Friday, June 02, 2006


Last night's storm was the most intense I've ever seen (and been in!) here in New York. I escaped the beginning of fat drops of rain as I stepped into the train.

When I proceeded to exit the subway station some time later, I saw few very soaked people coming in. I looked up at the stairs leading outside. Good lord - the rain water was cascading down the steps like a waterfall!!! very surreal. So much for my hope of a short and freak storm.

I used my blazer as a shield but it quickly proved to be ineffective. I found shelter under a large awning attached to Time and Life Inc building and decided to wait it out. Lightning was flashing against the fog and the reflection hurt my eyes. Imagine turning your car lights into a fog on high. Out in the country I can normally hear the rolling and crashing of thunder but here in NYC it was LOUD. Normally the city would be a buffer and you don't really hear it, but damn - it was like standing next to an express train roaring past by. The rain became lighter but lightning and thunder remained intense. As I walked on west 50 I happened to look up in the sky and saw a long and gorgeous lightning bolt flash down from top to bottom. Perhaps it hit the river? The rain downpour increased and my stylish sandals from urban outfitters was soaked and hurting my feet. Now the dye is seeped into my feet and I look like I have brown bruises.

When I got off the bus ( I chased a bus, slipping in my soaked sandals) nearby home, the reflections off the fog was much worse, probably because I was very close to the river. A couple of times I thought someone was flashing a flashlight directly into my eyes but it was actually from lightning. jeez.

It's fun when you're out in the country because you know the fuse would blow and you'd enjoy the oil lamps and candles with lightning occasionally brightening the rooms.. But it's not fun in the city with all the obstacles.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Breenie,

I found your blog by doing a search for blogs relating to or by deaf people.

I work at Quicken Loans in Livonia, Michigan and thought you might be interested in writing about a new feature on our website – online chat -- that seems to be popular with our deaf customers.

We’ve learned that our deaf clients prefer online chat because of its ease and security. We‘ve also found that deaf clients like the added benefit of being able to communicate directly with us, avoiding having to use a relay service to translate the conversation. Obtaining a mortgage is one of the most stressful financial transactions a person can make and there’s not much room for error. Good communication is key to a successful transaction, and chat is really proving to be a useful tool.

Interestingly enough, when we first began testing chat on our site, we weren’t even aware of the benefit to deaf customers. It was through our interactions with our deaf clients that we realized they preferred the service. Below I’ve included a few pieces of actual chat transcripts that I thought you might be interested in (names and phones numbers deleted for privacy reasons):

[01:17:00 PM] Karen: With over 150 different options I am confident that we can find something that makes sense for you. Would you like to continue the process through chat or would you prefer to continue over the phone?
[01:17:18 PM] Visitor: thru chat is fine since I m deaf... smile...

[18:26:50] Lindsi: What number can I call you at?
[18:28:05] Visitor: ok, let me explain you first. you will need to call Sorenson Video Relay Service (VRS) first at (deleted) then VRS will ask you for my home phone number – (deleted). Is it clear to you?
[18:28:39] Visitor: it is just because I am hearing impaired
[18:29:10]Lindsi: Do you prefer to chat about it then?
[18:29:24] Visitor: yes, it would be much easier
[18:31:41] Lindsi: Okay, whatever is best for you. I have my grandfathers hearing and I could not get in to the teaching program in school based off my hearing test. That was hard although I assume that your situation is different. Where do you plan to go on vacation?

13:30:13] Chelsea: Okay, with over 150 different options I am confident that we can find something that makes sense for you. Would you like to continue the process through chat or would you prefer to continue over the phone?
[13:30:42] Visitor: thru chat
[13:30:44] Visitor: bec im deaf
[13:31:28] Chelsea: Okay, just one moment, let me get you your reference number.

Nwani: That's right, you said it was discharged 3 years ago. Okay, (name deleted), right now we have over 150 programs going, and what I need to do is narrow them down to the one or two that will work best for you. The quickest way to get you the information you
need is to spend a few moments on the phone. What’s the best number to reach you at right now?
[10:07:05] Visitor: I am deaf and I would prefer to do it like this instead of over the phone.
[10:08:10] Nwani: Okay (name deleted), what I'll do is get you over to one of our bankers. Let me get your reference number...

If you have any suggestions on how we might make our site more accessible, we’d appreciate that feedback as well. Or, if you ever do a blog entry about businesses providing services to deaf people, please consider mentioning us. We would greatly appreciate it.

And of course, feel free to try out the chat yourself (no purchase necessary :) ). Just go to our site and click on the “Chat online now!” link in the upper right corner of the page. One of our bankers will join the chat to answer any questions you ask.

If you would like more information, please contact me anytime at


Edson McLean
Quicken Loans

6/06/2006 12:29 PM  

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