Sunday, May 31, 2009

Handicap Parking Revisited

My Dad stopped driving about 2 months ago. Around the same time, we finally bit the bullet and got him a handicap placard for his car. Since he lives with me, I am usually the one to drive him around to appointments and errands (although I must give my husband and eldest son a shout-out. They are awesome about driving him as well!).

Since I've been driving him, I've noticed the extreme shortage of handicap parking! I suppose that's subjective. I mean, according to people at Triplet Connection there is way too much handicap parking and the people that use it are perfectly capable....right? And I admit it's possible that since the greater portion of places we go are geared towards people who are more likely to be disabled - the Internist, the Radiation Oncologist, etc. -- it makes sense that it's harder to find a handicap space. But I've been noticing the same problem at Wal-Mart or Rouses' or the mall.

I'm not accusing anyone of using spaces they don't need. I'm sure those are there, but I also know there are those needing them who don't look like our idea of disabled. In fact, I consider that we don't really NEED those spaces at all. I can park way out in the lot and push Dad's chair as far as I need to. In fact, that's what I do when there are no spaces available or some yokel has parked halfway into the remaining one so that I would not be able to open the door and let Dad out. No problem - unless it's raining, so I need to remember to pack a poncho for Dad, note to self. Then again we are in the middle of a drought so that hasn't been a problem either!

Or I can stop out front, unload Dad and the chair, push them inside the building, and then go park the car. Depending on where we are, I choose which to do, no problem.

It was just interesting to me to note how few spaces there actually seem to be when you're looking for one. Before I needed one, I would have also said there seem to be plenty to go around. But now I say that Dad's lucky he doesn't have to drive himself anymore.

The other thing I've noticed is the lack of other handicap considerations. Now I am talking about the places you expect to find disabled people. The oncologist, for example, is located in an older building in town. Sure, they fixed it all up with ramps and stuff, but the door is an old fashioned, heavy double door. You can barely fit a wheelchair through one half of the door, but it's physically impossible to open both sides at one time. It opens out, which is nice if you're GOING out but for going in, not so much. Luckily I built up my mad door skillz by operating a Quad Runabout stroller full of 85+ pounds of wiggly babies for all those years.

Crescent City Classic 10K race

Give me a free hand and my hip and I can do magic, baby!

Luckily at Radiation there is one of those automatic door thingies. You know. You press a button and the door opens. If you can get there in time. Which is where those skillz come in handy again. Unfortunately they only thought of the button on the outer door. To get into the office you need the hip action again. So usually while Dad is in being zapped I sit by the door so I can hold it for people, because again Dad is the lucky one to have someone bringing him!

I guess all this is just stuff most people never notice because they don't have to. And hopefully, you never will.

Rambling Thoughts

It both irritates and amuses me to read some posts on forums. I realize people want to vent. I've never gotten WHY they would choose an open forum to post their vents if they don't also want some advice/solutions. Mostly what they really seem to want is cyber-hugs and "OMG, I am SO SORRY that happened to you!!!!!1!!! ((((((HUGZ!!!!1!!!!1!!!!))))))"

It rarely fails that the OP will eventually come back and get all pissy because people had the audacity to offer such things when "I was only venting". I find it so amusing that on a forum that I own, I actually added a new folder! Any member can post there, but - here's the key - no one can reply! That should solve most of the problem, wouldn't you think? But actually turns out that most of these whiners are actually attention whores (I guess) and prefer the open forum so they can whine about the replies they get. Maybe so they have something new to complain about? Who knows. At any rate the forum that I thought was the perfect solution is rarely utilized. Who knew?

Another thing that amuses/irritates me ("irrimuses"?) is when people give only a small piece of information in their post and then seem to expect the membership to JUST KNOW that there was more to it. For instance, one person recently posted that they are thinking of divorce because her husband is not as sympathetic as she would like him to be when she is sick and he has to step up the child care. When someone points out that perhaps counseling would be a better option, she adds that he has been unfaithful as well. Hmm....

I have learned to expect the "yeah, but...." answers like that. I still don't get them. What do people expect? Maybe they should start a blog of their own? Who would expect validation for wanting to divorce in the first situation? Who wouldn't expect it in the second? If you wanted validation, why did you leave out that important fact, it can't possibly have just slipped your mind? Was this a test?

Maybe I shouldn't get into forum censorship in this entry. I have always supported that the owner of the forum gets to make the rules. There really is no free speech on an internet forum. BUT - I firmly believe that the rules should be spelled out clearly in black and white, easy to understand terms. Sure, some things are subjective. On my own site, there are very few rules. We do not allow personal attacks, though, and have found that those can be very subjective - usually the person posting it feels it is not a violation and the other person thinks it is. That's when the 2 person staff gets to decide, and there is always at least one person who is unhappy with the decision. So I definitely can sympathize with forum staff on those issues.

But there are some rules that ought to be spelled out and then enforced consistently. Say if you decide you won't allow any posting about "Jon and Kate + 8" - say so, in the forum rules and guidelines (which you do have, yeah? In an easily accessible spot?) and then immediately remove ANY post about that topic. Doesn't seem so hard. Don't say you won't allow those posts, then allow a thread on that topic to sit there for days, then suddenly go all CB (crazy-bitch) on everyone for adding to the thread. Perhaps a site needs more staff so they can handle that sort of thing. I would certainly assume that if a thread's been there for a few days it's fair game....not that longstanding, well-respected members would be banned for making a post there.

And for heaven's sake, if you don't want any cursing at your site, it's an extremely simpler-than-simple matter to turn on your censor option. You can put in any word you want; it takes 2 seconds, max, for each word. You can have it turn a word into stars (*****) or just part of the word (F**K) < that's for passive agressive types who want to look all noble by censoring the word, yet want to be sure that everyone knows exactly what the word was...heehee. You can also have it put a completely different word. On one forum the word "screwed" is replaced with "hosed"...."hell" with "Arizona".... most people find it amusing although one person from Arizona was a bit miffed. Point's not hard, at all. The program already has all the major bad words in it by default, you have only to turn it on. Stop bitching that people are cussing on your site, and make your life easier!

And don't forget - next to Google, the search function is your best friend.