I just read an article on the internet – Disabled single woman with six children traded her house for a used minivan. The house was worth approximately $96,000.00 and she traded it for a minivan, worth between $5000.00 – $8,500.00, for the purpose of getting her children to school. She said that she had better offers in the form of cars that were worth more but she felt the family she gave the house to needed it the most. Things aren’t as bad as it sounds, this woman bought another house at an auction for $3,600.00. After I finished reading this piece, I finished cleaning the kitchen which was a mess from our dinner. As I was washing dishes looking out the kitchen window, I started to think – traded a house for a minivan and bought a house at an auction for $3,600.00. The houses I was looking at through my window were all bought for prices ranging between $350,000.00 and $500,000.00 depending on the year you bought into this neighbourhood. Then another thought came to my head – I just bought and paid for hearing aids – $5,000.00. This woman paid less for her house than I did for my hearing aids – how crazy is that! We also have a 1977 trillium trailer that we paid $5000.00 for and it barely sleeps four. This woman gave away a 4 bedroom house for a used mini-van. Standing there looking out my kitchen window at all of the houses beautifully decorated for Christmas, I wondered how many people in this neighbourhood have comfort in knowing that their houses are worth more than $500,000.00. What if things get so bad that we are forced to sell our house for the price of a used mini-van. Scary thought! The more I thought about it, the more my house became just four walls. That’s right four walls, every room in the house has four walls – that’s all there is to it. If this house depreciates in value so much so that it is literally worthless, would the house be important to me – I don’t think so, the livelihood of my children would be the most important thing. All of a sudden these four walls are just that, walls and roof that gives my family shelter and protects us from the elements. Sure I like to decorate the house so I’m comfortable and I’ve always held the belief that your house is your castle. It’s the one place you can be who you are and be accepted. The more I thought about it the more I realized that my home is wherever I find my family. The four walls of my house are not my comfort zone. My family is what gives me comfort. As I put the last of the dishes away in the cupboard a thought came to my mind. “It’s a good thing we bought that 1977 trillium trailer because if we ever have to sell our house for a vehicle, I’ll make sure the vehicle can pull our trailer”. The four fiberglass walls might be my future comfort zone!
Sloan Churman was born with sensorineural hearing loss, she has had limited hearing and has worn hearing aids since the age of two. Eventually hearing aids will not help people with sensorineural hearing loss because the hair cells are either dying, damaged or abnormal at birth. Noise is heard when wearing hearing aids but at times it is hard to make out words or sentences and Sloan describes it best – “it’s like being under water”. Sloan received an esteem implant from Envoy Medical. What makes these implants so amazing is that the implant utilizes eardrum vibrations to create natural hearing – unlike hearing aids that just amplify everything. These implants are specifically designed for people with sensorineural hearing loss – click on the link below and watch Sloan’s joy. I’ll be following this technology as I believe I will be a candidate for this in the very near future.
This year I joined a women’s hockey league. I’ve never played a sport in my life and I haven’t skated since I was 8 years old. Quite the challenge and with my hearing impairment it’s even more of a challenge. My very first hockey game I had butterflies in my stomach like I was about to go out on stage for a performance. I got to the rink and met all the girls and they all looked like pros to me. I wasn’t the only beginner there was another girl on the team who had never skated in her life. The beginners were put in the position of winger as it’s an easier position to play. I get out on the ice for my shift I had no idea where to stand or what I was supposed to do. Everyone was yelling orders at me – go here, stand here, that’s my check not yours, don’t go beyond this line, stay on this side and don’t even get me started about offside! I managed to skate, I didn’t fall down which was a complete amazement to me. I quickly started to notice that quite a few of the woman on the other team were huge. They looked like they were 6’5, they appeared to be giants. I’m not sure what I was thinking but a woman from the other team was coming down the ice on my side and I decided I was going to take