Category Archives: guide dog

AirPods and Robins birthday!

Time gets away, and I don’t blog as much as I’d like. Abby and I are doing well. I’m excited to take her to her first MLB game in a few weeks. Pretty soon we will be celebrating 2 years together which is pretty cool. It’s gone by so fast. I had pneumonia two weeks ago, and that wasn’t any fun. Abby came over and helped take care of things. I tell you what when you have that you can’t do anything but sleep. I’d try to stay up, but couldn’t. I am feeling better, but it’s taken awhile.
Abby and I both got a pair of AirPods recently. I tell you what they are some pretty cool technology. Basically what they are is a wireless earbud. You don’t even know you need them until you start using them. I have Bluetooth headphones, but sometimes you just want to wear something smaller. As a blind person traveling on the street an earbud is easier to deal with than an over the ear headphone, because it allows you to hear more. With my Iphone they pair so seamlessly! Then once paired it’s connected to my Icloud for pairing on any other Apple device. For my Mac all I have to do is click on Bluetooth and then Joes AirPods and sound comes through them.
 
Battery Life is decent for a little earbud they get 5 hours music playback, and 2 hours for talk time. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but they also come with a charging case you drop them in there and with in 15 minutes they have 3 more hours of charge. They do well, and battery hasn’t been an issue in my wee trial. For comparison the Samsung Earbuds only get 1.5 hours of battery life when using them to play music from your phone. With those however they do have onboard storage where you can play music without a phone however battery life playback is still only 3.5 hours of play time. They also cost more than the AirPods,.
 
I am really enjoying my new job it’s fun being able to test new applications, and also see new tech. I honestly can’t believe they pay me for it. Lol Larry and I are going to be starting a website for Android TV soon, so I am excited to be involved with that. I don’t think I’ve talked about it here, but I bought a Sony Bravia® TV recently which for the first time I could set it up entirely myself, because it has speech on it. Even just being able to play with the picture settings is so neat. Before I had no idea what my tv offered as far as picture settings, because it didn’t talk. I honestly have no idea why or how it’s not required that every tv at this point doesn’t have to have some sort of screen reader built in. I am happy to see Amazon is going to make the new 4k fire tv they’re selling with Alexa also have Voiceview on it so a totally blind user should be able to set it up from scratch themselves also.
 
This month would have been Robin’s 11th birthday! Also it is 6 months from her passing. I think about her in some way every day. I did apply for a new dog, but It will probably be next year until I can do it. The pneumonia wiped out any chance I’d have enough vacation time to be able to go out and get a new dog if they had one to offer me. The school has to first have a dog that matches your speed and personality first you can’t just use any dog. I’m going to Vegas for a tech show, and really wish I had Robin, because there is tons and tons of people at this thing, and using a cane will be a nightmare. I know I’ve posted this sentiment before, but the way a dog can weave you in and out while in a large crowd is just breathtaking. I don’t give a damn how good of a cane user you are or think you can be you just can’t have that same freedom in an event like that.
 
I just want to say happy birthday to Robin on the 18th. Thank you for being the best Seeing-eye dog you could be. Thanks for the service you provided, and wanting to do it until the end. Thanks for being my friend and partner moving from Muncie to Louisville and several apartments to eventually my house. I know I wasn’t always easy to live with, but no matter what you never seemed to mind. I’m glad I had those 8 years with you, and we created lots of memories. I’ll never forget one time I had to leave her to go to a camp for work. I was gone 4 days, and when I walked out to the parking lot to get her she jumped out of the window of the car to get to me. When I was sick I thought a lot about how she would come lay on my legs, or on the floor by the bed. I miss that companionship a lot! I’ll probably have some desert for her day, and make the best of it.
 
 
 

Cain travel takes time

Using my cane again has been a learning opportunity to say the least. I learned Muncie with a cane first then got Robin, but here in Louisville I never used my cane I learned it with Robin. I went to a building the other day for an appointment, and I found myself frustrated because it took me longer to find my way inside. It has a ramp, and Robin would just go right to the door where I got to the building and had to figure out if I went right or left. It’s hard to describe in words, but when your working with a dog they find you the door making your job way easier. The cane I have to do a lot more analyzing and paying attention.
The holidays were good, but there was this Absence without Robin. My mom came down and spent a few days here before going home for the new year and Christmas with my family. I walked out of work and I had no Robin to get excited to see her truck. I didn’t always like her over excited cries, but now that I don’t have them I miss them so much. When we were coming home my brother and dad drove me back. My dad said he realized she was gone when I would have to grab my cane.
Of course the question I keep getting so much is will I get another dog, and I have no idea. I hate using my cane again, but it’s so emotional if I do it again it will because Robin proved so much to me. It’s weird when I was going to get her I had so many thoughts of would this work could I really trust a dog over my cane? Now I feel opposite, but do I want to make the emotional investment for another 8 or 9 years? These dogs because there always with you it’s like what I feel like losing a kid would feel like. We were partners, and I feel a little of me is gone. I also feel if I answer no people usually have this response of taking care of a cane is easier. If I say yes I haven’t really heard that response. My question for you is why does everyone always have to have an opinion? What happened to listening? If I choose not to it’s not because I didn’t enjoy taking her out in the cold, or because I have to make sacrifices I don’t have to make with using a cane, but maybe because emotionally I just don’t want to have to lose something like that again.
I bought a picture frame and put her death certificate in. My sister also made me a picture frame of Robin looking out the window. It says best dog ever on it. I have that picture next to her box and the certificate behind it. I love it I think it would look nice. I do miss still not being able to see a picture of her. I touch her box a lot, but I always wonder being able to see photo’s if that enhances your memories. For me I have to have a trigger, or purposely think of a moment, where if you see a photo you normally can instantly come up with that memory. All this is moot I guess, because if I could have seen or could see photo’s I would never have had Robin. For me touching the frame it helps, but I recorded her barking once and usually listen to that. I keep telling myself she is in a better place, but it doesn’t really make it any easier.
Everything is a trigger lately to a time we shared. Tonight during the Kentucky game they kept referencing the UCLA game, which is the last game we watched together. Were coming up to a month on the 6th, and words really don’t describe how tough it’s been.
I can’t leave without saying happy new year! Abby came home with me, and we had a good celebration. It’s hard to believe were on year two now. We have talked about doing some cool stuff this year. We already have a few concerts lined up, and were figuring out the summer. We will take a trip somewhere just not sure where. The original plan was to go to Wrigley Field, and that’s where I would have retired Robin. Obviously that didn’t work out as to plan, so even though I would love to take Abby, because she’s never been that may be a little bit longer. I want to take her to a major league park since she has never gone. Whatever we do I will keep you updated. I also would like to say rest in peace to my grandpa I think about him often and find myself listening to a lot of songs that meant something to me when I was a child because of him.

