Tag Archives: guide dog

Shock

I got a big shock. My friend Jenny called me and asked if I wanted to do lunch. I said sure. I told her to meet me at the front office, and I would get her checked in. As I came up the steps she said hi Joe. I was kind of confused. since I didn’t sign her in. I think I even said how did you get past security? She said I know people. She then said she had a surprise visitor with her. I heard someone say hi, and Jenny told me it was Dawn Gee a local journalist/news Anchor. I love Dawn and all she does to help Louisville! She also had a little stroke earlier this year but it didn't slow her down I admire her resistance! Then she started putting 100 dollar bills in my hand. I was a bit overwhelmed lol. I know that might be hard to believe.

Dawn asked me to talk a bit about Robin. That was hard for me to sum up 8 years in a short time I could have talked forever. I shared some stories, and a bit about how much she meant to me as a companion and my eyes.

I did think about something later I wish I had said. After Robins passing I do the bare minimum to get through the day. I don’t like to take risks. I’ve always been a good cane traveler, but I hate crossing streets with my cane, because of veering fears. Crossing streets with Robin was so easy, and after the first 6 months I never worried about it. I think that’s why when Abby and I walked and crossed West Port I really realized if I want to do this I need a dog. I’m getting so excited, because were getting closer and closer.

Anyway Wave 3 donated money that will really help me pay bills while I am gone. I’m so grateful I was worried and doing calculations on how long I will be without a pay check, and I was really nervous. This helps so much, and makes that worry dissipate. I thank Jenny for contacting them and making it happen. By my calculations it’ll be something like 5 weeks without a full paycheck. I am working with APH now to see about doing some work on the weekends or when I can, but I also don’t want to get to worried about that. I want it to be about the dog first then everything else after that.
I went to my friend Joe’s house, and we talked about how Robin and I came to Louisville alone. I’ll never forget when we moved out of my downtown apartment to one off of New Lagrange road we were packing up, and we had moved my bed and Robins crate to the truck. Robin went in to the bedroom and my dad and I walked in, and he said she looked sad. I gave her a hug and told her we were going to a different apartment. I remember her just standing looking around. I know she loved moving to the house because of the yard.

Joe hasn’t had a dog in 20 years or so, but he still remembers his dogs so vividly. I know that’s how it will be for me. You never forget them. Trading stories about things your dog done or did is just so cool. He told me before his dog Timmy was put down he had some people over to say good-bye. I thought that was a neat idea. Even though you have no petting and things over time the dog becomes part of a group or people are drawn to it. If I hadn’t had Robin at Humana I may not have met Jenny, Leslie, or Michele. The reason I say this is I would have had my cane, and I walk in sit at my seat and walk to the bathroom, and then go home. I would have interacted with Mel, because she was my boss, but others I may not have found. Having Robin had me taking her out on breaks doing some things in the morning it made me more active as a person. I also think right or wrong some people just don’t approach you with a cane. Not all people are animal lovers, but it for those who are it sparks that wheelhouse. I would drop Robin off at the groomers and go to Walmart. With a cane waiting for my ride to go get her no one talked to me or said hi. My god though with Robin I had to be a therapist to some people they couldn’t stop talking. People would be like I had a dog named bla 10 years ago man she was a great dog. I would say yes sounds nice. Then they would go on with a story about their dog lol. I should have brought tissues with me.

As weird as it was at times with people you would encounter it created something I didn’t have before, and that was easy access to finding someone. If I stand somewhere with my cane appearing lost, because I am no one says anything to me. If I stood lost with Robin except in Arizona where no one spoke English people would constantly come up and ask if they could help which I didn’t always need, but was nice.

Okay one more thing about technology. Recently an app from Microsoft came out called Seeing AI. This thing is amazing as hell. I never thought I could have the abilities that this thing gives me. I also never wanted wearable glasses until this app. In the app it has several channels. Short text’ document scanning, bar codes, people, and scene. Short text is what I will focus on mostly here, but you can take your phone point it at something and hear it reading. It’s amazing. I took it to the Outlet malls in Simpsonville and it read me Bose as I was walking by Gucci or however you spell it as we were walking by. In Sam’s it read me office furniture when pointing it down the aisles. I asked my mom if something said office furniture, and sure enough she said there was a sign. This thing shows me how much text sighted people deal with constantly, and how much as a blind person I miss. I love this thing so much, and thank you Microsoft for boosting my confidence in you as a company, but for also pushing AI technology.

