Handicapped parking

On a Facebook group I am in, “Buffalo & WNY seniors group 55 and older” there was a debate going on about Handicapped parking places.The story started with a post by someone that said “I went shopping yesterday at a local produce market. I witnessed a SUV parked on the diagonal lines between the handicapped spaces. There was a sign stating No Parking Anytime. No sticker in the window either. I asked in the store if I could speak to a manager. The cashier asked if she could help so I indicated that maybe they should phone the police. The poor girl gave me a sheepish grin & confessed that the vehicle belonged to her manager…  I was so stunned I just left.”

The post garnered 215 comments in the first 24 hours. One of the first comments was by someone named Rocky who said  ”Nevermind , it’s not your business !!” and somebody else said “I think your a busy body who is just itching for trouble. I agree with Rocky mind your business. Most who have legal handicap stickers do not really need them. This is one of the most abused privileges ever.” (Misspelling is the way they were posted)

I take offense to this. In the interest of transparency, I have a handicapped parking tag due to multiple health problems. Two of which are COPD and Peripheral Neropathy. I am mostly limited to the first floor of my house and rarely get to go out, usually only going out to doctor’s appointments. If it is too hot or too humid, I normally don’t leave the safety of my home that has the air conditioner running because I can’t breathe. If it is snowy or icy I stay home for fear I am going to fall down breaking something. I have fallen or slipped on several occasions, one time breaking my leg.

Someone stated “(This) Frustrates me, too, when someone sits in the car in a handicap spot!! Very inconsiderate of those of us who truly need the handicap spot and one isn’t available.” A person who responded wrote “I’m sure it was only for a very brief time. Maybe (they were) making a bank run or whatever.”

This is frustrating for me also. One of the times I collapsed, I was going to a medical appointment in a building on a main street. All the street parking, handicapped spots in front of the building were taken so I went to the side parking lot.

All the handicapped spots were taken there also, some of them by handicapped mini busses. They were there because the company that owns them was also in the same building. That is where the busses are parked when they were not in use. Because of this I had to park at one of the farthest spots in the lot.

After I had parked, I had to take a long walk across the sun baked, blacktop parking lot causing me to overheat. I had walked within 10 feet of my destination when my body gave out and I collapsed. This necessitated a call for a very expensive ambulance trip to the hospital.  If I was able to get a handicapped spot, I would have made it to my destination without a problem.

For some of us it is the whole difference between being able to shop and not being able to shop. I head out on a “good” day at a time the stores are less likely to be busy, only to find someone parking in the diagonal line area. This prevents me from getting in and out of my car because I need to be able to open the car door wide.

And yes, sometimes it is necessary for me to be out even on a bad day. People only see the cane I use. I see people thinking as I walk by, that I don’t look like I need a handicapped parking permit. But handicapped people are not all in wheelchairs.

According to the ADA, private businesses and public agencies must make available a stipulated number of handicapped parking spaces. They must be a minimum size and have the proper signs. The specified spaces can be used only by people with a handicap windshield placard or license plate that was issued by the state. Handicapped spaces must be located at a location that affords the shortest and most trouble-free route to an entrance of the building that is handicap-accessible.

I had discussions with my doctor about getting a handicapped hang tag for over a year.  He felt I should have one but I saw it as giving in so I told him I didn’t want one. I knew in my heart I needed one but my mind was just not ready to accept that. Finally I broke down and had him fill out the paper work. I then took it to the city clerk who issued a permit.

By the way, if a doctor signs those forms without a viable medical diagnosis to back it up or just to collect payments from Medicare or Medicaid, it is called fraud. A doctor who commits fraud can lose his or her license.

Norb is an independent journalist and blogger from Lockport, New York.

Advertisements

Lovin Spoonful: Somewhere

By Norbert Rug

The three amigos, my wife Donna, my buddy Ed, and I ventured out looking for somewhere to go for dinner. We ended up at “Somewhere” a quaint looking place at 681 Blairville road in Youngstown.

When we first pulled up, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go inside. I thought someone was pranking me when the said I should try it out but don’t let the outside appearance scare you off. The facade reminded me of an old west saloon. When we pulled up in their small, gravel parking lot, I could see four full size, sand volleyball courts.

We walked under a surf board and through a homemade screen door to enter the place, still not knowing what to expect. Wow! This tiny bar was way better than I had expected, nothing very fancy just a warm friendly, Irish, country bar.

