Each handicap is like a hurdle in a steeplechase, and when you ride up to it, if you throw your heart over, the horse will go along, too. ~~Lawrence Bixby

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Is it accessible?



[Caveat 1: I know there are other disabilities people struggle with that need to be addressed, but this is the one I know, so this is what you get!] 

[Caveat 2: I realize I've written about this before, but it's an ongoing issue and I still need to kvetch about it and remind people about it. Plus, here are some solutions!]

I sound like a broken record: "Is the venue accessible?" I ask every time I plan to attend a concert, workshop, meeting, party. Some people have gotten that question from me multiple times; now I just say, "You know what I'm going to ask." I admit to occasionally asking even knowing I probably wouldn't attend; it's my self-imposed mission to remind people that it's important to consider their venue choices in terms of access. I know it's not always easy to find a place that everyone can access; and I know that people often try and don't always succeed.


But I will tell you this: it feels rotten to be excluded from an event that I want to attend. 

I don't expect access to be the first consideration when people are planning events, but I do hope it occurs to them at some point, and even that it's fairly high on the priority list. 

Things have come such a long way from pre-ADA days. I can't imagine what it was like for people in wheelchairs before curb cuts and mandated accessible bathrooms and entrances to public buildings. But we still need to do better.

One of the reasons I'm not singing with my choir now (Aurora Chorus) is because of access. The rehearsal room is manageable, but certainly not ideal (and this is a State university building!). The room entrance is at the top tier of the choir risers/steps, and so I'd be stuck there, unable to get to a lower level to see and hear better and participate fully. It worked, sort of, when I was using a walker, though I'm amazed I didn't fall, hauling and bumping the walker up and down the steps. The concert venue they have used for the past six years or so - a church - is abysmal for people with disabilities, both for audience members and for performers. The stage is difficult at best and impossible at worst to access with a wheelchair. But thanks to the persistent efforts of the board and concert committee, the choir is changing venues, and they tell me that this one is accessible, so I may be returning in the fall. 

Something that will make that possibility even more doable is the wonderful wheelchair van we now have! I no longer have to wrestle with getting the scooter on and off the power lift, and I can now take the wheelchair out and about, not just the scooter. (More on this in the next post, coming soon.)

Having an event? Check it out!

Below is a checklist I devised of some things to consider when planning an event. Some of these will be N/A if your event is in a private home (but if there are too many N/As, consider changing venues!). These apply to wheelchair users but are also appropriate considerations for people using walkers or canes.


  • Assistant: Is there someone - not the host - who can be a point person? Someone to connect with the wheelchair user to show them best access and check with them through the event? I have appreciated this so much when it happens; for example, Artichoke Music does it right! I felt downright pampered there when I attended a concert. 
  • Location: Is the venue easy to get to by car or mass transit? How's the parking for a van with a ramp? Is it possible to save a parking spot or spots for wheelchair users or people who can't walk far? 
  • Entrance: Are there steps? Even one step can make entrance impossible. If so, is there an alternate entrance? Make sure it's clearly marked and easy to get to. Another option: some mobility stores have ramps to rent.
  • Seating: Will there be designated wheelchair seating? Some users are fine sitting in their chairs, others prefer to transfer to a "real" chair. Paths to seating need to be kept clear - free of equipment, cables, chairs, etc. 
  • Bathroom/s: Are they accessible? This can mean a lot of things: doors need to be wide enough for a wheelchair; grab bars are mandatory in places that claim to be ADA compliant. If this is a private home, do the best you can to make it accessible. I can walk a short distance if I have sturdy things to hold on to, but not every wheelchair user can. If your bathroom isn't fully accessible, be sure to make that known.
  • General flow: Is the event on more than one level? If so, is there an elevator? Are aisles and access routes clear and wide enough for a wheelchair or walker? If there are food tables and products for sale keep access open for wheelchairs and keep the table height low enough for a wheelchair user to see and reach the items - especially the chocolate! For a banquet-type setup with multiple tables, often the tables and chairs are too close together to allow a walker or wheelchair through. Do the best you can to create pathways so the user isn't confined to the perimeter. You may have to remind other participants to keep pathways clear.
  • Signage: Have some good, legible signs to indicate where bathrooms, alternate entrances/exits, food and drink are. Make sure they're posted at a level that someone in a wheelchair can see easily.
  • Emergency exit: It's not a bad idea to have a plan if it's necessary to evacuate someone who can't walk, especially if the event is on an upper level and the elevator isn't usable. Designate a few strong people who could potentially help someone down the stairs if necessary.
If you are the wheelchair user, it's always a good idea to call ahead of time to find out the particulars and to give the event host a heads-up to expect you and your chair. If they need to make any changes, they will appreciate having advance notice.

