Tag Archives: road trips

Road or Air?

Road trips. Yeah, I just laughed out loud at the memories. If I were an author, I could write children’s novels on the subject using my family’s experiences and adventures. As a family, we took many road trips especially in the younger years–even when Marcia was in a car seat. I don’t know how my parents survived.

My extended family circle is big. I am extremely blessed. When my Dad felt led by the Lord to move West (Colorado) for work, my parents made every effort to make certain that we kept in touch with all three sides of the family. Because of this, road trips took different directions: one year, we would go northeast states in a loop, squeezing in as many family/friends as we could in the short period of vacation time; the next vacation, we would go in the opposite direction doing the same pattern. Road trips also gave an opportunity to visit historical places and other tourism specialties in different cities.

In our suburban, there was this unwritten form of conduct for the seating. Because Melissa and I didn’t get carsick, we were always smashed in the backseat. Melissa’s long legs could only handle so much of the no leg room and for myself, my pet-peeve was not being able to hear the music. Literally the example: No one is talking, so I ask, “Can we turn up the music, please?” Mom turns up the volume. As I have now broke the silence, now everyone is talking or bickering between the middle/backseat–Mom turns down the music. Unfortunately, the only music we never wanted to ask to be turned up was Dad’s oldies. I finally learned to appreciate them (before I went deaf.)

Now, the backseat was responsible for getting the snacks, packed lunch or Dad’s Diet Pepsi from the cooler. Being efficient packers, the cooler always landed in the farthest back of the trunk, in which one had to unbuckle their seat belt to practically climb over the pillows and duffle bags to get in the box. Somehow, someone upfront was always hungry when the backseat persons were sleeping. The middle seat was responsible for the trash bag. I am not sure why this was a big deal, but most of the seat bickering was based on the trash bag, or the fact that they had controls for the air vents, their windows rolled down and they had the best seats when we played the Alphabet game (of course, Dad driving had the best seat of us all!)

When we started traveling by plane, I liked the convenience of getting to our destination quicker and always tried to act more mature when we sisters got to sit by ourselves apart from Mom and Dad. The only real code of conduct our family has for air travel is that we get to the airport a prompt two hours early to check in our luggage and get through security. Traveling the air was a breeze, until this time my ticket officially labeled me as a disabled passenger.

The disabled label does not have any real grasp on my mentality…it used to irritate me significantly, but now it is something that I have come to acknowledge. My disabilities are not always visible, which is why no one fully understands the amount of physical pains, pressures and problems that my body endures. I don’t blog about this subject–even though it is one of the biggest physical challenges I daily encounter–but to understand the significance of my fear for this flight, you must understand that like any other area in my body in which the tumors destroy the nerves–there is disaster in waiting. In this instance, it is my bowels. I have little to no control of them or their patterns. I often feel controlled in fear of having accidents; no 26-year-old should be having accidents, but it has happened. It’s humiliating.

So as I started preparing for the flight to Colorado, I felt fear take a strong grip over me and I asked a few close friends to join 1me in prayer about this–I needed peace. Our flight out left at 7am, so in code, we arrived to the airport around 5:15am for check-in and security. We checked in our two suitcases, as well as my walker. I was then pushed through security and only stood (Mom holding one of my arms to keep me balanced) when they performed the security pat-down. Passing the requirements, we headed to our gate.

You can tell that it was our first time traveling in this manner, because when we arrived at our gate, we said our thank you to the girl who pushed my chair and then she left to go help another wheeled chair passenger. When they joined us, Mom and I saw the lady tip the employee. As she left, I looked at Mom and she asked exactly what I was thinking: “Were we supposed to tip her?” We looked in our wallets and resolved to use what few dollars we had to tip any others that help in such a manner. ūüôā

Being a disabled passenger flying Southwest airlines is sort of like having First-class seating. I was wheeled to the plane door, then helped to the seats…Mom and I decided just to sit the first row. There is a first time for everything. Still nervous for the flight, Mom gives me reassurance prep-talk and soon the plane is running down the airstrip. I remember take-off. Then sleep found me. We landed in Denver and I was one of the first few of the plane, once again pushed in a wheel chair to baggage claim, although this time they buckled me in…which I found quite hilarious! It made sense, however, once we rode on the concourse terminal train. I have never felt so much freedom at the sight of my walker waiting for me at baggage claim!

In both my flights, I had to completely surrender myself and trust in God’s protection. It was NOT easy! But I saw answered prayer; I lived answered prayer. On the last day of meeting friends, I had the chance to see my interpreter from CCU. We were discussing this flight story and I told her that I had been challenged by the experience. How often it is that I say the simple phrase, “I’m praying for you.” Then I forget or say it once quickly, then get busy and move on with life.

