Tag Archives: Louisville

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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A new beginning

All most one week down here at the Seeing-Eye. It’s gone quickly I was matched with a German Shepard named Frasier. He is so handsome. My instructor Brian brought him in to me after two walks to determine my dog they’d match me with. He described him to me which was cool. I can’t remember all of the colors, but he feels amazing.

We’ve walked twice a day, and did some complicated routes. Feeling him push me around something or passing someone is awesome. I really feel how much Robin slowed down the last year or so. I’ve called him Robin a few times, but I feel now that I’m honoring her by doing this. She paved the way for me to feel confident enough and give me my sight back. Me doing this is saying hey you were successful, and I miss the partnership.

Boys have advantages one is I can hear him piss. Lol Robin was difficult to hear, and I learned how to tell, but he ain’t fooling anyone. A typical day is you wake up at 5:30 and take the dogs out to go to the bathroom. Then you feed and water them. Then you have breakfast at 7. You walk with them to the dining room. After breakfast you go out and walk a route usually about a mile to 2 miles long. Then you come back for lunch and then repeat the last route again. Then you have dinner and finally a lecture on different dog aspects. After that we have an 8 bathroom time, and then you can go to bed or die whatever comes first.

I’ve really enjoyed being here, and getting the time to bond with Frasier. We received there puppy profiles today, and his raiser was an Autistic boy I’ll leave his name out. A puppy profile is the only contact The Seeing-eye gives you to the family who razed him as a puppy. They do a lot of hard work like taking the dog outside to go to the bathroom and how to not poop or piss in the house. It said that the boy took him to Autism events, and Frasier was so gentle with the kids, and helped them open up. I just thought that was so cool that he helped one disability just being a puppy now he gets to go help me. He’s also gone to baseball games, so he shouldn’t have a hard time adapting to me lol.

I bought him some toys today he really enjoys them. Really at this point he is attached to me all the time unless were sleeping it’s to strengthen the bond between us. A lot of changes have happened for him he’s gone from being in a kennel going out once a day and being able to play and sleep to now having someone different in his life. He’s done so well I’ve not fallen once, but we still have time. He feels like Robin when we walk to an extent. This time I have it figured out I’m confident that having a dog makes me better as a traveler. When I got Robin I really wasn’t sure, and it was such a change from the cane.

Tonight I stretched my legs out and Frasier fell asleep lying inside them. I hated to move him. One thing that they’re trained with knowing that Robin hadn’t really learned is clicker training. For example if you need to find a light pole to push a button and you can condition them to find it. You can also do this with bus stops, maybe a chair in a restaurant, or etc. This will come in handy in a lot of situations for finding light polls in Louisville. One thing that is cute he does even though I don’t tell him is when I’m zipping up the crate he tries to stick his head and paw out. I always give him a hug and softly push him back. He is super sweet.

We have a great class of people. I’ve socialized some, but my main focus is on Frasier and sleeping. Lol I met someone that had the same eye cancer as me which was pretty neat until I met her I’ve never met else that had Retinal Blastoma.

Finally I’ll end this on another note completely different. When I got off the plane I met a guy and he drove me to the Seeing-eye. He said man I love the south, but with all the statue stuff going on it scares me. That stuff honestly is blown out of proportion, but regardless what sides you stand on don’t forget was all human and we shouldn’t let hate take us over so much. Live each day like it’s your last, and to the fullest. With the hurricane bearing down on Florida, and the one that hit Houston I hope everyone comes outs okay. My thoughts are with all.

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!