A few stories to add!

I’m nervous Tomorrow I go back to work, but today I found doing things difficult. I woke up at 6 or so on the couch. I feel a connection there since I held Robin the day before. I also find it easier to have her collar near me. I’m sure these things will pass, but for now it helps me. I just now took out the trash something I’ve been meaning to do all day, but that was something Robin would walk out stand at the gate and watch me roll the can to the end of the drive. When I would come back to the gate she’d always give my hand a lick. If I was in a hurry I’d leave the front door open so she could see out, and it would be the same result. Something so simple made me cry.
I made spaghetti and listened to Kentucky Sports radio like I stated and that helped. Once that went off I felt tired and I needed to sleep. I slept from 1-4 and then woke up and spoke to a long time friend. Abby got me a pizza, so I ate on that for dinner. the house is so empty now it’s haunting.
I thought of 2 stories that should have been in the tribute. I know there are so many which is why she is so special. For my first job at Future Choices in Muncie I had to go to a kids camp in Columbus Ohio. I decided not knowing how mature the kids were I’d leave Robin with a friend Dina. I think the camp was 4 days, and man I missed my girl. Anyway I came home and Dina brought her buy and she had the window halfway down and Robin got stuck in the window, because when she saw me standing in the parking lot she wasn’t going to wait for the door to be opened.. She was okay, but I got so many kisses. She did not let me out of her sight for a bit after that. My friend Sue was staying there assisting Dina who was recovering from surgery, and I would call and check in or text. Yes I am that guy, but I missed my girl. Sue told me I know your schedule now. I said what do you mean? Well Sue said she cry at 6 to go outside then I got nicely back to sleep and at 7:15 she cried again for food. I said you have it down.
The second story Abby loves to hear so I thought I would mention it. I decided to dog sit for my friend Carlos;s Seeing-Eye dog Derek. It happened to be the night of my friend Ethan’s Bachelor party. I decided I’d take the dogs out before we left that would give us time. Well I may have had a little to much to drink. I wrote a blog about this incident called something like Braille and strip club. Anyway they dropped me off and I got Derek out just fine. However for Robin I remember her going to the bathroom and then I decided I was tired and I would go to sleep under a tree. I went over and laid down instead of Robin panicking or being alarmed she let me hold her in my arms. Ethan happened to come back and got me up apparently we had a bit of a crowd around us so we got back inside. I just thought it was funny that Robin was like I’m with my dad everything’s fine move along.
She taught me responsibility for something, and helped me mature so I’m thankful for her. Not saying I didn’t do anything else stupid, but I did far less than I would have. I’m just waiting now on her ashes, and will post a link at that time for the company as well. Since Robin was a service animal they will cremate her for free. It is such a great feeling that people and companies give thanks for her work. I’m off to sleep and will post once I get her back. I plan to keep her in a nice spot in my house. Finally last time I checked her post had around 230 views today. Thank you for sharing it, and reading. I felt like it helped me a little to write all of that, and people were able to pay there respect. Sorry about all the errors I’m dictating, because it’s just easier. 

