Category Archives: pets

Chapter begins

Frasier and I’ve been back for about 2 weeks now. Were doing well. I’ve taken him for several walks, and he has gone through several work days with me. I love him. I forgot about how bad the public is with dogs talking to them. They will literally say out loud I know I’m not supposed to pet, and then either go ahead and pet the dog or ask. I don’t understand why it’s so hard to just walk away. There is a guy at work who annoys me, because he will walk by and make eye contact with Frasier, and then say good morning Frasier. I’ve said just ignore him yet he does this anyway. Today Frasier stood up and he was like no lay down. I just spoke up and said see that’s why you should just ignore him so he doesn’t get excited. He now is ignoring me to, but honestly I have way more important shit to deal with. I don’t know if people just don’t take me seriously or what?

He loves to play my living room looks like a pet store. I’ve had to toss several toys, because they didn’t stand up to his chewing on them, and I didn’t want him choking. He gets along with Abby’s dog just fine. Bancroft is 7 all most 8, and is quieting down with playing so I think Frasier is good for him also. Watching them play tug is awesome.

My next airport trip wwich will be soon I’m going to Washington I am going to not ask for assistance to the gate. We now have the Louisville airport mapped for Nearby Explorer. This means with my Iphone I can hear the gates or terminals as I pass them. We’ve been working on indoor navigation at the Printing house, so I will test it out for real. I’m excited if successful that will be the first time I’ve done that on my own. I know some blind people do it already, but without some sort of feedback from either gps or something I wouldn’t want to try. I just want things to go easy, but now that this is ready I figure why not. I think Frasier and I are up for the challenge.

In a lot of ways his work is similar to Robin’s, but in other ways they’re different. It is so hard going from an older dog to a newer dog. Not hard, but a lot of work, discipline, and praise. Getting back in to the mindset that I have to treat him like a baby, because he is. For example, my back yard I could trust Robin out there she wouldn’t jump I knew where she was him I think he’d be in China if I left him out there for a minute. He pays attention to the neighborhood like she did, and I’ll be honest just with him around I’m sleeping way better when Abby isn’t there. Before I got him the only time I slept well was when Abby and Bancroft came over, because someone else was there and I was comfortable. He also doesn’t come when I say to come he’s testing me and such, but were working on it. Those things tend to frustrate me most, because it’s hard to rationalize hey this is someone new. He loves to play as I stated before, and I think bonding with him in this way helps us.

We went and got lunch during work, and feeling him navigate around things in my hometown was again so refreshing. I hated the cane. I also noticed my confidence was back up. I am a bit nervous crossing streets that’ll probably take me a bit to feel good again with him, but so far he is doing so good.

I wrote this over several days, but yesterday I took him out on a longer leash to explore the back yard. He is in love. This morning after he ate he made noises at the back door like please let me out.

It’s blindness month, and I see a bunch of blind people writing crazy long posts on Facebook about remarks how they’re normal and bla bla bla. Look I get annoyed to at the public and sighted people, but you have to remember were not even 1% of the population. Other than observing you on Facebook most have never encountered a blind person. What annoys me most is when sighted people work for a blind company, and try and act as if they’re know all of all things blind. At the end of the work day sir or ma’am you go home and use a TV without speech, or write and read things on paper or a computer without a screen reader that doesn’t face any inaccessible issues. Yet you’re going to speak for me or us pretending you know what a day in our lives is really like. We were talking recently about flattop stoves. I used to be nervous about them until I met Abby now I wouldn’t live without one. Anyway the sighted people were like we have to do something tactile so blind people can feel where they’re at on the stove. I spoke up and said no I have one now, and I just wave above the heat then I place my pot. After I set it down I then feel around the pot to make sure no extra heat is coming from one side or the other. All of the sighted people were so amazed they were like oh were taught to stay away from that. These are people who stove makers are talking to for designing something to make my life better yet they don’t even know how were using the products we use now? Here’s a brilliant idea instead of talking with the sighted guy why don’t you talk to me? They don’t because of dumb sighted person who’s worked for a blind company 5 years feels he is an expert. That’s the type of thing that drives me nuts, because your addressing an issue that isn’t an issue for us. You know what is? The touch screen with 50 options I can’t read not the burner that heats up that I can feel.

Sighted people have blindfolded themselves and used a screen reader for a month or two, and yet this still gives you know real experience because you know at some point that blindfold is coming off. Unless your permanently in a situation you can’t be an expert. It’s like people who read braille with their eyes congratulations, but that’s not being an expert. Yet these eye braille readers chime in on quality, or even changes to the code itself.

