Thursday, August 29, 2013

On Lockdown with Heroes

Tuesday I was at the SFAC (Soldier Family Assistance Center) speaking to a group about our journey to healing and how Yellow Ribbon Fund would like to help Ft Campbell like we are helping Walter Reed and Ft Belvoir. It went really well. It was a great group filled with caregivers, chaplains and staff. It was really great to have a friend and fellow caregiver from Walter Reed sitting front row reiterating all that YRF has done and can do. Our meeting was winding down, but was suddenly cut off due to an alarm in the building. We heard the sirens then, "Attention this building will now be on lock down. We have an active shooter threat."

I immediately thought of all days for them to have a drill. Really? I went to the bathroom with my friend and as we stepped out they told us to grab our belongings and go into a more protected side of the building. The looks on the faces of soldiers and staff in the lobby confirmed it was not a drill.

I had already text Chaz what was going on. I seriously thought it was a drill, but my hubby sitting miles away in our house knew it wasn't. When I finally looked at my phone I had texts from Chaz saying "cover and concealment now" and "grab a pen or pencil and go for the temple."

Little did my hubby know by the time I got his texts we were already hidden and my pen was in my hand. This chicky does not go down with out a fight. I had already figured out how I was going to stab the shooter. I might get shot, but I was going to do my best to inflict some good pain first. Chaz has taught me a few things and he's taught me very well I might add. I was scared, but I was ready.

We stood there just waiting. Then it dawned on me all the soldiers and a few staff were still in the main lobby. I was thinking get your asses in here now. Then I realized they were protecting us. It was a humbling moment to me. I have had he honor of living with a soldier for 14 years. I have always felt safe around him. I have had the honor of being around heroes and hearing their stories of combat and survival. I have never witnessed heroes in action. These strangers were standing in the lobby guarding the building and protecting us.

I realized this is why I love my job. These men and women sign up voluntarily to protect us from all enemies foreign and domestic, something I am too selfish to do. They were very aware that potentially one of their own had turned and was now a threat. Yet they did not waiver. They assessed and controlled the area to make sure the civilians were safe. Then they stood in the lobby to provide a line of defense for the civilians they had hidden.

It was such an honor to see such heroic efforts in person. I seriously NEVER want to see it again so close. But I will never forget their reactions and how they were ready to put their life in front of mine and so many others. I am so thankful for the men and women who so selfishly run in to the fight for all of us. And I am thankful that God has placed me in position where I can help them in there time of need. Most of all I am thankful for God's timing. He knew I needed to be shown that not all people are selfish assholes. Some are heroes, true to the definition.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Having the Bubble Popped Again....

Saturday I cried three times. Why? Because reality just really sank in....some people are really selfish assholes. Sorry to type it out, but it's so very true. This reality not only popped my happy bubble, but it also shattered my heart.

I created my own little world where everyone wants to help each other and every cares for each other. In my world, everyone wants the others around them to succeed. Every once in a while someone just has to pop my bubble and remind me that it's just my inner circle that I have invested in who feels that way. There are too many people who are too focused on themselves. It truly breaks my heart. I want to believe that everyone is good and caring and wants to help others for the simple fact of helping others.

We've been working on a project for a really long time now. Our emotions have been played with again and again and again. Saturday we made the decision to just let it all go. I wouldn't say we are giving up, but for right now we are done with disappointments. The next six months we have too many exciting things going on and we are going to focus on those upcoming events. We are done with dealing with selfish people who are just looking out for themselves for a while. I allowed them into our bubble. They tricked their way in and now we are kicking them out!

Doctor it hurts when I beat my head against the wall........then don't beat your head against the wall. That's pretty much how I feel right now. And boy does my head hurt. I have sat down. I have licked my wounds. Now I am dusting myself off and moving on.

To say I am disappointed is an understatement. But I know God has a plan and it's time to step back and let things work out in his time. Let go and let God!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Traveling Along.....Staying with La Quinta

Traveling with your family will for sure always bring some type of difficulty. Then in our world you have to add the traveling difficulties Chaz has. Unfortunately we'll never be able to just hit the road again and stop wherever. No instead all of our travel plans have to be thought out way in advance.