Robin

I would like to start off by thanking a few people an places. the first and foremost is The Seeing-Eye for matching us 8 years ago on July 21 2008. It was dog day and I was brought this beautiful German Shepherd named Robin! I remember her looking around she did give me a lick but wanted to follow Rivi her trainer more than stay with me. That is normal. I remember getting down on the floor with her and she would be close then as soon as I got comfortable she would move to the end of her leash! I could barely pet her when she was that distance. In class I had issues and had thoughts about if I had mae the right decisions maybe a cane was better for me. I remember her stopping on route and I said Robin forward and she wouldn’t go, so again I said Robin forward. I started to move my feet and I fell in to a bush. For me gaining my confidence and my trust were big issues I struggled with at first. Here I am not having any feedback with the environment around me I’m just walking very fast with the dog. The walking fast was a really awesome sensation because for the first time I could out walk someone sighted and actually hit my pace.
I think it took us 6 months to fully bond. We definitely had growing pains, but looking back at it I would not wanted it any other way!
I’ve written different things, and I honestly could write a book on how much I love her. I’m thankful that even until the end she wanted to work. Work for me now is a lot different from when I got her. Working at Humana with Jaws and people talking al day I am tired when I get home. Work moved and taking the city bus and walking home stopped, because it isn’t a walking friendly area where we moved. I think one reason she was able to work longer was we’d get up get on the door to door bus and walk in. It wasn’t physically exhausting for her. I also didn’t travel much the last year, because I felt it was harder for her, and it was nothing for me to make that sacrifice.
After I graduated college it took me about a year to find a job. I actually found something about a week after graduation and got the job, but on the way to Apple they called me and said it wasn’t accessible for the current state of screenreader. I was devastated after this news! I bought in to the lines of you can do anything you want no one ever stated unless it isn’t accessible. It really brought on for me depression, but with Robin she wouldn’t let me just lay in bed she had to go out. She wouldn’t be ignored for long she would lick me in the face. I thank her for giving me a reason to get out and walk her and just for that time we had together. At that time I was also playing with the first GPS unit you could walk around with, so if I was done filling out applications we would just walk down streets and see where they’d go. In Muncie one of my favorite things to do was to walk on the Wheeling bridge. I could hear the river running below, and just found it peaceful. I took Robin back to Ball State for my friend Dina’s graduation and her memory of are routes was just amazing. At that point we’d been in Louisville for a year, and I walked to the restaurant we were going to meet at that night for memories sake. When I crossed the intersection of Petty and McKinley. she tried to pull me down towards the bus stop where’d i catch the bus to go home or to the store. Even after a year she still remembered I just thought that was so cool.
My favorite moment of her work was going on my first job interview. I still to this day and now get emotional, because for the first time I didn’t have to grab someone’s elbow when touring a job. At that interview for Apple we just followed everyone like I was just another person part of the group. I was so gratifying. Thank you Robin for that my sweet girl. She loved my mom to much to really work her around my family so they missed out on some of her abilities she really got emotional around her. She was like that from the start I tried to correct her but she knew my family.
When I moved to Louisville it was a chance to go somewhere new, and have an airport and bus station. In Muncie you only have so many work opportunities. I met Matt and Amanda so I knew 2 people, but otherwise I knew no one else. I still today thank Ethan and Robin for being there and making this place feel more comic home. Robin and I spent 2 Thanksgivings and 1 Christmas by ourselves. Either my parents came down early or I couldn’t go home do to work. We’d watch the football games, and she’d just be with me.
I have way to many things to say about my favorite things about Robin. I liked her ears, the soft fur on her face, the way she would give you kisses if you asked or when she thought you needed them, her intelligence, her ability to adapt to my changes in work schedule and travel, her partnership during a game or whenever, and the way she’d bark when a bus driver would say my name. They would come in and say my name and you’d hear Robin goo woof and wag her tail. She wasn’t much of a tail wagger, but I always felt it hitting the back of my legs when I’d say Robin forward. I could at times get her tail to wag when I’d sing to her. When I’d be sick she would just know and lay on my legs to keep me warm she never really did this unless I was sick. She’d also usually not leave me during this time. Normally she’d sleep beside me until I was sleeping then go on patrol of the house. If I shut my door then she’d just move from one side of the bed to the other.
For a few months I got her nails painted, and she really did think she was something else. I’ll never forget I was walking to dinner on forth street live, and behind me I hear this lady go I wonder if he notices one of her nails are chipped. I just smiled haha
We went to a lot of sporting events together. Her favorite times were when she could snag a bun or something someone dropped on the ground. She also liked to watch people. I would have to hear her thoughts. Two of my favorite trips with her involved going to Arizona with her. Once we went with my dad and she did beautiful work. I’ll never forget I took my dad to 5 games in 4 days and I learned Robin’s nose could get sunburnt. We also took a trip to the Grand Canyon and the Hoover dam. The second trip I was a finalist for a TV gig with the Diamondbacks and we went to the new Cubs park then caught a bus to see a Podreys game. We got off at the wrong stop and I got real nervous but one thing about being lost with a dog vs a cane is you can pet them collect your thoughts and they can backtrack. Robin was amazing at correcting my mistakes, or in this case bus drivers that give mis information. We got to the park just fine once I caught another bus.
