A Big Update!

I don’t even know what to say, you guys. So much has happened, you have given me so much and I’m really fricking overwhelmed right now with life, with questions, with gratitude, with love, and with more questions.

THANK YOU. For everyone who has contributed to our GoFundMe account, helping us get our stuff back, THANK YOU.

You are helping us get back on our feet much faster. We are still not on them yet – it’s still open! – but it’s in sight and we have you to thank for that.

One of the things that has been messing with me is the question of WHY we didn’t have renter’s insurance, which would have covered the theft. It’s been messing with me because it’s not like I didn’t think of it; I did.

We didn’t have it for a simple reason: I am the one who catches the ball on this stuff in our family and I dropped it. Every time I remembered we needed to get it, I ended up shutting down and off because I had to use the phone to figure it all out. Live chat was never an option in the policies I saw; the websites always ended with a “call for quote” or “call to get connected.”

We don’t have a landline at home and we can’t get one because we live so far off the grid. TTY phones (- where an operator will type what is being said for the deaf person on the line) is great, but like video phones, not an option if you don’t have a landline.

This is a huge deal, obviously.

I drove the hours required and waited in person to get things like health insurance arranged for the family. I’ve done the same for arranging doctor’s appointments. Every bit of “responsible” thing that I’ve done as a mother, I’ve done in person because I simply can’t do it over the phone.

This isn’t always easy, it’s often a hassle, but it’s do-able. There are just clear gaps with the pieces that I can’t do in person – like now, with renter’s insurance.

So what do I do?

The answer right now is… I don’t know.  I know that I need some type of access to communication. I don’t know what that will look like. Do I try a call service? Is that even an option? Do I get the G-marc, with the neckloop and Bluetooth that will connect with the t-coils in my hearing aids? I don’t know.

This has some added complexity by the fact that since we live off the grid and are dependent on things like boosters, solar power and satellite dishes. Maybe we should get a phone that connects directly to a satellite? Wait – our phone does connect directly with a satellite! So what to do when the electricity is out and there is no access to the satellite? Like I said, I just don’t know.

I need to visit the California Telephone Access Program to consult with them and figure out what the best options for me are. I need to be able to have the wherewithal to make these types of calls and make damn sure that, God forbid, anything like this should happen again, we won’t be out $7,000 or worse.

More questions

To be honest, I’ve had more questions floating around in my head, more than just the ones regarding hearing and communication access. I’ve questioned whether or not we should even be living off the grid if I can’t get a landline or access to communication. Should I even allow a space in which I can drop the ball?

I don’t have an easy answer for myself. I know that when we lived in the Bay Area, with plenty of access to communication, city living triggered my profound depression and PTSD and that made life horrible for all of us. Living off the grid keeps my noggin happy, and happy Mama = happy family. But I can’t deal with phone issues.

Right now I’m inspired and strengthened by all of your support – Jane, you in particular – to figure this all out, see what is available to me and implement it. I’m also inspired to share what I find and really try and help other deaf folk there who, for whatever reason, also face issues related to access to communication.

Mexico and Safety

The irony of having all of our stuff stolen immediately after writing posts about how safe and great Mexico is did not escape me. The timing was craptastically hilarious, hilariously awful.

But I have to say, I still think Mexico is a great place and overall, a safe place. A great barrel of gorgeous apples with a few bad ones thrown in.

I thought about this a lot on the drive home, miles and miles of missing my writing and missing the ability to take photos – and not just fancy DSLR ones, I mean any photos, with no cameras at all. It hurt in an almost visceral sense, or maybe it was visceral because my innards certainly clenched and I had vomiting issues. Through this, I was thinking about Mexico and my head grew crowded with memories.

Memories, like when I was struggling on my crutches and these truck drivers just jumped up from  where they had been eating and helped me to a table, drawing out a chair for me. Like the lady who reached for Mac-Q when he was screaming fit to kill, to hold and soothe him while the rest of us ate/had a breather. Like the people who we were staying with in Chiapas who fed us enormous, beautiful Mexican breakfasts with hand-made coffee (and I’m talking, coffee bushes in the back), who gave us their hearts as well as their food.

