Posts Tagged ‘para transpo’

On Tuesday, I headed over by the casino to meet one of the organizers of the casino sound & light festival to discuss improving wheelchair accessibility.

The ride there was interesting.

The para transpo driver had no idea where I was going, and it had been two years since I had been there. For some odd reason, he kept asking me for directions on how to get there.
There’s a few reasons why that’s a horrible idea.

1. I don’t drive.
2. I assume most disabled People don’t go to home renovation stores often, so I had no idea where to turn off, or what streets to take. (I was going to Reno Depot, which is the french version of Home Depot.)
3. My direction skills are HORRIBLE. I’m not kidding either. I once got lost when I came out another Door of my wife’s workplace.

After about 45 minutes of trying to read french road signs, and asking 3 random car drivers on the road, we discovered that we were in the opposite end of Gatineau. I somehow still managed to make the Meeting semi on time.

Our meeting went well. I was given a very thoroughed tour of the site. As it turned out, the main reason, I had so much trouble 2 years ago is because my wife and I had general admission tickets instead of reserved seating. If you buy tickets for the reserved seating section, you can sit on a platform, which is directly in front of the fireworks.

The view there was absolutely beautiful, and it seems like it’d be incredible at night.
One of my beefs is that I’d have to pay extra for my attendant, which is extremely stupid, plus expensive. So, I will be writing a letter to the festival president to see if they’ll drop that policy.

When I was a kid, a roommate (at the hospital) went on TV to discuss how unfair it was that we had to pay for our personal care attendants if we wanted to see a movie. It turned out that our complaining made life easier for us, and other severely disabled people.

After that, it was up to the theatres on whether or not to let them in for free. Nowadays, for the past few Years, we’ve been issued an “Access 2 Entertainment” card. Whenever I go see a movie or a special event (like wrestling) at the movie theatre, I show them the card, and just pay for myself. The next step is trying to convince concert/sports venues to do the same. I’ve been discussing it with different places for many years now, and it’s a never ending battle.

Speaking of movies, on Tuesday night, I checked out The Other Guys, starring Mark Wahlberg & Will Ferrell.

For those who don’t know, Mark & Will work for the Police Force, but not as Cops.
Will’s an Accountant, and Mark was relieved of his cop job after shooting Derek Jeter.
The two of them team up to try to solve a crime in the hopes that they can earn a cop job.

This movie pokes fun of other cop movies, especially buddy cops movies.
The duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg came off very well, and extremely funny, and it also helped that Eve Mendes was in it too. She played Will’s wife, and Mark’s absolutely stunned that she’s married to Will.

To me, Will Ferrell is a hot/cold type of actor.
On the hot side, he’s been in such great movies as, A Night At The Roxbury, Old School, Anchorman, Elf, Talladega Nights, Step Brothers, and Blades Of Glory.
On the cold side, he’s been in movies like Bewitched, Semi Pro, Stranger Than Fiction, and Land Of The Lost.

To me, The Other Guys, is one of his better movies.

As far as the rating, well, I give it a solid joysticks up. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a Will Ferrell fan.

The rest of my week was spent trying to fix the weekend schedule for my attendants. For the longest time, I’d be without anyone for 32 hours, which is very bad considering I require 24/7 care.
Luckily, I managed to convince people to work, including a brand new attendant, and 2 that no longer work here regularly.
All that matters is that everything worked out, and I’m proud of myself.

As for my weekend plans, Saturday’s gonna be a busy day.
My sister and nephew are in town.

Saturday morning will be spent with my family visiting my Grandmother. My Grandma will be having major surgery next Wednesday, so we’re all gonna visit her at the nursing home.

After that, my sister and I will be heading to a Tattoo Shop to get tattoos. My wife’s coming too, but not getting one done. I hope to shoot some video footage of me getting my tattoo done.

After that, we’re all heading to East Side Mario’s for a family dinner. It’s very rare that we’re all able to be together, so this will be a special occasion, and I’m really looking forward to it.

As for Sunday, I’ll probably sleep and relax after a long day.

So on Monday, I retrained an Attendant who’s returning after being away for a Year.
Everything went fine, and she remembered how to do everything.
I also interviewed a new Attendant, and she seems good.

As for the rest of the night, I did laundry, reserved a table for a Dinner date with my Wife for our Engagement Anniversary later this Month, and vegged.

On Tuesday, I trained another new Attendant. This was her first day, so it went ok. On the first day, they usually just suction me at the end of the day. She did, and it went well.

I spent the Evening with my Wife.

As for Wednesday, three hours was spent learning about my new Ventilator.
It’s ok, but it’s really freakin loud, and has alot of bright lights.
Right now, I’m just gonna use it when I’m sleeping.
I’m not really sure how well I’ll sleep, but I’ll find out tonight.

