Oh Deer!

I’m quite certain that our new neighbors think I am insane. What else could they be thinking after this evening? I just came back inside from using a sledgehammer on a deer lawn ornament. This is a “piece” we inherited when we bought our new house.

There were actually two, however, baby deer fit in our trash can and was hauled away this afternoon. Father deer is too big to fit inside the trash can in one piece. So, I thought I’d break him up into little pieces using a sledgehammer. As I was doing this, I could see my neighbor in her kitchen preparing dinner. However, I am certain she was also keeping an eye on me.

When I do things outside I usually roll around in a wheelchair. Furthermore, I dislike wearing coats, even when it is cold. So, I was outside, where it is quite brisk. I was wearing a t-shirt and wielding a sledgehammer from my wheelchair. Yes, someone would come and get this deer if I asked. However, I’m stubborn and I would rather take care of it myself. Plus, it is fun to wonder what the neighbors might be thinking.

Father deer is now headless and sitting in our garage. If anyone tries to break in it might be enough to frighten them away, as it looks like a headless dog laying folded up on the floor. He has met his match. I will be back out tomorrow with my sledgehammer, and possibly a sweatshirt.

Building a Career in Business: Tips for People With Disabilities

The following is a very informative article written by guest contributor, Ed Carter. Ed is a retired financial planner, who has his own site full of great information. Be sure to check out his website for more financial tips (ablefutures.)

Choosing a career path is always a bit of a struggle, but when you have a disability, there are several things to consider. Can you find a position that accommodates your disability? Can you access the education or training you need? And, most importantly, which career will bring you the most success and happiness in the long run? Having a disability shouldn’t stop you from thriving in the career of your dreams.

If you’re not quite sure which direction to take your professional life, consider a career in business! Want to learn more? Here are some great tips to help you enjoy success in the business world.

Why Consider a Career in Business?

A business career is an excellent option for people with disabilities. People with business credentials are always in high demand across a range of industries from media to healthcare, so you shouldn’t have any problems finding a business job that aligns with your needs and abilities. If you’re looking for a secure and stable job that will offer the flexibility you need, it doesn’t get much better than a career in business. Plus, you should be able to find work in almost any geographic location, switching between jobs is easy, and you will enjoy incredible opportunities for advancement! 

Pursue an Education

Before you can secure your position in the business world, you will need to earn your credentials. Earning a business degree is an obvious choice, but it’s not your only option! You could also pursue a degree in something similar, like accounting or information technology. It’s easy to earn your degree online and skip the hassle of commuting to college or navigating a classroom with a disability. 

If you want that traditional college experience, take advantage of tools that will make your education as accessible as possible. You will want to spend some time planning solutions for anticipated challenges, especially if you will live on campus. Self.com recommends finding out which support services are available to you through your school’s disability office and learning how to access mental health services on your campus. Self-care is key! 

Choose Your Professional Path

As mentioned earlier, there are many diverse work opportunities for people with degrees in business or IT. You can work in a variety of environments and industries. But how do you choose? The best advice we can give you is to go after a career that falls somewhere between your talents and interests. This could mean pursuing a challenging job with a high earning potential, a computer job you can do from home, a position that lets you hone your interpersonal skills in a social environment, or something else entirely!

The best path for you will depend on your unique needs and wants, so spend some time thinking about your strengths and what makes you feel happiest. For example, if you love working with people, a role in human resources or consulting might be perfect. If you have a creative flair, a job in marketing may suit you better. Have a knack for technology? Working in cybersecurity, IT consulting, data science, web development, network administration, QA services, or computer support might appeal to you. All of these jobs are incredibly accommodating for people with disabilities, and you can find work through online freelance platforms.

Get Your Foot in the Door

So you’ve chosen a career path and an education program. But how do you find your first job? And will your disability hurt your chances of landing that entry-level role or internship? First and foremost, make sure you understand your rights as you hunt for your first job. You are entitled to the same opportunities as people without disabilities and employers cannot discriminate against you for any reason. In fact, your employer is required to make any reasonable accommodations that will help you do your job!

Navigating the job hunt can present a number of hurdles for people with disabilities. Facing mobility issues when interviewing is a common one. If you require special accommodations for the interview, be sure to discuss this with the hiring manager before the big day. Alternatively, you may be able to persuade them to hold the interview over video chat! 

Launch Your Own Business

If finding the perfect job is proving difficult, consider creating a job for yourself by launching your own business. Self-employment is a very popular choice among people with disabilities. By running your own business, you get to work in a role that perfectly fits your interests and personal capabilities — and it offers you full control of your financial future!

Often, the hardest part about starting a business is coming up with a business idea. Keep it simple and stick to your talents! For example, if you enjoy IT or business management, consider becoming a professional consultant and helping other entrepreneurs run their businesses more effectively. If you like marketing, launch a marketing agency or sell your services on a freelance basis. Your options are endless! Don’t be afraid to play around with different business models until you find one that feels right for you.