The last 6 months she really went downhill. She started having diarrhea issues in the house. My girlfriend Abby helped me with that and we just kept being supportive of her. Those incidents took so much out of her, and I know she didn’t mean for it to happen.
Today I’ve been thinking about everything I can I miss her so much. I wish I could just reach down from my chair and she be here. I have a few times and felt the floor it sucks I hate this. Anyway she had some annoying things she’d do that would just get under my skin from time to time. I’d be doing something like listening to a ball game and she’d go to my room. She would get on my bed and lick my pillow. I don’t know why she’d feel the need to do this, but I would come in and she’d jump down and I’d lay my head down and it would be all wet. What I wouldn’t give now to walk in my room and have her jump down and have a wet pillow.
I also would like to thank Plantation Animal Clinic for being supportive talking to me whenever I needed, and also making today so peaceful. Dr. Kleinhelter or Dr. K for short was amazing. She told me what was happening and was so respectful thank you so much to her for the last 6 months I just wish I’d found you earlier. Not that it would have fixed anything Robin went through, but she got really great care there. I don’t know if you can just donate to them, but they didn’t charge me anything for today, so if you can please donate to them and the Seeing-eye. that would be great. I stayed with Robin so did Abby I asked her to and Abby was like her mom. The last year we’ve spent a lot of time together. I just wish Robin could have been there to see us get married, but she and Abby’s first dog Alice will have the best seats in the house.
When I came home I regretted the thing I just had done, because my best friend, partner, and daughter was gone. I slept a lot today and when I woke up around 9 I know in my heart I did the best thing for her but I’m still not there in my head. I love you Robin.
We set the time to put her down on Monday, so you just watch time and feel it passing way to fast. We spent time in my bed listening to Kentucky Sports Radio together something we’ve done since Ethan died. Listening to the show just takes my mind off things so Mat and Ryan I need you guys a lot the next few weeks. She got me up and her tummy was making awful sounds and she started to puke. I knew I was making the best choice for her. Abby came over and brought dinner. She couldn’tt keep anything down so I asked Abby if she could get Robin a meal too. Abby got Robin a kids meal of Chicken and rice from QDoba. I took video and if I ever feel like sharing it’s the greatest sound. She licked the entire bowl clean. I then gave her chips she loved that. Instead of 20 minutes needing to go outside she didn’t have to until about 2 am.
I slept with her on the floor last night keeping my hand on her most of it. Again feeling time pass knowing was hard as hell. I posted a status on Facebook and afterwords I just put my face next to her and cried so hard. She licked my tears again and then moved and put her head under my face so I could cry on her neck. Another thing April Goesman put a survey up a few weeks ago where she said she loved the smell of her boys hair. I didn’t really get that until this moment. I smelled Robin’s neck and kept my nose there it was nice. Dealing with everything she had gone through and she did have a new oder I really enjoyed the smell of her. That might sound weird but I miss it now.
It’s so strange at my house. She’s not there to follow me and just knowing I’m here alone is so hard. Abby offered to stay, but I wanted a little time before going back to work. Humana let me take Wednesday off too. I will take that day to myself to reflect on memories, cry, and hopefully feel a little better. Robin was amazing she made me better, she gave me so much in so little time. It’s weird to think about time when I got her the iPhone still wasn’t usable to the blind now it’s my most used gadget. I know she will always be part of me, but that doesn’t stop the pain for now.
I wanted to also mention another person who helped out today. When I first moved to Louisville I rode with a driver named Larry. He reminded me honestly of another bus driver from Muncie named Larry, so I instantly liked him. I went a lot of time without seeing him, but he picked us up today. He kept my mind off of what was happening. It also just worked out Abby was on are ride as well so we picked her up. Abby had popcorn which I asked her to bring because I didn’t have any. Robin loved popcorn. I fed her the ziplock bag full on the way. When we got there Larry gave me a hug and petted Robin and started to cry. It just touched me in a way I can’t explain even now I’m tearing up. So many times in life we bicker over shit that is bigger than us, and we forget were humans. Thank you Larry hopefully I will ride with you soon again to tell you in person how much that meant.
Abby took care of things while I slept so a big thank you to her I wouldn’t be writing this now if she didn’t let me vent to her.. Thank you for also loving Robin. Also thank you Brian Q for being an ear tonight.
This was the hardest thing I’ve done. I’m happy for the 8 wonderful years I got with Robin. You will always be in my heart, and again you gave me so much in a short time. I lost my sight to cancer and now Robin, so fuck it. Robin thanks for always putting up with me, being so loyal, and putting up with my annoying habits like not listening to your warnings.
One day at Ball State I was late for class and I came out of my apartment to catch the bus. I old her Robin forward and again she wouldn’t go. I did this twice more and she even turned to the left I should have listened girl. I decided to drop the harness and pull her behind me. I took the first step and water got in my shoes and was real deep. I have a feeling if I could have seen her face she would have been laughing at me. I told you so daddy. Just like her licking the pillow I’m not perfect either ya’ll.
I love you so much Robin. 6/18/2006-12/06/2016 heaven gained a new angel thank you girl for your work for never just wanting a break, and for loving me.

