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No Longer Car-Free

Two years ago I sold the 2004 Toyota Corolla I bought after my stroke, switching to transit for all my trips. I’ve saved tons of money, reduced my carbon footprint, learned how to get around the city by public transit, and had fun doing it.

In February last year my then boyfriend, now fiancé, moved in with me. We became a one-car couple, sort of. We never added me to his insurance policy, so I haven’t driven his car. Though I still take public transit, mostly MetroBus, there are many times he’d drive us places (store, dinner, etc). This week we bought a newer car together; we’re both on the loan, the registration, and insurance. He’ll be the primary driver since he works 5-7 days per week, but I’ll likely drive when we go places together.

Our 2007 Honda Civic EX will get much better fuel economy than the V-6 sedan he'd been driving
Our 2007 Honda Civic EX will get much better fuel economy than the V-6 sedan he’d been driving

Finding a car we liked that was eligible for a loan through our credit union wasn’t easy, they required it to be 2007 or newer or the interest rate would be substantially higher. They also wouldn’t lend on a car with more than 100,000 miles. We wanted a Honda or Toyota, but didn’t want to spend more than $9,000. With 90,000 miles, our Honda Civic EX met everyone’s criteria.

You’ll still see me riding MetroBus, but not as often.

— Steve Patterson

 

Half My Life In Saint Louis

February 28, 2014 Featured, Steve Patterson 5 Comments

Give or take a week, I’ve lived half my life in St. Louis.  I moved here about six months after my 23rd birthday. Today I’m 47 years old.

One of the very first pictures I took upon arriving in St. Louis. Arsenal & Lemp, August 1990
One of the very first pictures I took upon arriving in St. Louis. Arsenal & Lemp, August 1990

The city has changed so much, mostly for the better. I’ve changed too, again, mostly for the better. The yeas do tick by much faster than I thought they would.

I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I hadn’t decided to move to St. Louis in 1990. Or if I’d left, as I was considering, until I got a new job in December 1999.  It would be different, not sure better or worse though.

I consider myself a St. Louisan, even though I didn’t go to high school here. I still don’t like St. Louis-style pizza, no amount of years here will get me to accept that is real pizza.

Have a great weekend!

 — Steve Patterson 

 

St. Mary’s Razed Original St. Mary’s Hospital Building

Over my years in St. Louis I’ve visited St. Mary’s Hospital on Clayton Road a few times, always to visit others. However, six years ago today I arrived at St. Mary’s Hospital from Saint Louis University Hospital to begin physical rehab following my stroke. I don’t remember arriving, but I do remember leaving a month later.

I took this photo of the original hospital building the day I left, March 21, 2008
I took this photo of the original hospital building the day I left, March 21, 2008
When I returned for a visit 4 years ago today I took this pic of the original hospital building
When I returned for a visit 4 years ago today I took this pic of the original hospital building
By October 2010 the building had been razed.
By October 2010 the building had been razed.

The original building was likely poorly suited for modern medicine but it had much more going for it: quality materials, great proportions, etc. Not every great old building can or should be saved. The problem is I think too many decision makers assume the old must go away without exploring options for reuse. Assumptions can cloud what should be a non-biased analysis.

What replaces the old is usually a disappointment.

— Steve Patterson

 

My Memories of the 2008 Kirkwood City Hall Shooting

Six years ago today a tragic shooting took place in the Kirkwood City Hall during a city council meeting:

After storming the meeting and killing five people Thursday night, Charles Lee “Cookie” Thornton was fatally shot by law enforcers. Friends and relatives said he had a long-standing feud with the city, and he had lost a federal free-speech lawsuit against the St. Louis suburb just 10 days earlier. At earlier meetings, he said he had received 150 tickets against his business. (CBS News)

Mayor Mike Swoboda was severely injured, he died 7 months later:

Mr. Swoboda’s health deteriorated following a fall he took in early May, according to his son. He also had cancer. Mr. Swoboda was moved to a hospice on the campus of St. Anthony’s Medical Center on the Tuesday prior to his death. (Webster-Kirkwood Times)

I don’t remember news of the shooting because I was in the intensive care unit at Saint Louis University Hospital, my doctors had put me into a drug-induced coma on the 2nd, after my stroke the day before.  I first learned of the shooting when I transferred to SSM Rehab at St. Mary’s on February 25th. At this same time the news was reporting Swoboda would be transferred to a rehab hospital, like the brain injury unit where I’d just arrived.

I spent nearly a month at the brain injury rehab unit at SSM/St. Mary's
I spent nearly a month at the brain injury rehab unit at SSM/St. Mary’s

Swoboda ended up being treated for his brain injury at another facility.  Not all patients in therapy had brain injuries, some had been in car accidents, had limbs amputated as a result of diabetes, etc.

I thought of the Kirkwood shooting when I recently read last month about Castle Rock, CO now allowing guns to be openly carried into public buildings & parks:

The Castle Rock Town Council heard several hours of public comment on Tuesday concerning the repeal of the firearm open-carry ban before its vote of approval.

According to the Denver Post, Town Manager Mark Stevens favored repealing the ban. A majority of the police department and town staff were opposed to the repeal. (Source)

A good way to discourage public participation.

 — Steve Patterson

 

A June 2014 Wedding

The old Illinois capital building in downtown Springfield IL
The old Illinois capital building in downtown Springfield IL

Monday night on KDHX I announced that my boyfriend and I got engaged last month. We didn’t plan to go to any of the 14 states, or Washington D.C., to get married. We wanted to get married in Missouri (where we live) or Illinois (his state of residence until this past February). We knew that meant a possible long engagement but we also knew there had been talk of the Illinois General Assembly approving a same-sex marriage bill most of this year. As late as a week or two ago it didn’t look like a vote would happen this year but 2014 looked promising.

Then suddenly, Tuesday morning, we hear the vote will happen. By the end of the day both the chambers passed the bill, sending it to the governor! To pass the measure the sponsor removed the paragraph making the law effective in 30 days. The law becomes effective on June 1, 2014.

Gov. Pat Quinn (D) said in a statement Tuesday that he would sign the bill into law, although he did not specify a date. The House, which had adjourned in May without passing a Senate bill legalizing same-sex marriage, approved the measure Tuesday by a vote of 61 to 54.

“Today the Illinois House put our state on the right side of history,” said Quinn, who campaigned for the measure, which is scheduled to take effect in June. (Washington Post)

So Tuesday night we set a date in June and started a wedding website. Yesterday I began the process of confirming the location. Today we’re going to city hall to register as Domestic Partners.

When I came out 30 years ago I didn’t think marriage would ever be an option…

— Steve Patterson

 

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