Category Archives: Family

The Products I Hate to Admit to Owning (but they Actually Work)

American television is full of infomercials. Early risers and night owls are most often subjected to these gems, but all of us will see more than we care to in our lifetimes. Some of these infomercials stick with us. Those are usually the ones with those catchy tunes or hilarious one-liners that we find ourselves singing in the shower or doing impressions of in bars. None of us imagine that we will buy these items, but once in a while we get suckered in and we find ourselves forking over credit card numbers. Most of the time this ends up being a huge mistake, but sometimes we get lucky and we find something we simply could not live without.

The first infomercial product I own is a little embarrassing to admit to. The advertisements for this product are so notorious that I can almost guarantee you will have the jiggle for it stuck in your head when you finish reading this post. Yes, I must admit, I am the proud owner of a clapper. I have to tell you this thing is awesome. A few years ago I bought my husband this really awesome lamp made out of deer sheds. (Those are the antlers that bucks shed every winter.) For years, this lamp sat unused in the corner because my husband and I were both too lazy to get up and turn it on and off, but now thanks to the clapper, the lamp is finally getting used. I simply clap my hands from anywhere in the room and the light will turn on and off. Of course my husband still hasn’t figured out how to do it, but I am sure he will catch on at some point.

Another popular subject for infomercials is exercise equipment. These infomercials can be hard not get suckered into, after all, who among us doesn’t want that hot bod we see on TV. I was no exception; I purchased the Bender Ball in the early morning hours in the summer of 2007. The whole time, I was telling myself how stupid I was, but as it turned out I was presently surprised. The Bender Ball is a small exercise ball that will reportedly give you rock hard abs. While I can’t speak to that, I will say that this little ball does make sit-ups and crunches easier to execute while still giving me a great ab workout.

The products in infomercials are notoriously cheesy, and it is a little embarrassed to admit to owning a few of these items, but I must admit that they are very helpful in living my unlimited life. Next time you find yourself awake at 3 in the morning, forgo the netflix and check out an infomercial, you might discover something really great.

Learning to Ride a Bike

My Dad has always been a huge supporter of me living an “unlimited life”. He never wanted me to be left out of anything because of my disability. When I was little he would help me climb into trees and forts, he took me ice skating and sledding, He and Mom bought me a swing for the backyard play set, and helped my climb a rock wall at fifth grade camp. He has put me on a horse and a Harley – Davidson; he even tried to take me on a helicopter, but mom put the kibosh on that one.

The thing that sticks out the most in my memory, however, was Dad’s campaign to get me on a bike. This campaign lasted well through high school, but it started when we were four and my twin sister and I got big wheels for Christmas. In case you didn’t know, twins always get the same Christmas gifts, it’s in the twin handbook. So even though there seemed to be no physical way for me to ride a big wheel, my dad saw this as a challenge, instead of a hindrance. When my feet kept slipping off the pedals he simply screwed a pair of my tiny shoes to the bike; which solved the slipping issue, but not the coordination issue.

Next, Dad tried a go-cart. He took the wheels off my big sister’s Radio Flyer wagon, a fact she is still slightly perturbed about, and made the body out of wood. He painted the whole thing bubblegum pink, strapped me in using an old belt and sent me off down a hill. It took me approximately six seconds crash into the curb. Turns out, I couldn’t steer, and Dad forgot to add brakes.

When I was 11 or 12 years old, my Mom found an old adult tricycle with a motor and gifted it to me. The motor was shot, but we put some Velcro straps on the pedals, and we found that I could propel myself if I was given a push to get started. That summer, my sister and I spent a lot of time on that bike; we would walk around the block with it, and when we got to the big hill at the top, she would jump in the basket and we would go flying down the hill. I never used the brakes, but I didn’t hit any curbs either. I grew stronger, but I still had trouble with the hills and inclines, so we rigged a pulley system that would help in pulling my legs up, which was where I was having trouble.

It is funny now to look back on these memories; nowadays they have all sorts of adapted cycles for those with and without disabilities. I can just imagine my dad saying to himself, why didn’t I think of that? But his efforts were not in vain; it is from him that I learned how a little creativity and hard work goes a long way, and that as long as you keep trying, you’re bound to get it right eventually.

Maid of Honor: Wheelchair Style

Next Saturday my little sister is getting married. Yes, the little munchkin who was born when I was in first grade is marrying the love her life. And she’s been in quite the epic romance. This wedding is a longtime coming.

My sister is marrying her longtime boyfriend who she met in high school, eighth grade actually, and they’ve never dated anybody else.  This doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, it’s 100% real.

So when my sister asked me to be her Maid of Honor earlier this year I was thrilled. I haven’t however ever been a Maid of Honor until now. All of the responsibilities, formalities and traditions that a Maid of Honor carries out is something I’m learning on the fly, but when it’s your sister, everything is that much more important. I also feel an extra sense of responsibility in making sure I’m a fabulous Maid of Honor because of my disability, and here’s why.

I was injured when I was 14 years old and my sister was only 8. I’ve have always felt I short-changed her in some ways by not giving her the full able-bodied sister experience she deserved – being able to go on bike rides with her, waterskiing together, none of that ever happened because of my paralysis. I’ve sometimes felt like even though I’m the oldest sister, she’s been more of the older sister because she’s had take on more responsibilities. So naturally, since I’ve always felt guilty over this, I’m determined to be the best Maid of Honor as humanly possible.

And to be a great Maid of Honor requires you to know the bride intimately, to anticipate what she needs before she asks so you can make her day as perfect as possible. You should remind her that she’s beautiful, give her the creature comforts she needs to feel ready to walk the aisle.  It’s a lot of planning. Sure, I can’t do some of the physical deeds of a Maid of Honor such as holding her train, but I can hold her bouquet on my lap perfectly.

Possibly the most important task of the Maid of Honor however is to give a speech at the reception.  I’ve been working on this for awhile, trying to make sure I say everything that needs to be said (I would feel so bad if I forgot a funny story and didn’t include it).The purpose of a Maid of Honor speech of course is to talk about why the new couple are going to be so happy. Stories and memories you have of them during their courting that are indelibly romantic are highly encouraged.  Pretty much anything that can make the crowd laugh or cry is a winner.

I think though that looking the part will be the most stressful of all.  I want to look perfect in the photos, and that requires a lot of annoying chores that must be done to the body. A good fake tan is a must, and I always reach for Jergen’s NaturalGlow.  It’s not easy getting your lower legs naturally tan can when you’re sitting down and pasty white skin is not attractive, I don’t care what Dita von Teese says.

5 minute teeth whitening gel is also my secret go-to beauty enhancer, and it’s a lot cheaper than those white strips you can buy. I will be applying this gel all week  every time I brush my teeth. And last but not least, a good foundation. I’m a big fan of L’Oreal’s Airbrush Perfect Foundation, mainly because of the word “perfect” in the title heh. This stuff makes your skin look great in photos.

At the end of the day however, we must brush vanity aside and enjoy the day for what it is – the coming together of two souls that can’t live without one another so. Gosh, talk about romantic. To see who has helped me through so many rough times join herself to the perfect man is truly one of those life moments that transcends disability.

Congrats sis xxoo.

Have you been in a wedding party? How were your responsibilities different because of your disability?

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

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