The Nuances of Parking a Wheelchair Accessible Van

I’m a complete C6 quad who drives from her power wheelchair. My wheels? Well, it’s a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (in a sexy silver), with a Braun Entervan lowered-floor system. The driver’s seat is not there, but don’t freak. It’s supposed to be that way. Instead, I pull up behind the wheel in my chair, with the underside of my wheelchair automatically locking into the floor as I pull up all and snuggly near the wheel (thanks to my handy EZ-Lock lock-down system). It’s a great set-up. And to operate the gas and brake? Well, my van’s outfitted with pneumatic hand controls (“air-powered,” via a tiny motor located behind the back seat that fills up the lines with air). We live in an amazing age, folks. The technology available to us gimps allows us to do things people 100 years ago would gawk at in complete shock.

But it isn’t always peachy-keen in the driving world for me. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve parked in a “van accessible” spot only to be blocked in by some oblivious, selfish American who is only aware of any living and breathing thing that’s in a 1 foot radius of them. It’s ridiculous. And I have a huge 6″x6″ sticker on the side of my van where the ramp is, just to let people parking next to me know that I need AT LEAST a 6 foot span between my car and theirs, in order to get in and out of my van without. I even know one paraplegic woman who’s devised an orange cones with strings device, that she puts up every time she parks, just to make sure the other idiots bumbling through the parking lot can blatantly see that she needs “this specific area” to remain unblocked.

Even this method though isn’t fool-proof though. There are still some selfish bastards out there that will not hesitate to put their car in park, hop out and move that poor lady’s orange cone blockade, then hop back in their car and park right alongside her van. And do you think they are even aware of why she erected those cones? Of course not. This type of selfish denizen has no time to waste pondering why people do what they do; and especially not the disabled people of this world. We’re the very last on their list of people they’d give a care about.  

So here’s what Miss Tiff has developed during her years of being a disabled driver: Park sideways!! Yes oh yes my friends, I’m that loathsome jerk parked in the back of the lot, not only parked at an angle, but purposely taking up two spots on purpose. Cause really, what other choice do I have? When I’m out driving, 95% of the time I’m alone and have no able-bodied person with me who will be able to back-up my van if I end up getting blocked in and unable to access my ramp. I just can’t take the risk.  

I simply have no choice: I have to be the jerkwad who double parks. The “van accessible” spots rarely prove sufficient.  

More “Tattoo” Lurve

OMG…aren’t these just about the coolest thigh-highs ever created?!

StockinGirl sells these “Tattoo Parlour Thigh Highs” for $22.99, but since they’re so incredibly unique, they’re on back-order.

Something tells me these stockings are worth the wait though….

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it once again: The absolute best way to dress-up otherwise atrophied paralyzed, skinny legs, is to go the printed tights/thigh-highs route.

You can thank me later 🙂


My Goddess? Freya, if you please…

Ok, so I’m really an Agnostic to be truthful (The “I don’t care, yet I have morals; and don’t necessarily rule out the possibility of God existing” Religion), but sometimes – yes – I like to delve into the realm of Goddess-based religions (mainly out of my Femi-Nazi streak).

So, during my self-absorbed Pagan studies, looksee what I came across while searching for some frelling cool Goddesses to admire:

Freya – Goddess of Love and Beauty

Now, why is she so perfectly cool for the wheelchair-using ladies of this world?

Why, she uses a chariot of course!

Now if you ask me, any Goddess who permanently resides her arse on a wheeled-transport device of any kind, is my kind of Goddess.

“Freya or Frayja, the goddess of Love and Beauty, also; fertility, war, and wealth. The daughter of Njord, and the sister of Frey. Her daughter, by her husband, Od, is named Hnoss, who it is said: “Is so beautiful that whatever is valuable and lovely is named treasure after her….

Norse legend tells of Freya, whose chariot was pulled by two black cats. Some versions of the tale claim they became swift black horses, possessed by the Devil. After serving Freya for 7 years, the cats were rewarded by being turned into witches, disguised as black cats. The cats also played around her ankles as a symbol of her domesticity.”

