18 December 2012

A Home for Christmas!

It's the news you all have been waiting for. Unless something unforeseen occurs in the next day or so, Thane and I will spend Christmas in our new home.

It is in the same vicinity as the previous one we visited in the down pouring conditions, but it is a much better situation for me/ us.

I had to make some compromises; realizing that with the time limits, cap on what an apartment could cost, and limited accessibility in our area in standard built apartments, if I was ever going to find a place, it would need to be with compromises.

The hardest compromise made is that Thane has lost his yard. I have wrestled with this more the last couple of days than I initially thought I would. Though this puts a wrinkle in dealing with his busy needs, the part about it that is the hardest for me is losing the ability to play off lead in the snow from our back door.

This morning when we woke up, we were treated with a dusting of snow and snow still coming down. After busy, Thane immediately looked for his football (which had already been packed). I ran and found another suitable toy that was in an open box still and we just cut loose. I did not care if he wound up needing a bath. We needed this *send off*.

With that aside, let me tell you how great our new place will be once we get our life sorted out there. It has indoor locked mailboxes. There will be no more running for mail in my unsecured mailbox in pouring rain or being forced to go for the mail when I am sick or toxic things are going on. A little stroll down the hall and mail can be retrieved vbg

We lose a bedroom, but we gain our own washer and dryer and the opportunity to train a new task for Thane. I wonder how he will be at unloading a dryer. He's never even been around one since he came into my life. I'm excited about that new opportunity.

We will be playing games in the bath tub at the new place to acclimate Thane to a tub. Losing the roll in shower will be difficult, but in the end, I think it will work out alright and besides it is always fun to run after treats no matter where they land!

The best parts I have saved for the end. We will be just a couple stops from the nature trail we love to frequent and a few stops from New Seasons where most of my grocery shopping is done. I can't even wrap my head around that quick ride. The most awesome thing of all probably for an individual with MCS is that this complex is smoke free- not just the indoors, but the entire grounds.

There was a time when I felt this was never going to come to a close, but once the right place was there for us, things began moving really fast.

On the downside, I am in constant pain from the extreme level of overuse I have had to endure lately. I/ we just need this to be over! We need our life back so whoever stole ours, would you kindly return it!

Our next post will most likely be from our new haunts where we will be spending Christmas this year. I can see a trip to the trail in view as long as it is not raining, but then- this is the pacific northwest Totally unpredictable!

04 December 2012

Apartment Hunting in the Rain

GADS I hate rain but most of all I hate being drenched to the skin when trying to see apartments.

Thane and I took on our first attempt to view the apartment complex of my dreams- or so I thought it was. I gave us plenty of time cuz frankly I knew I'd get turned around. I always do that when it comes to directions and new locations, but somehow if I give myself time and ask for help, I usually succeed.

Today was no different- except that we were turned around in a deluge of elephants and rhinoceroses LOL

Thane's work was pretty amazing for the most part today which impressed me with all that has been going on. He needs a bit of work in slowing down his gait in the rain, but that is my fault from how I have worked him in the rain trying to lickety split to get where we can go inside. I need to work with him a bit on that.

Once we were turned back around, I found we were still early. That gave me some time to dry off the muddy paws, legs, underbelly- what didn't need cleaning up before trapsing into the office (huge place) and the apartments we were going to see.

I really liked the lady, but the business office was quite toxic something I'll be paying for (amidst the bus drivers perm and hairspray that left me flushing water, milk thistle, and washing my coat when outdoors couldn't cut it)

The apartments were located in such a perfect area- close to the max. I guess they were about as far from the max as I am from the closest bus stop right now (if that). Their location is also very central for quick ease of all sorts of shopping needs for me- the biggest being their proximity to New Seasons.

There were some things I didn't like from the start. The apartments require you to go inside a hallway of apartments. This is done via an outer closed door and there is no discernible pavement deviation like the cracks I use to determine where we are (or I am when I'm solo). These types of door situations are difficult for me. I swear I need to be an octopus! I may have been able to accept that and work with it, but it would have been quite difficult when coming home with groceries if there were not people around to ask for help.

Once inside, I realized how spacious my apartment really is. It was quite small and quite obviously built for the able bodied population and those who do not have many belongings. The washer and Dryers were great. They even had a built in complete apartment de-humidifier in all the ground floor units for the humidity aspects of having the washers.  The area was quite confined though which would be a bit difficult. The layout  in one had the two separated, but not by the kind of distance I thought so it would have been manageable (though I did not like it off the kitchen)

The show stoppers were the walk in closet where I could not get beyond the door (but came close) which meant I could not get to the rack where I'd hang my clothes. Theoretically removing the door probably would have solved that.

The bathroom though was the definitive show stopper. It was designed like the letter L shape for passageway putting the bathtub in the back corner. There was only room for a head on transfer- with both the toilet and bath tub- something I can not do. Being blind with tremor issues in my hands, I also do not back out of narrow places well. Though I managed to do it in both the bath rooms (two different size units), it was pretty obvious to me, that the situation was not a safe one. I think I'd be on a first name basis with the fire men at the local department if I took these apartments.

From there, I learned that there is no direct apartment access to busy a dog or even anywhere for them to play like I am able to do here. I realized there would be things I would have to give up to get a safe home again with the section 8 price caps, but this is not one of those things I can rationalize losing. Between weather, my health, safety after dark, and oh yeah that fun disorder of gluten intolerance that could have Thane in explosive diarrhea- nope I need to be able to potty him at our apartment.

