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Archive for June, 2013

New home!

We’re still settling in, but we’ve moved, and I very much like our new space. Why? Well, it’s fully accessible. For the first time, I can fairly easily do anything needed for myself. The whole apartment is on one level. One bathroom has a tub, while the other has a no-step shower with a fold down seat and handrails. I can get things to eat in the middle of the night (which I often need to do), because I don’t have to go up or down any stairs. We have more ‘usable’ space – no basement for storage like the old place, but instead we have more square footage of ‘living space’. We moved from a narrow turn of the century rowhouse into a big apartment (similar era, but more thoroughly rehabbed). These apartments were intended to be sold as condos, but the bottom dropped out of the market and they started renting them. We were very lucky to get this accessible apartment. It hadn’t even been advertised, we were here to look at other units, and he mentioned having the one accessible one. It shouldn’t surprise any of you that I pounced on the opportunity and asked to see it. We like it quite a bit.

The dogs are still not entirely sure what to make of the new space. They are also learning how to run on hardwood floors. It really is hilarious to see them when they’re too excited to think about how they’re moving. Bailey gives up on stopping and just collides with things (particularly the love seat). Both dogs almost run in place while they try to start moving, their paws not having enough grip on the floor to push them forward they way they want.

My fiance and I are both very happy with the new space. It’s a much more attractive space. It’s where a pair of young professionals live, not student digs. The sort of place you’d like to have friends over for dinner.

Instead of a dining room, we have a library. We have enough books to cover a whole wall with bookcases (well, to be honest, I have enough books for that – few of them are the fiance’s). We got an Ikea Poang chair, because my angry joints like them, and my old dish chair will be going there as soon as we can get the former roommate to pay for a new cushion (he’d left piles of clothing and whatnot on it, which attracted the mice to it, so they…well, mice are filthy creatures, they excreted on it). Our dining room table is in there, in a corner, but we don’t expect to use it often. When it’s just us, we tend to eat while watching T.V. (I know, a theoretically terrible habit, but it’s at least partially because dining chairs tend to be uncomfortable for me), so it only needs to be pulled out for friends.

We also have a lovely new addition to the house – I am now the owner of a big floor loom. I’ll be able to weave cloth out of my own handspun yarn, among other things. It was a very good deal because it requires a bit of work. Nothing major, it seems – a chain replaced, some straps adjusted, re-tying some bits, and a great deal of cleaning, that sort of things. I’m quite excited to get it going! Now I just need to acquire some weaving books…(yes, I’ll admit it, I’ve quite a thing for books).

Our former roommate left us in an awkward position. He never retrieved his things, and he didn’t pay rent for several months leading up to when we moved out. He left his room an utter and complete disaster that took the fiance about a day to clean up, he got paint on my antique mahogany four-poster bed, and a large spill of it on the carpet. He burned a hole in my duvet cover and got paint on the duvet itself. He hasn’t answered any messages of any variety since January. I don’t know what’s going on; I was concerned for him when he disappeared. Most of what I am left with at this point is that this is not how you treat friends. You just don’t.

So that’s where things stand now.

I’ve finished physical therapy for my back and ribs, and my pain levels are down somewhat. I’m still having trouble with waking up very painful, due to the whatever-it-is inflammatory condition. We still haven’t figured that out yet; it’s been almost a year and a half. For the last say 8 months or so, I’ve had psoriasis on my scalp, though it was only just diagnosed recently. I’m supposed to try a medicated shampoo, but my insurance is giving me the run-around on that. My GP is sending me to a dermatologist, because of the psoriasis and constant irritation on my arms, which could be auto-immune, and could be related to the hand, wrist, foot, ankle, and knee swelling plus the muscle stiffness and pain that gets much worse after stillness or motions repeated too often.

The fiance and I will be heading out to a gym this weekend, to see if we can find something suitable both distance and price wise. The best candidate so far is up a flight or two of stairs, so I’ll have to decide if that’s worth it. The physical therapy place I went to is part of a gym; if this one doesn’t work out for me, I’ll be going to that one and the fiance will probably be going to the closer one. Frankly, the only drawback for me on the PT gym is distance (about 30 minutes driving) – it has all of the machines I need, including some somewhat unusual ones like a rotational torso machine and a upper body ergometry (UBE, aka an arm bike) that would be really good for me. We’d probably both go there, so we could exercise at the same time, except that they don’t have a squat cage and that’s something the fiance is really set on having.

Hudson and Bailey have been continuing about the same with each other. She wants to be close to him, but he doesn’t reciprocate (though he doesn’t try to run her off, and he rarely moves away). She pushes him out of the way to get to things, especially people, but she yields easily to him with anything BUT people. The dogs are mostly settling in. Bailey is more prone to whining in her crate here, because she can hear and see more of us moving around in the apartment, I think. We’ve had a couple episodes of Hudson growling at sounds; it was particularly bad before I trimmed his eyebrows (they had gotten longer than I usually let them, and may have been bothering him). He was behaving much better, but then today he started growling again. If it happens one more time, we’ll be off to the vet to see if there is something wrong with him that I’m not seeing, as a dog who isn’t feeling well is more likely to growl at sounds. The other awkward thing is that there is no longer a yard we can just toss the dogs out into when they need to do their business. We have to put leashes on and walk down the long ramp (but yay, the apartment has a ramp, so I can get out on my scooter by myself!) to let them go on the lawn. Bailey had some accidents in the house, we think mostly due to the stress of moving. On the whole, I suppose they’re dealing with it as well as can be expected, but it’s been a long time since I last moved with a dog in tow, so it’s all new to me.

Neither of the dogs like the bare hardwood floors, nor do my feet, so we ordered some pretty but cheap oriental patterned rugs. They’re thin, but we can always get a good rug pad to back them and make them feel more plush underfoot. That’s another errand for this weekend.

My summer class has started. I have class 3 days a week for 2 hours, so many many contact hours per week, but it’s not too bad. I’m taking Professional Responsibility, which is a required to get my degree. This is the second time I’ve taken this class – the first time, I had to withdraw halfway through due to the back injury. I like this professor VERY much more than the last one. The last professor liked dwelling on all of the hard questions, the gray areas where there aren’t any neat answers. When we’re talking about the rules of professional conduct that I’m required to live by for the rest of my career, I’d like to have answers! I’d like to know what my responsibilities look like! I don’t want to have piles of questions I have to answer ‘maybe’. ‘Maybe’ is a terrible answer.

I mean to work on some writing this summer. So far, though, I keep giving in to the temptation to flick on the TV and veg out with my fiance. I’ll have to change that if I mean to get anything written this summer! I have a couple stories bubbling in the back of my brain, where the loose outline is there, but the details all need to be drawn in.

Summer team training is starting soon for my service dog school. I’m considering going for a day or two, depending on schedules and the weather and my health. I haven’t been in too long, and besides that, someone I know via disability related things online is getting a dog from my school this summer. I’d like to meet her in person! She also has EDS, which would bring me up to 3 fellow EDSers that I’ve met in person. Besides that, it’s good to be with service dog people now and again. They get disability, and they get being kind of forced to be program ambassadors, in a way that people who aren’t just can’t, no matter how well-intentioned they may be.

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