Father of 4 Tells All

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

Scraping By

By Father of 4

My wife is a hero. Since the time she was a teenager, she helped her father raise her four younger siblings after her mother abandoned the family. When I met her, she was barely supporting herself by working retail.

I had just enough experience to get a full-time programming job, so I dropped out of college and went for the money. I bought a small chunk of carbon and a gold ring on credit. It was the best investment I ever made.

Two weeks after returning to work from my honeymoon, I found myself in my supervisor's office. Diabetic retinopathy had caused the vessels in my eyes to hemorrhage. I literally peered at the world obscured by murky ribbons of blood.

The plan was to take a leave of absence, go to Richmond for rehabilitation and return to work. I signed the forms three days before I could have qualified for long-term disability.

On Thanksgiving Day 1990, I gazed at the face of my beautiful wife. Her eyes were so pretty.

Then darkness fell. Forever!

Completely blind, I went to the company Christmas party. I tripped a few co-workers with my cane and when they left me by myself at the dessert table, I plopped my hand in the cake. Hey, accidents happen. I found my way to the seafood bar and gorged myself with oysters.

A month later, I had my first dinner with the in-laws since the wedding. I know what they were thinking. Their daughter was living in a run-down apartment complex and she had just married a jobless, disabled college dropout. What next? Well, my wife announced that we were expecting a baby.

They congratulated us. Out of courtesy.

Voice synthesis technology, a science where text gets transformed into robotic speech so blind people can interpret the computer screen, had just become available. I got trained and went back to work.

My wife dreamed of being a nurse, the profession was in high demand, paid decently, and I loved those cute little uniforms, so she went back to school. Good thing that the first day of Anatomy & Physiology class got out early. She walked through our apartment door, broke water, and the next day our first child was born.

My wife (registered nurse) and I (computer programmer) are doing pretty well. Despite the fact that we live paycheck to paycheck, owe $20,000 in credit debt, and don't have a dime saved for our kids' college doesn't mean anything. We have four thriving children and that's priceless.

And when my wife informs me that we only have $30 in the account to stretch until next week, I tell her, "Looks like we'll have to live off love."

Father of 4 is a frequent contributor to "On Balance."

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  September 26, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Good Morning, FO4.

We can choose to love the life we have.

Easy to write; hard to live.

But your family's courage and love inspires.

Because of your garden post weeks ago, I can imagine tomatos and the last of the bush beans.

Take care.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 7:03 AM

Wow. Now we know you a whole lot better, Father of 4. I don't know what to say. I'll just second College Parkian.
Hopefully your children will qualify for financial aid for college, you all deserve it!

Posted by: experienced mom | September 26, 2006 7:24 AM

"My wife is a hero. Since the time she was a teenager, she helped her father raise her four younger siblings after her mother abandoned the family. "

and then

"A month later, I had my first dinner with the in-laws since the wedding. I know what they were thinking. Their daughter was living in a run-down apartment complex and she had just married a jobless, disabled college dropout."

So, your mother-in-law came back into the picture?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 7:49 AM

I admire your ability to adapt. Many people can't. Like your wife, I also was abandoned by my mother when I was 16 and took care of my younger brother and sister and an alcoholic father. Rather than stay around and watch him deteriorate I ran away and joined the Army and became a nurse! I guess there is something that draws us to the nurturing profession. I believe that being pushed into a position of such responsibility as a young age gives you an inner strength that you are able to draw on for the rest of your life. Keep on keeping on.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | September 26, 2006 7:59 AM

F04 - You and your wife seem to truly enjoy life and being parents. I'd like to see more columns like this in the future - full of hope.

I know what it is like to have 30$ left in the checking account till payday!

Posted by: cmac | September 26, 2006 8:02 AM

As a soon-to-be-wed, your story teaches me what it takes to hold a marriage together -- love, respect, understanding, commitment, optimism and a huge dose of humor.

Posted by: Thank you | September 26, 2006 8:32 AM

FO4:

Your take on life is wonderful. Sometimes we get too caught up in what we "think" is important, and it takes a Tuesday guest Blog to remind us that love, happiness and family are what count in the long run, not our bank accounts or stock portfolio. God Bless You and Family.

Posted by: challey28 | September 26, 2006 8:33 AM

F04.... great job. You have been a hero of mine for a while now.

Just remember that the sky is always up!

Posted by: TBG | September 26, 2006 8:33 AM

Father of 4


Now we know you a lot better and I DO know what to say. You can't resist interjecting sex into your writing.

Posted by: Elaine | September 26, 2006 8:36 AM

Thank you for finally posting something that most of us can relate to. I don't have children, but currently my fiance and I just started to live together and begin to build our own family. There are many days where we are not sure if what we are doing is right, but after we read your blog everything is becoming much more clear. I wish you and your family the best.

Even for us with no kids, this type of blogs really does teaches everybody a thing or two.

Thanks!

Posted by: Inspired | September 26, 2006 8:45 AM

Thanks for sharing, FO4. I thought you posted sometimes about watching TV (and having kids bring you beer)? I know there are various degrees of vision loss, so I just wondered whether you had some partial vision. In any case, nice to hear from someone else in the blogosphere, but I'm a little disappointed that doesn't mean you have to give your real name.

Posted by: VAMom | September 26, 2006 8:46 AM

"I thought you posted sometimes about watching TV (and having kids bring you beer)? "

Yup, more "proof" that he's full of it.

Posted by: To VAMom | September 26, 2006 8:59 AM

Father of Four, you are a treasure because you can inspire both the blind and the sighted. I'm sorry that you lost your sight. I'm glad you have your wonderful family and your fabulous attitude. Thank you for sharing your experience.

Posted by: kbertocci | September 26, 2006 8:59 AM

Thanks for the peek into your life.

It's hard not to get bogged down with money problems. In our society, almost everything revolves around money, even your self-worth sometimes ("am I a good enough parent if I don't send my kid to the most expensive school?" or "If I can't afford to go back and get a degree, I'll be stuck in this horrible job forever").

When my husband and I are having money problems, it's hard to step back and take stock of everything we do have. We are lucky in so many respects.

So I will remember your post in the future (although I would never be able to say "we'll live off love" with a straight face--I'm too cynical).

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2006 9:01 AM

F04, add me to the list of people who are just staring in awe at the computer screen after reading your story. I think in some ways we've been jointly stirring the pot on this blog, but after today I will always consider myself the junior partner and justifiably so.

If you will allow me a brief moment to indulge in a shameless plug...I work for non-profit credit counseling agencies. Not the ones that advertise at three a.m. -- they're shysters. We're the good guys, I like to think. Please, please find a credit counselor to help you get rid of that 20K in debt. Check out www.nfcc.org to find an agency close by to where you live. It will make a huge difference and given all that you are doing, the obstacles you face and so forth, I really hope you pursue it.

Posted by: Glover Park | September 26, 2006 9:02 AM

Fo4, great post! Hope you continue to write. It is wonderful to have different outlooks and lives represented. As for your children's college fund, don't worry there is financial aid and scholarships out there. My husband and I managed to get through school without our parent's money. It makes children more responsible for the education, which is really a good thing.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 26, 2006 9:04 AM

Great guest blog father of 4! This is really an inspirational story all around. Your wife is a saint and you are lucky to have her along with your children, just as they are all lucky to have you. I can't imagine how hard it would be to lose your vision, your job and know that a new baby is on the way. A lot of marriages might not have survived that. Thanks for sharing your story.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 9:06 AM

Some people really seem to see only what they want. FO4 sees things much clearer than others.

And for those nitpicking about watching TV with the kids, if the kids are watching and he's listening isn't that "watching"?

FO4 always has the best sense of humor and makes me laugh.

Thanks for your view of life.

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | September 26, 2006 9:09 AM

Whoa whoa, don't be so quick to be so inspired. He's made choices in life that are very poor choices. Why make choices he can't follow through on? He has $20,000 in CC debt? That's not inspiring to me. Yes, it sounds like he (and his wife) have gone through some troubling times. That is good to see that he can get past it. But are his kids going to have the same problems? Just becuase someone gets "cancer" doesn't make him a better person. Fo4, you are still sexist and not really worth the time.

Posted by: slowdown | September 26, 2006 9:09 AM

Elaine, play nice now! It's just one little comment about oysters today.

Great post, Father of 4. Keep enjoying life. And keep making those sex interjections if that's what floats your boat.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 26, 2006 9:17 AM

Why do people have to look for the negative and point out the flaws? Why can't you just take the message for what it is--a message of love, partnership, and working to make it work? Geez, people, lighten up!

Posted by: why | September 26, 2006 9:20 AM

Great post, Fo4! I had no idea about the trials in your life. Thanks for sharing your perspective and your sense of humor.

Posted by: MBA Mom | September 26, 2006 9:21 AM

"Why do people have to look for the negative and point out the flaws? Why can't you just take the message for what it is--a message of love, partnership, and working to make it work? Geez, people, lighten up!"

Why? Because he's spun this "story" and getting sympathy/support from people and I personally don't think it is deserved (or truthful).

A message about partnership, love, and working to make it work is only that if it is truthful.

Posted by: why not | September 26, 2006 9:24 AM

Wow Father of 4, you've really topped yourself with this one. Am sure he is having a good laugh over how you all are swallowing this bs story. Tell me another one you sexist.

Posted by: clarity | September 26, 2006 9:25 AM

This was a great blog and definitely inspirational. Interesting how some things can make you feel warmth even though they are thoughts/words.

Slowdown, it must be nice to never make a mistake nor hit a hard time. I am more inspired by those who have made mistakes or hit speed bumps and prevailed than those who are perfect and never had any pittfalls.

FO4, I think your children are going to be stronger for seeing your strength and the love between you and your wife. Great job!

Posted by: Thought | September 26, 2006 9:27 AM

Just when I thought that this would be a day where no one picks a fight on this blog, along comes "slowdown" who goes way over the line and unnecessarily takes more than a couple of swipes at F04. Very uncool.

How does the old adage go? Until you've walked a mile in someone else's shoes...

Et tu, slowdown?

Posted by: Glover Park | September 26, 2006 9:32 AM

Your life sounds cool. Good luck to you. The realist in me wonders why people who can't afford it have so many kids. Society always ends up having to pay. We taxpayers will probably put your kids through school. But at least we get to enjoy your writing.

Posted by: perpetual student | September 26, 2006 9:32 AM

VaMom, the only TV show I "watch" is American Idol. For the most part, I hate the TV and if a theif ever stold anything from our house, I would hope it would be the TV. It would greatly improve my lifestyle.
Oh yeah, complete darkness, nothing but black, except on the rare occasion when I have a dose of NyQuil. Wow After about 5 hours of sleep, I see all kinds of pretty colors and shapes on the back of my eyelids. Yes, a blind man *can* hallucinate.
Did you know blind persons in Virginia can legally fish without a license. But how would I proove that I'm blind to the warden?

I can pop my eye out! Cool! Kids love it! Every Halloween I go out as the one-eyed blind begger. Maybe someday, I'll show up at your door with my kids.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 9:34 AM

I think father of 4 is conservative, not sexist.

As far as the kids go, just because a parent makes a bad decision doesn't mean that the kids are destined to repeat it. Also, you have no idea what is on those credit cards, medical bills, tuition, food, etc. Life isn't always "rosy." My dad lost his job and my mom had to use credit cards to pay for doctor visits and hospitalizations. It's always easy to point at other people and say you shouldn't have done that, bad thing is, you never know when you will be the one living off of a credit card, unless you are rich.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 9:35 AM

We taxpayers will probably put your kids through school. But at least we get to enjoy your writing.

tax payers put you through school as well, they also pay for the roads you drive on and the parks you go to and etc, etc,.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 9:36 AM

I've been reading this blog for quite a while and I have to say, I don't buy FO4's story. He's using voice synthesis technology to read the posts on his computer? In one of his earlier posts he told of sitting at his computer posting to this site, pretending to work while his supervisor stood nearby. Unless his supervisor is deaf, wouldn't he have heard the computer talking to FO4. Sorry to be a downer, but I've noticed for some time that FO4's posts often don't ring true and he likes to interject sexual innuendo into his post (sometimes involving his kids, yuck). I think he's a lonely exhibitionist, who likes the attention he gets here.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | September 26, 2006 9:36 AM

"I thought you posted sometimes about watching TV (and having kids bring you beer)? "

Yup, more "proof" that he's full of it.

It's entirely possible to say you "watch" tv without actually seeing it. The television also has the uncanny ability to emit sound from time to time. And being disabled doesn't mean you become an angel/sober, nothing to really question there. Being disabled doesn't make someone a better person, but it can alter someones perspective and allow them to respond in a positive manner.

It's a shame when you lose something as vital as your sight, especially so early in life. Cheers, I wish you and your family well. Oh, and maybe you should see a credit counselor sometime soon, that much debt probably doesn't make it easy to sleep at night.

Posted by: Five | September 26, 2006 9:37 AM

Wow. Some people will bash anything. I prefer the addage, "if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." If you don't like the guest blog, let it go. Why take the time to blast the author? Geez.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 9:40 AM

When I was in grad school eons ago, credit card companies wouldn't give credit to people like me who had a tiny income. So I ate beans. Credit is not an entitlement believe it or not. Ask your depression-era grandparent about that.

Posted by: perpetual student | September 26, 2006 9:42 AM

'Unless his supervisor is deaf, wouldn't he have heard the computer talking to FO4'

Have you ever seen those nifty devices that you plug into a machine, then put things into or over your ears? They are called headphones! You can hear through them, but no one else can hear what you can hear. Isn't technology amazing!?!

Posted by: experienced mom | September 26, 2006 9:45 AM

to interject sexual innuendo into his post (sometimes involving his kids, yuck).

I don't recall reading anything about sex and his kids?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 9:45 AM

When I was in grad school eons ago, credit card companies wouldn't give credit to people like me who had a tiny income. So I ate beans. Credit is not an entitlement believe it or not. Ask your depression-era grandparent about that.

Oh, I thought we were talking about taxes?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 9:47 AM

'I don't recall reading anything about sex and his kids'
I do, I have a daughter the same age, I thought the humor was just that. funny, and nothing weird about it. Sounds like he's a loving dad with a great relationship with his daughter, which is more valuable for a young teen than anything money can buy.
I feel sorry for teenagers who have parents with no sense of humor. Everyone must be miserable in those homes.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 26, 2006 9:50 AM

"'Unless his supervisor is deaf, wouldn't he have heard the computer talking to FO4'

Have you ever seen those nifty devices that you plug into a machine, then put things into or over your ears? They are called headphones! You can hear through them, but no one else can hear what you can hear. Isn't technology amazing!?!
"

If he had earphones on, how would he know his supervisor was nearby?? If he is blind (and can't see him coming or going) and has his hearing blocked by the headphones pouring "text" into his ears (and thereby "deaf" to the coming or going), how would he know? The supervisor could be standing right behind him and he would never know.

Face it, he pulled one over on Leslie and most of the people here.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 9:50 AM

Father of 4 is a highly entertaining writer and, as a bonus, we finally get a post that isn't full of upper middle class whining. He and Rebeldad are the best things on this blog.
(and if *I* can't find anything to bash, you know it's a good guest blog...)

Posted by: whatev | September 26, 2006 9:53 AM

I agree. Father of 4 has injected a LOT of sexual innuendo into his posts. The past doesn't change because now we know more about the trials of his life.

He doesn't get a pass for being a jerk because he is blind. He probably was a jerk before he lost his sight.


Posted by: June | September 26, 2006 9:54 AM

to anon at 9:50

my children are required to keep their headphone volume down, so they do hear the lovely tones of my voice over the music that is pouring into their ears. It is possible to hear other sounds while wearing headphones!

Maybe the humor here is how mean and negative some people are.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 26, 2006 9:56 AM

Your wife is NOT a hero. She is the woman you used to pay for your disability. Assuming this story is even true.

Posted by: BARF | September 26, 2006 9:57 AM

To experienced mom, you got me there.
As far as his sexual scenarios involving his kids; he likes to imply that his gets are somehow privy to what goes on sexually between him and his wife, such as posting that his oldest child will take the younger ones off so mom and dad can make another baby. Or, his post about the baby wandering into the room and changing the voice mail message while he and his wife are having sex (I don't believe a baby could accidently hit the right combo of numbers to change a voice mail message). He seems to get a charge out of the idea that his kids are at least peripheraly involved in his sex life. I've always found his posts creapy.

Posted by: Alexandria Mom | September 26, 2006 9:58 AM

"Unless his supervisor is deaf, wouldn't he have heard the computer talking to FO4."

Most likely, Fo4 uses headphones...

Posted by: MBA Mom | September 26, 2006 9:58 AM

Fof4 - hooray for you! Blindness is a near-reality for me at times (I am legally blind without my contact lenses) and when I have to function without them for some reason I can have great sympathy for you.

Voice synthesis technology is great - and for those of you that don't realize it, most folks who use it use headphones, or one ear piece, so you *can* 'pretend to work' and talk to your boss. I do it with my ipod all the time. And since he doesn't need to see the screen, he could have the laptop closed or the monitor off all the time.

And as for the credit card issue - geeze, people, can you give the man a break? I am a fiscally responsible sort - and I have debt, too, although mine is student loans primarily, thanks to a good scholarship that allowed me to not have to use credit cards for college. Having two people in college, especially with kids in the mix, means that credit cards are a must unless you have a large trust fund or parents that can pay for things.

I should write one of these - having more 'regular people' writing would be a good thing, I think. Thank you for sharing, Fof4 - I can totally empathise with the $30 and living on love thing, too. Sounds like you have a good solid relationship, and a happy life for the most part - something everyone should aspire to.

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | September 26, 2006 9:59 AM

Wow, a lot of confusion on the blog today. Maybe Fo4 would set the record straight for the rest of us?

Posted by: 215 | September 26, 2006 10:04 AM

"my children are required to keep their headphone volume down, so they do hear the lovely tones of my voice over the music that is pouring into their ears. It is possible to hear other sounds while wearing headphones!"

Experienced mom, true. However, listening to music at low volume (as I'm doing right now) and listening to conversation/text to voice at low volume are completely different.

Having text/conversation at low volume means other noises will break your concentration and you won't be able to follow what you are hearing. It's like having two conversations at once - if possible, very difficult.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:04 AM

Wow, FO4, you really surprised me. And all along I had thought that you were just a wise-cracking, funny, a little bit sexist, conservative-leaning, devoted father and husband. I had no idea you had such obstacles in your path. You have my respect, even though I still think you are sexist. This is what I find most refreshing about you. No one would ever have guessed you are blind. You just get along in life with your humor and wit, your perseverance, your love for your family, without bitterness, and without feeling sorry for yourself. I don't mean to sound condescending, because it is not how I feel. I cannot imagine how I would adjust and overcome such a disability, and I hope it would be with as much grace as you have shown. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: Rockville | September 26, 2006 10:05 AM

Wow Fo4 - what a fan club you have!

I think I'd better get your autograph before everyone else starts asking for it!
;) Can you sign it with a double entendre?