I am really excited to go get my dog, but I am sad about leaving APH for a little while. I really do enjoy coming in to work every day, and the working with the people here. It’s refreshing I’m sad to leave maybe they’ll realize they don’t need me. Also I feel like I am now comfortable here leaving again for most of the month then returning will be interesting. All that aside it’s worth it. I just post this part so you can see all of the emotions that play in to this. It’s not like buying a car. Imagine if you had to get fitted for your car based on personality then to drive it you had to go somewhere else and stay for 2 and a half weeks while you learned about your car. I think we’d have a lot better public transportation if this were the case.

Thank you again Wave 3 and Jenny that really was touching. The fact I can bring Robins story to others, and help them see how much these dogs play a roll in our lives is so cool. I think today we can get lost in ourselves and loose that community feel. I love Louisville, because it’s that big small town. I talk about moving in retirement, that’s a long ways off, but if not I love it here. Besides a major league baseball team I have everything I could ever need here. Growing up in Indiana a lot of people made fun of Kentucky, but I love this state so much. We have mountains, knobs, big cities, and lakes. What more could you really want? I want to get back in helping young blind kids get technology they need. I would really like to focus on eastern KY in particular. I’m not sure how to get something started that can benefit kids the way technology donated by the Lyons and Mr. Lanbright helped me, but I’ll come up with something. Also football is about to start lets go Cats! I bought tickets to Florida, but since I am coming home with my dog that weekend I decided to give my ticket to one of Abby’s family members. I want them to have fun the dog and I will cheer them on from home with Tom on the radio, and of course Kentucky Sports radio pre and post-game.

Facts about the guide dog process

People often ask how much does a guide dog cost? Well typically a guide dog costs $50000 to train, however the blind person pays way less than that. Some schools are free, but the caveat is the school may maintain ownership of the dog. I go to the Seeing-Eye where the first dog was $150, and then the second dog or anything after that is $50. I chose them, because I wanted full ownership of the dog. This price includes your travel and lodging. As my friend Joe says it’s a smoking deal. I’m so grateful about the price I try and donate when I can. A lot of people and volunteers make it a great time. It’s hard work for us, but rewarding.

It’s time away from home, and now that I’m working it’s different. When I got Robin I got her on summer break of my last year in college. I find myself now with bills and things, but I am using my tax return to fund my house payment and things while I am gone. I just started working 6 months ago at my new job, so I don’t have much vacation time saved but I have to roll through that then the rest is unpaid. I had pneumonia earlier this year, and I used some up then or I’d have more time saved, but that’s life. I could wait, but I really want to get my dog for when I travel to Vegas for the CES show. I’d also like to get out and do some exploring downtown again, and would feel way more comfortable traveling with a dog than my cane.
Basically a puppy will go live in a temporary home usually for about a year. They will learn basic commands, and things like going to the bathroom outside. At about 12 months old they go in for training and it’s about 6 to 8 months depending on the dog. Here they learn how to watch for cars and traffic checks. They also learn how to navigate around obstacles. Not all dogs pass the tests the instructors have set up for them. For example, say a dog likes to chase squirrels, or is easily distracted that can be a problem for the blind person. More than likely my new dog would be between 17 to 21 months. Robin was just over 2 21 months old when I got her.

I’ll never forget one question I got when I was out at the store once. A guy came up and asked me did you pick out your dog? I said no we were matched by pace and personality. He goes I thought before you went blind you might have gotten to pick her out, so you would know what she looked like. Lol oh man that would be like the most depressing thing ever! Hey Joe you’re going blind, but the great news here is you can go pick out a beautiful dog.

It’ll be interesting what I think the second time around, because I’m more understanding what will happen. The first time I wanted a dog, but not having a cane and receiving that feedback was so foreign to me. I will keep y’all posted!

One of my friends posted that she was taking her dogs to the same vet where Robin went at the end called Plantation Animal Clinic in Louisville. They were so kind, and made that so comforting. When Robin had cancer the doctor would call and talk to me for like a half an hour answering all of my questions. I remember her telling me she will start to vomit along with the diarrhea, and sure enough she did. Once I saw that I couldn’t watch her suffer like that anymore it was too painful. I’ll never forget I was laying with her and she got up and nudged me with her nose which meant she had to go out. We got to the door and she started putting her head down. I got her out, but she was really good about communicating with me.