Your disability should not hold you back from the career of your dreams. If your goal is to work in business, you have countless options and opportunities to consider! You could go after a corporate job, seek a remote role, become a freelancer, or launch your own business. Not sure where to start? Going to school online is a great place to discover your skills and interests so you can better map out your professional goals.

Whether you’re heading to university or you’re ready to start your dream job, make sure you have the accessibility tools you need to thrive.

Time

Baby Boy had his first trip to the beach today. Amanda and I had originally planned to spend more time on the water while on vacation. I would have enjoyed laying on the beach reading all week. However, the weather didn’t cooperate the first few days. Likewise, soon after we arrived in Panama City Beach we found that there are not many easy access points out to the beach for those with disabilities.

This does not make me upset. I am used to living in a world that was not made for people like me. It was difficult to get to and from the water today, but I would not have missed it, as I got to watch Baby Boy’s reactions to waves lapping at his feet. I also was able to witness his curiosity as he touched the warm, powdery sand. He often tries to figure things out. It is fun to see the wheels turning in that little head of his.

I think Amanda, Baby Boy and I got a little too much sun today, as we all were a bit tired after we came back from the beach. After washing most of the sand off of us Baby Boy and I settled down for a nap.

One day at the beach was enough for us. I know it was for me at least. I’ll be washing sand off of my body and out of my mouth for the next few weeks.

We still have a couple days in Florida. It has been good to leave the routine of home behind. Likewise, it has been good to connect with family that we don’t get to see very often. It has also been an important reminder that time is fleeting.

Sometimes we let frustrations get the best of us and we lose sight of what is most important. Time is very precious. We shouldn’t waste it by getting hung up on things that do not matter in the long run.

I am glad I got to experience this time with family. We will have travelled over 2,000 miles by the time we get back home on Sunday. However, it was worth it to the see the world through a child’s eyes this week. We’d all be better off if we did this more often.

The Sunshine State?

After an abundance of rain on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday we finally saw some sun today here in Florida. Hopefully, that will continue tomorrow, at least for most of the day. We made it to the beach, however, we didn’t swim. We just looked out at the water. It was a magnificent sight.

Looking at such a large expanse of water is always relaxing. To hear the waves hitting the shore is so serene. The water was much calmer today. There were a multitude of sun- worshippers lined up and down the beach that we visited. I think I almost prefer just to look out at the water than to actually get in and swim. This is due to lack of access for those with disabilities, and my dislike of getting sand in places where it doesn’t belong.

I wear leg braces when I walk. Likewise, I use a pair of forearm crutches. By the time I get down to the beach I am usually worn out, as there are usually either a steep set of stairs I have to climb down, or there is a steep embankment I must navigate in order to make my way to the water.

Walking in sand with crutches isn’t easy. The tips often sink down into the sand. Then once I make it to the shore I have to take my leg braces off, which makes me feel self conscious, as my legs are scarred and misshapen. I feel like the eyes of everyone are usually upon me. Just looking out at the water is easier, as I don’t have to expose myself as much to others.

We will see if I am brave enough tomorrow to venture down to the water and show my ugly, scar-riddled legs to the world. If not, I will be happy just to see the water from a distance. It will still bring me peace.

Panama City Beach – Day 4

As The Carpenters once sang, “rainy days and Mondays always get me down.” Unfortunately, today we had both of those things. It seems as if the rain has been pretty relentless since yesterday morning. This has made going to the beach next to impossible since we arrived in Florida. The waters of the gulf have been very choppy as well and there have been riptide warnings.

We made the best of this rainy Monday and found some other activities to do. Eating was among those things. We all ventured out to Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen here in Panama City. Unfortunately, the food was not very good, and it was overpriced. Her restaurant in Savannah, Georgia is much better.

Tonight’s homemade taco dinner was very tasty. My sister-in-law, Alice, even prepared some ground beef for me without taco seasoning. I am lucky to be surrounded by such a great family. Hopefully, at some point the rain stops and we can spend some time in the water. If not, we’ll just have to eat more tacos!

Day 3 – Montgomery

We woke up in Montgomery, Alabama yesterday morning and decided to just head the rest of the way to Florida. After having driven over 800 miles, we were all ready to be out of the car for a week. We had originally planned to do some sightseeing, but that can wait for another time.

So, we loaded up our Honda CR-V and set out yet again. Just outside of Montgomery, we spotted an outdoor market that had fresh fruits, vegetables, pies, bread, eggs, and all other kinds of goods. They even had some free-range chickens that were roaming the grounds. Baby Boy had fun chasing the chickens around. Fortunately, none of them were peckish. After a short break at the market we were once again on our way.

We finally reached Panama City Beach at around three yesterday afternoon. We had a late lunch at a place on the beach and then headed to join family at our rental house near the beach. It was nice to feel the breeze blowing up from the gulf. It looks like Tropical Storm Claudette has moved on, at least for the most part, although the waters of the gulf were extremely choppy today.

After settling in we decided to go and get some groceries for the week. This was quite an ordeal. I am not one who enjoys shopping, even when the market is empty. We went to two separate stores and both were packed with fellow vacationers. It almost seemed as if everyone was preparing for a disaster to strike.

