Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Alex comes to visit!!!

A few weeks ago, I invited a fellow blogger Alex of Life of the Hard of Hearing to come walk with me for the Garden State Walk 4 Hearing. I first met Alex on Seek Geo's site in his chat room and we just clicked. Our upbringings were very similar except for the fact that he used Cued Speech to learn how to speak and I learned through speech therapy, five years of it. He just has a great online and offline personality.

So, he flew on Friday night and if any of you know me, you know I have a tendency of planning things right down to the wire. This was no exception. I had this in the bag, I was going to pick up him right out in front of baggage claim at 7:00ish and he wouldn't stand around and wait. So I thought, but was slated to arrive around seven something I believe but on my way there and still an hour from the airport, my blackberry croaks to let me know I have a message. It was he telling me that his flight landed an hour early. I thought he was pulling my leg but he landed an hour early. I felt horrible about him standing around waiting. At least he learned what a New Jersey minute is :)

So I picked him up, all 90 pounds of him and started shooting the bull. I noticed right off the bat that he really does have a European, almost British accent. He comes right out of the cornstalks from Illinois and there nothing southern about him. We headed back to my place and coerced him to get some dinner with me. I decided that we would be guinea pigs at this Japanese Steakhouse. We grabbed some food and talked until I almost passed out. That Friday morning, I was one of the lucky ones that had to get up at 2:00 AM to take mommy dearest to the train station. I was shipping her ass down to Virginia to stay with some family for the week. Aren't I nice? :) But more to the point, I was dog tired. I hooked Alex up to the WiFi and showed him to his sleep quarters while I retired to mine.

The next morning, Alex and I headed to the gas station to get gas before going to the Walk 4 Hearing. He was marvelled by the fact that my ass stayed in the car while we had gas attendants do the fueling. He learned first hand what it means to have a full service gas station state. :) Apparently, Illinois is not one of those. I think it is just so much safer and cleaner. I never want to fill my own gas up because you never know where anyones hands have been. :) We started talking about my experiences of going to self-serve gas station and lacking the ability to pump my own gas. Most of the were comical and involved some Eastern Indians wondering what this silly deaf American was doing just sitting in her car staring at the pump as if it were going to magically just insert itself into my car.

We headed to Dunkin Donuts to get my java fix where we had some sunglasses missing in action and then we were OFF! I have a GPS and it was easy peasy as pie to find Mercer County State Park. I was there representing the Bionic Ear Association since I am a member. I introduced Alex to some friends. I met this gorgeous family that I was communicating with a woman whose step father has been recently implanted for the longest time. I shake hands with them and then a yellow jacket started buzzing around the vicinity. I bobbed and weaved and performed some mighty evasive maneuvers thinking I outsmarted the damn thing. Well, Alex saw the yellow jacket got a little fresh by making a bee dive (pun intended) into my shirt. He tried getting my attention but when I'm talking, I like to talk. It’s hard to shut me up sometimes. Well the yellow jacket shut me up because it STUNG me! Here I am, if you will picture this, stripping my jacket and moving my shirt in ways that I don't normally move my shirt especially in front of perfect strangers. They had concern in their eyes but all I could think of is how they must think I'm a lunatic. :) Now bugs give me the heebie jeebies but they actually touch me and inject venom in me, I turn into a hypochondriac! Alex is laughing hysterically, performing a pee-pee dance of sorts. I was asked whether I was allergic. I had no idea, I have never been stung before (surprisingly enough). I became acutely aware of the size of my esophagus and lung volume.

The Walk 4 Hearing started off with a speech, "I don't know if you could all hear me...", but I was too busy on my blackberry googling allergic reactions of yellow jacket stings. The good thing is that I had an EPI pen in the car because I'm allergic to mushrooms. I figured if I were allergic I could shoot myself in the leg and have Alex drive me to the hospital although he doesn't look like he is old enough to drive. He should never drive a mini-van because he would look as if he were borrowing moms car. :)

The walk began and it was beautiful. I decided to walk with my buddy Wayne Roorda. He has a CI on his right, Alex has bilateral Hearing Aids and I have a CI on my left. Alex was stuck in the middle for maximum acoustics :) and then we walked. It was beautiful, the scenery couldn't have been any better. The leaves are changing colors and it provided some sweet looking backdrops while we were peddling right passed walkers.

Along the way, I met up with a beautiful woman name Debbie who is from Jersey, who is a late deafened adult who has a CI. I have been communicating with her on and off her journey. Since she has had perfect hearing most of her life and started having problems about seven years ago with her hearing, it was a big adjustment on her end for learning how to hear with a CI, plus her audiologist didn't seem so gosh darn wonderful. She was an absolute delight to be around and I can't wait to meet her again. She sent me an email with a phrase that made me smile from ear to ear, "It was the first time in a long that I felt like I was a part of something." That is what I wanted to hear and I am glad that I was a part of it.

