News, Information and Ideas on how to deal with hearing loss in a hearing world. Plus a few other topics!
Our family has spent the past couple of months helping out one of our kids on her first journey into home ownership. Brian and I last did this 18 years ago when we bought our last house in Wisconsin. Not realizing how complicated this whole process has gotten, we quickly went from thinking that we knew all there was to know about the scenaro to spending quite a bit of time doing lots of research. Things have definitely changed!
The Loan Pre-Approval process was simple. In the old days, once you got that done, you were pretty much free to go out and look until you found your dream house. Once we started going along on the house hunting adventure, things got interesting. Quickly!
Keeping in mind that there are now an unbelivable amount of short sales, foreclosured and 'corporate owned' homes on the market, the rules have definitely changed. We've now gotten good at interpreting what the listing agents documents on the house mean. After our initial shock at seeing so many of the listings say, 'To be sold in as is condition' , we now know how important it is going to be to do a lot of the research on a property ourselves. It is amazing how much information you can find on the internet. It is also very time consuming. But, if you want to save some money when it comes time to bring an attorney in to facilitate a closing, you would be wise to spend some hours getting all of the facts together.
For those of you that are looking at doing this, here are some tips.
1. Get a good Realtor that has a lot of patience and is on your side. We are lucky in that our Realtor is great. I'm not sure that I could be as patient as she is and willing to go to some of the places that we've taken her to.
2. Get familiar with the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website. This will tell you what stage the foreclosure process is in, who now owns the house, what, if any small claims have been filed against the homeowner due to non-payment for services, ect.
3. Check to see if the town that you are looking in has a website. If they do, go to the Property Tax Assessors' link and see what information you can find by putting in the address of the property. I've also found that most Tax Assessors' offices will let you come in and see the complete file on the house. This will let you know if there are any outstanding permits or code violations that will need to addressed when you decide to put your initial offer in for the property.
4. Get familiar with the National Sex Offenders' website. Here's the link: http://www.nsopw.gov/Core/Conditions.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1
If you are in Wisconsin, here's a good one also that will map where the offenders live in relation to the property address that you are looking at buying. Link: http://www.familywatchdog.us/default.asp
We ran into a situation where she was ready to put in an offer, but didn't due to the fact that her next door neighbor would have been an issue. I was always under the impression that the listing agent/realtor/current home owner had to disclose this information. But, if a house is being sold 'as is', this gets them out of having to disclose any information on the property, neighborhood, ect.
5. I called WE Energies to see who would be responsible for bills owing on the property and according to the person that I spoke to, they don't go after the new homeowner. I would still call and check if this is also in your scenario.
6. Property Tax Assessments - The difference between what the jurisdiction says the property is worth and what it actually sells for is huge! No, you can't just show them your 'bill of sale' and have them lower the assessed value of the property. Wouldn't that be nice? There are several jurisdictions that will agree to meet with you, look at the property and do a re-assessment. Do your homework before you call them. Take the time to see what the other homes in the area have sold for. Spend the money to have an independent appraisal done. This would also include the appraiser agreeing to meet with the jurisdiction/Board of Review.
We are still on the fence as to whether we will need to hire an attorney to look over the initial offer, check the paperwork, ect. So far, the going rate for this is around $250/hour. If we do end up going this route, I will be getting all of the information that we currently have on the property in order to save our newest home owner in the family some money. I'm now to the point where we are looking up the addresses and then verifiying who owns the property by going to the city's website before we even go to look at the house. That way, we at least have a partial story of what the situation is. Some of the listing agents also have a list of any liens on the properties. This is why you want to have a good realtor working on your side!
It may be a Buyers' Market right now, but you'd better be prepared to spend a lot of time learning all that you can on that piece of land that one day, you may get to call yours.
Have a great week!
For those of us that have hearing loss, we all know the communication complications we encounter when we are in noisy, public places. While we can complain, I have found that it's always a better idea to try and figure out a way to be ready for these situations.
If that means that I need to have paper and pen handy to write on as a form of communication, I find that it is really not that complicated to plan ahead and have. If I am lucky enough to have one of my family members with me, they all do a great job of helping me to understand what is being said to me.
Here is a situation that I am sure has happened to others. Link: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/10/06/10/deaf-man-tries-qatar-trip-anew
In defense of the airport official, it appears that the passenger did not have or possibly did not understand that he was being asked for more documentation of his travel intent. If that is the case, then it seems that there is fault on both sides.
If you know that you are going to be in a situation where you will not always understand what is being asked, take the time beforehand and plan for this. It eliminates a lot of frustration and in defense of those that have normal hearing, it's really the best way to help them out when dealing with you. From a business point of view, it may be worthwhile to have a conversation with your employees on how to deal with these situations. I know that when I've been asked to speak on this topic for different companies, they tell me that they now understand the give and take of this communication process in greater detail. A little knowledge can go a long ways!
Have a great week!
Having a grand-daughter that lives over 1600 miles away is hard. While we see her about every 3 months, we know that we are missing out on a lot of things. Being the 'Oma' (German for grandmother) that doesn't hear very well adds another twist to it.
We recently got to spend a few days with her (she's 15 months old now) and one of the best things that my son and daughter-in-law have done is to teach her sign language. No, she doesn't have a hearing loss, but as we all know, it can be very frustrating trying to figure out what a toddler wants. She now knows about 25 signs. Communicating with her is a breeze. It didn't take her long to learn them thanks to her parents taking the time to teach. If there's something that she wants, she signs it and all of the frustration is gone.
We took her to the mall (Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, FL) this trip. She has never been to one. It had a Rainforest Cafe in it. For those of you that have never seen one of these restaurants, it's a child's adventure. There are floor to ceiling saltwater aquariums, lots of animated jungle animals, talking trees, ect. that you would find in a forest as well as a very safe and clean enclosed play area complete with lots of things to climb, slide down and explore. The playland at McDonalds' doesn't even come close.
Since this was the first time that we got to babysit all day, we wanted to keep her entertained. Needless to say, my husband was ready to take a nap once we got home right along with her. While we probably let her do a few things that her parents' would not like to know about (she loved the chinese rice and lemonade), we had a blast. As we were walking around, she would sign to us what she saw or what she wanted to go and look at. There is nothing like seeing the world through a childs eyes. It makes you spend a little more time observing things and seeing things that you forgot about. Who knew the cracks in the floor tiles could be so interesting? And, the texture of the plants could feel so different?
If she did not have this communication tool, it would have been a trying day for all of us. We couldn't help but notice some of the other Mall patrons watching as we were all talking and signing with smiles on our faces. I know that there are a lot of baby signing Books, DVD's and websites available. I would highly recommend taking the time to check some of them out. It's a form of communication that makes up for the lack of vocal language in those 'tween' years.
Have a great week!
One of the perks of my job is that I get to spend a lot of time observing people, places and things. Having a hearing loss tends to enhance a persons’ visual sense. We all know that when one of your senses isn’t quite up to par, the other four try and compensate for it. I’ve always been good at observing. It’s one of the ways that I control my hearing environment and figure out what tools I’m going to need to use (lip reading, FM system, ect.) in order to remain a part of the vocal world.
Recently, I got to spend time observing people. While I can’t go into the details of the project, this was one of the projects that I really like. Here are a few of my observations.
We’ve all seen people on the street that appear to be having some financial problems. They can usually be found in the larger metropolitan areas and tend to come up with ways to subsidize their income via the pedestrians that walk their way. I ran into a very interesting gentleman in a Wisconsin town that I thought was in this category. After spending some time talking with him, I quickly learned that what you see is not always what you get.
This man looked to be homeless. His attire consisted of well worn clothes, bushy beard and sturdy work boots. He also had a newspaper type satchel over his shoulder and a ‘picker’ in his hand that allowed him to avoid having to bend over to retrieve things from the ground. After a couple of days of seeing him go about his day, I asked him if he would mind sitting a spell and having a chat.
He informed me that he had left the Executive Office World several years ago. He owns a nice house in an upscale neighborhood, is married and recently saw a financial windfall when his last 2 children finished college (No more Tuition Payments!) I asked him why he chose his current career of being on the street. He replied that he got tired of the regimented day and working for someone else. He also wanted to see if there was money to be made off of others’ discards. This was 7 years ago.
He spends his day going through trashcans and dumpsters. His primary source of income is cans and metals. He was very forthcoming on how his financial world was going and revealed to me that the last two years; he has made a six figure income. His satchel was full and when I tried to lift it, I soon realized why he looked like a person that worked out in a gym every day. He is in his 50’s, but could easily pass for 40. He works 10 to 14 hours a day 4 days a week or if the pickings are good, gives himself an extra day off. During the winter, he usually heads for his condo down in Texas for a few months. He does the same thing down there. In fact, he purposefully bought a condo that was close to some festival grounds in order to have easier access to the best sources of cans and metal.
He loved the fact that he was his own boss and told me quite a few humorous stories of how total strangers on the streets sometimes treated him. There is definitely a stigma to how a person is treated based on how they look in his work environment. If someone offers him money, he kindly refuses and suggests that they donate to the local homeless shelter or food pantry. To the ones that treat him negatively, he usually has a reply for them also. Unfortunately, I can’t put it in this column since it’s carried by a family friendly website. J
As I spent some time with him, I was asking myself, ‘Is he happy?’ Based on the look I his eyes, I would say yes. He has found a way to make a living that he is content with while still being able to afford his lifestyle. His wife continues in her profession and is happy with the fact that he has found something useful to do that will not infringe on her standard of living. This man has decided that life is what you make it and never looked back.
Another person that I had the chance to talk with was also an interesting case. She is a higher level executive in the Fashion World. Her mode of dress is impeccable with the latest designer clothes. She has the accessories to match, not a hair is out of place and she confessed to going in once a year for a ‘little touchup’. I’m assuming that this involved some plastic surgery since she was in her late 40’s and looked wrinkle free.
She is chained to her cell phone, calendar and appointment book. She works 50 hours a week and spends quite a bit of time on airplanes. She was thrilled when the airlines started offering Wi-Fi on flights. This allows her to stay connected to her office and continue working during her flights from coast to coast. She talked fast and walked even faster. She did admit to forgetting her youngest child’s birthday last week. Luckily her assistant was able to gloss that one over for her by finding a very expensive electronic device for the now 12 year old.
Did she have any regrets in her choice of lifestyle? As of now, no. It had cost her a couple of marriages, but she got 3 great kids out of them. Her idea of a vacation was to spend a few days at a spa while simultaneously attending a fashion conference. She had the Peapods Grocery Service on speed dial and could tell you the best upscale places to stay and eat in the major cities.
As I looked into her eyes, I could see stress. She was weary of keeping up with the latest and greatest. She was getting limited due to her age at being able to stay on the top and she wasn’t sure what she would do if this persona was taken from her. She didn’t want to ‘get old’. Yet, she refused to look into a possible ‘what’s next’. She had limited the opportunities available to her by refusing to look at her options. I’m wondering where and what she will be in 10 years.
The last person I’ll tell you about was also the most interesting. I had seen her a few times as she arrived at a particular night club/dance destination in a larger city. She was in her 20’s and dressed to entice the attention of the men. Her arrival always included a stop at the front entry area to inform the employee there that there was a certain car in the parking lot with their lights on. The vehicle involved was always a newer version of a BMW, Volvo or other similar make. When I asked her why she does this (the lights were never on!), she informed me that she has a system to find out who owns certain vehicles that appear to be driven by men. She notices if there are any baseball hats in the rear windows or on the seats and suit coats or briefcases on the floor. Her goal is to marry a man with money. After all, this is what her Mother always said to do. Her Mom has found 4 men with money over the years and is doing quite well financially. ‘Marry Rich’ is a family motto.
As she waited and observed to see who might go out to the vehicle in question, she was multi-tasking during our conversation to size up the competition as well as any other possible ‘prizes’ for the evening. She has recently broken off with a 48 year old, once she realized that his divorce would remove quite a large sum of money from his bank accounts. The minimum net worth of a possible husband for her is 5 million. I asked her if she felt that she should readjust that figure based on the current economy and her reply was that most of the men that she had relationships with were either trust babies or self made millionaires. She is staying away from the Miami and Palm Beach area of Florida due to the fact that many ponzi victims have resorted to selling off their assets. Bernie Madoff and Scott Rothstein took a toll on many of the wealthier targets down there.
