blue handicapped placards

NOTE: This is the corrected-first-draft of what happened yesterday after church, when Monstro and Lex stayed behind for Lex's music-and-activities program, and I drove to Southampton to the Big Y supermarket. I'm going to send the final draft to the presiding judge.

MFM has Parkinson's disease. She uses a four-wheeled “rollater” walker. Yesterday after we'd all been to church, I decided to run to the store and asked Mom (MFM) if she'd like to come with me and BK (her two-year-old grandson).

“I might as well go with you,” MFM said. “That way, you can use the placard.”

“The Placard” is her blue handicapped-parking placard. It hangs from the rear-view mirror. It expires on June 2011 and was issued in California, though legal precedent has been established to support validity in all 50 states.

We parked in front in a blue spot so the van was immediately at the crosswalk. MFM and BK (carseated, middle row) stayed in the vehicle. I raced through Big Y in like 20 minutes because I knew already what I was going to buy cheap and freeze this week.

When I returned to the van and remotely popped the tailgate, MFM turned around from her front-row passenger seat and said, “The placard failed us.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean a police officer came by,” she said.

“Did he give us a ticket?” I asked.


“A hundred bucks?” I asked.

“Yup,” she said.

Now, her placard isn't expired. She doesn't drive (never has in MA) so 999 times out of 1,000, she's in one of our cars. We've used this system for two years and nobody's ever had a problem with it or us or whatever.

If handicapped placards exist to keep safe those with challenged mobility, then doesn't it make sense to keep these frailer members of society front-and-center, rather than tucked away between two other cars, where it's easier for the malfeasants to take advantage of the vulnerable?

Incidentally, I am furious that a police officer felt compelled to pester and UPSET a woman with obvious medical difficulties, a woman who's only been home from two months of hospital/rehab hospital/skilled-nursing rehab for a WEEK, and is facing enough re-integration anxiety as it is, who's just sitting with her two-year-old grandson (“one of the only things” she says she can do to “contribute to the family”), while her primary-care, 24/7, in-residence daughter runs her ass off through a grocery store after church in New England, in order to feed her family over the next week, all the while praying that everyone in the car will be all right in her 20-minute absence.

Judge, please see reason and revoke this ticket; I don't have an extra hundred bucks for frivolity. If I did, I'd get a sitter and take a nap. Thank you for your clear reason and consideration.

Friday Friday

Well, it's been a week. Lots of caregiving for MFM. We are very happy she's home but it's playing hell on my sleep. Hello, baby monitor. How I haven't missed you.

We're putting new things in place to ensure her care remains top-notch. Both VNA and a home-care agency will be coming in; VNA for PT/OT and the occasional shower, and home-care during the hours both the kids are out of the house so I can continue to earn some semblance of income. Home-care starts next week and I'm looking forward to the respite. Might even be able to take my ass out for a run. I've missed my bonding time with my iPod and increased heart rate. Also, those 10pm Cheez-Its are going straight to my lower extremities. Time to do something about that. An elder-law attorney is hammering out a caregiving contract so that'll help with the financial aspects of caregiving. I'm ready for a vacation but that's not in the offing.

Lack of sleep and increased stress aside, I'm really really really glad she's home.

MFM comes home today

I am hoping that her transition home goes smoothly. I am concerned about her footing as it's snowing right now. We'll probably have a number of home meetings this week with VNA and a private home-care agency. Here's praying it all goes well.

Happy Pi Day!

It's 3/14, aka Pi Day (and, interestingly enough, Albert Einstein's birthday). In honor, here's a mnemonic that will help you memorize pi to 167 digits; count the number of letters in each word for the order of digits, and every time a sentence ends, that's a zero.

“How I need a drink, alcoholic of course, after the tough lectures involving quantum mechanics; but we did estimate some digits by making very bad, not accurate, but so greatly efficient tools! In quaintly valuable ways, a dedicated student — I, Volokh, Alexander — can determine beautiful and curious stuff, O! Smart, gorgeous me! Descartes himself knew wonderful ways that could ascertain it too! Revered, glorious — a wicked dude! Behold an unending number: pi! Thinkers' ceaseless agonizing produces little, if anything! For this constant, it stops not — just as e, I suppose. Vainly, ancient geometers computed it — a task undoable. Legendre, Adrien Marie: 'I say pi rational is not!' Adrien proved this theorem. Therefore, all doubters have made errors. (Everybody that's Greek.) Today, counting is as bad a problem as years ago, maybe centuries even. Moreover, I do consider that variable x, y, z, wouldn't much avail. Is constant like i? No, buffoon!”

Hat Tip: Alexander Volokh and

and, now it's March

Hi all, been a while, yeah, yeah, I know. Been fighting a cold for more than a week; maybe instead I should say it's been fighting me, because that's what it feels like. Work has been slow but given the things going on w/ MFM, it's probably better that way. I do have a call with a long-term client today and am hoping that will result in some revenue generation.

I feel stuck in a bit of a stasis here… I'm not writing, not really working, just raising kids and doing a shitload of laundry.

Monstro and I had our seventh wedding anniversary yesterday and it was fantastic. They celebrated us at church and we got to cut an anniversary cake during coffee hour — even fed little bits of it to each other. Seeing as none of our New England friends were at our wedding, I brought our framed wedding invitation and some of the wedding photos, which were oohed and aahed over, as well they should've been. We'd said we weren't going to exchange gifts — he got a plane ticket for his birthday that about broke my bank, and his Valentine's gift to me of a lovely pendant was over-and-above expectations — but then Lex and I checked out a little antique fair and I ended up purchasing a “Pinkerton Security Services” badge. Monstro's been teaching one class about strikers/strikebreakers and I knew he'd love it. He did. Best five bucks I've spent in a while. Then we went out for the evening — first to a local brown-paper-wrapper store (where I opted not to accept the incoming call from a marketing client), and then to our favorite restaurant, Bistro Les Gras. If you live in Western Massachusetts and haven't been to this place yet, well, GO. Better yet, go on Tuesday when flights of wine are five bucks. We gorged on charcuterie, cheese, bouef, canard, creme brulee and maple crepes with vanilla-cognac ice cream. The Gruet sparkling wine and live classical guitar were truly icing on the cake. Mmmmmm. LOVE this place.

We got home early and had a great remainder of the evening at home. Our sitter was happy to inform us that while we'd been away, Lex read an entire page of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by himself. So, that's excellent.

MFM had her “home assessment” today and it went well. I'd imagine she'll be back home within a week or so. We'll receive VNA services and I'm also going to put some private-pay care into place, so we don't have to be on top of each other all the time.

In other words, so far, so good. Let's hope March continues to go out like a lamb; it did snow this morning, but it didn't stick, and most of our snow has melted away. Hooray!