I like to count how many replies get posted before a poster rudely rips the blogger (simply disagreeing with the point of view doesn't count. The respondant has to be mean). I'm afraid one of Leslie's posts still has you beat. But we've got some seriously catty/maladjusted/judgemental folks on this blog.

Keep up the commentary, ok? and better luck on your next guest blog!

Posted by: amused | September 26, 2006 10:06 AM

*psst*

For future reference, Fo4 really enjoys descriptions of the sky at sunrise.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | September 26, 2006 10:06 AM

Does it really matter if Fo4's story is true or not? It could be true and it is true for many people, which makes it a valuable perspective to consider.

Posted by: Charlottesville | September 26, 2006 10:07 AM

@BARF

Maybe you have good reason to dislike FO4, but wow. So she's the woman that he used to pay for his disability now? Did he somehow see into the future (no pun intended) and realize he was going to become disabled 2 weeks after his honeymoon? That's why he shacked up with her? Absolutely brilliant, you simply could not have made a better post.

*Anything and everything on the internet is subject to scrutiny and could potentially just be a lie. As far as I know, everyone on the internet is some form of doctor, lawyer, expert in economics, or are an English professor. Everyone is an expert at everything. If they are guys, they are all 6'4", 220 pounds of lean muscle, and always get the girl. Always. So far, none of the inconsistencies that have been pointed out hold water in regards to FO4's possibly lying about his disability.

Posted by: Five | September 26, 2006 10:07 AM

Wow, some of you are gullible...

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:10 AM

Great story and congrats on having the strength to fight the uphill battle daily. I will admit to being puzzled sometimes by the tone of your posts, but that has no bearing on the fact that your story is courageous.

I feel the need to point out to people that a great many folks use credit cards as a safety net. As long as the balances are trending downward and not upward, you're doing at least as well as the average American.

Having run up credit card debt is not necessarily the "bad choice" people are sounding off on. If the other choice would have been "I guess I can't have the surgery" or "i guess I drop out" or something similar, then using the cc is a no-brainer.

Posted by: Proud Papa | September 26, 2006 10:13 AM

And I wonder how a blind man can teach a child to ride a bike. Wasn't that one of his best stories? Is FO4 a pathological liar?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:14 AM

No I actually put myself through school. People really did that in the old days. My parents didn't have too many children like this gentleman, they just believed that if a person wanted to go to college, that was a luxury not a necessity.
I agree.

Posted by: perpetual student | September 26, 2006 10:15 AM

Does it really matter if Fo4's story is true or not? It could be true and it is true for many people, which makes it a valuable perspective to consider.

It does matter. If it's not true, the perspective being provided may not be based on reality. If you are looking for entertaining fiction, then that's one thing. If you want to learn about other peoples' experiences and realities, then this possible fiction really makes me wonder about what kind of person F04 is.

FO4, you need to do some explaining.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:17 AM

Drivel like this is *seriously* harming the credibility of the Washington Post. Online producers, editorial board, Len Downie ... everyone pay attention. Creating a forum for the ignorant masses to foist their weird fantasy lives on others will *not* save the newspaper industry. You are harming your reputation as a credible, intelligent source of information.

Posted by: rebecca | September 26, 2006 10:22 AM

Then again, he did say one day that he did not drive. That would make sense. But yes, I do see inconsistencies in the story.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:24 AM

I think Charlottesville has a good point. Does it really matter, in the grand scheme of things? Have you really been defrauded if it's not true? Of what, pray tell? It's a blog on the Internet. Gain perspectice, retract the claws and the fangs, and have a nice day.

Posted by: theoriginalmomof2 | September 26, 2006 10:30 AM

Fo4, where are the WMDs? Where is osama?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:31 AM

Wow, this has turned into a witch hunt!

I see so many complaints on this blog about how the posts only apply to upper middle class parents. Father of 4 gave us the opportunity to discuss some real challenges, so let's discuss!

Are loving parents more important than a college fund?

Marriage and parenting are leaps of faith. What happens when your dreams and expectations don't come true (or change)?

Is it okay to consider your wife a "hero" even if people with different views don't agree?

Please can't we avoid the negative energy?!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | September 26, 2006 10:33 AM

Does it really matter, in the grand scheme of things? Have you really been defrauded if it's not true?

Yes it matters. This is not just some blog. It is a blog run by a major newspaper. So far, the guest bloggers have been credible. The idea that F04 might be the figment of some creep's imagination is repugnant. Does Leslie not have any responsibility to check her bloggers out?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:35 AM

This blog is always drivel about someone's life. At least this drivel can give you a perspective about how other people live and struggle.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 10:38 AM

It is a great background story on an interesting poster. It makes people stop and think about what is important.

Those who have to find something negative to attack and have to question the truth of the story are going to attack any story. Why do you people read blogs anyway, yes there is no way to verify facts, this is not a newsflash. Much of life is like that. You have a choice, be negative or be positive. Here, Father of 4 has given us a window in someone who chose to be positive, to make a good life out of what life chose to throw at him. My guess is he is a lot happier person than all the naysayers on the blog today. Good for him.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:39 AM

Does it really matter, in the grand scheme of things? Have you really been defrauded if it's not true?

Yes it matters. This is not just some blog. It is a blog run by a major newspaper. So far, the guest bloggers have been credible. The idea that F04 might be the figment of some creep's imagination is repugnant. Does Leslie not have any responsibility to check her bloggers out?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:40 AM

Glover Park, is $20,000 of credit all that bad? I thought it was about average for the Northern Virginia area.

No, I don't wear earphones, I find them uncomfortable, not to mention it builds up ear wax and makes it more difficult to hear. I can't afford that. My supervisor threatened to make me wear them because the voice could be disturbing to others. But other coworkers could listen to radios without ear phones, so that was the end of that threat.

As far as the voice synthesis program goes, I've got it cranked up so fast, only can a very well trained ear be able to decipher what it is saying. And then when you add all the commas, periods and special characters, you will be lost. For kicks and grins, maybe I'll post a link so you can listen to what I have to put up with to get my work done.

Anyone want to volunteer the text? Maybe I'll post a link to it later on tonight.

I actually began posting on this blog in order to check out the voice software. Filling out internet forms was at first really, really difficult for me and this blog provided a relatively easy format for me to experiment with.

Also, I used the text of this blog to generate test data to import into a computer program I was writing at the time. Ha! I was doing my job by blogging.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 10:40 AM

Twenty grand in credit card debt is a bit high. I don't know what the regional average is, but nationally the average household has about nine thousand in credit card debt. In my work I have also met people with over one hundred thousand dollars in credit card debt, so there's a huge range out there.

My concern, also having been in significant debt myself in the past, the stress that it causes, to say nothing of how it impacts other priorities, be they day-to-day living expenses, savings in general or college savings. (Though I would also be the first one to say that had I grown up in Virginia, I would have been thrilled to go to U Va for in state tuition, though I'm told that's on the rise as well.)

Whether or not your debt is above or below average, like I said, I would do something about it just because that money could be used for so many other things.

On another note, maybe we'll all be burned in the end, but I for one believe F04's story and am deeply saddened that some folks feel the need to pick apart his story. Is it really necessary to carp, whine and argue everyday on this blog?

Posted by: Glover Park | September 26, 2006 10:45 AM

Rockville's 10:05 Post shows that in blog-land, writers (cloaked in the cotton batting of digital privacy) can

STILL
keep an edge that matches their voice, wits, and outlook on life AND

be civil. All at the same time.

Rockville, your Miss Manners AKA Judith Martin award is available for pick-up now.

As in real life (IRL) we don't agree with our neighbors, coworkers, bowling team/Tai Chi class people, etc.

Heck, we may not even like them.

But we can be civil net-izens.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 10:46 AM

Thanks, honey! I know that you love this blog. But I can read no more! Thanks to all of you have responded so kindly. Life is full of challenges and disappointments. A strong faith in someone other than yourself pulls the greatness from every misfortune. The love of another is what happiness is all about and what we all crave. In Tae Kwon Do, the statement "I am happy because I choose to be happy...," says it all.

And to those of you who do not choose...make one more rude comment to my husband and we can meet later in the alley!! He went blind before our first child was born. Could you bear waking every morning in complete darkness? Could you sit and bear everyone admiring your children and not know what they even look like? Could you bear listening to your spouse complain that they have to do everything and feeling so helpless, bound to a limitation you did not choose?

I love you, honey. Thanks for everything you have given me. Dinner will be waiting for you when you get home.

Posted by: wife to father of 4 | September 26, 2006 10:47 AM

Did you know the word 'gullible' isn't even in the dictionary?

Posted by: et tu | September 26, 2006 10:49 AM

Wife to Father of 4 sure sounds like a hero to me!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | September 26, 2006 10:51 AM

I'm normally pretty skeptical about stories I read on internet boards and such. However, for some reason this one doesn't sound an alarm with me. Father of 4 has mentioned several times that he has a disability and/or doesn't drive - I had wondered what his disability was but figured it was none of my business and that he would share if and when he was ready to share. Now I know why he waited.

But - even if the story was NOT true...can't it be used as a learning tool for the rest of us? When I start to whine about my every day struggles, maybe I'll stop and think about the Fo4's out there who have a much harder time balancing it all.

Maybe it's a bit like "A Million Little Pieces" - ? - and maybe the doubters should read the post again and take something positive from it?

Posted by: momof4 | September 26, 2006 10:51 AM

wife of father of 4

I'll be in the alley with you. Don't let these people get you down. You are a wonderful, strong woman, I admire you for you dedication to your husband and children. It can't be easy on you and father of 4, for the reasons you just described.

Some of these people would be nasty to mother teresa, it's not you, it's them. :)

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 10:51 AM

"Please can't we avoid the negative energy?!"

Father of 4 generated the negative energy with his swarmy, veiled sexual remarks. I haven't been defrauded because I haven't bought his big bag of B.S.

Posted by: Lee | September 26, 2006 10:51 AM

From this blog back in June

"One time my wife packed a pink towel in my gymbag as I went off to work and I didn't notice until it was time to take a shower. Boy did I make sure I didn't drop the bar of soap that day."

Dad of 4, did you notice it or did someone tell you you had a pink towel? Or was this a made-up story?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:52 AM

Father of 4's wife sounds like she is a few beers short of a sixpack herself...

Posted by: buggy | September 26, 2006 10:53 AM

OK, I HAVE HAD IT!

If I understand some people correctly, one's point of view directly impacts one's vercity. Am I correct in extrapolating that from what I am reading?

So liberals tell the truth and so-called sexist conservatives are liars and don;t deserve the benefit of the doubt?

F04's point of view and beliefs are IRRELEVANT to his disability and I would hope that everyone is open-minded enough to recognize the distinction.

Posted by: Glover Park | September 26, 2006 10:57 AM

The post from "wife to father of 4" sounds an awful lot like Fo4 himself.

Hmmmmm . . .

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:57 AM

Now...his wife's on here defending father of 4. Is that really his wife, or him writing like it is his wife?????????????This blog isn't worth the energy! This post is nothing about BALANCE. And this is all getting TUPID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:59 AM

the pink towel could have been before the blindness (small window) - or heck before the marriage. I have heard my husband make "my wife did..." comments about incidents that occured before we got married. "My wife, before we got married" would seem like way too much work to him.

Posted by: uh... perhaps... | September 26, 2006 11:00 AM

For all of you who have so much time on your hand that you have to invent a witchhunt to keep you ignorant minds occupied, please go find another blog to haunt. Your lack of compassion and your need to find the negative in every comment wastes space on this blog for others who are interested in sharing.

To Fo4 and his wife, thanks for sharing your story and best wishes to you and your family.

Posted by: WFH in NY | September 26, 2006 11:02 AM

father of 4's wife reads this blog. He already stated that before.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 11:04 AM

If you read the comments on other blogs on the WaPost website, most offer comments on their own experience or information on resources or things like that without the personal bashing this blog brings out. Are there just more unhappy, bad mannered, mad people on this blog than on Marc Fisher's or Joel's or any of the others?

I can see that FO4 would bring out (strong) comments, but would you make them to him in person or to your neighbor, or your grandmother? Come on people!

Posted by: interesting... and a bit sad | September 26, 2006 11:08 AM

I have a good friend who is blind. He also turns the speed up on his reading machine so that I can't understand it. Not something who is not blind would normally know about.

Years ago, my friend and I accidentally swapped photo IDs when we were both getting carded. You can bet he found out even though he's blind!

Thanks, Fo4, for your contribution today.

Posted by: Ms L | September 26, 2006 11:10 AM

If you read the comments on other blogs on the WaPost website, most offer comments on their own experience or information on resources or things like that without the personal bashing this blog brings out. Are there just more unhappy, bad mannered, mad people on this blog than on Marc Fisher's or Joel's or any of the others?

I can see that FO4 would bring out (strong) comments, but would you make them to him in person or to your neighbor, or your grandmother? Come on people!

Posted by: interesting... and a bit sad | September 26, 2006 11:10 AM

While it's admirable that Fo4 has overcome adversity, and has enjoyed an apparently happy marriage, he's hardly a role model. More like a poster boy for irresponsible choices. Leaving a job three days before qualifying for long-term disability? $20,000 in credit card debt? FOUR freakin' children!?!? And now the taxpayer is expected to subsidize their college education because of Fo4's lousy life choices and unrestrained libido? $20,000 will buy a lot of birth control.

Posted by: SherpaDoug--Appalled | September 26, 2006 11:11 AM

Well, I don't know if his story is true or not. If it is, I wish him and his family the best of luck. I would take Glover Park (btw, good to see you back GP) up on his advice to get some credit counseling. If it is not true, then that is really pathetic. I have to say I am shocked how much you guys remember from each other's posts. I still can't keep most of you straight.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 11:12 AM

I have a pink towel with my initials monagrammed on it. Our wedding colors were tiel (my favorite color) and rose (her favorite color). they were a wedding gift and my office mate pointed it out.

Thanks Wife to Father of 4. You're a real sweetie. Sneak Beans for the vegetable?

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 11:12 AM

Just out of curiosity, how can anyone be sure Leslie DIDN'T check out her sources here??

Posted by: TakomaMom | September 26, 2006 11:17 AM

Thanks, NewName2. I figured it was about time to take myself out of the penalty box...

A cautionary warning F04...I'm sure there are folkstyping away right now wondering how someone who is vision-impaired can have a favorite color. Idiots.

Again, let's stop "truth-squading" Father of 4 or questioning his choices. We have no reason to doubt him, and no one is empowered to question the choices that other people make. Let s/she who is without sin cast the first stone...

Look, I'm sure there are some one you who would dearly love and will try to determine if Father of 4 is telling the truth. Enjoy. I think there are better ways to spend one's day, but if that floats your boat, that's great. If his story is true, I hope everyone here who has slammed him with such vitriol will apologize with similar fervor. And if his story is a fraud, you can be sure I will be amnong those who lead the charge in running F04 off this blog.

I can't be sure of it, but I seem to recall something in this country about the presumption of innocence...

Posted by: Glover Park | September 26, 2006 11:20 AM

I don't get it. As many posters have noted, often pointedly, Leslie and many guest bloggers have an affluent, upper-middle class point of view. Nobody has yet refused to believe their stories. Father of 4 posts from a different economic and educational view, and with a disability, and the entire blog becomes whether he's telling the truth about his situation. So people who are affluent are believable while people who claim otherwise are suspect?

Posted by: lurker | September 26, 2006 11:23 AM

I'm not sure whether Leslie checked out her source. The story sounds fishy. I would like to hear from her on that. If she says she verified the authenticity of FO4's blog, then I will take her word for it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 11:24 AM

Anyone who bought an over inflated house in DC has debt. Probably way more than father of 4.

Also, anyone can apply and recieve student loans, so I don't know why you are all talking about paying for his kids education. it just makes you sound really dumb, oh wait, i'm sure you are!

Posted by: he and his wife pay taxes too, dumb ass | September 26, 2006 11:27 AM

On a hot, nasty, sweltering August summer evening, I took my daughter up to the park a few days before her 7th birthday. I had taken her training wheels off her bike and if she was going to learn how to ride a bike at age 6, this was the last chance. So time after time I would have to squat down, run and push. At the gym they call them lunges, a painfull excersize. I encouraged her everytime she wrecked which was about 10 feet after I stopped pushing, by saying things like "Remember honey, anybody who has ever learned to ride a bike has learned how to fail... By failing, we learn... Just don't quit." After an hour, my legs got so wobbly, I could barely stand and my head was browning out from heat prostration. I was literally staggering all over the grassy field, squatting down, pushing..., and pushing my own self not to pass out and quit. Then it finally happened, on my last shove, I fell on the ground in complete exhaustion, and I heard those words of triumph about a hundred feet away, "Look Daddy, I'm riding a bike!"
Wow! "I did it!", I thought to myself, "I'm a real Daddy now!" And I just layed there and cried. If you were there, you wouldn't have noticed the tears. They blended in nicely with the sweat that poured off my face.

Posted by: Father of 4 | May 19, 2006 01:22 PM


So this is my question. How can a man who is blind and shoved his hand in the holiday party cake by accident be able to push a bike with a child in it and teach that child to ride. How can he need a cane to navigate and still be able to teach the kid to ride a bike? It does not make sense!! Someone is pulling our leg.

Posted by: A story told by F04 | September 26, 2006 11:29 AM

lurker:

Sadly, many posters on this blog have disgustingly shown their manipulation of the Golden Rule: whoever has the gold rules.

Posted by: Glover Park | September 26, 2006 11:31 AM

"Nobody has yet refused to believe their stories. Father of 4 posts from a different economic and educational view, and with a disability, and the entire blog becomes whether he's telling the truth about his situation."

It isn't about class/affluence/education or even about the disability.

The problem here is that Father of 4 has, in previous posts, said things that directly counter his statement that he is blind.

If a affluent person were posting about doing something only a seeing person could do and then talked about being blind, it would raise the "BS meter" on people. Nothing about affluence/education/etc. there. Just plain old BS.

Posted by: To lurker | September 26, 2006 11:31 AM

Maybe everyone who wished this little webpage blog would be a real "community" should shut off the computer and go outside and meet people if you want to verify disability, income, family situation, and political beliefs.

One option to consider, Leslie, is allowing one post per IP address then everyone can post their experiences as a bulletin board and not respond to each other.

Posted by: Get A Real Life | September 26, 2006 11:34 AM

regarding the bike story, I didn't realize blind people are not allowed to run in an open, grassy field. I guess Fo4 didn't know that either. I believe his story.

Posted by: experienced mom | September 26, 2006 11:38 AM

Yikes! Fo4, you may have to post your most recent credit report, medical records, and DNA samples of you and your family before the day is out. Perhaps that should be a prerequisite for posting to this blog? Oh, that and maybe a biometric scanner at your desk to verify your finger print with each post?

Nothing like the nice warm blanket of online anonymity to bring out the worst cynic in people. Granted, I don't read this blog everyday, but the depths that the conversation sinks to here (as elsewhere in the blogosphere) from people who are smart enough to find this site and post, is sometimes truly depressing. Have we really lost the ability to disagree or criticize respectfully? It's "Lord of the Flies" gone digital.

