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Where is Gooserider?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by mgwmgw, Mar 4, 2010.

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  1. szmaine

    szmaine New Member

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    Cool - I'm glad you wrote - it's an interesting project.
    Let us know if anything comes of it!

    Yes, very ready for spring here too.

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  2. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Been a while, so I thought I should check in and give folks a status update... Health-wise I'm doing reasonably well, my general pain levels are down quite a bit, though I'm still doing a LOT of meds, and probably will need some of them for life... Getting off the Fentanyl patch back at the end of last year seems to have really helped, I am generally feeling less "blurry" and Mary-Anne tells me that I'm a lot nicer to be around. (bad temper is a reported side effect of the patch) My ribs seem to have healed up reasonably well, and my shoulder doesn't bother me most of the time. Only really serious issue is still my ongoing search for a wheelchair seat cushion that is comfortable for extended periods. I'm trying a couple of different ones now, will see how they do...

    Possibly bordering on TMI, but I finally had my first colonoscopy, which showed no issues. I did have to go into the hospital overnight so they could do my "cleanout" there - since I have little control over the relevant function, it was decided that I should be in the hospital rather than having to spend excessive amounts of time sitting on the commode char and risking getting pressure sores from it. No big problems, and minimal drugs, so I actually got to watch the display screen as they were doing the process - sort of cool in a way, but I don't want to repeat anytime soon...

    The other big news is that I am now working with Mass. Rehab in an effort to get me training and equipment needed to get me back into the workforce. My counselor agreed that in order to do much in this direction I needed a better way to get around than relying on the uncomfortable and not all that reliable paratransit services... So first item on the list is to get me back on the road in my own wheels... In order to start this off, I just had a "driving evaluation" done, where a driving teacher came to our house with a very fancy van that was set up with just about every kind of adaptive gear that a handicapped person might need, even a joystick rig... He interviewed me for a while about my particular problems, and came up with a set of recommendations about what sort of setup I would need. After that we went out to the van, and he set it up with a configuration that roughly matched his idea of my needs, gave me a bit of training on it, and we then went out for a drive around town. I didn't cause to many heart attacks %-P so I've been OK'd to get a vehicle... Recommended setup was a mini-van w/ a 10" dropped floor, automatic door and side access ramp, drive from the wheelchair, with a left hand spinner knob w/ secondary control buttons, and a right hand throttle / brake, with the throttle set up with a twist grip (in light of my MC experience) Next step is to get a vendor chosen, who will give us a set of specs for the vehicle. After we buy the vehicle, it will get sent off to a company that does this sort of conversion. When it comes back, I get some more training in how to drive it, and see what it takes to get my license reactivated (currently I'm under suspension for medical reasons, this was triggered when I applied for an HP placard, then failed to show up for a "competency test")

    After they get me some wheels, the plan is to send me to school for a while to see if I can get a degree of some sort. Right now I'm thinking in terms of some sort of engineering, but not sure what sort of specialty I should look at - possibly something in either electronics or mechanical... I know that I don't want to end up driving a desk, I want to be able to spend at least some of my time building something physical....

    I have broached the idea of a standing chair to my counselor, arguing that if I am going to end up doing stuff in a shop, then it would be far easier / cheaper to make me able to stand than it would be to make the shop tools "wheelchair accessible"... He agreed with my argument, and said that it might be possible, but would be a tough sell, and would take a while...

    In the meantime, I've been looking at a UK based site, WheelchairDriver.com, who's owner makes a very good case that for many reasons, the wheelchair industry actually does a very poor job of serving the needs of the handicapped community, especially those of us (like me) who have less severe handicaps. The powerchairs you can buy are in his opinion to big, to slow, to difficult to control, and have inadequate suspensions, among other defects... He has been doing some amazing stuff with reworking old powerchairs to make them into much more suitable vehicles for use in the real world. I'm thinking it would be a nice challenge to try to create a similar chair, and use it as a base to build my own standing chair... The biggest issue is that the Wheelchair Driver designs are based on a UK only model chair, so I will either have to try to import the needed bits, or find a similar US chair and come up with my own design...

    On the not so good news front, Mary-Anne had finally found a job a while back, but it seems that her employer has finished the project she was working on, and rather than hiring her permanently as we had expected, is letting her go next week... So she is shortly to be back among the unemployed. Anybody need a good senior software engineer, primarily Java, but can do other stuff as well?

    Ex-Gooserider
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Great to hear from you Goose. Been wondering what was going on and worrying about the worst. I won't be nuts enough to try to tell you how to do things but just wish you the best.