the puck from her. I skated right at her and tried to take the puck. Well she just kept skating, never even broke her stride – she skated right through me. I did this wild imbalance thing, couldn’t hold it, went down backwards flat on my back and found myself lying there looking at the ceiling. I was somewhat stunned, but I got up and went right after the puck. It wasn’t until I got off the ice that I realized both my arm and head were sore. I was fine and the girls were all saying, “good job”, “way to go”. I’m thinking, good job, what was I thinking, I’ve just been run over by a train! I’m slowly getting a little better, I’m hitting more pucks and last week I found myself in front of the net and I actually blocked a shot. I have no idea how I got in front of the net and I have no idea how I blocked that shot. My hearing impairment has been embarrassing as I can’t hear the ref’s whistle and I can’t seem to get offside. I’m always standing on the wrong side of the line and quite often I have my head down. The refs have all been told about my hearing impairment so they let it go when I don’t get out-of-the-way in an instant. The girls on my team are starting to think, maybe this deaf chick is a blessing, she doesn’t get penalties for offside! A couple of weeks ago I found myself in the offside position, I was skating along with my head down and all of a sudden I heard this roar. When I looked up the women from the other team were all skating at me shouting “GET OUT, GET OUT”. For a minute I felt like I was in an Amityville horror movie – GET OUT, GET OUT. I still didn’t get why they were screaming at me and I looked at the ref and I thought he pointed at me so I looked at him and mouthed “who me” all while I was still standing on the wrong side of the line. Needless to say the other team went nuts and I skated like hell out of there because, quite frankly, I was scared for my life. Once out-of-the-way, I realized that I was offside – talk about clueless, not my best moment! I didn’t get a penalty and I could tell the women from the other team were furious. I got to the bench and I said to the girls, “that’s a shift I’d rather forget”. That game I did accomplish quite a bit, I managed the puck in my end quite well and I even managed a pass to our forward! This may not sound like much, but for someone who can barely skate – it’s huge! None of that mattered to me on the way home, all I could hear was “GET OUT, GET OUT” and I kept seeing the look on the ref’s face when I mouthed “who me”. I thought I’m quitting, can’t do this. The next day I said to my husband that I was quitting, told him what happened and he said “who cares, keep going, focus on the positive”. As the week progressed I thought more and more of the positive and less and less about the “GET OUT”. I played the next week and I did much better, kept my head up and I manged to get out, a little late, but I managed to get out of the other end when offside was called without the other team yelling “GET OUT”.
Last week I finally got my new hearing aids. My old ones broke and since they were 9 years old I figured it was time to replace them. I have sensorineural hearing loss which is nerve damage in the inner ear – both ears. I started to wear hearing aids at the age of 19 but I should of worn hearing aids through high school. It’s a wonder I made it through school with the amount of hearing loss that I had at that time. In the last 10 years my hearing has deteriorated and I’ve been told that one day I could wake up and not hear a thing! I don’t spend a lot of time worrying about that day, as I enjoy life as is right now. I bought my last pair of hearing aids right at the time that digital hearing aids were all the new rage. I had an extremely difficult time adjusting. Everything sounded so much more precise and crisp to me. It drove me a little batty so I had the hearing aid specialist program the aids so sounds were a little softer, so I didn’t hear quite as much but hopefully heard all the important things. Hearing aids typically last 5 – 10 years. As you can imagine in 5 – 10 years the difference in hearing aid technology is astronomical. When I got to work with my new hearing aids I could hear every hum and rattle of the place. After a day of listening to things that you don’t really need to hear, I found relief when I got home by removing my hearing aids – put my head back and ahhh quiet. Closed my eyes and just relished in the quiet – couldn’t hear any humming, couldn’t hear the kids, couldn’t hear the tv – just me and quiet! It’s nice to slip out of reality every now and then and just go to my own world of quiet, where I can pick and choose when I want to hear. I’m sure most people at time want to have the same experience and they can with ear plugs – just try it and you will find yourself going ahhhh quiet!