As I looked into her eyes, I saw fear. She was fearful of failing and that, in the very near future, she would no longer be considered an asset to the men that she was pursuing. She had a limited time, in her eyes, to achieve this goal. I was wondering if she ever gave any thought to what or where she would be in 10 years. I asked her if she had ever considered marrying for love. She replied that you need to learn how to keep your heart and emotions out of these decisions. Money was the ultimate prize. After all, love won’t buy you anything at the mall.
Have a great week!
If you are a resident of South Dakota and have a hearing loss, congratulations! South Dakota is one of the few States here in the U.S. that actually take a proactive approach to getting hearing aids to those that need them. No, this is not a federal or state government program and they are not fully supported by tax dollars. This is a group of people that just plain care!
Here's the link to their website: http://www.southdakotacares.org/
I was recently able to talk with the Director, Carol Balweg via email. I had some questions for her on the program and she most graciously answered them. Below is more information for those wishing to know more.
1. Where do the hearing aids come from?
Our Hearing Aids come from ordinary people that have gotten new hearing aids and give us their old ones or from people that have no longer have a use for them. When we receive hearing aids – we give them to our local audiologist, Julia Jones, who cleans them up – tests them – orders parts if necessary and keeps them for us in our “hearing aid bank.” Julia donates all of her time.
South Dakota CARES advertises that there is an application process, however, we turn no one down. All there has to be is a ‘need.’ So, if you cannot hear – you qualify.
Once we receive this application back we send them a letter saying that they will have to:
A. Pay for their hearing test
B. Pay for their molding
C. Once we receive the hearing test results – we send them to Julia Jones (once again our Audiologist in Pierre.) She reviews our hearing bank and decides whether or not we have one that matches that individual. Most generally we do. If it is an adult that has a hearing loss, we provide one hearing aid – if it is a child just learning proper pronunciation with a hearing loss, we provide two. If the party is not located in the Pierre/Ft Pierre area the hearing aids are sent to the audiologist that sent us the hearing test to fit the individual with the hearing aid that we provide them.
3. How many HA's have you given out over the past few years?
100’s of hearing aids we have given to people that have a need in any given year but always the demand is greater than the inventory of product. CARES would appreciate any and all hearing aids to continue to provide to those with a hearing loss.
4. Great program! All that I need is the explaination of the process someone would do in order to get a used hearing aid to you. And if it qualifies as a charitable donation.
We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. So, if they request a form from us so that they can state what they think the value of the hearing aids are, we will have our Audiologist determine the price of the hearing aid so that they can take the donation as a charitable donation.
5. How would someone get in touch with you if they have a hearing loss and need a hearing aid?
We basically service only those in South Dakota. People just need to drop us a note at:
South Dakota CARES, HALP (Hearing Aid Loan Program)
1351 N. Harrison Ave. Pierre, SD 57501
Please state that you need a hearing aid and why and we will then send them an application.
There you have it. Wouldn't it be nice if every state had a group like this? When you consider that approximately 10% of the population has a hearing loss and only 3 of every 10 actually can afford and get hearing aids, it is quite obvious that there is a need for these types of programs.
If you have any used/old hearing aids laying around in your drawers and would like to help the residents of South Dakota out, please consider sending them to South Dakota CARES.HALP. It's would be a win for you on your tax return and an even bigger win for the person that will receive it.
Have a great week!
I've been getting a recurring question lately from quite a few people. How is a relationship impacted when a person who has a hearing loss gets a hearing aid or cochlear implant? It's a good question from the perspective of those that live with someone that has hearing loss.
In trying to find some numbers on this, there is not much information or data on the number of couples that this affects or the outcomes of the relationship once the person with hearing loss suddenly becomes part of the hearing world.
There are many couples that deal with hearing loss as they age. There are also many couples that (like in my case) have hearing loss all of their life and marry a normal hearing person. In my case, my husband has known me since High School and realized early on that there would be challenges and frustrations living with someone that can't hear unless my hearing aid is in and on. Even with the HA's, I still miss things. So, he becomes my ears when I am in situations where the acoustics in a room are not good. He took on the role of being my ears and keeping watch on how conversations were going in case I started answering things wrong or in some cases, not even being on the topic that was being discussed.
He backs me up and I had to learn to be positive about any comments coming from him when I was putting myself in a situation where I looked just plain silly. My 4 kids grew up with a Mom that didn't always hear what they were saying and adjusted to having to repeat themselves or even get me back on track days later when I thought I had heard something that hadn't been said the way that I thought.
It causes conflict and in some cases (when I was still in denial) interesting scenarios. I used to stubbornly refuse to admit that I had heard something wrong. In the last few years, I've come to realize that it's better for me to admit I had no clue in some conversations so that all of them could get me straightened out. Nothing like showing up early for something only to find out that you heard the date wrong.
You need to take responsibility for your errors and admit that you goofed up. Otherwise, the situation continues to escalate and it gets to the point where you are starting to find Post It notes everywhere reminding you of where something is and who needs to be picked up at what time. The Post It company loves us.
Once technology caught up with my loss, I was able to become much more independent and handle most social interactions quite well. This led to another problem for the 5 people in my family suddenly not having to be my ears. This can lead to some feeling that they are no longer needed. While the person with hearing loss is having a great time hearing things on their own, the people that spent all that time watching out for you are suddenly wondering what their new role is.
With the advent of Cochlear Implants, there are now a lot of people doing what I am now doing. But, their spouses and families are in bewilderment as to what their job now is. This can lead to a lot of problems in relationships. The hearing spouse feels left out. They no longer feel as important in your life and see that they are not needed as much. Talk about a confusing situation!
Just when the spouse got used to their role in your life, you turned the tables on them. While they are happy that you can now hear much better, they feel like a used doormat when it comes to being able to participate in your life. All of a sudden you are doing things that they used to have to help you with. They are confused and you are having the time of your life.
There are 2 ways that this can go. Some go down the road of anger. This is the big one to watch out for. You, as the one with hearing loss need to be aware of how you are treating them and the emotions that they are now feeling. If this is not done, the resentment and anger will build to the point where all of a sudden the relationship could be in trouble. Unfortunately, there is not a support system in place for those that join the hearing world. You are given your HA's or Cochlear Implant and pretty much sent on your way. I have yet to learn of a support group or program for couples as well as their children to participate in that will help everyone adjust to this new hearing person. With insurance not paying for hearing aids and limited numbers of people being eligible for medicare to pay for the CI's, those without a cadillac insurance plan or the funds to expend have a hard time affording the technology that will improve their hearing. So, if you have friends with hearing loss and no resources to get it improved, you will also be dealing with these relationships taking on a different flavor. Some will see their friendships wane, while others will try and assume their previous role of not being able to hear well with those around them in order to alleviate any feelings of resentment from the friends with hearing loss. It's a complex situation.
The other way I've seen this go is for all involved to be open and communicate their feelings or perceived sense of not being needed in your life. This takes a lot of work, thought and effort on everyones' part. You almost need to be thinking about all of this before you get your HA or CI. You need to have a plan that involves everyone so that you can avoid the pitfalls of high emotions and wrecked relationships.
Talk about how things may change. Do trial runs with your HA or CI (once you have gotten comfortable with the new hearing abilities) and see how things are now different. Let your spouse or family member know of the new things that you are now able to hear and how your social interactions are changing. Continue to let them know how much you appreciate their patience and more importantly, how much they mean to you in your new hearing life. Take the time to try and explain the difference you are now seeing vs. when you needed to have them by your side all of the time. Encourage them to cut the cord in a way that keeps them just as involved in your world as they were before you got the HA or CI.
And, most importantly, don't forget to laugh. We all know of the many humorous situations we get ourselves into when it comes to hearing. Remind them of all of the times that they saved you from an embarassing situation. After all, if they had not taken the time to watch out for you, you probably never would have gotten the confidence to take the steps to better hearing.
Have a great week!
Imagine having to find an extended care facility, medical facility or even a rehabilitation facility for a loved one? You are dealing with finances, emotions and the knowledge that their care is now beyond your capabilities. Now, add in the possibility of your loved one being rejected or unable to access the communication tools necessary to interact with these professionals. Here are just a few of the latest complaints that have now been resolved at the Federal level.
Have a great week!
Thanks go out to Alice Sykora for sending me the following. This is a great way for Kentucky Residents who are D/HOH to communicate with others dealing with the same issues. While every State has their own office for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Wisconsins' is affiliated with/part of the Department of Health Services in Madison), but as far as I know none of them have a Vlog on their website for the public to use. So, check it out!
Have a great week!
Back by popular demand, except with a twist!
Community Forum - for you!
We have resurrected the vlog, except this time we are giving the community the opportunity to actively participate in this vlog. So this is more than just a vlog, it’s also a community forum for deaf and hard of hearing Kentuckians. Not only can you actively voice your opinions or questions, but you can also help shape the vlog itself by suggesting what topics need to be discussed. This is vlog is for you, this vlog will be what you make of it.
We’ve already produced a signed/captioned video and we’ve also listed some upcoming topics of discussion to get things off the ground. Come on by to see what we’ve done and please, by all means, share your thoughts and opinions with us and the rest of the community!
See you there!
WTMJ-TV, Milwaukee, Wisconsin - May 25, 2010
The Cost of Hearing
By Lauren Leamanczyk
MILWAUKEE - Hearing aids can cost families thousands of dollars. Cochlear implants can run them tens of thousands. A new Wisconsin law requiring insurance companies to cover the devices for children gave hope to parents that their kids could finally get the medical help they need. But many have quickly had those hopes dashed.
Diane Marszalkowski only wants what's best for her kids. For her son and daughter, that means expensive hearing aids.
"She has a disability. My son has a disability. It's not something they asked for. They were born with it and we need help with it," Diane told TODAYS TMJ4 reporter Lauren Leamanczyk.
Diane thought she'd finally gotten that help. This January, a new law went into effect requiring insurance companies to cover the cost of hearing aids and cochlear implants for children.
But when the bill came for her kids' hearing aids, Diane got a huge shock.
Patient responsibility was $3,000 for each child. Insurance will not cover any of it.
"I was just sick, absolutely sick to know that I might have to come up with $6,000 for the kids aids for them to learn. To be able to hear. To function and not struggle."
At the Center for Communication, Hearing and Deafness, the Marszalkowskis' experience has become a familiar story. Amy Peters Lalios says she only knows of one patient who's gotten coverage without a fight.
Lauren: "Did that come as a surprise to you?"
Lalios: "It did. It was something that myself, personally had not anticipated and I think it is just heartbreaking for the families who want so badly to provide the best of services and technology for their children."
We asked the State Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg why.
Lauren: "Have insurance companies complied with the spirit of this law?"
But most aren't forced to.
"Any mandates that's passed on a state level is really only penetrating about 30 percent of the market," Dilweg explained.
That means 70 percent of people who pay their premiums and meet their deductibles still don't have coverage for hearing aids and cochlear implant.
Self funded insurance plans, which are common among large companies, and out of state plans don't have to follow the new mandate. Insurers also have the option of waiting until a new policy year with a brand new deductible to offer coverage.
Changing that will require a mandate passed at the federal level.
Diane read the law line by line and didn't see any of those caveats.
"Either I'm missing something or there's loopholes in there," she said
Now she's faced with the heartbreaking task of coming up with thousands of dollars or taking away her children's chance to hear.
Experts say Wisconsin's gone as far as the law will let it in requiring insurance companies to pay. Any further mandate would need to come from the federal government.
That's a change families I spoke with would like to push for.
For those of you wondering....
The first Walk4Hearing was held yesterday down at Veterans' Park in Milwaukee on the lakefront. We have never had one of these here in Wisconsin before and needless to say the people that were working on it were not quite sure how it was going to go.
All of those worries were for naught. Our biggest obstacle in the beginning was learning that none of the Milwaukee media was going to cover the event itself. Of course, if we were willing to pay for promos, they were very interested. Since we are for the most part, a self-supported organization with very little funds, this was definitely out. We tried many times to get at least one television station from Milwaukee to at least agree to come to the event itself and do a story for us. None of them were interested. Of course, if there would have been a scandal or crime going on, they would have been there standing in line with their cameras.