I'll be honest, I do not trust anyone to arrange our rooms for us. Perhaps it's only my OCD, but it seems everyone's opinion of what is ADA compliant varies drastically. We have experienced this again and again. When we have traveled on group trips, I have even verified that they requested ADA rooms only to arrive and find out it's just a regular room. Most of the trips it always works out, but occasionally Chaz has to deal with something that makes his life even more difficult. Every family with a family member with special needs knows exactly what I am talking about.

Last year we were awarded four free nights at La Quints for being the top fundraisers for Team Fisher House for the Army Ten Miler. (This is where I thank you all for supporting our fundraising efforts and helped us pay our thankfulness forward to the Fisher House Foundation). We have used all four nights at different locations and I wanted to tell you about our adventures.

We used two nights in Macon, Georgia on our way to and from our niece's graduation in Florida. Then we used the last two last week in Smyrna when we realized they were going to expire soon. One thing is for sure La Quinta knows the meaning of customer service. We had a few difficulties with the rooms the 1-800 number, but the location's staff happily helped us.

We had to call and book the rooms through the number on the listed on the vouchers. When I called I asked for an ADA rooms with the roll-in shower. Well the ADA part was heard for sure, but not the shower part. When we arrived in Macon, the front desk informed me that our room was not ready. She was horrified. It was three hours past check-in. She asked for just a minute and then reappeared rather quickly. She informed me that the only room ready was the ADA suite with the roll-in shower and happily gave us that room. Then she informed me that the 1800 number booked the ADA room for that night, but not on the night when we were driving back. She told me that she'd take care of that for us and she did.

When we came back through a few days later, we check into our ADA room to discover that their version of ADA and our version of ADA were two different things. Our room had a bathtub and Chaz could barely get around it. I went back down to a different front desk person who listened and helped me fixed the problem. Once again the clerk disappeared then reappeared and we got the suite we had before. (Yes we were very happy). Turns out once again their suite was the only room available that could suit Chaz's needs.

We enjoyed both nights at the La Quinta in Macon. Chaz had no problems getting around the hotel or the room. The shower's roll-in feature was great. And the bench provided actually supported him. Chaz is a big guy and sometimes those benches are not made for guys his size. And trust me it's not fun to find out the hard way that the bench was not strong enough for him.

Now to the LaQuinta in Smyrna. Once again I called ahead and reserved the ADA roll-in shower room for Chaz. We had made arrangements to chat with someone from La Quinta when we got there. They wanted to chat with us about the Hotels for Heroes program and being military and using their hotels. They took it upon themselves to call and double check our reservation to discover the roll-in shower room we had requested had been double booked. (She was way more worried than we were. Seriously we have dealt with way bigger problems.) I just tossed our portable shower bench in the van and we took off. When I arrived the nice young man at the front desk escorted me to roll-in room and then we looked at the other ADA room. I decided that since we had the bench we would take the ADA room with the tub and we'd make it work. He was the cutest thing and thanked me several times for making their double-booking so easy to resolve.

Now for my full honesty, the ADA room with the tub in the Smyrna location was bigger than the room with the roll-in. I wanted the extra space for the cuties to roll around. In addition the more room we have available, the less likely Chaz is to smush our toes. Yup, I've dealt with the spacing issue a few times. The important part is they happily accommodated our needs and rather quickly I'd like to add.

Did you know La Quinta allows pets? Did you know that we did not know pets were allowed until we saw the pets in Macon? I am a OCD cleaner. I am telling you that you could not tell pets were residing in either hotel that we stayed in. Ginger could tell in Smyrna, but we all know her nose is way better than mine. Our oldest cutie is allergic to dogs and cats and we did not have one skin nor breathing problem there. I was prepared for it too. Inhaler, benedryl and all could be found in our bags.

Now to make a long story short.....Would we recommend La Quinta? Definitely yes! Their customer service is excellent. Their rooms and hotels were clean. And their free breakfast was super yummy. Both locations had different food options, but both were great.

Now onto to some cool facts. They have a rewards club. Just visit and learn more about their rewards program. Please check into their rewards program and please consider donating those points to Hotels for Heroes. Go here to learn more about this awesome program.

Now to add to the coolness, they have a military rewards program. Military service members (including veterans and spouses) get 12% off the rate, as well as several other perks. La Quinta makes your PCS moves cheaper and you can bring your pets!

And for those with service dogs, just think about how much easier La Quinta makes traveling for you. We are all aware of the law, but we are also aware of those persons who don't read the laws. Do yourself a favor and stay at La Quinta. We highly recommend it.