I think I’ve written enough for now, but I wanted to say thank you to everyone who took the time out to write me while I was out training with Frasier. Also thank you again to Jenny, and Dawn from Wave as well as anyone else who donated or took the time out to make things easier. As I finish this he is laying on my foot chewing on his bone. I really missed having a dog laying on my foot. I’m proud of myself for being able to look at him as a different dog, and allow him to be himself without expectations he will replace Robin. Dogs to me are like humans you can’t really replace them. After Ethan died Whitney wrote some things on Facebook and it’s a different chapter now. You cherish the old chapters and never forget, but it’s great to have my vision back, and move so freely again. I met this lady who has had 9 dogs in her life time, and I thought that was so neat. She was 80 years old and was in great shape I hope to hell I could do the things she did when I’m 80. She’d walk 2 miles like the rest of us.

The ending with a dog is so difficult, but give yourself sometime between them. That moment when Brian brought Frasier to me I was so nervous to see what he’d feel like or act like. I hugged him and petted him for about 30 minutes, and then I put the harness on him, and we went out for a quick first walk. That moment when your hitting your normal pace, and your maneuvering obstacles not even realizing they were there is just amazing. Brian would be behind us saying he just moved you around some chairs or a flower pot, and you didn’t have to bump it with your knee or your cane. Having a dog requires more work than a cane, but I’m glad I did it again. Not only was I sad after Robin died, but also I hated going out, because I had been to my Kroger a thousand times with her. I could always get to the service desk, but my ability to feel her move around carts or even at my normal pace vs a cane pace things were just off. I’d turn to soon thinking I had reached the place I needed, because in my head with my cane I still moved as fast as Robin and I. In my head I felt her moving me around things or the turns she’d make, but in reality I’d be so far off target. Now it’s just getting him used to the baseball park or Kroger. The first 6 months a lot goes in to learning how we communicate.

I haven’t posted this, so more and more happens. Today I went up for lunch a few blocks away, and coming back I was crossing a street and he pushed me to the right. Last week he did this on the sidewalk to try and say hi to a dog. Without thinking I dropped the harness something was taught not to do. I had a panic moment I’ll freely admit. As I reached out my hand to give a correction I felt a car blocking the sidewalk. I couldn’t hear it, because it was a blind killer or Hybrid. I picked up the harness quickly and told him to hup hup which means find a way around it. He continued right and got me to the curb. We really hadn’t had any issues before, and I gave him a bug hug once we got up on the sidewalk. I don’t know why I didn’t just follow him when he was doing it. I guess that’s that trusting thing. I went out about an hour later to try again, and another car pulled out of a parking space and did the same thing except this time it was on the other side. I followed him this time. I try to tell myself I’m a hundred percent comfortable, but this is a reminder we as a team have growing pains to work through. He pushes me pretty forcefully which is different from Robin. I like it just different. I will stop blabbing now.

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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 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.