Blind Odyssey part three final chapter

Day 3 was interesting to say the least. I woke up at 6:45 because I don’t really know why. I slept like a rock I forgot my melatonin, but the few hours I got were great. Robin was wining so I put on my shoes and took her out. We went to a nice little place for breakfast.
Denny and I need to find a way to podcast 96 percent of are conversations are funny the other 4 you wouldn’t care about. Anyway he has been telling me I care way to much about things so I am trying to relax. I thought this was cool but for breakfast she took me to this painting and coffee thing. Now I am not a great painter, but I made it work. She held my hand and we brushed together. While she wasn’t holding my hands I painted where ever I wanted. It’s safe to say her half looked better. It was a lot of fun though. I let her keep it. She traced my finger along the canvas once it dried and she made the city of Toronto. She said she wanted me to feel how it was shaped. It was beautiful, and I thought really sweet.
After that we went back to the hotel, and she left to get a change. She didn’t want to show up to work in the exact thing as yesterday. I had a meeting a friend of mine arranged at a station so I went over to that. It ran way long, because I was recording a radio thing. Anyway I met Monica back at the Jays game. It was a crazy game the parts I got to see. I had to eave early so I missed the ending my scores alerts tell me they lost. I wished Monica well and told her she made the trip a lot of fun. She hugged me and we kissed and I left. Truthfully I’m not good at these things at all. Maybe are paths will cross again maybe not, but she helped me realize things about myself. I think we can be are worst critics. As people we tend to group bad events and let them dictate how we view things. I’ve been on a lot of bad first dates, and have had crazy things happen and it was nice not to have that. Whatever the future is I will be patient and stop looking for it because if loves meant to be it’ll find me. That’s what I’m taking away from this experience. See Denny I do listen to you. Happy fathers day to you, Phil, and my dad. I sent my dad a text on Verizon which means I sent a international text I’m sure that will cost me. Oh well nothing will ever cost as much as when I was voting for Sanjia on American Idol in college I learnt the meaning of a $2 text. Thanks Howard Stern. haha I wanted to go see the Niagara Falls, but didn’t make it there. Meeting Monica my plans changed quickly. The flight home was great. No one really bugged me about Robin the entire time it was really smooth. Well I guess now it’s back to work….

Blind odyssey trip part one

I wanted to give you the most personal account of what I have to do when traveling. I’m sure being sighted you may do some research on the area, but that’s probably about it. When I first settled on Toronto I had to do a few things. The first was to make sure I could bring Robin I alluded to that earlier so I will skip it. I called the hotel to see a few things like are there restaurants with in walking distance and or a bus stop close. Now this even if someone says yes doesn’t always tell me what I need to know so you have to sometimes hope for the best. What I mean by this is when I went to Denver I asked if there was anything in walking distance and he said oh yes a bbq place next door. What he didn’t tell me was that for a sighted person yes it would be easy, but for a blind person not so much. To be fair he wouldn’t have any idea so I wasn’t mad but it can be frustrating. To walk to that bbq place I had to climb a fence to do it by walking. There was no sidewalk that lead over there. They were actually really nice though both places and I made it with some assistance.
Anyway back to current times. My biggest concern was getting cellular data for my GPS. I actually want to disconnect a little from the net while I’m here, but I need data to find my way around. I had to call Verizon and unlock my phone for overseas travel. I then had to contact Rogers communications to get what I needed here. Everyone pretty much has to do that though so that’s not nothing unordinary. I use this app called blind square to navigate with it’s my favorite. What it does while walking it announces your next cross street. You can also look around by pointing the phone and seeing what is near. It’s been a game changer for sure. Sometimes having that confidence of knowing your crossing the correct street helps you relax a bit. That’s pretty much all I did to get ready to come here, once I landed it’s been just me blind exploring and asking for directions if I get lost.
The flight went well Louisville is always nice, and they actually bumped me to first class so Robin could have more room. They usually do this if they can which I really enjoy. Not because I’m first class but rather so we both have some room. The stewardess and I had a good conversation she asked me about Robins training, and we laughed a lot about some entertainment stuff. She brought me 2 free beers which was nice of her. Anyway once I landed I stayed in my seat until a worker assisted me to where I was going to catch my bus to the hotel. The person didn’t talk much, and he did help me find a relief area for Robin. I got on the bus and told the driver where I needed off and turned on blind square to watch the cross streets we were crossing as he drove. Not that I know anything about the city, but I did have what cross streets I needed. I got off and got inside to the desk. I asked if they had a room that would be close to a landmark or something easy for me to find? They did the first down a hall. The person showed me where it was, and I asked to show me where the thermostat was, as well as the soda machine. Once they did that I had pretty much what I needed for now.
I unpacked feeling a bit nervous, because the easy part was over. I am now in a city where I really know where nothing is. Well it can be overwhelming. I did have 2 beers, but I don’t often drink when traveling on my own, because it’s stressful enough. I will probably drink at the hotel bar later, because that’s easy I do not want to drink and have to walk home on the streets that’s not a good idea. Anyway I thought I was staying in Rogers stadium, but I wasn’t. My hotel was a few blocks away. I fed Robin, and went back to the desk to ask where a good spot to take Robin out to the bathroom would be? A girl showed me, and I asked are there any trash cans near so she showed me that too. So far everyone I’ve encountered was really helpful not normal. haha
I left the hotel asking the desk person if my directions were fairly accurate? He said yes. I got out on the street and man it was busy. Robin did so well though it’s why I love her. We walked at are normal pace. It was 64 which in Louisville all week it’s been in the 90’s so I bet it felt really good to her. I just love that feeling of passing people or feeling her somewhat hold up for someone cutting us off, or maybe someone slower. I wish you all could feel that feeling once. Granted I don’t really wish that, because you’d have to be blind but it really is an amazing feeling. The entrance was hard to find exactly or at least know if I was on track. I heard people going off to my right so I did the same. I found a ball park worker thankfully, and asked him for assistance to my seat. he radioed someone, and so I waited. A lady named Monica came and showed me to my seat. She gave me her cell number and said if I needed anything I could text her which blew me away. I’ve gone to several bakl parks, and no one has ever done that. Basically usually once they get you to your seat you have to either ask a fan to give you some directions or find an usher. I sat down and just listened to the ball park. It’s my favorite time because I try to hear as much as I can.
About the third inning I wanted a hotdog, but wasn’t going to bother Monica, so I stood up and an usher quickly approached me. It was a little weird, but I welcomed it, because honestly I would rather have people be to helpful rather than act as if I didn’t exist. I have to worry about so many things if someone makes it a bit easier than fine by me like Mel said I have nothing to prove to anyone. I followed the usher and got a hotdog it was nothing that stood out, but I do enjoy a great ball park hotdog.
The game was amazing. I’ve been lucky to see great players, but I really enjoyed watching Adam, and Jose. The Jays had a no hitter going in to the 8th which was cool I was excited because I was witnessing history. It wasn’t meant to be though and the Orioles broke it up in the 8th. It ended up being 5-4 and a really good game. I loved the atmosphere of the park. I engaged with a few fans around me, but mainly tonight I kept to myself. When I stood up to get my hotdog some people said oh theres a dog here? It always makes me feel good when someone didn’t know Robin was even there.
Leaving I didn’t have to call Monica she came back and assisted me out. Once I got back on the sidewalk I made my way to a sports bar, and got a burger. It was kind of loud in there, so I didn’t stay long. I made my way back to the hotel, and got in to my room. I took Robin off harness, and we played for a bit. they had these long pillows I think you put them under your butt or legs but anyway I took them and robin would try to jump on it while I swung it. She had fun with it I don’t know what made me even do that.
Day one was successful so tomorrow I am going to the aquarium, ball game, and then a brewery. I’m excited, and I will write part two and hopefully give you an understanding what it’s like traveling. I’ve not done well with this, because things I do naturally now I don’t think is important to say. I didn’t bring a jacket which may have been a mistake. It’s crazy how fast your body reacts to heat change. I couldn’t sleep so I woke up at 4 and started writing. Robin is sleeping next to me it’s a king bed, so she got up here and curled up by my legs.  So quick update I couldn’t figure out why my texts are not sending I just did because when I got my Sim card from a Canadian provider I have a new phone number in Canada. My American things are not working. I researched Verizon data plan and it was crazy expensive this I have to get a data for around $25. 

