Saturday, December 27, 2008


Merry Christmas (a few days late)

Merry Christmas everyone! Christmas at the Warriner household was as magical as always. We attended the 5:00pm service at our church, which is a service that is produced by the youth group and is focused more on the children. Madeline was in a Christmas play and was also involved in the music. She even had a small duet in the song her choir sang!

After church we went home to Mom and Dad's house and enjoyed some wonderful appetizers and great company! The excitement of Christmas was evident on Madeline's face as she prepared a very large plate of Christmas cookies for Santa. We went to bed fairly late in anticipation of Christmas morning. Around 8:00am Madeline snuck into the room that I was sleeping in. As she said Merry Christmas to wake me up I grabbed her and pulled her into the bed and we chatted while we waited for Mom, Dad, Sarah, and Uncle Mike to let us know that they were ready for Madeline to come downstairs. Of course, she had to wait for me to scoot down the stairs first!

The tradition at our house is that the youngest passes out the gifts. (I was very happy when Madeline came along so that I could finally get out of that responsibility!) Once Madeline was done passing out the gifts (she had some help from her Mommy) we began opening gifts in order of youngest to oldest. Of course, the most precious gift to me was the home made "Snow Globe" that Madeline had worked on for approximately 4 - 5 days!

After opening the gifts we had our traditional Christmas breakfast, which is my favorite part. Then I went home to get cleaned up and feed the cat, and then came back to Mom and Dad's for Christmas dinner. This years big gift for all of us were tickets to see the Broadway production of The Lion King. We saw the performance yesterday, and must say that it really is amazing! If you ever have the opportunity to see it, don't let that opportunity pass you by. For me, the most special part of the show was getting to sit next to Madeline and watch her face light up with the magic of the performance!

One of the pictures above should answer a couple of the questions from the last blog update. Yes, this bachelor does decorate for Christmas, and as you can see, Hobbs (my cat) is enjoying the holiday season and providing me with great company now that I am on my own. The other picture is the hand crafted snow globe that Madeline worked on so hard. I will treasure it always! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas, and have a wonderful New Year!

Ps. To the person who sent me a letter and asked for confirmation that I received it, I did get it, and do appreciate it.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Living on my own

Have I mentioned that Jamie moved out just before Thanksgiving? It's fairly big news, but I don't think I remembered to share this with you. For the record, I haven't had this house to myself since May of 2005. At the time, Cliff (one of my best friends and long time roommate) moved to Kansas City with his girlfriend, who he later married. Cliff's room sat empty for a little over a month, and then my friend David Kay moved back to Indy and needed a place to stay. (I have to list David's last name because, as those of you who visited me in the hospital will recall, I have many friends named David.) I really didn't have any idea what to do with the room, and the rent money was helpful, so David moved in on a "temporary basis".

David was still living with me at the time of the accident. He couldn't really handle living in the house while I was lingering in a coma, so he moved out. The house sat empty from November of '05 until I finally came home in April of '06. While I was still in the coma a team of people, including my parents and some friends, decided to deep clean my house for me. This was a great gift because neither Cliff, David, nor I ever focused much attention on really cleaning. (To this day I don't dust. In my opinion dust is what holds my nick-knacks in place!)

Now, while I say this was a great gift, and I am truly thankful that they did it. It was kind of disturbing to find out that, while I was incapacitated, my family and friends cleaned my house from top to bottom. For a very long time I felt as if my privacy had been violated, and in some ways it was. When I got to visit the house for the first time, while I was still an inpatient at the ARC, not only did it feel lonely, but several things were out of place and nothing seemed quite like I remembered it.

The house didn't smell right either. I kept questioning this while my Physical Therapist and Occupational Therapist were looking around. (The point of the visit was for them to get an idea of what modifications would be needed and what I would need to be able to do physically to return home.) My parents kept saying that the smell was just because the house had been shut up for a couple months and the air was stale. A few months later, while I was living at my parents house, a group of friends from my days at Purdue came to visit and took me to my house for the day. My friends took me in through the garage, and we realized that there were a couple of bags of trash in the garage that had obviously been there since late October/early November. This, was the source of the smell that my home had taken on in my absence.

