Sunday, February 26, 2012

Home By The Numbers

In email chatter yesterday with a far flung friend, I was asked to name five things about being home that I love. I thought about it only seconds and then made two lists. One was just about me, Dave, the other was about me Dave with a disability. Because the question is answered differently when my disability is figured into the mix. Since we didn't do much other that just stay at home - we leave again today - because we wanted to experience home as much as we could, I thought I'd answer that answer here with you all.

Just Dave:

1) Cooking. Joe and I both love to cook and love having 'real food'. As vegetarians we sometimes find that we can get 'meat free' food on the road, but that's really, really, different than 'vegetarian' food. So we love to make a meal. We were both tired yesterday so we cheated a bit with the cooking but we managed a wonderful little feast for ourselves. Something that we've never been able to get on the road.

2) The Mantle. We have one of those faux fireplaces up against the wall. It gives us a mantle where we have things that have hugely sentimental value. A glance there will take us around the world and deep into the past. It's the kind of stuff we'd grab if there was a fire.

3) Pictures. Yep, we have fridge art. For years Ruby has been creating art for us, and we not only stick it on our appliances, we actually look at them. We love how she carefully writes her name on the bottom and our names on the top. Sadie has begun to enter into the art world and now her creations have joined the mix. Every time we come home, every time,  I stop and look at them. Odd how much they mean.

4) DVD''s. We don't like television very much. Well that's not true. We like some television a lot - but we like to have complete control over what we watch. Right now we've just finished season one of 'The Shield' and have seven more seasons to go. We watch regular, non box set television, only for the news and for Jeopardy. On the road one is forced, to fill time in the evening to watch regular television, oh. my.

5) The Bed. Sleeping in one's own bed is just plain lovely. There is something about being in one's own home, in one's own bed that allows a really deep sleep. For me, a good sleep in a hotel is equal to a bad sleep at home.

(Oh, Yeah, Forgot)

The very first comment reminded me of something I should have listed so I'm going to add occasionally here today as others remind me. So, this post is going to grow and change as the day goes on. I should have mentioned:

1) Towels. Our Hudson's Bay Bath Towels are one of the little luxuries that we've picked up for ourselves. They are, without doubt, the most wonderful, soft, warm, towels ever made. (Not that we've tried them all, but we've used thousands of hotel towels, and even the nicest don't compare.) We wrap ourselves up in these after a shower and know we are home.

2) Light. For Gay Pride a couple years ago I bought this huge rainbow disco ball to hang off the controls of my power chair. Then forgot to hang it on the chair. Anyways, it's so lovely that we've hung it up in the front room and as the day passes it casts light on different parts of the room. In it's own way it's a sun dial accurately recording the passing of the day. The kids love it. We love it. It, too, means home.

3) AIR! How could I have forgotten air. Within hours in a hotel room we have 'hotel nose' it's so dry. Waking up at night feeling like you've slept in the desert - needing moisturiser constantly - that's part of travel. Being at home and being able to open a window. Wow. Of course.

4) Laundry. Joe insists I mention laundry. He does the laundry and will tell you, without question, that laundry at home is cleaner than laundry in laundromats. Take this up with him not me. I don't notice. Sorry.

Dave, The Disabled Guy:

This list is really, really easy to make. I can't decide with is first so I've just done five firsts (cheating a bit with the numbering system).

1) Henry. Being able to go our in my power chair is just wonderful. I hopped into Henry's arms and off we went yesterday. We had some banking to do. We had to change a car reservation. We had to pick up some stuff for supper. And we came home. Travelling along side Joe, in our own home community, in my power chair, is a lovely experience that I miss a lot on the road.

1.1) The Bathroom. Everything is where it should be and designed exactly for what I need. The bars are placed just where I need them, everything is organized to make things easy and convenient. No anxieties here.