Eventually, I’ll be getting a second one to put on my Wheelchair.
My new Wheelchair’s gonna look like the Car in Back To The Future.

And now it’s time for the “is this really happening?” moment for the Week:

As some of you know, I was supposed to meet with one of the Organizers of the Casino Sound & Light Festival to discuss ways of improving Wheelchair Acessibility.
So, on Wednesday Morning, my Attendant called Para Transpo (Like I’d get up at 7 am.) to book my ride.
Well they said that Para Transpo doesn’t go there. HUH? Since when?
That makes no sense whatsoever.

Anyways, we’re gonna try to meet up next Week.

As for the rest of this Week, I’ll be checking out Fortissimo on either Thursday or Friday night.
Fortissimo features Military Bands, like Bagpipes, & Drums, and also features live demostrations of things.
It takes place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday at 7:30 pm on Parliament Hill.

No other Weekend plans yet.

On WednesdayNight, I went to see Iron Man 2, and it was awesome!
Not quite as good as the first one, but it’s a close call actually.

It rained off/on all day on Wednesday.
When the Movie was over, there was a downpour going on.
Luckily, I had a ride on Para Transpo, but I still had to get on the Bus.
I decided to put on my Poncho, which made me look like a HUGE Condom or the Bubble Boy.
By the time I got home, the rain had stopped.

Thursday Afternoon was spent trying out my new Wheelchair Controls.
For those unaware, the ones I have now are called Proximity Switches.
Basically, I can just tap the buttons and off I go.
The new Control, if all goes well, will be a single piece.
I’ll be using a Joystick with my thumb.

I had a few problems while testing it out, but next Week, I’ll be able to try it out for a whole Week. I’m hoping that it goes well and it all works out.

After my Appointment, I headed Downtown, and had a Beer on a Patio.
There was a HUGE Crane in front of us, and my Waitress told me about a show that involved people drumming high up in the air.
A few minutes later, the show started and it was pretty cool.

Apparently they’re performing again this Weekend, but you gotta pay, and frankly, that’s just not happening.

Have a good Weekend everyone.

On Tuesday Afternoon, I headed to the Civic Hospital to get a Chest X-Ray done.
As with most Medical Appointments, my main concern was being done before my ride back home arrived.

There’s been many times that I’ve either missed my ride, or was unable to even see the Doctor just because my ride showed up.

In Ottawa, we have a Service called Para Transpo, which transports Disabled people wherever they want or need to go.

This is how it works:
If you want a ride, you call the day before at 7 am.
Trying to get through to an Operator can sometimes be like winning the Lottery. Except in this case, you get the “luxury” of a ride, and the “luxury” of talking to a person who could quite possibly be holding a Gun to their head.

Once you get through, you tell them what time you need a ride for.
At this point, they can actually refuse your request if they’re already booked up at that time.
If they can’t give you your requested time, they usually put you on the “waiting list”.
This means that they’ll call you if they have an opening for that time.

So then, the next day arrives.
This is a big day for us.
We get to go out and be a part of Society, with the added bonus of getting a ride on Para Transpo.
So, the time rolls around, but wait, where’s the Bus?
This is where I mention that they’re “allowed” to be thirty minutes later.
If they don’t arrive within thirty minutes, you’re “allowed” to call to see where it’s at.

So you call up, wait a few minutes for the Operator to care enough to answer the phone.
From there, it’s like the Classic Seinfeld Episode where they’re waiting for a Table at a Chinese Restaurant.
The Operator says oh, it’ll be 5-10 Minutes.

Time rolls around, but no Bus.
Wait, they lied to you? That’s unheard of for such a classy upscale City-Owned Company.
Eventually, the Bus arrives and a jolly old man or woman is ready to take you away.
The Drivers are a friendly bunch with their top notched people skills, and clearly quite hygenic too.

So they get you on the Bus, and tie you up, like it’s some type of creepy BDSM filled voyage into the abyss. You start thinking that you’ll be there soon, and this journey will end soon.

Wrong!

Often times, they have people to pick up and/or drop off. So, good news, somebody else (a witness) will join you for your wacky adventures in Candyland.

So, eventually you get there. By this time, I’m usually praising Allah/Buddah/Oprah/Aliens that I survived the trip.
This may shock some, but they’re not exactly the best Drivers.
It doesn’t overly fill me with confidence when some of the Drivers tell me that I drive my Chair better than they drive the Van.

So from there, I arrive, get off the Van, and do whatever I’m there to do.
After that, the fun begins again.

Anyways, I got my X-Ray done.
They had to do it twice cause the first one didn’t turn out well.
I’ll find out the results on June 16th.

