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$1 Buttons!

IMG_0231(Picture Caption:  Spool of blue thread with needle and loose buttons)

 

This was too good that I couldn’t help but pass it on. So, I’m not exactly domestically inclined when it comes to sewing. Partly because of the blindness, and partly because I just never learned. I even own a sewing machine but couldn’t tell you the first step in how to even turn it on. My mom however is great at it and had I shown an interest in it and maybe not needed to figure out alternative ways for learning to sew non-visually, I might be better at it too. Needless to say, when something rips or a button falls off, I feel a little bit of dread and slightly anxious because in the back of my mind I know that this is probably the end for that item of clothing. But, not wanting to be wasteful, I tell myself that I’ll sew the button back on or get it mended somehow. Fix it up wear it out, make it do, or do without right? Isn’t that the old adage? Let’s be realistic though, it takes me forever to do this. Not only am I not good at sewing, I usually can’t find my sewing kit, or if I do, I still have to buy a new button. So this means I have to remember to take the item with me on my next trip to Walmart or Target so I can match up the buttons with something from the store’s stock. This also requires using customer service to help me locate said buttons and/or matching thread since there’s not exactly a great nonvisual method for accomplishing this, and sometimes using customer service can be hit or miss. . In the event that I do finally buy what I need, the item in need of mending still sits for weeks more until I “get around to it.” Can you see why this stresses me out? I’ll admit in the interest of full disclosure that because of my nature, I’ve become really good at temporary fixes. For example, using pins and tape on the underside of a fallen hem, or a safety pin in the spot where a button has fallen off with no one being the wiser—hopefully. I even started a collection in my laundry room of things in need of mending and would save them up for my mom when she came to visit me from out of stae once a year. A few years ago I stumbled onto this great hack for people like me. I learned that most dry cleaners will mend items for you. This was game changing for me, the non-sewer. I felt like I just got an extension on my wardrobe. , so I started taking items into our local dry cleaner regularly—ripped seams, unraveling hems, broken straps on a sun dress, you name it.

I recently ripped the arm seam on my wool coat when trying to put my son into his carrying backpack. This is a nice coat and I’m not ready to toss it out yet, so I decided to take it over to the dry cleaner this week and see if it was something they could fix. I also remembered that one of the buttons had fallen off my son’s white church shirt (he’s been wearing a sweater over it for the last few weeks to hide this) I know, I know…don’t judge.   Anyway, I have had the best of intentions of sewing that silly little button back on because I know that while it might not be the best job, this is something I can do even nonvisually. But, I’ve been dragging my feet on it and frankly, it’s kind of low on the priority list until Sunday morning rolls around each week and I’m reminded of my negligence.   To my credit, I remembered the shirt as I was walking out the door to run some errands, including dropping off my coat at the dry cleaner. I grabbed it and took it along with me.

Later at the dry cleaner, I sheepishly asked the attendant if they sewed on buttons as if the admission of this might make my domestic maternal ancestors cringe. I was relieved to find out that they could repair the ripped seam on my coat and even more excited to learn they would replace the button. I think this was the first time I’ve ever taken anything in just for a button. I was even more excited to learn that they only charge $1 to sew on a button! $1? You mean, no more stressing about going to buy thread and buttons again? I’ll pay it! I couldn’t believe it! I joked with the attendant about how he had just made my day and that from this day forward I was never going to sew on a button again!

So, there you have it…a little hack for other non-sewers like me—blind or just a busy mom. . It’s life changing. No more guilt! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dig around in my closet for a few button-less items to take back with me when I go pick these ones up.

 

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Making it to Elementary School

 

Last week I wrote about the logistics of getting to and from preschool. This week, I thought I’d share a little insight into our elementary school routine.

When we bought our house six years ago, one of the big factors of consideration was its location to schools, and our ability to get to and from them easily either by walking or public transit. . There is an elementary school just down the road from us—within walking distance, and a junior high the other direction, also within walking distance. Both are great schools too. I remember looking online to see the schools we would be zoned for, but apparently I either misread it or mixed up the address. So, it turns out that while we live really close to this one school, we actually are right on the dividing cross street and our neighborhood is bussed to another elementary school a few neighborhoods away. At first, this was a little disappointing even though our kids were not old enough to go to school. I thought being able to walk to their school would be so helpful, especially when I wanted to go volunteer, needed to drop something off to them, or if they stayed after for extra curricular activities. We decided that when the time came, if we still wanted to attend the closer school, we could always petition the district to give us a waiver. Well, when the time did come, we decided it best to keep our daughter with the neighborhood kids and that having a regular bus ride would really be helpful. The piles of snow in the winter and lack of shoveling along the main road we would have been traveling to the other school also helped make this decision easy. The other times we needed to get to or from the school would be easy enough to work out. It turns out that the school we do attend is also walkable when necessary, but not practical to walk to on a regular baisis. The walk takes about 20 minutes. When you’re used to walking places, it’s doable, but time consuming.