When you first walk in, it’s kind of just a regular neighborhood bar. We sat down at a table with a Kraft paper tablecloth and started taking in the sights. The floor was painted concrete, none of that fancy hardwood or laminate here, and the walls, oh the walls. There wasn’t much room to put anything else on the walls. I can’t begin to explain the amount of Irish paraphernalia on the walls. I understand the owner is Pat Stack, a retired Niagara Falls detective.

Kenney, our server/bartender came over to take our order.  He emphasized that all the food is fresh. He said even the rolls are homemade and the meats & vegetables are locally sourced.

Donna had water with lemon, Ed ordered a glass of wine and I had a Pepsi. When he came back, he brought a salt and pepper shaker which I thought was a bit odd. Maybe they don’t have enough to go around.

They have a small menu (7 items) plus specials. Ed had the Cha-Cha-Chicken, which is fresh chicken breast marinated and grilled in their herb infused marinade served over a classic salad ($10).  Gluten free

In a surprise to both her and me, Donna ordered the “Meatball Puff”. Donna would be a vegetarian if I let her. She said it just intrigued her. This is a meatball wrapped in pastry with homemade sauce on it. She said it was cheesy inside and out. She was wondering why she didn’t get the choice of a side but when it arrived she understood. This was a one pound meat ball, you didn’t need a side. In fact she brought half of it home.

I tried to order the Ruben that was on the specials board and Kenney told me they were out of that. He suggested the “Lola” to me. A Buffalo chicken sandwich with a side of homemade blue cheese dressing ($10). I selected potato wedges as my side. The potato wedges are seasoned with black pepper, paprika, garlic and salt. The chicken was fall apart tender. The roll was perfect, not too crusty and the potato wedges were excellent.

This small place had a neat log-cabin atmosphere, 60’s music, 4 tables, an 11-seat bar and featured a number of items from another era. Outside, there are four well-maintained volleyball courts on the west side of the building. The east side and behind the building include a patio and a stage for bands. They put on inflatable pool parties, tortoise races and a St Patrick’s party that had 532 guests according to their Facebook page.

I was completely blown away that I found this food of this caliper in a place I’ve never even heard of before. It was friendly, very low key and drama free. I will make it a point to return here again in the future. It was Delish. Thanks Michele for suggesting it. I give it 9 spoons out of 10.
Hours are:
Saturday              11:30AM–11PM
Sunday                 Closed
Monday               Closed
Tuesday               11:30AM–5PM
Wednesday         11:30AM–11PM
Thursday              11:30AM–11PM
Friday                   11:30AM–11PM

Phone: (716) 262-2337

Surprise

Let me start off by saying my family is a loving and caring one, but even the holiest of angels has a bit of the devil in them. We can be quite devious when we want to be. My wife’s birthday is in June along with two granddaughters, daughter and my son. I won’t tell you how old she is because a gentleman never asks or tells but I am 71 and she is just a little younger than me.

My son asked us to join him at a favorite, local restaurant of ours with his wife and 8 year twin old sons to celebrate his birthday. Donna watches the boys after school so she was to bring them there rather than their home. He sent me an IM and several texts that this was all a ruse and the real reason for dinner was the give my wife a surprise party.

I take great pride in the fact that my wife, “Mrs. Sherlock Holmes” if you will, never figured out what was going on. We seldom can put one over on her but now that she is seventy (oops!) years old and with the turmoil (good) we have had at our house recently I don’t think she had the time to figure it out.

Even the twins were in on this one and you probably know how hard it is for an eight year old to keep a secret. It all started with the twins. At the time we had to leave for dinner, even though they had just gone to the bathroom 15 minutes earlier, they BOTH decided they had to go poop. They were told by their parents to stall leaving our house until 5:45. Of course I had to use the bathroom too and seeing as we only have 2, I was outside the bathroom door waiting my turn.

Donna was pulling her hair out. She didn’t want to be late. There was no way we were going to be on our way at 5:30 like she wanted and she didn’t want to make our son and daughter in law wait. She had lost control.

The one twin kept yelling thru the door, asking Donna what time it was because he was told to stall until 5:45. Donna wondered why he asked her to let him know when it was 5:45 and thought she was dealing with Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.  Why did he have to remain in the bathroom till 5:45?  The other grandson developed this sudden problem with tying his shoes. Even though I was instructed to stall her I didn’t know at this point what they were doing.