Anyway I got off track a bit I’m excited to take my new dog there and see dr. K again. I am going to braille a letter and also print a thank you letter for taking care of Robin and giving her the attention she needed. I had been to other vets that Robin was just a number, and it wasn’t personal. I’m happy to go back, and have them being the doctor from the start for my second dog.

Abby and I will be celebrating are 2-year anniversary on the 27th. The first time we went out we went to that Mexican restaurant where everyone got sick damn it I can’t think of the name. Hang on hey Google search for that Mexican restaurant that gave everyone diarrhea? Response to many to list. Haha Actually The answer is Chipotle! Oh Chipotle that’s it! Damn Google is so smart. Anyway we ate dinner, and then Abby and I went home on the same bus, and when she was getting off Robin didn’t want her to go. Abby would say good bye, and Robin would start to make a crying noise. So I had to make date number two since Robin loved her. Abby also gave Robin some treats that I gave her later.

Hopefully this post taught you some things about guide dogs, and that Mexican restaurants are great to clean you out!

The Seeing-Eye called

Last week the Seeing-Eye called me and told me that they had a dog for me and that I could come to class. I’m so excited. I wasn’t sure if I was ready until last weekend where Abby and I went out walking. We had gone to some baseball games where I missed having a dog, but I miss how a dog can keep you walking in a straight line. Something I cannot do with my cane, and I miss it. I’ve been nervous a bit honestly thinking about its name, what it will feel like, and just that investment and bond we will share.

I was asked to be in a wedding a few months ago which I excepted, because I really enjoyed the groom and bride. We hung out with them a lot. They’re Abby’s neighbors, so I enjoyed how easy it was to see them and such. I advised the groom that I might be getting a dog, and he was happy. However, on Sunday he responded with an awful text message. I’ve never received anything quite like it. At first it shocked me, then it angered me, and finally I just wanted to be done with it all. I will paste in the message at the bottom of this, but I want to say something first.

He states getting a dog is a trivial thing and a privilege. Now this is someone who can see mind you. Oh really a privilege? Yes, sir it was a privilege to have cancer and lose my eyes. It was a privilege to never know what the sun looks like, stars, or anything else for that matter. It’s a privilege to wait for the bus and be soaking wet while all of the rest of the world passes you in a car with their windows up and heat on. It’s a privilege to be able to not walk a straight line or fumble for the walk button, because sighted people decide where the best place is for the polls for the walk signs. It’s a privilege not to be able to see the traffic sign that says walk. Don’t you ever tell me being blind or getting a dog is a privilege, because that’s a world you know nothing about. I understand this is the most important day in your life, and until you sent me this I thought we were close, but you also have to understand things happen. This is not like I am blowing off your wedding to go see a movie. I am going out to NJ for 2 weeks without pay, and using up all of my vacation time to get a Seeing-Eye dog not just a dog. Guide dogs provide a tool for me that make me feel more independent, and confident. Yes, I can get around with my cane, but it isn’t as easy as having a dog. Have you had to cross Shelbyville road or West port road blindfolded with a cane? You should try it since it’s such a privilege, and let me know how it goes if you live. Blind people advised me I should educate you, but the fact of the matter is if you don’t understand Robin was more than a dog to me then you’ll never understand. I am not angry for you calling them animals, but I did think of Robin and it made me so angry that you took that tone. I will be at your wedding, because I made a commitment, and it will work out with the Eye, but it’s to be a bigger person than you, and then I’m done with the friendship. The next time you want to go to dinner and Abby and I bring are dogs I’ll think of how you spoke about them, and I just can’t be cool with you.

