Wednesday, October 27, 2010

People still suspect that I am a hearing man pretending to be deaf...

While I was at my computer, I happened to be sitting in a way that my glasses was showing a reflection of the front door. I saw in the reflection of the door opening and someone coming in. I knew this would be my mother - she was supposed to come over at that time. I swiveled the chair around to face my mother and I said to her, "Hi...I heard you come in." She froze in her tracks as if to believe that I had actually heard her. Her expression was PRICELESS...I cracked up hard, turned around away from her, and laughed myself right into tears. Even when my mother finally got around to me, I couldn't stop laughing. She knew, KNEW...that I got her really good.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Q & A #13

Q: When you talked about your senses being more alive or on fire - however you put it in your post about playing softball, do you compensate for your deafness in other senses like a blind person does?

A: Yes, I have compensated for a loss of a sense with my remaining senses. I pick up vibrations that people don't even feel. I smell scents/odors before others get a whiff of it. I notice things quickly because I am more aware of my surroundings. On the flip side, I can totally shut down and not notice at all that I'm oblivious to everything. That, is the rare event you can sneak up on me. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Say What? "No rest for the weekend"

My wife was totally stressed out over the lineup of job assignments and said with a sigh, "No rest for the weekend".

THAT is what my brain told me. I repeated that back to her. She stopped dead in her tracks and I immediately realized she had used an idiom.

"No rest for the wicked"

You hearies and the idioms! LOL

Monday, October 18, 2010

I am now one of you...

I recently got an iPhone 4 after living with a refurbished and almost 1st gen 3G iPhone. While messing around with my new iPhone 4, I was delighted to discover that Yahoo Messenger on iPhone 4 is enabled for cam. I tested it and sure enough, cam feed works on iPhone.

While I was waiting with my younger daughter at her school to drop her off, my wife initiated a vid call with me (she got an iPhone 4 too). I was amused by that and answered it.

You see, vid calls are smoothest when both ends are in wi-fi mode and we both weren't. That meant we had to sign slowly in order to understand clearly. I enabled microphone so I could speak to my wife directly. Gave my iPhone to my daughter who jabbered on with her for a bit. Cute as a bug and other moms thought so too. LOL

Then it was time for her to go in and I waved good bye to her. Then I started talking to my wife and she was amused by how I just kept talking to her while walking back to my car.

She noticed that I was back in my car, but didn't notice that I had started my car and had started driving. She noticed only when I pointed out how the shadows of the trees kept falling across my face.

That's when I had an epiphany. I am doing something that most of you do on a regular basis while driving...and I'm doing something for the first time in my life. EVER.

What is it that you take for granted? Talking to someone and having someone respond back to you. Oh, no worries...I was driving at speed limit on a 4 lane route divided by a raised concrete barrier with no car in sight.

(In monotone zombie voice)

Monday, October 11, 2010

I've got the bug for community service

...and it is a wonderful feeling to have. When I was growing up, I knew something was amiss in my life. I enjoyed helping others, but it never seemed to fill me up or the feeling wasn't permanent enough.

I wasn't able to pinpoint that until I joined my fraternity. One of the requirements for becoming a brother was to do community service. My first task was to help clean up the sponsored mile on a highway. I was struck by how committed the brothers were in cleaning up the trash, no matter what was thrown out by drivers who could not be bothered to dispose their unwanted items properly.

Then, I had an idea and organized a blood drive (using my job connections) for the students and I called on the brothers to bleed for Red Cross. First time ever I had donated blood. I felt good afterward...REALLY good.

After I graduated from college, I felt a little "lost" for a while. I thought it was because I didn't have a structured life (school, fraternity, job, thesis, dorm life, hijinks, etc.). I was asked by a friend to become Athletic Director (A.D.) for a deaf club and when I started serving as A.D., that's when I realized what was missing in my life.

I've been an A.D., a Chairperson, a Manager, a Committee Member, a Vice President, a President, and a Consultant for various clubs and organizations. I stopped being very active because a certain person contributed to me not being on any board anymore (kept going after me with claims such as lying, not serving with best interests for everyone, dereliction of duties, etc.) except for a a certain committee on which I am the presiding Chairperson.

Never understood why that psycho wouldn't leave me alone. Maybe the psycho can't stand me or fears me. I had previously worked under the psycho at a job for almost 3 years until I quit 5 years ago when I wasn't happy with how the psycho was handling things. Whatever.

That feeling of I wasn't useful or something...started to creep back into my life. I wasn't aware of that. Just wanted nothing to do with the psycho, so I stopped going to clubs and organizations whereever that psycho was. I was burned out, done.

Spring of '10 was the genesis - a man in his 40's started going around the neighborhood, begging to mow people's lawn so he could eat. Sometimes, he would offer a reduced fee when he didn't have any gas in his lawnmower and borrowed gas from them. I didn't always have the cash to hire him (which I felt badly about every time), but I got an idea. I waited until he came to my house again and when he did, I explained my idea to him. He wasn't sure about this, but I told him that it was my idea and I was willing to do this.

