Whenever we go anywhere, there is a little logistical detail that needs to be noted. This is whether we're driving to church, the grocery store, another state, or to the White House Christmas party. Actually, it's not little at all, it's a HUGE deal.
Michael needs to get in and out of the car. He can't do this on his own, so I have to do it for him. This is called a "transfer." I don't really know why it's called that, I guess because you're transferring from one place to another. Whatever. It's one of those words you learn when you live with someone that's paralyzed.
We have a Ford Escape. It's a smaller SUV. It's perfect for us. All three of us fit comfortably. Me. Michael. And the chair. In the back. It's great, I don't even have to take it apart, which is good, because that would take time and you know I'm anti-anything taking up precious seconds from my day! :)
To do this, Michael pulls up next to the passenger side back door. Locks his chair. Then, I squat down and put one arm under his armpit and one arm under the backs of his knees, and my chin on his other shoulder. I use my legs to literally pick him up (think groom picking up his bride) and sit him down in the passenger seat. I put on his seat belt, close the door. Then push the chair over to the back and lock the wheels again, pick it up and set it in the back, close the hatchback, then sit my own butt down in the driver's seat and we're off!
The only problem is this transfer business can be pretty physical! It's hard to do in heels (hello, lower back injury, anyone?) And, in a skirt, how shall I say this? It's impossible to do with any amount of modesty. Friends, this is why you'll never see me at church a) in a skirt or b) in heels. Sometimes it does take the fun out of being a girl, but whatever. It has to be safe, first and foremost!
Well... obviously for the WH Christmas party I was all dressed up in a dress and heels, hello! I certainly did not want a back injury and/or for everyone on God's green earth to see the parts of me you see when I hike said dress up high enough to squat deep enough to pick a grown man up!
So, my solution: I wore a pair of black yoga pants over my pantyhose. Pulled my dress up like it was a shirt. And I wore flat, slip on shoes, just for the transfer. Well, I wore that stuff the whole drive to the White House, and for the transfer back to M's wheelchair when we got there. Then, in the car, I shanked my pants off, put on my heels, and we were good to go!
I consider this a victory in planning, accommodation and resourcefulness! I'll definitely be doing this again. Glad I figured that out.