When we finally hit the road the boys were in the back seat. Donna likes to be able to see out of her rear view mirror and when the boys are waving their arms in the air she will actually pull over until they stop. As soon as a song they knew came on the radio, they started dancing in their seats, waving their arms, and Donna pulled to the curb. That’s when I realized just what was going on because up until then I didn’t know they were in on the plot.

Once we got going again I flipped down my visor and watched them in the mirror. They were whispering and then suddenly we would hear “Donna, Ian pushed me.” It was at that point I joined into the subterfuge. I would start yelling at the boys full well knowing that this was pushing Donna’s buttons. At that point she would pull over again and start yelling at them. They never act like this.

They calmed down and Donna started driving again. Once more time the boys started acting up and I began yelling. Donna pulled to the curb again and yelled at them one more time. All the time, Ian had a silly smirk on his face and I yelled for him to wipe that smile off his face. He took his arm and wiped it across his mouth but that didn’t last long.

The whole time they were giggling and that only added fuel to the fire. They are having a sleep over Saturday and she yelled their behavior caused them to lose their television privileges. This made them laugh even more. Donna said that’s it and she was going to drive to the front of the restaurant, throw them out and drive home.

When we got there, I put on my best “It’s hard to get out of her van.” act. You see I had broken my leg the month before and was still in a boot. This was quite believable if I say so myself. When we entered the restaurant and Donna told the hostess “Reservations for Rug.” The Hostess smirked a bit and took us to a screened off area and when Donna rounded the corner my family members yelled “Surprise!”  Donna stopped dead in her tracks and was speechless.

We’ve only been able to trick her once before, at a Bison’s game, but that story will have to wait for another time because I am out of space.

I am an independent journalist who lives in Lockport as do my children and grandchildren. I also blog at norb-has-opinions.blogspot.com

For home-style breakfast, try Toast and Roast Cafe

 

safe_image

In my quest to try and hit as many eateries in Niagara County as I can, Donna (my wife), Ed (my buddy) and I popped into the Toast and Roast Cafe for breakfast one Saturday. They have an ample parking lot and we had no trouble getting a place by the door. When we entered I noticed how fresh and clean the place looked. They also had memes posted on all the walls.

This quaint little place is near the intersection of Military Road and Saunders Settlement Road. The atmosphere is homey and comfortable. The diner is very small, maybe 15 tables and a counter and they serve breakfast all day and lunch.

We grabbed a table by the door and Michele came over to take our drink order. Donna had water with lemon, Ed had his usual coffee ($2) and I opted for a Pepsi ($2.25).

They have a rather limited menu so it wasn’t hard to select our meal. When Michele came back, we told her we needed separate checks and she didn’t flinch. Sometimes it is a problem to get severs to separate the meals for you.

Donna ordered a #4, 2 eggs and toast and homefries ($5.95). When Michele asked how she wanted her eggs cooked, Donna told her poached and put them on the toast. Michele informed her they don’t do poached. Who doesn’t do poached? Michele said they could have them basted. We had never heard of “basted eggs” so Michele explained they cook it under a metal cover. She said it was like poached so Donna selected this way. Ed picked the #8. A bacon and cheese omelet with homefries (8.75). I picked a #4, 2 eggs, over easy, homefries and toast ($5.95).

Our meals arrived rather quickly and Michele even brought ketchup and hot sauce. The one thing I was missing was a “set up”, a placemat, napkin and silverware. She corrected this quickly and we all dug in to breakfast.

Ed pronounced his omelet delicious and that it had a good amount of bacon in it. He also said his coffee was good. My eggs were fine but the homefries were definitely not homemade. They were like uniformly sized, short, fat French fries. I thought they even seemed deep fat fried and were a bit crisp for my liking. My toast was thicker than most but it was so lightly buttered that I could not tell which side the butter was on. There was plenty of grape jelly packets table side though. Grape jelly is my favorite. Donna’s basted eggs weren’t at all like poached eggs and her yolks weren’t soft, more like medium.  Donna loves having runny yolks that she can soak up with her toast.

Like most small local diners, the staff and the customers seemed to know each other and engaged in small talk and chit chat. It looked like they had a number of regulars.

The bills arrived just as we were finishing our meal and when we looked at them we noticed neither the prices nor the totals were on them. They just listed what we had for breakfast.  Off they went to get this error corrected. I joked with Michele saying that I thought maybe breakfast was free.

Open daily, Monday thru Saturday 6:30am till 2:00pm and Sunday 8:00am till 1:00pm.
Takeout available.
Phone 716-297-4172

I give them 7 out of 10 spoons.

Previously published in the Niagara Gazette.