Sure, the capability to lie is all too easy here, but in general, I don't get that impression with most of the posters here (of course I could be just a terrible judge of character and hopelessly naive). Why would Fo4 lie about his condition and family situation? He could certainly be some "lonely exhibitionist," a tag that could easily include ALL OF US! I've also found some of his posts to be racy and, sometimes, ill-advised. But, rather than some bored teenager, he generally strikes me as someone who has been comfortably married for quite sometime and has gotten past the point of restraining comments he would normally keep between him and his wife (by the way, does she know he posts here?). Perhaps someone out there should submit his archive of posts to a personality expert and develop a profile of him? Would that satisfy?

Fo4 gave us a bit more of a glimpse of his background, which he didn't have to do, providing more perspective from where his previous comments are coming from. That's not to say we should all agree with or like what he has to say. But it's certainly a lot more than what his detractors here seem to be offering.

Okay, 'nuff rambling. Fire away.

Posted by: ConantheLibrarian | September 26, 2006 11:39 AM

The level of immaturity here is rather astonishing and scary, considering this is supposed to be a blog about families and parents.

With the kind of behavior I see here, it's no wonder I can't grocery shop or dine out in peace, without some kid ruining it.

But I see now it's the parents that are to blame because they're worse than the kids!

Posted by: literarygirl | September 26, 2006 11:40 AM

If those are the best examples of smutty writing you can find on Fo4, You need to get out more. He's a married guy with kids and the name of the blog is On Balance. Balancing privacy (which includes Biblically sanctioned marital relations) and kids must be especially hard, and occassionally funny, for a sightless person.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 26, 2006 11:41 AM


Anonymity can bring out the worst in people.

Character is who you are when no one is looking.

Posted by: WorkerBee | September 26, 2006 11:45 AM


So this is my question. How can a man who is blind and shoved his hand in the holiday party cake by accident be able to push a bike with a child in it and teach that child to ride. How can he need a cane to navigate and still be able to teach the kid to ride a bike? It does not make sense!! Someone is pulling our leg.


Posted by: A story told by F04 | September 26, 2006 11:29 AM


Read more carefully - this sounds like a passage from someone who is blind...

Then it finally happened, on my last shove, I fell on the ground in complete exhaustion, and I heard those words of triumph about a hundred feet away,

Why would you need to "hear the words of triumph?" Hmmmmmm.

In closing, to the haters on this blog, lighten up for God's sake!


Posted by: McBob | September 26, 2006 11:45 AM

My brother and his wife "live off love" -- and then phone down the list of friends and relatives every time they need something. (This time? Three months' rent.)

Posted by: Alice | September 26, 2006 11:46 AM

I thought that it was obvious that sometimes FO4 was sharing idealized (but funny!) vignettes. I think some of you need to read more Mark Twain. Even if every word he wrote wasn't entirely true, he's hardly the "lonelygirl" from youtube.

FO4,
You've mentioned that your wife wants to leave the DC area. Why don't you? It seems like you both have skills that you could use in another, less expensive, part of the country. We can actually make ends meet since we left DC. It's a very nice feeling.

Posted by: yetanothersahm... | September 26, 2006 11:48 AM

Actually, rainbowwarror, some of us read/believe/follow the Bible *and* are LGBT-friendly.

I won't stereotype your sexuality if you don't stereotype my religion. :)

Posted by: rebecca | September 26, 2006 11:48 AM

"So this is my question. How can a man who is blind and shoved his hand in the holiday party cake by accident be able to push a bike with a child in it and teach that child to ride. How can he need a cane to navigate and still be able to teach the kid to ride a bike?"

The cake incidence was a month after losing sight. the bike was years later. Do you think that blind people can't do anything? I think that even I could close my eyes and push a bike while running a short way before letting go.

As far as the debt - many people have it. And most people deal with it the best they can and don't expect others to pay it or to pay for the children. There are scholarships and, as others have said, student loans and working your own way through.

FYI - I personally think it is awful that the average student loan burden is $20000+ at graduation. These are people who went into debt and don't even really have a guarantee of a job. Granted, the people on this blog are generally successful professionals, but there are many people in our country who are burdened by their student loans.

The once-in-a-lifetime vacation I took with my family on CC debt was well worth it. I'd rather be paying the bill for years than have lost the opportunity to experience places I haven't seen with family who I see rarely. My children were able to spend time with relatives who will ably be dead before we could save the money to travel so far.

Nobody wants the debt, but it isn't always as awful as you think.

Posted by: mj | September 26, 2006 11:48 AM

"Balancing privacy (which includes Biblically sanctioned marital relations) and kids must be especially hard, and occassionally funny, for a sightless person."

Biblically sanctioned? Guess we know how you feel about gays/lesbians. Nice.

Posted by: rainbowwarrior | September 26, 2006 11:49 AM

My problem with Father of 4 has nothing to do with believing his story. He hinted at his isolation when he was fishing for birthday wishes for his daughter.

I don't care about his socio-economic status.

I don't like the creepy sexual references he has made to his personal life. I haven't been defrauded because I never bought his big bag of B.S.

Couldn't Leslie and Father of 4 have predicted some of the negative comments he was going to receive from regular readers of this blog. Did they think he would get a pass because he is blind? Are the regular named bloggers granted some kind of immunity if they become a Guest Blogger (mental note - do not become a Guest Blogger)?

I decline his wife's invitation to fisticuffs.

Posted by: Lee | September 26, 2006 11:49 AM

"So this is my question. How can a man who is blind and shoved his hand in the holiday party cake by accident be able to push a bike with a child in it and teach that child to ride. How can he need a cane to navigate and still be able to teach the kid to ride a bike? It does not make sense!! Someone is pulling our leg."

Maybe seven years of learning to cope with the disability made a difference? Just sayin'. Somebody who has just lost their sight would be, I imagine, pretty helpless at first. Not so after years of living with it, learning strategies, building confidence.

Posted by: Jeepers! | September 26, 2006 11:51 AM


>Biblically sanctioned? Guess we know how you feel about gays/lesbians. Nice.

Actually, rainbowwarror, some of us read/believe/follow the Bible *and* are LGBT-friendly.

I won't stereotype your sexuality if you don't stereotype my religion. :)

Posted by: rebecca, redux | September 26, 2006 11:52 AM

F04- have you ever thought of becoming a writer? You have a great way with words (and don't worry about the spelling -- a good proofreader can take care of that) I love the biking story. It is my favorite on this blog. And I also love many of your other submissions. I'm sure you are a great programmer, but you also have a talent for writing.

Posted by: Rockville | September 26, 2006 11:53 AM

for a blog full of liberals you guys are sure uptight about sex.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 11:58 AM

"I don't get it. As many posters have noted, often pointedly, Leslie and many guest bloggers have an affluent, upper-middle class point of view. Nobody has yet refused to believe their stories. Father of 4 posts from a different economic and educational view, and with a disability, and the entire blog becomes whether he's telling the truth about his situation. So people who are affluent are believable while people who claim otherwise are suspect?"

I think it has to do with something about Fo4 just not ringing true -- from lots of his earlier posts as well as this one. Also, probably has something to do with his seeming to crave adulation. His posts always seem a little contrived, as though he's composing to impress.

I think the people responding negatively are doing so based on long-term blogging acquaintance with this guy.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:04 PM

Am I the only one wondering why, if Father's story is true, that he isn't defending himself even a little bit?

Posted by: Caveat Emptor | September 26, 2006 12:07 PM

To "a story":

Well, if he was in a grassy field, it probably wasn't an issue.

But this is the sentence that would convince me:

"Then it finally happened, on my last shove, I fell on the ground in complete exhaustion, and I heard those words of triumph about a hundred feet away, "Look Daddy, I'm riding a bike!"

He fell on the ground and "heard" his daughter. Sounds like a blind guy to me.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:08 PM

Everyone is not responding negatively to his post. It seems that it is always the same people who are nasty on this blog.

So, maybe instead of being nasty and the rest of us defending father of 4 we can get back into discussing how people with disabilities can work, live, and balance children. Is there anyone else out there with this kind of issue who would like to weigh in? I 'd like to see how people balance this issue seriously.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 12:11 PM

Father of 4 still hasn't addressed the inconsistency pointed out by the 7:49 commenter, who noted that Fo4 initially wrote that his wife's mother abandoned her family, but then wrote about having dinner with his in-laws, who were worried about "their daughter."

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 12:11 PM

"Am I the only one wondering why, if Father's story is true, that he isn't defending himself even a little bit?"

He has responded to a couple of questions already. If there are unanwered questions, maybe he doesn't have time to go through the laundry list just now.

Too--not all of us bother defending ourselves against unjust accusations if they don't ultimately matter. Sometimes, it's just not worth the effort.

Posted by: Not a particular Fo4 fan, but accepting this as true. | September 26, 2006 12:12 PM

His story is true. They only have one car because he doesn't drive, and they walk and use public transportation. He has talking caller ID because he can't see the caller ID on the phone. He uses a headset with his computer. Yes, he's blind.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:15 PM

"His posts always seem a little contrived, as though he's composing to impress."

Well said. A lot of his posts start out humorous, but then he has some compulsion to interject sexual innuendo in the punchline. It's not sophomoric humor, it's really creepy stuff.

Posted by: Another Diane | September 26, 2006 12:16 PM

Father of 4:
It just proves that we all have our own challenges and obsticals to face in life. Just don't think that we will go any easier on you because of it.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:17 PM

Lee, talking about sex is not making "creepy sexual innuendo", unless it was personally aimed at you.

In all my perusuals of this blog I have never seen him actually talk about any of the posters here in erotic terms.

He's often said that his wife serves him food and been roundly criticized by the "feminists" on this blog. How does knowing that he is a blind man affect your perspective of this relationship?

Sure, his wife could tell him "go get it yourself" in many cases, and then have to tell him where to get it. It may well be simpler to put down the food next to him. That's what "serving him" means.

When we speak of living a life of service, we don't mean submission. We mean "serving those who need help."

Now, I've seen a persistent attitude here that doing anything traditionally "feminine" or having labor divided up permanently in what would seem to be sex-biased roles (i.e. somebody cooks all the time, while somebody else does the dishes all the time, or fixes the computers etc.)

I hear again and again this is somehow buying into the patriarchial dogma of servile women. You wouldn't want that in your marriage, fine. FINE. That's YOU. You are okay. You are beautiful. You're a wonderful parent. But you are NOT that other person.

Your desires talents don't lie in that direction, pure and simple. No need to rationalize it away.
You might also be engaging in "stereotypical female roles" such as organizing soccer fundraisings, participating in the PTA and so on. Big whoop.

How is that somehow more elitist than cooking dinner and taking care of the family directly at home? Because you see people applauding you for it? Because you feel like you're a big shot getting things done? Because you're "rolemodelling" for your children that they can learn how to run things too?

But the truth is that you do this kind of thing because you feel it fits your skills and style.

Personally, I'd rather cook dinner anyday than endure soccer parents screaming at each other. That doesn't make me a woman of the cave age. It makes me a woman who prizes sanity.

I'd also rather teach my kids to cook, sew, ride bikes, and train dogs and other useful hands-on skill that don't get much applause but which will be useful in a long life.
You won't be playing soccer at age 80, but you'll still need buttons to sew on and something to eat. That's how long you should want memories of your legacy to last in your children-- until they die.

Posted by: Confused Godmother | September 26, 2006 12:17 PM

His story is true. They only have one car because he doesn't drive, and they walk and use public transportation. He has talking caller ID because he can't see the caller ID on the phone. He uses a headset with his computer. Yes, he's blind.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:18 PM

"His posts always seem a little contrived, as though he's composing to impress."

Well said. A lot of his posts start out humorous, but then he has some compulsion to interject sexual innuendo in the punchline. It's not sophomoric humor, it's really creepy stuff.

Posted by: Another Diane | September 26, 2006 12:18 PM

I guess I don't understand why the wife is a "hero." Why have 4 kids that you can barely afford to provide the essentials for? What example of a responsible adult are they setting for the kids? It's all very misty romantic looking to say you'll live on love, but reality of feeding 6 people on $30 for a week means bad health and angst for those kids. I don't see any of this as a good thing.

Posted by: Terry | September 26, 2006 12:21 PM

"His posts always seem a little contrived, as though he's composing to impress."

Well stated. His posts may start out funny, but then he has some weird compulsion to interject sexual innuendo about his personal life into the punchline. It's creepy stuff.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:21 PM

Father of 4 still hasn't addressed the inconsistency pointed out by the 7:49 commenter, who noted that Fo4 initially wrote that his wife's mother abandoned her family, but then wrote about having dinner with his in-laws, who were worried about "their daughter."

Well, sometimes, people remarry. It is entirely possible that the father remarried and FO4 is referring to his wife's father and stepmother as his in laws. The in-laws could also be the wife's father and brothers and sisters.

Posted by: Rockville | September 26, 2006 12:23 PM

Well, my estimation of some of you has reached a new low. As the spouse of a visually impaired person who went through nearly 2 years of degenerating vision, nearly 3 years being legally blind and then 3 more years of painful transplantation surgery (on her eyes!) I can attest that F04's stories ring true to me. It is true that when you lose a sense that the others heighten. After she lost her vision MomWannaBe was able to register more with hearing that she had before. And her adaptive computer skills using programs like Jaws and the voice adaption programs became better. I can and have been in the same room as her with the voice synthesizer and have to read the screen because I cannot understand what the speaker is chirping out. I've gotten used to books on tape always playing in the background and I usually tune them out. Do you listen to everything on the TV when your kids are watching and know what every line is? Or do you tune it out and pay attention to dinner on the stove? Imagine that his coworkers might also do that. So he taught his daughter to ride a bike. On a large flat surface that *she* can see, why does he need vision to push her bike? Or give her instructions?

It's truly disgusting to me that a blog about balance where people profess to want equality without bigotry can be so bigoted about the handicapped. Handicapped people are not lesser people. They are different. They learn to adapt. Didn't you all do that when you had kids and came up with something that you had never known how or been able to do before? You learned to cope and adapt. One would think that by the time his first child was 7, he had learned to adapt. Perhaps some of you doubt his stories because you can't learn much in 7 years...that's hardly his fault.

Whether you disagree with his posting style, his sexual innuendos, etc...should have nothing to do with his credibility about his own life. The disdain that some of you people have for the life of the handicapped is sickening. The utter ignorance and condescension towards them is also revolting.

Grow up people...hopefully before your children do.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 12:23 PM

The one question I would post to Fo4 is this:

With your blindness, you have a unique perspective on achieving balance in life. Your experiences as parent, husband, and employee who has the disability of blindness could be invaluable to other people who struggle with disabilities that challenge their abilities to balance their lives.

So, why have you never shared this information before? You could have been helping a lot of people.

Posted by: brooks | September 26, 2006 12:23 PM

The only thing that I was disappointed with this blog topic today is that his disability trumps his other financial issues. It becomes a sad yet inspiring piece about a blind guy. I would have liked to hear more about the living pay check to pay check, debt, and family choices. It is hard to talk about balance when the thought your left with is his disability. I almost wish he wrote the piece with out mentioning his disability. But maybe they would not be scraping by if he was fully sighted. I hope Leslie does more pieces about people just scraping by. Then we can weigh that for what it is worth.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 12:23 PM

Everybody who's ever complained about sexual innuendo from Fo4-- have you read Chaucer? You might enjoy re-reading the Miller's Tale. Truly. Very funny.

And yes, everybody has a right to be jerky sometimes. But cheese the paranoia, you won't do yourself any favors with it.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 12:24 PM

I, for one, was pretty excited to see a post from somebody on this side of the blogosphere and hope that in the future we will see blurbs from scarry, centervillemom, cmac, etc. (there are lots of regular bloggers on here and it's hard to keep track of all the names!) we learn little bits from eachother's responses, but it's nice to get the chance to read a bigger story, and I find that I'm more curious about your stories than I might be about some guest blogger who I've never heard of and can't/don't relate to on the same level. I hope the vitriol spent today won't discourage others from writing in to Leslie :(

Posted by: TakomaMom | September 26, 2006 12:26 PM

The "Look Daddy" really got me.

I mentioned quite a while ago, that if I traded shoes for a day with the homeless man on the street, that I would be the happiest man in the world. Now you know why.

I've never seen my kids. You have no idea how much this hurts.

I havn't been inside a movie theatre for 17 years. I could care less.

And the Submit button keeps eating my posts.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 12:27 PM


Father of 4 still hasn't addressed the inconsistency pointed out by the 7:49 commenter, who noted that Fo4 initially wrote that his wife's mother abandoned her family, but then wrote about having dinner with his in-laws, who were worried about "their daughter."

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 12:11 PM

=====

Oh please. His wife helped her father raise four siblings. In my book, father plus four siblings still amounts to plural inlaws. And just because her mother abandoned the family doesn't mean that father didn't later remarry and could have had a step-mom. My wife's father died 15 years before I met her. I still have "inlaws" that I had to meet. It was her mother, her aunt, and her two brothers.

In your zeal to castigate the man, you're not even thinking...you're just attacking and for no real purpose.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 12:28 PM

To Dadwannabe:

"It's truly disgusting to me that a blog about balance where people profess to want equality without bigotry can be so bigoted about the handicapped. Handicapped people are not lesser people. They are different. They learn to adapt."

I don't think anyone here today is disparaging F04 BECAUSE of his disability. In fact, the opposite seems to be true here: people AREN'T making exceptions for him because of his blindness. The posters who have always had problems with him still do. If they suddenly changed their attitudes, wouldn't that be hypocritical?

In fact, some people are treating his guest blog with suspicion precisely because of their past experience with him.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:30 PM

F04, since you wrote this yesterday/early this morning: "DadWannaBe, I for one, read your post very carefully. You are exceptionally reasonable. And your wife. blind? Want to have kids? Fascinating!" I'm interested that you chose "fascinating" as your reaction word since you, too are visually impaired.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:31 PM

Barf, so if my husband suffers a disability causing him to work less in the future, do i become the "woman whom he is using to pay for his disability?" What happened to staying togehter through sickness and health? He went blind AFTER they were married.

Maybe this explains why people get divorced so easily...

Posted by: Thought | September 26, 2006 12:33 PM

NewName2 wonders about "scraping by."
Lots of ways to be either poor, or barely middle-class or even one pay-check or one-income away from a slow and heartbreaking descent into near poverty.

Poor health or chronic disability is a huge driver of personal and familial poverty in country with very patchy safety-nets.

Cancer, even if you survice, can boot you and your Dear Spouse and Darling Children out of your home or if you keep the home, that college savings vehicle evaporates...or any other item beside groceries, fuel, and perhaps some spurge like birthday presents or a hair cut.

Adaptive technology -- for blind, deaf, or any other flavor of disability is EXPENSIVE and is almost never covered by insurance.

So, not an apology for what others may not like aboout F04 today or in posts-past, here.

