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Saturday, August 31, 2019

MARKETING MASTER DEBRA RUH LEADS THE WAY TOWARD BRAND LOYALTY AND GROWTH WITH THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY

INCLUSION BRANDING: REVEALING SECRETS TO MAXIMIZE ROI
OUR FAVORITE EXCERPT #4



Disabilities are a natural part of the human condition, and the emerging socially conscious consumer doesn’t’ want to define a person by one dimension of their humanness. 

This consumer already believes that having a visible or invisible disability does not mean a person is broken, unwilling, or unable to contribute, and you can show them that your brand is keeping up with, or even leading this evolution of consciousness, by hiring inclusively. 

Bottom line: Employing persons with disabilities not only expands your pool of possible talent, it is smart business.

Page 8

Friday, August 30, 2019

MARKETING MASTER DEBRA RUH LEADS THE WAY TOWARD BRAND LOYALTY AND GROWTH WITH THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY

INCLUSION BRANDING: REVEALING SECRETS TO MAXIMIZE ROI
OUR FAVORITE EXCERPT #3



Over a billion people around the world have disabilities. 

That means over a billion people around the world, and their families, are making consumer-purchasing decision every day, looking for products that meet their unique and specific needs, as well as products that are not related to ability.

When these consumers’ product needs go unmet because brands aren’t reaching them with strategic marketing campaigns or aren’t creating the products in the first place, countless dollars are being left on the table. 

And when these consumers buy everyday products from indiscriminate brands because they can find no inclusive brand to give their loyalty to, that translates to more missed profits for you.

Page 2

Thursday, August 29, 2019

MARKETING MASTER DEBRA RUH LEADS THE WAY TOWARD BRAND LOYALTY AND GROWTH WITH THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY

INCLUSION BRANDING: REVEALING SECRETS TO MAXIMIZE ROI
OUR FAVORITE EXCERPT #2




People with disabilities have been great contributors to a culture and community because they have incredibly great sense of humor and positive attitudes.

Does that mean everyone in the community has those attributes? 

Of course not.

But as a general characteristic with the community, people with disabilities are great problem solvers and have great empathy for others.

These are the kinds of employees I want in my company, and many corporations are starting to recognize that.

--Introduction by Richard Schatzberg, Page XXII

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

MARKETING MASTER DEBRA RUH LEADS THE WAY TOWARD BRAND LOYALTY AND GROWTH WITH THE DISABILITY COMMUNITY

INCLUSION BRANDING: REVEALING SECRETS TO MAXIMIZE ROI
OUR FAVORITE EXCERPT #1



Disability inclusion changes lives.

Being employed at something we are good at can contribute to, make a difference in, and build self-esteem, economic self-sufficiency, self-worth and financial security.

This is something we all strive for, and it's something people with disabilities seek too.

This is why employment for people with disabilities is transformational--it not only changes the employee, it also changes their co-workers, their customers, and communities, and all the other lives they touch.

--Forward by Partick Romzek, Page XV

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

WE SUPPORT HISTORICAL DESIGNATION FOR PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

A PORTION OF CHURCH AND ADJOINING BUILDINGS COULD BE 
RE-PURPOSED AS INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY CENTER FOR ALL ON CALLE OCHO


We understand the property has not been kept up and nearby neighbors were not happy with noise, trash and other problems coming from the most recent church tenants. 

All of that can and should be fixed. 

This site could become a model for preservation, adaptive re-use and community building. 

There are dozens of successful public-private partnerships that preserve history, blended with a properly-scaled mix of commercial, residential, office and community-based uses.

The core 1920s church building could serve as a much-needed community center. 

It could be a signature example of restoring a facade while reprogramming the interior to provide barrier-free access to all.

This could be a center of information and assistance for the many immigrants and working poor residents of Little Havana.

That would make it a source of pride for residents, visitors, merchants, public officials and more.

We live less than 7 blocks from this historic structure and can see (out the front windows) its potential for rebirth via historical designation.