I love love louisville

Recently I was denied a ride while taking Uber. I just got my haircut, and went out and requested. I texted the driver saying I am blind and I are outside with my service animal. He was 10 minutes away, which is normal so I didn’t mind. He shows up and says is the dog coming with you? Now I am outside a business, so what do him really think? Maybe I Robin can scamper off and when I need her I can wave my wand and she magically appear at my side. He then says well I have an allergy and so I will cancel the ride and my buddy down the street can come get you he’s like 5 minutes from here. He cancels the ride and takes off. I requested another ride and got a girl Jennifer who was pretty resourceful. She didn’t know Steve at all. I complained to Uber and got 20 dollars in credit. However after talking with a driver that drives for both Uber and Lyft I don’t think this will change things.
 
Lyft has been real receptive to service animal training, and even has read this blog to see my complaints. When you drive for Lyft you actually ride with someone and receive a little training. Uber on the other hand you send them your info to apply, and then they do somewhat of a background check and then you can drive. No ride around or car inspection or anything. I am assuming they send you links to their policy, but that’s just like reading terms and agreements no one really does that. No wonder why this issue keeps happening with no training on service animals the public will do what it wants. I’ve pointed out here in this blog the ignorance Uber drivers in particular by linking to a message board where drivers were talking about picking up service animals. I think if Uber wants to change things training drivers is the only way. Robin doesn’t get on the seat, and taking a dog isn’t that difficult as most make it out to be. Uber just recently put a blind athlete on a commercial promoting how blind people use their service to achieve greater independence which is such crap by the way. They’re only doing that because of the bad press they receive do to service animals. Google Uber and service animals and you will see tons of negative. I guess if I practice one thing and does another it’s all fine ask Josh Duggar about that he seems to be the king of it.
 
I do like Uber, but if they’re not going to actually do any training of their drivers on anything not just service animals I don’t really want to take that service. I think as a business you need to at least train somewhat. This driver I had yesterday was really cool with Lyft and he told me he’d been driving for Uber as well for 6 months and other than them excepting him has heard nothing from Uber. I just find that alarming. Uber says they’re educating the drivers about service animals, but how? You can write anything you want on a webpage, but if you’re not teaching it to any of your drivers than how will it stop? Recently the NFB of California took them to court, and I imagine the NFB will make money off of it, and then Uber will do something like put a blind person in a commercial, and then it will be business as normal. Oh wait that already happened, so hey. I’ve fought with other blind people who love to toss the Uber policy in my face, but again when no one is reading it what well is policy?
 