Well, that's one way to see the stage!
Big thanks to those of you who are already aware and doing much of this. Do you have ideas to add to this checklist? Please leave me a comment below or email me at ladyluck AT teleport DOT com. This is a team effort! Thanks!





Saturday, June 16, 2018

Under Construction? I am so Over Construction!


The walls look a bit gray here,
but they are a lovely light lavender.
There's a skylight above.
I didn't dream I would still be writing about cottage construction in June, but here we are, still in the midst of it. The good news: I have a lovely, functioning bathroom, with accessible shower, toilet, and sink, plus some storage. It is 95% done, just a few tweaks and some finish work to do. It's such a joy to have this - it has made life much easier for me and for Laurie. Now I don't have to use the house bathroom multiple times during her work day, which is quite disruptive to her and the children.

However, the outside is undergoing an upgrade as well. Because we permitted it as an ADU, there are strict fire codes: siding needs to be upgraded which requires a lot of things I don't understand. AND, as I learned last week, we need another layer of drywall on one of the interior walls, which will require another breakdown of all the things I so lovingly put back together recently - bookshelves, decor, kitchenware. And it will again require me to be out of the cottage while the work is being done. To say I'm cranky about this is a great understatement. I have no PG-13 words for it. It is supposed to take a week. We'll see. Liza and I may escape to the beach.

The possible silver lining, unless we run out of money, is that it will be an opportune time to turn the kitchenette into an accessible, more workable kitchen for me. We've been picking lots of brains and scouring websites to see how we might do this on a limited budget. I need lower counters, lower cooktop...you get the idea. 

I'm rather fond of this Star Trek bridge look:


Make it so!
If you have any ideas or resources to share with us, feel free to comment.  

Here’s an additional bathroom/shower photo: decorative tiles I had made from some of my aquarium photos.


Anemones and jellies in the shower.









Thursday, October 26, 2017

Revenge of the Mobility Machines


I have been wrangling an electric scooter for some years now. It isn’t difficult, and it has allowed me to greatly expand my world from four walls to my neighborhood … and beyond.

Last year it became evident that I needed indoor mobility assistance as well. I jumped through all the necessary hoops and I untangled red tape with Medicare, and they sprang for one. They didn’t give me a choice or let me try out any of the buggies, nor did they give me much in the way of driving lessons when it was delivered. They just said, “Here’s your chair,” and left me to figure it out.

I have wrestled with this chair for a year and a half. The nice thing about the scooter is it has a short wheelbase and I usually have plenty of space to maneuver it. The Chair has a very long wheelbase (three sets of wheels!) and, though it turns on a dime, it takes a damn big dime to turn on. And it seems like anything that is within 50 feet of it will get caught under one of the wheels and dragged across the room until I notice that I’m trailing a grocery bag or a dog toy or a throw rug. Or that I've knocked something off of a table.

One of the hardest lessons to learn with the Chair has been to remember to turn it off, or at least put it in neutral when I’m doing something that requires bending over the front of the chair. If it’s on and I lean on the joystick, The Chair will go places I do not want it to go. Often I’m close to a cupboard or piece of furniture and the forward motion will bang me into it. Fortunately, so far, it hasn’t involved running over children or pets or flying off of a porch.

The other day I was attempting to do a juggling act with both mobility devices. I had taken Liza for her scoot and needed to exchange the scooter for The Chair to go back in the house. Because the cottage remodel has begun, there is construction material in the courtyard. And we just had a million inches of rain, so there was a great deal of mud in the area.

I moved The Chair to get my scooter into its parking spot. I tossed the rain cover onto The Chair and it landed on the joystick – off goes The Chair, all on its own, headed for the mud and the visqueen and the new construction. Luckily, it got stuck on a metal border and sat there spinning all six of its wheels.

In the meantime, I had been moving the scooter by holding the accelerator and handlebars and walking beside it. I must have startled when The Chair took off; I didn’t let go of the scooter (which would have stopped it) and it flung me into the mud and onto a pile of wooden stakes (pointy side down, whew!). I sat there for a minute, checking my extremities and hips, then started yelling for Laurie to “Help!”  (No, don’t say it!)  “Laurie, I’ve fallen….  (No!) … and I can’t (No! No! No!) get up!” (Aaaaarrrrgghh!) The truth is, I hadn’t tried, but I was in such a state I convinced myself that I couldn’t.