It humbles me to know that I have prayer warriors who daily lift up my name to God; they present my personal, detailed requests…as well as the need for comfort and strength. Prayer in my life, as of late, has seemed to be an unwritten code of conduct–very formal, lacking zeal. Like the Disciples (Luke 11:1-4), I often in question say, “Teach me to pray.” And I know He will answer.

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.

Soren Kierkegaard

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Family Times, Funny Stories, Uncategorized

Car Lessons 101

Most of What I learned about cars, I learned from my Dad. He taught me how to change a flat tire and explained the importance of having your tires rotated and how to¬†check my oil.¬†He taught me how to drive in the mountains, merge into traffic on a freeway,¬†fill my gas tank at the pump and explained insurance details¬†tucked away in the glove compartment. On the day I bought my own car, Dad was with me (as well as Mom) to make sure the fair prices were being put on the table before I signed the paperwork. On the way back to my apartment, he even bought me new needed windshield wipers and showed me how to replace them. ūüôā

Both Dad and I like cars: he likes to work on them and take pictures at old car shows. I just like to drive my car or ride along in any other…given (1) I am in the passenger seat and can make conversation or (2) I am in the backseat and can read. Road trips have special memories, especially the trips we took when I was a kid. Because I did not get car sick, me and my oldest sister were sentenced to the very back seats of the suburban which entitled us to no leg room and getting snacks whenever someone up front was hungry. We had no windows that opened, so our view was always tinted and when the windows from up front were open, we got all the air (which got annoying and cold quite fast!) The speakers for the music were all the way by the back door, so I was constantly asking for the music to be turned up…then Dad would jam to his oldies (which I did not have an appreciation f0r at the time) and I would¬†reverse my request¬†for the music to be turned down. Eventually, Mom would just turn off the music and say we should just talk with no music.

So today Dad, I thought of you when I found this picture:

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I don’t know if it was our first family trip to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, but I do know that this¬†was the first picture I ever took and you just happen to be the one posing (actually I remember asking to take your picture). Today I won’t ask you to turn down the music, but might just find myself singing along. Happy Father’s Day!

I was lost and blind then a friend of mine
Came and took me by the hand.
And he led me to his kingdom
That was in another land.
Now my life is changed, it’s rearranged
When I think of my past I feel so strange.
Wowie, zowie, well He saved my soul.
He’s the rock that doesn’t roll.
He’s the rock that doesn’t roll.
He’s the rock that doesn’t roll.
He’s good for the body and great for the soul.
He’s the rock that doesn’t roll.
I was all alone like a rolling stone,
I was going nowhere fast.
I was on the road so far from home
When the future touched my past.
Now I feel so blessed ’cause He gave me a rest
And I finally feel like I’ve passed the test.
I wanna be like Him, yes that’s my goal
Like a rock that doesn’t roll
Larry Norman. “The Rock that Doesn’t Roll.” In Another Land. Solid Rock Records: 1975, 1993.

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Life’s a Road Trip

Road trips. I love road trips. Usually I am the backseat driver, unless I am needed up front to drive (which is not very often) or to sit as co-pilot and make meaningful conversations to keep the driver alert. Because I had my nose in a good book last week, I opted to take the backseat. We left Thursday and spent the night a few hours down the road so by Friday we only had half the time left to get to NY.

We get to the hotel and I am laying out my things for the next day and start getting ready for bed. I take out my hearing aids and place them in their safety container; then I put my container in my purse so I do not forget them in the morning. (Can you imagine!?) Friday morning we grab drive-thru¬†for breakfast and¬†officially set off on¬†our way only 9 minutes behind the schedule we had hoped for the day before (I was so proud!)¬†Now, you have to understand…freeways, airplanes and the constant murmur in the background at the grocery store gets very annoying to hear. I usually have my hearing aids on the second setting on road trips¬†when there is another person in the backseat with me so I can keep in conversation and I keep them at this setting¬†when I am shopping. I just take them out in airplanes.¬†Because it was just me in the back and I wanted to read, I left my hearing aids in their container.

We get about 40 minutes from my grandparent’s place (destination) and I am on the last page of my book. You also have to understand…I normally shy away from a few genres in literature: Sci-fi, romance novels and animal (pet) memoirs. But my latest trip to the public library had a shelf of books about animals and gardens–in theme¬†with springtime,¬†April and Earth Day.¬†A few caught my eye, with this one in particular, because the owl on the front was so fuzzy and cute I just had to read it. It turned out to be a very educational read, but it was entertaining all at the same time.¬†After two hundred and some odd pages, I am absorbed in the life of this biologist and her owl that I get to the last page and feel it coming! Yeah, the tears. Inevitable!