The petition is at:

https://www.change.org/p/historical-groups-historical-designation-for-presbyterian-church-on-2150-s-w-8-street-miami-fl-33135

Monday, August 26, 2019

WE SUPPORT HISTORICAL DESIGNATION FOR PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

A PORTION OF CHURCH AND ADJOINING BUILDINGS COULD BE 
RE-PURPOSED AS INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY CENTER FOR ALL ON CALLE OCHO




Residents of the Shenandoah neighborhood in the City of Miami are petitioning the Mayor, City Commissioners, City Manager, Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board, and Historic and Environmental Preservation  Board to approve the former Shenandoah Presbyterian Church, located at 2150 SW 8 Street, for designation as an historic building.

I signed because Little Havana is one of the great neighborhoods in America and Calle Ocho has the potential to be one of the best main streets in the region. 

Highway-like traffic and demolitions to make way for bland buildings have gutted too much of SW 8th Street as it is. 


Preserving this historic church provides an opportunity to invest in the community's soul -- not just an investor's bottom line. 

The petition is at:


https://www.change.org/p/historical-groups-historical-designation-for-presbyterian-church-on-2150-s-w-8-street-miami-fl-33135

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Concerns over access on public transport prior to car-free day in London

I support reduction in vehicle use.
But I always wonder when urban designers, town planners and elected officials joyfully enact car free days or master plans...why don't the leaders/planners work to increase access to underground subway trains?
Hundreds of billions in increased taxes have come in over the decades.
Why couldn't some be spent on retrofitting subways with elevators?
Are people with disabilities forever supposed be second class?
You cannot be car free when you over wheelchair users zero transit mobility.


Concerns over access on public transport prior to car-free day in London

CELEBRATING 205,000 READERS

+ MY ONLY SIBLING'S 51ST BIRTHDAY
First off, Happy Birthday to my successful brother Keith.

His 51st was on the 20th of August.

Our dad died a few years ago and mom has dementia – so my baby bro is about all I have left of the Wright family.

His photo is below.

We’re proud to have more than 205,000 unique visitors to this blog.

We have posted more than 2,300 stories to it.


For the past three years, we have posted highlights of the blog daily on Twitter and Facebook.

We continue to focus on travel, urban design, wheelchair access and human rights advocacy.

In 2019, we have stepped up the advocacy for the human rights of people with disabilities.

With the current state of affairs in Washington, DC – we have to.

But we continue to have a lust for life, so there have been plenty of travel images and stories from Paris, Marrakech and far beyond.

Thanks for visiting and please share this blog with someone you know.


My brother Keith -- fishing in Virginia Beach for his 51st birthday

Saturday, August 24, 2019

FIRST COMPREHENSIVE REVITALIZATION PLAN FOR LITTLE HAVANA IS RELEASED

NATIONAL TRUST FOR HISTORIC PRESERVATION, PLUSURBIA DESIGN & PARTNERS ISSUE REPORT WITH INPUT FROM OVER 2,700 STAKEHOLDERS
With the goal of promoting the revitalization of the Little Havana neighborhood for current and future residents, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and PlusUrbia Design today released a master plan focused on building a healthy, equitable and resilient neighborhood community in Little Havana. 

The plan, put together over the course of more than two years and with the input of over 2,700 neighborhood residents and stakeholders and several local partners, brings together best practices and the latest thinking from a range of fields—from public health to urban planning to architectural design and historic preservation.

It is the first plan of its kind to focus specifically on revitalizing and improving the quality of life for people in Miami’s most iconic neighborhood.

The revitalization plan includes input from a collection of civic and non-profit organizations currently working in Little Havana, including: The Health Foundation of South Florida, Live Healthy Little Havana, Urban Health Partnerships and Dade Heritage Trust.

--National Trust for Historic Preservation.


https://plusurbia.com/project/little-havana-master-plan-2/




Friday, August 23, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 13

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO

Here’s a condensed version of the most famous movies filmed in Ait Ben Haddou:

Lawrence of Arabia

Sodom and Gomorrah

Oedipus Rex

The Man who would be King

The Jewel of the Nile

007: The Living Daylights

The Last Temptation of the Christ

The Mummy

Gladiator

Alexander

Kingdom of Heaven

Babel

Prince of Persia

The Bible

Son of God




Thursday, August 22, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 12

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Morocco has spent a lot of money restoring this village and keeping it perfect.

