Archive for April, 2012

Southern Caribbean

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

Recently we got back from a 10-day cruise on the Norwegian Dawn from Miami to several islands in the Caribbean. Maria and Manoli and I went, of course, and we took Nanny Sue also. We stopped at a small island just off the coast of the Dominican Republic, Tortola, Barbados, St Kitts, Antigua, St Maarten, and St Lucia (not in that order), as well as 3 days at sea. We met several parents who have children with cerebral palsy (not with them); when they saw Maria, they really missed their children. Noreen was a hostess at the restaurant where we ate dinner every evening. She’s from the Philippines and she’s away from home for 10 months at a time. Her daughter is 10. She’s going home to see her in a month. Then there was the French Canadian who has a 14-year old daughter who she says looked just like Maria when she was 7. Somehow she got pictures of her daughter at 7 and 14 and gave them to me. People often say they know someone who looks like Maria, but holy smokes–she was like Maria’s twin!! (of course, I think Maria’s prettier, but she probably thinks her daughter is, too). The resemblance is remarkable. We met a woman named Carolyn on Barbados who is an empath and can tell Maria has a good, strong spirit and is an old soul, loves pink, hears everything, should drink coconut water, and will walk and talk when she’s 10. Awesome!

We swam with stingrays in Antigua, fed green monkeys in Barbados, and took a train ride around St. Kitts. We laid on the beach and swam in the ocean and ate well and went to most of the shows on the ship and made a lot of friends. Oh yea, and we got totally ripped off by Simone in St Maarten when she braided Maria’s hair, then Sue’s, charging “only” $2/braid; which isn’t bad unless it’s 37 braids in Maria’s hair or 22 in Sue’s… Rip off. But it looked so cute on Maria (really really bad on Sue, but good on Maria!) It was a nice, relaxing (sorta) trip. The ship was nice, the crew was fantastic, the food was good. Oh yea, and Sue won $238 playing Deal or No Deal. I’m glad we got an accessible room–Maria’s wheelchair didn’t fit through the regular cabin doors.

Here’s a tip for anyone traveling with a child in a wheelchair–don’t take the primary wheelchair, take a back-up one, preferrably one that folds. The airlines and buses and taxis are hell on wheelchairs!! Fortunately, after washing the cushion covers and getting the wheelchair tuned up by the place we got it from, it was almost as good as new!

Bike Videos

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

I’ve got a couple of crappy cellphone videos of Maria on her Freedom Concepts bike. This first one is a little frantic because I have to keep running up to steer the bike since the stupid thing pulls to the right, has since the day we bought it, and Freedom Concepts hasn’t ever bothered fixing it even though we told them about it. (I’m hoping Freedom Concepts follows the backlink, sees this post and says, “Wow, we have an unhappy customer. We should fix this like they asked us to a couple of years ago.”)


The second one is more stable but badly lit since the sun was behind her. I found a wider sidewalk so the bike’s steering wasn’t a problem. She was at a standing start and I waited for her to start pedaling on her own before starting the video so there is no Uncle Andy interference at all in this one.


The videos are in a weird format I’m not familiar with but they should play when you click on the links. I wanted to do some kind of cool embedded video but that means uploading them somewhere like Youtube and I didn’t feel like messing with that.

Back From Vacation

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

There hasn’t been an update in a while because Maria has been on vacation. She, Cathy, Manolis, Sue just got back from a cruise to the Caribbean. I leave it to Cathy to fill in all the details but Maria had a lot of fun and everyone on the ship loved her (of course!).

Maria’s been doing great on the bike, pedaling a lot and going faster than before. She’s been taking more steps when we walk and carrying a lot of her weight, which is good for her feeble Uncle Andy’s aging back. I wish the state would get us a new walker because I think she’d do great in it. The current one is so small we don’t even bother trying her in it anymore.

We had an interesting incident the other day. I had Maria out on the bike and some guy drove up and asked if I was her father. I said I was her uncle. He pushed $60 in my hand and said, “Give this to her family with God’s blessing,” and drove off. Nice to see Maria’s finally earning her keep!