After a couple of minutes, I heard a man’s voice: “I’m coming!” Our neighbor Chris is a pretty amazing guy, always willing and able to help. He came over and lifted me up (not an easy task!), checked for injuries (he’s also a nurse), and then rescued The Chair that was still on the loose (but still stuck on the border). After he was sure I was basically OK, he finished the wrangling of the machines, and I was merrily on my way. 

Laurie (who hadn’t heard my pleas for help) asked me, after she made sure I was OK, “Where was your phone?”  “In my pocket.” It hadn’t occurred to me to call her, not that she could have dropped three babies to come to my rescue. But she could have shouted words of encouragement!

I was not seriously injured, but have some lovely bruises and not so lovely sore muscles. 



Well, here’s some really good news!  We are the recipients of a very generous gift from some dear friends – money for a van that will be equipped with a ramp so I can wheel right into it. This will make areas of our lives so much less complicated. I’m chuffed! And extremely grateful to amazing friends!
Not this one ... but I like the color!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Invisible

There is a tendency for women to become unseen as they age. Add to that disability and obesity and I’ve hit the trifecta of invisibility.

Now, there are times I don’t mind being invisible. I am an introvert, which doesn’t mean I’m shy or that I avoid people, I just don’t get my best energy from being around people for long periods of time.

Times I do mind not being seen are when I’m trying to get someone’s attention in a store or at an event. I’ve learned to be vocal when I need something off a shelf that I can’t reach when I’m shopping. I don’t even wait for an employee, I’ll ask anyone nearby to give me a hand, and people are usually more than happy to help. I often crack a joke or at least try to be upbeat about it.


Last year I decided to do something wild to my hair. I have never colored it or tried to do anything fancy – I don’t have the patience to mess with it. But I’ve grown quite fond of the fun colors that people are sporting these days, so I went to my guy and said “color me purple!” I showed him a photo of what I had in mind – strips of purple and teal (aka ‘mermaid blue’). I was so happy and excited when he was done with it – the streaks of color popped out from my silver hair. I knew it was going to be fun. 

What I didn’t consider was how visible it makes me until Laurie pointed it out to me. During our trip to Seattle, I must have had 50 comments on my hair. One woman at the Chihuly garden thought they should pay me to sit in the garden because my hair looked so beautiful with the art! Almost every time I’m out in public, I get comments, always positive, usually from women, though occasionally a man will say something.

And I find that I like the attention! Here I sit in my scooter or wheelchair, an overweight, aging woman, and all sorts of people are telling me how fun – beautiful – unique – colorful – awesome – my hair is! Maybe it gives them something to focus on besides the disability; or maybe it’s so unexpected for someone my age. It is definitely a conversation starter.

I plan to keep it this way for the foreseeable future until I get tired of it. I don’t have to fuss with it or do anything complicated – just scoot over to the salon once a month and kick back while Kahala works his magic and we discuss the state of the world.

Older women are overlooked in so many arenas - in business, politics, advertising, entertainment. Perhaps we need a women’s purple revolution!






Remember this poem from a couple of decades ago?

Warning
by Jenny Joseph




Friday, September 22, 2017

Part Four: A Year in the Life

The Cottage Makeover

Laurie and Terri singing
2005: We had our commitment ceremony in front of the cottage.
A lot of back story here…. If you want to skip this part, scroll down to Start Here (not a link).

When I moved into Laurie’s house in the summer of 2005, a lot of changes were under way. We added two rooms to the house: a sun room on the main level and, after some skillful excavation under the house, a moon room (our bedroom) and a big walk-in closet downstairs. This new construction connected with the existing unfinished basement. The old part of the house was 99 years old.

The expansion of the house made it much easier for us both to live here (though combining kitchens was a challenge!), but there was still the issue of having four babies here during the day and all the noise and chaos that goes along with that. (For those of you who don’t know, Laurie is a family childcare provider.) Fortunately, Laurie had long ago converted her dilapidated garage into a studio cottage; she’d been renting it out for years. We agreed that I would occupy the cottage as a music studio and escape pod from children, essentially renting it from her in addition to contributing to the household.