Both for the tourists who like to visit the premises and for the movie opportunities coming all the way from Hollywood.

--Culture Trip

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 11

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Ait Ben Haddou is mainly popular among big Hollywood producers who love to shoot films there, as it makes a timeless visual that is difficult to find elsewhere. 

More than 15 movies have been filmed here, as well as parts of the TV show Game of Thrones. 

One of the most popular films to have been shot in Ait Ben Haddou is Gladiator, in particular the scene in which Russell Crowe is sold into slavery.

--Culture Trip

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 10

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The village was an incredibly harmonious place: small homes, a public square, a mosque, a caravanserai and both a Muslim and Jewish cemetery for the coexisting communities. 

It was the home of several families who lived in the village for a while before deciding to move to a more modern village across the river. 

Today, only 10 families remain in Ait Ben Haddou.

--Culture Trip

Monday, August 19, 2019

Accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought - hospitality | Magazine

Story is about oversees rules and responses, but core information is super relevant in the USA and throughout the world:

Accessibility shouldn't be an afterthought - hospitality | Magazine: Almost 20 per cent of Australia’s population is living with a disability. What’s your venue doing?

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 9

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Ait Ben Haddou is an almost 1,000-year-old ksar (fortified village) located on the route to the Sahara Desert. 

Previously used as a meeting point for travellers from Sudan on their way to Marrakech, it is now an iconic Hollywood film set.

--Culture Trip

Sunday, August 18, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 8

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO

In comparison to other ksour of the region, the Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou has preserved its architectural authenticity with regard to configuration and materials. 

The architectural style is well preserved and the earthen constructions are perfectly adapted to the climatic conditions and are in harmony with the natural and social environment.

-UNESCO

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Little Havana Me Importa Revitalization Master Plan

Proud to have played a part in this:


#urbandesign 
#urbanplanning 
#urbanmobility 
#urbaninnovation 
#Parks
#Resiliency
#contextsensitivedesign 
#historicpreservation 

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 7

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO
All the structures comprising the ksar are located within the boundaries of the property and the buffer zone protects its environment. 

The earthen buildings are very vulnerable due to lack of maintenance and regular repair resulting from the abandonment of the ksar by its inhabitants. 

The CERKAS (Centre for the conservation and rehabilitation of the architectural heritage of atlas and sub-atlas zones) monitors, with difficulty, respect for the visual integrity of the property.

-UNESCO

Friday, August 16, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 6

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou is an eminent example of a ksar in southern Morocco.

It illustrates the main types of earthen constructions that may be observed dating from the 17th century in the valleys of Dra, Todgha, Dadès and Souss.

The Ksar of Ait-Ben-Haddou illustrates the traditional earthen habitat, representing the culture of southern Morocco, which has become vulnerable as a result of irreversible socio-economic and cultural changes.

-UNESCO

Thursday, August 15, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 5

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Architecturally, the living quarters form a compact grouping, closed and suspended.

The community areas of the ksar include a mosque, a public square, grain threshing areas outside the ramparts,.

It also features a fortification and a loft at the top of the village, an caravanserai, two cemeteries (Muslim and Jewish) and the Sanctuary of the Saint Sidi Ali or Amer. 

The Ksar of Ait- Ben-Haddou is a perfect synthesis of earthen architecture of the pre-Saharan regions of Morocco.

-UNESCO

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 4

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The oldest constructions do not appear to be earlier than the 17th century.

Although their structure and technique were propagated from a very early period in the valleys of southern Morocco. 

The site was also one of the many trading posts on the commercial route linking ancient Sudan to Marrakesh by the Dra Valley and the Tizi-n'Telouet Pass.

-UNESCO

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 3

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The defensive walls are reinforced by angle towers and pierced with a baffle gate.

Houses crowd together - some modest, others resembling small urban castles with their high angle towers and upper sections decorated with motifs in clay brick.

There are also buildings and community areas. 

It is an extraordinary ensemble of buildings offering a complete panorama of pre-Saharan earthen construction techniques. 

-UNESCO

Monday, August 12, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 2

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


Located in the foothills on the southern slopes of the High Atlas in the Province of Ouarzazate, the site of Ait-Ben-Haddou is the most famous ksar in the Ounila Valley. 

The Ksar of Aït-Ben-Haddou is a striking example of southern Moroccan architecture. 

The ksar is a mainly collective grouping of dwellings.

-UNESCO

Sunday, August 11, 2019

AIT-BEN-HADDOU -- Part 1

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE IN OURZAZATE PROVINCE MOROCCO


The ksar, a group of earthen buildings surrounded by high walls, is a traditional pre-Saharan habitat. 

The houses crowd together within the defensive walls, which are reinforced by corner towers. 

Ait-Ben-Haddou, in Ouarzazate province, is a striking example of the architecture of southern Morocco.

-UNESCO

Saturday, August 10, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 10

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
Failing to freshen sheets on the sofa bed -- despite request a month in advance – is poor service.

Faulty curtains and door that would not close...there is much room for improvement.
I honestly want half of what I paid refunded.

I booked, for my 30th wedding anniversary with my wife who uses a wheelchair for mobility while managing pain, based on a pair of modern, fully-functioning elevators.

I only got half of what I booked. 

When a person with a disability dreads not having 2 elevators, it negatively impacts their trip. 

Bottom line, if you pre-order 2 boards of charcuterie and they bring out 1 -- you get half your money back. 

We made a full faith, months before arrival full payment for 2 elevators (notes with the hotel manager underscored this). We got 1. 

Because of that, and the other listed negative issues, I am seeking a 50 percent refund.

Friday, August 9, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 9

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
So I am divided. I like the manager as a person and professional.

I love the lobby, redone from my previous stay, complete with the kitchen, scooter and other useful items for free borrowing.

Plus the once Spartan as a dorm, now warm lobby has bottled water, sodas, snacks and more for sale at reasonable prices.

But nothing worthy of the Accor brand can go two weeks with one of the two elevators broken down....and the large part of one day with none working.


The dropped ball on wakeup call and no housekeeping requested was unworthy of the Accor parent brand.

This is sad, because after my September 2018 stay, I gave the property a 10 out of 10 review on booking.com -- the service I used to reserve the Aparthotel Reuilly.

I was embarrassed, in front of my wife, for the property's level of service dropping so much when I booked a larger room for our two-week stay.

This deserves compensation.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 8

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
We found the staff, not the manager, to be rude upon our arrival. 

Because I knew I would be sleeping on a sofa bed -- to accommodate my wife's disability needs on the large bed in the bedroom -- I emailed many weeks in advance to have the sofa bed made up as a bed for our arrival.

I knew that the sheets on it might have not been changed for years, as it would rarely be used as a bed.

When we arrived, of course exhausted from the transcontinental flight, we found the sofa bed as -- a sofa.

I asked for the bed to be made with clean, not stale sheets, but the desk person that came to the room refused.

If any of our advance emails would have been respected, housekeeping would have deployed the sofa bed as a bed, with fresh linens, before our arrival.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 7

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
 
Another issue -- and we've stayed in hotels more than 1,000 cumulative nights in our lives and NEVER experience this before -- is the door would not close several times.

I had to kick a plate on it, hurting my foot.

One day, nothing worked and the front desk sent up two non-uniformed handymen. 

They had a knowing look, like they knew this is a perpetual problem ignored in the capital repairs.

They basically, with steel toed boots, kicked the same plate a bunch, till the door to our room would shut.

How can something that is part of Accor, in the city the hotel flag is based in, have such a faulty item causing trouble -- with no funds dedicated toward a permanent solution?





Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Torre Argentina Cat Sanctuary

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 6

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
During our stay, were returned to find the cheap, stained curtain had fallen in the main bedroom. 

With bright daylight in June starting just after 5 a.m. and lasting almost till 11 p.m., we needed to block the sun.

The manager himself had to come up and fix this.

Because we customize my wife's bed, with several extra pillows, blankets and equipment we bring from home -- to accommodate her disability and constant pain -- we like the idea of no daily housekeeping intrusions.

Though we were due one cleaning midway into our trip, we explicitly told the front desk several times that we wanted no maid service.

Despite this, on Sunday when we were sleeping in before brunch, a housekeeper woke us up knocking on our door.

We informed the manager and he said he would have the staff deliver a fruit basket as an apology.

We said it would be more practical to apply the cost of the fruit basket to bottled water for sale in the lobby, as my wife used it to take medications.

We got neither the basket nor our preferred credit toward sundries.


Monday, August 5, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 5

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
The next big problem is with the staff. 

The day before our departure, we left a handwritten note asking for a wakeup call at 4:30 a.m.  

The staff person said yes, that would be no trouble.

We understand the Adagio is not meant to be a 5-star, full service hotel. 

We like that concept.
But if a wakeup call is not available, by all means tell us to our face right then so we can make alternate plans.

No wakeup call was made and the consequences were (because we had to get to CDG early to work with the wheelchair access) we had to skip breakfast, skip showering and we accidentally left 6 articles of unpacked clothes.

We realized this only after getting on plane home to Miami. 

That is not acceptable.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 4

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
We had planned to come back midday to shower and nap in the air conditioning to get out of the sweltering sun.

We were in the middle of a record heatwave.

Temperatures normally with highs of 75 shot up to nearly 100 in Paris.

We could not escape the sun because the elevator repairs dragged on till the late afternoon.

We kept in contact via email with Mr. Rakotoarivony....but it was impossible to enjoy the day.

Imagine, about 2/3 of the way into a two week trip -- with all your clothing, food in kitchen, shopping bags etc all spread out in comfort -- worrying all day that you might get moved to another hotel because if the repairs failed, you would be 7 floors up with zero elevator in service.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 3

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
The broken elevator had a piece of letterhead paper taped to it with the larger letters “HS.”

I presume that means out of order. The note was only on the ground floor.

One day, leaving our 7th floor room, with the typical disorientation that comes from jet lag and being far from home, we got in the broken elevator.

Would it be too hard to clearly mark the out of service one on each floor?

And while the staff is at it, plug out of service into a translate app, so the clear meaning is spelled out in at least a half a dozen languages?

Also, in the peak of a Paris heatwave with temperatures near 100 degrees, the only working elevator went out -- right while we were on it. 

I had to force the door open with all of my might to get my wife out safely at the lobby.

Friday, August 2, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 2

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
General Manager Rakotoarivony seems to work every day of the week and long hours.

He checked on us many times and was warm, friendly and sincere.

The problem, and I blame the Adagio line within Paris-based hotel giant Accor for this, was a lack of repairs.

The entire time of our stay, one of the two elevators was out of service -- a big sign taped to it said so, though the sign was only on the ground floor so one day we got in the wrong elevator and almost didn't make it to the ground floor.

For a wheelchair user, staying on the top floor, two elevators is a must.

I had stayed at this property in 2018 and the reason I booked it was I knew there always would be a backup lift.


But since one was always broken -- that was not the case.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

APARTHOTEL ADAGIO ACCESS PARIS REUILLY 2019 REVIEW -- Part 1

GOOD LOCATION AND PRICE POINT – BUT DESPERATELY NEEDS TO INVEST IN KEEPING ELEVATORS AND OTHER ESSENTIALS REPAIRED
Tantely Rakotoarivony, the director/general manager of the ApartHotel Adagio Access Paris Reuilly, is a good guy who emailed me back and forth a dozen times prior to our visit.

We basically needed two beds in a large apartment, but with bath bench and knowledge that one would be a wheelchair user not using accessible unit.

Tantely did great for this before and during the stay. I think he may be fighting an uphill battle due to a poor staff under him and maybe not enough budget to make needed repairs.

Let's start with the positives. The room, on 7th floor, was one of the most quiet we've ever stayed in.

The price point for a nearly 400 SF room was incredible for Paris.

The fridge, stove, coffee maker, cups, plates, flatware, etc is all very convenient.

The wet room style shower is wonderful for my wife, who uses a wheelchair for mobility.

The bath bench already being in the bathroom was helpful.