But, disability and poverty are close cousins.

So, Fo4 is middle class and scraping by.

They love and light candles of humor, instead of cursing the darkness which is not God's will nor fate: Just the random distribution of bad luck in the world.

We, in the US and the West, are EXTREMELY LUCKY, as this distribution of luck goes.

Being born in Africa likely dooms you. Being in Lebanon or Northern Isreal lately -- deadly bad luck.

I borrowed some passion here from DadWannabe. I don't mean to offend NN2, but luck counts here.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 12:34 PM

It's quite clear that Father of 4's occasional conservative leanings have earned him the undying hatred of some of the posters here. No real surprise to anyone who knows how close-minded and hateful Leftists can be!

Posted by: Rufus | September 26, 2006 12:35 PM

thank you dadwannabee for giving us another example of what it is like to have/live with someone who is blind.

I really can't beleive you other people today.

And father of 4, I can't even start to understand what it would feel like to never be able to see my child, but even from this blog, I can tell you and your wife are good people.

And like I said before I knew you were blind, I'll get you a beer and a plate of food anytime at any picnic, just invite me already!

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 12:37 PM

"I've never seen my kids. You have no idea how much this hurts."

I can only imagine. My heart goes out to you. To the poster who asked if we counted our blessings today. I just did.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 12:38 PM

To College Parkian : I am not at all offended. I think it is important to talk about people who are scraping by whether they have a disability or not. I have a deaf colleague who is no where near to scraping by. I am not sure what the % of people in poverty who also have a disability. It would be interesting to know that. Not at all offended. Good point. I stand corrected. But let's also talk about some people scraping by who are fully able too.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 12:38 PM

The #1 stupidest question when I went on a job interview when I was blind:

Interviewer: How do you know when you've made a mistake?
SmartAssed me: I just make sure I never make any.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 12:39 PM

Thank you, Fo4, for taking some of the vitriol usually directed towards me.

Scarry says it best: some of you people would crucify Mother Theresa.

This blog offers a fascinating and at times absolutely horrifying glimpse of what's really going on in people's heads.

Today is a prime example.

Sorry for the unexpected nastiness, Fo4. Love your posts and your stories.
Keep 'em coming.

And Scarry, Rockville, ArlingtonDad, TakomaMom, Glover Park and all the rest of you regulars, send me your Guest Blogs! Fo4 needs company.

Posted by: Leslie | September 26, 2006 12:41 PM

DadWannaBe, what's your "real purpose" in defending? I am indeed thinking about what he's written -- rather than just accepting it without thinking.

You might want to characterize "Father and four siblings" as the inlaws, but that's why I highlighted the reference to "their daughter," which plainly implies mother and father. Yes, maybe it's possible that a stepmother came along and became enough a part of the family to think of the wife as a daughter, but then that dilutes the picture of his wife raising the four siblings herself.

Look, I'm willing to believe that he's blind. But I'm not going to accept heart-tugging prose as fact without thinking about it just BECAUSE he's blind; that's patronizing.

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 12:43 PM

Now, Leslie, why would anyone want to send you a guest blog after we saw what they did to the Fo4?

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 12:43 PM

I'm not questioning the veracity of Fo4's postings, but I frequently object to his tone. You see, he's not just living his life and writing heart-warming anecdotes about his family. Instead he loudly proclaims his own satisfaction and wisdom and almost seems to chastise others for not making the same choices. And he does so using some pretty incendiary language. Posting on a blog where arguably most of the readers are women that his wife "serves" him is unnecessarily polemical. It invites people to object even if they think (as I do) that couples should divide household chores however they see fit. My husband cooks everything in our home, but I would NEVER brag to strangers that he "serves" me. That in my view would demean him in a lame attempt to elevate my own status.

That is the second element of Fo4's postings that disturbs me: his insistence on demonstrating his own rightness, wisdom, sensitivity, etc. One example I can recall was when he educated his wife about the imprudence of showing some cleavage at work. Again, it wasn't the content of the story; my husband often offers me advice about how my attire will be received. It was the delivery. Fo4's retelling of the incident made his wife look a bit foolish--silly woman didn't understand men like to look at cleavage--and made him look like a man of unusual insight.

Posted by: Virginia | September 26, 2006 12:43 PM

Actually, Father of 4 is getting a pass today because of the timing of his Guest Blog (last week of the Federal fiscal year).

There is another woman in my office who has noticed the sexual innuendos in his posts. We don't have the time to go back and find and quote the inappropriate remarks. Since they would be taken out of the context of the robust discussion of this blog, they might well lose some of their meaning.

Again, these are creepy sexual interjections that we object to.

Posted by: Another Diane | September 26, 2006 12:47 PM

Thank you, Virginia.

I, too, have found Fo4's smugness quite off-putting.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 12:54 PM

@ anon 12:30
"The posters who have always had problems with him still do. If they suddenly changed their attitudes, wouldn't that be hypocritical?"

Right, because no one is ever allowed to change their mind ever. Didn't you know the point of a discussion is to blindly argue your point and never give the opposing view any actual thought?

Posted by: Logic | September 26, 2006 12:55 PM

DadWannaBe, maybe you, (or definately your wife) could explain why you capitalize the W and B in your posting name.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 12:55 PM

See, and here I was, always thinking that FO4 knew exactly how to get a rise out of some people, and tailored his posts to do just that. I've known for some time that, whenever he posted, righteous (and misplaced) indignation was always sure to follow - I guess I just always figured he was doing that on purpose.

I still do, by the way. Some of you folk need to lighten the hell up. That *is* part of balance, you know.

Posted by: different lurker | September 26, 2006 12:57 PM

different lurker, surely you've noticed quite a bit of righteous indignation from Fo4's defenders as well.

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 1:03 PM

Logic,

Your comment has no logic.

Of course people change their minds. But if the folks here changed their minds and their conclusions about F04 purely on the basis of discovering he is blind, I can't imagine that even HE would be very happy about that.

Hypothetical analogy: You have known X for 10 years and have disliked him for nearly as long. He's loud, overbearing, pushy, and cheap. You hate his politics and feel that he's a male chauvinist. One day, however, you hear from another acquaintance that X has cancer. You decide that X is a great guy -- sensitive, outgoing, fiscally careful, and a traditional family man.

Logic, this is the kind of mind-changing you're suggesting. Is that really what you mean to say?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 1:03 PM

DadWannaBe, what's your "real purpose" in defending? I am indeed thinking about what he's written -- rather than just accepting it without thinking.

You might want to characterize "Father and four siblings" as the inlaws, but that's why I highlighted the reference to "their daughter," which plainly implies mother and father. Yes, maybe it's possible that a stepmother came along and became enough a part of the family to think of the wife as a daughter, but then that dilutes the picture of his wife raising the four siblings herself.

Look, I'm willing to believe that he's blind. But I'm not going to accept heart-tugging prose as fact without thinking about it just BECAUSE he's blind; that's patronizing.

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 12:43 PM

====

My "real purpose" for defending him is that as with some of the women who get strident when dealing with issues of sexual inequality, I tend to get warm when I see what I feel is patronizing attitudes towards the handicapped. After eight years of people assuming that my wife was deaf, dumb, and physically impaired as well as visually impaired, I have a hard time dealing with some of these.

The attitudes around here of all the things that a blind person cannot do is insulting. A blind man can easily do most of what he says in his posts. Read carefully and you'll see adaptive techniques. For example, when he described making dinner for his kids, he said that he cuts up the ingrediants, tosses them in a pot and stirs/cooks it up, but that he serves it in the pot and his kids grab forks and dig in. Sounds very similar to a woman I know with the same genetic disorder that my wife has.

The division of labor in his house seems to ring a little more natural when I knew about his vision. All in all, when I read today's blog, I actually had a "click...of course" as some things he's said made sense from my own perspective of living with a visually impaired person. Then I see all these people using very condescending analysis of his postings to try to prove that he's not blind. The ignorance truly bothers me. To me, they are as bad as the chauvinistic management that is so frequently complained about on this blog. They just can't see it because they are prejudging handicapped people the same way that the people they disagree with prejudge women.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 1:05 PM

Father of 4, you are my hero. I can barely hold together a damn web page at work with my contacts in. I started crying when I read your post about never having seen your children--I can't even imagine. (And wife of Father of 4, nurses are my heroes, too--you get to know a lot of them with a chronically ill kid.)

And sorry, Leslie, any inkling I ever had of posting a guest blog is GONE. I couldn't handle this.

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 1:05 PM

"Smug?" A blind woman demonstrates to his wife that her cleavage is too low by using his hands? When I read this I had already been sure Fo4 was blind.

So contrawise, I thought that was hysterical-- "I'm blind and I can PROVE your cleavage is too low and settle this little discussion?"

He's been having fun with you all for a long time, dropping subtle but broad hints, wondering if anybody would catch on he does those things because he is blind?

And all you can say is "his tone is wrong, etc." Come on, this is a blog, this is cold dry electronic print. Whatever tone you see is exactly the tone you put in your own head. NOTHING else.

And if you don't like his tone, you need to have a serious double-check of your own head.

Posted by: Confused Godmother | September 26, 2006 1:09 PM

Leslie, I will send you a blog if it can be anonymous. I do have an idea for one, actually.

Posted by: Rockville | September 26, 2006 1:12 PM

Rufus, you're an idiot.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 1:12 PM

DadWannaBe, maybe you, (or definately your wife) could explain why you capitalize the W and B in your posting name.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 12:55 PM

=====

It's showing my age (or at least my network based age). I started posting in the 1980's when we had Usenet bulletin boards, long before the Internet came along. I would post in newsgroups and one of the things that would sometimes be done when you ran words together was to capitalize the start of new words. It helped visually parse the conglomerated word. Actually, now that I think about it, we didn't do that on Usenet when it would have been "dadwannabe" (no capitals at all). Then when the Usenix bulletin boards like rec.games, net.news, alt.onbalance came along, we started the caps for new words. I just fell back on early 1990's posting techniques when I first came up with the name. Now, I don't type it anymore...I put it in and my browser autocompletes for me and I just click on the name.

Also, my wife doesn't post. Her agency is pretty strict about limiting the amount of Internet usage during the day and she doesn't have much patience with some of the types of dialog that are common around here. I tell her some of what I've read and she usually just grimaces.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 1:13 PM

DadWannaBe,

Fair enough; those are all good points. It sounds like we're reacting to different things here.

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 1:15 PM

So here is a post for all you sexually disturbed people on this blog:

As a teenager, I grew up in a house with both my parents and grandparents on my mother's side.

My grandfather, a very stubborn man, was always lecturing me about stuff. Also, since he knew that I smoked pot, he had a regular habit of searching my bedroom for the contraband.

One day, I was sitting in the living romm while my grandfather rummaged through my room. All of a sudden, quiet for quite some time. Uh oh. He found the playboy magazine hidden between my mattresses.

So he came into the living room shaking his finger wildly and stuttered in a very angry voice "You know boy. that sex... I'm telling you boy... That sex... It will make you go blind!"

So I replied, "Yeah Grandpa, but I'm on this side of the room."

I could have followed his advice and gone without sex...

But I would rather be blind!

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 1:16 PM

Wow, Father of 4. As a Type I diabetic myself your story serves as a good reminder why all diabetics need a good eye exam every year. Most diabetic retinopathy is progressive and can be treated even before there are symptoms. Things have improved a lot (laser treatments, better imaging, etc..) since you lost your vision. Blood sugar control is also easier now than before - I'm on the pump and my A1C is great. There's no reason for anyone so young in 2006 to have to loose their vision. I hope you use your story to help others avoid what you could not.

I am surprised though that someone with such terrible blood sugar control as you must have had remained so 'active'. Usually poor control results in ED for most men. Several diabetic men I've known (with poor blood sugar control and complications like neuropathy) have had to have help conceiving. So in some ways at least, you could consider yourself lucky.

Good luck. I and others like me are working to raise money and education for a cure, and we should never loose hope. They might find a way to restore your sight one day. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted by: fellow diabetic | September 26, 2006 1:18 PM

Anonymous, you are a coward.

Glad to have hoisted you on the petard of truth.

Posted by: Rufus | September 26, 2006 1:20 PM

Tom T.,

Please note I didn't say *where* the indignation was coming from - just that it existed :)

Posted by: different lurker | September 26, 2006 1:22 PM

He's been having fun with you all for a long time, dropping subtle but broad hints, wondering if anybody would catch on he does those things because he is blind?

Posted by: Confused Godmother | September 26, 2006 01:09 PM

=====

Actually, if F04 is like my wife, then he never really calls attention to his disability. In my wife's case, if people hear that she is visually impaired, then they immediately treat her different (often condescendingly). It's the same as women who submit resume's or letters using their first initial, last name to avoid being characterized by their gender.

With a disability, you learn to adapt, and the disability just becomes another part of you like blue eyes or someone who limps. You wouldn't expect someone to say, "Hi, my name is Tom and I limp." Since his disability has very little to do with his parenting ability or his and his wife's balancing, it had little relevence to the topic of the blog and hence was irrelevent. When my wife posts on the bulletin board for the support group for her disorder, they frequently discuss what level their vision is because it is relevent to the context. There they frequently talk about adaptive technology, adaptive living techniques, etc and knowing whether you are mildly or severely visually impaired, whether you've had one or more of several surgeries, which medications you're on, etc are all topical. Here, it isn't, so he wouldn't say it. If someone guesses or asks, then it's different. But no one did (and I should have guessed, but I tend to take many of those practices for granted now that I live with them).

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 1:24 PM

Since his disability has very little to do with his parenting ability or his and his wife's balancing, it had little relevence to the topic of the blog and hence was irrelevent.

Is that true? On the other hand College Parkinson stated that poverty and disability are close cousins. To be honest, I wish people would stop patting fo4 on the back or tearing him down. I would rather hear what was the point of the blog. Was it that disabilities are close cousins to scraping by or that it just is a little facet of life of a guy who happens to be scraping by. We seemed to have lost all discussion today about the balance issue. Is it what is every day balancing when you have a disability.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 1:26 PM

TomT--yes, sorry if I lumped you in with others who raised my hackles, but the earlier postings trying to "prove" he fabricated the story really bothered me. The tone that a blind man couldn't do all the things that he "claimed" was just ignorant and perhaps I should have been more patient in "teaching" them about the disabled.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 1:27 PM

Father of 4, hang in there.

Good for you and your wife with your four kids. Sure, you could have played it "prudent," but why? You've already overcome more than most of the naysayers could understand. Sure kids cost money. Everything costs one way or another. But you get joy too. It's not all cost.

One of my favorite sayings is by Helen Keller from her book, Let Us Have Faith (1940):
Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature,
nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.

Father of 4, keep on blogging. I like your spirit. I think creating a family is one of the most hopeful things you could do.

Posted by: Sara | September 26, 2006 1:28 PM

And I am with Dadwannabe. This level of ignorance and prejudice and "smart-ass" rationalizing is appalling.

I'm sure if I were to declare I was deaf, you'll all try and claim that I ain't so because I can actually type proper grammar or other such drivel.

The matter of fact is that for over a year you never caught on Fo4 was blind and lambasted him for all the details he committed "wrong" according to you when talking about his life.

You are NOT the geniuses you think you are. You shouldn't be telling other people how to live or criticizing them.

I am proud of Fo4 for deciding to come clean at last and I can see from the countless reactions that nobody expected it, even though he came close to painting a neon sign saying BLIND and pointing it to him on a few occasions.

Which beggars belief, but then so many people do tend to assume everybody is just exactly like them and that they're disagreeing with those people just to be contrary, mean, or otherwise offensive.

You can dislike Fo4's postings, but I hope I never meet any of you.

Some of you you sound like the woman who threw a hissy fit when a stocking clerk ignored her question. When somebody else came up and told her that the clerk was deaf, she went on a tear about how deaf people shouldn't be employed blah blah. She was handed to the manager who happened to be black and who set her straight. True story. The clerk was a teenage boy.

Look deep into yourselves. Admit it, would you actually have thought twice and thought "maybe he's not ignoring me, maybe he just doesn't hear me?"

And if you say yes, I call you a liar. I've seen it happen millions of times.

People assume they will be responded to when they speak to perfect strangers that are not looking at them. They get very angry when this does not happen.

I've know hard of hearing people who told people that they couldn't HEAR them, only to be yelled at that they were ignoring them on purpose. Their good speech fooled people into thinking they could hear.

As for deaf people doing better than scraping by-- yes, we have very successful deaf people in fields that are in high demand. We also have people who are in fields that are more passion than pay, and deaf people who are in jobs that are just meh. There is also a much higher unemployment rate for deaf overall than most people. For every kind of disability, the unemployment rate is very high. We're talking 50%, 75% figures.

So just because you know somebody who is "not scraping by" doesn't mean other people somehow don't have the right to be poor.


Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 1:30 PM

Wow. This blog is worse than a middle school cafeteria today. Some of you really need to grow up.

Fof4 -- I've enjoyed your comments for some time, and while I don't always agree with you politically, I love your sense of humor.

I was diagnosed with macular degeneration at the age of 30. While this diagnosis would not have been unusual if I had been 70, such a diagnosis at that age was very unusual. I count myself very lucky. My insurance company agreed to pay for the experimental surgery that might have restored my vision. I was only affected in one eye. So, while the surgery was not as successful as my doctor and I would have liked, I can still see well enough to work and drive using my "good" eye. However, I'm legally blind (non-correctably [is that a word?]) in my "bad" eye. I check that eye often, because I'm at a higher risk of developing macular degeneration in that eye. If that happens, I'll be blind. Believe me, I treasure looking at my husband, daughter, and other loved ones every day. An experience like this changes your prespective and priorities.

Recovering from my surgery, I had to lie face down for two weeks in order to heal correctly. My husband stayed up all night with me following my surgery, rolling me back over every time I tried to sleep on my back, which is more natural and comfortable for me. He made jokes about how I didn't need a mask for Halloween that year. I knew I had married well because he was supportive and could laugh at the situation.

Let's give Fof4 a break today. Not because he's blind. Because he's a great father and supportive husband (you can tell from his posts, he's an involved Dad and actually encourages his children to be independent, a rarity these days in my opinion). Because he took the lemons life handed him and made lemonade. We can disagree and be civil to one another. A lost art I'd like to see restored not only to this blog but to civil and political discourse in my government and heck, my neighborhood!

Posted by: Vegas Mom | September 26, 2006 1:33 PM

"Of course people change their minds. But if the folks here changed their minds and their conclusions about F04 purely on the basis of discovering he is blind, I can't imagine that even HE would be very happy about that."

The thing is, what you've got here is a bunch of people bicering about whether or not he is actually blind. It's not a matter of being hypocritical, some folks simply don't like him and nothing will change their minds. Even though reasoned discussion, or counterpoints to their attacks, those folks simply will not budge because they've already made a decision. Even when the discussion isn't about his personal life, they have been going back and searching for old posts and looking for holes in his stories to try and prove that he is, in fact, a liar.