Alex and I had enough of rogue leaves hitting each other in the face, we decided to head back to my place to get bundled up for Six Flags or Great Adventure as us New Jerseseans call it. I have to say Alex, is one cheap guest. He does not eat. There is a reason for this, he is what you call a miracle baby. He was born with a stage three Omphalocele which is where the intestines, liver, and occasionally other organs remain outside of the abdomen in a sac because of a defect in the development of the muscles of the abdominal wall. Basically all the internal organs are spilled out. and was the first baby west of the Mississippi River to live from it. Read his entire story here. He lost his hearing resulting from antibiotics but hearing loss was a small price to pay for what he went through. He is a special person to me :) Because of that, his stomach is a size of a gulf ball and he doesn't eat much. He told me this before he flew here and I scoffed. I had every attention of fattening his bony butt up. Ha, joke was on me because I couldn't get him to eat. I'm all about food. I eat six meals a day religiously, I'm sure he thought I could stand to miss a meal or two. :)

We headed off to Great Adventure, only to discover that most of the rides were broken down but as the night wore on, more and more rides came back online. If you have a cochlear implant, you CAN go on rides but be smart and remove the external part. :) This ride we wanted to go on was Kinga Ka, this 428 foot high roller coaster that reaches a speed of 128mph. It goes straight up and over a hill and straight back down. Nuts right? At the time we took a look at it, it was a 150 minute wait. Neither one of us is crazy about waiting. So we pranced around the park picking other rides. Then a bunch of girls started making a fuss. Alex told me that there was a racoon in the park. Well, just as he said it, this raccoon dashed out of the bush and headed for the tree. I backed up into the fence practically, wielding my black berry and thrusting Alex in front of me. The racoon stared right at me and I put my meanest poker face which intimidated him because he backed up and went up the tree. However, I kept a close eye on him if he tried to go over the branch and do a flying leap at me. The line moved and I pushed Alex before the ball of his foot could arch upwards to make a step. The raccoon ran to and fro from the bush to the garbage can. Alex told me, "I have never seen a raccoon in an amusement park before." I'm looking down at my blackberry and I fixate my eyes on him and he suddenly realized whom he was with. I am sure that some people that read my blog must think I am full of it but if you ever met me, you will realize I don't have to make this stuff up! :) Alex suddenly realized this.

At the end of the night, just before the park closed, we made a mad dash for Kingda Ka that virtually had no line. However, the second we got on and buckled in, there a problem with the ride and it had to be shut down. Logically, I should have taken it as an omen but I don't listen to myself. But I was depending on Alex, a fellow deafo to tell me what the hell was happening since I had my CI off. The ride goes up to a 128mph which is thirty miles less then take off speed for an airplane, I didn't want to see my CI become airborne. :) I joked that I would find my car in the parking lot since we were going to be 428 feet in the air. I was sure I could find my Incredible Eco-Egg somewhere down there.

A half hour passes, the attendants buckles us in but since Alex had a fraidy cat face on, the guys were messing with him by telling him he didn't need the strap for the ride :) His heart skipped a beat. I'm used to that kind of demented humor :) Then we were off! We came down the ride and I found my care. I flung my arm right in front of Alex's face, narrowly missing his honker just to point my car out. He was trying to recover and sweet talk his bladder into holding his urine just a bit while longer. He had no other choice because when we came back in to get the hell off the ride, some idiots in the front were yelling, "ONE MORE TIME!" I couldn't hear this but I saw arms flailing and Alex relayed their demands to me. One time on this ride was good enough for me, I was NOT prepared to go a second time. I told Alex that they weren't getting a Christmas card from me.... Poor Alex, if he had blue eyes, they would have turned green because he really had to pee. Round two of the Kingda Ka was even better! :)

After Alex relieved his pint size bladder, we headed back to my place. I was dog tired. Alex stayed up and wrote two blogs and I promptly checked into the pillow factory. The lil tyke wears me out :) I was so sad to see him go. I had such a wonderful time with him and I am eagerly awaiting seeing him at the HLAA Convention in Nashville since he lives only 2 hours away! :)


Vivie said...

Abbie...couldn't stop laughing with the description!!!

I still can't stop!!!!

Alex said...


I laughed, I cried again. Absolutely hysterical. You spoke every word of the weekend! I ama mazed we did all that in just two short days! However as you mentioned, I need not look farther then "Abbie" and see yep this is the woman who makes it happen! :-D

It was a great time was THRILLED to meet you finally and looking forward for the next time we hang out. However this time? I am bringing a bug spray and fly swatter, just in case!


Aaron said...

oh no fair!! we'll have to get together next year when I'm at the beach house near you =)

sounds like you guys had a great time!