This little 240 square foot space has been a haven for me, and it’s gone through many iterations over the years, depending on what I’m into. The cottage became a smaller version of the apartment I moved out of after 12 years. I hauled the family piano with me  – a full-sized upright that dominated the room (my nephew Paul now has custody).

Chelsea and Eva in the cottage with baked Alaska
I made a baked Alaska for Chelsea and Eva during my baking frenzy.
Over time the cottage has been a music studio, book and reading haven, art studio (collage and photos), meditation space, bakery, writing nook, teaching space, rehearsal space, guest room, nap room, recuperation area….   There is a lovely loft at one end that used to be my meditation spot and which, for obvious reasons, I can’t use anymore, so the big ladder leading to it was removed which opened up a lot of space. The cottage sits under a big old apple tree and our neighbors' huge English walnut tree, and it gets just a little morning sun, so on hot days, it stays very cool - a summer refuge.



Start Here if you skipped the back story.

It’s been a self-contained little space for the most part, with a kitchenette and running water. The one thing it has lacked is a real bathroom with a flush toilet, working shower and bathroom sink. (I used a composting toilet for many years, and lately have used a commode in a pinch; now I often have to go into the house to use the bathroom, which works alright when toddlers are here – it becomes a bit of a game for them when I wheel in - but doesn’t work so well with infants, which is the demographic now.

Cookies and coffee cupThe other piece of this long-winded tale is that it has become extremely difficult for me to get to the downstairs bathroom off of our bedroom; there are a couple of steps up into the bathroom - and that’s also where the shower is.

So we decided to upgrade the cottage and have a real bathroom built. It involves a bump-out, adding about 20 square feet to one end of the cottage and includes a flush toilet, a roll-in shower and a sink, all accessible. We’ll also be widening the entrance, which is barely wide enough for the wheelchair now (I’ve managed to rip the door off the hinges a time or two), and hopefully upgrading the kitchen to make it a little more wheelchair friendly.

We hired an architect, who took precise measurements and drew up some plans; and we called on our contractor Neil, who with his wife Martha have done all our major projects. We love having them around – it’s the construction noise and dust I’m not looking forward to and will be escaping from for part of it (see Part Two).

It took a very long time to get the plans approved and permits obtained from the city. We had hoped to have the project completed by September when the new group of infants came, but because of the permit delay, it hasn’t started yet. Next week, we’ve been promised, they will begin.



Terri teaching voice to a student in the cottage
Teaching voice; the upright piano was replaced with a more modest one.
Because everything needs to be moved out or stacked in a corner, the whole cottage will undergo a re-do. This will be the fifth or sixth in the 12 years I’ve been here, each iteration requiring a different configuration depending on what the focus is – music, baking, or art. It means being creative with space when you’re only working with a couple hundred square feet. 

So with luck, in a month or two the cottage will have a brand new bathroom; I'll be able to roll into it without smashing anything. As usual, I'm so grateful to Laurie for her skill in envisioning such things and then making them happen.

We're considering a bathroom-warming party. Want to come christen the new toilet??   
toilet: iPoop

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Part Three: A Year in the Life


Seattle adventure earns a 9.5 for accessibility.

In July, Laurie and I took the Amtrak to Seattle for an uncharacteristic weekend of theater and art. When we found out last winter that the musical Fun Home would be in Seattle, we started making plans to see it. If you’re not familiar with the musical, it’s taken from the brilliant Allison Bechdel’s graphic memoir of her early life growing up in the family’s funeral home with her closeted gay and depressed father and melancholy mother. It’s funnier than that sounds, but poignant, too. The musical got great reviews and won some Tonys.

The Access for All sign refers to a WA ballot measure for LGBT rights.

And you can’t go to a city like Seattle and just see a musical without doing some other sightseeing.

Our weekend started out on a bad note when the taxi we’d reserved for 7a.m. Saturday to take us to the train station failed to appear. We probably would have gotten a taxi if we hadn’t needed a wheelchair van – apparently they don’t have very many of them and, even though I’d reserved it, someone else got to it first. We had to take a later train and to be sure we got to the station this time, we took the bus downtown – we probably should have done that in the first place!  Fortunately, our theater tickets were for the Sunday matinee so we didn’t miss out on that! And yes, the taxi company got an earful. What does the word ‘reserve’ mean to you??

Getting on the train was pretty easy - they have a mini-elevator that lifts me and the chair right into the car. Maneuvering in the car is a different story, as there isn't much room. It would have been better in business class, but since we had to take a different train, we had to go coach. 