A few thoughts on blindness cancer and the Ronald McDonald house

It’s been awhile since I’ve talked about the reason I’m blind. When I was a year old I was diagnosed with a cancer of the eye called Retnal Blastoma. Which after hearing the other names of eye diseases if I must say Blastoma sounds kind of spacey oriented. Pigmatosa or however you spell that just sounds horrible. Usually rental blastoma only takes one eye, but mine was caught late, so it took both. My mom and dad noticed me crawling in to walls or not looking at my food before I ate it, and decided to take me to Fort Wayne for a doctor to look at it. They were then sent on to Riley Children’s Hospital where I was the seventy fifth case in Indiana.
The doctors for the most part wanted to just use me for studies, and thought there wasn’t much chance to save my life. One doctor in particular said lets remove them, and try. They did and I made it. For the next 8 years of my life every 6 months I had to go to Indy for check ups. I remember the long ass drives to Indy when your a kid those things stick out. I felt like I spent more time there than most places. My childhood was really normal I climbed trees, chased goats around and tried to ride them like horses, played a ton of basketball. Being from Indiana that’s a requirement. I’ve often said I don’t remember being blind as being a problem until around puberty. Which is interesting. Maybe it’s the innocents of bing a kid I’m really not sure. That may have been a question as well, but I’m tired so forgive me we will just pretend it’s retorical.
When I first went to Riley my dad was farming pretty much full-time, and my mom might have been at the bank still, but was mainly a stay at home mom for the first few years of my life. They stayed  at the Ronald McDonald house while  I was going to my cancer treatment and they said that it was a really great place. They had enough worries not to have to worry about how they could afford a hotel on top of things. I’ve always been grateful for things that happened back then.
For being blind I’ve gone back and forth on emotions. I used to think one day I’d just get it, and I’d be 100% fine. I think being blind is for me easy most of the times. On a windy day, and I have a headache it’s a bit challenging to focus clearly. At work I hear a screen reader talking all day, and then people on the other side, so sometimes at night I come home and need a few minutes without noise. I used to think I could work really hard and make people understand I’m just like them I just can’t see. I’ve given up on that thought awhile ago. I think blindness is something most can’t get unless they’re faced with it. I wrote something a few years ago I liked, so I will share it now about cancer.
The myth is about cancer is that somehow you beat it, and life is magically better. the reality is usually cancer takes something from you, and then your hopefully left to deal with the aftermath. For example when people look at me I survived cancer, but they offen don’t even know that or would even focus on that they focus on the fact I’m blind. I can’t hide that it sticks out anywhere I go. A job interview it’s there. I’d love to be able to hide it when possible but Robin just won’t disappear for those interviews. Maybe I have a different perspective I haven’t really talked to a lot of survivors, so this is just my longwinded thoughts. I imagine anyone who survives breast cancer or something along those lines are still left with the scars. My thoughts on cancer really is yes you can win, but it leaves it’s marks.
That’s a little peace I found I wrote from a few years ago. Blind people are like anyone else we all are on are own levels, and we all have a different skill set. Like I said earlier I’ve gon through a lot of different struggles. My teen years I was probably depressed living in the country and I couldn’t drive like my friends. My friend/brother Brandon or Sean would pick me up a lot, but it wasn’t the same of having that freedom. I think right now I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been, because I realize the  positives and negatives. Look being blind I’m truly an individual you can stand out easier if your upbeat. You can only play the cards you were delt and just move on. I think rather than being down and sad about things that aren’t going to change is pointless move on and make a difference. I think I will still struggle at times with not being able to see. I think a lot at nights when I can’t see the sky or stars that part kind of blows. I’ve never been married, but I feel a little weird about not being able to see my wife walking down the isle. I don’t know why that sticks out so much, but it does. I think it’s because in that moment your focusing on one beautiful woman coming to join you I jus think somewhere I’d be a bit sad but who knows. I think maybe just feeling  her in her dress before hand might fix that but it’s something I’ve thought about over the years. I think in a weird way rather than face that I’ve pushed people away somewhat afraid to face that. Again did I mention I feel pretty healthy right now? You never stop learning in life, and you hopefully grow from mistakes if not you may want to start there. Haha that’s my advice.
Anyway christ that was long. Tonight I went to the Ronald McDonald house which is something I’ve been working on for awhile. I took some Derby pie that I got from a great place, and I worked with a catering company for the food so it was homemade Look I can cook certain things like burgers and crab legs but honestly I’m not the best at it. I make some mean  Ramen noodles. Anyway my crab legs are amazing. Being blind doesn’t hamper me being able to cook it’s mainly laziness, and cooking for one sucks honestly. Why do I want leftovers? Anyway Everything came together very nicely. I also let Robin off work for a few people to play with. They loved it so did she. When we got home she was wound up and wanted to play ball a little more than normal. For a Bachelor I thought everything went off well! At first I was a little nervous, because the people I was working with hadn’t really ever interacted with a blind person, but thats pretty normal for me to work with these days. After a brief description of myself and explaining why I wanted to get involved it was fine. I met a little boy who I am going to try to take to a Bats game. No one likes to go to the Bats games with me my friends mainly hate baseball, so I usually go by myself because it’s my therapy. Also I realize how long the Reds are going to suck and that makes me smile somewhere inside if it were only the Cardinals instead. I can stomach Cincinnati but St. Louis just rubs me the wrong way being a Cubs fan. Anyway he knew a lot about the game, and so I will check with my Bats contact to see if we can make something happen. I asked him if he’d ever gone to a game and had a stadium hotdog? He said no, so we’ll have to change that. Again I don’t know why I feel this way, but nothings better than ballpark hotdogs. Milwaukee has sausages that are out of this world good literally. If I had to pick my favorite park for a hotdog it would be Miller hands down. 

