Friday, February 29, 2008

10 O'clock

Joe often suggests that we drive home through the country, so I wasn't suprised when we got to Bond Head road that he suggested we get off the 400 and head home via back roads. But then, about twenty minutes later as we were both marvelling at the beauty of the frozen north, the fields of snow, black trees glinting with ice, mini flurries blown by puffs of winter air - he drops the bomb. A conversation begins that could change the whole rest of our lives.

At ten o'clock yesterday morning someone walked up to him and offered to buy our house.

It's not on the market. Yet. But we have been discussing maybe moving to the city in three or four years. I know these are painful discussions for Joe as he loves the house and loves country living - but I've grown increasingly uncomfortable with being in the country. I try not to make decisions that are entirely disability based but this one is - no question. I don't like the isolation imposed by the combination of back roads and my wheelchair. I worry that if something ever happens to Joe, I would be completely lost. And if there was an emergency where Joe needed help, I would be ineffectual. Joe, whose outlook on life is much sunnier than mine, worries about none of these things. He just likes puttering around the house.

So, here we are. A good offer on the house, but a few years before we had planned to move. What do we do? I think I want to take the offer and then quickly work out what happens next. Joe agrees but his voice is hesitant. I know we are both picturing the future differently.

We leave the discussion as, "We need to think about this."

All night I have tried to take disability out of the equation and look at other issues regarding lifestyle. But I can't. My disability determines my lifestyle now and it would be foolish to pretend otherwise. This is a time to be really honest with myself. I want to move because I'm disabled - there, I've said it.

What I need to do, I think, is to make sure that Joe doesn't have to sacrifice his wants, needs and desires for me. I know he has sacrificed to make sure that my life has gone on unimpeded. I am willing to sacrifice that his doesn't either - and if that means worrying in the night about what might happen, so be it.

But sometime, over the next week, we have to make a decision that could alter our lives. A decision that leads to a host of other decisions.

All because, at 10 o'clock yesterday, someone made an offer on a house that wasn't for sale.


Anonymous said...

Obviously it's not up to me (not my life, after all), just some random thoughts for you to take or ignore as appropriate:

1. Just because you got this offer doesn't mean you couldn't say "no" now and then start again looking for a different buyer a year or two from now if that's what seems right.

Of course if the very idea of waiting, even for just a year or two, or for three or four as in your original thinking, makes you feel uncomfortable then that's something you'd want to put on the table with Joe.

2. I don't have a good picture of where you are in Canada (I know very little about Canadian geography, I'm afraid) so I don't know how much of an option this would be, but would it work to live in a suburb of the city instead of in the city proper? That way you would be close to city-type services (and of course you would look for a more fully accessible home). But if you chose just the right spot, you could still well be in a somewhat wooded area.

3. Or is there some small town you could consider -- something big enough that it shows up on yahoo maps, and close enough to major roads that you wouldn't be quite so lost, but still far enough from the city that it would still be country side enough for Joe?

Kei said...

Wow. What a crossroads. Usually when my hubby and I have some unexpected opportunity come up, we get out a pen & paper, or he comes up with a spreadsheet on the computer with all the pros and cons. Somehow seeing it all printed out lets us look at things a little more clearly. Then of course, the emotions come into play and we tyr to visualize how things would be with the different choices.

There have been times when we passed up a seemingly good opportunity only to find a better one presented itself at a later date. One time it even turned out to be the same opportunity, but the timing was better when it came available later.

No matter the decision, it always makes me think of things from a different angle, and opens up possiblities I hadn't considered before.

And no matter what you and Joe decide to do, I just have to say how much I love that you two love each other so much that you consider the other person's needs, feelings, and sacrifices. Too many couples these days don't.

Anonymous said...

wow...tough decision. We would all like to think that our disability doesn't really effect the "big" things in our life, like location, yet we all know it does. I think that is what bothers me most. Realizing that as much as I want to scream that my disability doesn't change a thing, reality is it does. It complicates life sometimes, but we adapt, and figure it out.
I will say a little prayer that the right answer will come to you and Joe and it will be something that you both will feel good about.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

I've no idea how isolated your house is, but what I would say is this.

The most significant disability anyone can ever have is fear.

Whilst you may have a great deal of experience working in the field of disability, actually being disabled is relatively new to you. It's a journey, and part of that journey in my experience is facing up to 'the fear' Making a decision so early in your adjustment process may be something you regret later on. Equally it may be the best thing you and Joe ever do, but my own experience (and that of everyone else I know who's successfully adjusted to disability) tells me that such fears recede with time.