There were so many pluses too about the place- full sized washer and dryers that are energy conserving, carpet was in good shape and not fragrant through my mask (business office was that way), no new painting, the dining area was slightly separated from living room so that my sewing and dresser I use for medical supplies could easily have been set up there.

The biggest asset of this place though was its location.

When I tally up everything and ask myself how I would manage to live the independent life I now do with that bathroom and the busy restrictions for Thane (and not being able to play in the snow when we get it), I had to realize that this complex, as ideally placed as it is, is not the future new home we are looking for.

This has really been a difficult decision, but honestly I knew the instant I entered the bathroom that it was over- that this was not to be our home.

We came home, got Thane a good rinse down from all the mud and wet he dealt with today, got my drenched multiple layered clothes off (drenched to the skin) and warmed us both up. 

Tomorrow is another day to hunt for apartments again

but really, I need some gf chocolate chip cookies before we do any more serious romping like we did today!

Thank you Chimette

Today you would have been 16 years old. I find myself thinking about the silly quirks you had today. I dunno why- perhaps because they were funny. Like how you loved to roo roo roo when I was playing with you what a ham

Today I am grateful for the lessons taught but also for the fact that your suffering is no longer. There will always be moments of missing you- afterall you were the one who showed me that I actually could train my own service dog.

You were a great first dog for me to have to work with and train but on those days when I am struggling in my work with Thane, people remind me of just how many days like that were in our partnership too- funny how I don't remember those! vbg

There are lots of things I could thank you for today, but I guess the one I appreciate the most is how you let me see through you and kept me safe until I was really ready for the world on my own.

02 December 2012

Chicken Little, the Sky is Falling!

That is exactly what I have felt like over the last nearly three weeks. You might wonder where we have been. Well... my life and Thane's literally turned upside down almost three weeks ago when my manager showed up at my door with a massive renovation schedule. Forget the notice that this was even taking place or the fact that it is the rainy season in the Pacific Northwest and inconducive for spending any amount of time outdoors or with windows open to air a place out- oh yeah and forget the fact that I have PROFOUND MCS!

Here I was though with my life in the balance LITERALLY. There was no way around it, it was time for a move and so began all the frantic work between me, ILR, caseworkers, my folks, Community Action, a few very caring friends, and I am sure I am leaving someone out.

Living on Section 8 allows me to move which is a huge plus (something HUD complex subsidy never would have enabled me to do) On the other hand, it can be very restrictive. Lets face it Section 8 limits don't take into account the real reality out there.

When you add MCS to the mix in trying to find a new place- oh boy, it makes life interesting. Apartments are not generally advertised until AFTER they have already been painted, re-carpeted, and cleaned with heavy chemical cleaners. I keep telling my folks that what we need is a list of the units *to be available soon*

Needless to say my holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) have been/ will be spent frantically packing/ unpacking hopefully. If trying to prepare for a move spur of the moment isn't difficult enough, try doing it when even the boxes you use to pack have to be MCS safe and they are in limited supply because you had no idea you needed to be keeping every and Amazon box that hit your porch over the past year!

My apartment has rapidly been worked into box after box so that when a place is available, I will be ready to just seal up the last minute boxes and boxes of clothing that I am living out of as though they were suitcases.

You might wonder what happens to Thane in all this hubbub going on. I won't say it has been easy on him, but he is really taking it in stride. Sometimes he seems sad or a bit bewildered by the happenings. After all we have lived here the entire time I have had him. He does not know what this scale of moving is. I'm taking the time for those moments of training and fun. Sometimes that just means throwing his dinner for him to fetch while others it means filling buster cube so he can dispense it around the room himself.

I've been concerned obviously about what this level of stress on me, could do to him. At present, I've actually found him more in tune to me and the alerts we have trained or were training. I absolutely love it when he bounces up to me in full *paws* mode (front feet in my lap, on my armrest, on back of chair) to tell me someone is at the door or my timer went off (wherever I sat the thing down at). Moments like these are a joy.

Life will one day be normal again, but for right now, I struggle with getting everything done amidst the toxicity that I know could easily take my life. Today though, it is not. Today I am here with Thane and we will be OK in a new home one day very soon.

The leads have been few on the *new home* front. Either they don't take Section 8 or the price in their advertisement, isn't really the price they plan on charging and thus it is over my cap for Section 8. I'm also having to downsize to a one bedroom which is not good for MCS. Having a spare room for detox needs is crucial for me. I didn't have this in the apartment in California and I paid pretty heavily for that. I have the ability however to layout my living area how I see fit and appropriate for my needs since I will be entering this post MCS when I can control my personal space.

We've got our eyes on a place now. All I can do is take a look and if it seems good for my needs, hope that it will be able to be fit into the cap that Section 8 has for me. The overall expense there will be higher, but there are a number of perks that would make my life with MCS so much easier.

Today though, I have to be patient. The lady who helped my folks see the place is away until Tuesday. These days are for errands and more packing (while hoping other staff memebers don't rent the units out from under us), and oh yeah, a time to get out and work this redhead of mine so he feels like a new dog again.

One day I am sure I will look back on all this chaos and nightmare that has unfolded and have a funny tale to tell, but today, I just want it to be over.