1.2) The Couch. It's up on blocks! It's exactly the right height for me. I've just spent a whole month sitting only in my wheelchair. None of the hotels had the kind of chairs suited for elephant feet, so I've either had to lay on the bed or sit in my chair. The first time I curled up on the couch it felt so incredibly luxurious.

1.3) The Kitchen. Our kitchen door is wide enough for my wheelchair and I can get right in to the counter to help with preparing meals. The stove is out of my range (catch that?) but we've divided the labour such that we both contribute and cooking has remained a shared activity.

1.4) The Bed. Like the couch, it's up on blocks. And like the couch, at exactly the right height for me to get into and get out of with absolute ease. I have kind of a 'Golilocks' experience on the road with beds. Some are too high, some are two low and some are just right. At home, it's just right, every night.

1.5) Worrylessness. I don't know how to say this but I'm going to try. Perhaps the best thing about being home is the lack of anxiety or worry about coming through the door. Every hotel room we enter is entered with a bit of anxiety. Will it be 'OK'? Will it be 'accessible.' How high is the bed? Are there grab bars in the bathroom? Here there is no worry, and of course there wouldn't be, we all design our homes to meet our needs - disabled or not - but the 'disability worry' that comes with travelling is such a huge contrast to being at home. I love not having to worry.

Well, those are my lists? Anyone care to share what they love about being home - from any perspective you want? I'd love to read. We'll be gone in a few hours, but just for three nights and then home for three. It will be heaven.


Anonymous said...

I like going away - everything is different and you feel charged. Even just getting showered and dressed becomes an adventure. Just brushing your teeth is different - and it makes you feel alive. BUT - there is nothing like home. Many things are common with you: cooking - on a special diet and it is almost impossible to get what you want/need on the road; the ease in which you prepare yourself or your meals; the little treats like puzzle books, half read magazines that you can just pick up; the pets - furry balls of love that think you are awesome; music - like old friends; comfortable places to sit - definately. Very few hotel chairs are made for comfort.

Yes - home is great - not fancy, hey, the towels may not be as nice - feels good to have your belongings, your history around you. Be it ever so humble, there is no place like home.

wheeliecrone said...

Yes, the access and comfort at home are wonderful, but for me, the big thing is the food. I have lots of food sensitivities and home is the only place that I can eat with the confidence that I won't be sick within an hour. Bliss!

Anonymous said...

1. The way the light hits things throughout the day and the moon at night.
2. Front porch kitty (we give her kibble - she gives us dead mice).
3. Being near the lake.
4. My kitchen (primitive as it is now)
5. Not having to get dressed for breakfast.
from Susan Ludwig Goharriz (who forgot her Google Account password)

Anonymous said...

" The Mantle. We have one of those faux fireplaces up against the wall. It gives us a mantle where we have things that have hugely sentimental value. A glance there will take us around the world and deep into the past."

This is wonderful. That last sentence is so amazingly evocative.

1) My master suite. It's decorated in castoffs and desperately needs a new paint job. But there's no bed in this world as comfortable as my king, and my bathroom is set up for maximum convenience. I am never able to remember all the sundries and creams and potions I need to take on the road with me, but by golly, they're all at my fingertips in that tiny bathroom.

2) My laundry room. I am one of those weirdos who does laundry while on the road. Lugging dirty clothes around makes me nervous. Yet laundry done on the road never feels or smells right. Laundry done in my own laundry room comes out perfect.

3)The air. I have a tough time with recycled air in hotel rooms. It's too dry, and seems very 'deoxygenated' to me. I'm always relieved to get home and breathe in air that always seems just right.

4) Our neighborhood. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a lovely neighborhood that has a great mix of young couples with babies, families with teens, and older couples. We are all friendly and get along and everyone looks after each other. It's always good to come home to a place where everybody not only knows your name, they are glad you're back. :^)


Meriah said...

We are psychically connected! (okay, maybe not, but it was fun to write that!) - I just wrote a list of things I love too, this morning! Not necessarily about home though. Maybe not at all about home. Here's the post -

but it's pretty much things related to the kids, flower snd plants and tree-hugging-California-stuff.