Here's a little tip for all of them. You have approximately 500,000 people here in the state of Wisconsin that have some form of hearing loss. All of these people for the most part, watch TV. A lot of them depend on the closed captioning to understand what you are saying. To shun that many people is a shame. I think you need to rethink how you cover the Wisconsin area and start supporting and acknowledging the people that keep you in business. Enough said on that.
This is the first time for me that I have been a part of one of these events. My initial reaction upon arriving at the lakefront as a volunteer for the event was shock. I've never been with this many people (500 walkers alone) that have hearing loss. It was one of the few times that I felt 'normal'. Everywhere I looked, there were people taking the time to communicate in the best way for those with hearing loss. I saw many using sign language, speaking slowly so that the person they were talking to could read their lips and taking the time to make sure anyone involved in their conversation knew what was being said. It was one of the easiest social events that I've been to.
The number of people present that were family members with normal hearing was awesome. There were more than 38 'teams' of walkers. Some had on homemade t-shirts with their team names on them, others had on decorated hats or professionally made shirts. There were many large signs promoting teams and some even took the time to place picnic tables in the area so that they could decorate them as well as put out information on who they were supporting. There was one group called Walk for Vinney, that had buttons made with his picture on them.
At the beginning of the day, we knew that we had 288 registered (via online) walkers. By the time the walk started, we had over 500 (estimated). Our fundraising goal was $25,000. It appears that we raised over $40,000. As soon as I get the totals, I'll pass them on to you. The day was sunny and in the 50's so that definitely helped us out also.
Most of our volunteers were from our local Milwaukee area HLAA Chapters. But, one lady that I worked with at the Registration table saw our event posted on the Milwaukee Volunteers website and decided to show up to help us out. She has no one in her family that has hearing loss. She just wanted to see what this group was all about. Many thanks to her (Marcy) for being open to changes in communication and welcome to our group!
The 2 people that set this thing up are Jean Szabo and Caroline Ludka. They co-chair the Milwaukee/Racine HLAA Chapter and have never attempted to do anything like this before. Needless to say, I think they have discovered a talent that neither one of them knew that they had. With their leadership, all of us experienced a pretty much flawless day.
The high point for me was watching the gathering during the announcements that were held just before the start of the walk. I stood up on a picnic table to get a better view of the crowd and it was a sight to behold. Lots of smiles, laughter and cheering when their team was recognized for different things. We had ASL interpreters among them and by the end of the event, I think that all of us learned a few signs such as 'cheering' that we didn't know before.
As all of them lined up to pass under the 25' balloon arch and as Jean & Caroline cut the start ribbon, they embarked on new friendships, new ways of communicating and lots of memories. Thanks to all of them, we will be able to do even more here in the state to help those living with hearing loss.
Thanks to all that helped to make this event very special. I hope to see all of you along the path of life and hear more of your stories and experiences of living in a hearing world.
Have a great week!
For those of you that are still trying to find out more information on what this surgery entails, this may be of some help.
Back in 2007, a patient volunteered to have her cochlear implant surgery done live via the Tampa General's OR Live webfeed. The hospital has left the hour long video up and encourages others wanting to know more about how the surgery is done to watch the video.
A word to the wise - This is a live/for real/unrehearsed operation. The surgeons are talking and telling the audience what is going on. There is also video of the actual surgery as it is being done. So, please do not click on this link if you can't handle a surgical atmosphere. This is graphic, real-life video.
With that warning being given, here's the link: http://www.orlive.com/tgh/videos/a-cochlear-implant-to-benefit-the-deaf
CI's are not for everyone. It's a very big step and one that needs to be thought about, talked over with your family and pros and cons weighed. For those that have had it done, they will tell you many tales on how their lives have been changed. It's a very long process to get acclimated to the CI. This can take up to 2 years in some patients. Of the people that I know that have had it done, it's been very interesting to see how they have handled the journey. Imagine going from being for the most part, Deaf to being able to hear with the help of a hearing aid (specifically made and programmed for a CI) and knowing that you now have something permanently attached to your body?
From what I can see, it takes a lot of bravery to take that first step in this process. I applaud all of those that have made that leap and for sharing your many stories with me over the past 2 years.
Have a great week!
Found this via one of the news sites. For those of you that are concerned about the loss of the 'cheap labor' that has been touted as one of the benefits of letting anyone illegal stay in the U.S., here's a California teachers' point of view on just how cheap this labor really is.
As you read this, think about how many school districts have these very same programs and how our Societys' push towards being 'politically correct' is really costing us. Whatever happened to following the rules and earning your keep?
As a person with Hearing Loss, I can't tell you how many times I have experienced discrimination. Did I cry about it and partake of the possibility of having the State of Wisconsin declare me 'disabled'? No. Did I enforce the ADA laws that I've personally seen violated when it comes to things that I wanted to do? No. I decided a long time ago that I had to adjust my way of doing things so that I would be able to continue to live in a world that has (for the most part) people that hear normally. Was it hard? You bet. Do I still run into challenges everyday? You have no idea. Have I lost out on opportunities to contribute in the Corporate World? You bet.
So, if I'm hearing all of these so called advocates correctly on just what exactly is the politically correct thing to do about immigration, people with disabilities, programs to 'help' those that are less fortunate than us even if they are not U.S. citizens, I should be filing the paperwork to get my share of the disability pie, keep my mouth shut and smile all the way to the bank. I don't think so.
Here's the teachers' response to the Arizona Immigration Law.
Have a great week!
This should make everyone think, be you Democrat, Republican or Independent
From a California school teacher - - -"As you listen to the news about the student protests over illegal immigration, there are some things that you should be aware of:
I am in charge of the English-as-a-second-language department at a large southern California high school which is designated a Title 1 school, meaning that its students average lower socioeconomic and income levels.
Most of the schools you are hearing about, South Gate High, Bell Garden s, Huntington Park, etc., where these students are protesting, are also Title 1 schools.
Title 1 schools are on the free breakfast and free lunch program. When I say free breakfast, I'm not talking a glass of milk and roll -- but a full breakfast and cereal bar with fruits and juices that would make a Marriott proud. The waste of this food is monumental, with trays and trays of it being dumped in the trash uneaten. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
I estimate that well over 50% of these students are obese or at least moderately overweight. About 75% or more DO have cell phones. The school also provides day care centers for the unwed teenage pregnant girls (some as young as 13) so they can attend class without the inconvenience of having to arrange for babysitters or having family watch their kids. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
I was ordered to spend $700,000 on my department or risk losing funding for the upcoming year even though there was little need for anything; my budget was already substantial. I ended up buying new computers for the computer learning center, half of which, one month later, have been carved with graffiti by the appreciative students who obviously feel humbled and grateful to have a free education in America. (OUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK)
I have had to intervene several times for young and substitute teachers whose classes consist of many illegal immigrant students here in the country less than 3 months who raised so much hell with the female teachers, calling them "Putas" wh_res and throwing things that the teachers
were in tears.
Free medical, free education, free food, day care etc., etc., etc. Is it any wonder they feel entitled to not only be in this country but to demand rights, privileges and entitlements?
To those who want to point out how much these illegal immigrants contribute to our society because they LIKE their gardener and housekeeper and they like to pay less for tomatoes: spend some time in the real world of illegal immigration and see the TRUE costs.
Higher insurance, medical facilities closing, higher medical costs, more crime, lower standards of education in our schools, overcrowding, new diseases etc., etc, etc. For me, I'll pay more for tomatoes.
We need to wake up. The guest worker program will be a disaster because we won't have the guts to enforce it.
Does anyone in their right mind really think they will voluntarily leave and return?
There are many hardworking Hispanic/American citizens that contribute to our country and many that I consider my true friends. We should encourage and accept those Hispanics who have done it the right and legal way.
It does, however, have everything to do with culture: A third-world culture that does not value education, that accepts children getting pregnant and dropping out of school by 15 and that refuses to assimilate, and an American culture that has become so weak and worried about "politically correct" that we don't have the will to do anything about it.
If this makes your blood boil, as it did mine, forward this to everyone you know.
Isn't that what the whole immigration issue is about?
Business doesn't want to pay a decent wage
Consumers don't want expensive produce
Government will tell you Americans don't want the jobs
But the bottom line is cheap labor. The phrase "cheap labor" is a myth, a farce, and a lie. there is no such thing as "cheap labor."
Take, for example, an illegal alien with a wife and five children. He takes a job for $5.00 or $6.00/hour. At that wage, with six dependents, he pays no income tax, yet at the end of the year, if he files an Income Tax Return, he gets an "earned income credit" of up to $3,200 free.
He qualifies for Section 8 housing and subsidized rent
He qualifies for food stamps
He qualifies for free (no deductible, no co-pay) health care
His children get free breakfasts and lunches at school
He requires bilingual teachers and books
He qualifies for relief from high energy bills
If they are or become, aged, blind or disabled, they qualify for SSI. Once qualified for SSI they can qualify for Medicare. All of this is at taxpayer's expense
He doesn't worry about car insurance, life insurance, or homeowners insurance.
Taxpayers provide Spanish language signs, bulletins and printed material.
He and his family receive the equivalent of $20.00 to $30.00/hour in benefits.
Working Americans are lucky to have $5.00 or $6.00/hour left after paying their bills and his.
The American taxpayer's also pay for increased crime, graffiti and trash clean-up.
Cheap labor? YEAH RIGHT! Wake up people!
Spring has sprung! The bulbs are blooming, birds singing and we are approaching another season that we all look forward to here in Wisconsin.
While I love seeing the daily changes outdoors and spend the first few weeks of it dwelling on why I didn't pick up a few more bags of daffodil and tulip bulbs last Fall, I also start my yearly battle with one of our pesky residents here in Wales. The Chipmunk or as some call them, ground squirrels. While they are cute, perky and contribute to the balance of the environment, I really do detest the little darlings.
They seem to multiply overnight and can dig faster than anything that I know of. My birdfeeders are under seige (even the ones that are supposedly squirrel proof). My bulbs that I planted last Fall fail to appear and every flower seed that I spent so much time gathering before winter seems to fail to grow with these guys around.
A few years ago, I declared war on them. My family will tell you that I've gone off the deep end as they watch me try and figure out where the underground tunnels are going and where I can stop them dead (literally) in their tracks. I'm the lady that you will see outside at the crack of dawn with my BB gun loaded waiting for the chance to pick a few of them off. The neighbors get a chuckle out of seeing me on the front or back porches usually in my robe with a cup of coffee and a supply of BB's as they drive off to work during the week. The hawks love it as they circle above our house waiting for the entree of the day.
Last year, I spent a week walking around the yard taking aim at the little things without hitting any of them. Due to my hearing loss, I can't hear the BB being shot and since I didn't think to check the reservoir on the BB gun, I had been shooting nothing but air. I thought that I had loaded BB's, but alas, there were none. My family had a great time talking about the crazy lady stalking the predators of the flowers and seeds with nothing more than an empty weapon.
So, here we are again. I counted 12 of them this morning. Unfortunately, my BB gun is not in its' usual spot. I'm wondering if the little varmits formed a posse and carried it off under the guise of darkness. Oh well, there's always tomorrow!
Have a great week!
The Better Hearing Institute is looking for stories on Hearing Loss. If you know of someone that would like to submit their story for publication on their website, here's the link: http://www.betterhearing.org/aural_education_and_counseling/hearing_loss_success_stories/index.cfm
There are also quite a few stories on here of how people with hearing loss from all walks of life have achieved success in making it a positive in their life.
Have a great week!
This is the topic for the open chat night on Wednesday, March 31st.
Here's the link for those of you wishing to join the group! http://www.outerchat.com/?p=49
Have a great week!
* UPDATE 12:00pm 3/25/2010
Here are the actual communications within the Catholic Church and the Vatican dating back to the early 1990's on this man. http://media.journalinteractive.com/documents/Murphy+docs.pdf
While very painful to read, it is yet more proof of how the Catholic church is looking at these cases. Where are the criminal charges against some of those that not only knew, but withheld that knowledge. Was also interesting to see that a Social Worker for the State of Wisconsin was also aware of the situation.