The idea? I left a full 5-gallon gas can on the porch so he could come over and fill up his lawnmower any time and then go beg other people while his lawnmower has a full tank. I told him that I ask nothing from him in return so he could pay it forward by mowing elderly people's lawns either for free or at a reduced fee. When I first saw him that spring, he was skinny. Now? He's well-fed. ;)

I have mulling over this idea (not originally mine) that targets the elderly people who do not have the means to take care of their properties (porch needs to be painted, doors need to be fixed, and so forth), but I am not sure how they could help pay it forward. Can anyone suggest how the elderly people could help in other ways?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My favorite T-shirt

There's a very good reason why I love this shirt other than fitting me very well. Can you guess why? Hehe

Monday, October 4, 2010

First time in years...

...that I played softball.

I quit playing not long before my older daughter was born. She's going to be 9 in February. I had the itch to play but the timing wasn't right each year. I didn't really want to play for either deaf team - one is just full of arrogant players and the other belongs to a club whose president I would rather avoid as long as she is in the office.

I was asked few weeks ago by a deaf friend to come out and play for a hearing team (meaning either no deaf player or very few deaf players), but I wasn't able to go - the game was rained out, I had a party, and I got inked in that order. Friday night came around again and finally I was able to go.

After I got to the fields early, I sat in my car for a while so I could watch the game from afar. I sensed something inside me, but I thought it was anxiety from not having played in so long and not having had any practice at all. I got texted from the same deaf friend, informing me of the correct field and I moved to there.

The feeling intensified.

I met with my deaf friend who had been begging me to come out for his team. He was surprised to see me not dressed for the game and told me to go get dressed. So I went back to my car and dressed in there, away from prying eyes. I stepped out of my car and...

I became more aware of everything...the smells, the movements, the crunching and sliding of the gravel rocks...and I felt lighter, faster, and stronger.

I met up with my friend and I could see he was a bit anxious and I knew exactly why.

I went right into the coach mode, explaining how to stand, how to hold the bat, how to play catcher, and how to recognize situations. He didn't say anything - he just stood there and took it all in. As I was talking to him, a familar face popped up in my face...literally. I knew her from interpreting program at a college. I couldn't remember if she got certified as an interpreter. She was standing on a built-in deck that serves as seating for people to watch the game. I am over 6 feet tall and she is only 5 feet and some tall. I was amused by her choice of location to say hi to me. She told me that she will be coaching the team and she would put me in the game later. She introduced me to other players; all were hearing but not one knew how to speak sign language.

After 1st inning, the coach told me I would be catching. I slipped right back into the rhythm of the game when I went out on the field. The dirt was a bit hard but broke apart easily. Caked layer. The cold in the air was enough for visible breath mists. The batter's box was lopsided from too many batters digging in for a better grip. The grass was dry where outfielders ran. The lights shone perfectly.

The feeling.

I knew right away it wasn't the anxiety. It was what I had missed the most - the action, the innate ability to see into the future, the muscle memory, the snap of the ball into the pitcher's glove from my arm...

An inning later, it was my turn to bat. I looked around and assessed the placement of the outfielders. Standard formation. Meant I had to drop the ball in front of the outfielders if I went for it. I saw everything on the pitcher clearly...the shifting of weight on his feet, the sweat on his face, the dirt on right side of his face from wiping the sweat off after handling a dirt-caked ball...and he threw the first pitch.

I knew right away that the pitch was too low despite being on target. I leaned back and looked back at the ump and he signalled low pitch.

The count was 2-1.

Stepped out of the lopsided batter's box to re-assess the placement of the outfielders. They hadn't moved at all but seemed more alert, as if they could tell that I knew how to hit the ball. They didn't know I hadn't practiced at all... Stepped back in. The ball came in just right but seemed a bit too short. Thud. Right on the edge of the plate, but the ump called strike. Fine with me.

Count 2-2.

Stepped back out, took a breath, and told myself to wait for the ball. Stepped back in. The ball sailed away from the pitcher a bit and landed off to the side.

3-2, full count.

I dug in. Either the pitcher will throw perfectly for a strike or he will go for the edge and make me work for it. The ball came out and up...

I looked...

I waited...

It looked a bit off...

I waited some more...

Suddenly, I backed off.

The ump signalled for me to take the base.

As I passed the first baseman, I could smell her soap, chemicals, and sweat. My senses were on fire. I advanced to second when the female batter elected to walk instead of batting. That's the standard co-ed league rule. Bases loaded, one out. My legs tensed as I assumed the take-off position from the base.

The male batter swung at first pitch. Crack. I moved few steps off the base and waited. The ball fell in shallow. I took off. Kept my eyes on third base coach. Got the furious signal for home. Turned sharply on third base and ran for home. Safe. Female batter followed me in for three runs.

I caught 2 more innings and I never got to bat again, but the team I played for finally won by the score of 9-8 after going 0-3.

I want to play again. I may be aching in several places from lack of practice, but I want in. All the way in.