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Monday, October 27, 2014

Selling The Machine...

So, I put The Green Machine up for sale. I tell you, this was not an easy decision. But I figured it was best for the car, you know, instead of sitting on the street and rusting to death....

First, I called Bubba, who told me to not take less than $2,500.00 for her. Then I called several numbers of folks who had expressed interest in the car in the past, but, although some of them said they'd call me back, they didn't.  Then I took a billion pictures of it and posted it on Craigslist. Or I tried to post it on Craigslist -- but for some reason, even though the website said it was posted, The Green Machine was not showing up on the site... hmmm....

So I did it again. And again. And finally, the third time, it really did get posted.

Then, I posted For Sale signs on the car. An hour later, I walked outside, and the signs were gone. Both signs had fallen off. So I got out the masking tape and tried again. Two hours later, both signs had fallen off again..... hmmm....

Finally, I gave up and slapped the sign under the windshield wipers.

The first time I started The Green Machine up (after I put her up for sale), she wouldn't start. She sometimes (if she's been sitting a week or more) takes two or three attempts before she starts, but it took six attempts to get her going. I really didn't think she was going to go... Then, when I drove her around the block a few times, the radio would not work. This is weird. Because the radio always works. If fact, it's the only reliable part of the car. And now the radio was completely dead.

Right away, I got an offer of $2500 from a guy who lives down the block. He told me he needed "a couple weeks" to "get the money together." I took that as code for him having to make a few more drug deals to get the money together. A couple of weeks passed. I never saw him again. I mean, really, the guy just disappeared from the neighborhood. I do wonder if he finally got arrested...

And another neighbor wanted to know if I'd take $500 now and $500 a month for four more months. That neighbor, too, has since seemly disappeared off the face of the earth. I do hope he's OK...

The second time I started The Green Machine up (after I put her up for sale), she didn't start until the fourth try and then, BLAM!!!!! THE RADIO CAME ON FULL VOLUME AND NEARLY BUSTED MY EAR DRUMS OPEN!  I drove her around the block a few times, and she was running really, really rough.

I then got an offer of $1000 from another neighbor. This guy told me he wanted to paint The Green Machine orange and put on mag wheels and use her for drag racing....  You can imagine how that made me feel, I mean Orange? ORANGE? Drag racing??? Mag wheels??  The Orange Machine?!!  GA!

I told him I would think about it. But truth be told, I couldn't imagine such an ill-gotten fate for The Green Machine....

The next offer I got was from someone on Craigslist, it was for $1500 and only tentative,  he wanted to come see the car first.

The third time I started The Green Machine up (after I put her up for sale), she took four tries again to get going, then, the gas gauge died.  I mean, it just sunk to empty. Heck, it sunk to below empty. And I knew it was wrong because the last time I drove her it had a half a tank..... And still she was running very very rough.

The guy from Craigslist did not show up to see the car. Another neighbor offered $1000.00. He wanted to paint it purple and give it to his 18 year old son... yikes! Then he told me he couldn't offer me more, because he would have to stick $3000.00 into it....

And I'm thinking $3000? Because I thought it would cost a heck of a lot more than that. So I called Bubba and asked him how much it would cost to restore The Machine.

And, really, it's not as bad as I thought.

So, I took the signs off the car and took the posting off Craigslist and Bubba is going to hook me up with a guy he knows who does bodywork and won't screw me over.

The next time I started The Green Machine up, she started right up, the radio worked perfectly, the gas gauge sprang to 1/2 a tank and she purred like a kitten....

And I guess she's here to stay.....

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Breakthrough At Speech Therapy!

Well, he finally did it! On Wednesday, Bob was able to come up with a full, complete, grammatically correct sentence to describe a photo!!!!

This task (describing a photo with a sentence) has been a challenge for Bob and the ST has been running him through photo after photo for over a month now. Bob struggles so, trying to find the words, it's really heartbreaking to watch. He usually can come up with a noun, sometimes even the correct noun (ha!) but he seems at a loss on how to construct a complete sentence. You know, with verbs and conjunctions and modifiers and whatnot.

So on Wednesday, when the ST showed Bob a photograph of a girl riding a horse, Bob actually said, without prompting of any sort: 

"The little girl is riding a horse."

well, actually, it was more like this:

"The little girl..... is.... riding.... a horse."

I tell you, both the ST and I jumped to our feet and applauded him!  I mean this is BIG. No, actually it's a HUGE step for Bob in the right direction. I mean, really, he actually said "The little girl is riding a horse."  All I can say, is WOW!!!

Meanwhile, things have been hectic here for me, so I am sorry if this blog has been quiet. Between trying to get started on packing our things, I've met with contractors several times, also with a medical equipment consultant regarding a lift device for the bathroom (I am trying to decide whether a ceiling lift or portable lift would be better), and I am also trying to sell The Green Machine (took pics and posted it on craigslist, which was hard, to say the least) then, in the midst of all this the darn Bobmobile had to go into the shop as its fog lights would not (no matter what I tried) turn off  and were constantly draining the battery. When I took the van up to the auto shop, they could not fit me in (even though I had made an appointment) so I had to spend near all of last week connecting and disconnecting the battery every time I parked the van or started the van.  grrrrr  Finally, that's fixed, it was a short in a circuit.... 

Then Friday, our dear friend Chris was hit by a car while crossing the road in her power wheelchair!  Thank goodness, she's OK, just banged up a bit, but her power chair was totaled and I'm now trying to find her a new/used/free-or-cheap replacement....