Anyway changing gears to a new subject. I went golfing I didn’t really enjoy it. After the first drive on the first hole everything else was just in repeat. I enjoyed hanging out with Drew and some others, but I won’t be golfing much.
 
I recently have thought I might be better off alone. I like the idea of a relationship, but finding that one person is proving to be difficult. When I was younger I just thought magically I’d meet someone and things would just click, but obviously that hasn’t really happened. The older I get the harder it becomes I think to give up living alone. I get lonely, but I do enjoy it at times.
 
Work has been really busy lately, so that’s why I’ve been so silent on the blog. Typing all day and listening to Jaws and callers at the same time has gotten me tired at nights. It’s getting better, but when I get home I just want to do something different than type on a computer. I can’t believe this is the start of my fourth year in Louisville. On September 1 it’ll be a year that I’ve moved in to my house. Time moves so fast. I remember thinking at the time in Muncie that this would be a great job to get out of Indiana, and so I could spread my wings a bit. I’ve been looking at an application to a job that would take me somewhere else for the past few nights wondering if I really want to move or if I really want to just start over again. I am not necessarily tied to anything here, but I love Louisville. The food is unbelievable look at how fat I am now sitting for 8 hours a day doesn’t help that either. At one time in my life I would have loved to just go different places, but moving sucks. I am a contractor, so basically my years don’t say hey let’s move you over to a full time employee for insert company name. Jobs for us blind folk are not the most common thing, so I just don’t want to get in a situation where I am back to living off the government, and can’t find anything. Louisville offers other opportunities, but it’s all just so overwhelming. I’d also like the opportunity to move up or have a goal to work for, and that’s just not how things are now. I still love the job, and am thankful and have never regretted the move but it has me pondering things. I’d really love to help blind people get to a better place, and think I would succeed at that. I just don’t know if I want to move out west to do so, but if I submit it and get chosen I guess that will just have to be a choice I have to make at that time. Just so you know it’s causing me stress just completing the application.
 
I’ve thought about going back to get my masters forever now. I hate school honestly, but I’m thinking of enrolling at UK online for graduate classes in January. With focus I can do it. I will keep you posted.
 

I haven’t had an epic rant for a while so here you go

I want to first off by stating RIP to jenelle a guide dog for my friend Matt. She Died on Sunday. She was 14 and a great dog. I have so many stories, and I can’t even begin to understand what he is going through. I understand it but I’ve never lost one yet. She went peacefully though which is good. Anyway if you could put Matt and Amanda in your thoughts. I remember her she’d wag her tail any chance she got. One night when I was going home Robin tried to steal her toys because I guess humping her all the time wasn’t enough. Haha Robin is quite the dominating girl. Anyway when I stepped outside the house I heard this thump thump as the toy went down the stairs. I got it and took it back in. Anyway I know you’ll be missed by Robin and myself.
What I want to talk about today is why blindness is viewed as this helplessness agenda. I am watching this video of this soldier who went blind, and no disrespect but what his fucking wife said really set me off. She said in a CBS video was she could either say were done he can’t do anything anymore or she could become his biggest cheerleader. I know obviously he went through some depression, and maybe even had thoughts of killing himself, but her notion that he couldn’t do anything where does that come from? Maybe again I’m digging at something she didn’t mean, but sighted people in general look at a blind person and say I couldn’t live if that happened to me. Being blind isn’t that bad. Yes you can’t see shit, but you can still do shit. I might not see cake baking in the oven rising to that beautiful doughy perfection, but I can taste it. I was talking to my friend Linda and Reggie this week about how summer bombs the fuck out of me sometimes. I know it’s stupid right, but I miss all the fashion women show off. I always hear from women I hang out with or dudes who stop paying attention to me because there watching someone all most be naked. Before I started watching described video again I didn’t realize how much sexual persuasion is always there. When your blind unless someones rubbing on you it’s not as stimulating. You can be ab oblivious to what is going on. As I get older my appearance becomes more important as I try to meet people or find new jobs. I walked around with a fucking stain on my shirt all day Friday. Thankfully I was in a place most others were to but still.
I think I offended my dad the other day, because I went home over the weekend and stated I wasn’t used to that long of a car ride. He said sorry I don’t own an airplane and can’t fly you home. That wasn’t what I met at all, but okay. Maybe again he doesn’t think about my situation because he doesn’t have to, but I would love to get in a fucking car and drive to Washington on a roadtrip, but the fact is I can’t. I guess I could maybe find a friend who wanted to go somewhere and tag along, but most of the time that means you lose a lot of freedom. I’m not in a relationship so at this point I don’t have that connection to share with. For me flying or cabs or busses is what I get. I don’t have the luxury of just getting in a car in my drive way and drive where I want. Most things I do I have to plan out or pay for a cab or Lyft. Yes I have a pilot friend and things work out, but it’s not always easy. When I was in Toronto do you know how tiring that really was? I mean I have just my phone, with GPS anything could have happened. I would love the security of just having a car christ.
Anyway back to the soldier. I think it is great what he did, but his wife pissed me off a little. I guess I can love you but if you go blind then I got a real fucking choice to make. Never mind you lost your sight fighting for my right to be a complete bitch. I’m just taking out some anger I have, but seriously man divorce her now. I just don’t know where this logic comes from that because your eyes stop working things constantly suck. Yes his situation is way crazier than mine I don’t remember anything, but life goes on. Is he still the man he was before the war probably not, but seeing his motivation by finishing the ironman shows he has a heart of a champion. I know sighted people as a whole really don’t know how to deal with blind people, and at times it’s weird. I’ve stated before I can go to a restaurant, and the waitress might open my straw for me which okay is nice right but does she do that to the sighted person? I’ve been on dates or hell even out with friends and they will look at the person and say what does he want? I’m a grown man just please ask me. Again my eyes and brain are completely different organs. My penis works too. I probably should have skipped writing tonight.
My final thought is I went home as I said earlier. I sat at the Finucanes house remembering the olden days. Before Ball state, before Louisville, and before Robin. I remember being just stuck in the country with no transportation other than my family. My brother would take me to school, and bring me home or I would ride the bus. If I was at wrestling someone would pick me up after that. I was so different back then, because I had to depend on others which is probably why I had being having to depend on people now. Hanging out at Brandons house helped me in ways I don’t really want to get in to here, but they helped me get out of bad situations at times. His family pretty much excepted me. I love them still. I’m sitting in there living room remembering my dreams of wanting to live in the big city, and work, and it’s somewhat weird it came true. I remembered struggling after college when no one would hire me. It’s just weird how things work out. I’m learning to just take things in strive and pick my battles. I can’t win them all. I will just say this. Why do we focus on the amazing accomplishments still of the blind, and rather not look at the struggles they face today? It’s easy for me to Google blind in the news and see a thousand feel good peaces, but I don’t see the poverty or the technology challenges we face. For that matter I have to read about how gay people are discriminated on at a job, but yet when I go to an interview and we talk about the dog rather than my accomplishments somehow this is executable and not wrong. I can’t hide my dog or my cane I am what I am. Not saying it’s unfair for gay people to face there problems at the end of the day it’s your choice what you display. I’m okay with you being you, but why can’t we ever get to a place where your fine with me being me? I find myself not being to religious, but one thing that’s always bothered me is people will tell me I’ll be perfect again when I get to heaven because everyone is. Why in theory then aren’t we all perfect in gods eyes for the way were made? I find myself watching people who can maybe get there sight back and even if it is just a sliver put themselves through major operations just to say they can see light again. Is it really worth it? I hear about these people who talk about using cameras possibly strapped to there heads and then that could somehow stimulate your brain in to seeing immages. Call me crazy, but you walking with cameras on your face is that going to make sighted people respect you more? I just wonder when will blind people start getting covered fairly? I know we are out numbered but in theory isn’t it crazy when I have to hear about a transgendered kid figure out which bathroom they want to use or can use and yet I hear nothing about blind struggles. I said to Linda I think there are more transgendered people in the country than blind people and that’s just weird to me sorry. Do I think science or god or whatever you believe can mess up sure, but not to the extent your seeing it in are country. Furthermore most of my friends on Facebook get all obsessed with gay rights something that affects none of them personally. Yet when it comes to blind people they have no clue. Do they get upset that i can’t tell apart a dollar bill from a five dollar bill without an Iphone? Do they get mad that the United States basically paid the National Federation of the Blind money to say that wasn’t important? Funny how they fought that cause in the 1990’s isn’t it? know one asked me or any blind people I know what are thoughts were on having accessible money. Again I see no support from my friends on trying to fix it, but if I were gay I’m sure you’d fucking march at my parade. I’m not being mean or trying to offend but rather just ask why people get involved with certain issues that don’t pertain to them, but then others just completely block it out? 

