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Thursday, July 10, 2014

summer vacation

My Summer vacation involved five days in Southeast Pennsylvania
with my boyfriend and his family. It has already occurred to me
that my camp journal reads something like a love story. Expect
nothing less from this one. Here are the highlights, in no
special order. Enjoy... .

Headache
My head hurt on and off for the first few days but was never as
bad as when I arrived. Then I realized what was going on. There's
a trigger point on my upper right chest that causes bad
headaches. That's known as refereed pain, because you feel the
pain in an area other than where it originates. I suspect the
trigger point flared up during my frustrating night at the
Tactile Carnival.

I'm a big believer in trigger points and light touch massage.
It's what gave me back my life after two years of intense upper
body pain. I performed some quick and easy home massage. Soon
enough, the trigger point was deactivated, and I felt as good as
new.

For more information, Google "trigger point pain" and "trigger
point massage." Amazon sells a wonderful book that will teach you
techniques for managing your pain: The Trigger Point Therapy
Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief by Clair
Davies NCTMB

The Camp Bug
"They were dropping like flies!" At least that's what it sounded
like from reading emails and Facebook posts from people who
attended camp. It seems we had an unexpected visitor in the form
of a bug or virus that caused coughing and sore throat.

Frank came down with it Friday. Scott got a sore throat on
Saturday. It wasn't too severe, just annoying and persistent. We
were amazed at the number of people from camp who reported being
sick.

I was fine in terms of health. But Scott being sick created other
problems. After five days of being good at camp, I was looking
forward to not being good. Hey, I am an adult, you know! As Scott
put it best, he didn't appreciate his "lips being put on
probation."

Food
You don't starve at the Stoffel residence. Either they wanted to
make me fat or happy. I'm guessing it was the latter but both
could have easily happened.

I remember fried chicken, pasta, burgers, steak and cheese subs,
donuts, sandwiches, chips, cookies, cake, ice cream, fruit,
devilled eggs... I'm getting hungry. I especially loved the warm
cinnamon muffins.

In his basement apartment, Scott had vanilla truffles, Oreo Hugs,
Ring Pops, Angry Birds gummy candy, banana Moon Pies, honey
roasted peanuts, Dr. Pepper, black cherry Switch, Ferris Tree
ginger ale and Gatorade. I didn't get to eat many of his treats
because I was always full from meals. Just call me "Spoiled in
Pennsylvania."

Whippi
This refers to a who and a what. Whippi is the nickname Scott
gave me after a big-time communication breakdown the first year
we met at camp. I had been eating jello cake and managed to get
whipped cream all over my face and hands. I told Scott's SSP to
relay a message via his white board. "That cake was messy, and
I'm covered in whipped cream."

The 18 year old girl didn't get it quite right. She wrote, "Angie
wants me to tell you that she's covered in whipped cream."

That was a bit more bold than I planned for our first meeting at
a church camp. Scott was actually speechless. So now he calls me
Whippi.

Whippi is also a drink. I asked Scott if he creates drinks for
all the girls he dates. He said, "Yes, I named a drink after my
ex-wife. It was called Hell."

This new version of the Whippi uses black cherry Switch and
Captain Jack's spiced vanilla rum. It was yummy and made me feel
warm in the tummy!

Jack and Jill
I found it ironic that I was reading a book call Jack & Jill (by
James Patterson) While hanging out with Scott's cats, who are
named Jack and Jill. I was worried the creepy critters would
suddenly try to assassinate me and leave a gruesome poem beside
my body.

Actually his cats are quite sweet. Jill and I have been buddies
for awhile. She loves to have her face scratched. Scott has a
cute pet-name for his pet. He calls her "Itchy Face."

Jack is a total scaredy cat. Over the visits I've made during the
past two years, I've only manage to touch random body parts
before he runs away. He has an ear... a long tail... a front
leg... This time, Scott gave me a feel of Jack's butt hole. I
didn't like that part.

At last, I have finally seen the whole animal, and I can assure
you that Jack is a cat. Okay, we cheated. Jack was sound asleep
on his perch and didn't know the big, bad visitor was touching
him. But he is getting better at coming near me.

Reading
Scott is nice about letting me take time to read or check my
email. Usually, he goes off to his computer... Or to act as a
slave to his cat's. (Feed the cats. Play with the cats. Clean the
litter box. Play with the cats.)

One night he asked me if I wanted to check my email. I did, so I
pulled out my braille machine. I didn't have any email. I started
reading my book. One thing I've learned about James Patterson is
that once you pick up his books, it's next to impossible to put
them down.

It was almost an hour later when I stopped. I was wondering what
Scott was up to for so long. Turns out, he was sitting there the
whole time watching me read. Freaky!

Skee Ball
Scott set up the new Skee Ball game in the basement. I found
myself going back to it again and again. He'd leave to use the
bathroom, and I'd play skee ball. I can't say it enough: I love
this game! It still astonishes me that Scott managed to make it
accessible to someone who is DeafBlind and physically impaired.