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.

Robin has become the old lady in the neighborhood

I have these vertical blinds in my living room that Robin loves to stick her nose between and look out and watch people. i’m not kidding I’m pretty sure she knows everything that goes on in my neighborhood. I’ll hear her at three in the morning bumping the blinds and then hear my neighbors car take off. It doesn’t really bother me a whole lot because I feel like she’s watching out for strangers. nosy yes but I feel like she knows who belongs. now maybe because it’s getting sunnier I wanted to open the blinds and feel the sun while I sat in my chair today which brings me to the problem. Two of the blinds have tears in them now granted this could’ve happened before but I hardly doubt it.i’ve got them hanging back up but not very well because like I said one is torn where you hang it so I’ll probably have to go see if I can buy just one of those to replace if not i’ll probably have to buy a whole new set of blinds. I know she doesn’t know how things work and how if she’s rough on something it could tear but I was a little frustrated but what can you do? I have started having a lamp on recently but I did for a while rarely have light on so I don’t blame her I guess. If she were human though I could just picture her sitting in a chair with binoculars writing down notes about what all happens and who sees who.

I don’t really know what happened today

This should probably remind you a little bit of the older posts. let me just start with the current and then I’ll work my way backwards. I was supposed to have a date, but about 30 minutes before I went I texted her to see what she was doing and to make sure everything is still good. What we had a little conversation and lo and behold I ended up not going. she said at one point and her text message that she wasn’t comfortable going out with someone who couldn’t make eye contact with her. my exact response was well nothings changed since the first time I met you so I still can’t make eye contact After that I just stopped responding. I ordered a pizza and demolished it and now I feel sick.

Today I met a very nice Lyft Driver while I was picking up Robin from Petsmart. Her bath went well. I used our para transit system to get there and then Lyft to get home so I didn’t have to stand around so long. I apparently standing around wait too long though because five people asked me if I had a ride and I said yes. I thought it was nice of people to care though. So anyway I get into the ride and I wasn’t sure how it was going to go you never know with the dog. His name is Tim from South Carolina and he asked me how I became blind so I told him about my cancer. then he said I was positive and proceeded to tell me that while I was getting into the car about five people gathered behind me open mouth amazed that I was getting into a car. I told him my view on that where it’s either I’m Superman or handicapped there’s not much in between I still go by that. If you miss those discussions check the earlier writings. I think there are very few people who break down the barriers. I read an article earlier this week about touchscreen devices where the author of the article did no research and her first paragraph this was on the wire by the way and her first paragraph she states one sector of the population Who are left out in the cold from using touchscreens are the blind. I know I use dictation a lot but it’s because I’m lazy I could type on the touchscreen and I use them every day. furthermore if she would actually pole blind people or have asked one person rather than probably depending on the sighted person she referenced in the article she would’ve found that a high percentage of blind people use a touchscreen device. Anyway I just thought it was interesting he noticed how people stood around Gawking.

Earlier today I posted a Facebook article about parents having to provide their children’s passwords to the schools and Illinois. at first I was pretty upset by this, and I just pondered where our freedoms went? then I went to the gun range and had a moment of clarity. literally there sometimes I have brilliance and I go on rants and get worked up and then I wonder why what is it for? initially I was on the side of the parents and wonder why this was happening? Then it came to me so quickly it was shocking. Who gets blamed more than anything in the case of bowling or any issues that don’t happen in the home? That simple the school. when someone gets bullied and you watch the news I guarantee you 95% of the time it falls back on to the school. not the asshole child or the parents home situation nothing else gets brought up but how the teachers or someone at school neglected the situation. so my final thought on this is you get what you deserve parents if you’re going to blame the school don’t bitch when they start impeding on freedom. I don’t have kids so it doesn’t fucking matter to me. hahaha my final thought on the whole issue is freedom is really A disguise we like to pretend we still have. I’ve been listening to this podcast called criminal where this guy was jailed for three months because he appeared on a video tape they had and a sex offender case. i’m not going to be good at explaining the case so you may want to listen because I probably won’t do it justice but in a nutshell. The guy they arrested the innocent one met a girl online who is the sex offenders wife he had videotaped rolling in his house police seized the videotapes finding this guy they posted his picture on the news thinking he was guilty of the crimes. The guy lost his job spent three months in jail and says that people still acted nervous around him. yet we’re supposed to be innocent until proven guilty you could go more high-profile if you wanted and find similar cases but really the freedoms we have sometimes our a disguise. Even when you pay the time for a crime it’s often not forgotten or wiped off your record just my thoughts for the day. I had a lot of clarity shooting that gun didn’t I?