There is yet another case against the Catholic Church concerning children and sexual abuse by a Priest. Here's the story that the New York Times is now running. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/25/world/europe/25vatican.html
Father Murphy worked at this institution from 1950 - 1974. Even though parents and children notified the St. Francis Police Dept. that he was molesting boys at the school, the Catholic Church via the Milwaukee Archdiocese as well as the Vatican itself assisted Father Murphy is additional opportunities to work with children by transferring him to Boulder Junction, WI and then on to the Lincoln Hills School in Irma, WI. This so called Priest admitted to molesting over 200 boys, yet they still 'protected' him and sent him to other places. He died in 1998.
Here is the link to a more personal part of this story from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: http://www3.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=410863
For those of you looking for more information on the actual case as well as the names of the Attorneys that are involved, here's the link: http://www.andersonadvocates.com/ViewFile.aspx?ID=300
To the many out there that have dealt with this type of abuse, here are my thoughts. I really admire the courage those of you have shown by going public with your stories. It's so easy to put all of this into a box in your mind and live your life trying to keep it secret and appear that all is fine in your world. The trust that you place in the people around you is very limited in that you will always be 'looking' for that sign that they could be a victim or even responsible for taking advantage of a child. Know that there are many out here that have you in our thoughts. You have done nothing wrong and you definitely did nothing to facilitate the burden that was placed upon you.
To the parents that are dealing with this via their children. Some may try and place the blame for these situations on you. We all try and protect our children as they grow and expand their worlds. When your child comes to you (if they find the courage to do so), please put all thoughts aside as to what others will think should this become public. The most important thing for you as a parent to do is to support your child and help them to realize that they are not at fault. Don't be discouraged when your child refuses to talk about the situation or even tries to pretend that nothing has happened. It's a self preservation mechanism that we all have when it comes to negative things that have happened in our lives. Try and encourage them to seek support and if there is anything positive that you can do to contribute to the rebuilding of their self-esteem, do it.
To the persons or entities that have committed this crime. I'm sure that in your mind, you have justified your actions. You know that no matter how much 'rehabilitation' you get (should you even get caught), you will always be a danger to those that you commit this crime against. There is no such thing as a reformed child molester. In my opinion, you should all be locked away for the rest of your life. As I look at the sexual predator website that supposedly keeps track of all of you, I cannot help but think that we are giving you more opportunities to commit this crime again and again. Some of you complain about not being able to find a place to live or get a job. In my mind, this is but a small price to pay for the crimes that you have committed against children.
If there is anyone that has information on support groups, please feel free to post the links to them in the comments section. When a crime like this is committed against an innocent child, you place them in their own mental prison that will be a part of them for the rest of their lives. Until Society and the Courts take the steps necessary to get all of these convicted Sex Offenders off of the streets and back into prison, we will all be spending a little more time looking over our shoulders and scrutinizing those that exhibit the tendencies to hurt our children. When you abuse a child, you take a part of their soul that will never be whole again.
For those of you wanting to learn more about Background Checks, here's what I recommend. If you have a background check conducted for just the State that you are in, this will not (in most cases) uncover all crimes that the person has been charged/convicted of in the U.S. I would recommend that you do a background that utilizes the FBI database. This will uncover any and all crimes/charges/convictions (in most cases) that the person may have been a party to in any part of the U.S. With the FBI background check, once a person is finger printed, this will go into their FBI file. This will also include some juvenile cases unless they have been expunged. Usually you need to go through a 'Service' that will be able to obtain this information. It's well worth the cost. I think that any place that has the responsibility for taking care of children should be required to do a background check of this magnitude. People can change their name, get married, ect. Their fingerprints will never change (in most cases).
Have a great week!
Copyright 2010 Tami Klink
How many of you have taken a vacation to a beach? Have you ever wondered what happens when a tropical storm or hurricane comes through the area? How do the local authorities keep ahead of mother nature?
We happened to be down in Cape Canaveral, FL when the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers were in the process of doing a 'Beach Renourishment' in front of the complex that we were at. Needless to say, it's interesting to see how this is done. For those of you that would like to learn more, here's a link on what exactly Beach Renourishment is: http://www.brynmawr.edu/geology/geomorph/beachnourishmentinfo.html
I personally like the Port Canaveral website where they go into more detail and actually talk about what they are doing. Here's the link for that one: http://www.portcanaveral.com/general/bypass.php
Originally, before the Port of Canaveral was 'built', there really was not a problem with the beach losing sand. Once the Port was built/dredged, this changed the natural flow of the ocean/currents. Because of this, the beach to the South of the Port loses a lot of sand with every storm that comes through. There was a lawsuit filed against the Port/U.S. Army Corp of Engineers many years ago which was settled once they agreed to renourish the beach. This is a very expensive project and since the U.S. Army is funded via our tax dollars, everyone ends up paying for it.
Down here, we have a lot of people on both sides of the issue. For those of us that have property on the ocean, it is nice to know that the endangered sand dunes, turtles, ect. will be relatively safe. As the sand is swept out with the very strong storms, the dunes are exposed. The dunes are where the turtles come up and lay their eggs (they dig into the dunes and deposit the eggs). If these eggs are exposed to salt water, they will not hatch. The dunes also protect the land beyond them in that if we do have a big tidal surge with a storm, they are our first line of defense against more destruction inland. As you probably know, the area that is Cape Canaveral (this is where NASA is), was one big swamp back in the 1950's.
Since then, development has taken it over and there are many homes, businesses and recreational areas here. There are also numerous ship wrecks just off of our Coast. Unfortunately, they are not all 'mapped'. So, there is a risk that some of this equipment will disturb these areas. If you are into treasure hunting, this is a bonus. For the first few weeks after this project is done, there will be many people on the 'new' beach with metal detectors looking for that one piece of treasure that got pumped onto the beach. Some say there is a possibility that some of the Spanish wrecks have gold coins scattered from their cargo. Others look for things the beachgoers have lost while in the water.
From May until October, we have strict rules on the beach as well as the areas accessible to it in order to protect the turtles coming ashore to nest and eventually their offspring that hatch. At night, we cannot use flashlights or have stationary lights that reflect on the beachside. If the turtles see the lights when they hatch, they will gravitate towards them vs. going towards the ocean. For those of you that have seen the ocean at night, it looks 'lighter' than the land. This is why the hatchlings head for the water.
So for the time being (5-6 weeks), the bulldozers, piping, ect. will be working on the beach 24 hours a day/7 days a week to get the project done before May 1st. We have been down there several times to see the progress of this and it is truly amazing how man thinks he is going to win over Mother Nature. The waves keep coming and the bulldozers keep scurrying around trying to get the dredged sand that is pumped up onto the beach where it should go. This will 'raise' the beach almost 7' in some places. That's a lot of sand!
The high pressure piping that is bringing the sand from the North side of the Port looks like a very large fountain. The water displacement caused by the high piles or walls of newly dredged sand cause the ocean to take some very peculiar routes when it is high tide. At one point, it looked like there was a new island created that jutted out into the ocean where we had never seen 'land' before. Of course with each succeeding tide change, this will gradually become smaller and smaller.
For those of us that see this phenomenum (if that's what you can call it) every few years, there are mixed feelings. We are very appreciative of the attempts to protect our beach. Yet, we also know that the ultimate plan for this little piece of Paradise is out of our hands. In hindsight, they probably should have spent a little more time planning for the Port so that the natural beach with its' native inhabitants would not take such a pounding. But, as usual, the almighty dollar won. After all, where would all of the ships, submarines, gambling boats, ect. go? I'm sure that some of the family fishing fleets that have paid the ultimate price of not being able to catch what used to be here in mass quantities would have a few suggestions for them...
Have a great week!
Here's a story on how 2 sisters are tackling this challenge.
For those of you wanting to know more about Usher's Syndrome, here's a good place to start.
To the Browne sisters, thanks for sharing your story and best of luck in your future endeavours!
Have a great week!
Believe it or not, I hear stories about this happening all of the time. Not trying to single out Olstens', but there are a lot of non-lawsuit threatening excuses given for not hiring someone that is D/HOH/Blind. It's too bad this is still happening since there are a lot of people with this 'disability' that would be very good employees to have. Not to mention the fact that I still have not found any proof that those of us that are D/HOH/Blind have a lower intelligence/capability level compared to others that can see and hear.
Here's the link: http://www.gmtoday.com/news/front/topstory07.asp
For Employers wanting to learn more on how to interact/accommodate an employee with a disability, here's a good article to start with.
To all of my fellow disabled looking at entering the workforce or already employed, please remember that this is a two way street. There are a lot of us that, for one reason or another, choose to not disclose 'what works best for us'. It could be the fear of looking incompetent for the position, possible ridicule or even missing out on the job itself or future promotion. In my opinion, this is not the way to handle it. All that it does is place one more wall between you and success. Don't be afraid or ashamed of telling as well as educating those around you that you work with. Unfortunately, for those that do not live with hearing loss or blindness (I only know hearing loss), the opportunities to learn more about it are few and far between. So, take the chance on passing on your own little tips and tricks. Who knows, you may find that there is someone else in your office that has their own challenges they are dealing with. The more you share, the more you will get in return.
Have a great week!
We spent Saturday night with my husbands' fantasy football team members having our annual get-together. As we were all having dinner and talking about what we had all been up to in our lives, the discussion topic changed to the current state of affairs in our lives and country when it comes to the current financial mess.
As we all listened to those that had stories to tell, I couldn't help but think of the history of this whole scenario. Here are some of the things that I came up with. Feel free to add to the list!
1. Remember when our National Government was more of an afterthought vs. today when it is the all knowing, rule making, terminal growth we deal with on a daily basis? For example, back in the 'old days', most of the population could go weeks without hearing anything about the latest conflicts, fraud, spending or how our government was going to 'fix' the lastest problem. We all worked together in our little communities and did what we could to fix the local problems. If someone needed a little extra help, it usually started out at the Sunday church service where the congregation was informed of the problem and what was needed to help that family out. By Sunday afternoon, food would be showing up at the familys' house, some would volunteer to help out with the fields or animals if the owner happened to be a farmer unable to accomplish his daily tasks. There was no mention of money changing hands, favors being owed at a later date or a scoresheet being kept. If you had something that you could part with or time that you could spare, no one gave a second thought to helping out. The person in the situation was not judged or looked down upon. After all, it could happen to any of us. " The only gift is a portion of thyself." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
2. Before the advent of 24 hour television, we had (most of us) 3 channels on our black and whites. It was rare to turn the television on before the chores were done. After all, if we sat watching the television, the laundry would not get done, cleaning the house would be put on hold and who would make the staples needed for the week? Remember the saying, "Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle." ~Abraham Lincoln
3. Thinking back to how people looked at money, I can remember almost all of my grandparents not bothering to go to the bank. Instead they kept their money at home. Hidden in the strangest of places. Of course, with the advent of the banking system enticing all of us to open accounts and receive that nifty coffee pot, we soon became customers. After all, if someone was going to give you something for free, you would be a fool not to take advantage of the program. Now we see most people depositing their paychecks electronically. You don't even have to make a trip to these fine institutions to give them your money. Of course the day of free 'premiums' have pretty much ended. And, most of us are now in the situation of owing the bank much more money than we ever had hidden in our houses. It took a lot of years to get all of us into this situation. We were constantly told that the American Dream was to own a house, car (several in fact), take out a loan for that material thing that we could not possibly wait and save our pennies for and of course we were only too happy to pay the bank for the priviledge of getting access to money that for the most part, we could have lived just fine without.
Then, the government came up with this great idea of Home Equity Lines of Credit and the bankers came up with the idea of credit cards. Why wait to have what you want just because you don't have the money to pay for it now? Let us help you to achieve your goals and dreams. When did the dream of being thousands of dollars in debt and no longer having control over your financial life become a good thing to do? Like a herd of cows, we were led to believe and do what all of the others around us were so excited about. So, how's that latest credit purchase looking to you now? Do you still get as much enjoyment out of it knowing that based on most payment schedules for the loans or credit, you will probably be paying close to 40% more than it originally cost? How is that helping you to improve your life when you are looking at ways to make the minimum payments? Do you think that it would be a good idea to get back to a positive cash flow? Do you even remember how to do that? "The modern banking system manufactures money out of nothing. The process is perhaps the most astounding piece of sleight-of-hand that was ever invented. Banking was conceived in inequity and born in sin... But if you want to continue to be slaves of the bankers and pay the cost of your own slavery, then let the bankers continue to create money and control credit."
