends well…

Stay Tuned!

No Mom,

You don’t need dial-a-ride!

My mother, who lives in a 24/7 skilled nursing care center, called me yesterday to tell me I needed to help her fill out forms to get certified to start using dial-a-ride. She said once the forms are completed “we” need to take them to Phoenix so she can be interviewed and certified to start using dial-a-ride services.

I asked her why she thought she needed dial-a-ride services and she told me her friend got certified and told mom she should get certified too. I asked mom where she was going to go on dial-a-ride and she told me “dial-a-ride will take you where ever you want, they will take you as far as you want to go and bring you back”. I said ” mom, who do you think is going to go with you on dial-a-ride? She said “if you weren’t available, one of my aids would go with me”. I said the care center is not going to pay one of your aids to ride around on dial -a-ride with you, and I’m not going to go on dial-a-ride with you even if I were available because your right, they will take you where you want to go and drop you off….but they also can leave you stuck for hours waiting for them to come back and pick you up”. I said I know all about dial-a-ride because Shantel uses dial-a-ride everyday to bring her home from school. And, there have been many times when they left Shantel sitting for three hours or more. There have also been a few times when they didn’t come and pick her up at all and Bill had to go and get her when he got off work. So why would you want to take that chance”?

I reminded mom that the reason she is in the care center to begin with is she requires 24/7 care. I also reminder her that the reason I stopped taking her out to lunch, movies, or even bringing her home for visits, is because I can’t manage her my myself. It takes two people to get her in and out of her wheelchair, in and out of the car, not to mention what happens when she needs to use the restroom… I told her anything she needs is right in the care center. I said “all your doctors are right there, and if you need any tests done, they order them done right in the care center, and if you need to get out of the care center, you have the option of going on the scheduled field trips to Wal-Mart, lunches, movies, and even casinos…there is no other reason you need to leave that care center, so no mom, you don’t need dial-a-ride.

At this point, as usual, my mother told me she was going to call my brother, Danny. I told her to do that but I assured her Danny was not going to approve her getting certified for dial-a-ride either. At that, my mother said “I have to go now, I’m tired and I need a nap.” I said “OK mom, I’ll see you Wednesday.”

I hung up the phone from my mother and called Danny. I explained the dial-a-ride situation to him and he laughed out loud saying “she’s not going to do that and I’ll tell her that too. I said “well, I just wanted to give you a heads-up because she said she’s going to call you next and I’m getting so tired of always being the one to have to tell mom no, she doesn’t need something, so I appreciate your continued support…At that, Danny told me he appreciates everything I do for her because he lives 45 minutes away and it allows him go to work everyday knowing she is being looked after. He said he knows mom doesn’t make it easy for me, and he knows she doesn’t always show her appreciation. He said he wanted me to know he knows I do a great job with mom, and not to feel bad when I have to say “No Mom”!

I LOVE Danny!!!

Stay Tuned!

My Prayer For Shantel

I pray everyday for all my family and friends. But in addition to my daily prayers, I always say a special prayer for our daughter, Shantel, as she begins a new school year. This is my yearly prayer for Shantel:

Lord, Jesus,

Thank you for entrusting our beautiful daughter, Shantel, into our care.

As a new school year begins, please wrap her in your protective, loving, embrace.

Help her to not only find her paths to and from her classes, but also lead her to her life plan path.

Help her to meet people who will be her true friends and who will always have her best interests at heart.

Help her instructors inspire her to new heights.

Let there be financial, staff, and peer support available to meet her special needs,

Open her mind that she may gain the knowledge she needs, to earn the grades she needs, to earn the degrees she needs, to obtain the career she desires. A career that will enable her to live as a contributing member of society and always be happily independent in this life.

In Jesus name I pray.

Shantel’s classes begin on Monday, August 19th. Very early tomorrow I will take Shantel for her last practice session getting to and from her classes. Then, at 8:00 a.m. we have a meeting with all her instructors and the Disability Services Manager. Shantel is confident, ready, and excited, to get back to classes.

Today, I took Shantel to get a full set of gel nails,

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and a pedi.

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We had a fun-filled mother/daughter day to bring our summer to an end, and kick off another new school year.

Now, it’s all up to you my beautiful Shantel.

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I’ll miss you being with me all day, but you know you are always in my thoughts and prayers.

Love Mom,

Stay Tuned!

Mom’s New Shoes

On August 8th, I wrote a blog post titled “Want vs Need”. In that post I talked about my 86-year-old mother, who lives in a 24/7 skilled nursing center, getting upset with me because she wanted a new pair of SAS sandals, and I told her she didn’t need another pair of shoes. I reminded my mother that she already has two good pair of sandals and three good pair of walking shoes. I also reminded my mother that after paying her monthly rent at the care center, she only has a few dollars left that is needed for her hair cuts and monthly field trip to Wal-Mart where she buys some of her personal need items with money we put in her account at the care center. (My brother, Danny and my husband, Bill, and I always put money in her personal account for her birthday and all the holiday’s. That way she can feel like she is buying herself her personal care items. Her birthday is on September 7th so we will update her account then).

When I told my mother she didn’t have any money to spend on shoes, she got upset with me and told me I could leave. I tried to reason with her and let her know my brother, Danny, and my husband, Bill, and I make sure she has what she needs but none of us can afford to spend money on things she just thinks she has to have, especially when she already has several of the same items.

Well, my mother just couldn’t leave well enough alone. So, last Friday, she decided to go to Wal-Mart with the other residents. She went to the front desk at the care center, and asked for the last $15.00 in her account. That money was supposed to go for her next hair cut, but my mother decided she was going to have new shoes no matter what. So she found a cheep $10.00 pair of walking shoes at Wal-Mart, and she bought them.

Then, called to tell me all about them saying “everyone at the care center just begged me to go to Wal-Mart with them so I went and just happened to come across a great deal on some new walking shoes, and still had enough money left over to get a caramel frappe at the McDonald’s that is inside of Wal-Mart”. She wanted me to be excited about the shoes but I just couldn’t. In fact, I really didn’t know what to say to her. She kept saying “I can’t wait for you to see my new shoes”. Finally, I said “well, mom, I suppose I will see them soon enough on Wednesday when I come to visit you”. At that my mother said “when you come over on Wednesday, bring me a tube of toothpaste because now, I really don’t have any money…” I said “sure, mom, I would be delighted to do that for you”.

Today, when I went to see my mother, she had on her new walking shoes and held her feet out for me to see the shoes saying ” aren’t these nice, they feel just like I have feathers on my feet.” I smiled and said “yes, mom, they are nice and I’m glad you like them. They look just like the other three pair you have”.

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But, what I was thinking was, you have some feathers alright, but they are not on your feet!!!

I sat with my mother for a couple of hours until it was time for her church service. I took her to the room where the church service is held and visited with one of the volunteers that conducts the service, and very nice lady, Mary. Mary asked if anyone had anything or anyone special they wanted to add to the prayer list….I spoke right up and said “ YES, I want to be a lifetime member on your prayer list because God knows I need all the help I can get…

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Note to my daughter, Shantel: I will do everything I can to make sure I stay healthy so I can always take care of myself, and I pray I never have to go to a care center. But in the event Papa precedes me in death, please know I will trust you to make  the right decisions in my best interests.

Stay Tuned!

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