Freya definitely gets my Brownie Points for “Cool Shite o’ the Day.”

And out of curiosity:  Who would you worship if you had to pick an inanimate object?

– Tiff

Stockings May Be Your Best Accessory

I’m currently infatuated with these Hibiscus Print Sheer Thigh Highs.  

I’ve bought several pairs of StockinGirl’s wickedly awesome printed thigh-highs before, and have always received the best compliments ever, ranging from, “Where did you buy those?!” to (the funniest), “Are those tattoos?”

‘Cause when you wear a skirt with these printed thigh-highs, some dolts actually think they’re tattoos.

Pretty amusing stuff, not to mention a great (and easy) way to accessorize from a chair.

Price: $22.99

– Tiff

Get Gwen’s Lips

You may or not be aware of this, but I’m a huge fan of Gwen Stefani. Like, HUGE fan!

So much so, that I recently bleached my hair a cool blonde with an 11 toner nonetheless, because her looks have inspired me so. For the record, I’m not one of those MTV loser wannabes who want to be just like their favorite celeb . I’m just influenced by her glamour 🙂

So with that out of the way (whew!), here’s a quick and easy way to get Gwen’s oh-so-sexy deliciously red, trend-setting lips (which are, by the way, VERY “in” this fall) :

Step 1: Buy Benefit’s d’finer d’liner ($18.00) to invisibly line your lips. Line your lips before applying the lipstick. This liner goes great with any shade actually and helps prevent the red lipstick from feathering (which basically means smudging).

Step 2: Buy MAC’s Russian Red lipstick ($14.00). Apply with a lipstick brush if you have one, but it’s not necessary. As a C6 quad with zero finger movement, yet decent wrist control, I can put my lipstick on straight out of the tube without a mirror even. Yeah, I rock What can I say? 😉

So, for $32.00 in makeup purchases you can now have exquisite Gwen-like lips, and be all uber-glamorous. Have fun kissing napkins, boyfriends, girlfriends, and love letters with your new shade! 😉

“I’m just a Hennepin County girl, living in an extraordinary world…”

– Tiff

How I Handle Rude Questions Regarding My Disability

It’s not uncommon for me to be subjected to a variety of openly rude and sometimes idiotic questions, thanks to my more than visible disability. I live in the downtown area of a major metropolitan city and there is a wide array of “crazies” that litter my ‘hood. Some are your common drunkards, some are your “ghetto fabulous” wanna-be gang bangers who have a thing for blondes (wheelchair or no), some are your recent immigrants from Somalia, India, or Mexico and have never in their lives seen an attractive and seemingly “healthy” (then “why does she need a wheelchair?” they confusingly think to themselves) woman needing to use a wheelchair. All of these people, and even your mildly-educated suburbanite will accost me with inquiring questions, blatantly, as I meander my way down the street.

And I gotta admit something: I’m damn sick and tired of it. I believe there comes a time in every disabled person’s life when they reach a limit, a peak if you will, to how much they can handle when it comes to rude questions regarding their disability. And when they’ve reached their arbitrary “limit,” things start to get a bit crazy. You just don’t know what they’re gonna do or say the next time some idiot comes up to them with a rude question that they’ve probably already heard 678 times in their life.

I’m pretty sure I reached my limit a few years ago. It first noticed I finally had had enough, and couldn’t just answer politely anymore like I had been, when I was at my neighborhood gas station grabbing a few things during a midday junk-food binge. An overweight white dude wearing a too-small dirty white tee shirt (with his gut half-way hanging out), came up to me and asked me, point blank, “So what’s wrong with YOU?” I had had enough right there. I don’t know if I finally by the grace of God had accrued some kind of Hulk-like self-confidence, but I had the balls to reply to him – without hitting a miss – “Absolutely nothing. I’m just lazy and don’t like walking. What the F*** is wrong with you?!” I answered back; looking back at him dead in the eyes. It was so awesome. I felt like some super hero and something, and was ready to knock down the nearby stacked pile of Coke cases, just to show him he had messed with the wrong gimp.