Your iMessage, Your iMessage, Ryan Hey Joe. In light of the revelation that you are considering skipping standing up with me at the wedding, I've done a lot of thinking. Our wedding is a very big deal to us. We were very careful who we chose to be in the wedding. We wanted people who exemplified the love and trust that makes us the happiest. Asking someone to stand up at their wedding is considered an honor. When you committed to this months ago, I thought you were completely on board with fulfilling your commitment. I am completely disappointed that you are so quick to turn your back on this commitment. Not only are you turning your back, but you are doing it for a reason that is trivial. Getting a dog is not an emergency. Getting a dog is a luxury. The selfishness of pulling yourself away from a commitment that holds so much meaning let's me know that you didn't hold this commitment in the same high level of honor that I did when I asked you to stand with me. I thought the friendship that we had developed warranted including you. Clearly I was wrong. I tried to ease the process of standing with us by lifting the burden of having to pay for the clothes. This luxury is ALWAYS gladfully paid by groomsmen. I cannot recall a single wedding where the groomsmen had their clothes paid for. Even this is not enough. I am deeply hurt that you're even considering dumping your commitment for an animal. I won't wait until Friday Link Link Link to hear what your decision will be. I won't wait until Friday Link Link Link to see if I play second fiddle to a fucking dog. You have until 7 PM tonight Link to tell me whether you will be in the wedding or not. If you choose not to respond then I will assume you will choose the dog. If you choose the dog be prepared to pay in full the amount of your suit, tie, shoes, socks and belt. The cost will be $455. You will need to pay this by the end of the week. Being that you've already had the suit altered, you've wasted the gift card. I need you to understand, I'm not angry, I'm just crushed that something as ignorant as a dog would be the reason we even have to have this conversation. Let me know by 7 PM Link Link Link what you are going to do., 10:35 AM Link Link Actions available, 11:46 AM Link Swipe up or down to select a custom action, then double tap to activate., 8:11 PM Swipe up or down to select a custom action, then double tap to activate.

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.
 
 
 

Christmas

The last 2 weeks have been rough. I’m learning to use my cane again, and I hate that. I feel like a pinball bouncing off of things. Even when Robin was here I used to go a few places with my cane where I know it would be hard for her like basketball games once I started having people to go with. When I would go before by myself I would take her to have company, and I could usually feel more comfortable with her there. When Abby and I go we usually take our canes and sit in the cheap seats, because we can see the same from the 200 dollar seats as the 20 dollar seats.
 
Abby and I did Christmas where I got her jewelry, and a Chicago Cubs hair scrunchy. I think I did well. She got me some QC 35’s which I love, an Amazon backpack which I was wanting to go back and forth with from my house to hers, and finally a wind chime for Robin. She wrote me this really neat peace she wrote from Robin’s prospective. I will put it in below. That made me tear up and really made my day.
 
I got her ashes back Friday. I was so happy to get them. The box she is in is beautiful. It has engraved flowers I can feel and it’s a solid nice piece of wood. She also is heavier than I expected. Somehow the paw print was lost I was a bit bummed, but just having her back cheered me up. I think the hardest part of death has been you realize we have little control of what actually happens. I had this fantasy that I would work Robin until next summer then I would retire her, and she’d be here a few more years. The reality obviously didn’t work out that way. Anyway here is what Abby wrote thank you babe for being there and being so creative. The part about Boston Blacky made my day I listen to an episode every night, and have done so since moving to Louisville it relaxes me.
 