Before that, I headed out to meet one of the Organizers of Bluesfest to discuss Wheelchair Accessibility. The Meeting went well and if they can do what I suggested, it’ll be even better.
I’m not going to mention my ideas cause I don’t want to jinx it.

As for today, I’ve been catching up on emails from the days when I wasn’t breathing well, and didn’t feel like responding.

On Tuesday, my Wife & I attended a LIVE Taping of WWE Smackdown.
This was my first one in at least 6 or 7 years, and this was my Wife’s first time at a LIVE WWE Event.
In all honesty, she was a Trooper about the whole thing.
She even made a Sign for it.

If I knew how to post a pic here, I would, but I forget.

Anyways…
I considered writing Spoilers for this Week’s Smackdown, & Superstars shows for various Wrestling Websites, but I can’t write stuff down, and I actually wanted to enjoy the show.

So, I’ll just discuss what we did, because frankly, this is my Blog, and I’m hoping you’re interested.

Even though the show wasn’t starting until 6:45 pm, I wanted to get there early to see if I could meet some of the Wrestlers as they arrived.

We got to the Scotiabank Place around 2:30, and we headed to the back of the Arena.
By the time we got there, a few were already there with the same idea.
We took a few pics, including one with me holding a fake Title Belt that a guy paid $300 for.

As it turned out, I only got to meet one person, and he no longer wrestles.
I met the Host of WWE NXT, and Smackdown Commentator, Matt Striker.
He was really nice. We took a pic together, and then did an Autograph for me.

We left that Area around 4, and headed to the Y to use the Bathroom.
I’ve met a few Wrestlers there before, so we waited around for a bit before heading back outside to the back.
Still, no luck, and after awhile, we gave up.

We headed to the front of the Arena.
We noticed that The Score (Sports TV Channel) was having a Trivia Game.
Being a fan of free stuff, I went for it.

My Wife spun the Wheel for me.
As luck would have it, it landed on a Sports question, instead of a question about WWE.
I was kinda worried cause I’m not really a Sports Buff, but I didn’t give up.

The guy asked “How often is the World Cup held?”.
I responded “Every four years” which is the right answer.
I walked away with a The Score Water Bottle and a grin on my face.
From there, we headed inside.

Our first stop was the Souvenir Stand.
I wasn’t sure what to buy. I wanted a shirt, but nothing overly embarassing.
In the end, I bought a Rey Mysterio TShirt, & my Wife got a Kofi Kingston Necklace.

By this time, my Wife wanted to eat, so we headed to Bert’s.
I decided to just get a Beer, and my Wife had a Wrap or something.
By the time we were done, it was show time.

Once we were seated, I was REALLY surprised at how small everything was.
Normally, when I go to a WWE Event, I get Floor Seats, which is awesome.
I didn’t bother trying to do that this time, so we sat in the 200 Level.

I still had a good view, but I’m definitely gonna try to get Floor Seats next time.

The Show ended just before 10:30 pm, and my ride wasn’t scheduled for thirty minutes.

The place cleared out pretty fast, and we were one of the few left.
We didn’t get home until 12:30 am.

All in all, we were gone 10 and a half hours.
It made for a very long day, but I had fun though.

I really hope that they show my sign this Week on Friday Night Smackdown.
A friend of mine told me that she could see my sign from her Seat on the floor.
Hopefully the Cameras saw it too.

I woke up, like any other day back then and got ready for School.
At the time, I was going to Algonquin College to try to get my Highschool Diploma, plus I also had a Part Time Job working in the School Pub.

As per usual, I slept in and almost missed my ride. Normally when I woke up back then, I’d put on the TV or Radio, but in my haste, I didn’t bother.

I headed Downstairs to the Lobby where my ride was waiting, which was unusual. The Driver had no idea either or if he did, he didn’t mention anything to me.

I got off the Para Transpo Bus and headed to the Bathroom right away, still without a clue.

From there, I walked into the Bar to get my Daily dose of free Coffee. I walked in and everyone was gathered around the big TV by the Entrance, which seemed odd, especially at 9 AM.

I managed to get around the people and headed to the Bar. I happened to look up at the EXACT moment one of the Planes hit the World Trade Centre. My first thought was HOLY FUCK!

This wasn’t gonna be a good day at all.

Everything in the Bar just seemed to stop for a few moments, as we all just sat in true disbelief. As if that wasn’t enough, there was another Plane doing the same thing a few moments later.

It was soon time for me to head to Class. To make matters worse, I had a Test to do that day as well. I didn’t think I’d be able to concentrate on it for obvious reasons, but I did, and I was somehow able to pass.

I was supposed to work after Class, but my Boss cancelled my Shift due to the amount of people still gathered there.

I sat around waiting for my ride home, and being thankful that we weren’t in New York City.

