Sunday, February 17, 2008

More wheelchair badminton, a friend to visit, and neurosis tennis

When I put out the call for family after the New Years, many followed up, some with emails, with others sending me care packages which I TOTALLY mean to reciprocate. One person, Cheryl volunteered as Sister (I was a little unclear on whether that was “Sisterhood” with upraised fist or ‘I get to tell you how you really should be living your life’ older sister-hood?). She also offered to visit because she lives in Port Angeles, which would normally disqualify her (Skary Town) but she is a genuine US Forest Park Ranger (thus works in Olympic National Forest). And she was an EMT, and used to live in Death Valley. On the down side, spiders, of which I am phobic about, seem to love her as she has been bitten by black widows TWICE.

Anyway, she came for a visit and we played some air hockey and in some sort of fluke, in both games we tied (6-6. 4-4: not that I am so competitive I would remember the exactly scores). She however kicked my butt at pinball. What I found out is that a) I talk too damn much and b) When I talk too damn much for several hours then I have health problems (for up to two days after). I have “Hostess Complex” where you compensate any feeling of anxiety and worry that your guest isn’t having a good time by talking non-stop which just ends up making people thinking you are “okay, nice….but a bit of a loon.”

Anyway, after my Wheelchair Badminton is possible for a LOT of people post, Cheryl said “I have no hand eye co-ordination.” I challenged her to come back and just give it a try, and I would supply the wheelchair. Cheryl has some horrific thing with her back (the words crushed and vertebrae are in there) which means: No running, no walking fast, no leaning over, no bending, none of that. She can however sit and lift her arm above her head. So today, after she got off the boat from Port Angeles (and was pulled over again by customs because apparently the “I am coming to meet someone I met on the internet” is the WRONG answer to “Why did you come to Canada?”) we collected gear and headed to the Y.

After 20 minutes of the hit and miss of “I haven’t played this since a kid” Cheryl seemed to be getting the hang of it. And then, once we started playing a doubles game (with points) I noticed that Cheryl’s hit ratio went WAY up as she had Linda running here and there. After doubles we had a short game where I played Wayne and Cheryl so Linda could take some pictures and film and I hope later this week to make a quick video to convince you that YES, wheelchair badminton IS a fun sport, even for two wheelchair users. And it doesn’t matter that if after you finish your game of badminton, you can carefully stand up and walk home. Because a wheelchair is a mobility device. And if a wheelchair helps you have fun for an hour that you wouldn’t have or be able to do normally, then use the wheelchair! But if you CAN stand up afterward, then that is why you get the crappy extra wheelchair and I get the custom one.
Anyway, you can see here that Cheryl, who said quote “Badminton really IS slower than tennis” is in a very short time, not only matching my vast four weeks experience but is kicking my butt. Turns out that hitting long wasn’t a problem for her, must be those special Forest Ranger muscles. Anyway, it was nice to play a game of doubles with friends and thanks to the program director Wayne (in Red) for doing doubles with us. I promised I would TRY not to fill his entire badminton drop-in days with friends in wheelchairs. Not that it is such a bad thing! It is just we need to find enough able bodied people to do the running around in doubles while we sit there. Remember, able bodied people have uses too!
We hoped to have Thai for lunch afterward, but the restaurant had the “Now Open 7 days a week” sign as well as the “Closed” sign, so we headed back to our place only stopping by to visit some friends at the cemetery (second oldest in Victoria). There is one guy there who died at 37 and they relatives listed not just the years he lived but the months and the days too. Guess people in the 1830’s had OCD too (Does it really matter if he lived 37 years, 7 months, and 6 days or 7 days?).

That’s one of the reasons I have been a bit quiet today. The other reason is that my hostess syndrome is in high gear and that means I started the day with opiates (can’t sleep, a guest is coming!). I have been on oxygen a couple times and lost speech a couple times today already (at which point I keep going in sign language, which induces Linda to try to strangle me). So while I was sleeping Linda and Cheryl went out and got me a pack of Twinkies by HOSTESS. I think it was a hint. Or just some mockery of me.

Also, as I slept for two hours, Cheryl and Linda, who both have family cattle farming background, did the farm talk. This has reawakened my paranoia which goes a bit like this: Linda has put up with me for years because my neurotic and health issues are countered by your good parts. But now, she is meeting OTHER women, women who have connections with her that I don’t and who can talk to her and focus their attention on her and aren’t near as big a mess as I am (not actually talking about my physical issues, more my big squirming bag o issues). So, to counter this, I blurt out to Linda about once an hour this evening, “You’re going to dump me and then, because if you marry her, she can legally become a Canadian citizen, you are going to move in with her, aren’t you? Aren’t you!!” That is really reinforcing how I don’t have insecurity issues. Particularly when I accused her on Monday after I was doped to the gills and so sick I couldn’t move that she was going to run away with my caregiver (who is straight!). Linda finds this funny. I find that saying, “I don’t have insecurity issues, I don’t have insecurity issues!” over and over doesn’t really help.

So, it is sort of fun for the visitor who comes to see us because you get to see me play neurosis tennis with myself bouncing from “I’m such a bad hostess” to “You and Linda are the TRUE soul-mates aren’t you?” Anyway, even with all that, I am actually having fun and I did play badminton and even though I have at least one appointment every day this week, I managed to forget for a few hours today.

So come and join the party, the more the merrier (and we can always play wheelchair badminton!).


tornwordo said...

I'm gonna be there for the holidays this year. If you're up to it, I'll be stopping by. First, you've got to go to Japan!

cheryl g. said...


I meant it in a sibling, family way and since I'm chronologically older then I guess that makes me the big sister. However, I don't really do bossy just loyalty. I'll leave the bossy to my sis-in-law Linda.

Hey everybody else: Beth is just as she portrays hereself on her blog. She's also warm, funny and great company and a good badminton coach. I'm totally sold on the badminton and plan to keep visiting so we can go play. As for Beth and Linda - seeing them together makes it very clear how this is a relationship that is truly meant to be. There is soooo much love there.

Of course Beth, for your own good, I'm going to have to shake my quiet tendencies and talk way more just to help keep you from overdoing. ;-)

em said...

That sounds so fun. Uh, the visit part I mean. I have hostess neurosis and insecurity neurosis too, so I don't think those are fun. I do like thinking of it as neurosis tennis though. That way I'm doing a sport. See, I avoid sports because of delayed motor skills development neurosis. That isn't actually a diagnosis right now, but once the big drug companies read my comment on your blog it will be. Then it will be solved by a drug called Pictlastnomore which will have the side effects of genital prolapse and voter apathy and everyone will get on it and the economy will be improved by all the spurious hysterectomies and we won't see a dime of the profits. But money is just a concept anyway.

Hey, I kept feeling that there was something familiar about Linda. I have cow and pig farmers in the family too. It's not first generation though, so I couldn't dazzle her with shop talk. That means I could come up to visit and you would only have to suffer hostess anxiety.

I'm a little blabby today. It's just standard trying to figure out my sexuality and how to be financially independent and what do I want to do with my life and how do I support my kids while I go through this neurosis. I'm trying to breathe through it.

Veralidaine said...

How cool that you and Cheryl will be able to meet up!

So would, "To watch someone I met over the internet hit people in the head," be a good reason to give when asked why I came to Canada?

alphabitch said...

that sounds so totally fun!!! I hope you shared a can of Cheerwine with your guest. Or not; a lot of folks hate the stuff :)

Marla said...

Sounds like you had a great time with your friend. It is always nice to have visitors.

Neil said...


How about "I'm here for the thirteenth visit with my Internet friend who could beat your ass at wheelchair badminton!"

Beth, I'm probably not QUITE old enough to be your father, and you may have "issues" with my being your brother, so maybe I could be some sort of uncle for your Internet Family? One who moved away and is kinda shy and doesn't bother people much.

Wish I could visit with you, but you're just too far away, and you DON'T want to come here now - may the gods have mercy on anyone who has to wheel anywhere on sidewalks in Regina. Our road crews don't clear most of the sidewalks any more. They'd rather grade the windrows of snow off the streets onto the sidewalks, then try to fine the home or business owners behind those sidewalks for not keeping them clean...

Cheers from darkest Saskatchewan to you and the invisible Linda!

Michael said...

It sounds like you're having a lot of fun. Cheryl, she's having a party -- are you going to stick around for it? I'd love to be there, but not going to happen this time.

How long until Japan?


Elizabeth McClung said...

Tornwordo: I welcome visits at any time! Because I am on an island and it takes 5-6 hours to go Vancouver it is actually easier for me to meet people in Port Townsend or Seattle if they can't come to Victoria (2 hours to seattle) - 90 minutes to Port Angeles, then 40 minutes drive to port Townsend.

Cheryl: "warm, funny....and neurotic!" Cheryl stayed over because she is hardy and sleep on a mattress on the floor. Yeah, I do talk a bit (lot!), and did spend some time on the floor this morning. The problem isn't your visiting, it is "Can you leave" since I think that is twice we have gotten you back to your boat with like 10 minutes to spare.

Em: See, you could come up and play badminton which seem to be the new sport for the motor skilled impaired (even Linda). What, you don't have any good chicken head chopping assembly line stories? Well you could always look at her pics. I think since most of my friends are urban she would like more people who "get" country.

If you get that "financially independant thing" worked out, please email me the secret so I can do it to.

Veralidaine: Yeah, meeting people from online isn't really as scary you think. Well sometimes, but not this time. Yes, I think the hitting on the head would ease the custom's worries immensely!

Alphabitch: No, sorry, kept the cheerwine for myself but we did share a bottle of mulled red wine as it is still feeling Winterish! Oh mulled wine with friends, that is fun.

Marla: Totally, thanks for coming by, I will be trying to find time between all the appointments to find out how you and Maizie are doing.

Neil: I think it is because she keeps coming in saying that line that she gets pulled aside, they figure I have her muling drugs for me under my internet influence of LUV.

Uncle would be cool but yah, don't really like ice and since it was sunny today and I could wheel in the sun, it was a pretty good day. Although, two weeks ago we say...wait for it....SUN DOGS in VICTORIA - wow, how cold and wierd is that - talk about the prairie coming to you.

What I want to know is, are you high enough up to see the northern lights; that is what miss from northern Sask - seeing the the feathery dance of the northern lights.

Raccoon/Michael: about 5.5 weeks until japan and we are freaking - how many hotel reservations do we have = ZERO, there are so few cities which have accessible room that it is become a problem with our itineray - will put some hours in this week and feel ready to go....I hope! So, so much to do before Japan. What I need is an EBAY party to help me put on like 50 lots of Manga.

Dawn Allenbach said...

I wish! I've wanted to see BC for quite a while now.

You can count me as a sister, too, if you want (no insecurity issues here, either). To clarify -- I'll be BOTH types of sister. :-)

Lindsay said...

Dude, I'd love to join the party. Although that wouldn't be practical at the moment.

Looks like you had fun! Glad to see it.


Lene Andersen said...

There's a park ranger in the family? Cool! I've always wanted to be/meet a park ranger.

p.s. if Cheryl won't do the bossy thing, I'm available. ;)

cheryl g. said...

Ummmmm, actually sis the catch the ferry thing was awfully close today. It was more like get on board with seconds to spare. I found my way OK but I also discovered at my safe walking speed I'll want to allow another 10 minutes or so.

Ehn, I made it and learned how long the walk takes so it's all good.

I'm thinking telling the customs guy I'm visiting a friend I met on the internet so we can compare world domination plans would also be a bad choice...

Elizabeth McClung said...

Dawn: you are on - and you know I want another trip to New Orleans. Nothing like the Chicago comet rocking down the rails - I like Amtrack (do they have sleeping cars?). Welcome sis!

Lindsay: Well, it was short party but fun, too bad you couldn't make that one but there will always be more! Thanks.

Lene: Yeah, do some bossing, then I can sass talk you. Cheryl is pretty cool and some amazing stories like......protecting Hoover Dam from Terrorist attack (what were you supposed to do exactly?)

Cheryl: I feel VERY bad about that and next time I will allow LOTS of time BUT you made it AND you have like 12 hours of Yuri anime to watch! If you have any problems playing them email you and I will give you the site for the codecs you need. I am VERY glad you made it though - we don't need to be quite so close next time.

cheryl g. said...

No need to feel bad. I still often badly underestimate my walking time. I tend to estimate in my old AB time frame which makes me late alot.

Dawn Allenbach said...

Better make that trip in the next year and a half, because after that I'm on to my next adventurous locale. Dunno where that is yet, though.

Amtrak sleeper cars. Will find out.

Michael said... even has accessible sleeper cars. They have a toilet in them, but no shower.

I'm looking forward to the two of you getting back from Japan -- I'm probably not the only one that wants to see pictures!


Neil said...


Ice: yeah, I hate it too. Nearly ended up in your spare chair last Thursday when I fell on my hip in the icey driveway of the Emergency dept of the local hospital! It still hurts, but only a bruise.

Northern Lights: there's a discussion list called auroralobserving at . We get northern lights, Beth, but darkest Saskatchewan is now very light polluted, and we only see the brighter ones.

Ice is bad, but it's the cold that gets me: as of 8pm on 19/02 it's -23 with a wind chill of -35. Celcius, of course.

Staying warm and thinking MANYMANY hugs for my new niece. And wonderful Linda! :)

Elizabeth McClung said...

Cheryl: Just glad you made it and have memories thus will come again (to finish the row of Yuri manga)

Dawn: No worries, will make the trip in the next 18 months if at all. After that, I will have to come in a special oxygen train or something. Though actually read an journal article of partial relapse of autonomic function (condition got a bit better) - AFTER the person got lung cancer. Seemed a bit of a mixed message there.

Michael/Raccoon - Japan is far away, and getting info every day which makes it a bit harder - wrote to the disability site there and gave them itinerary, and it is like "That town has no wheelchair accessible rooms, however a city 1 hour by train away does." or "I would advise booking quickly as this town has one room which is accessible in total." or "The museum is accessible but can only be reached by a bus which has three steps" AHHHH! Breathe Beth Breathe - I knew it would be hard, but not impossible - just try again!

Neil: Up in Battleford and Meadow Lake I could see them all the time, it was very vivid and trippy. I do miss that, a very "Canadian" experience.

My Tech today was in Regina but moved back here due to cold - he would rather have less pay but be warm. Bummer for you guys, but now I know how BC can give the techs a 10% pay cut and still have anyone work for them.