Dear Daddy,
I am lightly waving my tail around as I write this for you, so excuse the errors if you find them. 
I wanted to tell you, that I had an amazing life as your dog. I mean, listen.! Who else gets to guide the most amazing dad around, get to know and love his big family, (Grandma was my favorite), and do anything and everything that I as a german shepherd couldn’t possibly ever think about. There was college, which I truly made my mark. I met your friends, took you to class even on those days when I thought we should stay in bed and cuddle, I met silly girls who always made a huge fuss over me, I think it was because I was so pretty, and countless other things. I guided you through uhuge places where they played baseball, (Wait, what is that thing called again?), oh.. baseball. That was always your favorite. However, I have to ask you a question. Why in the world did we ever go to see any type of ball game that would cause me to shiver? I mean seriously dad, My poor coat wasn’t even keeping me warm that day!! Brrrrrrr!!!!!! I do remember though, that you took me inside of your coat and lap and held me close so I could warm up enough to guide your happy cold drunk butt out to our ride later on that day.. Thank you so much!!! J
As time went on, you grew up some, and I so elegantly matured. My guiding skills got better and before I knew it, you were working a job that payed money that bought me food and toys. This made me so happy. I had endless amounts of food and I liked that. 
I hated those times you left me. I loved staying at Grandma’s house though. I made such a noise when she would enter my line of vision. Who cared how far away she was, but that lady just melted my heart… I even bit her once or twic. I couldn’t contain my excitement and plus, I forgot to close my mouth from smiling. So, that was the logical thing to do!!!!
Some years later, we moved to this place and I made more doggy friends and more human friends. We got into a pattern, work, parra transit, seeing one of your silly girlfriends, and then it was cuddle time! I loved cuddle time the best because I learned that in order to get your attention, I just had to flop into your arms and that always made you smile.
Eventually, I met this girl you said was my mommy. I loved her because she taught me how to eat candy. How come you never taught me to eat candy? Seriously daddy, it’s the most amazing thrill that my doggy mouth ever had!!! I loved it when I would sneak myself a piece when we were going home from Mommy’s. You told me to “drop it” and I didn’t ha ha ha ha ha! Can’t you just hear my inner laughter? I know I can.
Finally, I got really sick. I couldn’t eat, or drink much. My tummy hurt me so much, but I couldn’t nor did I want, to tell you this. I wanted to keep living for you, for us. I wanted to keep on going to work with you, and getting treats from your boss and laying under your desk, listening to you talk to the most annoying people ever. I loved it because while you were stressing out, I was off in doggy dreamland growling at other dogs who weren’t shepherds.
I tried my best to be the dog you wanted me to be and I know you loved me so much. This sickness that I now know was something called “cancer” hurt me, and you made it all better sometimes with medicine. However, I still hurt, so you sent me to live at rainbow bridge for a while. I am not mad at you daddy. You did the best you could. God says that where I am, you will be at some point. This kind of life that I shared with you is only temporary. I hate that word, temporary. Well, whatever that means, I’ll be waiting for you. 
Before I go for now, I wanted to leave you with a few doggy thoughts.
1. Don’t get to used to not having anyone to take out and feed. If you decide to get another “me” I will visit them and teach them your habbits.

2. Be happy. Don’t mourn for me long. Where I am, is a doggy’s paradise. I eat when I want, and eat what I want. Here, I have no pain, and my cancer is all gone. I run and play with other dogs, and I sleep in the softest bed ever. The god up here even puts on some Boston Blackie for me to go to sleep to.

3. Be good to yourself. You did what was best for me, and you gave me the best life I could have. You loved me unconditionally and for that, I thank you. Be kind to yourself because you did what was best for me. I am glad There is no pain anymore. 

4. Taking naps under trees is the most acceptable way to nap off a hangover.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Robin doesn’t like to poop without me.

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!

The today show raising a puppy for guiding eyes

Today my friend Kim on Facebook posted an article I saw where the today show is going to raise a puppy for a guide dog school. I think that is really cool, and maybe a good learning opportunity for the public. Then I decided to read some of the comments underneath that topic. I don’t think my feelings hurt too easily I just get angry that some people are allowed to have vision and yet cancer robbed me of mine. I just take you through how my mind works I read the article that they are going to be raising a puppy and I just go that’s nice. Apparently when people on Facebook read that they go who’s going to take care of it after the show is off? Are they just going to leave it in the studio after they leave? Who is going to clean up after it poops? Why can’t people just be happy about something and go oh that’s a nice cause? Maybe I’m losing touch with reality or maybe its isolation which I struggle with I just find people pretty damn annoying for the most part. Maybe it’s the fact I have a dog myself, and I see the good that they do where most people don’t have to worry about it. I just wish people would actually think before they speak we’re right on the Internet. That being said I guess I’m for freedom of speech so they can do what they want but it just shows the Ignorance that’s around guide dogs. Wouldn’t it be funny if Matt had to clean up poop? What are you four? It’s the same logic I posted about when it came to blind people with guns I mean I haven’t seen a blind school shooting yet or blind people killing a bunch of random strangers but I digress. I don’t know why get worked up about a segment of the population who mainly focus on who Kim Kardashian is fucking and what styles are popular but it just works me up sometimes.

7 feet of snow no thank you

The last two nights have involve me coming home falling asleep on my couch. Last night though I put on a radio station from Buffalo to listen to the news from there. I went and laid down and as soon as I did Robin came up and lay next to me which is unusual. When she was really young I never allowed around my furniture and she still doesn’t get on there much except when I’m not paying attention to her. I fell asleep about a half hour with her next to me and woke up around 130. 7 feet of snow in Buffalo that is crazy shit! out of all of the obstacles in life for me snow was the most difficult! One thing about mobility that people probably take for granted or don’t realize is you can tell a lot with your feet. While walking I use my feet to tell me a lot about the area around me change and pavement and other things. I don’t use Robin around my house or outside my house I know pretty much where I am by just my feet. well them and of course my ears.

