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Thursday, June 23, 2011

LIFTing Spirits

How do you like my new swimming pool?

Well, at least it will be a swimming pool for a few more days...and then it turns into my BASEMENT!  That's right, folks, the house-building has begun!  I told Richard that he now officially could NOT lose his job, ha!

It's been a bit of a rough week on the house-building front.  We were hoping to start construction at the beginning of June, but were delayed by the "City" (it's still ironic to me that our town of 13,000 people is considered a city...).  Our contractor called us up late last week and started the conversation with these words:

I've got some bad news.  The City doesn't like your blueprints.

K, what?!

Long story short (read: I don't understand half of this, since it has to do with numbers and math) is that our yard has to drain back to front, instead of front to back, as we first thought.  In order for the correct drainage to happen, we had to change the grade and slope of our lot. 

Seems like a simple fix, right?

Sure, if you're building a normal house.  The kind of house that EVERYBODY ELSE can build.  A house with no wheelchair ramp.

But, that's not us, is it?  And the slope of the garage is a HUGE deal for the wheelchair ramp.  Every inch of slope requires a certain amount of ramp-length.  In order to fit the ramp into our garage with the new slope, the ramp would have to extend OUTSIDE.  I am not going to make my kid walk outside in the snow and minus 40 degree weather in order to get to the 17-mile long wheelchair ramp.

We tried and tried to come up with a viable ramp solution, but given the fact that our house is pushing all size limits of our lot (we REALLY like our location...which happens to come with a small(er) lot), it just couldn't be done.

So, now, instead of a ramp in the garage, we have a wheelchair LIFT.  Ellie will walk or wheel her way to the house door, get onto a lift, push the button, and be hoisted up to the door level (it's a mini-elevator).  It's a perfectly fine solution and may even be easier and quicker than a wheelchair ramp.

But, at $10,500, it's a heckuva lot more expensive.

You read that right: over TEN GRAND.


These are the moments where my head and heart wage war.  In my head, I know that I should be thankful that Richard and I have jobs, that we live in a country where wheelchair lifts are available, that we've been blessed with the financial ability to build a new house, etc, etc.  But, in my heart, I just want to scream, "Why does everyone else get to just build a house?"

Just build a house...

And not worry about wheelchair ramps.  And not worry about where the controls on the oven are, in hopes that Ellie will one day be able to make her own Kraft Dinner.  And not worry about the threshold dimensions into the accessible shower.  And not worry about the diameters of doorways and hallways.  And not worry about how their child(ren) will get down to the rec room in the basement.  And not worry about the occupational therapist looking at every single revision of the blueprint, to make triple-sure that the house is as accessible as possible.

And spend $10,500 on 3 separate trips to the Caribbean instead of on a blasted wheelchair lift.

It's frustrating.  And, yet, as soon as the thoughts are spewed from my brain, I realize that I am being selfish and ungrateful.  I want to consider it a blessing and honor to do this for Ellie, who is so worth it.  I don't ever want her to feel as if she is to "blame". 

Sometimes, though, it's a struggle to think of this as a blessing.  Sometimes, I wish we were like everybody else.

But, hey, everybody else doesn't have such a cool-lookin' swimming pool, do they?!


Mo said...

And truthfully, not everybody else has a kiddo as neat and as cute and as worth it as yours. Your Ellie ROCKS.

Sheila said...

Wow! What a drag! But what a nice pool! ;) And I agree, nobody has a kiddo as cute as Ellie!

Amy said...

I agree to with the Ellie cuteness. It all sounds exciting to, minus the glitches. The wheelchair lift sounds cool. Well, that is, as wheelchair lifts go. I have to get to work on something around here, and I am eagerly awaiting your home completion. I am hoping to still some ideas.

Amy said...

Above, I meant "sounds exciting to me." Guess that made some sense anyway, huh?

Richelle Loughney said...

Hi Chrystie! I'm also excited for your swimming pool. I imagined having fun and soaking in the pool while under the heat of the afternoon sun. Who designed the pool?