    And make sure I am not on MA roads when you are testing out the vehicle. ;-)

    Get back here more often buddy. We miss ya.
  4. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Oh, almost forgot to mention the other bit of bad news... The winter storms have done me a significant amount of damage... Both my portable garage (one of the big green tent style units) and my little tin storage shed (a 10 x 12 Home Depot unit) have collapsed under the snow loads... Need to figure out ways to fix / replace them....

    Hopefully nothing to critical will be damaged severely.

    Most of the stuff in the portable garage is the sort of thing that's reasonably tolerant of getting wet, and I don't think the tent part has actually ripped anywhere, just all the poles under it have collapsed.

    OTOH, I had a lot of tools and hardware in the tin shed, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to find that there is some significant water leakage in it. The only thing that might save me is that I had some steel shelves along one side with most of the "good stuff" on them - it looks from a distance (I can't reach it, to much snow...) like the shed has sort of wrapped around the shelves so that they are now one of the high points of the structure, and that may cause most of the leakage to run elsewhere... The other good thing is that many of the tools were somewhat surplus, many of them came from my late father's estate and sort of duplicated what I already had... I was using the shed mostly for storage of redundant stuff and my miscellaneous hardware collection...

    Will have to deal with whatever has happened to the stuff in both sheds...

    Ex-Gooserider
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Oh I can relate to the shed collapses big time. Except that the three that fell in on me in the back to back three foot snow falls last year all contained a fortune in carrier class telcom equipment that I broker. I spent most of the summer with us tearing the stuff apart to sell it to a scrap recycler for a fraction of what I paid for it. And a bazillion under what it would bring shipped. A lot of which already was advertised and had offers.

    But it also marked the end of my messing with that stuff and the official start of my delayed retirement.
  6. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Actually BB, I did pretty well considering that the setup I had to use was exactly opposite the way I've been driving for years... I've never been a two handed driver except when I was in a vehicle that required it - I always felt like I was fighting myself. Instead I would use my left hand on the wheel and leave the right hand free for other stuff.

    The evaluation guy said his right hand control wasn't working right, so he had to set me up with a left hand throttle / brake and put the spinner on the right, so I was not only having to get used to a new control interface, but also deal with having to steer with the "wrong" hand. On top of that, I haven't driven ANYTHING in almost a year, and while you don't forget, the skills do get rusty.... I had a couple of issues with "over controlling" on the steering which weren't to bad, though they looked scary. The only really bad one was when I missed a stop sign, mostly because I was talking when I should have been watching.... OTOH, even with the strange controls, in each of the scary spots, I at least was hitting the brake at the same time the instructor was - he said he couldn't tell which of us hit it first....

    He said that he considered the stop sign to be a bit of a fluke, and that otherwise I seemed like a good and careful driver - could have been a lot worse for sure...

    Ex-Gooserider
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Many years ago I was judged to be the least drunk of the gang going home in a gals handicap control equipped car. That was the longest drive of my life and everybody was some degree of sober by the time I got us home. That stuff is touchy!
  8. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    OUCH... Having worked in that field years ago (started at Boston Technology just before it was acquired by Comverse Network Systems) I can sympathize - I used to be one of the test techs that tortured each of our telco voice-mail systems before it shipped, if we couldn't break it then it must have been good stuff.... I also had a rough idea of what the stuff cost...

    As an interesting side note, Comverse, in addition to their being the biggest player in the enhanced messaging service field, also has a big part in running the SS7 switching network that all of the US telco system relies on (and much of the rest of the world for that matter) - one of the stories circulating about 9/11 on the conspiracy side, was that the Israeli's were listening in on the relevant gov't phone calls. Given what I know of their corporate involvement, and what CAN be done w/ SS7 stuff, it was one of the stories that seemed more possible to me, though I have no idea if it was the case, or what difference it would have made if it was....

    Ex-Gooserider
  9. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Depends a lot on the gear, plus (even more) what you are used to... Every setup is pretty heavily customized to match the needs / abilities of the user. Given that many HP folks have limited strength, and / or range of motion, many of their controls have to be made with limited travel and / or "reduced effort", both of which will make them quite touchy to put it mildly... OTOH, since I have normal strength and range of motion in my arms, I didn't get that stuff turned on in my setup. I wouldn't say that my controls were any touchier than normal foot controls, it was just different to be using my hand instead of my foot.,,, However I had to push about as far, and about as hard on the control (forward for gas, down for brakes) as I would have with my foot. It was mostly just a matter of learning where the engagement point is for the brakes and how the engine responded to the gas... That part of it I found no worse than the first mile or so in a rental car.... The spinner knob on the steering took a bit of getting used to, but again wasn't that bad...