Josiah Charles Stamp
4. That brings me to the ultimate American falsehood. Our fantastic retirement/401k/Roth IRA accounts. Remember the days when you either had your 'retirement' funds hidden at home, put into interest bearing (ok, I know it was not a great rate) savings accounts or CD's, city bonds, ect.? Remember all of the hype via our great government, IRS and banking system when the politicians finally passed those great rules for these things? Where were we all told to put it? Yup, the stock market. Did any of us even think about what the Stock Market really was? How it operated? Who was in Charge? Nope, we once again turned into a herd of cows and followed the crowd. After all there were so many 'people in the know' that were more than willing to help us achieve that dream of sandy beaches and cruising the world after the age of 65. And, the fees that they were going to charge us were not really that bad. After all, this meant that we wouldn't really have to pay attention to what they were doing with our money. They were the experts!
So, here we are. Looking at each other and wondering what the heck happened. When did we lose control of our lives? How is the government going to help us now? This is what happened in a period of 2 generations. So, what do you have to show for it and how are we going to fix it? Of course, the people that we gave all of this power to are more than willing to show the herd which way to go...
Have a great week!
For those of you that already know Senthil (he's from Waukesha, WI), he also has a hearing loss blog that will keep you updated on not only what he is doing and experiencing, but also what is coming up on his online open chat nights. They are held every Wednesday.
For more details, here's the link to his blog. http://www.outerchat.com/?p=40
Thanks, Senthil! We really appreciate all that you do and congrats on the numerous participants!
Have a great week!
For those of you that own a house, did you ever have one of those days when things just kept breaking? Well, today was my turn.
Our house is 30 years old. Over the years, we've tried to stay a step ahead of the maintenance as well as the repairs. Just when we think we've got everything accounted for, surprises rear their ugly heads. I'm sure that you've had the same thing happen to you.
I finally noticed this morning while in the basement that it sounded like water was running. Very loudly. After checking the washer, bathroom, furnace (drain pipe for the humidity) and bathroom, I was still not finding it. Finally went to the far corner by the sump pump and noticed that my socks were now soaked. The regeneration cycle on the water softner was going and something was all goofed up. The tank was overflowing and filling the crock on the sump pump. For those of you wondering what the problem is with the water going into the sump pump crock, it was salt water!
Our sump pump is 30 years old. We've known that we should probably replace it the last time we had a very heavy rain and it turned on. It's only done that 3 times in the 17 years that we've lived here. But, during those 17 years, the motor has rusted and the pipe that takes the water out of the house from it has been 'stabilized' by previous owners with a wire tied around another pipe. When it kicks on, the whole thing would shudder. I know it's probably not meeting the current building code and it was just a matter of time before we were going to have a problem should a deluge occur.
Wouldn't you know it? On the day after a snowstorm when the area outside by the sump pump discharge pipe has over 2 feet of snow, we would end up having something happen that would cause the darn thing to turn on. Well, you guessed it, all of the water (filled with lots of salt since the brine tank is leaking) was now being discharged into the snow drift and flowing back towards the basement wall. We happen to have an electrical junction box above the sump pump that provides power to our well. Are you getting the picture yet? There was now salt water coming out of one of the openings through the basement wall for the wiring to the well. At this point, everyone else in the family left the area for fear of being zapped while standing in water.
Not knowing what problem to tackle first, we ended up shutting the water off to the house. Do you know of the many uses for snow? It can be hauled inside and used for numerous things once it has melted. Of course, it takes a lot of snow to convert into enough water for anything useful.
Finally, I called a plumber. It was almost noon and the rest of the family decided that they didn't really want to haul more snow in for bathing, flushing toilets, ect. I was more than willing to rough it, but decided that in order to keep the peace, I'd better relent. I was also a little worried about how much this was all going to cost.
As I'm talking to Mike at Cox Plumbing in Waukesha, he's being very patient with me as I'm asking him to repeat things since I was missing parts of the conversation. Once he realized that I could not hear very well, he spent quite a bit of time walking me through the steps to take to bypass the water softner and get water back on in the house. One of the valves wouldn't close and of course I didn't want to try and force it for fear of breaking the darn thing off. I don't think it's been turned in the 17 years that we've lived here. I suggested to Mike that I get some WD-40 and see if that would loosen it up. He graciously offered to have one of his employees that lives close to us stop by and check it out on his way home.
This is after he gave me the price for a new water softner, sump pump and install. I was expecting him to charge me for an additional service call, but believe it or not, he didn't. I can't remember the last time that I've dealt with a business that fixes things in your house that went that extra mile. The local employee just came by. He got the valve to shut off and made sure that we were good for the night. He even took the time to make sure that I was understanding all that he was saying during the conversation on when, how and who was going to be coming back to the house in the next few days to take care of the sump pump and water softner.
I took the time to check out the prices at the local big box stores on water softners and sump pumps. There was about a 15% difference and of course big box stores don't install these things. Most of them use sub-contractors if they offer the install service at all. Really opened my eyes to the fact that we have all gotten away from supporting our local businesses in favor of going to the big box places. I always assumed that the big box stores were saving me a lot of money. I've been proven wrong. And, it will be very nice to have someone to call locally to service both pieces of equipment should the need arise. Same warranty, same day service if needed, installation that will be done right and they took the time to make sure we were good for the night.
Which one is the better deal? I think I made the right choice. Thanks to Mike and all of the Cox Plumbing employees for taking my bad day and making it much more positive than I thought it would be. You are now stuck with the Klink Family should the need arise for your services in the future.
For those of you out there that are into solving things, this is right up your alley. Back in October, a man named, Scott Rothstein was finally caught in the midst of his ponzi scheme down in Florida. So far, we are talking over a billion dollars.
This financial debacle included many of the big names in politics, law enforcement, business world as well as a few unknown 'innocent' investors. There's even a bank involved. Expect quite a few arrests in the coming weeks that will undoubtedly rock the political world. For instance, the Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist (he's contemplating a run for the Senate). He's the one that got the ball rolling for Harry Sargent (oil company) to 'win' the government contract back in 2004 as the supplier of Fuel/Oil for our troops in Iraq. After some strategically placed money/donations, the contract was awarded to his company and once the investigation started, it was found that among other things, he was charging all of us taxpayers an additional $1.08/gallon. Of course, he says that this was for the delivery and incidental costs.
Here's the link on that story: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24846474/page/2/
There is a really good columnist down in the Miami area that has taken on the task of getting to the bottom of the Scott Rothstein debacle. His name is Bob Norman. Starting in late October, he started doing columns and uncovering all of the players in this game. We are talking about politicians, law enforcement agencies, businessmen, famous people, ect. Here's the link to his columns:
I would suggest that you start with the late October columns and work your way up to the latest one posted today. While Bob's reporting is impeccable, the comments section also adds to the stories in that there are actually people on there that either were involved or victims of the scam.
If you think this could not happen up here. You are sadly mistaken. All that you have to do is see how far the tentacles reach before you realize that based on how our country is run, officials elected, lobbyists allowed to run amok, federal entities dropping the ball and our financial systems' failings, it can happen anywhere in the United States. Watch for this one to eventually be made into a movie. It makes Bernie Madoff look boring.
So, when are we all going to take a stand and force our government (We, the People) to do what we originally elected them for. No more preferential treatment for those with money or power. After all, we the taxpayers are footing all of these costs. I don't recall signing anything that said that I would be more than happy to go along with whatever these select few decide is the best for all of us. Did you?
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
There are over 20 venues now looped in the Fox Valley area. Why? Mainly because of Juliette Sterkens, an audiologist up there. She and her husband have taken on this task and spend their non-working hours promoting and helping with the installation of loop systems. So, what is SouthEastern Wisconsins' excuse? And, where are all of the other audiologists? Here's the article from the OshKosh Paper this week.
If you live in Oshkosh, you may want to let Juliette know how much you appreciate her efforts. She's a real expert on all that you can do with a hearing aid. Here's the link to what she and her husband have been up to as well as her contact information. Juliette came here from the Netherlands when she got married. As you may know, in the Netherlands, they have had looped venues for years. Just another example of how far behind the U.S. is when it comes to using the less expensive and available technology vs. coming up with equipment that costs thousands of dollars.
Maybe some of the other audiologists need to start emulating her program as a way of giving back to the hearing loss community. Imagine the possibilities...
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
If you don't know about the AARP and the millions of dollars that they get via their side company, AARP Financial, you would be wise to check it out before sending your money in for a membership. I received an email via HLAA's National office in Bethesday, MD yesterday and guess what one of the articles is going to be about in their Nov./Dec. 2009 Hearing Loss Magazine?
You guessed it. AARP and the rollout of their newest program to help all of the Seniors that they supposedly advocate for. AARP is now going to be hawking their latest insurance program for hearing aids. They will deal only with Hear USA. There are now 'stores' in New Jersey with many others opening up across the United States. I wonder how much money will be going to AARP for this new business...
Here's an email that I got today from a gentleman down in Florida. He's an engineer which means he knows a lot more about the workings of hearing aids than most. With his permission, I am posting his story/experience here. If any of you would like the latest AARP financial statement, just let me know and I'll post the link. We are talking millions of dollars here that they are getting via their insurance business. How can a Seniors Advocacy group honestly be on the Seniors' side when they are also in the Insurance business? Remember, this is the group that is partly responsible for the 'donut' hole that you see in the Medicare Advantage Drug Program. I think that it's time for all of us over the age of 50 to do a little more investigating into just where exactly our money is going.
Have a great week!
OCT 28, 2009
HEARING AID STORY AND AARP
This is true account of how not to buy hearing aids and how to buy hearing aids. It further is a story about how AARP has partnered with certain companies ostensibly to benefit seniors, but I bet if it were possible to look into it very deeply we would see money changing hands. All of this to the determent of the very people that AARP purports to stand for!
Further it is a commentary on AARP in general and how they are NOT helping seniors!
Bottom line if AARP was really helping seniors they would simply tell them to “go to Costco” for hearing aids.
It was the middle of 2009, I was turning 70 and decided that it was time I improved my hearing. As a shopper, engineer and all round cheap guy I started searching for the deals on aids.
I am on Medicare and a member of Humana for the extended coverage ($75 per month or so), Humana is good, but they also have partnered with other companies, you will see this later.
First stop the Internet to research aids and find out about the latest technology (engineer, remember). The best I found at the time was Rexton Cobalt 16, great ratings, Bluetooth, all the toys.
In comes HearUSA, would you know that they represent Rexton and they work with Humana, so my first testing was free, thanks to Humana. Big hearing loss, 65% in right somewhat less in left. Need aids.
Now the fun begins, was told by HearUS that AARP had a real deal coming the first of October, “really big” discounts on products from HearUS. Humana also would contribute $500 per aid each year, what a deal I was going to get almost “free” aids.
Went home all happy, again turned to the Internet. Found Rexton Cobalt 16 for $2500 per pair with all the toys, direct from a hearing aid supplier up North, with free fitting, programming, etc. In fact several EBay suppliers had them for near or at this price. Maybe a bit of a problem buying something that may need service from far away, but at least you now know the real costs.
Armed with this information and elated that AARP was going to give me a “really big discount” and Humana was going to kick in another $1000, off to HearUS I went.
Guess what, with the AARP discount and the Humana $1000, HearUSA wanted right at $5000! So much for helping seniors!
During my Internet searching I heard much about the deals at Costco for hearing aids. Many blogs praising the service and prices at Costco.
So my next visit is to Costco, where I used to be a member, so I want in on a day pass, and right in the display case is Rexton Cobalt 16 with a $1995 price tag! Let me see, by the time you get two and all the toys (remember I am an engineer!) that’s about $2500, fully half the so called AARP deal, again so much for being a seniors advocate.
Further Costco has the Bernafon Verite at the same price and even greater technology. Guess where I bought? Guess what I bought?
The purpose of me telling this story is threefold. First I truly do want to embarrass AARP and prove that they are more interested in some political agenda.
Second, I want seniors to know that they are getting screwed by AARP and HearUSA and to a degree Humana. Humana treats me great with all medical issues, but they just should drop out of the hearing business if they cannot give the $1000 direct to me, no matter where I buy my aids. Again their $1000 only goes to HearUSA, what is wrong with this picture?
If I had gotten the $1000 my aids would have cost less than $1500. Now that would be a real deal and that would really be helping seniors.