Happy birthday Robin!

I will eventually get to a Robin story, but I have to take care of something personal first. Last post I commented about Dave and a discussion we were having in a Facebook post. Imagine my surprise when I found out he blocked me. haha Well that’s okay, so I figured I would just say my peace here.
When I started at college at Ball State in 2004 I had a mobility instructor who would come sit beside me show me a braille map, and then when I’d walk it and get off track would get mad at me. Seeing a braille map can help, but I’ve found for me the best way to learn something is to just walk it. With a cane there are so many variables you just don’t know what you’re going to find when doing it in reality. I fired him, because his lessons weren’t helping me learn the campus. I went out and found another person named Dave who came in we walked the campus twice, and I felt so confident. Along the way we became associates when I worked my first job we needed a mobility instructor he worked when I needed and it all most cost me my job. I stuck by him though, because he got things done. When I was thinking about moving to Detroit to work for the radio station he called me and said you might want to think twice about it with the current state in which Detroit finds itself. I took that in to advisement. Fast forward to last weekend when he commented on a Facebook status saying I was irresponsible and it was dangerous for me to take Robin to a ball game. Which by the way I’ve taken her to more games then I can count. Baseball was supporting me for a point or at least helping. It just floors me that he is going to call me taking my dog to a game irrisponsible. All the things I have heard about him over the years I dismissed and never judged, but seriously? He helps blind people learn how to navigate for a living then posts feel good moments and how it helps him repent something. I’m glad your job helps you sleep better at night Dave, but blind people are people, and it’s amazing to me after all the ones you help you can’t seem to figure out some have lives and aren’t needing you to self loth. Am I a better person because you helped me become a great traveler and helped me to believe in myself yes, but to call me irresponsible for a sighted person stepping on my dog out in the open is a bit ridiculous.
With a cane some days I would just shut down. It took so much concentration to navigate I hated it. Rather than go out and do something I would just stay in my room, because it was easier. Carlos was the first person I met with a dog, and I saw how he was able to navigate so freely and I felt the dog made him better. I do not know if that’s how he’d feel but observing it it’s how I saw it. In college had I just got a dog it wouldn’t have went well. I needed to mature, and get the young things out of me. Like drinking obsessively and passing out in yards mainly. When I got Robin I decided to make that change I’m going to start living more responsibly. I commented last post I’m scared to think about retiring Robin, because if I give her to someone else maybe they’ll let her off leash and not watch her and she’ll get hit by a car. Sighted people especially Pita supporters or as I call them hypocrites would argue a blind person can’t take care of a dog after all how can they spot the blood in there urine? I think Robin and I do just fine, and I am tuned in to her because were constantly with each other. When your blind everyone has these great ideas on how we should live or what we can or can’t do, but in reality your not living the way we are so just stop.
Dave’s suggestions were I should leave Robin at a hotel or a friends. If I had to leave her at a friends overtime I wanted to do something what would be the point of having a dog? I’m not trying to hide from society because I have nothing to hide. I want to go out and let people see a blind person and his dog navigating alone or being successful because that’s how things change and progress. At the Reds game 3 people that sat by us as I was leaving shook my hand and said they enjoyed my commentary on the game. Would they have approached me if I were sighted I don’t know. One guy was a Jehovah witness, and di the religious thing, but what he said didn’t bother me. He said last week every Jehovah witness learned about some blind person. Sorry I kind of blocked him out as he was telling me the story, but what I took from it was everyone was learning about someone blind. In public school my classmates knew me obviously, but its not like we learned about any blind people or what they could do.
On Robins birthday it’s hard to exactly state my feelings on her. Along the way I’ve faced different emotions. I get annoyed when I meet people in the elevator at work and their responses I bet she does a lot for you? Yes I guess she does, but they mean it in a way of I can’t feed myself or something or I couldn’t possibly exist without her. That’s the way I take it anyway. The best quote I found is a guide dog is like the ship and the handler is like the captain. If the ship had no captain it would just float around aimlessly. I’m going to Toronto this weekend, and with Robin I will do better than with out her. She makes it easy for me to travel, and feel sighted for the first time. When I got lost in Phoenix last year that might have been the most scared I’ve been, but I was lost with Robin and that made me feel a bit better. It didn’t help when people didn’t know english kept passing me, but we eventually got on track. The scariest part definitely for me was when I got mugged and when I woke up on the ground and Robins leash wasn’t on my hand. I remember being real frantic wondering where she was. When she came over to me and licked my hand it took the weight off my shoulders. I can lose my phone and wallet, but she isn’t replaceable. I will get another dog eventually and it will be good, but she’s my first and took me through a lot of hurtles in life.
After college being unemployed for a year through break ups where I wasn’t sure how I was going to get over that person. She’s always been there wagging her tail in the morning wanting me to take her out. I do think having her does help people connect with me easier in that it gives people the ability to say something. At the end of the day I have a lot of getting out to do, because most people don’t encounter blind people much. Happy birthday Robin, and thank you for making my life easier and more complete. I’m sure when I have dog number 2 she’ll probably look down and think damn he didn’t let me get away with that. When I first got her I never broke in of the rules as she has gotten older I’ve relaxed a little maybe at times to much. haha I think it’s like being a parent you have to find that balance and figure out what’s right and wrong.

Planning a vacation is stressful!

This vacation thing has really been tough on me. I figured out what I’m doing, but to get there was a real trip in itself. I talked about this a bit on my radio show yes you read that right I did a radio show again on Saturday. I had my friend James who used to drive me for my other gigs back in the day drive me. The first thing he says to me when he pulls up early in the morning is you sound full of energy again. The broadcasting thing drains me; because I really have a hard time with saying okay I need to step back from this. The show went well in fact really well. I didn’t feel the time gap of it at all.
 
This vacation thing I will be honest. I started out wanting to go camping, and I talked to Mel, and she was like are you nuts? Logically to me camping as a blind person doesn’t seem that challenging, but I admit there would be hurtles. She said you don’t have to prove anything to the people that love you so why are you taking a risk? I didn’t have an answer for her at the time, but Wednesday and Thursday I came home didn’t eat dinner, and just slept on my couch and bed. A month ago I was dating this girl on the low. She started dating this guy and I was out. I ran in to her one night at the Tin Roof. I hate that place by the way at least the one in Louisville to small, and to loud. Anyway she asked me to sit with her and her boyfriend who wasn’t weird at all insert sarcasm. This guy was like a woodsy guy vary masculine put that on the fact I was already going through this issue with not driving it meant depression for me. I decided that I would just go do this camping idea as a way to prove to myself that hey I can do it. After I started talking about it publically my mind changed. My friend Steve called me up asking me why I want to live in the 1800’s when I don’t have too. That was a great question. If I had kids or maybe a sweaty romantic getaway maybe camping would be alright, but otherwise I chose another idea. I’ve always wanted to leave the United States just to travel somewhere different. I never have. In Toronto they have a hotel attached to the ballpark. Now I ask you that just has my name written all over it I mean how can we get any more convenient for blind people? I’m looking in to taking a bus out to Niagara Falls state park we’ll see if that happens, but I will be going to 3 Jay’s games.
 
With that I had to ask could I take Robin. It’s her birthday, so if she can’t go I can’t go. That’s how I roll she’s got to come with me on her birthday. I called her school, and spoke with a lady who said Canada is fine with service animals, so it’s decided. Stay tuned for updates from Canada. Also as far as proving things to people who don’t matter Mel is right. At the end of the day to some people I could swim across the Pacific, and I’d still be helpless or blind. I think if you don’t believe in you it’s hard for someone else to. I could look at my failed relationships and let it consume me with thoughts I don’t deserve any better or you can look at it and correct things and move on. If you don’t believe that you do you never will.

