Monday, October 12, 2009

In Which We Consider Our Options

We spent a good portion of today taking it easy and settling back into our usual routines. I know from prior experience that Connor requires a couple of days of down time before I start changing everything up on him, so I'll give him the opportunity to relax a little bit before I start throwing everything in boxes and rearranging his world again. We always pack his room (or at least the visible things in his room) last and set his room up first so he has at least one comfortable space in the house.

Connor went back to school today, and he got to play with one of his favorite group therapy toys ever: the parachute! I remember very vividly playing with a parachute in my preschool class, so it's neat to think that Connor's doing some of the same things I did growing up. He's played with parachutes before in his birth-to-three program, and I think they have the same appeal that the laundry does; for whatever reason, both are hilarious. I'm really glad that he's enjoying school, and I'm so, so glad that we moved. If we hadn't we'd probably be in the middle of suing the school district on top of everything else that's going on, and that would be another huge source of stress. We're so lucky to have such a great school district and teachers!

Connor also spent a lot of time playing with his daddy today; he was very concerned about Jeremy while we were in Texas and asked about him several times each day. He was pretty excited when he saw Jeremy waiting for us at the airport, and I think he's really enjoying having his father home all day instead of at work. It's funny, but Connor hasn't shown any anxiety about Jer being in a wheelchair at all; wheelchairs are so normal for him that it doesn't seem to bother him at all that Daddy is in one. He's also thoroughly enjoying riding next to Jer in the car-- the time he doesn't spend craning his neck to look out the front windshield is spent staring at Daddy with a look of adoration on his face. It's very sweet to see them together.

We've been looking at the logistics of the wheelchair ramp; it's a little more complicated than just slapping some boards down over the stairs. We have to have a permit for any work that will be done, which means that the ramp has to follow ADA standards. Minimum standards say that the ramp can only drop one inch in height for every foot in length, which means that, as an example, if the house has two steps that go down total of 24 inches, the ramp has to be 24 feet long! Also if it has any turns, you have to have a five foot square landing for each turn. We aren't sure what the measurements are on either the front porch or the garage, but we do know for a fact that this isn't going to be a do-it-yourself sort of job. It's a challenge to figure out a way to put in a ramp that won't detract from the value of the house either, sad as that is. If we can't figure out a way to put in a ramp that won't eat up our entire garage or front yard, we may end up needing to put in a wheelchair lift in the garage instead. They're generally more expensive (some of them are really, really expensive but hopefully ours would fall on the cheaper end as it wouldn't have to go up very high) but they wouldn't have the large footprint that a ramp would have. We plan to consult with some remodeling companies and figure out what will work best for us. Of course, we can't really get to work until we actually own the house, so we're kind of limited in the planning we can do beforehand, but we'll do what we can.

Lots to think about!



Renate said...

If the current owners will let you, you can get some contractors in there now to take measurements. I would get at least three estimates and also have them give you some references. Too bad you live in Puyallup - we have an excellent contractor here in Maple Valley who did our addition. I don't know if he would go that far for work. If you are interested and want to call him, let me know here in the comments and I'll email you his info.

Julia said...

Despite all your recent travails, you have the essentials down -- namely the people in your life, who are top-rate. You did luck out with the in-laws (so did I). Your son stares adoringly at his father in the car. Think how much harder it would be to deal with Jeremy's injuries if you guys didn't enjoy each others' company!

Anonymous said...

For which you will many times a day bless every effort it took to get an ADA regulation quality ramp - at least for the temporay need by Jer. Unless you go for the lift.

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