If you are like me and don’t normally read animal memoirs or watch the nature show, then hope you can sympathise¬†with me on this for this very reason: tears. Not that crying is a bad thing–I think it shows how great the book is, because the author was able to relate that emotion to the reader. But when I read books that I know will make me cry, I usually like to be in my room. Alone.¬†Yet here I am on a NY freeway trying to control my emotions that I really was not expecting until I started the last chapter. I finish the¬†book¬†and decide if I distract my thoughts from¬†what I just finished reading then I would be fine. I mumble up to the front that I am getting a Charlie Horse cramp in my left leg and I need a rest stop. Up until this point I have somehow managed to keep the tears at least in my eyes, but as soon as my mom turns around to see what I need, one look and I burst out the¬†ending¬†of the¬†story¬†in one¬†grand sentence and then¬†sob profusely.

Mom¬†and I finish our tiny chat about the¬†book and¬†I¬†dry my¬†tears. I figure it is¬†time to put in my hearing aids.¬†I first¬†put in the right¬†hearing aid but¬†don’t¬†hear the “ring tone” that announces¬†to my¬†ear that¬†it is turning on. I put in the left¬†(which¬†is¬†no longer my dominating ear but¬†practically deaf ear) and can’t hear much of anything. I take them¬†out and replace the batteries.¬†Nothing. I know my left aid is¬†working¬†but¬†I pass up my right aid to my mom to see¬†if¬†she can hear the ring. Nothing. Now¬†I¬†am¬†no longer sad but a bit frustrated. What am I going to do?¬†I¬†just had to put them back in¬†my case and¬†back¬†in my purse. “I will just have to lip-read today.” Sometimes my¬†hearing aids just need a break¬†and¬†then the next day work again, and because I have had to turn them up to the highest setting most often as of late,¬†I figure¬†if I just try tomorrow then maybe they will work. The timing in this is not great. First, a whole weekend with my grandparents. How horrible would it be not to hear? And second, I just finished this book about barn owls and other birds who have such precise hearing that they can even hear spiders crawling up the wall. Surely adds to my frustration.

You may have guessed by now–but if not I will tell you: my hearing aid is currently still not working. I avoid the term broken, because it could be a numerous amount of factors that does not necessarily mean the hearing aid is broken but just needs a few adjustments, like¬†new sensor pads or sometimes my ear wax will get inside the aid and cause it to not work. I am hoping it is not broken. But¬†I did survive the weekend! Actually, I think I did quite well. I think right now I just want to have a pride moment and pat myself on the back. But I also give a lot of praise to my parents and even my grandpa who took time to sign little words (even make them up just on the spot so I would get the word at the moment) and lots of finger spelling. ūüôā Most of one dinner conversation consisted of the game “Guess¬†the Word in¬†ASL.” That was fun. And we toured a lighthouse on Saturday, so we looked up how to sign the word. All I knew was boat.

We finish the fabulous weekend¬†and life goes on. I did not do anything different today than if I was wearing hearing aids. I had a meeting in the morning to discuss job potentials. The lady knew ASL, so there was no interpreter, but¬†I think I talked and lip-read more than I signed. I notice without my hearing aids in, I am more verbal to say, “I am Deaf” and¬†let¬†people know why I¬†am not understanding one word¬†or accidentally¬†interrupting a conversation or starting one way off subject. Deafness has blocked my hearing senses, but I noted to myself this weekend that my eyes are going to have to take more responsibility: more observation of my surroundings especially in social settings.

I did¬†not think¬†my life would ever come to this¬†time…this¬†moment¬†when I had to face the reality¬†of my deafness. But in a way, this weekend helped me more than it did frustrate me. I learned in part¬†from my¬†grandpa. He¬†is¬†a godly¬†role model.¬†His actions,¬†faithfulness and servanthood shine¬†louder than his words. He lives out¬†the famous Mark Twain quote: “Kindness¬†is¬†a language¬†which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” He cares for my grandma everyday…even¬†all hope seems lost. He¬†is like Samwise Gamgee:

Frodo: I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

We may not be fighting off Orcs or battling for Middle Earth, but I know even in Deafness that there is good in this world. My story does not end here. And when the new Day comes, it will be worth everything! I hold on to that hope: “[But] we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance;¬†and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5;3-4

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Filed under Adjusting to NF2, Books and Movies, Family Times, Funny Stories, Random