The fact that he is blind shouldn't change someone's opinion towards him solely because he is handicaped, but if it at all provides insight into his persona it's worth considering.

Posted by: Five | September 26, 2006 1:33 PM

Note to self, never do a guest blog for OnBalance. Posters will be horribly mean when they have very little evidence to back up their nasty assertions.

To all the negative posters, get writing your guest blog. Put up or shut up, folks. Let's see how we can pick apart your writing and lives. Or are you the types that can only dish it out?!

Posted by: alex. mom | September 26, 2006 1:36 PM

I know he didn't call attention to being blind at all, but he was definitely describing as much of his life as he could without saying he was blind, probably because he didn't want to deal with discussing being blind. Still, the clues were there in retrospect, as you noticed, DadWannabe.

"I don't drive, my wife serves me and loves to do so, had an argument with wife over cleavage and settled it by touching her, etc."

Posted by: Confused Godmother | September 26, 2006 1:37 PM

Leslie, is it possible to check the IP addresses of the nasty posters? Sometimes I wonder if it's just one troll making many posts under 10 different names, using each one to back the other nasty comments up.

Posted by: Ms L | September 26, 2006 1:40 PM

As for deaf people doing better than scraping by-- yes, we have very successful deaf people in fields that are in high demand. We also have people who are in fields that are more passion than pay, and deaf people who are in jobs that are just meh. There is also a much higher unemployment rate for deaf overall than most people. For every kind of disability, the unemployment rate is very high. We're talking 50%, 75% figures.

So just because you know somebody who is "not scraping by" doesn't mean other people somehow don't have the right to be poor.

I never said someone doesn't have the right to be poor. For goodness sake, how do things get so blown out of proportion. My point was it wasn't clear that is blog was tying disabilities with scraping by. Again this whole blog today was just one families experience. I think your statistics were more informative then the fact that some handicapped people are poor. Some non handicapped people are poor too. I guess a more relevant topic to discuss is how to the laws enacted to protect disabled workers help? How can we do better? What is the actual link between poverty and disability? That is all I am saying.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 1:40 PM

"So just because you know somebody who is "not scraping by" doesn't mean other people somehow don't have the right to be poor."

AMEN to that! or that "taxpayers" are paying for you to live!!

It also doesn't mean that you cannot "afford" to have children (my personal favorite insult), speaking as someone whose parents *could* afford us when they had us, but things/circumstances changed as I grew up.

Too many people on this blog need to realize that money does not always equal happiness or stability.

Posted by: Betty | September 26, 2006 1:42 PM

Ok, Five. I can buy that.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 1:42 PM

Could the same "cluelessness and inertia" that keep our institutions as the are and not as they might be regarding

sexism
racism and other forms of prejudice also make employment on-ramps awkward for handicapped people or those with chronic illness?

Yes.

But, again, the insurance piece is a huge problem. Families would like, indeed truly need, more flexibility about benefits.

For some disabled or chronically ill people, access to medical insurance determines if they have a chance at middle-class ordinary.

Portability improvements do not cover all bases; ask any disability lawyer about the number of people too sick for insurance, but well enough to work.

AND anecdote alert! A colleague who works for a small company, survived cancer, only to no longer have a job or coverage. "Wow. I survived. Now I am worse than broke and who can pay about 1400/month for COBRA health insurance?'

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 1:51 PM

Kudos to you, Fo4, not because you're blind, but because you're really cool.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 1:51 PM

Scraping by...

Does that really mean what all of you think it does? Fo4 is a very smart man, and he knows double entendre better than most. Being a "creepy" guy myself I appreciate his sense of humor. We're guys... Not that it makes it right.

As I reflect back on Fo4's posts I can't help but laugh at all the lack of visual descriptions.

The man says he does the laundry, hell if I were blind I'd want an excuse to grope my wife's undies too. Sorry that was too much, but Fo4 will laugh.

And could scraping by mean, he is careful in new settings so as not to run into things? Could it mean he brushes up against others unintentionally? Could it mean monetarily? Could it mean he's having trouble dealing with all you petty catty bloggers.

Fo4 enjoy the sneak beans, and groping your wife's lingerie, I'd go nuts if I couldn't sneak a peak.

Though maybe if I were blind my lovely wife wouldn't get so peeved when I "scraped" by and brushed up against her. I'm such a male chauvinist, fat bald, short, white guy.

And Fo4 you're just too cool.

Posted by: Mr. EstrogenCentral | September 26, 2006 1:53 PM

Leslie, You haven't answered whether you did the proper background checking before posting this guest blog, as I'm sure you must be required to do on all guest bloggers. We'd all like to believe Fo4's post. Did you follow a procedure to verify this? That would perhaps stop all the nastiness...

Posted by: Wondering | September 26, 2006 1:53 PM

Fo4, was your grandfather alive when you lost your sight? If so, I can imagine he must have felt very bad about having cursed you in that way. Yikes.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 1:54 PM

Ah, a good point, NewName2.

One major barrier is that employers do not want to employ disabled people for entry-level jobs such as receptionist, etc.
Yet higher-level jobs also require such menial jobs as prior experience. It's a catch-22.

If I know I'd be a fanastic market analyst for instance, but it requires me to have had a prior job at a level that requires a lot of phone work even if this is NOT required for my present job, I'm stuck with an insufficient resume.

When I applied for my present job it actually said "must have excellent oral and written communication skills." I read the ad carefully and could not see any instance of the person actually NEEDING to spend time on phones. I hid all information to my deafness.
I had a voice mail address so I would get the calls and simply call back, gambling if they called me, they would be interested enough to talk through their surprise at the relay. It turned out it was. I suggested a keyboard/computer interview. We proceeded from there and I got the job.

And mind you this was after 9 months of hunting, having people tell me VERY rudely on the phone that they were not interested in hiring deaf people, etc., or say Oh we can't take relay calls, we need a special person for that, etc.
I worked 60 hours a week temping sometimes just to make ends meet, with a serious health issue too.
And I had a college degree. I still am in the armpit of income level in this area but I don't scrape by-- I live very frugally.

For other people, the barrier can be in inital employment, accomodations, and also in health problems, in that they might need to take breaks just not to go into chronic pain, and what they're qualified for doesn't exactly allow for that.

There is one way to leapfrog the entry level thing--higher education. That's expensive too, and doesn't guarantee a job out of the starting gate. So by the time a person gets a job, the person may have considerable debt to shed and a worse glass ceiling than most to do it with.

You would be surprised at how many companies I have longed to get a foot in the door with but never had a chance because of something in the resume they didn't like. Maybe it was "Gallaudet University" alone. I'll never know.

I've sent out thousands of resumes in my life and only gotten called for maybe 6 interviews in my life, ever. I need the network for better jobs, that's for sure.
With my talents and gifts I should be earning 2-3 times more than I do right now. Such is life, such are the choices we make and the choices other make, too.


Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 1:55 PM

I think F04's life is perfect material for a sitcom. It would be so funny.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 1:55 PM

College Parkian-- exactly! If you're fortunate to be married then yeah, that doubles the chance of having decent health insurance. But the reality is, if you're too sick to work or fired and sick, you are NOT going to bounce back from it like all those rags to riches people-- because you're SICK and you can't afford to get well enough to work, but you need to work to be well enough.

I went a year without health insurance and it was very, very scary. I went for medicaid and I was told I'd have to go on the dole and get SSI a few months to apply for medicaid.

And I'm like BUTTTTT I want to work. What is this crazy thing? I gotta be an bum in order to get insurance? And no, I wasn't being paid health as I was temping. My Cobra had run out already.

I've always been very ticked off that health insurance rules restrict you to covering people of immediate family-- not your cousin or nephew living with you, not a roommate, (never mind the outrage about gay/lesbian partners having health insurance-- this subject is wider than them).

Hell, if I rely on a friend and roommate to help me with tasks, I want that person to be covered by health insurance. Or a sibling that's disabled and helping me at home.

I don't understand why health insurance (and employers) are allowed to stipulate coverage so narrowly. I think changing this rule would go a long way towards supporting family rights of all kinds.



Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 1:59 PM

To Wilbrod: Thanks for responding. I actually worked with a profoundly deaf guy. He started his career already with a masters. Everyone who works at my job has either a masters or a PhD. So, yes he has the higher education qualifications. I remember when management was trying to decide if they should hire him. They ended up taking the risk and it worked out well. He does have some challenges. He has an aid that translates in meetings with multiple people. It is hard to read lips when 10 or 12 people shout out their responses at once. Like I said, he is one guy. But his disability has not challenged him financially at all. Best of luck to you. I like your posts and CP posts. It talks about the actual challenges of people with disabilities.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 2:01 PM

Getting back on track--Wilbrod and F04 are good examples of people with disabilities that are trying to find that level of balance between home and work even when there are so many restrictions put in their way to actually work.

Wilbrod, I used to work with a woman who had been hearing impaired (70% hearing loss). About 2 years into the 5 years that I worked with her, she had progressive ossification within her ear and ended up with 90% hearing loss. She was effectively deaf. I would each lunch with her daily and she taught me to sign. The problems that she faced in the work world were amazing to me. So many of our co-workers would forget to face her when they spoke, then when she would remind them, they would actually get angry at her for interrupting her. It's amazing how many people object to using the relays since the relays are fairly easy to use. They just don't know about them and seem to be afraid of the unknown. She was hampered in her upward mobility in a entry-level position by people who didn't want to give her a chance. She finally went to night school and got a computer related degree and finally could get out of the entry-level job, but only by doing it herself.

I think it would be good to hear more from the disabled on how they balance their lives.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 2:05 PM

I can't believe all the whiners who read this blog. Give the man a break. Why don't all of you write a guest commentary for this blog, and then the rest of us will run a background check on you.

Posted by: rockville | September 26, 2006 2:05 PM

I don't even lipread, so that's a bigger risk for me-- I depend on notetaking at meetings and asking the person in a later session, but it means no participation for me, or delayed participation and I just hate feeling like I'm around 1 minute or so behind the topic.

I want to get Dragon Speaking Naturally 9 or something like that so the notetaking would be automated. I have an interpreter once in a while and it was very nice, I must say.

By the aid that translates, do you mean an interpreter?

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 2:05 PM

Yes, I mean the interpreter. The interpreter was hired to interpret for more then just this person. I don't know who else was hearing impaired. It is a very large agency but I know they film a lot of the talks. And then the interpret (same women) gets up and signs the whole speech. But I think that is to be compliant to the general public. We had interpreters before we had this specific employee. But I heard that by law we were required to hire an interpreter to provide "reasonable accomodations." I can see a large company or the government can do that. I am not sure how small companies would have the money to do that. CP, that is a great point about health coverage. Health coverage in this country could be a blog in itself.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 2:14 PM

Wilbrod--you don't lipread. Wow! I'm impressed. My friend did lipread and even then it was hard being accepted. I hope things are better for you than for my friend. Yes, there are some great software tools out there that can do voice recognition. Some you can bring a laptop with special mikes that can be placed on or around a conference table to retrieve from more than one source. I haven't evaluated any of them, but I've seen ads for various packages out there (I have to say, I know very little about them, except that they exist). Good luck.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 2:16 PM

scarry, at 12:11 you asked for some other comments about disabled people balancing.

I would like to second that. I do not know anyone who has to struggle with disablilites and would like to know more.

How hard is it to get around without a license? Does disablility pay anything at all? Is that like social security? Do their kids get teased? How did they explain their abilities to their kids?

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2006 2:17 PM

FO4 I really like your posts. I find your irreverent humour refreshing and look forward to your posts.

For those who are upset or disturbed by your slightly (and sometimes more overtly) sexual tone, I would say, as others have, I hope we never meet-- folks with no sense of humour or irony are pretty one dimensional.

It would be interesting to hear more about balancing with a disability-- more about working with one, the resources available to working and non-working parents (and non-parents)-- and children of disabled parents...

Posted by: UP | September 26, 2006 2:18 PM


WOW!!

Today the feminists are beating up on a blind man.

I have GOT to save today's blog!


Posted by: Marine1 | September 26, 2006 2:19 PM

"I've always been very ticked off that health insurance rules restrict you to covering people of immediate family-- not your cousin or nephew living with you, not a roommate, (never mind the outrage about gay/lesbian partners having health insurance-- this subject is wider than them)."

Actually, Wilbrod, this has been getting better--a little, anyway. I seem to remember something being passed earlier this year or late last that would allow an employer to extend your health benefits to someone living with you. Could be your same-sex domestic partner, could even be your mom. My former employer, a private university in DC, adopted this. The one catch was that the person could not have other health benefits available to them. So, my colleague could not insure her partner (which would have saved them a LOT of money in premiums each month) because her partner had benefits available through *her* job. It's a start. Even though it didn't directly benefit her, my colleague was very excited about it being a step in the right direction.

Sorry to stray off topic, but I wanted to inject that bit of hope into what Wilbrod rightly describes as a horrible situation.

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 2:20 PM

I think a HUGE lesson from Fo4 that's been missed today: having a good sense of humor really makes a tough situation a little better. Attitude is everything.

I am sometimes stunned at the meandering direction that this blog takes. And there are some uptight folks on here. Are you really so prude that Fo4's comments about his marital love life seem creepy? His innuendo is lightweight compared to some primetime network TV shows...think "Friends," "Will and Grace" and whatever that stupid show is with Michael Rappaport (I saw three minutes and changed the channel).

Instead of tearing the guy apart, take from his essay some of his personal lessons. No, his life is not perfect. No, he has not made the most judicious fiscal decisions. Guess what? He's not alone! But he has a great love of life, love of family and a great sense of humor. And he is frequently the person on this blog that brings everyone else back down to planet earth.

Honest, folks, do a ride along with your local police department or fire department and get an idea of what a REAL problem is. It's not most of the inane BS that gets blown out of proportion on this blog.

And maybe for ONE DAY we can take a break from being so unbelievably judgmental on here.

Posted by: single western mom | September 26, 2006 2:26 PM

Well Meesh, My sister has lupus and she is disabled. She worked in a factory for 15 years, no big surprise that a lot of other women there have lupus as well. I didn't want to use her as an example because she is unable to work, but to answer your question about disability pay, it isn't that much. However, they do give you money for your children and because you are disabled and usually low income (if your spouse doesn't have a high paying job) your kids should get to go to school for free. Disability is not easy to get and they are always looking for ways to knock you off of it.

And no one has to worry about my nephew getting a free ride, his mother more than paid for his college education all the years she worked in the factory.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 2:26 PM

Considering the topic was blind-man bashing, PLEASE stray off topic, Niner.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 2:26 PM

the vitriol on this blog never ceases to amaze me. there's something about being a faceless handle that seems to bring out the absolute worst in people. imagine all the pent up feelings people must deal with every day, how unhappy they must be. thank god for us still living in a world where people in society still interact face-to-face and are (for the most part) kind to each other. or if nothing else, at least indifferent.

call me backward, but i never found anything 'creepy' with f04's posts. the way he communicates on this blog seems to be one of his ways of being able to interact with people. imagine the isolation of someone who had vision and then lost it completely so young in life. not being able to see your kids ever... i don't have children yet but i cannot imagine the pain he must feel within.

and why shouldn't his wife do everything she can to take care of him? does caring mean nothing in a relationship? someone earlier in a posting said his writing indicates someone comfortable in a marriage. sounds like that to me.

isn't it time we didn't beat people up about what they post? anyone hear about free expression? to f04 and wife of f04: if i ever met you, i would consider it an honor.

and oh... as to the subject 'on balance'. i think f04's post is totally relevant and indicates how ONE person in MILLIONS has chosen HIS OWN PATH of balancing himself, his disability, his marriage, his children, his family and his professional life. what would we do in his shoes? how many of us truly possess the courage and fortitude of remaining together through thick and thin and building a loving family?

Posted by: not yet sahm | September 26, 2006 2:27 PM

marine 1 I think there are a few fellows behind some of these posts as well.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 2:30 PM

How hard is it to get around without a license? Does disablility pay anything at all? Is that like social security? Do their kids get teased? How did they explain their abilities to their kids?>>>

I am the child of a disabled mother. My mother has Multipe Sclerosis. I wasn't teased by other children, they knew my mom was sick because I would tell them. Surprisingly, I had the most problems with other adults. I had a teacher tell me my mother was an alcoholic (People with MS tend to weave when they walk and slur their speech). Another teacher asked me about my mother's "mental problems". Crazy.

I had issues playing in after school sports and participating in after school clubs because my mom could often not drive. There were some tough times, but everyone has his/her own things to deal with growing up.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 26, 2006 2:33 PM

I weep for the future.

Posted by: literarygirl | September 26, 2006 2:34 PM

All postings that violate washingtonpost.com rules (and all references to those postings) have been removed.

Posted by: washingtonpost.com | September 26, 2006 2:34 PM

"and oh... as to the subject 'on balance'. i think f04's post is totally relevant and indicates how ONE person in MILLIONS has chosen HIS OWN PATH of balancing himself, his disability, his marriage, his children, his family and his professional life. what would we do in his shoes? how many of us truly possess the courage and fortitude of remaining together through thick and thin and building a loving family?"

Hear, hear!!!

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 2:34 PM

A little bit about family here.

My wife's father did remarry. That should solve the 7:49 mystery.

My Grandfather was always incredibly nice to my girlfriend (wife). In his dying days, my girlfriend taught our family how to change sheets while he was still in bed and fed him babyfood. The fruit stuff tastes pretty good.

When I was going out to propose to my girlfriend, I could tell my grandfather was very excited. He made sure I was dressed like a gentleman.

My Grandfather never got to witness the wedding. He was there in spirit though.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 2:34 PM

"Actually, Wilbrod, this has been getting better--a little, anyway. I seem to remember something being passed earlier this year or late last that would allow an employer to extend your health benefits to someone living with you."

This is currently under attack in Virginia in the form of the proposed constitutional amendment. If you'd like this benefit to be an option, better vote against this amendment:

"That only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions.

This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."

http://www.votenova.org/fulltext

The amendment extremely vague but company-sponsored benefits for unmarried housemates is one potential target. That's a benefit of marriage.

Posted by: Virginian | September 26, 2006 2:36 PM

Yeah, Marine1. I'm one of the regular feminist posters and I haven't beat anyone up. So you were referring to specific feminists who you know on the blog, or were you just making a blanket statement condemming feminists and being a jerk?

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2006 2:42 PM

Great. So their objections to gay marriage will negatively affect other family members who could benefit from these health benefits, too.

Lucky for them, my former colleague and her partner just moved out of Virginia. They didn't like it there. Go figure.

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 2:46 PM

Hey Glover Park -- no I'm not worried about a favorite color, but I am worried about a voice recognition software program that would render the speaker's rendering of that color into a nonsense word.

To wit:

I have a pink towel with my initials monagrammed on it. Our wedding colors were tiel (my favorite color) and rose (her favorite color). they were a wedding gift and my office mate pointed it out.

Doesn't it seem more likely that the nonsense word "tiel" would be the product of a typo from someone who brain-froze the spelling, rather than the gibberish spelling of a VR program.

Interesting.