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.

I thought I would shovel some snow but it still had the last laugh

So in Louisville we’re getting a pretty good snowstorm. It doesn’t snow here much and even if it does usually it warms up and is gone quickly. I’ve been worried since buying my house about the first snowstorm, because quite honestly snow can be very disorienting to me. I use my feet a lot to feel where I am. Sometimes I take it for granted because I don’t realize how much the difference in pavement or feeling a hill it just all kind of clicks together to assist me with getting around. When snow cover things up it’s difficult to notice. I got lost two or three times shoveling because it was difficult to tell exactly where the grass started. Anyway I went out to start shoveling yesterday and got my walkwaus cleaned off.

This morning I decided to tackle my driveway. So at 6 o’clock I got dressed and went outside and started shoveling. Again it was very difficult to tell where I was exactly I hit gravel and thought I was in the road but apparently it was the sidewalk. My road is not very busy so I can’t use traffic driving by to gauge how far I am from it so I decided to stop because I thought I was at the road. when the bus came to pick me up I stepped in a drift up to my shin and my pants were wet for a while so all that effort was negated. I cleaned it up when I got home but I’m learning. no ones clean the roads back in my subdivision yet you would think the neighbors would ban together and just do it but I guess not. It was cold but shoveling the snow kind of made me feel good. The bus driver commented that the neighbors hadn’t shoveled there’s drives very well either I told her about how I thought I shoveled it completely and then step in a drift. I am ready for it to melt though so I can go back to feeling the ground with my feet and have my traditional landmarks there.