When I dropped off Robin and came home for a second I realized how lonely I am without her. I kept stepping on the pig and she didn’t come, or when we were driving to the gun range I kept looking on the floor for her and just felt my cane. I used to think that after she retired I would just be able to move on to the next dog, but I’m not sure anymore. I started reflecting on how much of my life she’s been part of and it was crazy. She’s been here for Ethan’s wedding baseball games, movies, jobs, football games, basketball games, my ups and downs, and just everywhere I’ve been. It’s crazy when you think about it I think of her as like a daughter it’s different than a pet. most people don’t take their pet on a plane to Arizona navigate their bus system get lost for a little while find your way those stories just aren’t there but Robin’s part of everyone for me. And the last hour I’ve been reflecting on that it’s been a little somber tonight.

Robin playing in the snow and rest in peace Ernie Banks

Whenever something like this happens I reminisce, because I guess that’s all you can do. Mr. Cub Ernie Banks passed away earlier. I started listening to cubs games on the radio in 1998. I fell in love with an announcer named Ron Santo for a few reasons. Ron play the game with juvenile diabetes never reporting it to anyone for fear he would not be able to play. he later announced with artificial legs and had to go to the doctor before each game to check levels he made it to most everyone. it was during these broadcasts I was first introduced to Ernie Banks. Ernie can make you laugh he just was always happy that’s what I remember about him. he never cared or let it show that the cubs never won a championship he never contended for a World Series he was faithful to the Cubs his whole career.

If you ask me what baseball’s biggest mistake has been in the last 20 years I’ll simply tell you it’s when they didn’t allow Ron into the Hall of Fame until after he died. Nothing to me was sadder then the speech he made at Wrigley when they retired his jersey. He lived for that Hall of Fame announcement if you ever get the chance even though you may not know him watch this old cub you will understand then a little of the warmth that he possessed. For me going to a high school where no one was like me, going to frustrations of not being able to drive at the age of 16, and just other social pressure listening to Ronnie always made me laugh. No matter how bad he was feeling he always made it to the game. While I don’t have the same connection with Ernie he’ll still be missed I miss hearing his smile and his laugh during the season during some of the losing streaks he would keep me positive. To finish off my thoughts on Ronnie for the night I admired his strength you never know he had a disability I think about him every season and I’m certain nights during the off-season. He was that motivation for me when things get tough to just keep showing up work through it do the best you can. I don’t often talk about it, but when you can’t drive in the country they put you in an awful disadvantage and just when you’re different from anyone else it can be rough. I Ramber being rejected from a girl because I couldn’t drive I just felt so horrible about myself and I was into a Cubs game with Ron I just took my mind away from that place you know he gave me hope for the future.I don’t think I’ve posted about this very much but a guy that still alive that I definitely will mess and don’t even want to think about when he retires is Scully. If you ever get the chance I do this every year I pay for MLB TV just for him he does the entire Dodgers home television cast by himself. To be able to listen to him and hear him calling game it’s like that link to the past they don’t make announcers like him anymore and he’s one-of-a-kind. This year another goal of mine because I probably don’t have many years left is to go to dodger Stadium with the radio and sit and listen to him call the first three innings and then the ninth.

So here in Louisville it snowed for the first significant amount tonight. Robin is so happy. I woke up around midnight to take her outside and she’s been running outside in the snow for the last 20 minutes. Just putting her nose in it sniffing like it’s cocaine and then sneezing. I got a call from a friend who tell me about Ernie Banks so I thought I would write a few memories I know it’s mainly about Ron but those are my thoughts. When I was writing that about Ron I had a few tears but then I saw a Robin running around it made me laugh again. I don’t want her to catch cold but this is why bought the house so she can run around the yard and be happy she loves snow so I’m gonna go watch her for a little while and then I get some sleep. Rest in peace Mr. Cub.