Thirdly, I want seniors to get up in arms about this type of stuff, do your home work, don’t believe “I am from the government, I am here to help”, because they are not and neither is AARP. Join ASA! www.americanseniors.org
I am sending this direct to AARP and all the national news media, CBS, ABC, NBC, CNN and of course FOX, let’s see who has what it takes to report this. If you count the 1000’s of seniors buying this stuff at HearUSA this is worth an investigation!
You know folks, “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”! I WANT MY COUNTRY BACK!
Anyone wants me, my information is below, and this is not an anonymous story!
Margaret is 94 years old and a member of our Hearing Loss group out here in Wales. In a lot of ways, she is younger at heart than the rest of us are. Our group ranges in age from 29 to 94.
We recently learned that Margaret has Ovarian Cancer. She is in the final stages of this terrible disease. Back in August, we had her do a presentation at one of our meetings. Below is the transcript from CART of her views as well as how she developed ways to live in the hearing world.
MARGARET: I WAS NOT BORN DEAF. MY HEARING LOSS IS DUE TO MEASLES AND SCARLET FEVER, WHICH I HAD AROUND THE AGES OF 5 AND 7. MY LOSS WAS THEN ONLY IN THE HIGHER RANGE. I FOUND I COULD NOT HEAR WHISPERS, BIRDS, WHISTLES, NOR HIGH MUSICAL NOTES. I DID NOT TELL ANYONE AND SO BEGAN MY YEARS OF BLUFFING. THAT MEANS PRETENDING TO HEAR AND UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU DON'T. IT IS NOT GOOD TO DO THAT.
IT DOESN'T HELP YOU IN ANY WAY. IT ALSO MADE ME REALIZE I HAD TO HELP MYSELF IN ANY WAY I COULD, SO I WATCHED PEOPLE WHEN THEY TALKED AND GOT AS CLOSE TO THEM AS I COULD.
IN SCHOOL IT MEANT GETTING A FRONT SEAT CLOSE TO THE TEACHER.
AT HOME WHEN I DIDN'T HEAR SOMETHING, MY DAD WOULD SAY, YOU CAN HEAR IF YOU WANT TO. THAT I HEARD MANY TIMES IN MY LIFE. IT IS TRUE THAT SOMETIMES YOU DO HEAR SOMETHING, BUT YOU DON'T ALWAYS UNDERSTAND.
FIRST I HAD A MINOR HEARING LOSS. I WAS ABLE TO HEAR MOST SOUNDS AND IT DIDN'T SEEM TO AFFECT MY SPEECH TOO MUCH.
IF YOU WONDER WHY MY HEARING LOSS WAS NOT DETECTED IN SCHOOL, IT WAS BECAUSE THEY DID NOT TEST HEARING AS THEY DO NOW OR NOT AT ALL.
I REMEMBER AT THE SULLIVAN SCHOOL WHICH I ATTENDED AFTER WE MOVED OUT THERE, THEY WOULD HOLD SOMETHING UP AND ASK IF YOU CAN HEAR IT AND I WOULD SAY YES.
AND THEY WOULD ASK YOU TO FACE THE BLACKBOARD AND I WOULD TRY TO CATCH MY EYE ON IT AND I WOULD CHEAT ALL THE TIME BECAUSE I DIDN'T WANT TO ADMIT THAT I HAD A HEARING LOSS.
THROUGH THE YEARS I DEVELOPED MANY COPING STRATEGIES. I BECAME A FAIRLY GOOD LIPREADER. SOME HEARING IMPAIRED PEOPLE TELL ME THEY CANNOT LIPREAD. IT IS NOT EASY. YOU NEVER GET EVERYTHING THAT IS SAID. EVERYONE TALKS DIFFERENTLY.
I HAD SOMETHING THAT CAME THROUGH THE MAIL AND I WOULD LIKE TO READ IT TO YOU. IT'S CALLED SUGGESTIONS FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE IF THE PEOPLE AROUND YOU KNOW HOW TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THEM. HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS YOU CAN GIVE THEM.
GET MY ATTENTION BEFORE TALKING TO ME.
IT ALLOWS ME TO GET READY TO LISTEN.
PLEASE DON'T SPEAK TO ME FROM ANOTHER ROOM. IT SIMPLY IS TOO DIFFICULT WHEN YOU'RE OUT OF SIGHT. I WON'T UNDERSTAND YOU.
DON'T TALK FAST. I OFTEN HAVE TO FIGURE OUT WHAT SOMEONE SAID. I SIMPLY CAN'T KEEP UP WITH A FAST TALKER.
ONE OF MY MOST IMPORTANT TIPS: DON'T TALK FAST. YOU'LL TELL SOMEONE THAT AND THEY'LL SLOW DOWN AND THEN THEY START TALKING FAST AGAIN. (LAUGHTER). THAT'S OKAY. THAT'S LIFE.
FACE ME WHEN YOU TALK TO ME. I UNDERSTAND MORE IF I CAN SEE YOUR FACE.
WHEN PEOPLE WEAR SUNGLASSES, I SEEM TO HAVE A HARDER TIME UNDERSTANDING THEM. IT SEEMS TO HELP WHEN YOU SEE THE WHOLE FACE AND THE EYES.
ANOTHER THING. BLACK PEOPLE ARE ARE VERY HARD FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND. I THINK BECAUSE IT'S ALL BLACK COLORS.
FACE ME WHEN YOU TALK TO ME. I UNDERSTAND MORE IF I CAN SEE YOUR FACE. PLEASE DON'T CHEW GUM, SMOKE, OR COVER YOUR MOUTH WHILE SPEAKING.
COME CLOSER. WHEN YOU STAND CLOSER, YOUR VOICE IS LOUDER AND IT'S EASIER. SOMEONE THREE FEET AWAY IS TWICE AS EASY TO UNDERSTAND THAN EIGHT FEET AWAY.
TURN DOWN THE NOISE. TURN DOWN THE RADIO, AIR CONDITIONING AND RADIO. IF YOU CAN'T, PLEASE UNDERSTAND THAT HEARING IN NOISE IS MUCH HARDER FOR ME THAN IT IS FOR YOU.
JUST BECAUSE I HEARD YOU DOESN'T MEAN I UNDERSTOOD YOU.
HEARING IS NOT THE SAME AS UNDERSTANDING. THAT'S WHY PEOPLE WITH ACCENTS AND PEOPLE WHO MUMBLE OR TALK FAST ARE DIFFICULT. I HEAR THEM. I JUST MAY NOT UNDERSTAND THEM.
IF I DON'T UNDERSTAND ANYTHING YOU SAY, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT I'M NOT BEING RUDE OR DIFFICULT. I'M JUST HAVING TROUBLE WITH MY HEARING.
IN DEALING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE RUDE OR TEND TO IGNORE ME, I TRY TO BE AS NICE AS I CAN JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE RUDE, DOESN'T MEAN I HAVE TO BE.
I'M SAYING IT WILL NOT BE FRUSTRATING AT TIMES, BUT WE CAN OVERCOME AND BENEFIT FROM THEM.
WE ARE LIVING IN A HEARING WORLD AND HAVE TO ADJUST, LIKE IT OR NOT. YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND PEOPLE WHO ARE IMPATIENT, NOT UNDERSTANDING, BUT YOU WILL ALSO MEET PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY HELPFUL, KIND, AND UNDERSTANDING. BLESS THEM.
THE BIBLE SAYS SOFT ANSWER TURNETH AWAY WRATH.
WE WERE TOLD TO BE ASSERTIVE, NOT AGGRESSIVE.
BEING ASSERTIVE IS BEING CONFIDENT, SELF-ASSURED AND TELLING OTHERS WHAT YOUR NEEDS ARE.
DON'T LET RUDENESS MAKE YOU ANGRY OR UNPLEASANT. SOMETIMES YOU CAN EVEN BRING HUMOR TO THE SITUATION.
THE MORE PLEASANT I TRY TO BE, THE MORE I CAN DIFFUSE THE SITUATION. WE CAN'T ALWAYS EXPECT PEOPLE TO ACCOMMODATE US BECAUSE WE'RE HEARING IMPAIRED. LIFE IS WHAT YOU MAKE IT. IT CAN BE GOOD.
I HAVE FOUND THAT BEING MORE OPEN ABOUT MY HEARING LOSS HELPS ME TO GET ALONG BETTER WITH EVERYONE. I SHOULD HAVE DONE THAT LONG AGO. I THINK I'LL MENTION HERE THE FACT THAT WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, I WAS VERY INSECURE AND WITHDRAWN, ESPECIALLY IN GRADE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL. WHO WOULD WANT A HEARING IMPAIRED FRIEND? BUT I FOUND SOMEONE WHO DID. (LAUGHTER).
WHEN MEETING NEW PEOPLE, I INTRODUCE MYSELF AND TELL THEM I'M HEARING IMPAIRED.
WHEN I JOIN A GROUP, I LOOK FOR AN OPENING OR A PAUSE IN THE CONVERSATION AND THEN ASK POLITELY WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT. SO I CAN JOIN IN OR ADD A NEW SUBJECT.
IF YOU SAY NOTHING, THEY WONDER IF YOU ARE ANTISOCIAL OR JUST STUPID. HEARING LOSS NEEDS AN EXPLANATION BECAUSE IT IS AN INVISIBLE HANDICAP.
I OFTEN WONDER WHAT A YOUNG MAN WHO I HAD A DATE WITH THOUGHT WHEN I DIDN'T ANSWER OR ANSWERED INCORRECTLY. YOU CAN'T LIPREAD IN THE CAR.
THERE IS A COPING STRATEGY. USE THE DOME LIGHT OR A FLASHLIGHT. YOU CAN FLASH THE LIGHT TO THE TOP OF THE CAR AND YOU CAN SEE THE PERSON YOU'RE TALKING TO.
I MET A MAN AND IT EVENTUALLY LED TO MARRIAGE. I DIDN'T THINK ANYONE WOULD WANT ME. AFTERALL, I CONSIDERED MYSELF DAMAGED GOODS.
I LEARNED HOW TO COPE IN PUBLIC PLACES AS I WENT ALONG.
A TABLE OR BOOTH IN A RESTAURANT AGAINST THE WALL IS BETTER. IT SEEMS TO DEADEN SOME OF THE SOUND AND IS HELPFUL.
WHEN YOU'RE IN A ROOM WITH WINDOWS, SIT OR STAND WITH YOUR BACK TO THE WINDOW, SO THE LIGHT IS IN BACK OF YOU. THE LIGHT SHOULD FALL ON THE SPEAKER'S FACE. VERY HELPFUL WHEN READING LIPS.
A MIRROR ON THE DASH OF YOUR CAR IS ALSO VERY HELPFUL. MY DAUGHTER AND I, FRIENDS AND MYSELF USE THIS. IT'S VERY, VERY HELPFUL. THAT WAY THE DRIVER DOESN'T HAVE TO TAKE THEIR EYES OFF OF THE ROAD TO 'HEAR' WHAT A PASSENGER IS SAYING. YOU JUST READ THEIR LIPS VIA THE MIRROR ON YOUR DASHBOARD.
A SENSE OF HUMOR IS ALWAYS A LIFE SAVER, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU HEARD -- WHEN WHAT YOU HEARD IS DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WAS SAID.
IT IS GOOD TO HAVE A SUPPORTIVE SPOUSE, RELATIVE, OR FRIEND, BUT DON'T LET THEM DO TOO MUCH FOR YOU. WHILE WORKING WITH HANDICAPPED AND DISABLED PEOPLE AT BETHESDA, I WAS TOLD LET THEM DO EVERYTHING THEY CAN FOR THEMSELVES. THE SAME APPLIES TO THE HEARING HANDICAP. BECOME MORE DEPENDENT UPON YOURSELF AND LESS UPON OTHERS. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF ALL THE TECHNOLOGY AVAILABLE NOT JUST HEARING. I LIVE ALONE AND GET AROUND WELL.
I JUST USE A TTY IN WHICH YOU CAN TYPE BACK AND FORTH WITH A DEAF PERSON. IT IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN A REGULAR PHONE.
I HAVE LIGHTS THAT FLASH WHEN THE DOORBELL RINGS AND I HAVE A SMOKE ALARM WITH THE STROBE LIGHT AND A SPECIAL ALARM CLOCK THAT AWAKENS ME WITH A FLASHING LIGHT.