Posted by: Healthy Skeptic: | September 26, 2006 2:47 PM

I won't say what I think of those grandstanding politicans.

There is no earthly reason why health insurance should be a benefit of marriage only-- and such an interpretion in fact would mean children are excluded from having their parents' health insurance benefits.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 2:47 PM

I am so annoyed by all the naysayers who criticize FO4 for his finances and the fact that his kids will probably manage to get financial aid in college. My parents, God bless them, were not able to pay for my college either. But they gave me love and advice and emotional support, as well as a roof over my head for as long as I needed it. I did just fine, thanks to them, because the legacy of a loving family is just as valuable as college savings (which is also nice for those who can do it). I have a better life than my parents did because of them. Never underestimate the power of a loving family. It can overcome all obstacles.

Posted by: Rockville | September 26, 2006 2:50 PM

Father of 4, I don't have time to read all the comments but thanks for your story! I remember the first couple times I read this blog and you were in some pretty crazy scrapes (I seem to remember you blaming teen pregnancy on bad mothering as the start of one of them) and thinking, who the heck is this guy? And I also remember the first time I started to see your sentimentality and tenderness come through in some of your posts. I've learned a lot from your perspective and I've really appreciated your willingness to engage in a civil and humorous manner with people you disagree with, even on difficult topics. So thanks for adding another layer to the Father of 4 story, I've learned something again. And also for explaining why you don't drive, I've been curious about that for ages!

Posted by: Megan | September 26, 2006 2:51 PM

Fo4 and I are not big fans of each other's posts, but I gotta say that I really enjoyed reading his guest blog today. As to the controversy over whether it's true or not, I just hope it is. There was a sweetness to his narrative that I'd like to believe in.

Thanks, Fo4, for a nice read.

Posted by: pittypat | September 26, 2006 2:52 PM

Therefore, I don't think health insurance should be targeted by anti-gay marriage legislation-- and if it is, WE ALL SHOULD FIGHT IT. Not for the unmarried partners, not for gay marriage, but for ourselves, for our right to pay and cover whomever we please.

I'm galled that I as a single person can't make use of the family benefits and just pay for a few kids in the foster system without adopting them. Think about it.


Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 2:52 PM

Sorry folks. I don't buy Fo4's story. If it's true, it is amazing. But, I suspect it's just a hoax. And, how many people do you know -- disabled or not -- who have so much time EVERY DAY to sit and post on a blog WHILE they're at work. Fo4, if you are real and work for Uncle Sam in any way, you should be ashamed of stealing your bread for your 4 little ones. As Gandhi said, "bread without work is stolen bread." If I were your supervisor and knew how much time you spent posting on this blog, you'd be gone.

Posted by: enufalready | September 26, 2006 2:53 PM

There are a lot of people posting a lot on this blog, unless you all are SAH's, all of you probably suffer from this particular "sin", so stop throwing stones. I am a SAH, so no I am not stealing my employer's time right now. It's nap time, so these are my moments of freedom.

Posted by: Re: F04 posting a lot | September 26, 2006 2:53 PM

Yes, Virginian, I'm really worried about this amendment as well. There are so many rights that may be taken away with this amendment-- for all of us.

Posted by: Ms L | September 26, 2006 2:53 PM

The cover of anonymity emboldens some to speak hurtful words which they would never utter in person.

This blog is becoming a wasteland of bitterly abusive insults.

Posted by: WorkerBee | September 26, 2006 2:53 PM

Father of 4:

I lurk here from time to time. It's usually entertaining to read the rantings and complaints of many of the posters. Today, many are just being mean and petty.

I've always enjoyed the humor in your posts. I, too, had an inkling that you may be vision impaired. And I'm not the sharpest knife on the tree. :)

Keep posting, I'll keep reading.

Posted by: McBob | September 26, 2006 2:54 PM

To enufalready,

I have tons of time to sit around and type on the blog--I do it almost every day. And it's not stealing. If there's no work to do, I still have to sit here. When there's work, I don't blog. It's not always black and white in terms of "stealing" from the company.

Posted by: Meesh | September 26, 2006 2:54 PM

"And, how many people do you know -- disabled or not -- who have so much time EVERY DAY to sit and post on a blog WHILE they're at work."

Um, let's see, there's me, Meesh, Rockville Mom, Megan, pittypat, DadWannaBe, Rockville, Glover Park, Lizzie, scarry, Fo2, College Parkian, alex. mom, single western mom, the poster formerly known as Lieu--whom am I forgetting?

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 2:55 PM

"And, how many people do you know -- disabled or not -- who have so much time EVERY DAY to sit and post on a blog WHILE they're at work."

scarry, megan, dadwannabe, pittypat, father of 2....

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 2:56 PM

Father of 4, it was great to hear your story. Thanks!


http://lawyermama.blogspot.com

Posted by: Lawyer Mama | September 26, 2006 2:57 PM

This is a quick note to all those out there who seem to feel Father of 4 is using too many sexual references and innuendo in his post:

Get YOUR minds out of the gutter.

It is YOUR minds that are giving his words context.

You are relating his words to how YOU have lived YOUR lives.

You are very lucky that you can post here anonymously, else your neighbors would know exactly how YOU think.

Posted by: Just ME | September 26, 2006 2:57 PM

I have tons of time to waste. And this job is better than my last, which I spent 8 hours a day surfing for four months until I found this job. I always hope for more work but yet no one can deliver on their promise. Also, I am an incredible multi-tsker... like most gals.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 26, 2006 2:59 PM

Hey, I didn't post for 10 days straight. I was on vacation. :)

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 3:01 PM

Her parents rightfully are less than thrilled. You have saddled their daughter and their grandchildren to a life of poverty and uncertainty. Probably no one else will have the guts to post their agreement with me, but deep in their heart they agree.

Posted by: Wesley | September 26, 2006 3:02 PM

"Her parents rightfully are less than thrilled. You have saddled their daughter and their grandchildren to a life of poverty and uncertainty."

Yes, were Wife of Father of 4 my daughter, I would have much rather she abandoned the man she loved during a time of extreme hardship for him. That's EXACTLY what I want my daughter to be like.

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 3:07 PM

"You have saddled their daughter and their grandchildren to a life of poverty and uncertainty."

From his posts, you can tell that this family is not living in proverty. And no one is safe from uncertainty. And for many people, that little line in the marriage vows "...til death do us part" has real meaning.

Posted by: Rockville Mom | September 26, 2006 3:07 PM

Some of our balance in living in a household with a visually impaired spouse. When we were househunting for our current house, one of the prime restrictions was that it be within walking distance of a supermarket and that it be within walking distance of a bus route. This severely limited our choices. Although my wife's vision has improved after her transplants, we know that transplantation can fail at any time in her lifetime and her vision will deteriorate to legally blind in probably about a year from failure. As such, we want to make sure to preserve as much independence for her as possible.

With a disability, you organize your life differently. We try to collect small items in specific locations. That means that things like change, screws, pins, etc go into baskets and containers and not "on the counter" because she could easily miss it, and brush things all over. Anything that requires fine sight, I have to do. I do all of our household mending, most of the cleaning (she cannot see the hair on the bathroom floors or in the shower), and lots of the fixing around the house (she has a hard time seeing the slots on screws). She takes care of things that are less visually dependent. We coordinate our schedules as much as possible so that she never has to drive long distances at night or outside of any areas that she already knows. She keeps mini binoculars in her car so that she can pull over and read street signs if she is lost. All sorts of things that non-visually impaired people take for granted. Balancing work with home, due to her various surgeries, recoveries, etc, she has been granted the ability to work from home. Since she has mostly computer related work, she had to be provided with a laptop (one that could do audio-translations) and that could use the agency VPN remotely. Fortunately, her agency is better equipped to handle disabilities than mine. If she has meetings or classes, she arranges to get there early so that she can get the seat closest the screen if overhead material is used so that she has a chance to see what's up there.

But, life is about balance and we achieve it where we can. F04, I salute you for being able to raise 4 kids with your disability.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 3:08 PM

Non-snarky response: Sometimes there are things more important than money. I hope this world never comes to policing those who are "worthy" to have kids because of someone else's standards.
If kids are raised on a farm, but there isn't that much money to buy the cool clothes, does that mean the parents shouldn't have had them, even though they can feed them from the garden and whatever else they're able to raise?
All the money in the world doesn't make you a good parent or give you the ability to teach "values."

Snarky response: Please save us from those who think they have the right to decide who should or shouldn't be allowed to breed.

Posted by: LGB to "Wesley" | September 26, 2006 3:09 PM

Wesley, nobody's good enough for anybody's daughter. My father was blind in one eye and he raised 5 kids and they went through hard times but came out of it fine. They've been married over 40 years and working on 50. And they are retired very comfortably, too. Their life has not been one of acute suffering and misery, but of love, warmth, challenges, and sensitivity.

I don't think they'd trade places with anybody else to have money without that kind of love. Money is important to live on. But it's not the only thing a marriage is about.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 3:09 PM

You have saddled their daughter and their grandchildren to a life of poverty and uncertainty.>>>

Uh, she was an adult and was capable of making her own decisions. At one point, parents have to let go. Also, I really don't like the paradigm you present as man as breadwinner. Women are also capable of supporting their families, which may include a SAH dad or not. I am sure her parents wanted her to be happy and loved. Unless they are completely materialistic, which it seems you are.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 26, 2006 3:11 PM

Father of 4:
Thank you for your story. I really enjoy your posts and the humor you inject into the conversation. I can now see how the love and devotion you and your wife share and your sense of humor has helped you to face and get through adversity.
If you have taught your children to love, accept love, be independent, and not to take themselves too seriously, then I think that they will turn out just fine.

Posted by: dcdesigner | September 26, 2006 3:17 PM

Wesley,

Please spare me, as a coal miner's daughter I have seen and been through some rough times. Not only with my own family, but with my friends and townspeople.

However, I am so glad I was born to the people I was born to, it's people like you, apparently not raised right, who should perhaps not breed! There I lightened up and used the term breed!

You never know who will be the next president, the next great artist or even the firefighter who pulls you from a burning building. Your comment is one of the worst so far.

Posted by: scarry | September 26, 2006 3:18 PM

You're right! It is horrifying to get a look at what really goes on in people's heads. Could you imagine if people really went around sharing these thoughts with each other in-person!? We'd see fist fights breaking out all the time--right in the middle of offices, stores, restaurants, and shopping malls. But the Internet--and especially blogs like these, give people a chance to share their thoughts--completely anonymously. Now, is that a good thing? Or not? I suspect it gives people an opportunity to blow off steam in a world that requires that we usually keep such negative and provoking thoughts to ourselves. And people like the attention--and the reactions--that they probably don't get in their real lives. Let's face it...most of our lives are quite mundane and boring. We get up in the morning, go to work, go home, make dinner, put the kids to bed...and rarely do we see something, or do something, really interesting or extraordinary. So, this blog is like a virtual reality show...one that people can participate in whenever they choose, and however they choose. Now...was that your purpose in creating this blog? Probably not...or maybe?????????????????

Posted by: TO: Leslie | September 26, 2006 3:18 PM

If poverty means living paycheck to paycheck and having credit card debt, then there may be more people living in poverty in this county than any of us realize.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 3:19 PM

You're right! It is horrifying to get a look at what really goes on in people's heads. Could you imagine if people really went around sharing these thoughts with each other in-person!? We'd see fist fights breaking out all the time--right in the middle of offices, stores, restaurants, and shopping malls. But the Internet--and especially blogs like these, give people a chance to share their thoughts--completely anonymously. Now, is that a good thing? Or not? I suspect it gives people an opportunity to blow off steam in a world that requires that we usually keep such negative and provoking thoughts to ourselves. And people like the attention--and the reactions--that they probably don't get in their real lives. Let's face it...most of our lives are quite mundane and boring. We get up in the morning, go to work, go home, make dinner, put the kids to bed...and rarely do we see something, or do something, really interesting or extraordinary. So, this blog is like a virtual reality show...one that people can participate in whenever they choose, and however they choose. Now...was that your purpose in creating this blog? Probably not...or maybe?????????????????

Posted by: TO: Leslie | September 26, 2006 3:19 PM

You're right! It is horrifying to get a look at what really goes on in people's heads. Could you imagine if people really went around sharing these thoughts with each other in-person!? We'd see fist fights breaking out all the time--right in the middle of offices, stores, restaurants, and shopping malls. But the Internet--and especially blogs like these, give people a chance to share their thoughts--completely anonymously. Now, is that a good thing? Or not? I suspect it gives people an opportunity to blow off steam in a world that requires that we usually keep such negative and provoking thoughts to ourselves. And people like the attention--and the reactions--that they probably don't get in their real lives. Let's face it...most of our lives are quite mundane and boring. We get up in the morning, go to work, go home, make dinner, put the kids to bed...and rarely do we see something, or do something, really interesting or extraordinary. So, this blog is like a virtual reality show...one that people can participate in whenever they choose, and however they choose. Now...was that your purpose in creating this blog? Probably not...or maybe?????????????????

Posted by: TO: Leslie | September 26, 2006 3:21 PM

Healthy Skeptic--have you ever seen a VR program? Or used anything like that? My wife uses a PC running XP and frequently uses the audio description default on the PC. She does the typing, but the computer reads it back to her. If she has a typo and writes "tiel" and it reads back "TEEL" to her, then she often will not notice that she's made a typo. I could make all sorts of uninformed assumptions about you from your posting too, but I'm not going to.

Enufalready--some of us *ARE* working. I am currently running 8 scripts for my job and monitoring the output. I am working on several projects that will take my servers about 6-8 weeks to completely process and that take about 5-6 out of every 10 minutes to monitor, type, process. The other 3-4 minutes, I scan the blogs around checking my e-mail, etc. Sometimes it takes me as long as a half hour to make a one paragraph response, but I can multi-task and fill in the "space" with blogging. And I am still doing my job. I'm not wasting the government's time or money, only their electrons. And since my agency has a somewhat liberal acceptable use policy, it is legit for me.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 3:22 PM

Father of 4:

I don't know as well as the others seem to, but I gather you make this blog an intersting place to visit.

I, for one, believe you. I am not handicapped but I lived with a grandfather who was for 13 years of my life. I try to be an empathetic and understanding due to the exposure I had to my unique living situation, and at such an impressionable age.

With that being said, I believe that anyone who fakes a disability for attention will get what's due to them. There's no way I can prove that you are or aren't lying, but just as pittypat said, there was something in your story that is real and genuine.

And in that same vein, I feel the same justice applies to those who are too lazy to walk from a farther space in a parking lot, and use handicapped spaces illegally.
It angers me to no end when, more often than not, I see mothers (and fathers) plow into those spaces because it's more convenient for carting around the kids.

If any of you here have done that, I have to question how you can justify attacking Father of 4, (under the assumption that his story is a hoax) when you're just as guilty?

Posted by: literarygirl | September 26, 2006 3:24 PM

We were finally getting the blog on track today and talking about the challenges disabled people fance. Then this had to happen. Let's ignore the nasty posters and get back to the real topics at hand.

Posted by: NewName2 | September 26, 2006 3:24 PM

ttttt

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 3:37 PM

I still don't believe him.

Posted by: Doubting Thomas | September 26, 2006 3:49 PM

DadWannBe wrote:
"I'm not wasting the government's time or money, only their electrons."

TeeHee. Thanks, for making my day.

For the record, work for myself, so wasting my own electrons, thank you very much.

I balance this blog with loads of other stuff including laundry on the line, which smells heavenly and grading student papers.

In class, we work on the ethos projected by the writer, as in what you reveal to your audience by word choice, tone, content, etc.

This blogs covers the Ethos-universe quite well. Aristotle is rolling over in his grave but laughing sometimes, also.

Warning, a teacherly-sort of anecdote:
Aristotle, a dead white guy with no known disabilities, couldn't get his pupil Alexander to listen to him. The conqueror-king chose conquest over debate.

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 3:51 PM

Her parents rightfully are less than thrilled. You have saddled their daughter and their grandchildren to a life of poverty and uncertainty. Probably no one else will have the guts to post their agreement with me, but deep in their heart they agree.

Posted by: Wesley | September 26, 2006 03:02 PM

====

What a chauvinistic attitude. Who said that she has to marry someone who will take care of her financially? Why can't she then become the breadwinner and he be the SAHP. Or why can't they do what they are doing and have a two income family. Your attitude that the man has to be the sole family provider or the family will be destitute is not particularly welcome in this blog (and if you've been reading for any length of time, you'd realize this).

My guess is that the state of their finances are due at least in part to the fact that many things that help out the disabled are expensive. Also medical expenses and care can be high. We travel every 6-8 weeks to Cincinnati because the surgeon who knows the most about my wife's genetic disorder is there. Even driving, it still gets expensive, but it's worth it. We have friends on the support group bulletin board who cannot afford to go and have the surgery. They could incur a lot of debt and go ahead with the treatment. That's happened to many, but the decision to improve their quality of life was theirs to make even if it meant going into debt. A lot of the equipment that can help a disabled person with daily tasks are costly. Try going to see www.maxiaids.com and see some of the stuff there. We have a *LOT* of these things around our house to make it easier for my wife. And it adds up. $20 here, $30 there, even $10 for extra magnifiers here and there adds up. Over the years, we've spent a lot of money on things to make my wife's quality of life better. For us, it is worth it. I'm sure that Wilbrod has some similar experiences with the expenses for things needed to help him accomodate daily tasks (like a tty and special phone with a light instead of a bell, having light-based fire alarms instead of sound-based fire alarms, light based doorbells instead of the standard, etc). Otherwise, you learn to adapt, but sometimes it's worth it to get the things that are needed to adapt.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 3:51 PM

"RUFUS you're an idiot" that poster perfectly hits leftist arrogance. No facts to dispute anything, just a judgemental final screech. Leftists are the most hateful people you will ever find. Object to their sacred cows with facts and logic and all they can do is throw out some sputtering epithet and turn on their heels and stomp out.

Posted by: Patrick | September 26, 2006 3:54 PM

With a voice synthesis program the word Dadwannabe sounds like da dwanteb. If you capitalize the W and B then it sounds like Dad Wanna Be.

People always want to take me shopping 2 days before Christmas. At least I'm good for a parking space.

And at Kings Dominion, I and 3 others get to go in the back of each ride and hop right on. No waiting. You bet kids think I'm cool. I always take off from work to be the show & tell guy when my kids do the Hellen Keller unit. My goal is to get them rolling on the floor laughing. The first thing I have to teach them is NOT to raise their hands. Just blurt out! Then I'm instantly cool.

And Isn'tiel a deep passionate green? Ok, I admit it. I'm not good with colors or spelling.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 3:55 PM

NN2,

I like to think of FO4 as mainly a dad with conservative stripes who HAPPENS TO BE BLIND.

I think the blog is more about his snapshots of

1) something happened out of our control (diabetic-mediated blindness)

2) here is how we cope (love, humor, garden, flexibilty, etc.)

So while the something-happened is disablilty here, shat I read in FO4's column is
*stuff happens,
*craft a response that is measured and loving to those around you.