Year in review

Every entertainment source has one of these at the end of the year, so I figured I’d do one as well. This is my year in review. I started this blog in March, and it’s been doing good numbers. Even when I don’t update frequently people stumble upon it. I don’t know how much good it’s doing, but maybe for what it’s worth it will help someone, or it provides you a laugh. This year has been tough. I went from being real up in the beginning to probably the lowest I’ve been in a long time with the loss of a friend. This weekend I plan on doing some shopping I got robin’s Christmas gift in mind I just have to go buy it I’m getting her a pig, because the one she has is getting torn up. She loves it, a lot of times at night I will reach down on the ground and she is lying below me with the pig between her paws. She has been more destructive with her toys lately, but maybe it’s because I’m home more. I’m also going to Dave Chappelle Saturday night, so that should be a fun time.

In January I was working with a radio company as a consultant working with shows that were struggling for ratings. I loved it, and did well with show out of Nashville. It wasn’t what I pictured myself doing, but I really enjoyed it. I got fired in March, well more like I quit and was fired. We just had a difference of opinion.

In March I went out to Phoenix for a television job with the Backs. I didn’t get it, but loved the opportunity. If I ever retire Arizona will be where I head. I got lost by taking the wrong bus, but with GPS I found my way. I just kept singing amazing grace you know that part where they say I was lost but now I’m found. Gaps have come so far in my lifetime it really is an amazing tool. Plus it’s easy to be lost when it’s 90 not so much when it’s 30 like today.

In May I went to New York and sat in during the O&A show at Sirius. This was an amazing experience. Those guys are great, and after hating them for years they’ve helped me through some tough times. I saw the empire state building, and went to Philadelphia to watch horse racing and see my first Phillies game. That was a great trip. I also got to see Niels house out in Philly I miss him here, but glad he is doing well. I thought I had found a great girlfriend, but oh boy did that go downhill quickly. I also enjoyed traveling on the east coast; besides the traffic it’s pretty nice.

In August I was homeless for 3 weeks. That was a weird experience. I will say this never try and beat the system. I tried to save money and lost. Thankfully Natalie, Jerry, and Lee hooked me up with places to stay. I’m glad to be in my house now. Robin is happy to have a routine and her toys again I think she was confused for that time period. She still had me though and was a good sport. That dog has seen so much since I’ve gotten her. I miss Lee’s cooking though.

In September I moved in to my house the first I believe. I’ve enjoyed every second of it. It’s true I’m becoming quite the handyman. It gives you pride to take care of something, and make it your own.

In September the news of Ethan’s suicide changed me. For the first week after I just listened to books everything else just seemed irrelevant. I regretted not calling him the Friday before or even that morning. I was struggling with a depression of my own, and kept to myself. It’s not that I feel I would have changed things, but I don’t know. He was away on duty for the summer so we hadn’t talked a lot lately. I think about him every day. Sometimes I cry sometimes I smile. I have a hard time sleeping a full night’s sleep anyway, so that’s when I think back about a memory. He’ll always be with me as that person who I write about constantly in this blog that just gets it. I complain all the time about people that don’t, and rarely do I focus on the ones that do. That gives me strength to keep moving, that he treated me like anyone else I miss that, but in the 9 years I knew him it’s equal to a full lifetime. I remember when I moved to Louisville his first visit here he really got me over being homesick. Every time he’d visit after that it felt more and more like Louisville was becoming my home. He’ll always be here with me.

It’s taken me 2 weeks to write this part, because I wanted to do it right. I began the year with my little brother I was mentoring tried to commit suicide, and they were able to pump his system clean. He’s undergoing therapy, and is in a blind school now which is helping him. The pain of this all is just difficult, and I just don’t know. I went back and forth if I wanted to say anything, but I felt that I always talk about the funny times, but I really just enjoyed just hanging around watching YouTube videos or playing videogames. I just miss those things. I loved him because I just felt normal around him something that seems to be a struggle for me these days.

I’ve been working at getting my house ready for the Christmas get together with my family! I’m excited to see them. there’s going to be a lot of people here at one time but I’m excited. Today while I was getting my haircut I had a new lady cutting my hair so as a joke when she finished she said how does it look I said if she got me the mirror and moved it closer I would be able to tell her. I finally told her that I couldn’t see it all she thought it was funny. I think she felt kind of bad for ask me that question so I ended up tipping her well so I wasn’t an asshole hopefully. I’ve put my resume together for a few sporting jobs that I heard about so we will see. I went to Dave Chapelle last night with my friend Chris it was great seeing him. I think in life you will fail more than you will succeed but if you stop trying all together youlol never know. I just made that shit up I should start writing for fortune cookies. I had to end this somehow positively the last two paragraphs took me around 2 1/2 weeks to write, because every time I started I got emotional. Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and let’s have a good New Year.