After awhile, my ride showed up and I headed home. For the next few hours, I just stayed home in front of the TV. Every Channel had 9/11 reports and footage running almost non stop.
I got annoyed by this after a few hours.

A little while later, I received a Phone call from a friend out of the blue. She had called because she thought that the World was ending and she wanted to hear my voice one last time.

After our chat, I needed to get out and do something.
Originally, I was gonna go see a Movie, but everything Downtown had pretty much shut down due to the attacks.
I did manage to find one place opened for Business though.

A Strip Club

I headed there and had a few drinks. It was surreal watching Women get naked and sliding down a pole, while CNN was on all the TV sets in the Bar.

I guess they figured if we’re gonna die, you might as well feel good and be surrounded by Naked Women.
I agreed with that logic actually.
The only downside is that the last song I’d hear would probably either be by Def Leppard, Van Halen, or White Snake.
Knowing my luck though, it would be Celine Dion.

A few hours later, I headed home and went to bed, feeling thankful to still be alive.

One thing that I should point out that still haunts me to this day.
A few days before the 9/11 attacks, I had a dream about the event.
It was eerily vivid, right down to the CNN footage of the Rescue Workers, and even the way I found out about it in the Bar.

I often dream about things coming up, not only in my life, but in others too, even complete strangers.
It can be pretty scary at times, but the 9/11 dream was the worst.

My heart goes out to anyone and everyone that was affected by the horrible tragedy. I know there’s MANY of you still out there that are still suffering from it.
To those people, all I have to say is try to be happy and thankful for everything in your life as much as possible.

To all the rescuers out there, thank you for your hard work.
Without you, things could’ve been much worse.

And to the rest of you out there, thanks for reading.
Have a good weekend.

Before I begin, I just wanna say that I spent a few hours last night with my Wife & I saw her this morning before she headed to the Train Station. Also, she said that I can watch America’s Got Talent that I recorded on Wednesday Night. Once I see it, I’ll post the results here and see if my votes counted. I’ll probably watch it either tonight or tomorrow.

Alright, so how many of you remember the big blackout of 2003?
I certainly do.

I’ve posted this story at least once before on here, but alot of new people are coming to this blog lately, so I’ll write about it again.

It was around 4 PM on August 2003. I decided that I was gonna do Laundry. I gathered all my stuff and headed to the Basement. I had just put my Clothes in the Washer when the room went pitch black. Luckily, I hadn’t started the Washer yet. The blackout started at 4:15 PM.

I headed into the hallway and hoped that the Elevators would work. Luckily, I managed to get back to my place. I stayed home for a few minutes, then decided to head out. I wanted to see how people were adjusting to it and what it was like around downtown Ottawa during this.

As I headed outside, I passed by my best friend. (R.I.P. Chris Puddy)
We spoke for a few minutes and I asked him if he wanted to come along, but he said no. I remember saying as I left, “I don’t know what’s gonna happen or what I’ll see, but either way, I’ll see you on the other side of this”.

With that said, I headed downtown to The Byward Market to see what was going on. By the time I got down there, most places were either closed or closing up. It was very bizarre for me driving my Wheelchair down the Street and not seeing traffic lights. I saw Cops and even normal Citizens directing traffic.

When we arrived at the Market, a Woman from CBC stopped me for an interview. She wanted to know how I was coping with the Blackout and how it affected me. At this point, it didn’t really bother me. I wish she had stuck around cause the story was about to get a whole lot more interesting.

I headed to (then called) the Chateau Laurier Hotel to use the bathroom. At this point, I was starting to worry about my Battery on my Ventilator. The Manager of the Hotel saw me and asked if I needed a ride to the Hospital.

A little while later, Para Transpo arrived and they took me to the Hospital, so I could get plugged in. I arrived and they put a face mask on me, which annoyed me.

A few hours later, my Battery died, so they gave me a bed in the ER. As time went on, I started getting tired, so I tried to sleep.

It was hard enough dozing off with all the alarms going off. Just as I closed my eyes, they decided to ship out everyone who were just there using the power.

At 3 AM, a Para Transpo van had arrived to take us to a Community Centre in Orleans. Orleans is about a 30 minute drive from the Hospital. So here I was, in a van with strangers, barreling down the highway after 3 AM.

We arrived at our destination just before 3:30 AM and we wanted to sleep. This time, they gave us Cots to sleep in. Sleeping on a Cot when you’re disabled isn’t the best idea in the World. I was extremely uncomfortable and my back was starting to hurt.

At this point, I had given up on the idea of sleep. I just wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed.

At 9 AM, I heard that power was slowly returning to people living downtown. I hopped on a Bus & returned to the comfort of my home and my bed.

Needless to say, I slept for the rest of the day.

Thanks for reading,