Blind Baby Daddy Blog #2: Prepping For More Than a Baby
I'm assuming that all of you have read Blind Baby Daddy Blog 1 and know how baby Kennan was conceived, let's move on to the immediate aftermath after conception. Immediately after we found out about Brittney's pregnancy, the house shopping began. As men, I think we like to tackle one of these major life changing experiences at a time. Women however want to get the house, remodel it, deal with pregnancy and continue working all at one time. I don't know if this was how it went for all of you reading this but this was how it went for us. There seems to be a delay in reality for men and we may not snap into reality until reality hits us in the head.
As someone that is blind, I would be lying if I said I was a researcher and planner. The increased time required, lack of accessibility and limitations on transportations makes this less efficient than the sighted world. Those that know me also know that I live quite a busy life in general and so in order to make sure that all ends are met I often rely on others and use strategies that I have learned to maximize time. You will never find me going into a Home Depot with a list of items and attempt to use my magnifying glass and binoculars to find a two inch long screw. I would be more successful finding a micro machine car in a corn field. Instead, I would immediately find a worker, tell them I'm visually impaired, and have them help me find the two inch screw. In this same way, Brittney did much of the research in finding houses that met our needs. I pretty much gave her full reign with a few major requirements that were based upon my needs due to vision. The house had to be in a walkable area and public transportation needed to be within close proximity as well. I would never put the burden on Brittney to take Kennan and I everywhere nor would I allow my child and I to be stranded out in the countryside without a way to get food and go for morning runs in the Bob stroller safely. Another requirement was that we have a yard for the dogs and baby Kennan. Considering that outside of 10ft I could mistake my dog for a blanket or patch of dirt, it was important to have containment. The last thing that we were going to do was get a home that our dogs and our child had to be on a leash. I mean, I probably will end up using a leash on Kennan but just not at my home.
We were fortunate to find our future house on the first time out with the real estate agent. With the cut throat housing market of Seattle, we did take a rare opportunity to use the blind card to persuade the owner why this home was perfect for us. We were very fortunate to get a great home and we had a great team of landscapers, mom and mother-in-law (Mary and Becky) and a very inexpensive contractor (Dad Mike). Well, we did have to hire quite a bit of help but we couldn't be more thankful for the help from family that we received. Home remodels and using large power tools are also not one of my strong qualities. Although there are many blind individuals that are very handy, I am not one of them. I have still yet to find audible tape measures, audible drills and electric saws that notify you before cutting appendages off. Although having a home with slanted picture frames, walls with paint drips and door frames that creek would be so up my alley, it probably wouldn't fly with all the sighted folk that walk into the house nor would it help the resale value of our home.
The remodel marathon began immediately after closing in early June and continued through our move in on September 1st. Most of my work on the house came in the form of carrying tons of large boxes, hacking down a jungle of blackberry bushes and hauling over five tons worth of yard waste to the dump. If you ever need a mover, I am your man. I can go forever and Brittney gladly offers my services to all her friends that our moving.
Life never seems to give us a break as just one week after closing on the house I was walking around the wooded trails in our backyard and spotted a huge tree smashed into our already rickety fence. My first instinct was that I would go find a chain saw and cut the tree up. This idea was vetoed and right fully so by the wife. I had never used a chain saw and the last time I saw a blind man with a chain saw was on the NBC TV series Growing Up Fisher where Mel Fisher told his family to stay well out of reach of a giant tree that he was about to saw down in his front yard. I did not go get a chain saw however I did go in the old shed in our backyard and pulled out a hand saw. As blind/VI individuals we are often seen intentionally or unintentionally as incapable of being independent and therefore we feel as though we always need to prove ourselves. With a little bit of this mindset as well as a little bit of my own competitive tenacity, I was going to find a way to hack that load of lumber off my fence. So with an old hand saw that was probably bent and rusty I went to town. I sawed and I sawed and about an hour later I had some results to show for it. I split the nearly two foot tree trunk and then proceeded to pull it off the fence. I was pretty proud of myself. There is one thing that I haven't mentioned yet and that is that the tree had split in multiple places and so there was another huge tree trunk that extended 30ft over the fence into the neighbors yard in addition to the part I had already shredded off. Needless to say, I called a handy friend of ours to help me cut down the remaining trees and saw them up into pieces. He was pretty impressed with my manual labor work on the large trunk I had done wit the rusty old blade. This gives you a little insight into a few of the things that we had going on as Brittney went through her first six months of pregnancy. Things got even more chaotic as baby Kennan came closer to his debut into the world.
In the next blog, I will share some of my concerns, expectations and even some of my brilliant ideas towards becoming a daddy while also being blind. How much did I know about babies before actually having one? What was my plan for doing the dirty work of changing diapers? How would we transport baby Kennan around? All of these things will be covered in the next episode of this ongoing blog series. The next blog is sure to get you laughing as well as spur you to push the "share button" to a friend. Until then, so long. I have to get back to making up stories while reading to baby Kennan.