As I said, many of my things had been moved during the deep cleaning project. Before I could come home permanently several modifications had to be made to the house. This, of course, required that more things be moved and piled into rooms where they didn't belong. (To this day there are still things that I know I had in this house before the accident that I cannot find!) Then, in April of '06 I was finally able to come home. Jamie moved in a few days later to help me with things that I couldn't do on my own. With two people living here, I was never really able to find everything that was missing, or get the house set up the way I wanted it again.

So, after three years, I finally get my chance! The room that has belonged to Cliff, David, and Jamie has now been turned into an office, with a futon for guests to sleep on when I have visitors. I'm very happy to have a place for guests to sleep again. Once upon a time my den was set up to be an office and guest room, but it was very tight and it's right off the living room, so it didn't really allow any privacy. (Cliff and I took in a stray friend for about three months and I finally had to get rid of the hide-a-bed to get him to move out! That's a story for another time.) The den gradually became the home for my Star Wars collection and lost it's use as an office. Especially after the deep cleaning project and renovation, when everything that didn't have a home wound up shoved in that little room.

Now, back to my point...where was I...Oh yeah, I finally get my chance to set my home up the way I want it, without having to deal with anybody else's! The den is now a display room for my massive Star Wars collection, and it doesn't look insane like it used to. (I'm very happy about that.) The second bedroom is now an office and I no longer have bills and other mail cluttering up my house. The house is happy, and therefore I'm happy!

Jamie didn't move far. He's just on the other side of the intersection closest to my house. he still comes by every week to help with the trash and he's planning on helping with the grass when it starts to grow again. (He wasn't very good about cutting the grass regularly when he lived here, so I'll probably need some other people to help out with that as well!)

For the record, Jamie was a huge help during the time that I needed him most. He learned how to administer the PICC Line when I was on IV antibiotics and did that nightly for 9 weeks. He helped me with laundry, cleaning (to some extent), trash, yard work, and other house work. When the infections were at their worst we even had a baby monitor set up between our rooms and he would come help me with whatever I needed at all hours of the night. He is a great friend and I do miss his company, but man I love having the house to myself!

Friday, December 12, 2008



As of December 1st, I am officially unemployed. I have to say that, while it's completely a new experience, it's kind of refreshing. (At least for now) We'll see how I feel in the new year.

I spent most of the day on Monday at the Social Security office in an attempt to reinstate my Social Security Disability benefits. I should have realized how crowded it would be! Luckily, a very nice woman offered me a seat as soon as she saw me looking around. When the Social Security office is crowded, be prepared for a long wait. You get a number when you come in, but there doesn't seem to be any particular order to which number they are calling. This, unfortunately, leads to some very aggravated people.

As I sat down I could tell by the looks on the face of the people around me that tempers were already running high! I smiled pleseantly at the people nearby and settled in for a long wait. Very shortly after I sat down, the woman who had offered me a seat asked "how did you lose your legs". I proceeded to tell her an abriged version of the story, and gradually realized that several people around me were listening. Even some people in other rows.

The woman and I had a nice conversation, which was eventually joined by a few of the other people who were waiting. It certainly helped to pass the time. After a while a number was called and I noticed a very large man from a few rows over get up to speak with the Social Security staff. After he was done with his business he walked directly over to me, and with a huge grin on his face stuck out his hand. I shook his hand and said "thank you" (not really knowing what I was thanking him for) and then he just smiled again and walked out of the office. He never said a word.

the others around me gave me a strange look after that, as if to say "What was that about"? There were a few more questions, but as time passed people started to grumble more about how long they had been there. Ultimately my number was called and a very nice person met with me to discuss reinstating my disability benefits. There shouldn't be any problem with this and, while things will be financially tight, I can make a budget work on the disability income alone.

Of course, I will continue to look for work, but with our economy in it's current situation I'm not too hopeful. However, this is not meant to say that I'm planning on sitting in my house playing video games all day. (Although, that may happen occasionally!) I actually have an interview today for a position on the Mayor's Advisory Council on Disability. It's a volunteer position, but it's also an opportunity to get involved and help affect change for people with disabilities.

This, of course, is the direction that I want to go with my life. While I will still maintain some of my connections in the hospitality industry, I really don't care if someone's cheeseburger is five minutes late or if the towels in their room aren't folded correctly. So, I view my unemployment as an opportunity to change my life in positive ways, as opposed to a challenge to be overcome, or some kind of sign of my worth. So, we'll see what happens!

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