I was doing a lot of comparing between Indiana and Kentucky in the last post or novel or whatever the hell that was. One thing I love about Louisville versus Indiana is they don’t create a hazard when plowing the snow. i’ve never really had an issue walking down the sidewalks here in the winter time of course we don’t get as much snow but one thing that used to irritate me is in Indiana they were just pile it all on the sidewalk basically rendering a lot of streets useless. One time I didn’t listen to Robin I was in a hurry to go to Walmart and get something for a class and I was going to be late for the bus she just stopped abruptly on the sidewalk. I stuck out my foot and noticed snow but we had to get to the bus stop. I commanded her forward but she did not go, so I just drop the harness took her leash and stepped in a snow pile up to my breastbone. I think it was about 4 feet wide so by the time I got out of it I was pretty soaked and so was she. I did make the bus though. haha

I can’t even imagine being in snow that deep or what you would do. Like I was saying earlier it’s very easy to lose track of where you are when the ground is covered. i’m sure they’re blind people that think I’m crazy but I dislikes know more than anything because it definitely makes it more challenging for me. wind can be annoying but only when you’re listening to traffic it doesn’t really bother me so much while walking. On Monday I got down to 10° and I have a crawlspace and the vents are open so I was worried that my pipes might freeze so I ran the water a little this weekend it’s warming back up so I’m going to go outside and find events close them creating a better environment for my pipes. I have no idea where they are exactly are but I have no doubt that I will find them. I will post my success story or if I’m not successful I will post that as well later.

Do you know what I find alarming the most about the buffalo story? It’s not the inconvenience of life or possible emergency situations that really make the news it’s the fact that buffalo move there NFL game to Detroit. Call me crazy but when the Buffalo Bills or the NFL make a two-minute news story mainly about them and not the quality of life actual residents are facing is quite alarming. I don’t really have much else to say on the situation out there just found it weird.

Just a final thought as well I recently hit 9000 views and think that’s pretty impressive for not doing much advertising and just posting things. So thank you for reading over the past few months. I will try and be more consistent one thing I was thinking is I often talk about how people just can’t figure out how blind people do certain things so maybe I will try and post more of a daily update on just little things. like the vent situation outside on my crawlspace.

Fourth of July weekend

This weekend has been great! Let me start on Thursday which was actually 3 July. I went on a date with this girl named Marissa. We met at Applebee’s and then watched a movie it went really well! She has a German Shepherd seeing-eye dog as well and besides one small altercation they get along well now. Reflecting on our first time together I remember trying to tell her things that I thought would be useful but then I kind of realized maybe I was saying them because she can’t see which is dumb because it’s what I hate. Lol I told her if I get annoying just tell me and I’ll stop I kind of realized what I was doing so the next two days we hung out I don’t think I did that. I have to say I’ve never been around someone that I can just be myself say what I want and not worry about necessarily being judged for what I say I really am starting to enjoy that aspect of our relationship. I will touch on something else in the next story.

For the Fourth of July we went to her uncle’s lake house and it was a great day. I went tubing which I had not been since I was probably 14 or 15. I realized I am no longer young. I’m pretty sore still. At the lake I use a lot of sunscreen because I’m pretty white and I burn easily. She kept reminding me to use it which I enjoy because for me that was a sign of her caring. Sometimes being blind means when going to a event you can kind of be out casted or at least I’ve felt at times a little bit on the outside. Hangingout with her on Friday I never felt that which was nice. I remember we were about to go tubing and she said we can hold hands it won’t be that bad but then once he started going fast she said okay I think we have to hold on now which is pretty accurate it got a little bumpy her dad said we got up to about 22 miles an hour and when we would bounce it would hurt. It was definitely fun though I just need to get in shape. I’m realizing I’m not as much of a daredevil as I used to be. I was a little nervous I must admit during that ride. Don’t get me wrong I still had a lot of fun but I noticed that I bit more cautious than I used to be. I’m still struggling a little bit to exactly say or figure out what I want to share about our relationship because it’s something that should be between us so sorry if I’m not being a very good wordsmith. I know that I enjoy the day because I didn’t feel any pressure and I felt so comfortable because she was there and just being around someone who understands that. When I got out at my place honestly felt like I didn’t want the day to be over and that I didn’t want to lose her. I had a pretty long string of bad things happening with women and I can honestly say I should probably pay attention to the feelings because everything just fits with her.