Why not this irony:

We can be OK, even if we are not OK.

---
"Stuff" can be disability, accident, cancer, sudden death, illness, job loss, military call-up, kids who take the scary-risky path, divorce, loss of friendship....

Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 3:56 PM

Haven't commented for awhile, both because of work business and because the topics haven't been quite as interesting of late.

One of the reasons I started commenting was both topics of interest and because I saw Fof4 positng some very lively and clever posts. Obviously, I stole directly from his naming convention, as clearly have several others. Though clearly I didn't mind differentiating myself by my proud State of my birth and residence.

I have really enjoyed Fof4 specific needling on certain topics, and his overall his injection of lighter, adult (read: mostly sex) related humor into thess otherwise generally serious topics. Seemed to help balance out the occasional brittle, shrill postings here. And kept things lively.

But if the ladies truly want to run guys entirely out of this area, you can't have picked a better way to go about it. And that would be sadly ironic, since Fof4 seems to be a very nice guy with an enlightened attitude who offers a change of pace.

I'm proud of the Meesh's and scarry's presence around these parts. They are the reason why Fof4 and others of us enjoy touching the serious subjects about work and family flexibility while being human beings enough to relax and enjoy banter now and again. Shrillness and ever proper PC between the sexes is making this a very boring world.

To me it is not an oxymoron to strive for and live equality while living the following concerning the sexes:

Viva La Difference.

Fof4: You have this one Southern's boys respect. (Even if you don't what it.) Keep it up, including the wit and the banter, and keep letting the air out of people's ballons as required.

Posted by: TexasDadof2 | September 26, 2006 3:56 PM

Oops, FO4, I meant:

WHAT I read in your column, not the past tense of the s-word.

I know that typos are winked at in blog-land but I will try to think of your voice software and type slowly and revise.
---
By the way, Leslie, your "Preview" option results in a fair number of "lost" posts. Ask the techies to check this bug. This is an occasional problem on both TypePad and Squarespace platforms. Is fixable, but only by those code-monkeys who keep us aloft in this ether.


Posted by: College Parkian | September 26, 2006 4:03 PM

On handicapped spaces: I know of several executives who are perfectly healthy-- runners, even-- who have had their doctors apply for handicapped spaces for them. I refer to them as the "morally handicapped."

Posted by: Ms L | September 26, 2006 4:04 PM

Thanks Fo4, counting my blessings indeed. My daughter was the one who pours the perfect draught, sorry you took heat today. I have been too busy to post for a few weeks, but had to read yours. Well done.

Any idea wher I could get a nurse's outfit for DW?

Posted by: Fo3 | September 26, 2006 4:05 PM

Thanks Fo4, counting my blessings indeed. My daughter was the one who pours the perfect draught, sorry you took heat today. I have been too busy to post for a few weeks, but had to read yours. Well done.

Any idea wher I could get a nurse's outfit for DW?

Posted by: Fo3 | September 26, 2006 4:06 PM

You know that "Out of Order" sign they stuck inside the urinal in the men's bathroom? Yep, it was me. I'm the one who peed on it.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 4:16 PM

Living from paycheck to paycheck cannot be easy especially with 4 kids and all the expenses that entails. FO4's tale is not so far fetched. I'm sure there are many people in that situation. We just do not necessarily SEE them in our work/home life etc.. There are plently of people at the agency I work for who hold down two jobs because they cannot support a family let alone themselves on a GS5, nevermind a GS7 or GS9 salary. count your blessings. There were children at my kid's elementary school who showered and brushed their teeth at school because they were without these things at home. The school counselor had made a little shop in her office where kids could pick out clothing. How do these parents ever find balance in their lives?

Posted by: working mom of two | September 26, 2006 4:17 PM

"RUFUS you're an idiot" that poster perfectly hits leftist arrogance.

OK, I don't know about arrogance, but I will admit that I was lazy in not bothering to substantiate. So, I'll tell you what. Since I have a moment, I'll give you some other statements, and you can tell me what they are examples of.

#1. Robertson said he recently "read the 38th chapter of Ezekiel" "to see a war" where "states in that region" join "to move against Israel." Robertson then stated, "It's amazing that Iran has come to the fore as it has with a president who says Israel should be wiped off the map, who ... NOW HAS ATOMIC WEAPONS [emphasis mine]," adding that "[a] year ago, the Lord told me ... that Israel was entering into the most dangerous time in its existence," and "confirmed this again in January." - False Prophet Pat Robertson. Nice scare tactic during election season. The intelligence community disagrees with ol' Pat.

#2. Someone should put "rat poison in [U.S. Supreme Court] Justice [John Paul] Stevens's crème brûlée." - noted fact checker and level head, Ann Coulter

#3. A week after asserting that "[i]t would be a shame" if Katie Couric were "hit by one of these buses" in New York City advertising her CBS Evening News debut, Rush Limbaugh stated that he had taped a "Free Speech" segment for Couric's show, set to air two days after she debuts as CBS Evening News anchor. - Alarmingly obese illegal drug user and ditto-boob

#4 "I think the American press -- and I know you've heard me say this -- is the most damaging institution in the country today because it's so blatantly partisan and dishonest intellectually." Notorious liar Bill O'Reilly, whose lies can be found here: http://www.oreilly-sucks.com/

We all know I could go on indefinitely.

I apologize for being lazy earlier, but I'm sticking to my story with regard to who's an idiot. Patrick, you're on the list too.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 4:27 PM

"It's quite clear that Father of 4's occasional conservative leanings have earned him the undying hatred of some of the posters here. No real surprise to anyone who knows how close-minded and hateful Leftists can be!"

Rufus, How true!

Posted by: cmac | September 26, 2006 4:28 PM

I'm a regular reader and an infrequent poster; seems like every time I post someone comes along and uses my "handle" a day or two later. I really liked Fo4's blog, even though I rarely agree with him. I cannot understand what is driving all these folks to tear him down. Seems like some people ain't happy unless they're making everyone else unhappy. Even if it's not true, SO WHAT? Fresh voice (as the keynote speaker), new perspective, good story, food for thought.

PS Fo3, where've you been? Hope the 39yo and the 3yo are both behaving for you.

Posted by: Dixie | September 26, 2006 4:29 PM

Hey cool...Since MomWannaBe doesn't read the blog, I've never heard the voice synthesis program do my nickname. I should try that out when I get home. :-)

As for perks with the disabilities. When MomWannaBe's vision was truly bad, we used to take advantage of it to get in the preboard lane of Southwest Airlines. But, now that her vision is passable, we don't do that anymore. I remember visiting my parents in Orlando and when we went to Disney, there is a special pass that you can get at Guest Relations for the handicapped and it was *VERY* helpful. It allowed us access to all sorts of special seating. Like when we went to the "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire" gameshow, they let us in and had reserved floor seating. Unfortunately, she didn't get many points because she couldn't read the options printed on the screen and had to wait for the host to read the answers and then she was already seconds behind. But she still had fun. For the stage shows, it made all the difference in the world. She could never have seen the action on stage from regular seating without the special seating. Disney definitely treated us well when she was handicapped.

At Universal, we paid the extra money for the "Express" passes and using those, we were able to get in early enough to get the first row seats. The only problem there was the dirty looks that we would get from the yuppie parents who thought we were taking the front row seats from their darling little children.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | September 26, 2006 4:30 PM

I recall Fo4's post about teaching his child to ride a bicycle and I cried. Partly because it was so well writen, but certainly partly because I realized that maybe I would never be a "real" parent because I may not be able to do that. Or at least that others maybe think I'm one can't be a real parent if they can't do things like that.

It's weird to realize now that it was actually someone who also has a disability who said that. Maybe you didn't mean to make me feel bad, but it did. It hurts. It makes me wonder if there are people who think I shouldn't have had a child at all.

be honest people-- should people with disabilities not have kids? The people that I've spoken with that were raised by disabled parents haven't been suprizingly supportive. i really appreciate Alexandria's cooment. I'd like to hear more. Did i make a mistake by having a chld? Should I not have more? Money isn't an issue-- I've got money than enough to take care of my family (workers' comp settlement).

Posted by: disabled mom | September 26, 2006 4:31 PM

Verification: I did not ask Fo4 to submit to a medical exam to prove he was blind. Call me silly, but that seems extreme.

Rockville: Guest Blogs can be anonymous. However just keep in mind that Fo4's post is essentially anonymous. Doubt that takes the edge off the nastiness...

Posted by: Leslie | September 26, 2006 4:32 PM

DadWannaBe, my major expense related to my disability is my service dog. Worth every penny even if he went deaf tomorrow and couldn't work for the rest of his life.

He's allowed me to use some things such as kitchen timers, etc. that no real assitive technology out there meets.

I have an flashing sonic alert that is 20 years old and still going strong. I hope it never breaks, because the newer models are far more complex and easily breakable as they have the alarm, the flashing light etc all in. My old model is basically a microphone for the alarm clock that I plug in a lamp into.

I wish I could find mikes suitable for clamping onto microwaves etc. but they don't exist.

The internet provides so much now for deaf people. I do have to pay for high speed cable in order to use relay services. But we are very lucky that the telecommunication bill made the companies pay for the relay services as an "accomodation." Thank you, Senator McCain and others.

If I had to pay for phone AND relay, I'd go broke. Sidekicks are good, but I still can't call 911 from a text messenging cell phone or a sidekick or a pager or anything except an old-fashioned TTY.

My TTY cost more than my parents' washing machine (bought around the same time) did. It's obselete except for one problem-- 911 calls.

I cannot make 911 calls without a TTY. I cannot find a TTY almost anywhere to make a 911 call on. I am ready to kill anybody who will hog a TTY phone for their own purposes because I only use those in emergencies.
I am seriously concerned about this gap in our emergency response system, since it also bars me from reporting crimes-in-progress, fires, etc. which I have witnessed at least 5 times riding Metro.

That aside, I am completely deaf and cannot benefit from hearing aids or CIs so I don't incur those expenses.

It would be a lot more expensive for me to try and prop up failing hearing, do weekly classes with an audiologist/speech therapist and try and improve my lipreading and speech skills-- speech skills have to have regular feedback almost every week or they will worsen.

That said, think being blind is a LOT more expensive than being deaf, but it all depends on what you need, expect, and can afford.
We all make do with what we have and can afford. If we don't have much and can't afford that, well, that does restrict life.


Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 4:35 PM

Patrick:

While I would agree that the response wasn't constructive, to what "facts and logic" in Rufus' post do you refer:

"It's quite clear that Father of 4's occasional conservative leanings have earned him the undying hatred of some of the posters here. No real surprise to anyone who knows how close-minded and hateful Leftists can be!"

All I see is an observation that there are people on this blog who don't like Fo4 and a rather broad opinion on "Leftists", to which he/she is certainly entitled, but hardly a universal truth.

Posted by: ConantheLibrarian | September 26, 2006 4:37 PM

One last post before I go home to my wife, kids and dinner.

If you ever see a blind person and want to help him/her, don't pull on his sleeve, push him or stand behind him and say "left", "right" "left"... Although I'm a good sport about these annoying things people do, other blind persons may snap at you.

Also, always ask "Do you want some help?" and not "Do you need some help?" There's a huge difference between want and need.

My answer to "Do you need some help?" is something like "My wife claims that I need professional help. Are you a shrink, perhaps?"

If he accepts help, always offer him an elbow by gently pressing it against his rib. If you don't, he may unintentially grab the wrong body part.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 4:39 PM

Disabled Mom, I think there are many people who are raised by disabled parents and love them deeply, but also who know all too well the down side of it.

I have known people with genetic deaf-blindness decide not to have kids because of the chance of passing it on. They had mixed feelings about it, because on one hand they are happy healthy professionals, and on the other hand, they can't knowingly take the risk.

Myself, I wouldn't mind raising deaf children. Nondisabled children, I would worry about nurturing their talents without feeling like they were growing apart from me simply because they liked music and other things I could not really evaluate or appreciate.

The solution is to find role models for them, hopefully within my family, that can encourage those talents and make them happy and appreciated, while I remain supportive and well, encourage independence.

As for never being able to teach a child to ride a bike-- well, Father of 4 took the kid out and pushed. He may have remembered how to ride a bike and described that, but ultimately he had to let his daughter learn for herself and let go.

I think this is such a hard lesson for us all to learn because when we get that bundle we want to hold on so tight. When parents realize their baby is disabled, they grieve. They'll get zillions of experts who have never been disabled or raised a disabled child themselves telling them what to do with their child.

But ultimately, they have to find how to support their child and also let them go into a world they don't fully understand. This is what happens to parents who must learn about deafness, language learning, sign language, IEPs, assistive devices, and so on. They're lost without a map to follow. It's not surprising that in a way it would work in reverse for disabled parents. But be glad your kid is healthy!

Just have the courage to know that letting go and entrusting others to help, does not mean you are not there for your child. It means the opposite.

Now, I'm unlikely to have any kids, but I remember being one and having my parents worry about what would be the best for me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 4:47 PM

be honest people-- should people with disabilities not have kids? The people that I've spoken with that were raised by disabled parents haven't been suprizingly supportive. i really appreciate Alexandria's cooment. I'd like to hear more. Did i make a mistake by having a chld? Should I not have more? >>>

Disabled parents have the right to have children. When my mom had me in 1972, her doctor told her to abort me. She switched doctors. She had the right to make her own decision. (BTW, I am a pro-choice person. I feel women are the best judge of what they can and cannot handle.) My father was very involved in caring for my sister and I. Disabled people make wonderful parents, just like non-disabled people. Children roll with things far more than people give them credit for.

My mom feels bad that she could not run and play with my sister and I. But she did so many other things, that I had never really thought about it. So I think much of the things you worry about haven't even registered with your child/children.

As for whether you should have more children, I cannot say. It is your decision. The best thing you can do is just accept your family and lifestyle might be different from others but it is no less happy or fulfilling (even for your children). Everyone leads a different life with different challenges - disabled or not.

Posted by: alex. mom | September 26, 2006 4:50 PM

Father of four, how would a deaf person offer help to a blind person? I'm always reluctant to use my voice around a blind person because I figure the blind person would think he was being made fun of by somebody who refuses to speak proper English.

I know about dealing with deaf-blind people, of course, (generally low vision, but some significantly blind ones).

You never grab them, let them pick how to hold on to you, most times they pick my shoulder not my arm as I'm short, or maybe I've been rude about not offering my arm ;).


Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 4:51 PM

Wow, I've only had time to read a few comments, but I must say, the critics here today are pathetic. Father of 4 and I probably disagree on just about every major political topic, but I admire his insight, wit, and passion for his family.

The inability of some people to be moved by people they disagree with or don't like is a sad statement. I don't expect anyone (and I doubt he does) to suddenly like or agree with him because he is blind. But to refuse to acknowledge that he suffered a tremendous loss and then found a way to move on with his life is a simply meanhearted and sad.

And to spend your time picking apart his stories and criticizing his finances is no better. my husband and I have both, individually and as a couple, gone into and out of credit card debt, as have the majority of Americans and I don't think there is any shame in that than in any other choice that may not be the best in the world but is the best that you can do at the moment.

I'm sure Father of 4 expected a strong reaction, and I for one am very glad that he shared his story anyway. Sorry I couldn't have been around more, I'm glad at least I could say a little bit.

Posted by: Megan | September 26, 2006 5:02 PM

Let's see, you quote some rather stupid remarks and hate bill Reilly and that's supposed to be the end of it. Typical, here's a few of my own
'The devil was here and it still smells like sulphur"-Hugo Chavez
"Yaeoooooowwwwwwww"-Howard dean
"I voted for it before I voted against it"-John Kerry
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman"-Bill Clinton
It could go on and on. Your post accomplished nothing just as your leftism never does either. Aren't you late to protest something, that is the sole lifelong dream of leftists, isn't it?

Posted by: Patrick | September 26, 2006 5:20 PM

Patrick,

Didn't you notice the difference between the "rightist" and "leftist" examples?

The right-wing idiots make really sick, twisted, violent suggestions about how nice it would be if nasty, painful things happened to certain specific individuals. The left-wing idiots don't seem to do that.

Why is that, do you suppose?

Posted by: Brooks | September 26, 2006 5:29 PM

As the "able" child of someone who would be considered disabled, I have to say, I'm glad I'm here.

Give your children credit. They are adaptive, and your disability will be a part of their life. If the disability pre-dates them they won't even know any different. The disability will simply be a part of what makes you you.

I don't even think about facing my father to talk to him, or notice closed captioning on the TV. If he doesn't respond to something I said, I don't think he's ignoring me (well, not 99% of the time). These things are just part of my family and my interactions with them. To me, they are normal. (I remember being exasperated with friends when I was younger when they would insist on turning off the captioning or try to talk to Dad where he couldn't see.)

Your children won't resent your disability unless you hold them back. My father encouraged me to be involved with music, even though he couldn't help me with it. I always appreciated the fact that he came to see me perform even though I'm sure he couldn't hear it that well.

When I look at him, I don't see a disabled man. To me, he's just Dad.

Posted by: GyppedOne | September 26, 2006 5:51 PM

Wow--harsh, people. FWIW, perhaps disabled people should be the ones having kids. Patience and a sense of humor are key when it comes to raising them, and from all appearances those are qualities lacking in some nondisabled people. If I know badly-balancing parents, then so do many of you. In fact, I know too many parents living on the edge of sanity--jobs, money, expectations are all pushing them to their limits.

Fo4, while my family does not currently have the kinds of challenges that you and your family are experiencing, we have had some of them in the past. Most people have, at some point, financial, emotional and health-related issues. How they handle them speaks to their character. It appears that you are living large. I often wish I had four children, but even without the challenges you have, it scares me. Living in the shadow of the beltway has hamstrung me a bit at times. I could have had what was meaningful, but we chose what was comfortable. Four kids might have been uncomfortable.

You used your 300 words to maximum effect. I know you won't be bothered by the trolls, but I just want to tell you that this poster is not offended by your innuendos. I DO watch cable. While some of your posts may lead some readers astray (not saying that they do, but may), it would not be unreasonable for a poster to change key details of their life to avoid being outed, like Lieu was. I do have a question--your earlier posts were not as conservative as your later posts. Am I wrong here? I don't read everyday or all of the posts.

I wonder what I sound like on your machine.

Posted by: parttimer | September 26, 2006 5:53 PM

Leslie, as far as verification goes (see 4:32), I think you're being a little too dismissive. Fo4 is a delightful writer, but he has a long history on this blog of exaggerating a bit for comic effect. That's fine in a humor writer, and it's generally clear when he's doing it. Now he's written something serious that describes some very extreme circumstances, and I don't think it's unreasonable that his past writing style would cause people to wonder whether he was again indulging in a little bit of over-the-top literary leg-pulling. When a longtime kidder says, "OK, this time I'm being serious," I might need a little convincing. I had some doubts, but after hearing further commentary from Fo4 in the course of this thread, I'm satisfied now that he's telling the truth, and it's an extraordinary and frankly inspiring story.

