Monday, February 10, 2014


I'm about to indulge myself.



You see, I like to cook. At home Joe and I cook together, as a team, because I can't cook on my own as our kitchen isn't fully accessible. I can chop and mix and stir, but I can't really use the stove top or the oven. Joe will admit, freely, that I'm the better and more creative cook. I can look in a fridge, see what's there, and make up a recipe - and it's usually really good. Joe relies on cook books and exact directions. This is not to disparage Joe's cooking - it's very good. But, in our little family, I'm the one who loves the art of cooking.

So here we are, in a hotel, and I'm about to cook breakfast. Now, here's the thing, they provide a really good free breakfast downstairs in the lobby. Scrambled eggs ... the works. But we have a kitchenette and I am going to make breakfast. I can get at everything I need to - I am going to fry up some eggs and veggie sausage patties. It sound simple. It is simple. Except when circumstances disallow you from doing it.

Notice I said 'circumstances disallow.'

That's important.

I don't cook breakfast at home.

This isn't because I have a disability.

It's because the kitchen isn't designed for wheelchair users.

I can cook breakfast.

The circumstances disallow it.

This is the 'dis' to be considered.

As is often the case with those of us who have disabilities, we can do what the circumstances disallow.

So, right now the circumstances and my disabilities align such that I can sizzle eggs and pop toast and fry sausage. And I'm going to do just that. This evening I'm going to make supper. I don't know what we're having yet but it's gonna be good.

Good partially because I know how to cook and mostly because I'll be loving every minute of the circumstances.


Anonymous said...

If it gives you pleasure to cook, you should think whether your home kitchen can be made more accessible - it's a shame you can't do this in your own place.

If you're renters, it's understandable - and your apartment may be otherwise fine, but I hear wistfulness in your post.

And if it's one of the things you can still do, then it's important.

If you can't change things, that's life.

Enjoy your chance to cook.

Colleen said...

Dear Dave:

I hope you and Joe enjoy!


Anonymous said...

Wow, That's a whole new perspective on making a trip.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear you can't cook in your kitchen. I am also curious as to why it is unacceptable for shops (etc.) to prevent you from having full access ( it is unacceptable!! ) but why it is acceptable for you to live in an apartment where the kitchen does not fully meet your needs (I.e is not fully accessible)? have I missed something? enjoy your cooking and I hope you breakfast tastes delicious. wish you could cook at home, it makes me sad you can't.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Anon, the fact is that I live in an apartment building - as a renter. We looked for accessible housing and this is the closest we could get. In most I couldn't even get into the kitchen at all. We have our names in on wait lists for a few accessible units but the list is six years long they tell us.

Andrea S. said...

To Anonymous,
The awful fact is, only an extremely tiny number of truly accessible homes are ever BUILT in the first place. It is almost impossible to find fully accessible homes (in the U.S. where I am, and I gather same for Canada and the UK) because very few even EXIST.

Even finding homes that are reasonably adaptable (i.e., could be MADE accessible with some straight forward fixes that don't involve tearing everything down and starting over from scratch) can be very difficult.

At least here in the U.S., if you are renting your home (or store, if you are a store keeper), the Americans with Disabilities Act protects your right to implement those adaptations: the landlord is required to allow renters to make any adaptations to the home that are needed to enable disability access. (Not just any random alterations to the rented space, but specifically those enabling access for people with disabilities, such as strobe light fire alarms for deaf people or wider doors and grab bars for wheelchair users.)

Since Dave doesn't mention trying to make his existing home more accessible, I am guessing perhaps Canada's laws are different in this regard. A shame. That's something that should be fixed, particularly seeing as Canada has ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), which is essentially a commitment to uphold the rights of people with disabilities--including their rights to live in the community. Which cannot be upheld if you cannot find accessible homes to live in. (Full text of this international human rights treaty at

Anonymous said...

Just a couple of weeks ago in the Sunday New York Times, there was an article about renters who pay for their own renovations.

It makes me wonder if perhaps you shouldn't approach your building about that ridiculously long waiting list for accessible apartments. Ask them if they've thought of adding more units, then offer your own unit up for modifications. If you'd be willing to live through the renovations, I wonder if they might not agree to do the work. And the times that you and Dave are on the road would be key opportunities for them to do work.

It can't hurt to ask..?