    The other thing is that with a setup like I'll be getting, is that the foot controls will still be there, and operate normally. The standard advice for people with my sort of setup is to tell any able bodied drivers to just ignore the hand controls and use the pedals. Those with more severe issues, especially when you start getting into the electronic assist type of setups, the pedals don't work any longer, so you have to use the adaptive controls which can be scary at best...

    It can even be scary on a smaller scale level - there is a certain amount of combined amusement and concern when I go on one of my medical appointments and they have me get on an exam table (I often end up in the OB/GYN room as those tables are set up to be lowered further, so I can transfer) and I then get to watch the nurse try to work my power chair joystick to move the chair out of the way... Even with the speed cranked down all the way, a powerchair can be scary...

    Gooserider
  10. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Goose, i was not able to help during the previous work days due to well work. However at the moment i am laid off and would be happy to volunteer some time to come help out with whatever needs to be done. I am over in Palmer ma a small bit away but with a little planning could easily make the trip and put in a few hours doing whatever needs to be done.

    Please PM me and we can go from there
    Tim
  11. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Good to hear from you Goose. Keep us posted.
  12. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Sweet offer(s)....

    Please allow Hearth.com to pay some gas and food money and maybe a bit for any supplies or materials which might be needed.....just PM me (anyone)....if anything is coming together.
  13. seige101

    seige101 Minister of Fire

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    Perhaps we can talk to Goose and try and organize another day sometime soon? Perhaps a new sticky in the most viewed forums so everyone can see it? Lets get the ball rolling again!
  14. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Another "day" would be great... My feeling is that in order to do very much good, we should wait until the snow is off the ground - right now the tin shed is pretty unreachable, as it never did get a path cleared to it all winter. The portable tent garage is also in pretty bad shape - the front door is clear, but the sides and back are all still 2-3' deep in snow, not to mention the stuff still on the collapsed part of the roof....

    If nothing else, I figure that the snow needs to be gotten rid of so that we can do whatever clearing away and rebuilding is indicated....

    The other thing I feel we need to really nail down before pulling folks in for a gathering is to really nail down a solid plan of what needs to be done - do we try to repair the buildings, or replace them? If repair, then how, and if replace, with what?

    I haven't been able to do a detailed evaluation of either building, but I'm not sure either would be practical to repair...

    The tin shed's walls are still mostly standing, at least on the two sides I can see, but the roof is seriously caved in. While it might be possible to brace it up on the inside with some wood, I have serious doubts about whether it would be possible to flatten out the metal enough to make it really weathertight. It was not a hugely expensive building - my recollection was that the kit was around $5-600 a few years ago, plus another couple hundred for the plywood and 2 X 8 base that it's sitting on (It would be nice to make a ramp so I can get into it as part of the repairs) My recollection is that it's a 10'w x 12 or 16' long, gambrel roof, w/ sliding doors on one short side...

    The portable garage is more of a mixed bag. It is one of the Shelter-logic / CoverIt brand tents, IIRC, 12 x 24 or something like that. I bought it second hand and have had it for several years. The tent fabric hasn't ripped that I've noticed, but it was starting to wear a bit thin in places after several years of use - I was noticing an increasing amount of condensation / leakage on the inside of the tent, but it still kept stuff dryer than being outside... However it appears that all but possibly one of the metal tube frames that holds the thing up has collapsed. presumably bending in the process... I'd be really surprised if the pipes could be straightened and still have any strength left in them... Looking on the ShelterLogic website, I can't find the exact match, but they have a similar style unit for about $400 plus shipping...

    The only thing that might be good to do sooner is to try and clear out the tin shed, but I don't know that doing so would be a real advantage since anything water sensitive has probably already been soaked, and it would be a problem to get to it because of the snow as I mentioned...

    Ex-Gooserider
  15. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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  16. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Hadn't seen that one, though I sleep on a mattress overlay that is sort of the same idea, very mixed feelings about it, as it isn't real comfortable, and the surface is difficult to move around on because the pressure moves under you every time you push down on it...

    The general feeling seems to be that the powered cushions are mostly saved for those who are either more severely handicapped, or who have had lots of pressure sore problems (each of which costs several thousands more than even the fanciest of cushions, which could arguably have prevented them... They also have issues with the added weight / bulk of the pump, limited battery life, and so forth. I would prefer to avoid going to a power cushion if I can.

    I'm trialing a couple of different cushions right now, with the idea of seeing if either will work for me. I've sort of decided that one of them is not much of an improvement. There is a third cushion called a Stimulite that I've seen a LOT of enthusiastic reviews on and I'd like to try it, but it seems to be hard to get one on a trial basis...