The deaf guy I met, so surly looking, and how he broke into an enormous smile when I started signing with him. The nurse at the community hospital in Palenque who was laughing and playing with Mac-Q and Moxie while I got my foot x-rayed. The school kids who followed us around El Fuerte, going nuts over my service dog, Kianna. The old couple who offered us their backyard to camp in. Those darling kids that my own kids were with playing with in the Cholula playground. Their parents who were so kind. The guy who shook my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, “vaya con Dios”.

Go with God.

I can’t believe anything other than what feels true to me: Mexico is a good country with mostly wonderful people with a few bad apples.

I don’t think that means not to go there. I think that means to make damn sure you have theft insurance, always park where you can see your vehicle, have some serious car alarms going. Having a remote system in which you can wipe out your laptop remotely would be useful too.

I think that’s what it means. Not that the barrel is bad because of one apple (may that apple rot in hell though).


The GoFundMe is still open – link is HERE – it would be awesome to meet our goal, but no pressure. I am trying to think of something to give back to show how much I appreciate your giving – I am pretty sure I am going to start selling some photos on the site soon, and I think I will be giving free passes to photos for those that are chipping in now.
If you have another idea, or something you’d like, please let me know in the comments.


is a deaf blogger, global nomad, tech-junkie, cat-lover, Trekkie, Celto-Teutonic-peasant-handed mom of 3 (one with Down syndrome and one gifted 2E).
She likes her coffee black and hot.
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  • You are sure raising some big questions here about your “life off the grid.” It is lots harder without the communication benefits for you. All true. But then… how’s your view out the window? Are you home back in the Mattole yet? I’ll watch for you. -Josie

    • so true. I think it’s better to have that view and stay happy. I think the phone pieces can be fixed more easily than that. Can’t wait to get back.

  • It really is so hard to get some stuff done when you can’t hear on the phone. I’m able to make some appointments over the phone because it’s a closed-circuit conversation but I usually make the kids’ doctor’s appointments before I leave the office at the end of a check-up so that I won’t have to call for them. I used to use IP Relay for banking stuff and insurance but the FCC shut it down. There’s an iPhone app that does voice to text but it’s pretty bad and hard to use! So I end up doing stuff in person or relaying on my husband and sister to make some calls for me, which really sucks!!!! LOL I just need the whole world to get on board with email and texting already. I wish I had some solutions for you but I don’t think the answer is to live on the grid…you should be able to live the lifestyle you want without having to compromise your basic needs.

  • I just obtained renters insurance (less than a month ago) through Allstate completely online, soup to nuts. I got assigned a local office during the process, too. Hard copies were mailed, and I got an online cert in the meantime. I paid up front for the whole year, which gave me a discount, but was able to compare payment options online before settling on one. I do everything i can online so I have a paper trail, because while I don’t have a disability, I am tremendously absentminded and need to follow that trail ( ;

  • Good to read your more upbeat words. Meriah, helping people like you is never an issue. I love how you are raising and educating your children and love reading your posts. One day you will be able to look back on your life and say, ‘yep, I gave it all a great shot’ and your children I am sure, will be just the sort of adults you wanted to raise. Can’t wait for the next post. Fiona, Australia x

  • There is technology out there these days and that is something to be thankful for. I watch the television show Switched at Birth and the deaf characters on there use some sort of video chat app on an Iphone. But they sign.

  • Geico insurance can also be totally done online. From quoting to signing up for auto, renters or homeowner insurance. Never have to make a phone call. Good Luck to you and your family. I read your blog faithfully! I am not able to give right now – but know I am praying and sending good thoughts your way!! -Marcia from Minnesota

    • I am so glad I wrote this post because I am learning SO MUCH. I was told that I had to have a landline to get a TTY – I wonder how this would work with a cell phone with no access to a land line? Do you have any idea? It looks great though; thanks for the link and info!

      • You’re welcome!

        You don’t need land line for TTY! You just need a TTY machine that can connect to a phone with a cable (rather than the old school acoustic coupler, as used with a land line phone).

        I found another TTY machine that is cell phone compatible, the Ultratec Compact/C. You can download the manual for it from this page:


        Page 12 of the manual describes how to use it with a cell phone.

        The iPhone online manual describes how to use it with a TTY machine:


        I have an Android phone (Droid Turbo) and it also has TTY support built-in.

        I don’t have experience with TTY myself, I’m just a techie. But this looks totally do-able!

  • (((Obviously not your point but if it’s any consolation, I don’t think most policies would have covered a loss in Mexico anyway. You’d have to buy special Mexican cvrg which is $$$.)))

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