At first, it was addicting but also maddening. No matter where or
how I three the ball, it always landed in the left gutter. I kept
on practicing until I found a decent strategy for throwing the
ball. I finally started to pick up more points.

One time Scott left me to practice while he went to do something.
He was surprised when he came back. I had five balls in the
4-point slot and one 3-point. Of course I didn't manage that in
six throws. I kept working on the balls that went into the
gutter... Then the 2-pointers and so on. Scott accused me of
cheating, but that was just practice!

We often played against each other. He has his own strategy -- if
he wins, he wins. If I win, he declares it a practice game and we
have to keep playing until he does win. What a total male!

Did I mention that sighted people and those with low vision must
wear a blindfold? I tried to take advantage of this by laying my
arm across the game. I planned to catch his ball and drop it in
the 1-slot. He didn't know what I was up to, but still managed to
thwart my plan. The ball bounced right over my arm.

One time Scott got a 4-pointer and was doing a happy dance...
really. While he threw his next ball, I reached under his arms
and grabbed the ball from the 4-slot. I was attempting to move it
to the 1-point slot, but he caught me. I'm innocent, I tell you!
Innocent!

We got better as the week progressed. Scott played a round in
which he had a ball in all five slots. I shocked myself by
getting all the balls in 2, 3, and 4 without cheating. For the
most part, I was good at getting 2 and 3-pointers. But if I tried
for 4, I usually got a gutter ball.

The final championship was played on the last day of my visit. We
never agreed on who won. I beat him in the first two rounds, so,
naturally, we had to play again. (See me rolling me eyes.) We
tied the net two matches. Scott says we aren't done. I declared
myself the champion because I got the all-time high score of 15
points.

Monster Manner
I got to play the Tactile Carnival game that Scott created for
me... and played it the way it's supposed to be played. It's
complex but makes sense when you learn as you go. I opened doors,
picking up points, releasing monsters and finding tools to kill
them. I used the magic wand three time to get myself out of
trouble. I had 23 points, which meant there was only one more
treasure to find. Two monsters were on the loose. They got me
trapped. With no more wands to use, I was dead... and loving it!

Monster Manner is a really cool game. It's important that the
person running it understands all the rules. Scott thinks maybe
it's not a good game for the carnival. I disagree. I heard from
two male campers who also enjoyed the game. We need to start a
petition that says Scott can't drop Monster Manor from the
carnival.

The First Swim

Scott has enough vision to determine if it's sunny outside. It
was, so we went out for a swim. By the time we reached an
umbrella table and chairs, it was cool and windy. Clouds
completely covered the sky.

Then it started pouring down rain. My crutch and Scott's towel
got soaked. We had to pull up close to the table. I could still
feel the mist of cold rain on my body.

It stopped as fast as it started. The sun came out, the the air
felt warm again. Do we dare get in the pool? Scott had to go
inside to get a new towel. By the time he returned, it was cloudy
again. We were soon treated to another downpour.

When the sun returned, we waited... and kept waiting. It looked
like the rain had stopped. We finally got in the pool. That's
when the rain started again. We rushed back to the table. It kept
on raining. At one point, it was sunny and raining at the same
time. When the downpour eventually let up, we high-tailed it back
inside.

Once we were dressed, the sun came out and stayed out. Moral of
the story: Mother Nature hates Scott Stoffel.

The Pool
The Stoffel family has the most amazing pool. It's big with a
shallow end and a deep end, steps and a rail to help you get in
and "benches" cut into the side where you can sit. The pool has
heat that can be turned on when needed. There's a cute little
waterfall from the jacuzzi into the main pool area. Oh, I do love
the jacuzzi. There's also a small fountain, but I've never
actually seen that before.

There are steps to get near the pool area, which makes walking
awkward for people with vision loss and neuropathy. Last year
Scott paid a whole lot of money to put in a ramp and rail leading
from the basement door to the pool. It's made such a difference
for both of us, his sister and people who come to his annual
DeafBlind pool party.

After a few days of rain, the sky became completely clear and the
sun was shining all day. We went swimming at least three times.
It was much like camp, but we had the pool to ourselves. I
enjoyed floating around with noodles and sitting on the "bench."
(Whatever you want to call it.) The jacuzzi jets felt incredible.
But we had to behave since the rest of the family was at home.

After swimming, we would sit in the sun to dry. Scott was so
fussy about not wanting me to get a sunburn. He's so good at
fussing, he could be a mother. But sometimes I enjoy being fussed
over, and I'm quite glad he's not my mother.

Togetherness
The best part was just being together. We'd sit inside or outside
or in the pool. It didn't matter. We'd talk for hours, or we'd
sit and hold hands... Just being together.

I love that we can sit without talking and still feel
comfortable. We don't need to entertain each other. I feel so
relaxed when we share this quiet time together.

"What are you thinking about?," I would ask him or he would ask
me. The usual answer was "nothing" or "everything." Either one
made perfect sense. Alas, all good things must come to an end.

Angela C. Orlando
"Summer Vacation"
June, 2014

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