Good luck to both of you, Bendy Girl x

Anonymous said...

I have to say I am very disappointed Dave.
I read your blog everyday and I was expecting a blast about the release of murderer, Robert Latimer but instead I get this selfish nonsense about housing and disability.
I am disappointed.
Robert Latimer is moving, not to back to his thrilled family in his hometown but to OTTAWA to petition the government for Euthanasia rights.
I know I am hopping mad about that!
I was hoping to find some comiseration here.
Goodluck on your decision.

Shan said...


I imagine it's hard to be an activist. Becoming anybody's champion involves a certain amount of selflessness, and obviously people get to expect that the Cause should supersede your personal interests.

This blog is not just a placard denouncing the ills of society, or the obstacles facing the disabled. This blog is the record of your - Dave's - personal journey. What you learn from the events of your life is not only important to you and Joe, but is passed on to your readers in the form of insight - wisdom. It's in the best interests of all your readers to respect your journey.

Not to mention respecting your right to choose your own post topics.

theknapper said...

I can't not make a comment!!!
Anon....I get that you're looking for reactions to the Latimer case & Dave has spoken repeatedly (& recently)over the yrs about this.
Give the man a break! This is his blog & I too come here to be inspired, find out more, be outraged etc. but I also come to read because Dave is an incredible human being.

Anonymous said...

An unsolicited offer puts you both in the best position (the driver's seat if you will). Yes it is a huge potentially life altering decision and I trust you will work through it together as the great team you clearly have been all these years. But please don't settle for the 1st offer - look into the market a bit and maybe test the waters. Your future move and lifestyle could well be made somewhat easier by some cool thinking now.

Belinda said...

I echo Shan's sentiments which were well put.

I don't think any of us have missed the news reports about Robert Latimer. We will all have every opportunity to take action as individuals as this unfolds.

Joyful Fox said...

Hi Dave,

I read others' comments and it sounds like you got some great advice.

Wise counsel is valuable for important decisions.

I'll pray that the Lord may bring any other information to the fore, if it needs to be considered also. As well, for wisdom in the days ahead.

Anonymous said...

Wow Anon #2!
all I can say is who peed in your cornflakes?
Dave, I hope you and Joe come to a mutual decision that gives you many many many years of happiness and safety!

Anonymous said...

Wow Annon, you give annons a bad name! Good luck on your decision might have been polite at the start of your comment, at least.And "selfish nonsense"? Who would deliberatly lash out to be that offensive? I should not judge. I'm sorry. I do hope you feel heard, and Dave, along with Joe, keep yourself safe, happy and grounded. In my experience if the "fear fairies" flutter around in your stomach, or if in the still of night it just "doesn't feel right", then its not the right time. Unless you're really happy and excited at the same time, and fired up about the whole thing, then there will always be real estate agents, always willing buyers, and more time to look around.Also if one of you said "no, I've decided against selling" would there be more relief than disappointment at this stage? Good luck with your decision. Just be sure you go with "I know we've made the right decision" rather than "hope we've made...". You both need to be really excited about it.It is a big decision, and it is wonderful that you are both so considerate of each others feelings.p.t.

Heike Fabig said...

This is a hard one Dave. We loved our house (built in the bush on three levels). It was ok with one disabled kid, but with two, it became too much. We didn't want to move, but did it anyway - and haven't regretted it one minute. We found an ideal compromise house that dealt with all our needs, it's totally accessible (well, once we finished the last rennovations) and still has bush views. It even has a (solar) heated pool for physio and recreation. If you feel like moving do so. My only advice would be to do it when you are ready, that means, both of you, and not when someone else wants you to. Follow your gut feeling on this one Dave. It will guide you well.

rickismom said...

Actually, I think it is very interesting, usual, and human that most of us find the day-to-day events of our lives to be more "impacting" on our feelings and quality of life than the "news".
I live in Israel, and there is a war going on an hour and a half away from us. But right now I am personally more bound up, thought-wise, by personal happenings in my life. This doesn't mean that we can ignore the bigger issues. Because if we do, they will eventually affect us and reach our doorstep as well. (This is besides our moral obligation to care for others, do justice, etc.)
However, our own lives take precedence in our lives, usually. We need to make time for both, each in its own season.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is a really tough decision to make and not just do we sell the house, but, where do we go from here? I hope that you and Joe are able to work out what you both want and need and are able to compromise into maybe something just out of the city or in a part of the city that maybe isn't around all the hustle and bustle.

I really hope that you are both doing well and that this decision will come to you both without any serious concern.

Take care...Melissa