I’d decided to splurge on a nice hotel in the heart of downtown. Almost everything was within easy wheelchair/walking distance. When we checked in, the clerk said they hoped it was OK that they’d upgraded us from a regular ADA room to a deluxe one, and to please let her know if it didn’t meet our needs. It was a corner room on the top floor with a great view of downtown, Mt. Rainier, and Elliot Bay. Yes, that’ll do! The room was huge and beautiful, just right for a much needed afternoon nap.

Sunday was a full day. We hopped (OK, I rolled) on the monorail which to my surprise and delight is fully accessible. I’m pretty sure the last time I was on the monorail was at the 1962 world’s fair. One nice thing about it, you can’t miss your stop, as there’s only one – it travels from downtown to the Seattle Center (right under the Space Needle) and back again. I had a moment of panic when we arrived and the door opened to a six-inch gap between the monorail car and the platform. But the conductor was there in a flash with a ramp for negotiating the gap.

Chihuly glass sculpture
We’d come to the Center to visit the Chihuly Museum of Glass. Wow. What a master artist! I was brought to tears a couple of times by the beauty. I’d only seen small pieces of his before, so to see the larger ones full sized in real life was overwhelming. I was so grateful for the ease of rolling through the museum. And the garden! (what could be better than Chihuly art? Chihuly art in nature). Maybe one day I’ll own one. (Does one ‘own’ art? Or is it simply borrowed?)

We’d planned to see Yayoi Kusama’s “Infinity Mirrors” at the art museum after hearing such wonderful things about it. But a couple of reviews cautioned about not only the long lines to get in but the moving lights that could set off Laurie’s vertigo and a couple of ‘rooms’ that were viewed from a platform that I could get up to just fine, but would probably have to back down a ramp, a skill I’m not very comfortable with in the wheelchair. So we decided to nap instead.

Fun Home was fabulous. I think I loved it more than Laurie, but we both enjoyed it thoroughly. I was especially impressed with the youngsters in the show.

I had purchased wheelchair seating, which was great (and half price!) except the location in the theater was less than perfect. We were close to the front, but way over to the side, stage left – we missed some of the visuals, which is unfortunate. I don’t think we missed much, but it’s a mystery why they can’t make every seat with 100% view of what’s happening on stage.

We met a couple of friends for dinner after the show - another easy roll/walk from the hotel. It was a lovely way to end the night.


Monday morning: We couldn’t leave Seattle without doing the Pike Place Market, which was just a few blocks from our hotel. We were greeted by this enthusiastic crew of fishmongers. Even though it was crowded, it was pretty easy to get around, though there is a lot of uneven ground, especially just outside the main market area. I had to navigate pretty carefully on cobblestones and dirt berm.

One final stop before heading for the train station: Seattle Public Library, downtown branch – across the street from our hotel. What an amazing bit of architecture! Except for the colorful escalators, it’s completely accessible; in fact there’s a spiral ramp that goes on for five or six floors in a very gentle slope.  I’m often not fond of ultra-modern architecture, but this is a very impressive building. Maybe it’s the reflective surfaces that make it seem welcoming rather than cold and impersonal like some modern buildings do.

It was a jam-packed weekend and a roaring success of a trip. If it hadn’t been for the taxi fiasco, I’d give it a ten for accessibility success! And that part happened in Portland.

Next: an upcoming accessibility makeover of the cottage and a few odds and ends.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Part Two: A Year in the Life

Flight of stairs with Mt Everest superimposed
One thing I’ve learned as a disabled person is to get a very clear picture of what I’ll be up against going into a new space – for parties, meetings, vacations, whatever the occasion. My first question is always, “Is it accessible?” Then if the answer is “yes,” I always get clarifying information, because one person’s ‘accessible’ is another person’s ‘challenging’ or another’s ‘impossible,’ because people aren’t accustomed to being aware of steps, handrails, rough ground, slopes…. One or two stair steps can make a difference between my being able to attend and fully participate or to be excluded - or something in between. If a place has one or two steps, I can probably get in with help, but I'll need to use my walker to get around, which is difficult and painful and excruciatingly slow. A couple of times this year I went to five-day events that I knew were inaccessible. I borrowed a manual wheelchair thinking that would ease the amount I'd have to be on my feet. How the hell do people use these things??? For one thing, they're impossible on carpeting; and another, how am I supposed to wheel myself and carry my COFFEE into the living room? Let alone my breakfast?? That idea was abandoned quickly and I resorted back to the walker, which at least has a flat surface I can put necessities on - like my ass if I need to sit for a minute. 