    Part of the problem I seem to have is that most of the cushions on the market are pretty much non-porous and minimally ventilated, so they trap moisture from sweat between butt and cushion. Moisture acts as an irritant, and also weakens the skin. I seem to sweat more than most, or at least I find that when I get out of the chair, my pants are very damp on my sitting surfaces... The Stimulite cushion claims to be made of a silicone rubber honeycomb that is supposed to do an extra good job of pressure distribution, and is both better ventilated than most other cushions, and actually functions as a sort of forced ventilation system driven by movement compressing and releasing the honeycomb cells...

    Ex-Gooserider
  17. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Ja, they say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the end, it wasn't Kryptonite that did in Superman.

    I look at those beaded seat cushions that a lot of taxi drivers use and wonder how effective and comfortable they are.
  18. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    One could make jokes about how so many non-english speaking persons can't be wrong, %-P but...

    My understanding is that the beaded cushions work well for AB folks because you move around a lot w/o really being aware of it, so you get plenty of ventilation, and a certain amount of massage action from your movements. The down side is that they do create lots of small pressure points, but movement keeps shifting them around so it isn't a big deal.

    OTOH, paras (and worse) essentially can't and don't move except by deliberate conscious effort... One of the things that we get drummed into us in rehab is the need to deliberately do "pressure relief" every 15-20 minutes at a minimum, so as to allow increased blood flow into the pressure point areas. This is especially critical for the ASIA-A, or "complete" folks who don't have any feeling below their injury level. I'm an ASIA-B, or "incomplete" para, in that while I don't have any significant motor control, I do have some sensation, so I get uncomfortable if I go to long w/o pressure relief, which means I don't have to watch the clock as much.

    My suspicion is that the small pressure points of the beaded cushion would cause sores quite quickly because I wouldn't be moving around enough. All I will say in addition is that I have never seen or heard of ANYONE in a wheelchair using a beaded cushion - although there is a huge diversity in cushions otherwise... One catalog site I tend to use as a reference source is Sportaid.com - They list around a dozen manufacturers, each of which usually has multiple pages of cushion models... (and no beaded ones) It can be a real challenge to find one that fits you well...

    ex-Gooserider
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    It is good to hear from you Goose and hear of your plans for the future.
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks, I'm getting optimistic about spring finally getting here - still lots of snow outside, but it is melting (slowly) and our sump pump (something else that needs attention) has started going nuts, which usually means that winter will be ending soon...

    Ex-Gooserider
  21. jbrown56

    jbrown56 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Goose,

    The seat on my chair is made by Amy Seating Systems and the cushion is made by Curve. The cushion has worked out good for me. Fortunately, I'm relatively light at 150 lbs. and can stand every few hours for a short period. Good luck with your van. We bought a leftover 2008 Honda Touring from NE wheels in Billerica two years ago. They've been great with help and service. It's been pretty much trouble free. I'm just a passenger because my hands are pretty much useless. Unsafe for me to drive.

    Jim
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for the good review on NE Wheels, I've seen mixed reviews on them over on "Wheelchair Junkie" - mostly someone that didn't like their salesguy, not a lot on their service.... It's kind of strange, but they are the closest place to me, but we haven't been there yet. Part of it is that they don't seem to be open on Saturdays or the holidays that Mary-Anne has had off. Now that she is losing her job, which isn't a good thing, we will probably be able to go there next week some time.

    Gooserider
  23. Dune

    Dune Minister of Fire

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    Why don't we schedule a day soon, in other words try to pick a date soon, early or mid spring would be good.
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Sounds reasonable to me...

    Since the stuff to do is pretty much all outside, what makes sense to me is to try for a Saturday, w/ Sunday as the rain date if Saturday is not decent weather (not sure what to do if Sunday is also bad, go for the next weekend?)

    Looking at my calendar, I have stuff booked already for the last two Saturdays in March, but don't have anything for April yet... Seems like later in the month probably has better odds of decent weather. The 23rd would have Easter as a rain date, which is not good... Therefore, I'd suggest the 9th or 16th as the primary day, w/ rain dates of the 10th or 17th. The 17th is Palm Sunday, but my impression is that is not a majorly celebrated day, so it's less of an issue...

    Thoughts???

    Suggestions on plans as to what should be done? (I will try to get some photos over the weekend so that folks can see what the damage looks like....)

    Ex-Gooserider
  25. Shari

    Shari Minister of Fire

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    Hey, Goose, did you check with your homeowners insurance to see if they will cover damage to your sheds and/or contents?
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