And the people criticizing his decisions to marry, have children, etc., strike me as way off base. These sound like two hard-working parents who have created a helathy and loving household. That puts them way ahead of a heck of a lot of unhappy families out there.

Posted by: Tom T. | September 26, 2006 6:22 PM

I did indeed verify the essential facts of Fo4's story. No, I did not actually medically verify that he was blind. And he could be putting one over on me, but I don't think so. So please -- no more vitriol!

Posted by: Leslie | September 26, 2006 6:30 PM

And if you believe that last post was really from Leslie, it just shows that you're gullible enough to believe Fo4's original story too. Anybody can post here, they can write (just about) anything they want, and they can sign any name they want. It doesn't mean anything. That the once-proud Washington Post is even associated with this, in a desperate attempt to keep up with the times and appeal to the next generation of $$$, is really a shame. I know money rules all, but it's still sad to have it proven again and again.

Posted by: not Leslie | September 26, 2006 6:32 PM

Thanks Megan.

And Leslie/not Leslie -- you actually had me fooled too, it sounded so much like me. Nice point.

Posted by: Leslie | September 26, 2006 7:27 PM

Man alive, so many mean, thoughtless and immature posts today.

Wesley, I am happy I am not your daughter. If anything happened to my husband causing us to go paycheck to paycheck, I would stand by his side to the end and not leave him. The last thing I would want is family judging me.

Really people, how do you know things will always be good and easy? How do you know there will be money in the bank and you will never be in fear of paying rent/mortgage?

One of the things I like the most about FO4's posts is how he talks about his wife. You can tell he really cares about her. Maybe it is because I don't have children yet, but to me that is so important. To me, that is how I want things before children so no matter what we have in the future, we will love each other. Yup, I am a romantic at heart and happy to be so.

And, I can't believe that some of you complain about him using sexual references in his posts. What is wrong with sex? Are we that uptight? I find his posts to be quite humerous at times. Keep em' coming!

Posted by: Thought | September 26, 2006 7:48 PM

Alex.Mom, I have a friend with MS who just announced she is pregnant. I couldn't be happier for her. (I knew they were trying and was eagerly waiting for the call).

It is funny, I don't really see her as disabled because of her disease. I just see her as my friend.

Posted by: Thought | September 26, 2006 7:53 PM

I'm sure that all of Fo4's detractors have guaranteed first-class seats on the "Hummer Ride to Heaven" because they're all so perfect and above reproach. I'm also sure that not a one of them ever "inhaled" or did or said or injested anything in their Wisterian-gothic lives that could even remotely be misconstrued as immoral, fattening, or otherwise politically incorrect. In fact, I'm thinking that me and Fo4 and all the other imperfect people in America should just kill ourselves so that we can placate all of you perfect parents.

I happen to be familiar with Fo4 from another blog where the participants aren't such a bunch of catty judgementalists who have nothing better to do than eat each other for breakfast. He has consistently shown through his posts there that he's a real father -- not the "corporate attorney" type who uses his kids and wife as "proof" that he's human, but a Real Dad who routinely, willingly and eagerly gets his hands dirty with his kids, because of or in spite of his disability.

But who am I to say anything? I'm just an imaginary "internet personality" you've never met who's defending another "internet personality" neither of us has met.

Based on the posts I've seen here, many of you would consider me as good a Dad as Satan.

My "better half" (how sexist is that?) and I are not married -- we live in SIN. ESS EYE ENN. No paperwork. No preacher. No vows. No more benefits than the gay couple down your street who adopted an "AIDS" baby. But we'll probably be together longer than you and your spouse.

We own our home and have a child together who we dearly love, yet, we are evil enough that both of us smoke inside our home, eat red meat, have credit card debt, and flaunt local zoning ordinances by running an eBay business and a woodworking shop out of our residence.

So sue us. And while you're at it, hurry up and call children's services because we're not perfect like you. Our USED minivan is FIVE YEARS OLD FOR GOD'S SAKE! There must be some kind of prison sentence for not keeping up with You and the other Perfect Mommies/Daddies.

Otherwise, get a grip.

Please.

Fo4 may not be the perfect fairy-tale father you're married to (not married? you shameless hussy!), but he does comes across as a pretty damn good one. I like to think I'm a decent Dad as well. I don't have the cojones to even imagine I'm perfect (and I don't think he does, either), but we try.

We try.

That said, my daughter thinks I'm Superman, and that's more than good enough for me. I'm sure Fo4's kids love him to death as well.

Do your kids love you? Or are they in it for the money and keeping up appearances?

Posted by: martooni (an achenblogger) | September 26, 2006 8:08 PM

For Wilbrod: You talked about not being able to hear the timer. I have a friend who is deaf. Whenever I went to her house for dinner she would write times down on a piece of paper so she could remember to check something cooking. I found a timer on the internet that vibrates and clips onto a belt or sleeve. She told me it has changed her life - something so simple. No more carrying around little pieces of paper and being paranoid about forgetting to look at a watch or clock.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | September 26, 2006 8:33 PM

Fo4, aka Pat, writing on Achenblog today:
"I challange you to derail the discussion and post something off-topic, or what the heck, just say something mean." (full paragraph below)
.
.
.
I'm a little excited today, maybe just nervous. My guest blog got published on the Mommy site. I've never revealed that I was blind over there until today. I expect the discussion will be pretty civil, which means to most of the posters on the Mommy blog "boring", however, I challange you to derail the discussion and post something off-topic, or what the heck, just say something mean.

http://blog.washingtonpost.com/onbalance/2006/09/father_of_four_tells_all.html

Posted by: Pat | September 26, 2006 08:09 AM

Posted by: What a sweetheart he is! | September 26, 2006 8:54 PM

Whoops! My bad. He posted that today on yesterday's Achenblog.

Posted by: What a sweetheart he is! | September 26, 2006 9:05 PM

But you see, I never even thought about using a kitchen timer. I always used the clock, and I'd sometimes forget altogether about the microwave, the toaster, etc. I like to cook but I was pretty much hovering over the stove all the time. And no timer can tell you when water is boiling.

My dog has learned to do exactly that, as well as alert to the teakettle whistle. No more burning teakettles, pots and pans. I'm working on having him learn to alert me when the gas goes out. And I LOVE his door alert. Knocks, doorbells, doesn't matter.

I had a real **&*(^ steal my deaf doorbell in an apartment where I lived and he (for I am sure this *&^*&%^ was male) would play with it and flash my lights at 11 at night. I disconnected my half of it and had to live without a doorbell for 2 years. I finally got another one after I made sure the apt installed it, not me. Even then some jerk kept hitting and breaking it and I'd have to go fishing for the battery etc. I reported it to the landlord saying there was no possible excuse for anybody doing that ACCIDENTALLY. I showed him how it'd have to be to just accidentally knock it.

After I got my dog that doorbell finally broke, but it no longer mattered. For me he truly is a better option than any assistance device invented, and a lot cuddlier, too.

One unexcepted side effect is that people face me more when they try and talk to me (Because they want to look at the dog), and they don't automatically glare at me when I turn around because they said something to me behind my back that I missed because I'm stone deaf (not cold-hearted rude).

But you are so right, a vibrating timer, something that simple does make a lot of difference in stress and anxiety level.

For me, my situation is more complex... there's no assistive technology that makes me able to hear approaching ambulances, cars turning right corners on red light right behind me, etc., and I've been nearly roadkill too many times for my taste, I actually have been hit in a hit and run and just left by this bastard when I was 10. I looked both ways and all. He didn't.

So while I'm not blind, if I am not looking at it, I can't see it, which leaves me worse off than a blind person sometimes in awareness that a car is approaching.

So I either have to look in 360 degrees all the time while crossing the street (anatomically impossible), or depend on fast reflexes-- and with age I notice I'm just a half-step less fast than I used to be, a hair less aware than I was once. And let's not even mention walking in twilight or dark when I might as well be deaf-blind.

So for me, having the right to take my dog places means a lot to me. It means I don't have to live in fear of being mugged again or worse. I was mugged by a 15 year old boy, for chrissake. I looked around every 10 feet but I was this close to home and he must have come out from the parking lot behind a car, I never saw him (or heard him) until he knocked me down.

Just one of those wonderful youths who wanted money for drugs and thought I'd be easy. And this was in a "good neighborhood". A white youth and all.

After I was mugged my social life shut down completely, because I couldn't go anywhere that I would have to be outside after dark even for a short distance if I was to be alone. No yoga, no dinners out, no nothing.

My dog brought that back for me. I do have the tradeoffs, dealing with people who are scared of dogs, always having to consider my dog's needs in my daily plans, take more time to go places, and yes, cleaning up after the dog, feeding the dog, the vet bills, keeping his training up, improving that, the whole work shebang.

It's worth it... for me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 9:52 PM

Glad you have your dog, Wilbrod! A black lab/shepherd mix takes care of me much the same way.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 9:55 PM

I'm glad you have a dog too!

Posted by: Wilbrod | September 26, 2006 10:01 PM

Thank you, that's very kind.

Actually, I have two. The old guy is teaching the young one new tricks, i.e., how to help me out. He's an invaluable co-teacher--it is just so cute how pleased the pup is with herself when she gets it!
Anyway, Guide Dogs for the Deaf gets all my United Fund money from work.

Pet that good dog for me.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 26, 2006 10:24 PM

I thank everyone today for making the effort to express their thoughts. I had a lot of fun.

Special thanks to you Leslie. Only 1 year ago, it took me several hours just to fill out the form to register with www.washingtonpost.com using my adaptive software, and today you published my story for the guest kit. To me, (and my family), it's a major accomplishment.

Right now, my wife is at work, my oldest daughter is doing her homework right next to me, My favorite daughter is reading a book to baby boy, and my beloved annoying son is in the shower after football practice. My eyes are half mast.

I would like to respond to all the individual questions people proposed to me today, but I'm just too tired. forgive me.

For all you regular posters, I'll see you tomorrow. Ha! What I really mean is that I'll listen to your words through my Jaws screen reader. don't expect me to post for a while, I'm kinda beat up for now.

And for all the Doubting thomases out there who think our family situation is so extraordinarily unbelievable that you went back into the archives to debunk any legitimacy to the content I've posted, you've really tickled my wife. I try to convince her that she is a hero, but she still insists on being an ordinary American seeking the balance in her life that will ultimately lead to long-lasting happiness.

Goodnight! Sweet Dreams! I love to sleep, it's one of those times I get to experience color.

Posted by: Father of 4 | September 26, 2006 10:24 PM

I like the essay. I like Father of 4. I'm sure he's a great dad. And one of his lessons to the rest of us is, don't take everything in life so darn seriously!

Posted by: anon mom | September 26, 2006 10:52 PM

Father of 4, thanks again. I learned a lot today. I'm a webmaster on a college campus that has a number of students with visual impairments, and you, DadWannaBe, and the others who posted about adaptive technologies and living with different abilities have taught me a lot that I can bring to my work.

Hope your dreams are technicolor tonight!

Posted by: niner | September 26, 2006 11:03 PM

"In every colour there's the light.
In every stone sleeps a crystal.
Remember the Shaman, when he used to say:
'Man is the dream of the dolphin.'"

-- from the album "The Cross of Changes," by Enigma


Sweet dreams, Pat.

Posted by: Dreamer | September 27, 2006 1:51 AM

"There are none so blind as those who cannot see."

Fo4 has great vision for the important things in life. It is others who are blind.

Posted by: newbie | September 27, 2006 7:20 AM

I don't get the objection to the sexual references. They seem to be fun-spirited, not mean-spirited or harassing.

While my husband and I were dating, there was a question he asked on a regular basis. "If I told you you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?"

Posted by: newbie | September 27, 2006 7:25 AM

Isn't the web amazing? Imagine feeling like you know someone through their postings and then later finding that there's some major aspect of their lives that you don't know anything about. That's the wonder of the anonymity of the internet. It keeps you from making silly, meaningless generalizations based on people's physical appearance, race, gender, etc. (How do we know that F04 isn't actually a woman? We don't! And we still don't know his age, his race, or even what state he lives in.)

We were talking about affirmative action and similar issues with my on-line students and I mentioned that I didn't actually know which of my students were black, Asian, hispanic, etc. unless I could tell from their posting names -- which sometimes I could and sometimes I couldn't. In a few instances, I have had students and not actually known whether they were male or female. Now I sometimes make it a point not to go back and check their records, just so I'll keep judging them based on their ideas and their work and not my preconceived ideas of who they are.

I think many of the people who doubt F04's story may actually be a bit peeved that he's not the person they thought he was and now they have to rethink their pigeonholing scheme.

Something I would have liked to hear more about based on his post is how situations you don't expect (like a disability) -- force you to throw all that "score keeping" out the window. I have a friend who's a Left Coast NOW-type feminist, and she and her SO seem to spend an awful lot of time making sure that if she does dishes for 45 minutes, then he does dishes for EXACTLY 45 minutes as well -- and there's apparently a one to one exchange on the diaper-changing front as well. I know that's exactly what LInda Hirschmann would have us all do -- insisting on exact equality. what I see in F04's story is a relationship built on trust, love, respect and egalitarianism -- without resorting to "score keeping". MOstly because in some situations (like a disability or a military deployment or a chronic illness or a special needs child) score keeping is impossible, or maybe because your perspective is broadened enough that score keeping seems stupid.

Posted by: Armchair Mom | September 27, 2006 7:52 AM

Armchair Mom, I'm glad I'm not your NOW-type friend. Who needs a friend who bad mouths you to other people and thinks your way of balancing life and marriage is "stupid?" Can you think of a way to say something nice without insulting other people's choices?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 27, 2006 9:46 AM

Armchair Mom, you're right, keeping score IS stupid, it misses the point entirely. Kinda like anonymous at 9:46.

Posted by: stupid is as stupid does | September 27, 2006 10:49 AM

Armchair mom you miss the POINT if you think equality boils down to keeping score. Be happy you can work at all - thank a "feminist".

Posted by: pamom | September 27, 2006 2:49 PM

Fo4-

I only just now finished all the comments. I am saddened by all the people who would doubt you and thrilled you opened up more. I often find myself hoping the next comment is one from you.

I hope that if something disabling happens in my family, we can handle it with as much grace as you guys have.

I started putting some of my garden to bed yesterday and I thought of you as I picked some of the last green beans and peas.

Don't let the meanies get you down. The regulars love your stories about your homelife and truly think you deserve a spin-off. They should hire you. You are a great writer and have had a following since day-one.

-said by a totally lefty-feminist-hippie-mommy

Posted by: lulu | September 28, 2006 4:21 PM

Fo4-

I only just now finished all the comments. I am saddened by all the people who would doubt you and thrilled you opened up more. I often find myself hoping the next comment is one from you.

I hope that if something disabling happens in my family, we can handle it with as much grace as you guys have.

I started putting some of my garden to bed yesterday and I thought of you as I picked some of the last green beans and peas.

Don't let the meanies get you down. The regulars love your stories about your homelife and truly think you deserve a spin-off. They should hire you. You are a great writer and have had a following since day-one.

-said by a total lefty-feminist-hippie-mommy

Posted by: lulu | September 28, 2006 4:23 PM

I started reading this blog after I went through a very diffcult time trying to balance my life. I was working full time, had 2 children, with one of the way, and my husband lost his job. He was the main bread winner and his job provided our health insurance. We lived in a huge house on an acre of land and were a very typical upper middle class family (about $12,000 in debt and a huge mortgage). I wanted to take time off when the baby was born to try staying at home for a bit. His job loss made that impossible. The baby was born in July and I started back to my full time position, riding a train into Philadelphia, the week after September 11th. In the years since we almost lost our house to bankruptcy, but didn't lose hope and were able to sell it before the housing market fell. There were so many times I was angry with my husband. He couldn't find another job. Certainly not one that kept us in our lifestyle. What I learned was that life changes and those negatives can be positives. The way it turns out, my job has become an exciting career for me, with a huge opportunity for upward potential, my children have spent 4 years with their father very actively involved in their lives. He coaches their teams, goes to the school events, knows their friends and other parents in the community. We rent in a smaller house, but I love it more than our previous house - it is easier to clean. We eat meals together and review homework each night and everyone is very happy and healthy. I guess what I am saying is, I see what Fo4 is saying here. When circumstance change, and life as you know and expect it turns upside down, how you deal with that defines you. There are times I can't pay all of my bills at once. I can't participate in every school fundraiser. I still consider myself luckier than 85% of the people in the world. While I may live paycheck to paycheck, I consider having my kids play in organized sports an important luxury. I am not putting enough money away for college, but I will help my children figure out a way to pay for it with loans and some help from me. You all know Fo4 through his posts and want to argue about who he is, rather than what he is trying to say. How do you handle it when your world is turned upside down? How does that define you? I can assure you that comments on a blog are taken with a grain of salt and I am not holding anyone here accountable for their statements when they are trying to make a point. I would be worried about my perspective if that were ever the case. I expect a little literary license. I have been reading, and don't know if I would elect FO4 to public office, but I appreciate his story and like the perspective. I know what it is like to have life change in a day. I think acheiving balance is harder now for me - but I appreaicate it so much more. And I love my spouse for reasons I didn't know about before, either. Although my kids are drinking sodas and eating cheetos a bit more than I would like.......

Posted by: Former NoVA Mom | September 29, 2006 10:59 AM

Former NoVA Mom is right. How you cope with a bad situation is what defines your character. Also, she is right about a smaller house being easier to clean. I felt like my life was less cluttered when we were in a smaller place. We are getting ready to downsize for precisely that reason.

I would like to draw attention to something Fo4 said in one of his posts. Better to say, "Do you WANT some help?" That goes for helping someone with a disability or not. That is a distinction worth making.

Posted by: lulu | September 29, 2006 2:56 PM

Posting way late, but I think Fatherof4 is a good writer. I'm still laughing at how his wife "got herself pregnant". He said it was because she wouldn't wear underwear to bed. Funniest thing I've read online in ages. Fatherof4 could be an Erma Bombeck for the 2000s.

Posted by: Mel | October 2, 2006 2:15 PM

Fo4, I'm very happy that you wrote this guest blog. I always look forward to reading what your responses are to this blog each day. Your thoughts always make me smile, and sometimes make me laugh out loud.

I personally don't care if every last word out of your mouth is baloney. I'm entertained and that is enough.

To this poster:

"My wife is a hero. Since the time she was a teenager, she helped her father raise her four younger siblings after her mother abandoned the family. "

and then

"A month later, I had my first dinner with the in-laws since the wedding. I know what they were thinking. Their daughter was living in a run-down apartment complex and she had just married a jobless, disabled college dropout."

So, your mother-in-law came back into the picture?

Perhaps Fo4's father-in law remarried. My husband's father is remarried. I consider my husband's mother to be my mother-in-law, so I don't give the second wife that *beloved* title, but she is still an in-law.

Posted by: Entertained | October 3, 2006 4:41 PM

Wow! Fascinating bunch of folk.

Posted by: Bob S. | October 11, 2006 4:53 PM

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