I HAVE REAL TIME CAPTIONING AND COMPUTERS, WHICH ARE A GOD SEND.
IN MY LATE 40'S I NOTICED I WAS LOSING MORE HEARING AND STARTED WEARING HEARING AIDS.
I AM NOW DEAF WITHOUT MY HEARING AIDS. THEY GIVE ME SOME SOUND, BUT NOT UNDERSTANDING.
IN CLOSING, I WOULD LIKE TO READ ONE OF MY FAVORITE VERSES, THE SERENITY PRAYER.
GOD, GRANT ME THE SERENITY TO ACCEPT THE THINGS I CANNOT CHANGE, THE COURAGE TO CHANGE THE THINGS I CAN, AND THE WISDOM TO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE.
THEN THERE WAS SOMETHING IN THIS BOOK THAT I THOUGHT WAS WORTH REPEATING TOO.
EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US HAS A PROBLEM OF ONE SORT OR ANOTHER. IT IS HOW WE COPE WITH THAT PROBLEM THAT DETERMINES BOTH OUR OUTLOOK AND QUALITY OF OUR LIVES.
AND I THINK THAT'S ALL.
IF THERE'S ANY QUESTIONS, I'M GOING TO SIT DOWN AND READ THEM. I THINK, AS I WAS TELLING TAMI, MAYBE THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE WHO COULD SAY SOMETHING ABOUT THEMSELVES, HOW THEY COPE WITH THEIR HEARING LOSS AND SO FORTH.
Margaret went on to say that when her husband was still alive, she would have him answer the phone or make phone calls for her since she could not hear on the phone and they had not come out with the technology that we have now. When she would ask them what they had to say, he would reply 'Nothing much'. So much for trying to communicate via the phone for Margaret in those days...
I have learned more from this woman than from anyone else that I know. She always arrived at our meetings (she drove herself from Sullivan, WI) in a jovial mood with the latest news on what she had learned on hearing loss that month. She also attended the Lions Camp up in Resholt, WI every August for many years. She was known for her 'last night at camp strip tease act'. People are still talking about that lady in her 50's, 60's, 70's or 80's that would end up with only her long johns on and a feather boa.
Imagine living for all of those years and only being able to communicate with others by lipreading. This lady never got frustrated and is a true inspiration for all of us.
Margaret, we thank you for sharing with us all that you know so that we can also live a postive life and not let our 'invisible handicap' get the best of us. You are in our thoughts and prayers.
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
CART transcript provided by Margo Lucas, CART Provider for HLAA Lake Country Chapter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Used with permission from the HLAA Lake Country Group
This coming Sunday (10-18 8/7c) ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition will air the story of a recent simultaneous Nucleus Freedom (two cochlear implants) recipient. The story includes how this recipient lost and then regained his hearing with two cochlear implants. This is quite a story and one you will not want to miss. Please share this information with your family, friends, neighbors, and social network sites (facebook, forums, etc).
In addition, this show is a must see for those that have significant hearing loss. Join the estimated 12 million+ people who watch this show weekly to see this amazing story that will air this Sunday evening on your local ABC station.
Marshall Family The Texas home of a former SWAT team leader and his wife, a homicide detective, is rebuilt to solve rampant structural and accessibility issues.
For those of you with children in your life that either have hearing aids/cochlear implants or will be getting them, here's an interesting idea for you.
For a young child, getting hearing aids or to a much greater degree, a cochlear implant can be a very uncomfortable thing. In order to alleviate some of that stress, this might be a good option. As young children, most of us had a favorite doll or stuffed animal. Now, their 'best friend' can go through the process along with them. If your audiologist is willing, you can even take the 'application' with you when your child goes for his/her fitting.
Thanks to 'Listen Up' for the link!
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
Happened to find this blog/website today. And yes, I got permission from the 'owner' to post a link to it.
kokonutpundits has opinions just like I do that you may or may not agree with, but the main objective of writing my posts is to try and get as much information out there on hearing loss as possible. If any of you know of any other good websites, just let me know and after I check them for content, I'll be more than happy to post the link for the readers.
Have a great week!
As you all know, up here in Wisconsin, come September, the lovely wildlife tend to seek warmer havens. In other words, the mice show up!
Brian and I had to go out of town for a funeral this week and that left our 23 year old Grad student daughter on her own at home. Things were going great until Brian got a text message from her last night that said 'We Have Mice!".
A typical mouse is about 4" long. They are fast and tend to come out at night. We usually are alerted to their arrival by seeing one scamper across the floor. My family is petrified of mice! Period! So, where does that leave me? I have taken on the role of the mice exterminator. Not something that I tend to brag about at social gatherings.
We got home today and found a nicely baited mouse trap by Kristi's bedroom door. Upon going upstairs, we found doors closed with towels stuffed under them. As I checked our supply of traps in the garage, I found that all of them were missing. Interesting! Our daughter usually will not get within 10 feet of one of these things. We also learned upon her arrival from class that she had called her boyfriend over to help her out. He tried to 'catch' one with a jar and magazine. It eluded his efforts. I can just imagine the scenario based on how I've seen all of my family react to seeing these very dangerous animals. Screams, people on chairs, yells for Mom, you get the picture.
I even saw our 2 sons at one point a few years ago, standing on chairs with basketballs in their hands trying to 'take out' the unlucky vermin. Well, I've got a new way of handling this now. I've made my husband promise not to take any video of it though, because according to him, it's a sight to behold.
We were sitting in our livingroom tonight and one of the nasty things scampered across the floor. I had already set up mousetraps and put out D-Con in the garage. Even went so far as to put some of it up in the false ceiling in the basement and through the trapdoor to the attic. I've heard it said that you can hear mice in the walls. But, fortunately for me, I can't hear that soft of a noise. After 2 nights of hearing my family member(s) extoll the terror of having a relaxing evening invaded by the appearance of a mouse, you tend to go overboard on the extermination process. After all, as one of them said, "They have babies...A Lot!"
My husband put his feet up in his lazyboy and looked at me for help. I chased the darn thing down the hall and into the guest room. Lost him in there. So, I proceeded to put a towel under the door (what the heck, it might work!) and bait/set another trap. Opened the door to put it in there and figured I would hear it go off in the next few hours. Wrong.
About 15 minutes later, I heard my husband (have to think of a masculine way to explain this) squeal. His feet were once again up off of the floor and he pointed towards the couch and said, 'It's under there!". At this point, I was tired of chasing little furry creatures and went to the pantry (yes, there's also a mouse trap in there!) and got the big flyswatter. Came back into the livingroom and saw the little darling heading for the corner behind the television. Told my husband (who was still sitting in the chair with his feet off of the floor) to keep an eye on the other side of the television as I pulled it out from the wall.
There he was! Sitting amongst all of the cable, DVD and televison cords. So, I proceeded to 'lightly' hit him with the flyswatter. It worked! Only took (according to hubby) 25 swats. I guess that I looked pretty humorous doing this, because after he saw that the thing was dead (without a drop of blood anywhere), he started cracking up. Something about my butt jiggling as my arm was flying up and down swatting the poor thing. Ok, I guess it would have been pretty humorous to watch a 50 year old woman take on a 3 oz. mouse.
So, the little dickens is now sitting out in the front yard on the hill awaiting the appearance of another of our great wildlife (Mr. Owl) sometime this evening. Brian text messaged all of our kids and I'm now known as the killer of "Fievel who was trying to go West".
But, I know that both he and Kristi will sleep much better tonight knowing that there is one less 'monster' under their beds!
Have a great week!
Even if you are not religious, I would think that this would still get your blood pressure up. How on earth can the Catholic Church still dictate/instruct their members as to what is good and what is bad when some of the very people that were doing the instructing were breaking the moral/ethical code that they were preaching to be wrong? How many more predators are still out there and have access to children? How much more money will the Church have to pay out as more lawsuits are filed?
And, we've all heard about the new book that the Former Archbishop Rembert Weakland has written. I find it interesting that he thinks that the children that had experienced sexual molestation by a Priest would either 'forget about it or grow out of it'. You're kidding me, right?
For those of you not familiar with 'residential' centers for the deaf or for that matter any center or institution for the mentally handicapped, this was quite common in the previous years. In fact, there was a school for the Deaf temporarily closed this past Spring down in Louisiana for some similiar issues with the kids.
Unfortunately, these places were ripe for abuse. Most of them were run by the State and as such were overseen by those working for the State. If this is how the Government or Church handles making sure all children are safe, I think that there needs to be some serious rethinking of the policies.
Wouldn't it be nice if each State had a website that gave you the abuse reports/outcomes on any institution, school, camp or facility that will be used by children? We have the National Sex Offenders websites, how about some transparency when it comes to where we are sending our children?
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
After spending over 25 years raising kids and pinching pennies, the last couple of years have been spent figuring out what it is that I like to do in my free time. You've all heard the stories of the displaced moms/houswives wondering what the heck to do when the kids are either all gone or off to college. Well, I guess that I'd fit in that demographic.
Brian and I are pretty busy with work, but we were finding that while he had his 'guys' group to play basketball and fantasize about football, I had started becoming a homebody. Of course, if you have hearing loss, staying home is the safest way to go. It elimniates any frustrations with having to hear what is going on and being said around you.
This past weekend, our family decided to go down to Potawatomi Casino and play Bingo. I had never been there, but we've played Bingo here at home and I've never had a problem with it. I was actually looking forward to it!
Our daughter, Kristi had taken Brian down there back in January so she took the extra time to try and give me a perspective as to what I was getting into. Let me put it this way, playing Bingo in a big venue is not any where near close to doing it in your diningroom. Little did I know!
We left early since it was a Saturday night. For me to be up past 10pm is unusual. This session started at 11pm and was done at 2am. Are you kidding me? Don't these people sleep? We got there and Kristi guided me through the 'admissions' process. Lots of noise, lights and people. I could've just found a seat and watched all of the things going on. It's that interesting!
All was well as we found a table, went through all of the papers, picked our favorite color for a dauber, ect. I was noticing that there were quite a few people doing a lot of prep work and had no clue just what one would need to do to play 10 cards at a time. No sweat! I had new batteries in my hearing aids and the family promised to repeat a number that I didn't understand. Bring it on!
First game started and I was daubing at a feverish pitch. Looking up at the screen to make sure I got the number right (was having a hard time understanding some of them), verifying it at times with my family members and just generally driving them nuts. Of course, they were all being very supportive and not complaining.
As the first game progresses, I was noticing that I was getting pretty close to having a bingo based on the pattern that was flashing across the screens (you can win by having the pattern in a variety of places on your cards). All of a sudden, I realized I had a Bingo. WaHoo! I yelled Bingo and they came and took my sheet. They read my numbers over the microphone and the kids and Brian were telling me that it was going to be worth $200! Grocery Money!
As I was planning the many ways that I could use my share (we had decided that if any of us won we would split it 4 ways) when all of a sudden the announcer, in front of all of those people, said, "This is an invalid Bingo due to the fact that the next number was in the process of being called'. WHAT? I was embarassed. I was ticked. I was ready to take my dauber and shove it up someones' you know what.
The gentleman that had taken my sheet came back and upon seeing my confused look, asked if I knew what had happened (meanwhile, the game is continuing and I'm missing the called numbers). I told him that I had no idea what I did wrong. I also explained to him how I was 'getting' the numbers with my hearing loss. Visual Acuity comes in quite handy in this situation with the screens!
Once he realized that I really did have hearing loss and wasn't just another one of those crazy women, he suggested something that I wish I would have known about for our visit. They have these nifty little laptop sized gizmos. When the number is called you can choose from two versions. One has you punch in the number (not good in my case) and the other one has a flashing 'enter' light that lets you know when to push it for the called number to be electronically found on your 12 Bingo cards. Eureka!
For the additional $5 that it costs to do this, this is an amazing piece of technology. Brian and I went back last night and gave it a shot. You know the old saying of 'if you fall off the horse, get back on it'. Well, that's what I did. It would have been very easy for me to find an excuse not to put myself in that situation again, but I'm tired of being the one that stays home while everyone else goes out and has fun! After all, I'm 50 years old now. I don't have that much time left!