And add the usual stuff, and you know, never a dull moment here at The Pink House.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dear Anonymous:

Yesterday, I checked the Spam folder for my blog. I must admit, I don't do this often and it's been awhile since the last time. I used to check it more frequently, before I put up that "prove your not robot" picture thing on the comment section. Since then, I get very little in the spam folder. Yesterday, I found three messages.

The first spam was offering me "Great deals on Porta-Potties!!!!" Oh-kay. Ha! I hit delete.

The second spam caught me off guard as it didn't make a lick of sense. Posted by "Anonymous", as a comment on my blog about Bob's new I-Pad, on June 16, it read:

"Nice having your own blog where you can delete
truthful but unfavorable comments that you
don't want to face up to. You can't have your generous
blog friends seeing that, although I'm sure some of them
thought the same thing.
Isn't it time you stop using good-hearted people?"

I read this message and thought, Huh? I read it a second time, then a third. Since it wasn't signed, I had no clue who this person is/was or what they were even talking about. So I hit delete.

Then I read the third spam, also posted on June 16th by "Anonymous" about an hour earlier from that second spam, as a comment on Bob's new I-Pad. It read thus:

"That was a really bold and selfish thing for you to ask of Dan. 
 You should have waited until you got your money, or you should have 
purchased it on a credit card. If you don't have one, I am
pretty sure one of the companies would give you one now.
I certainly hope you pay it forward."

All righty.  So now I know what that second nasty spam message was all about.... At this point, I had a couple of choices. I could hit delete and forget about it. I could revert the spam into an approved comment on that blog post, but since the post was over three months old, I doubt anyone would read it. Or I could do this, blog about it, which will give me an opportunity to respond (and others an opportunity to comment.) So here's my response:

Dear Anonymous: (May I call you Anon?)

First of all, Anon, I find it irksome when folks don't sign their comments. Why are you hiding?  A long time ago, a writing instructor told my writing class that one should never publish a single word that one is not proud to own, i.e. no hiding behind pen names, no hiding behind "anonymous", if you are not proud of what you have written, proud enough to put your name on it, don't publish it. Good advice, if you ask me.

Secondly, I did not delete your comment. It ended up as spam. This is done by a spam detector which I have no control over and I don't know why your comments ended up spam, but perhaps because the comments weren't signed? Or maybe it's your brower or server or address....? I don't know. I'm not that high tech. All I know is I did not delete your "truthful but unfavorable" comment. I did not even read it until yesterday. 

Then, Anon, regarding the whole I-Pad situation, I do hope my blog readers don't think I was "bold" or "selfish" to accept Dan's very kind offer. I had already accepted his offer, which he had sent to me out of the blue, and after mediation where we "resolved our dispute" with the hospital, I wrote to Dan and told him I would totally understand if he wanted to withdraw the offer. I also told him that, if they still wanted to send the refurbished I-Pad, I knew Bob would really appreciate it now and I would "pay it forward" by giving it to another aphasia patient in need. I left the decision completely up to Dan and friends and they decided to go ahead and send it.

And also, Anon, as far as credit cards go, do you realize that we had nearly $30,000 worth of unpaid medical bills and defaulted credit cards in collection at that time? I do not think any credit card company would have given us a card, on just my word, until that mess was cleared up. And the one card I had was nearly maxed and needed for monthly medical supplies.

I wonder too, Anon, if you know how hurtful your comments were to me and do sincerely hope that no one thinks, like you, that I am a "bold" and "selfish" person who "uses good hearted people". But I suppose it's an easy thing to write hurtful comments when one doesn't have the courage to sign their name...

Diane @ The Pink House on the Corner

FlashApps Animal Category
All that said, Dear Readers, I want to take a moment to thank Dan & Company again -- your gift to Bob was not just a gift of an I-Pad, but truly a gift of speech!

And really, who'd have thought? I can't believe how beneficial this I-Pad has been for Bob. I mean, who would believe something like an I-Pad could help speech therapy so much?

Bob's ST found a free speech app called FlashApps which is geared for Bob's specific aphasia problem -- that of using the wrong word in the right category. For example, Bob will call a "cat" a "dog" or  his "arm" his "neck". He's in the right category (animals or body parts) but has the wrong word. FlashApps provides 12 categories (everything from body parts to animals to colors etc) with a series of photos of four different things in that category. The voice will say the word and Bob has to pick the right photo. If he chooses wrong, the photo he chooses gets X'd out and he's told to try again.

Bob is getting really good at FlashApps, going from 20% correct to 100% correct answers on every category except "body parts" -- he is still very very bad with body parts. But, he is also speaking more spontaneous correct words! The ST is very excited with his progress and has graduated him to harder assignments involving comprehension and memorization and forming complete sentences. She still uses the I-Pad for showing him a variety of photos/scenes and asking/cueing him to construct sentences to describe what he sees.

So, as Anon insists, if I am truly "bold and selfish" for wanting the best for Bob, well, I'm glad, because having this I-Pad in conjunction with this therapist at that time and place has been nothing short of a miracle. If I had waited until the first settlement payment (in September) Speech Therapy might have been over, ended for lack of progress, as has happened in the past.

And believe me, I will never forget the generosity and support that Bob and I have received from so many wonderful people over these very trying, long four years. And I will do my best, to the best of our ability, to pay that generosity and support forward. I already have a person in mind to send the I-Pad to (as soon as I have time to get Bob a newer one!) and that person is the husband of a friend/fellow caregiver I met online, and he suffers from aphasia (the result of a traumatic brain injury) and they are financially struggling...