Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Journey Begins

Welcome to the very first posting on my very first Blog.

I won't have a lot to say on my maiden voyage, so to speak, but I did want to post something to sort of get the ball rolling. I'm sure that as you sit there reading this you have many questions. Who am I? Why a Blog on handicapped access? Why are you living in Toledo of all places? (Well okay, the last is a cheap shot. Actually, I love Toledo. Go Tony Packos! Go Mud Hens!)

As for who I am, my name is Lawrence and I'm a 54-year-old male living (okay, honesty time) just outside of Toledo with my adoring wife, Lydia, and two not quite as adoring cats named Jupiter and Gypsy. I also keep an aquarium. I'm pretty much just an ordinary guy with ordinary likes and dislikes.

Oh, and I've been handicapped from birth with cerebral palsy.

Which brings us to the second question. Why a Blog on handicapped access? Obviously it's a subject near and dear to my heart... it's a subject I live with every day... and as wonderful as Toledo is, the fact remains that a good portion of it was built long before anyone had even thought of "A. D. A. (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant" building codes.

Toledo is a city rich with history and diverse culture. One could easily write several books on that subject alone, but the relevant thing you need to know is that Toledo is an interesting mixture of both old and new when it comes to architecture. Sometimes a new building sits happily in between two older "historical" ones, and often the issue of accessibility is literally a matter of several feet one way or the other. You quickly learn to call ahead, and ask questions, before venturing into strange territory around here.

So why am I living in Toledo? I moved here in 1997 to be closer to my then fiance Lydia, who quickly learned more about "barriers to access" than she probably ever wanted to know. It's been an exciting and educational ten years (this May) for us, and now as I prepare to return to school later this year (another subject for a future Blog post) I find myself wanting to share what I've learned with others out there who may already be living in Toledo, or considering Toledo for a future relocation.

In closing (for now) I'd like to mention that I'm planning to build a website that I hope to cram with every bit of accessibility information I can find about living in Toledo. Hopefully it will one day become a beacon of light for those, like myself, who have travelled all the way across town, only to be stopped by a four-inch tall step that no one ever thought would be a barrier to anything.

We know better.

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