Now to be fair, I want to say I fully realize that a lot of able-bodied people don’t MEAN to be rude, impolite, etc. “They just can’t help being inquisitive,” my family (and friends) remind me. But why is it that able-bodied folks feel it’s totally ok to ignore the usual social graces of politeness? I mean, I can’t go up to a lady that’s clearly 200lbs overweight and ask her what happened to her emotionally that she let herself get to that point? Or, I most definitely can’t go up to a guy who’s wearing a totally outdated suit and ask him why his fashion-sense is severely lacking? No. It’s considered totally rude and no one ever does it. But with the disabled, it’s a no-license-required, free for all shootout barrage of questions.

I’ve been asked and told everything from, “What’s wrong with you?” to “You’re too pretty to be in a wheelchair,” to “Do you need help?” (when I’m just sitting by a bench using my cell; apparently I look helpless 24/7), to “Slow down there, young lady. You might get a speeding ticket!” (which they laugh at for a minute or so, because they seriously think they’re the first person to think of that joke), to the classic, “Oh you poor thing.”

I’m extremely pleased with myself that I’ve gotten to the point in my “disability experience” that I can now combat openly rude questions in a fast and witty manner, usually knocking the unsuspecting idiot from their train of thought, giving me just enough time to zip away from them before they have time to assimilate any follow-up questions.

We’re Talkin’ About Oxfords, Ladies (and no, not the school)

There’s this really fun Fall trend this year that exists in the shoe industry, which they’ve decided to dub the ”Oxford.” It has the traditional male wing-tip accents and lace-up front, yet it’s all perched sexy-like on a heel. How cool is that?! This fine example (on your left) comes from one of my favorite stores, Bebe, and is long-windedly called the “Anna High Heeled Leather Spectator.” They cost $149.00, and are currently out-of-stock due to their popularity. But have no fear! Plenty of other sexy Oxford shoes exist.

Steve Madden (my hands-down fav shoe designer) has a “Reilly” Oxford this season, at a more reasonable price of $89.00. I’m particular to the “wine multi” fabric choice, but that’s just me. Go check out this sexy shoe to decide for yourself.  

And you may be wondering the best way to wear this heeled shoe successfully with your footplate. Coming from years of experience,  I highly recommend crossing your legs for starters when going out in-public. Heels being worn on paralyzed ankles tend to make the ankles get tipsy, in the process opening your legs. This is NOT a good thing, unless you’re trying to give your boyfriend a cheap thrill, of course 🙂

Other wheeled-ladies have also told me that they get their heels to work by pushing the heel all the way back so it slips off behind the footplate, with just the heel-part literally hanging in mid-air. I personally don’t like how this looks, but to each their own.

How do YOU wear your heels? That’s really the question of the day, I think.

– Tiff

Word of the Day! “Gallows-Humor”

And yes, we SCI’ers and other people with mild to severe disabilities are totally cleared to use it!

Definition: Gallows humor is a type of humor that arises from stressful, traumatic or life-threatening situations such as accidents, wartime events, natural disasters; often in circumstances where death is perceived as impending and unavoidable. It is similar to black comedy but differs in that it is made by the person affected.”

 Go ahead, make fun of yourself! It’ll make you feel better I swear!

– Tiff

Save the Ta-Tas!

With it being officially October 1st today, it’s your public duty – male or female – to know that October is breast cancer awareness month. This means if you’re a female 40 years old or older, you need to get a yearly mammogram. I know, getting your ta-tas squeezed like a pancake in a clear plexiglass torture device isn’t something one necessarily looks forward to, but it’s necessary. For if you catch breast cancer early, it’s 98% cureable!

As breast cancer survivor Cheryl Crow says, “Get a mammy, win a Grammy!”

To show your support, buy a “Save the Ta-Tas” tee at this most awesome site: