Category Archives: guide dog

7 years in Kentucky Y’all better consider me a Kentuckian now!

It’s hard to believe 7 years ago I took a job at Humana moving from Muncie to Louisville. At the time I wanted to do move somewhere new with an airport, and bus station. I know my wants are so low. Seriously though it was a struggle to get transportation besides friends out of Muncie. I wanted to try and chase a dream of being in radio, and I needed those things to try and do that.

I’ve always been a sports fan, and grew up thinking I could be in the NBA. Then my mom told me I had two strikes against me. One I was blind and 2 I was white. Now trust me I think if I were black I could have played damn it. Anyway when I moved here I liked both teams. I always thought the Kentucky Wildcats had a much better radio play by play announcer, but regardless I kept neutral.

It was 4 years ago roughly that my life and views on the world and people changed. I got a call that Ethan had killed himself. It changed me in several ways I try to tell people I love them and what they mean to me now. You never know when that last time will be. I would just come home from work and sleep. Reading was about the only thing I could do that took the numbing away.

I then got in to a radio showed called Kentucky Sports Radio with Mat Jones. It’s about sports, but it usually is the ridiculous banner that comes up that makes me enjoy it. For the first time in a month or so I could laugh again. I started really [pulling more for Kentucky. I got in to the teams that year loving the roster of guys for both Football and Basketball. In many ways it brought some new normalcy back for me.

I still have a hard time with the NFL. That was something Ethan and I shared the passion for and would talk about. I try to watch, but it hurts and that enjoyment isn’t there. Life is funny that way we all take the little things way to much for granted. I remember thinking at one point in my life no woman would come between me and my sports. I loved sports so much then Ethan dies and it’s tough to get through a NFL game.

Tonight Kentucky ended a streak of 31 years losing to Florida. I went to the game 3 years ago at Commonwealth and we should have won that game. Abby went last year I’d just got home with Frasier and decided that would be two much for him. They should have won that game, but fell short. Abby and I both until the end thought we may lose this yet, but when they won oh man we were both so happy.

Then I had to hear what Matt and the other fans thought. It made me so happy listening to folks who’ve gone for 30 years to games and finally got to celebrate. That’s the thing I like about Mat’s show. Most radio and Tv is based out of New York or has a national appeal but when you listen to Mat’s show it’s folks from this state who just love there team.

Anyway I can’t believe it’s been 7 years since taking that leap of faith that things would work out. Robin and I learned downtown, and then got a house. Now I have a wife it’s crazy how I’m becoming part of this wonderful city and state. Anyway I wanted to reflect on things tonight and I realize how fortunate things have been for me. Wrapping up go Cats!!! Also miss you bro I think about you still every day. Give Robin a hug up there,, and I’ll see you on the otherside.

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Arms as big as a tree trunk

The other night Abby and I went to Acoustic Jam put on by WAMZ. This had 6 different singers at it, and I loved the format. They had 3 bands up at a time and they each played a song, and joked with one another. I really loved Mattie and Tae, Travis Denning, and David Lee Merfie. The concert was at a place I’d never been to called the Mercury ball room. According to the tickets there was no seating. Abby said they will find us a place to sit, because sighted folks are nervous about us standing. I said I don’t know, but sure enough we sat. I am not complaining we were out of the way and it was nice not to have to worry.

When we got to the venue this security guy came out and took us to a bench inside. I grabbed his arm and it was amazingly huge. I mean I couldn’t put my hand around his arm. My brother and dad have big arms, but god this guys arm well I’m going on and on like a school girl would. When your blind pretty much the only image you have of people is from feeling yourself and the handful of others along the way. I went home and pumped some iron I want Abby to be amazed by my arms lol. Whenever I hear Stern or guys gush about women part of me goes Christ haven’t you seen it all by now, but the part of being blind that is sad is truthfully everyone is different and we miss so much of that. It’s probably a gift and a curse all at the same time.

We had to leave a bit early since it was a work night. We couldn’t get anyone’s attention because it was loud in there. Abby grabbed my shoulder and I put my cane out in front of me. I hit several feet, but people move and were nice. I knew which way the door was, and moved towards it. A guy came up and said need an elbow? I said yes sir, and he navigated us the rest of the way outside. It was a great venue as are most in Louisville for assisting and not a bunch of confusion to help us get in and out.

I want to address a comment I heard recently, about blind folks being parents. I was on the bus talking about getting married to someone and I was asked if we wanted kids. I said no were older, and honestly I don’t have the energy for it. I love seeing others kids and loving on them, but it’s great when the house is quiet also. Someone recently mentioned you should want kids so they can take care of you. Dude I’m not 90 or in a nursing home. They then said yeah but they could make your life easier. Kids for the first 4 years first off do nothing but shit, cry, eat, and the other 1% do something cute. I actually got kind of offended with this comment. Help me? Make it easier? If Abby and I had a kid it’s going to be a kid. Does your 4 year old make your life easier somehow? Then it got worse the conversation that is. They said well once the kid grew up it could drive you around. Okay dip shit seriously that would be 16 years at the earliest and honestly I’ll have a flying car.in 20. I don’t even know where to start here. With Robin and Frasier I’d always hear some sighted folk go you take care of him don’t you? It always pissed me off. If I didn’t feed the dog, take it out to shit, or do the cleaning or maintaineding of the dog where it would it be? I feel like people think having a kid all most makes it a slave to the blind people which is just crazy! The blind parents I know take there kids to dance practices, soccer games, and anything else the kid wants to do. I don’t know where this kids taking care of a blind parent mentality comes from, but it needs to stop, because it‘ so absurd.

I am still not sure if I want to get another dog. The time away again, uncertainty if it will work any better than the last time, and the fact is I’m getting around fine. Yeah for sure when we go to Chicago I will miss what the dog provides,, but that’s random instances. I took a few Lyfts and Ubers this week, because I’ve been sick, and it’s been nice to get in not having to worry whether the driver is going to cancel or not which is sad, but if I’m being honest with myself it is nice. It’s been slower getting around, but I’m fine. I’ve encountered a blind person lately who is completely silly with her dog. She treats it as if the dog has choices which it shouldn’t have. She told her dog to sit 5 times before it did, and still gave it a treat. No corrections just acted as if giving a command five times before it listened was normal. These schools that don’t believe in corrections trouble me. Her dog was from a school out in California I think. Both Robin and Frasier if they didn’t sit when I said sit it was correction time.

I wanted to give a shout again to my teachers in the past. I was really lucky and had a teacher who taught me Braille, and knew the code herself. Ms. Tami taught me Braille when I was 4 years old. I remember her bringing over a rubber board and putting pins in it to represent the dots. I recently have witnessed and also told about kids who are graduating school knowing parts of the Braille code, but not all of it. I sort of have to be careful here, but I will speak my mind and be honest. I was somewhere doing a presentation on a product for work. A teacher asked me if rather than something being displayed in Braille could it be displayed in print? She said they struggle with reading braille. Wait what your a teacher of the visually impaired yet you yourself struggle with reading braille? How can you teach something to someone if you don’t know how to do it yourself? Tami taught me so much when I was really young on technology, and how to navigate things. The teacher then said she didn’t know how to use voiceover on the IPhone or IPad so she normally does something with it off then turns it on for the student. Again how do you teach this to a student? Tami Could use Win Vision or a scanning program she taught herself then me. If she couldn’t figure it out she called a company and learned. I’m sure there forcing kids on these teachers, but god you got to know the tools that can help these blind kids succeed. Maybe I need to get my masters and go help educate these kids I feel so bad for them, and the fact some of these teachers are earning a paycheck and don’t know braille or the technology these kids need.

I am really a technology guy, and I am trying to not continue to buy new things and just enjoy the ones I have. I had a HomePod but Apples wall garden started to annoy me. My Alexa can play MLB audio, Podcasts, call and message people, and more. My HomePod can only be used with Apple Music which I don’t want, and could Airplay. I just wanted a speaker that could do everything I wanted so that brought me to sell my HomePod on EBay and get a Sonos 1. I love it. I have Alexa built in, and plus I have Airplay 2 now. This speaker can do anything I need. Airplay put the Sonos over the top for me that was it’s one big drawback. If you have Android it still lacks Google cast, but maybe it will show up when the google assistant does later this year. If not sorry you have a inferior operating system. Hahaha just kidding. I’ve had it a week, and love the sound plus all the services that are integrated in.

Fireworks have different colors and images but year after year they have the same sound.

In a few days it will be July 4th! It’s weird I used to post articles of political nature to Facebook trash talk others and try to convince someone my opinion is right and they were wrong. Lol it’s so exhausting. Not to mention pointless. The older I get I do fear that people are so set in there thinking. I still try to remain balanced whatever that means anymore but people can’t sit and have a conversation anymore. I miss being able to hear ones side and than give my side and feeling okay that we think differently. I now feel if for example I am pro something someone automatically puts me in a box and I can’t think another way about something else. Obama becoming president I think started this polarization, and then Trumps took it to a new level where the media gives us nothing else anymore.

All that said blind people get worked up about things going away. Maybe changes are coming, but I’m so happy for the opportunities I have here, and I am so humbled at times. I was talking to a gentleman from India the other day, and he was telling me the Braille access issue in India. We put out a $449 Braille display, but he was saying in India for most to afford it we need to be around 100 dollars. I’ve always been fortunate to have Braille or audio at my disposal, and it’s important for everyone to have access to it. I think we get lost in chasing money or self worth, and we don’t stop and say how lucky we have it enough

Thank you. For me it’s all the mobility lessons when I was young from Ms. Tammi making me step outside my comfort zone and shop for her groceries. I just hope and wish we all could just stop and breathe a minute things we love are worth fighting for, but we need to remember were all human and all have different backgrounds.

I find myself struggling with the little things without a dog. Robin and Frasier would both put there paws on my feet during the work day. You can’t help but bump them as you work, but just knowing they were there made such a difference. If your having a bad day you’d feel them put a paw on your foot and you’d reach down and pet them and instantly everything got less heavy. I think I am having a bout of depression I sleep when I get home then I’m up at 3 in the morning. I don’t feel unhappy, but I feel my body dealing with the downs. Having a dog gives you that I have to take this thing outside and you gain responsibility.

Abby and I went to the movies, and she maneuvers people and objects while I feel clunky running in to things. I’ve been having this thought I should go to Dunkin Donuts and just have a donut and write or read some news. With my dogs I wouldn’t have thought twice, but since I haven’t been there I really am struggling with the layout and if I want to go explore or not.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before, but I feel I am a great cane user, but the level I have to be at with it is perfect. If I’m off or maybe I have a cold or it’s windy instantly I feel more nervous and thoughts of should I go out come in to play. I remember in college I’d have days I felt fine, but I just didn’t want to have to deal with bumping in to people or interactions so I’d just not go to class. I don’t know why looking back on it I got so overwhelmed, but when getting the dogs it helped with those feelings.

I’m torn I do like the ability to jump in a Lyft or Uber and get to a location and go in without any hassle but then once I am there if its a new place I’m not as comfortable as I was with a dog if that makes sense. It’s like I’m constantly up or down and I can’t figure out what I want to do. Abby and I have been talking about going to Indy or Nashville or NYC for a weekend and it’s difficult for me to imagine doing it with a cane. Especially NYC maybe if I’m successful or not it will be the deciding factor if I go back for a dog or not.

One thing that makes me more and more nervous is people being able to take there dogs places. I’ve been reading about more and more work places being excepting of bringing your pet dog to work. As we become more relaxed in things of this nature I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for blind folks and guides. Maybe I’m overthinking things.

As I get older I things I found that were fun for me have changed. Fireworks now for me are all the same. Year to year the sound of them never changes yet the images colors etc. do. I used to love being at the county fair or going to one of the lakes listening to them. Now sighted folks make it worse by playing shitty soundtracks with the fireworks trying to have a theme. Why? I want to hear the boom it’s the only fucking enjoyment I get from these things and now your covering it up? Stop it! I love Thunder over Louisville because it is booming, but even they do it. I know some blind folks who use Aira to describe the fireworks but still if you’ve never seen color I’m not sure how cool that is. Since Louisville does Thunder in April July 4th here pretty much is nonexistent.

One thing about the 4th I loved as a teen my brother and I would buy fireworks and set them off. I learned to light them and run and get low to the ground. Once by myself I put a bottle rocket in a 2 leader bottle lit it and ran and dove. The thing shot right at me lol. What’s life if you don’t take risk’s? Happy Forth everyone! To the Canadians happy Canada day on Sunday!

So Sighted people can kill us now and just do community service tell all your friends.

I want to say first of off Happy Birthday to my Robin. I saw a video of Abby and I opening gifts for her and it made me smile. I miss her so much. I want to thank the instructors, trainers, and staff at the Seeing-Eye for all they do. The instructors have to train a string of dogs walk miles upon miles in rain cold or shine, and I do want them to know how much I appreciate them. Maybe I’ve been a bit harsh on the school lately I’m just frustrated. They gave me 2 great dogs that made such an impact on me, and I don’t want to hurt the hard work from those people. That being said maybe out reach or communication needs to change. If I go back it would being to the Seeing-Eye because of how they do ownership of the dog, plus no dumb extra stuff like graduation etc..

Recently Abby rode home with a cab driver and he said Joe doesn’t need to get a dog because technology is so much better now. First off technology has improved, but it’s still clunky at best. I think now the only thing that is 100% is I know where I am with GPS. Meaning I have an idea with in 30 feet or so. Cane technology hasn’t gotten any better. I actually got 4 different cane tips to play with and they all seem cheep and not useful but my old faithful marshmallow rolling tip. Canes even have gotten worse since people want them thinner and lighter they just break so much easier now. Sure they have laser canes so fancy but not practical.

I tell you what I want Aira is awesome but sucks if your cell connection sucks which is more than I’d like with Verizon or at&t. What I want is a device that can keep you in a straight line. I have to look drunk as hell walking down the street, because I veer left and right. The dogs kept me straight and also could follow the sidewalk making it less work for me. I miss that so much. To that cab driver or to anyone else who is sighted who thinks they should weigh in on what a blind adult should do how about you put on a blindfold and just walk 10steps then remove it and see where you are. Honestly look at something put the blindfold on and move 10 steps. I bet you veered off track a bit. Now go to a busy street or have a damn lawnmower factoring in and see how walking 10 to 20 steps is now.

My other annoyance has been passing people. Man Robin and Frasier were so good about maneuvering me around people it was just awesome. Today I got behind another blind person and couldn’t get around them. Every time I would go right to pass they would veer right so I kept tripping them lol. It’s so frustrating though to not be able to pass someone when I want.

This next story my friend shared, and I can’t believe it. This guy kills a blind man by running a red light. This infuriates me that no one seems to care. What if it was me or Abby? We’re going off parallel traffic hoping you guys pay attention. Driving has become such a wright when it should be a privilege in this country. Recently I was crossing a light and a car blew its horn first off don’t do that. I don’t know if your honking at me or something else. I think a car was trying to turn which I still the light and they were signaling me to wait. It’s just scary out there even easy intersections have become difficult because no one enforces the laws we have. I like in this article it points out what the sighted person was doing he is going to work, but what was the blind gentleman doing? All I know reading the article he was blinded 20 years ago. Maybe he was walking to see his granddaughter, or just exercising this is a piss poor article and the writer should be ashamed. I guess even though the sighted guy ran the light the blind man was just in his way. It basically paints the sighted person as this working class citizen and the blind person who was by all accounts correct in his street crossing worthless. In the comments tell me I’m wrong and misinterpreting this article.

http://www.koin.com/news/local/multnomah-county/driver-who-killed-blind-man-admits-careless-driving/1247569655

A week with my cane

A week has gone by and I am doing okay. I miss Frasier a lot. My walk with a cane takes about 24 minutes where it was 13 to 15 with him depending on the day. I find a lot more trees and bushes than I did with him. Our house has changed also with him gone. This weekend I think I hit a bit of depression realizing I’m without him.

He met the fedex driver Saturday and got a treat according to Lee’s text. He is a good boy and is doing wonderful with them. I think it is what he needed and that helps. I never worry about him, because he is with people that love him I just miss him.

It’s strange before when I used my cane no one talked to me, but now that I’m back to it I am attracting some interesting people. I will try and video some of the experiences along the way and put them up here. Last week I met a guy who says his great grandfather took the famous picture of Babe Ruth’s called shot. He talked about it the entire bus trip until I got off. It was a really cool story actually.

This blog amazes me how much visits it gets from around the world. Frazier’s retirement post was viewed a lot in India, South Korea, Japan, and the UK. Of course it does well in the United States also, but I could have never imagined it reaching all of those countries pretty regularly. Again thank you for reading.

I am now writing my blog in an app called Drafts 5 on the I-pad Pro. It’s really nice and allows me to have a few options that I don’t have in the Apple Notes app. I also from time to time say Alexa how do you spell then a word. Lol.

Abby tried her dress on this weekend and got some alterations done and it should be ready next weekend. It’s hard to believe the day will be here in about 2 months now. I’m getting excited, but nervous.

My Apple AirPods didn’t hold up so long. I have had them about a year, and I”be noticed a pretty bad battery drain. They used to last about 5 hours a day now they’re down to 3. Still not bad for the size of them, but it makes a work day a bit harder. On another electronic thing though one thing about losing Frasier that has been tough I miss talking with him on the way to work. I wouldn’t say much, but at times I may say it’s hot buddy, or not much traffic today. I now wear the Bose Soundware until I get to the bus stop and then put it in my bag. I like it, because it still keeps my ears open so I can listen for traffic. Also pausing it is quick and simple. Thank you Bose for this product I also use it a lot around the house when taking trash out or cleaning.

Frasier and his new home.

The last few days have been hard I won’t lie. We will end positive, but to get there it’ll take a bit. Going back to Thursday I stayed home with Frasier I also did Friday. The trainer from the Seeing-Eye came out and got the harness to take back with him. He told me once Frasier relaxed I see why you like him. We talked about the process of reapplying for a dog, something as of now I’m not ready to do. After he left the next day or so basically I spent playing with him and petting him as much as I could. Emotions were hard I cried, smiled when he was being silly, sad when he’d lay on my feet at night as I watched baseball, and just depression as I realized time kept moving. I thought of keeping him ourselves, but what kind of life is that for him? Abby and Bancroft would leave every morning and then I would leaving him home for the day. Could he get used to it maybe, but he is used to going with me and being able to be out.

One thing I really loved about the 2 dog chemistry we had was Abby would go be with Bancroft and I would stay up watching a game or listening to music. Frasier would stay with me and usually be in touching distance of my feet or be on them. Eventually I would go in to bed and Frasier would follow me in and lay down on his bed on the floor beside me. Last night I missed him being on my feet or following me around. I think I am experiencing empty nest syndrome or something similar.

Frasier in the mornings was something really sweet. He was so adorable. Usually he’d wake me up if I slept in. He loved his routine of going out at 6 and eating after that. On a weekend if I missed that he would start nudging me at 6:50, and he may even jump on me by 7 if I didn’t pay him any attention. He didn’t really like beds much, but he would cuddle for a bit if I didn’t want to get up. Also when it was just me or if I was sick he’d lay beside me all night and never move. I got pretty sick pretty recently and slept in the guest room, and Frasier came in and curled up behind me keeping me warm all night I had chills so this was welcomed. I’m not a big dog in bed guy, but Robin did it towards the end of her career and Bancroft has always been up there so it’s warmed me up a bit on it.

Anyway one thing he does is he yawns a lot and gives kisses so much during the morning. I tried to enjoy these things a lot the last two days. He would let out such a pretty cry if I wasn’t moving fast enough to take him out. Thankfully I recorded one of them recently and I listen to it when I start to miss him. Since I can’t see pictures it helps. I recorded Robin’s bark and her eating one of the last days she was here I listen to those also from time to time it helps me think of them and smile.

When we got back from dropping Frasier off Bancroft kept looking for him. He sniffed rugs looked out the window stood sort of confused and finally he came over and smelled me. It’s weird, but the whole family is grieving Abby, Bancroft, and I all miss him. It’s so quiet here now, and we feel like most parents probably do when kids go to college. Every day for the last 7 months I’ve cared for him taken care of him, played with him, and now he isn’t there and it’s weird.

I flashed back to when I brought him home. I dropped his leash for a second to bring my suite case in from outside, and he discovered the toy box. He was so happy with himself. Every chance he got he would grab a toy out and squeak it.

Saturday came and the time arrived to take Frasier to his new home. I grabbed his food box, and he knew something was happening. I think he picked up on feelings from us plus Abby and I didn’t really leave him alone the last 3 days lol. The Lyft came and I put the food box inside. Abby and I also packed a box of things Frasier loved plus some things I thought Jerry and Lee might like to have to help them along in having a dog. Abby packed toys he likes like a football, baseball, bear, and jolly ball. I packed a brush, leash, gentle leader, and his bed. He asl got a frog named Darwin recently from JW Pets he loves it. He would put his paw on it well we couldn’t find him as we were leaving I found him when I got home and was sad. I ordered him a new one and sent it to Jerry and Lee’s house so he could have Darwin home. Bancroft doesn’t really like it, so when we go to visit we will take the original Darwin.

Anyway the Lyft driver was really friendly. He had dogs and had a puppy mat. I never let Frasier be on the seat if I can help it, but since he had the mat and this was are last car trip together I thought what the hell. Frasier put his head near the AC vent and loved the AC blowing on him. Then he put his head over on my lap and just let me pet him. Once we turned on to Jerry and Lee’s road he started to wine. He knew where we were. I got out of the car and he started to pull me towards the fenced in yard. Once we got in the gate I let him go, and he ran 4 laps really fast. He was so excited. That did my heart some good. Seeing how happy he was helped me with knowing he will do well here. I think he is just more of a country dog than a city dog.

We went inside and I explained some of the commands he knows to Jerry and Lee. They’re going through change also. They haven’t had a dog in a while so I’m sure there nervous and excited too. He did well with Jerry seemed to be patient as Jerry put the gentle leader on him.

Then it was time to leave. I told him to do well with Jerry and Lee, and that he was a good boy. I told him he was a great guid, and thanked him for his service. He tried to follow me out the door. I didn’t want to make a huge deal about leaving him, because I wanted him to think this is normal they’ll be back. The Lyft ride home I slept I hadn’t done done that well the past few nights.

We have texted Jerry and Lee some and he is doing well. Again I smile when I read the texts. I am trying not to bother them to much I want them to enjoy him and I want to give them some space. It’s hard though waking up today without him stil felt tough. I don’t have to wonder where he is which is great, but I do wonder what he is doing? Abby has been talking to Lee and Frasier has been doing well this morning. He got up and ran around the yard for an hour and than ate his breakfast. Lee said he is now tired and just watching Jerry. It makes me smile that he is settling in so well. He will be a great dog for them. I love hearing from them, and I know Abby is too.

Last night Lee texted me and said he was down for the night. He is going to have such a great life out there. I couldn’t have left him with any better of a family or people. I told them I really want him to become there dog. I’ll be the annoying grandparent now who will come by bring caffeine spoil him and then leave. They both are so happy, and Frasier is really happy being there also I could tell. All the signs are there that this should work well. They will spoil him too, and he will have a great life with them.

It’s been a long few days, but I am thankful I know where he is, and I know he is happy. You should have seen and heard him just running in that yard. Jerry told me he walked him to the mailbox and back he told me he pulled a bit going, but didn’t on the way back. I think as they do this more he will pull less, and they’ll have fun together.

I took my cane out to a pizza place last night. Abby’s friend from college wrote a book, and we went out to support her, and also so I could meet them. It was fun. It’s different with a cane. With the dog you can say outside and they will move towards a door. You know the general direction and the dog does the rest. Man with a cane it doesn’t do shit when you say outside. I kept bumping tables, and chairs. I think overall though for not using it much the last several months I did well. On Monday we will see. On my way to work I have to cross train tracks, and with Frasier we just went up and over them no problem, but with a cane it won’t be as easy. I’m sure you will hear about it.

Wrapping up sorry this one was all over the place. Grieving is hard I think I am on stage 3, but hearing the text updates helps so much. I am glad Dogs don’t grieve us the way we grieve them. Knowing he’s playing with his toys running in the yard or just watching Jerry makes me smile. Abby and I will both for the next few days cry when we step on one of his toys he left around, or a memory, but we both know we did the best we could do for him.

Retiring Frasier

Today was pretty rough and shitty as days go. The Seeing-Eye came out to help with an issue we were having at work with other dogs. After witnessing the dog issue it was recommended that I retire Frasier. The news hit me hard, because I felt maybe there could be a way to fix it. The heartache returned it felt like losing Robin all over. My throat got tight and I literally couldn’t;t talk for about 15 minutes after they left. Frasier has brought me some hard work and his barking was an issue for me, but I always felt I could overcome it. He healed a part of me that broke when Robin passed that I never thought would work again. I know most of you won’t get that at all, but these dogs are our partners.

Friday I was walking across a drive way and a car pulled out and Frasier backed me up. I couldn’t hear it because it was a hybrid. He saves my life Friday and Wednesday I’m retiring him and without a dog? Life is a tornado sometimes.

The crazy part is when talking to the Seeing-Eye if I have no one that can take him or if I can’t keep him basically I will know when he’s placed with someone but I no not much else. So again my buddy who did his job I know nothing on how he is doing or where he is. It’s not the Seeing-Eyes fault I guess I’m not trying to be a dick about all they’ve done it just is frustrating.

We’ve bonded I need a facebook or twitter connection to him just to get an update once and a while the not knowing where he is or how he is would kill me.

I left work early because I couldn’t do it, and came home and cried and held Frasier. I also ate a large pizza thanks I’ve been working hard on my figure. Frasier has become part of the family. Him and Bancroft play he follows me around like my shadow which I secretly love. He also now pushes the door open while I am in the bathroom to lay at my feet. God I don’t know why he does that. Lol but he does. I never thought time would be this short.

Thankfully when talking to my friends Jerry and Lee they offered to take him. They were looking for a dog they wanted a bit smaller than him but they’re excited to take him. This also works for me, because I can still visit. I want him to be there dog once I drop him off, but knowing he is in good hands has helped my mood and also the writing in this blog tonight. Tears have been lessened since I know where he will be, and that he’ll be with good people that I love. We went and visited them a few weekends ago and he loves the yard they have. He ran out for hours chasing his ball. Lee told me he will walk to there mailbox and back with them which is about a half mile I believe.

I did think about keeping him, but he is so young and if I get another dog it might be tough on him and also be a lot of dogs we have to care for. At this moment I will be collecting myself and try to figure out if I want to put myself through it again. It’s so hard I feel I failed him. I did everything they asked he just is a dog and didn’t respond to the conditioning. I called several times even asking for someone to come out and pretty much got ignored for some reason. Every time I got new advice on trying something, but maybe seeing what I was seeing would have helped things.

Monday when going to the bus it’s just me and the cane again. It’ll feel weird I’ve never walked this route with a cane so things Frasier took me around I’ll hit and curse and then move on. I know he wasn’t perfect none of us are really yet working dogs all most have to be. He was a great worker he picked up on things so quickly. For example in Louisville or most of America they never fix sidewalks so we have a lot of broken parts. Once I tripped on it, and Frasier never forgot it. Every time he would stop I could stick out my foot and there the broken sidewalk would be. I’d always thank him and scratch his chin. Even after a week off when I went to Germany when coming back I thought he’d forget nope like a champion he got it right. I’ve been thinking about all the things he’ll miss and we can’t do together and it just kills me. He was going to be in the wedding as my best man. Were not doing a wedding party to save us from all of the drama lol. Now in the blink of an eye it’s gone. I want him to enjoy his life and I know he will. I thank him for his short service, and thanks for being my dog and guide for the last several months. I know he’ll never understand how much that meant to me.

My trip to Germany!

It’s hard to believe 2 weeks ago I was on an airplane coming home. I want to talk about my trip to Germany and things I learned about blind people and the culture there.

I was excited to go, but also nervous since I was leaving Frasier. I think the longest I ever left Robin was 4 days, so this is now the new record. I put Frasier in his crate and caught a Lyft to the airport. The plane ride was long by the end my hips, legs and butt were all just like lets go. We got to Germany at 7:20 local time which is 6 hours ahead of Eastern time. Going through customs was easy they actually opened a new line for us so the blind people could get through quickly.

We caught a bus to the hotel and the stops were spoken in German and then English. The hotel was connected to the airport and employed 90 thousand people so it is a pretty huge building. Anyway I got checked in and started noticing differences from the states. I caught an elevator and there were no bells or audible information what floor you moved to. All week I just guessed or asked people. A few times I got off on the wrong floor. Once getting off the elevator the next surprise was nothing had Braille. In the elevator the buttons were arranged vertically so I could count to my floor, but there again no Braille. In fact the entire time other than the conference program I observed no Braille. Thankfully my room was two from the end, so I could find it easily.

One morning I woke up and ventured around on my own to see what kind of trouble I could get in to. I found the breakfast place and it was 30 euros for a hot plate. I said no and walked back to my room. When doing this I went to the ground floor and to get back to my room you had to use your key card on the elevator to get it to go to your floor. I stuck the key in backwards or upside down it just didn’t work. There was a guy who said I need a way to figure out what side was the top on the key card. Normally I put tape on it, but hadn’t yet. He actually chipped away some of the top layer so I could feel a little notch. I thought this was cool and something he didn’t have to do. He I think was a worker at the hotel but props to him for doing this. I met him in the elevator, but he used what he had to make something accessible. I just thought it was cool.

We went out and walked around Frankfurt and things I observed were the following. My god it was so quiet. We passed several outside diners and folks were just laying on the riverbanks and the noise was so minimum. In are cities noise is so crazy loud. The food I had in Germany was amazing. My favorite was curry worst. The beer was also really good.

I went to a dinner hosted by another company and it was decently loud. Thankfully I sat near a couple from Belgium, and we talked the entire evening. It was neat to learn about there company and family. She had a guide dog named Bootsy trained in Belgium. Hopefully one day Abby and I will go see them! We exchanged contact information and I really enjoyed the evening and getting to know them! I only saw 3 dogs though the entire time, and honestly the stress of everything I am glad I left Frasier. It was hard, but I knew he was safe with Abby.

On Saturday we had a free day, so we went to Heidelberg and viewed an old castle. It was really accessible to touch and explore. I will say this I thought a castle would be tall, but this was more compact and spread out. It was cool to have that much access to something so old.

One funny story in the town we stopped by a gummy bear store and Dave asked what can I get here you don’t have in the states? The lady replied we have gummy breasts and penis’s. It was just so unexpected.

When I got home Frasier jumped all over me. He didn’t want to leave my side. It’s funny I fell asleep during a Celtics game last night and Abby tried to take him out and he would walk away from her when she’d call him. He wanted to stay near me. By the way go Celtics please beat the Calves. Also the radio team for them is just amazing. Cedric and Shawn are the best.

I got Abby an Apple Watch this week. I am thankful for all that she does. She cooks and did a great job looking after Frasier and she puts me first. I wanted to show her how much it means to me. She spoils me all most every day and I had been slacking since I got the ring. Anyway thank you for everything that you do.

I really loved the opportunity this trip presented and I learned so much. I left Humana a little over a year ago and while that job served me well and I made several friends there I’m glad to be where I am. Technology is my passion you should see my room and my gadgets.

You’re blind so don’t you know this blind guy met 10 years ago his name is Bill from Little Rock?

I wonder why some times during school or when I was a child people kept me away from certain paths? For example shop class my teacher never taught me how to measure or hammer a nail. Is it because I was blind and no one thought a blind person could do these things? It’s funny I used to go out to the barn with my grandpa Hoyier and just hammer nails in to boards and make shapes or just mess around. I enjoyed this, but in school my shop teacher let me stand around with my thumb in in my butt basically. Never even thinking of reaching out for a Braille tape measure or talking one. Maybe I’d be good at that, but since I wasn’t ever taught the skill set I can never flourish. Maybe I wouldn’t have been good enough to make it a career, but at least I could fix something if it broke.

I contemplate this on the eve of selling my house. I will miss that place. My last days with Robin were there my first days with Abby were there. Yet when going to sign today I felt awkward in a room full of strange sighted people. The lawyer a smart woman who I thought was maybe the best reader of legal documents I’ve met asked if my dog would help me sign the documents? She wasn’t kidding I explained just put my finger where you want me to sign, and I will do the rest. After about 23 signs the deal was done and my old Kentucky home was sold. I then came back to my new Kentucky home and wondered why at 32 I still feel awkward in a room of sighted people? Why do I feel dumb when I shouldn’t? Why do I feel people try and talk for me when I am right there? Oh wait they try and sometimes do.

Maybe an article I read about how even though in the world it’s the best time to be blind still only 30% of us are working. I’m no better than any other blind person I’ve just been lucky. I know the struggle of applying for a year after college and hearing nothing. Going on interviews where they talk about the dog and hardly about any of my accomplishments. When will this end? When will sighted folks see the value in what blind people could contribute? The scary part is Tomorrow I could be back in the same boat as the other 70% which makes it hard to relax.

Why as kids can’t we learn to fail at something? I think one thing that made me successful is my parents let me fail. However teachers didn’t for the most part. By all means I am not blaming anyone in particular, but let that blind person hammer maybe he or she will hit there fingers with a hammer, but they will learn. We try as a society to think of things a blind individual might be good at rather than let that blind individual maybe experiment and do something outside the box. Why is it we have the most technology possible, but 70% of us still can’t find work?

People find it amazing I can move from point a to point b. In Germany blind people for the most part still have sighted guides and aren’t given the freedom to do the things we do. Most countries are miles behind us here in America yet over half of us can’t find work. I also wonder why those blind people in other countries aren’t able to break away from the notion they need a sighted person to navigate?

I’m interested what traveling will be like in Germany. I wonder if people will look at me funny as I move around with my cane? So many people tell me they’ve never met a blind person and so many have questions. Why is the only blind person we meet or know about Hellen Keller? Braille is hardly mentioned in school no wonder people have no idea.

My friend Joe took a Lyft tonight and the driver was asking him how can you be married to someone? How would you know if they’re sexy? This was asked by a 62 year old woman who was a airline worker. I am sure she saw some blind people in her time one would think. She also asked him if he knew Bill from Little Rock who is blind that she had met 12 years ago? I guess were all supposed to know each other. Anyway I will go now just thought I would write this.

Maybe one day I can walk in a room with sighted folks and not have to talk about the dog or come up with some amazing blind fact about myself. Maybe I can just maybe be me and you can see that and be okay with it.

A quick update wedding plans in Germany

The wedding planning was going great until Abby called the park to check something and they said we had picked a smaller venue which we confirmed when ordering in December but whatever. Long story short we found a place and also a spot for the reception it will just be smaller than we intended. Making cuts was hard because I didn’t want to hurt anyones feelings. I think at the end of the day I did good with making a selection. All cousins are off the hook. I wanted y’all there, but we have a huge family. I also didn’t want to invite 1 and not another causing hurt feelings. I hope everyone understands Abby and I still love you.

It’s hard to believe were getting close to the wedding day. It goes fast. I leave for Germany in a week which I am looking forward to. I had to make a tough choice, but I think I made the right one. Germany has no ADA so it is up to each proprietor whether or not they would allow Frazier to enter there venue. I talked to some blind people who said they had good luck, but others who didn’t. I called the hotel and was told he could sleep at the hotel with me but couldn’t enter diners and such with me. Thank god for the ADA I know there is a bill trying to get rid of it, but it’s this bill that has brought so much progress for those with disabilities here in America. Shame on you congress and etc. for trying to over right the progress made here.

Frazier and I are doing well. We went on another trip about a month ago to SanDiego . I really want to go back and take Abby. They had so many audible traffic signals and walking around there was nice. Frasier was a champion. I am amazed with his ability to backtrack.Robin was good at this also, but he always remembers. He has had a barking issue and that still comes up from time to time, but he is getting better. I can’t wait to take him to a ball game which when we get back to Germany were going to one. I get back Sunday and we’re actually going Tuesday night.

I am typing this on an IPad Pro which I got recently. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I am going to sell my MacBook Air. Typing with a keyboard on this thing feels great, plus with multitasking with apps it’s just as nice as my Mac was. Plus it’s more portable at the end of the day. I am not much of a computer user these days anyway. I decided to go with the cellular version on T-Mobile. One cool thing is I am leasing it month to month so when the next IPad comes out I can give it back for the new one if I want. Work also wanted me to get one so they are pitching in money also which is worth it.

Abby and I have been playing with a new service called Aira also. We love it. The first time Abby used it she went up and was able to get her own drink from a soda fountain. Basically how Aira works is you have glasses that connect you to an agent who can see from the camera in the glasses. They also can see where you are with GPS. I used it in Chicago to get me to the pet relief area in the Airport, and also to find my gates that changed 2 or 3 times. It’s awesome, because you don’t have to ask for assistance you can get the info from the Aira agent and then do it yourself. If I had waited to get an Airport worker in Chicago that would have waisted time depending on how much time until your next flight things may not be possible to do anyway.

I will make notes while in Germany and do an update when I get home. T-Mobile gives me free data while there so I’m glad that isn’t a concern. I love them as a company and coverage is getting better all of the time. In Louisville it is better than Verizon with speeds and in buildings which surprised me. Anyway I hope all of you are well. I am going to miss Abby, Bancroft, and of course my boy while I am gone. I have to go back to the dreaded cane. I hope to do some travel on the train while I am there. I’m also working on taking a ride on the autobahn I want to go over 100. I have 2 free days so only god knows what kind of trouble I can get in to. Lol I will just miss my family back in KY for sure.