We’ve also been blessed with great neighbors or parents of classmates who give us rides to/from common school events like back to school nights, school carnivals, fairs, etc. For the other times, it’s convenient enough to use a ride service to get to the school. As for those times when my daughter forgets her lunch or homework, she has to learn a bit of tough love since I’m not always able to take forty-five minutes to make the round-trip walk or not inclined to pay $15 to run something up to her unless its really necessary. But we do our best to be prepared the night before and We make sure she has money on her lunch account just in case. OH yes, and I’ve really made it clear that missing the bus in the mornings is not a good option. ( I think we only have missed the bus once for being late in the year and a half that she’s been in elementary school,.) Anyway, its turned out to be a great arrangement for us and we really love the school and the community we are in.

 

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Making it to Preschool

 

 

Recently I was talking to a blind mom who was trying to figure out transportation to/from her daughter’s preschool. Transporting your children from place to place often requires a bit of logistical Olympics whether you’re blind or not, but even more if you can’t drive. so I thought this post might be helpful to share some of the things we’ve done with respect to getting our kids to preschool.

 

Thankfully, we have a really great preschool within walking distance of our home (about 10-15 minutes.) My daughter attended there three years ago and this year my son started there. The tuition is a bit higher than some other programs around us, but for us, the convenience of being able to walk there is worth it. IN walking there, I use some kind of combo of either taking my children in the double stroller, one in a carrying pack, one in the single stroller, or one walking, etc. Each time we’ve had a child there, it works out great for us until about late December/ early January when the snow starts to fall and the temps dip down. We get a lot of freezing rain here too which leaves the sidewalks like an ice rink and makes walking anywhere pretty impossible. On top of that, we’ve had years when the snow gets plowed onto the sidewalks from the road, or people just don’t shovel, making the sidewalks virtually impassable. So, here is what I’ve done in these circumstances.

 

First, I could take a ride service like Uber/Lyft/taxi, but this gets expensive if you’re doing it to and from a couple times a week. Not to mention, it’s sometimes a bit awkward or tricky getting drivers to pull up in the pickup line or to be willing to wait while you run in and pick up your child. So, this is an option I generally have saved as a last resort or in a pinch like today when the sky broke open with pouring down rain right as I was heading out the door.

 

My second and most practical recommendation is to find someone with whom you can carpool. When my daughter was attending preschool, I asked her teacher if she could connect me with a parent that lived near us or passed by us or who would just be willing to pick my daughter up for a few weeks in the winter. A sweet mom volunteered and this worked out great for us throughout the months of January and February when walking was most challenging. She would pick up my daughter along with our car seat and take my daughter to and from school for me. I offered to pay her, but she declined so instead, after this arrangement was finished, we gave her a gift card as a thank you. In my experience, a lot of parents are really open to carpooling. While I can’t take a turn driving, offering to pay or babysit in exchange goes a long way.

 

This year, before I started asking around, the assistant teacher offered to pick my son up for a few weeks on her way to work. She has been picking him up for us for the past few weeks. He gets to school a little early, but there are a couple of other kids who need to be dropped off early so he hangs out with them and looks at books in the receiving area with the teachers until school begins. This same teacher also got permission to leave work for a few minutes to drive him home. (It’s helpful that we live within a five minute drive of the school.) This arrangement has been so helpful for us. It’s been nice not to have to scramble around to find a ride for him at the last minute if the weather looks rough that morning, or take both my young boys out in such cold temps. The weather is starting to warm up and hopefully the worst is behind us, so we are getting back to walking regularly, but I want to thank this sweet teacher for her time and service to us. Thanks Mrs. George!

 

This fall, I will be starting over and trying to make some new transportation plans. Sadly, we did not enroll our son at this same school for next year as the tuition for the four-year-old class is about $1000 more than this year, so I did find another program close to us which several of our friends have attended or do attend. I didn’t go with this one initially because it’s not walkable and not accessible by public transit either, (I like to be as self reliant as I can) but after weeks of deliberating, I decided to go ahead and enroll for this next fall in the hopes that we can find a regular carpool situation or some kind of alternative solution. I feel pretty confident that we’ll be able to find another family with whom we could carpool or that I could find a neighbor or good friend to hire as a driver for this (still less expensive than the current preschool or taking ride services) which is why I went ahead and enrolled our son for the upcoming school year. . We’ll see how it works out. Fingers crossed!