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Anne Wallingford, WordSmith

CRUNCHY EGG SALAD




Going on an Expedition
March 17, 2005

ex·pe·di·tion
Pronunciation: "ek-sp&-'di-sh&n
1 a : a journey or excursion undertaken for a specific purpose1

I was about to have my first adventure since moving to the suburbs! I had made a major move from my beloved Chicago to a small, northern suburb just before Thanksgiving of 2004. If someone had told me twenty years ago that I would be a suburbanite some day, I would have said they were nuts. I loved living in the city. Needless to say, I was apprehensive about leaving the city, but it had to be done. Unfortunately, once I was in my new home I was unable to venture forth for four long months--the winter weather, together with my health problems, kept me cooped up indoors. I was more than ready for a new adventure even though I was a bit apprehensive about exploring the new territory: I had no idea of sidewalk conditions, and my wheelchair hadn't been used for several months.

The expedition began with a phone call to PACE, the local med van transportation service, at 6 a.m. Wed. morning, the 16th. This was the first time since living in the suburbs that I was going on an adventure. My phone call went through immediately and the representative was actually friendly. Surreal! (I was used to the rude city med van representatives.) I scheduled my ride for 9:15 a.m. for the 17th. My Thursday beauty shop appointment wasn't until 10 a.m., and the shop is only two miles away, but I needed time to board the med van, unboard, and unbundle when I reached the shop. My sister-in-law was coming to ride with me since this was my first time on the suburban bus.

Finally it was St. Patrick's Day, the day for my expedition to new territory! Got up at 6 a.m., washed my hair, checked my e-mail, and had breakfast. By then, it was 8:30. My sis-in-law and the med van both arrived exactly at 9 a.m. She was a few minutes late and the bus was a few minutes early. Unfortunately, in my rush to get out, I forgot to wear my sweater under the coat.

Once outside in the wheelchair, I had a nice surprise. PACE med vans all have lifts, not skinny ramps. I don't miss trying to negotiate the ramps, but it's a little off-putting going up in the lift while seated in the wheelchair.

After I had my hair cut, my brother came to meet us at the beauty shop and the three of us went to eat at an Italian restaurant near the beauty shop. (It was close enough for me to roll there.) It was such a treat to go out to eat! I had a salad and lots of bread and butter—I don't eat bread and butter at home so this was special.

After dinner came the real expedition. For the first time since moving to the suburbs, I was traveling alone on a new route. (My brother and sis-in-law followed me in their car.) It was damp and chilly and I was kicking myself for forgetting my sweater, but I had wrapped my orange fleece blanket around me, underneath my cape, so it could somewhat cover my chest. That helped, but my arms were cold!

The ride home seemed like it took forever because it was unexplored territory. However, I safely navigated around puddles, crossed three busy streets, avoided an unfriendly dog, admired all the lovely homes, and only had one problem with my wheelchair.

As happy as I was about my first expedition in the new neighborhood, I was too tired to do anything when I got home other than got to bed. And I missed having mom around to hear about my adventure, so I left the TV on for company.

1 Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Copyright © 2005 Anne Wallingford All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 25, 2005 (rev. 08/30/05)


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