Robin is turning nine and camping

Robin’s birthday is coming up Next Thursday she’s turning 9. I really haven’t had the conversation with myself at this point about what I’ll do with her when she retires. I talked to my mom, and she was like it’s unfair to her if you get another dog and she should come live with me. That might work, but she would be 5 hours away, and do you know how many dogs we lost when we were kids? I think they would be careful with her, but Robin is like my kid, and if she got hit by a car I would just not be okay. I can handle her getting old and dying, or having to put her to sleep that’s the way she should go not by running out in a road. I just know how it is, and I don’t really want to have that conversation yet. We were in Cincinnati Robin was amazing as usual.
When I first got her I was lost without my cane now it’s the opposite. She’s been with me for 5 moves form graduating college to moving to Louisville. From being jobless to flying in to Detroit on weekends to do games for the Tigers. My whole 20’s pretty much she’s been here. For you guys I it’s hard to equal it to anything. She’s been with me at tons of ball games, and everything. My favorite moments Ethan and Whits wedding, buying my house, and just everything else.
Over the weekend a guy I do care about Dave said I shouldn’t bring her to games because of crowds and etc.. I differ on this, because I got a dog to make traveling easier. I don’t take her to bars, and having her cuts down on my going to bars because I feel that’s not fair to her. As far as going to games and such I think she’s built for that. A guide dog is an extension of me so to speak. She doesn’t know how to get me to Best Buy at the end of the day I have to know where I am going, but man she can get me to that door a lot easier than I can, and helps me look more normal. I just feel less stress with the dog than with the cane. It’s the little things to like after I almost was broken in to in Muncie if I’d wake up in the middle of the night panicked Robin would come sit by my bed or couch until I realized I didn’t hear anything. I’ll have the retirement speech with someone who won’t be objective, but I just can’t have it now.
After 9 months of complaining and keeping at my mortgage company they finally made their website accessible. I want to thank Jerry and Jennifer for helping out and doing what was necessary. It made my day Saturday to log on without jumping hoops and go over my mortgage and tax statements. They added an audio captcha which was nice. Thank you again.
My final thing is this camping trip I broke earlier on Facebook. Good god I should have learned my lesson by now about saying things. I did bring it up for a reason I was nervous about one part of the trip I working on fixing. Here is the thing I’ve gone to NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Phoenix, Kansas City, and a few other places on a Occasion and work. All of those things have one thing in common they’re the city. While I love the city being blind a lot of times those are my options. I want to go somewhere isolated away from people. I just think it would be different. Plus I want to try camping on my own blind. I don’t really know anyone who has tried this, and I think I could do fine. Pilot Neil taught me how to clean a fish, and so I think I’ll do fine. If not I’ll never do it again. I’ll try anything once, and if I fail then I fail, but at least I tried.
Here’s my problem though. Getting to the country is difficult. I decided to use the internet, because I didn’t want anyone to know where I was unless they needed to know. I was going to then meet my friend John on Saturday at the Braves game. I sent John a text message after people made me reconsider Craigslist idea on Facebook. Now John says to me your coming in to Atlanta on Thursday? Great we can do some radio together and I’ll take you out there drop you off and then come get you. I just am wanting to go on vacation not do any radio. So I tell him this, and he’s like come on you used to do Falcons pregame you can do this. It’s not that I can’t I just want to keep to myself for a change, and just type my feelings out in a blog. I’ve known John forever, so I’m thinking about going on again. The thing that really made me just stop all together last year was when the guy from Lexington just couldn’t get that I could bring something to a sports cast being blind. After all I’ve done and what my resume had it just blew me away. I know I shouldn’t stop because of that, but I kind of lost respect to the industry after that.
I wanted to mention real quick the tripple crown of horse racing. I am so happy for Victor actually. A fact he drove bus for 2 years I believe to raise money to become a Jokey. Someone that came from little to be at the top of his game with a lot of hard work. I admirer his hard work, and he deserved it.

A quick Robin story and travel

So a quick story on Robin. Yesterday I left her while I took a quick bus trip to see a friend for the afternoon. I left Robin with my friends Jerry and Lee. When I got back to there house Lee told me Robin must only like blind guys. She tossed a toy outside and Robin would just look at it, so she had to go pick it up herself. When Jerry would toss the toy Robin would go get it and bring it back to him. Lee can see I forgot to mention that part earlier. I just laughed about that. I am glad I left her the bus was so full. She is getting older, and I notice its harder for her to get small like she used to do.
Last night I locked myself out, because I left my house at 4:45 am and just wasn’t thinking clearly. I realized I left my keys at my house when I got to Indianapolis. I was so angry with myself, but I was like I am going to block it out until I get back, and just deal with it when I get home. The locksmith couldn’t get in to my lock, but we finally managed to get in a window. That saved me money, but I made a copy of my key to give to Jerry soon, so at least if I make the mistake again they’ll have it. When I was living in Indiana Robin scratched my shoulder waking me up and it was weird watching someone break in like that. I am glad I have a gun by the bed just in case. I bet in the dark we will be an equal shot so let that be a warning.
Today Pilot Niel and I flew up to Pittsburgh, and watched the pirates Cardinals game. He actually bought a new plane, and wanted to show it to me. Robin had her own seat she could stretch out on, but I think she stayed on the floor behind us. I wish he and his wife still lived here because I miss are random baseball trips. We were joking with each other today he told me I have to step up my game, because he found a guy in a wheelchair that makes him laugh, but I still win because the plane doesn’t have a ramp. It was hot today at the game, and Robin panted a lot I was sure to keep water on me, but I just notice some differences in her this year. Some lady came up to me and said she was beautiful, and that she had a miniature wiener dog. First off how can you say that with out smiling? I bet they have a complex like those damn Terriers. Neil is going to hang out here a few days which is cool before he heads back home. Robin is on my feet now wanting some attention. I am going to go to bed, because this weekend I didn’t get much sleep at all, so I am tired. Using the cane Saturday I realized how poor my cane skills have become. With the dog she just takes me through doors or to a door something I hadn’t thought about in a while. I did okay no bruises but maybe I need to go out with it a little more just in case. Robin did give me the third degree when I got back to Lee and Jerry’s she licked my hand smelled my legs and ran circles in the same motion.