The 22 games were great. We didn't win anything, but the stress factor was non-existent. We were able to have a good time and not worry about if Tami heard the number correctly. It was a great 3 hours and I will once again need a nap today since we didn't get home until close to dawn. Very unusual behaviour for me, just ask my kids!
My thanks to Potawatomi for their staff taking the extra time to show me how this electronic device worked. At one point, we had 3 'assistants' coming by and checking to see if all was well. Just think of the problems I would have had if I'd decided to keep silent about my hearing loss? It would have meant more stress. No one should have to live with the apprehension of whether or not to ask a question for fear of bringing attention to what some perceive as a deficit.
Thank you to Kristi, John and Brian for being so patient and keeping 'Mom' out past her bedtime once again!
Have a great week!
Tonight! Just follow the instructions below if you are interested in participating!;
Reminder: Open Chat Night
Tomorrow night (Wednesday @ 7:00pm ET), join others in the hearing loss community for live chat online. This event will be a great way to meet others in our community. It's free and should be a great time!
Chat room link: (http://www.
Feel free to contact me with questions or comments.
See you there!
My blog: www.outerchat.com Message Board: www.outerdialog.com
Found some interesting articles on hearing loss for July. The link is below!
Have a great week!
For those of you that enjoy the online publication, ezine, this same company has now started a new online resource. The link is: http://www.clercscar.com/
They are also looking for writers, stories and articles of interest for this new venture. So, if you are thinking about telling your story, poem or sharing new information, feel free to join in!
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
Think about the physical activity that a child does! For those of you that have children that wear glasses, think of all of the times that you are spending looking for them or worrying about when they are running, jumping, climbing, ect.
Now, think about having a child that has a cochlear implant. Your child has a processor attached to the side of their head that is held on by a magnet. You are dealing with their hair, hats, headbands and yes, also the boundless energy that most children have. How on earth are you going to keep track of their ability to keep the processor attached along with the hearing aid and wire?
There's a Mom out there (in Australia) that has come up with a pretty neat idea to help solve this problem. Her daughter, Alyssa was born in 2002. She is profoundly deaf. Kyley, her mother, came up with an idea that enables her daughter to now participate in sports, gymnastics and live the physical life as a normal 7 year old.
For those of you wanting to know more about Alyssa's story, please click on the link below.
Sometimes, you just have to 'think outside of the box'!
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
Every once in a while, you hear about someone that irregardless of their disability goes on to do some pretty neat things. I recently learned of just such a person. His name was Paul Smith. He passed away in 2007, but there is now a foundation named for him to preserve his works. And, he's an artist. Here's the link to more information.
Sometimes the greatest tools for creativity are right in front of your nose...
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
For those of you looking for some unique products pertaining to the D/HOH world, please check Wayne and Ann Wicklunds' website out. Below is a little information on this rather 'busy' couple. The link to their website is: http://www.hearingimpaired.net/welcome.html
I know that there are a lot of 'bad' companies out there, but these two really do walk the walk when it comes to offering unique products for those of us in the hearing loss world. I've done business with them as well as visited their displays at different conventions. They know what they are talking about and customer service is one of their many 'pet peeves'!
Wayne and Anne Wicklund have found an area that has been long neglected. There are different aids for every handicap except hearing impaired. In 2001 Wayne began to lose his hearing - it didn't take long to realize that this invisible handicap was made more difficult by the people around him not understanding - even his friends said "he looks like he can hear!" I was never sure what that meant exactly. So we were determined to find a way to remind people to look at him directly and speak clearly so he could read their lips - we hope this helps you or someone you love.
When Wayne realized he could not hear as well as he should – he noticed there were things he was misunderstanding. He went to a celebrated Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, had surgery to correct blocked sinuses and was told there was nothing to be done for his hearing.
A couple of years after that, his hearing became worse – he went for a hearing test and discovered there WAS something that could be done. A technician was able to fit him for a hearing aid. However, within 2 years the hearing aid did not help. Feeling vulnerable and frustrated because no one understood that he could not hear – not family or friends – we determined to find a way to remind them. We developed a lapel pin to wear on his shirt so that people could see it and be alerted to the fact that they had to use special consideration when speaking with him. This led to a family of products and a new company was born. The products include lapel pins, window decals for car windows, door plaques for front door or office door, patches for jacket, vest or sweater, desk signs, etc. These are all products to aid the hearing impaired to cope with frustrations most of us cannot imagine. This is an invisible handicap that afflicts over 26 million Americans alone.
Snow works as a hearing dog. It was difficult to find products and services that help him do his job. It was becoming harder and harder to find the proper shoes to protect his paws, and vests to identify his job. Identification is very important if you want to go into restaurants and food stores. He decided to make his own - and being very stylish, they must match. And he was getting tired of the same old colors . . . and sometimes, he likes to color coordinate with his owner.
As circumstances changed, Snow began to work as a medical needs and mobility dog as well. These two are inseparable companions and share a bond that few people are ever lucky enough to experience.
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
I have never known what it was like to have 100% of my hearing because I have had mild to moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss since birth. My parents did not discover my hearing loss until I was three years old. Later in childhood I attended a special program for deaf and hard of hearing children which was my first experience being around others with hearing loss. I always remember the day when I had to wear a box with a transmitter and receiver so that the teachers could communicate with me easily.
I started my hearing loss community because it gave me an opportunity to reach out to other people with hearing loss that may have had similar experiences: feeling like an outsider because you are constantly surrounded by people who have not experienced the challenges of living with hearing loss. I created this online community because I have been a web designer for many years so I used my expertise to create a site dedicated to hearing loss. I’d like other people with hearing loss to realize that they are not alone with their experiences and struggles dealing with their condition and that there are others out there who have similar experiences.
These are some of the features of my website (www.IAmHearingImpaired.Com):
Hearing Impaired Chat
People join my community because they want to chat with others and share their experiences. You cannot find many chat rooms on the Internet that is not specifically related to hearing loss. I will have an open night chat for all of my members to discuss certain topics and get to know one another.
Useful Information and Online Directory
My website will serve as a resource to people with hearing loss. My objective is to allow anyone to post useful information, articles, and any topics that will be helpful. I am also in the process of building a directory for schools and Audiologists in USA so people can contact reliable places in their area.
Outerdialog.Com Message Board
My message board is open to anyone to ask questions and get answers on issues regarding hearing loss. I found that lots of people have questions for Audiologists. I’m starting a forum for people to freely ask the Audiologist and hoping to get more of them to answer their questions.
My Blog on Outerchat.Com
I created a personal blog to express my inner thoughts, feelings, and stories about my hearing loss with hopes of creating a great place that will benefit everyone.
I also created online social communities in www.myspace.com/outerchat and a Facebook group called “I Am Hearing Impaired”. I have over 700 members and growing. I am meeting lots of interesting people and making new friends.
Please get involved and help me make this a great place for hearing impaired and deaf people. I also invite teachers, audiologists, ASL interpreters, and parents who have kids with hearing loss to become part of my community. I know we can make a positive influence in our lives by sharing our experiences.
I've had mild to moderate bilateral sensorineural hearing loss all of my life. My parents didn't know about my hearing problem until I was 3 years old. They found out after taking me to an ENT specialist because I wasn't speaking clearly. I started my education by attending hearing impaired classes at Lowell Elementary school in Waukesha, WI. By the time I graduated from Elementary school, the teachers integrated me with regular students. After high school, I went to UW-Milwaukee and earned a 4-year degree in Arts/Graphic Design. I am now working as a full-time Web designer and enjoy doing creative things.
I created a personal blog to share my hearing loss story (http://www.outerchat.com/?p=11). Feel free to contact me at: email@example.com.
For those of you out there looking for some additional information and/or support, here's a really neat website that offers both! They average 850,000 visitors a month and have all of the latest news and information on a lot of topics including living with hearing loss. The link below will take you to the Hearing Loss/Deafness area of the website. There is no charge to become a member and you can 'post' your stories, questions and advice on hearing loss.
Have a great week!
Copyright 2009 Tami Klink
As many of you know, it's very hard to find personal stories on living with Tinnitus. I've found a website based in the UK that has quite a few of them. The link is below.
Have a great week!
All names and towns have been changed to further protect the identity of the person that has graciously given me permission to tell their story to all of you. Thanks to all that have sent me their stories. I will continue to edit and post them as time allows.
Gina is a 48 year old woman living in California with her husband and 2 college aged children. She has had hearing loss for the past 10 years. She wears 2 digital BTE (behind the ear) hearing aids and likes to think that she has been very proactive on dealing with her hearing loss.
About 2 years ago, when the youngest child left for college, Gina noticed that she was no longer actively participating in life. The things that used to bring her joy, didn't have the same effect on her anymore. She was much more content to just stay at home and 'be safe'. She attributed this to the kids being gone as well as having more time to herself. For many years, she was busy with the kids schedules and never gave a second thought to being in the public arena with hearing loss at her side. Now, that the schedule has pretty much dwindled down to nothing, she feels like she is in a rut.
Her husband has continued on with his daily life and she feels like she is being left behind. She's not having days of just wanting to stay in bed, but her energy level has dropped and she find that she is putting off things to tackle on another day. Her house is not as organized as it once was and she finds no joy in going out with her other friends for coffee or shopping trips. She's also noticed that if she is at home, she tends not to put in her hearing aids since no one is there. What was once a daily thing, is now not even thought about unless her husband, upon arriving home from work, asks her if she has her hearing aids in.
After much prodding from him, she did make a doctors' appointment to see if maybe she was having some depression issues. The doctor unfortunately offered to give her some medication, but really didn't seek to find the whole story. Gina took the pills for about a week and noticed that they really made her feel out of touch and wanting to take quite a few naps during the day. So, she stopped taking them. This eliminated the 'zone' that she was in, but put her right back where she started in that she still was not 'feeling' happy or useful.
It would be another 4 months before the kids came back for the summer from College, so Gina just chalked it up to the winter doldrums. But, deep down, she knew something was not right. She made an effort to have her hearing aids in when her husband got home from work, but there were still times when she forgot which caused her husband to get a little irritated with her. The Valentines' Day decorations were still up in the house when Easter came around and everyone who knew Gina, got the feeling that things weren't right in her world.
When the kids went back to school in the Fall, Gina had gotten to the point where she was now having more bad days than good ones. The time came for her annual Hearing Evaluation and even though her loss had not changed, the audiologist that had seen her for the past 15 years could tell that she was just not herself. So, he suggested that she join a support group that met in his office once a month. Gina had never done this before and wasn't quite sure she really needed it. After all, who really wants to sit around with a bunch of old people and talk about all of the negative things going on in your life?
The day arrived and reluctantly, Gina went. Upon arrival to the meeting, she was very surprised to see people of all ages there. Maybe this would not be as bad as she thought it was going to be...
The group started with introductions and once it got to Gina, she was starting to realize that these people might be able to give her a few tips on things that she just had not thought about when dealing with her hearing loss. One of the other women started talking about how hard it was to stay on task when the house was empty. Gina could certainly relate to this! Once the kids had left for college, she really didn't have anything to do except clean the house and then sit around being bored. If you don't have anyone around you all day, you tend to get out of the real world. Gina didn't like to watch TV that much and she knew that most of her other friends worked or volunteered. She realized that during the past 20 years, she had focused on the 'now' and forgotten to plan for the future. Boy, did she have a lot of work to do!
She got home from the meeting and started to make some notes on things that she had always wanted to do. There had never been any time for them since she had the kids to take care of and before she knew it the years had flown by and there she was....sitting and twiddling her thumbs. She started talking to her husband about her ideas and he was very supportive in helping her to figure out a way to start doing some of them.
Fast forward to a year later and Gina is now back in the mix. She's started working part-time at a flower shop and feels like she is doing something constructive again. She still has to deal with the daily frustrations of hearing loss, but finds that given the choice, she would much rather be 'among the living' vs. wondering what she is going to do to help the day pass faster.
In retrospect, she now knows that no matter how good of a wife and mother she was, she forgot to think about herself. This may sound selfish to those of you that don't understand, but there are a lot of people out there without hearing loss that find themselves in the same predicament. You spend your years taking care of the family and one day wake up and realize that it's time to move on. But, you forgot to get on the bus for that phase of life.
Gina loves the fact that she can now 'smell the roses'.
Have a great week!
Copyright 2008 Tami Klink
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