I haven’t written in a long time. Let me get you up to speed where things are. Also Happy Thanksgiving y’all.
Abby and I have been together more than a year now. Every day we get closer, with us and the two dogs we have are little family. One of my favorite trips we did so far is we went to Lexington to watch a Cats basketball game together. It was last year and they were playing LSU. I’ve gone before but usually with someone sighted who would drive me. We caught the bus here in Louisville and got to Lexington. Once there we caught a Uber to the game. We left the dogs with Jerry and Lee because we didn’t have accessible seating and I didn’t want them to get stepped on.
The funniest thing happened in Lexington. After the game we waited for the usher to help us out to the front. In Louisville usually you get one person, but there they are mainly volunteers so you get handed from one person to another until you get to your destination. Once we were in the elevator heading out the guy asked us where we parked? We advised him we took Uber and would catch it in the front. We went to a restaurant that was a former church made in to a pasta place. The bar was actually where the preacher would have stood. Anyway when we were leaving a guy grabbed my hand and helped me down the stairs being over protecting making sure I wouldn’t fall. He then goes where did you guys park? In my head I’m thinking seriously you registered I was blind, but now you’re going to help me to my car to drive Abby home? No wonder are streets are so scary. We left dinner with a few hours to wait for the return bus to Louisville and we learned they lock the station so we went over to a Burger King. I called a Lyft to go to the bus station when time and the driver showed up but we couldn’t find him so I called him. I advised I and my girlfriend are blind and we couldn’t see him. He said what? I repeated I’m blind and can’t see him. You’re BLIND? He yelled it or had a weird sounding voice. I said yes sir he was really cool actually once we were in the car. It turns out the Burger king was about 500 feet from the bus station so I tipped him nicely for his troubles. Lexington was fun just watch out they think blind people can drive which when you think about it is I guess cool we can do anything else I guess.
Robin has had a rough year. I took her to the vet last weekend and she either has Irritable bowel disease or cancer of the intestine. If she has the cancer she has a year roughly to live. If it is the IBD then not so serious, but it is still so hard to watch her age. She has lost 16 pounds since last November which scares me. Now that it is getting colder I will wake up in the night and she will jump up on my bed and cuddle against my legs. I cherish every moment like this. One morning I had a hard time getting up and she raised her head up and gave me a lick on the cheek that got me moving it was like she was saying hey daddy stop being lazy. I have her on a new food that she is eating every ounce of so I’m hoping it will put some weight back on her. When I touch her back and go towards her tail it just makes me so sad to see how much she has thinned out. We still play but only certain times. She likes to get on my couch when I’m in the chair and she is 10 so I’m okay with that. We’ve been through so many battles together. Trying to get gigs on radio and TV going from city to city in the last year or so we’ve really settled down. I know she can’t travel and do the things we once did and I’m excepting that for her. We don’t do a lot of street crossing right now because my work isn’t in a walking friendly area so it works out that she still comes with me If that changes I will retire her. She has stayed home more than normal and she has begun chewing the hair off her legs the vet told me it’s a behavioral thing acting out because of changes so truthfully I know she would be right beside me if she could be. I’ll never forget we were crossing an alley when I lived downtown and she stopped and backed up suddenly, and that’s when I heard a car backing out. A second later and I would have been hit. When you are a team it is so rough and so hard to see them getting older. To some she is a dog, but for me it’s more than that we have this bond that I’ve never shared with anything else. Robin you’re the best and thanks for your years of work, and also thank you to the Seeing-Eye for matching us.
Next year on the docket is Abby would like to go to Chicago to see the World Series champs!!! Yes I can say that the Chicago Cubs!!!! I cannot believe they did it. It was a really emotional night my grandpa Hoyer got me in to the Cubs, and listening all those years baseball is unlike any other sport. I’m hoping to take Abby to Wrigley. This year we went to a lot of Bats games they were fun except one which the radio was on a delay so people are cheering and were 2 pitches behind. Thankfully they fixed it for the final game. I miss baseball already. Were also going to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill here in Louisville. Finally so far we have tickets to see Aaron Lewis in Feb which I am so excited for. I will try to write more things are just really busy.
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 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.
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.
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.
So I’ve made a discovery since I bought my house that after six years my dog does not like to go outside without me. I’ll use this morning as an example I let her out twice once at 6 AM while eating my breakfast, and another before I fed her at seven after my shower. She did not go to the bathroom either time I don’t believe, because when I got to work she had to do both before we went in. I guess I will have to start going back out with her to make sure she’s doing that I don’t mind if she runs around but I want to make sure she’s actually going to the bathroom. I guess it’s true shepherds are routine animals!
I’m putting a picture of Robin with this as part of my blind photography. She was able to come home today, but she’s really lethargic and tired. She has to take anabiotic and another kind of pill for about a week or so. We will see about tomorrow I’m hoping to be able to take her in with me to work, but if not she will have to stay here all day. I’ve never really done that with her, so it could be interesting I’m hoping for the best in the morning. I’m doing laundry so I’m also making my bed I lost track of her and founder here laying on the bed.
Last night I went out to the Louisville bats game again but this time with my old program director Jack and his son Jackson. Jack left the station about a year and a half ago and went to Tampa Bay to work in a bigger market. Jackson would be at the radio station and would watch me record different things and he’d say I want to do that someday! He now wants to be a sports broadcaster, and at the game he’ll do some announcing for me. After the game Jackson wanted to catch a West Coast major-league game so we came back and put on my major-league baseball television. He fell asleep on Robin’s pillow using her as a stuffed animal. About 545 I woke up to a wailing kid. He was upset that Robin had moved in the middle of the night, so I tried explaining free will that did not go over so well. I quickly dropped that and decided to go with Robin was just garding the house he bought that more. Since I was already up I decided to make scrambled eggs and toast for everyone before they left. I enjoy seeing them when we can get together.
This is kind of dumb I guess in a way, but it’s something I find amazing about Robin and how she works. I don’t think people fully understand what a guide dog does for us. They aren’t Superman either. I do feel having Robin will probably be the most sighted I’ll ever feel. Besides doing all the normal guide dog things today I observed something that amazed the hell out of me. When I go to the stall at work to use the bathroom either I’ll take Robin in to the handicapped one with me, but if it is occupied I will put her under the sink. I’ve been doing this for about 2 weeks. She now today started to either go right to the handicapped stall or she will walk over and lay under the sink signaling to me it’s busy. I understand how she could associate these things, but I find it pretty remarkable that now she just looks it and knows which option to choose. If I use the urinal she just stands behind me in case you wanted to know. Anyway not a lengthy post, but I just find the little things dogs pick up on remarkable.