I love towels too.

Andrea S. said...

As a vegan, I understand exactly what you mean about the difference between a "meatless" meal and a "vegetarian" meal. Too many meat eaters who try to serve vegetarians seem to think that all you need is to provide a "normal" meal ("normal" as defined by a meat eater, that is) and simply remove or substitute the meat with something else. Well that can be a start if you're new to it, but it isn't really the same.

Stove "out of range" ... well, AFTER you asked if we caught it, I did! I guess my brain is slow today.

I do understand exactly what you mean about the disability-related worry. My worry in relation to hotel rooms is not as bad as yours (if the hotel screws up the accommodations they're supposed to provide me as a deaf person, it doesn't mean I can't sleep there, it "just" means I won't know if someone is knocking at the door, might not be able to watch TV or use the phone, and won't know if the fire alarm goes off). But I do get a related worry when I go to a conference, lecture, etc.--will the sign language interpreter be there as they promised? Or will I arrive only to find that I'm not going to understand anything that's going on?

I would hope anyone who has read your blog for long enough to read a few of your stories about things that can go wrong will understand, too, whether or not they can personally relate.

Anonymous said...


I think I already stated what my little flat means to me...

But here are my 5 favourites (with disabilty relation;-)):

1) The house itself. There are 10 flats and it has an additioned parking garage. I can get to the bus 200 meters away very easily. I has only three stories (I live at the second floor) and it has an elevator. Only one of the people who lives in this house is a nuisances - the guy living direclty under me. He is a smoker and smokes at every crazy time even at 3 o´clock at night. I have to leave my window open otherwise I cant breath at night. He makes me to a passiv smoker and I wake up coughing at night because of him. Everyone else is very nice and caring for each other!

2) The doors. We have great doors with safety locks and nobody can come through the doors easily. And we have electronic window blinds. Which spare me from the exhausting of pulling them up and down every evening and morning.

3) My bathroom. When my flat was constructed I could say what I wanted to be said and my bathroom was constructed without a tub. I dont need or use a tub because of my circulation. I have a bigger shower and a bigger washbasin because of the saved space.

4) My living room has a very big tv-screen and a stressless sessel and my "famous blue sofa" where you will find me if a am very tired.

5) My own big and comfortable bed!!!

My flat gives me the possibility to rest in a safe place. It is only five minutes away from my parents place but they can not see me from there.

I have an oxygenator. But I dont have to use i every day.
It is very quiet here but if I want to I can step out of my door and I am into full city life.

It is like an island in a crazy world.
I love it.

Jayne Wales said...

Photographs everywhere of people I love. Things to fall over in the hall, like guitars and old socks thrown down by my 15 year old son and his mates. A very smelly dog who welcomes me with what I am convinced is a big grin called Molly. Masses of old dog eared and new books. My lovely comfortable bed and the sunlight ( yes in the UK) shining in through the wind.

The lovely view of the mountains and the sheep and the River Dee. My music played on my old CD player.
The sound of the Welsh language being spoken by my neighbours

My welcome home from people around me.
Now coffee beans grinding and waiting for John, my husband to make a nice cup.

Eliza said...

A little late, but as the parent of disabled child the things i love about being home are:
1. the way Aiden plays with reckless abandon at home, she knows where everything is and theres absolutley no hesitation or fear.

2. the potty chair. We are really struggling with this alot right now, especially outside of the home. In our bathroom its not a big deal.

3. our lovely dog that follows aiden around and gets out of her way better than any person i know!

4. Not having to explain anything to anyone. The people that come in our house already know that she cant see them, already understand her limited speech. Not having to explain is so nice.

Cynthia F. said...

Interestingly, one of of my favorite places to be with my small children is home for the same "worrylessness" factor. I can set up our house so that it's safe and I don't have to be on constant alert or worry about safety (as much) or whatever. It's a relief for both them and us (the parents) that we don't have to say "no" all the time.