Facilitators Kate and Sarah laughing
Kate Gray and Sarah Byrden, facilitators, signal the end of the session.
In April I took part in a writing retreat in the Columbia Gorge - five days of creative juiciness including a lot of stories and laughter that only a group of a dozen amazing, artistic women can conjure. When I signed up, of course I needed information about accessibility. One of the facilitators, the fabulous poet Kate Gray, not only got me complete information about the layout, she also made sure I got the master suite -which gave me plenty of room near where the gatherings took place - plus my own bathroom. I was able to immerse myself in writing  - something I haven't done for a long time. I was also able, with Kate's help, to come up with an idea for an ambitious writing project, which I'll write about later. By the end of the five days, I was feeling the pain and fatigue of being on my feet more than usual (after attempting the wheelchair), but the creative shot in the arm was good medicine for what ailed me.

Another five-day adventure, a trip to Manzanita (a wonderful little Oregon beach town) with Laurie's siblings, was similar in the accessibility challenges; again I tried the wheelchair. I don't know why I expected different results (insanity). But this part of the trip went a long way to compensate:

Terri on beach wheelchair
CJ, Liza, Richard, and Terri on the beach.
The Manzanita Visitor's Center loans out these beach chairs - no charge! - on a first come basis. We were able to use it two days, and my brother-in-law Richard was Chief Wheelchair Wrangler. I can't thank him enough for wheeling me up and down the beach - what a gift. And Manzanita for providing them. Donate generously if you have occasion to use them. I have loved the beach all my life, and it's been years since I've been able to be on it. We got down to the packed sand and traveled north a while, then I asked Richard to stop. I sat - just sat on the beach - and breathed and watched and listened and smelled. And wept.

Sometime during the summer I got an idea I just couldn't let go of - I need a solo retreat for a week or two. I have all but given up on traveling alone because of the challenge of loading and unloading all my STUFF (I do not travel light). But I have to do this for a couple of reasons: one is I need focused attention to work on the writing project I alluded to, and the other is the need to escape the chaos that's coming in the form of a remodel happening to the cottage soon (more on this later). And so began the search.

I spent hours over the course of a week or two looking on Airbnb and VRBO and Facebook for a place that met all my criteria:
  • Accessible - entrance, shower, doors
  • Ocean view - if I can't be on the beach, I need to see it
  • Relatively private and quiet
  • Allows dogs (though I've since decided to leave Liza at home)
  • Within a two-hour drive
I finally found a place in Oceanside, one of my favorite small towns that is mostly built on a terraced hillside. The view was spectacular, the house large and lovely. I was thrilled. But then -- on our way home from Manzanita, Laurie and I took a detour to Oceanside and I realized how terribly unfriendly to a wheelchair and scooter user the town and roads are. Scooting anywhere around town would have been impossible. I had to let it go, which was difficult. And in reality, it wasn't the perfect house.

So back to the drawing board. Another few days on the interwebs with some close calls...then it occurred to me to look in the Puget Sound area, around Olympia, my old stomping grounds. We had a lovely home on the water there when I was a kid, and I still pine for that area. After a few more close calls, I found The Perfect Place. Ten acres of woods, 250 feet of waterfront, a home that is big and gorgeous with lots of windows and that is fully accessible! and affordable! It's also very close to Hunter Point where I spent my formative years (see map below and some photos of the house; also see post from last year, September 4th, for photos of Hunter Point). I'll be there in three weeks, spending twelve luscious days - I'm chuffed! The owner told me she'd arrange for someone to help me unload when I arrive, and Laurie will take the train to Olympia on my last weekend there and will help me load up. How cool is that??? 

Map of rental house and Hunter Point
Green circle is rental house; red arrow is Hunter Point where I lived years ago.
The house, inlet, and land:

Inside of house

Since I can't transport my wheelchair in my current car, I'll be using the scooter inside the house.

Front yard, bulkhead, beach at high tide

The yard and bulkhead at high tide.

Looking across the inlet
Looking across the inlet.

I'm not sure I can get down ON the beach, but I can sit on the bulkhead and build a fire (if it's not too dry). If only I had a rowboat....

I have more to tell, including our trip to Seattle where all things accessible went right! But I've had to write this post twice - the first draft disappeared into the ether when I was close to finishing, so I'm ready to be done.  The next chapter should follow soon.