Saturday, June 30, 2012

End of the Month

Today is June 30, the last day of June 2012. It means that we have officially had ten days of summer, that July is coming very soon, and in business circles, that end of the month activities are due. For my business, VMT, the last business day of the month is when I send billing out to my clients.

This activity happens every thirty days or so and is a ritual I love to get finished. However, this year, it has gone faster and faster every month. Not because I'm becoming more proficient at it, although possible, or because I'm using some new software, no, it's going faster because there is less to do. January started out the year very busy, but ever since then I have had a gradual decline in work so that hardly any existed this past month.

In some ways, I have been decreasing the work load through my own actions. A couple clients started using a Content Management System (CMS) this year. These systems don't require much, if anything, of web coding knowledge, so they are fast to update. Both clients still have me do their work, but the time needed has dropped. I have also made a custom CMS for another client that they will soon be using to do their own work. Finally, I'm too easy on some companies. When two different updates total 12 minutes, I can't see charging 30 (two 0.25 hour updates) to a non-profit. Therefore, I combined the two times into one.

To help end this cycle of declining sales, I purchased access to a marketing strategy course to get further skills in selling. The premise of this class is to five figure deals from new business, I don't expect that to happen, but the information is still relevant. One item the instructor says is to build a strong core, or home network, of people that know what you do as this tends to be a great source for week. That I completely agree with, the majority of the work I do has come through referrals from friends and those who know me due to SCI.

He also said to blog often, so that people can get to know your work skills, and to use email marketing for consistent reminders to clients. These sound good, and I've heard them before, but I guess it's down to doing everything in increasing numbers.

Therefore, it's maybe time to start a business related blog, and try to think of things to write, and keep trying to be social, and make sure people know what I do.  It is something to pray about and see where God leads me with this reinvigorated skill.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Most people look forward to family vacation during the summer or with many jobs, expect to travel on occasion. I like getting away from the normal routine and seeing the sites just like everyone else. Long trips requiring hotel stays are not very pleasant though. Hotel beds are not very accommodating for me and it's usually a night of little to no sleep. Therefore, I normally only take one vacation a year, and it's a working vacation no less.

Since the year 2000, I have volunteered one week every summer to CHAMP Camp. It is a camp for children that require respiratory assistance from a mechanical device such as a ventilator, like me, or something similar. Some kids are fellow quadriplegics and require a vent 24/7 and others are completely ambulatory and just need assistance at night. Other than two years during college, this has been my annual vacation, where I work harder than the rest of the year combined, and wouldn't miss it.

Tilting by my bunk in 2011
Through the years, I've become friends with several of the counselors and look forward to seeing how the kids' year has gone. For the majority of the campers, this is the one time of year they get to truly be children and not be "special" because of their extra medical needs. They get to do things they normally would not and have a rare moment to be free of their parents. This year's camp has six first-time campers coming and counselors arrived two days ago, except for one of the regulars, the one writing this post.

In December and especially February through April, my body had more trouble with digestion, including the hospital stay I posted on. These problems made me question if I could go, but I went ahead and signed up anyway. Then, six weeks ago, was my leg break. That was the final straw that made resign this year, there was no way I could put my body through the stress of being up so much doing my duties.

Hopefully next year I will be able to return to my regular role, but I have a lot of healing and improvement to do first.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


This time of year, I start getting the urge to be working toward more education. Colleges are doing more recruiting trying to get last minute students, so I see more online advertising about them. The urge lasts until around mid-fall and generally dies down again.

It would be fun to be in school again, having goals to work toward, regular assignments, and a diversion from mindless games. Unfortunately, as most people, the cost of higher education is the primary reason why I don't pursue my desire. In my first time in college, right after high school, my parents paid the tuition with an IOU on me for the cost. I did get my Associate's Degree, but that unfortunately doesn't go very far.

After graduating, Vocational Rehabilitation, the state agency that's charged with helping person's with disabilities find work, basically deemed me worthless and will not help me fund education or anything else toward employment. I've been told by some that grants and scholarships are bountiful and easy to obtain. Unfortunately, I doubt these people have tried for such funds, while many may exist, they are extremely hard to get and often don't pay very much.

Unfortunately, my current situation means it is very unlikely I will be able to get a BA or beyond. One thing I am considering is language learning. In high school, it was very hard to do, but that was partly due to lack of ambition and other subjects I was working on. Software that is available now is much more my learning style and I have more of a drive to continue. Maybe someday this blog could have a Spanish translation, if anyone actually read either version.

Thursday, June 7, 2012


The last few weeks, or months, have been very busy at my father's employer. These are times when tempers are short and somedays nothing can go right. Yesterday was one of those days, as well as last week.

One of yesterday's problems was making supper. My parents could live off of nothing more than sandwiches, but I need more protein and nutrition than a sandwich can provide to stay healthy. The complaints went that I should eat more at lunch so we wouldn't need to eat much at night. Unfortunately, this is when I'm, sometimes, busy and want to get finished quickly.

The other problem is expense of medical care. We private hire about half of my assistants that get paid out of pocket and reimbursed by insurance. Unfortunately, insurance is slow at paying and the costs continue to increase to keep it. With these and more problems, I keep wondering when it will be time to move to a care facility.

In Iowa, there is only one place that will take people on a ventilator, and it's not a very good facility. Programs exist to allow persons with disabilities to live on their own, unfortunately I have not seen one for someone with my needs.

Moving to a nursing home and using Medicare and Medicaid would greatly ease the financial burden on my parents. It would also allow them to do what they please without having to take care of my needs. Unfortunately, the care I would receive would not be as good as it is now and I would be about three hours away from my family.

At the end of this summer, I am considering making this change. It would be difficult at first, but I think better for everyone in the long-term.