Wheelchair travel and the Jerusalem marathon

Being terribly busy doesn’t coexist well with despondency – or so it seems to me today. I’ve been busy, busy, busy and while I’m still struggling with a whole lot of overwhelmed, that bleak feeling mostly leaves me alone.

I’ve been so busy I only have time to think about writing. I’m stealing a few moments here, but I don’t know how long I have. I guess we’ll see.

Last Friday, TH (The Husband) and I drove into Jerusalem to cheer on my middle daughter, who was running 10K. She ran last year, but there was no possibility for going to be a part of it. This year we planned ahead. We left quite early, not knowing what the traffic was going to be like, but assuming it would be tough, especially with streets closed for the race. We had directions to where there should be parking for the handicapped, and a rough map of the area.

TH has a program (an ‘app’ – I’m too old for this s***) on his phone called ‘Waze.’ Waze figures out routes, has up-to-the-minute traffic info provided by Waze users, and works out the most efficient way of getting someplace. The program (excuse me, ‘app’) is by no means flawless, but it worked beautifully that Friday and we arrived at the specified time to find that every single one of the parking spaces for people with handicapped parking permits (‘crip cards’) were full. As were all of the ‘normal’ parking places. And most illegal parking, such as pulling up on the sidewalk was also full.

TH pulled up to a curb and got the wheelchair out of the trunk and me into the wheelchair and he and the car took off. I wheeled myself most of the way to the start line (no small feat, it was all uphill), where TH met me, having had extraordinary luck in parking. And we lined up along the barrier and waited. And waited. And waited. I’d had no idea how many people were running, but after the first several minutes of people walking, running, jogging, strolling, and rolling past, there still continued to be driblets of runners starting. It seemed like quite a long wait but fortunately for us there were two friendly dogs with whom to while away the time (the people with them were quite friendly, but were watching for their own runners). When my daughter came jogging along, she was by herself, no clump of people with her, so we had no trouble seeing her and cheering her.

She ran on, and TH and I strolled the relatively short distance to the end of the 10K race. There was also a 5K race and a marathon, if I remember correctly. The weather was almost perfect. It threatened to be sunny and way too hot, but a cloud got between us and the sun, and other than worrying rain, there was nothing to complain about.

People were very nice, which was a blessing as it was hard to get right up to the barrier in the wheelchair. I managed to stand for a few minutes (shhhh! don’t tell b’tuach leumi) so I could see some of the runners, but had to sit for most of the wait. It didn’t seem long. I think it was an hour and a half, but I wasn’t too clear on the times.

Middle daughter finished in good form, and we met my brother at the end of the race. Some time was spent discussing the varying merits of trying to walk to someplace for lunch, and so not needing to move the car vs. going to the car and eating outside of J’lem. Not much point in trying to drive somewhere else in the city and park it seemed at the time.

Where we were in the city (by the Israel Museum and the Knesset) is almost entirely wheelchair hostile, with no curb cuts, the roads and sidewalks generally slant to one side, the sidewalks are often blocked by poles, trash cans and what-have-you to be too narrow for the wheelchair. On the other hand the people are so kind and helpful that I barely noticed many of the inconveniences. More than once someone blocked traffic in order for me to wheel in the street. While many seem completely oblivious to me or the wheelchair (strolling directly in front of me and stopping, giving me no time to stop or swerve to avoid hitting them), almost all apologize to me when my foot or footrest hits them.

By the time we’d gotten back to the car, it was late enough on a Friday that there was very little traffic, and we were out of the city in no time. We headed to a kenyone (a mall) that has a food court, not far from where my brother lives. We parked under the mall and had no trouble with finding a lift that went straight up to the food court.

It was a delightful outing, the biggest downside being that as I still don’t have my wheelchair van, I had to deal with the struggle of getting in and out of the tiny little car (it’s technically a sedan). So I am already planning to go next year, hopefully with my own w/c van to make things a wee bit easier. I even talked with middle daughter about the possibility of rolling the 10K in my wheelchair, as I saw other people doing that same thing. If anyone had told me last year that I’d be thinking about running, or rather rolling, a race, I wouldn’t have believed it possible. But I had so much fun I really hope I can do more next year. In Jerusalem. 🙂

On a completely different note, I have begun knitting somewhat more intensively. I’ve finally started the lace shawl for dil (yes, the one who isn’t talking to me) and I’m having so much fun with it. Obviously I hope she will like it, but I’m going to really enjoy knitting it, and that’s the most important thing. I’m using bamboo silk in blue, off white and a shade of red (burgundy maybe, I’m not good at colour names). The colours dil chose, so I don’t have to worry about that.

I’m also knitting wash cloths and dishcloths for my family and friends. Whenever a larger project feels like too much I can stop and whip off one of these, they are quick, quite pretty, and a lot of fun.

I’m still working on making for myself a cotton blanket that can be used as a thermal blanket in the winter, or by itself or as a shawl in warmer weather. It’s going to take a while.

And we are moving house. We officially take possession of the new house April 1. We’ve agreed to stay here in the old house for Pesach (Passover), moving the kitchen to the new house before the holiday. In some ways it will make our holiday much easier. In others, well, we will be living split between two houses… So it goes.

There is SO VERY MUCH going on my head spins just trying to think about it, leave alone write about it. For instance tomorrow, Sunday, a load of lumber is being delivered for a floor TH is installing in a room that will be oldest son’s. Youngest son has to be got to a Magic-the-Gathering tournament near the City of Beit Shemesh, a good hour or more from here. Youngest daughter has to get to work and back, and TH and I have some urgently necessary shopping to do for Monday, which is TH’s birthday. And that leaves out all the daily necessities like laundry, cooking, animal care and so on. And TH is still theoretically working a full-time job so he’s got stuff to do on the computer, and, and, and, … Monday doesn’t look any less busy.

All of this would be way much even if I were able-bodied. So, yeah, I’m still struggling. A lot. Periodically forgetting how hard it all is and just being happy and enjoying. The hard gets me down, though. Here’s praying that after this hard patch there is a genuine bit of being able to just sit and enjoy life. Sit, knit and enjoy life. 🙂

Progress on the mamad – the safe room – is happening. One more thing to pray for is that the mamad is finished reasonably close to when we move in. We need the room.

Until I make it back here next, be well, all, and Gd bless


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