Saturday we went to a barbecue at my friend Jerry’s house. I invited Marissa because I wanted her to meet some people that have been very kind to me since moving to Louisville. After that we went back to her place and we decided to start a relationship. I’m really excited about that because she takes me for who I am I’m not saying she won’t want to change some things about me because I’m sure she will but it’s special when you find someone that feels right. She has strengths that are some of my weaknesses and vice versa. As we go forward and build I’m excited to learn about her and just grow closer. I guess one thing for me is because I can’t see someone and make eye contact I really enjoy things like handholding because that allows me to still have contact if that makes sense. It’s just little things like that that she understands maybe it’s because were both blind or maybe not I just know that I’m really happy. I’m not having a great writing day so sorry I will deathly post more as time goes on but as far as our relationship I think that’s all I want to say to the public. And to finish off my thought on Robin I think she is pretty excited to have a sister it’s kind of interesting when someone would knock on the door they started barking in unison.

Thoughts on mortgage and telecommunications.

Robin today is having a day where she doesn’t want to work. When we’ve walked today she seems disinterested, and not really wanting to turn or listen to my commands. Her communication to me has been distant as well so it’s been a bit of a difficult morning. With using a dog communication is key a great dog team you can feel so much between the harness. I never thought when I started I would get it, but now it’s second nature. When Robin is sure about something I can feel it in her pace, or if there is something she is looking at I can feel her head turn. When they have a bad day, you end up having a bad day.

Tonight is my home inspection, so I’m excited about that. I get to see what is wrong with the condo, so hopefully not much. I am now in the mortgaging phase, so I’m providing document after document of my life’s work. The thing I honestly hate is technology has come so far, but every time we get close to having full capability of seeing documents someone gets the great idea of designing some new way to view a document. For example I am trying to print off and email my last month’s pay stubs from my work. Okay they tell me you can view them online now, and I do the diligent thing by going green. Now when I pull the statements the pdf opens within the webpage, and isn’t readable by my screen reader. I feel like we make leaps forward, but then I still can’t access simple things. I would ask someone to assist me, but that bothers me on something simple like this. I’ll probably breakdown and ask a coworker, but I hate annoying them about dumb things. I try and save the trees, and this is what I get. Really I wish pdf files would just go away in general such an awful format.

I am hopping off my soapbox now. Buying a home has been an experience. As I mentioned in an earlier post I didn’t take any sighted people with me on my tours it was just me and my realtor Jeff. Obviously he wants to sell me a house, but he really helped weed out a lot of homes. I’m not saying I would trust anyone, but I wouldn’t change anything on how this deal worked out. I guess I should give props to Jenny at the end of the day, because she pointed out the condos to me, because of their location.

Besides the technology glitch I’m having so far things are coming together. I called Uverse to move my services to my new address in July, and they acted as if I wanted to cancel. They gave me a faster internet for the same money I’m paying now, but they’re charging me a $45 moving fee, since I didn’t want to take a higher television package. I could have done it called and cancelled the next month, but I hate these games telecommunication companies play. If the government really cared about my experience like the FCC and FTC seem to when they hold up monopolies basically why don’t they figure out a better end consumer experience? When AT&T buys Direct we will have Comcast and AT&T owning a majority of content. Comcast buying Time Warner will give them the entire Turner broadcasting along with NBC that they already have. I worry about things like that.

Last night while brushing Robin and after when we were playing I realized how I can’t wait to move in to the condo. She would run from me and jump on my bed, I’d take the football from her, and she’d jump off and run to the living room to catch it again. I can’t wait for her to be able to stretch out a bit, and with stairs to go up and down she won’t know what to do with herself. Now as it stands the routine am I come home until I feed her she puts herself in my viewpoint meaning where she is reachable for me. After that she will bring me her toy and I will toss it a few times, and then she will either go to my bedroom and be by herself, or lye on my couch. I used to not allow this, but since I got my chair I’ve conceded a bit. She’s also getting older, so my thought is why not? When I sneeze though she always comes and puts her head on my lap.