Several years ago I got myself into a bit of a rut. I was busy with the kids, busy with my job, busy with my home and pretty much I threw on whatever I touched first in my closet on any given morning and the only accessory that I put on were my hearing aids – I was in a rut but I needed to hear! Makeup just sat in my makeup box wore very little or next to none, I couldn’t be bothered. I wasn’t depressed if that’s what you’re thinking, I was just too busy and couldn’t really of cared less if someone found me attractive or not. One day I woke up and went through my morning routine of not bothering and then I looked in the mirror – let’s just say I wasn’t impressed I looked rather dull, washed up and for some reason that morning I cared! Strangely enough I got an e-mail from one of the parents in my son’s school that she was starting a new business, selling a jewellery product(can’t mention the name here) and wanted to know if anyone was willing to hold a jewellery party. I took a look at the catalogue and thought why not, I’ll help this lady and maybe get some free jewellery while I was at it. I had the party and I earned about $400.00 in free jewellery and I have to say that the jewellery saved me from my bottomless rut that I was in. I loved the jewellery and I kept thinking I need this to go with this and I bought a few more pieces and then about 6 months later I had another jewellery party and earned more free jewellery. I started to not look so drab and I don’t know if it was the sparkle of the jewellery but people started to comment on my wardrobe and how I was looking so much more put together. I was hooked I wanted more so I decided to put my money where my mouth was and become a sales representative for this nameless company. At first it went pretty decent I got a few parties and from all the training I received I should get parties from parties – it was at this point that I discovered that even though I loved the jewellery and was enthusiastic – I’m no sales woman. At one of my parties there was a woman looking at the display and going through the catalogue and she complained about the price, the product and the shipping cost blah, blah. Now I’m supposed to smile and point out how fabulous she looked wearing the cubic zirconia necklace and how it brought out her eyes – nope I turned to her and said if you don’t really want the jewellery don’t feel obligated to buy it, you’re not doing anyone a favour especially yourself! Well that didn’t go over well and to be honest I think she was somewhat surprised by my bluntness and needless to say I did not make that sale and even though I pointed out that she could earn free jewellery by having a party, she didn’t offer to have one. Not that I haven’t had successes, I have repeat customers and they all tell me that my honesty is why they deal with me and that they appreciate honesty. Now here is the whole point to this blog – the sales people who do the best really push sales and bother people and maybe they are not dishonest but they can be misleading and they do way more in sales than I do. I would much rather deal with someone like me, I don’t push and when someone tells me they can’t afford something or are not interested, I say ok thank you. I don’t go well you can put this on your Visa and pay later after all you look so fabulous and you can’t afford not to look fabulous, no I don’t go there I just say ok. I figure if someone says they can’t afford something then why push it. Just the other day I was out and someone in a line-up commented on the necklace I was wearing, so I tried like the training says to take all opportunities that come my way, I said ” it’s the company that I can’t say the name and I sell it, here is my card” and the lady said “no thank you!” Now all she had to do was take the damn card and never talk to me again. I’m told by other reps that they are successful with giving out cards when people compliment them, not me this lady wouldn’t even take the card. I do sale the jewellery at somewhat of a discount and guess what I make some sales but not like you think I would. So I have my base customers and can’t see myself making tons of money on the side here, let’s just say I’ll keep my day job and I don’t plan on not being myself so I guess I’ll just continue on being the worse sales woman ever after all I just might make a little extra to afford that new bracelet I’ve been admiring.
Today was Sunday, certainly not a day of rest as they say no rest for the wicked. My youngest son had a 6:00 am practice this morning so the household was up and about just after 5:00 am. Once my husband gets home from this practice, he gets ready for his own hockey game and he grabs one son and goes one way and I grab the other son and go to church. After church and a quick bite we all head over to the rink to attend my oldest son’s hockey game. We got to the rink 45 minutes early so I had time to run some errands – off I went to the mall to pick up the few things I needed. The mall that is closest to the rink is also close to where my mother use to live and my mom use to walk over to that mall day in and day out to hang out with her friends in the food court drinking coffee and talking. There are a lot of senior citizens in that area and she knew them all. About five years ago my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and three years ago she passed away due to complications of this awful disease. I haven’t been to that mall since she died. As I’m walking through the mall I was observing all of her old haunts and everywhere I turned I saw her there, sitting in the food court with all of her friends, I swear she was the woman in the red jacket and the grey hat but when I looked closer it wasn’t her. This group of woman were so engrossed in their conversation and then someone must of cracked a joke and they all laughed. I swear I heard my mother’s laugh. As I walked by her favourite store, Suzanne’s, I couldn’t resist going in for a browse, as I was looking through the racks, I pictured my mom in this blouse or that sweater or that skirt and then I saw a grey haired head bobbing in between the racks and I took a good look because I swear it was my mother. The lady working at the store came by and asked if I needed any help and I wanted to say “did you know my mother?” “She loved your store”. Of course I just said “no thank you, just looking” but I thought she must of known my mother, mom spent so much time in here trying on all kinds of clothes, getting the sales ladies to help her then buying the item only to take it back the next day. I’m sure she drove them crazy but she was always friendly and had this great laugh. Today was a trip down memory lane, I could feel my mom everywhere I went today and just when I think I’ve moved on to the next chapter of my life it hits me – I miss my mom, I miss her laugh, I miss her jokes, I miss her advice even though I didn’t want it, I miss the way she loved my children, I miss the way she kidded with my husband, she was so much a part of my life and now she’s gone. Not truly gone she’s still here in my heart and soul and she was definitely in that mall today and as I left the mall under my breath I said – “see you later mom have fun!”