Yesterday I woke up, I could see the sun shine and I said, as I was lifted out of bed, “Let’s go see the squirrels.” Which since Linda didn’t have an appointment for 1 hour and 45 minutes meant that was possible due to the NEW electric wheelchair (referred to DT: for that DAMN THING for the rest of this blog).
Since I had showered the day before it was get dressed, or be dressed and get shoes on and go, go go. But still that took up the 45 minutes, as Linda wanted me to drink stuff, and eat stuff and stuff had to be packed for safety. Well, our old elevator tends to leave a few inches to climb up, so arriving at the bottom floor was FOUR inches, so even in Tank Mode, I couldn’t climb it. I went up a floor and came down and tried again, got two inches to climb up this time (the elevator lotto) and we headed outside. Took me all of about 30 seconds to realize we forgot my lap robe (linda snagged one from the van) and I took out the now hugely oversized rain jacket for warmth. It was sunny, but there was also snow in the shade so a degree or two above freezing….and the wind was blowing.
But we got to the park in record time which also bruised a record number of my ribs, spine and muscles. See, in other cities, curb cuts go to the street level. In Victoria, just to show how special we are, we like to keep them two inches above street level, or higher! So with 25 of those to hit between me and the park I learned the difference between a manual and an electric chair. In a manual, you are low down, you can flip up casters and lean forward to jump the curb, you are in control, you are driving a titanium Ferrari. On an electric, you are the luggage tied to the top of the bus going up the mountain passes in Central America. The luggage which is bumped open halfway, or smashed from the forces. I learned that driving at HIGH SPEED toward a giant curb cut bump only makes my spine feel like someone smashed it, along with my torso. I learned that if I went REALLY slow….well, I didn’t learn that because I’ll be damned if I go really slow so I just learned about going normal speed (Ow!) and fast (OW!!!) and Very Fast (OH MY GOD OWWW!). As you can see, while it isn’t EXACTLY spring, there are little bits of flowers showing themselves here and there.
I made it to the park and realized that I am also several feet higher than I am in the other wheelchair, so it is harder to feed the squirrels and I worried and thought they would not think they would come up to my lap to get peanuts. I mean, do they know the smell of me, the smell of my peanut fingers or of the wheelchair? The first squirrel responded to rustling bag and I found did not have any problem crawling up the lap blanket (with my encouragement) to see me. I called this one scruffy as it had some claw marks which had removed fur right behind its head which gave it a scruffy look. I later realized I should have called it: Lazy Ass. But still it was encouraging to have a squirrel actually sit in my lap (since we only had 25 minutes once we got there) on my first trip out of the house and back to the park in a LONG time.
It turned out not to be that difficult at all to have squirrels climb up the wheelchair, even though it was brand new and quite high. Most squirrels who approached where willing to climb up to see me. Here is a different grey squirrel (you can see by the clean neck fur) who has climbed up and decided to eat the peanut on my knee (after such a climb, why not!).
Of course, squirrels are individuals (some with very odd neurotic habits!). So there is always the squirrel who has to make everything twice as difficult. Every OTHER squirrel simply climbed up the front using my legs and the blanket to get to my lap. But not for this black squirrel, who I named Parkour, after the sport where you use urban railings, rooftops or other surfaces to achieve your goal. Did it make his peanut any more satisfying, apparently for him as he went off chortling, “A route no squirrel has taken before!”
Here is a profile shot that Linda took for some reason, maybe to prove that sun shines here in Victoria, I am not sure. You can see in the shot how I drive the DT wheelchair which is by pushing the black joystick (almost invisible here) which is between my index and second finger. There is a delayed reaction, to make sure I have my hand in the right position and then a second later it starts up. Despite the delayed reaction I only lot control and started weaving around on the sidewalk four or five times. DT! The other irritation is that to change modes, from like, Outdoor to Tank Mode, you have to come to a complete stop. I am Elizabeth McClung, I AM Brownian Motion, I do not come to complete stops! This is why instead of doing ALL those curb cuts by stopping, changing modes, climbing curbs, stopping again and changing back to outdoor mode, I tried going faster. OW! Okay that didn’t work, what if we try this curb even FASTER! OWWW. DT!!!
Here Scruffy has returned and, despite the fact that my wheelchair is almost silent has decided it is just TOO MUCH BOTHER to actually move away to eat, but to eat not just next to my chair, but with his tail under it (A Beatrix Potter Tale comes to mind!). This is also the shot which makes me look the LEAST like I am super thin (just thin!). This is why I think of him as Lazy Ass. Here you can see the close up of Scruffy, with the scars on his neck. You can also see that he has part of his nice long tail UNDER my foot plate. And since I came to BOND and love the squirrels, not clean them out of my tire treads, I patiently waited for Lazy Ass to finish, fed him/her another peanut and off Scruffy went!
As we were about to leave I was greeted/assaulted by son of Psycho. Psycho was known for his a) trying to steal Linda’s camera several times, b) trying to steal entire 1 pound or 2 pound bags of peanuts several times, including wresting them from em and c) his fearless attitude. Well, I rattle the bag as we have to go and about 50 yards away this black squirrel pops out of the ferns, sees me and starts doing that squirrel run towards me. Usually at 20 yards or so they stop and pop up their head to check around, then at 5 yards they slow down to give me a good sniff over. The black squirrel, at about 10 yards SPEEDS UP and then does a flying leap onto my blanket. And clambers the rest of the way up. There is no sniffing cautiously about here! I was rather shocked, as I had a brand new chair and according to the seating people the only one in Victoria (which is how they would catch me if I tried to give it away), and this squirrel does a flying LEAP onto me? Is my estrogen that high? Is mating season going that badly for him?
No, it is was the son of Psycho, I could tell he was about 9 months old and he quickly rooted about in my..er...lap. And then started to eat right there, like I was the peanutmobile. Sadly, we were late, and had to take off, so I hope to meet him again since that is one squirrel I am definitely going to remember. Even though we shared but two peanuts together, it was Paris…I mean the Park…in the Spring time, and I’ll be at Rick’s and he’ll walk in…wait, this is Casablanca!
I got out, I got slammed around in order to get home, and then it started snowing, slushing a bit in the afternoon. So not QUITE spring yet but there are hints and hopes. I ended up with a four hour nap due to my fun in the sun, ow! And couldn’t move my arms. I have yet to learn the ‘use less, not more’ – I am so used to using gross muscles, like my shoulder to write, that for this DT wheelchair, I need to ground my elbow, ground my wrist and just use the slightest movement forward, side to side or back, whether I feel it or not. Because using my whole arm and shoulder just ends with a) me out of control – don’t walk beside me on the sidewalk (a good safety tip!) and b) a really sore arm.
Have a great weekend and meet your own friends. One day I plan to work up to HUMANS. I hear they don’t like peanuts as much, but they have more interesting conversations.
6 hours ago