Being from Northwest, Illinois, I am used to seeing people flood into the stores before an impending snowstorm to grab, milk, bread, and other staples. However, this experience was much different. It was nothing like I had ever seen. I think I’ll steer clear of the checkout lines and just spend the rest of my time at the beach with a good book.

Never again will I do this.

Hello Again…

It has been quite some time since my last post. I just haven’t felt like writing for some reason. Perhaps, life has just been too hectic, or maybe I just have been a bit lazy. Sometimes, it is difficult to just stop and take stock of the things going on around you.

Life can seem fairly monotonous. Working from home, as I have been doing for over a year, has added to this feeling. Things seem to be slowy getting back to “normal.” I have returned to my office a few days a week. This has brought back some much needed structure to my life. Staying home everyday to work while I am in my pajamas didn’t seem to give me much of a purpose.

A lot has changed within the last year. Baby Boy is now walking and saying a few words, such as “dad.” Being a dad is such a wonderful experience. I have learned a lot about myself. In addition, I think I have learned the entire catalog of “Wiggles” songs. YouTube and Netflix come in handy when you are quarantined.

Amanda and I have been blessed with so much good. Despite, challenges related to health, 2020 was a very prosperous year. It is hard to believe that we are almost halfway through 2021. God has been good to us, even when we have not taken notice.

I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year holds. We will be taking a family vacation to Florida in June. I am excited to see Baby Boy play on the beach. I’m wondering what his reaction will be when he first sees the Gulf of Mexico. I’m sure we will build some sandcastles. Well, I’ll build and he will sit on them halfway through their construction.

Looking at life through the eyes of a little one has given me a new perspective. Everything is new and exciting. Nothing is left untouched. Everything has to be tasted, even cat food. Maybe life is not so monotonous after all. How can it be when every day is a new experience?

Goodbye 2020!

The end of last year brought hope. Amanda and I welcomed a three-day old baby boy into our home. Since this time he has become a part of us. In two days this bright, smiling child turns 1 year old. We will have a party with family. There will be cake, smiles, laughter, and maybe a few presents.

It has been strange raising a baby during a time when the world is filled with such uncertainty. This year has had many ups and downs. However, despite all of this, life has gone on and everyone has remained relatively healthy. There is much for which to be thankful.

Amanda and I have great friends and a loving family. We have a baby who brings us so much happiness on a daily basis. It has been our great pleasure to become his parents. We feel fortunate to have been blessed with the responsibility of raising him and providing for his needs.

God has protected us through times of trial. This year has truly been a struggle at times. The isolation brought on by the pandemic has often been too much to handle. However, life is still good. I will be happy to see 2020 come to a close. I’ll carry the things I have learned this year into the next. One might think that the future looks bleak, and in a lot of ways it does. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am curious to see what the future holds. As we approach 2021, let us all treat each other with more love and understanding. Everyone has a burden they are carrying. Let’s make time to listen to others.

I recently had a friend reach out to me to share some things that were going on in his life. He expressed to me that he needed others to “do life with.” This is something we all need. The English poet, John Donne, writing in the 17th century, wrote that “no man is an island.” Hopefully, 2021 is a year we can reconnect with each other. Good riddance 2020!

Six Weeks

Yesterday was my last dose of antibiotics. This was cause for celebration. It has been a long six weeks of medication, home nursing visits, doctor’s appointments, and sleepless nights. There were times it seemed like it would never end.

However, my body has healed. My PICC line has been removed, and life is slowly getting back to normal. Now it is time to once again build up my strength. My body has become very weak, as I have been quite inactive. Working from home has not helped this situation. Despite this, I am thankful to have a good job. Likewise, I am thankful that my body has healed.

I am curious to see what the next few months will bring as we head into autumn. There is a lot to look forward to, especially with Baby Boy here. For instance, Halloween should be fun with a little one. Thanksgiving and Christmas will be extra special as well. Hopefully, 2021 will be a better year for us all. I know I am ready to say goodbye to 2020!

My parasitic PICC line. It felt like a worm slithering through my vein as it was removed from my arm.

Drip, Drip, Drip…

I seem to be living life one drip at a time these days. Four weeks in to being on IV antibiotics and progress is being made, despite the drip, drip, of time. The wound on my foot has healed, for the most part. However, there are still two weeks of antibiotics to go.

I am dreaming of the day when the PICC line will be pulled from my arm. If all goes as planned this should happen the week of September 21. After that I hope things will get back to normal.

In the time I have been down, Baby Boy has begun to crawl. This has presented some challenges, as I cannot always catch him before he gets his hands in to things where they don’t belong. For instance, he has sampled some cat food, explored the bathroom floor, and played with television remotes. I am hoping he hasn’t purchaed anything from Amazon while I wasn’t looking.

The next two weeks will drip, drip, drip on by and my left foot and my left arm will once again be fully operational. I can then be on full-time baby patrol every evening. I’m sure the cats will appreciate that. I know Amanda will, as she has been working overtime keeping our household running. Without her I’d be lost. She has been wife, mother, nurse, housekeeper, chauffeur, and friend all while holding down a full-time job.

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