Where does your dog go does she go in the trunk?

That question is how I started my day. Seriously! yellow Cab here contracts with our para transit system to take people with disabilities door to door. some yellow cab drivers only drive for the para transit system because they make more money doing that then they would on fares. I just think to myself all the times I get question how I’m going to do something or people doubt me what he just negative connotation yet this person agrees to a contract where they drive people with disabilities and he has to ask if my dog is going to ride in the trunk? I don’t know what I want from the world or what I even expect, but what pisses me off and continues to piss me off is that blind people are so misrepresented. You look at the deaf culture they have things in place caption TV fuck they even get caption on Netflix. Downtown Indianapolis they have signs that tell them went to walk but yet no audible signal. seriously this is what makes me question what the fuck are organizations that represent us are doing? also why I don’t belong to either of them. I understand they’re going to be dumb people, but this is happening on the daily and I’m tired of it. I walk my dog around the car open the door and she laid on my feet like she is supposed to. listen I understand the deaf culture is way different because they have site, but they also have representation that isn’t split. they work to get things done where blind people can’t even decide whether or not current sea should be be distinguishable by touch. something in the 90s the national Federation for the blind fog for predominately. Then in the new millennium the American Council for the blind started fighting for it and the national Federation for the blind switch their viewpoint. The national Federation for the blind even went as far as influencing lawmakers to strike down the deal and 2005. Maybe six. Saying that blind people really didn’t care about accessible currency. went 10 years ago they stood on the other side of fighting for it. fuck them both. i’m a little pissed today.

When I was in high school with Dick Simons discriminating on me I called the national Federation for the blind and they completely ignored my case and me. I did what I had to do and got through the issue but it would’ve been nice to have some support. I guess they didn’t see the money in it. skipped over 10 years I’ve been promised Accessable TV still not here. I try to pay my house loan online which is something I’m fighting for because apparently no other blind people in Kentucky have a goddamn house. you have to get by captcha and they don’t have an audio capture which is a government website which completely ignores ADA law. I complained about it to a friend who mentioned it to somebody else and then the Americans with disability is person for Kentucky got on it supposedly next month I will be able to finally pay my house loan for the first time independently without having to call someone welcome to the new century. I just don’t understand. I guess maybe that really never has affected anyone who knows it’s just ludicrous.

I’m going to work on not cussing so much it’s a work in progress. I just sometimes get so angry that things don’t change. You look at the landscape of blind people more of us were getting educated but what good is it? are there more jobs opening up? It doesn’t seem like it. I’m sure a little this is a little blind anger I’m facing from being rejected the other day but seriously. Do you know the federal government can send out different documentations in different languages, but yet don’t offer braille at all. I wonder why that is? you can’t somehow pay a contractor to write braille notifications, or find a braille printer somewhere? for chrissakes Verizon can get me a braille cell phone bill but the federal government and Medicare can’t seem to braille out things for people who are blind? it just doesn’t make sense. Verizon my not do an actual phone bill but they did offer me a manual ones for a phone which is still better than anything the government ever offered. Furthermore any chain restaurant that has more than a certain amount of locations should be required to carry a braille menu. thankfully most I can find online but there still is that rare occasion. It’s just so much work I’ve often said sighted people have it so great you were told when to walk pretty much do anything in life and yet I still see some of you getting hit by cars. Baffling.

Hopefully this post is better than my bowling game

I have a lot to write about I don’t know where to begin. This message I am typing rather than dictating, so things should look better. Sorry I never really edit, because if I spend too much time going over what I wrote I probably wouldn’t post anything, and while I’m dictating I don’t want to lose focus. I guess I’ll back date this by starting on Friday night. I listened to a 2012 Yankees Athletics game, and that seems like forever ago. For the first time in my life I realized this year Jeter won’t be playing, and it’s just a weird thought that my generation is passing or getting in their prime for sports.

Saturday I went to the Louisville Duke game. I’ve had that written in to my schedule since Louisville joined the ACC. Overall the game sucked Louisville’s offense is so stagnant. I have an usher that every time I come to Yum he takes me in and helps me get to my seat and then comes back and sees if I need anything during the game. After the game Coach K was over on the floor in front of me, and the usher let me know so I had Robin sit up and I yelled Coach K. He came over and shook my hand. I’ve never had a moment where I was silent, but it was difficult for me to find words to say. What can you say to a legend? The answer is nothing you just respect them. If you’ve ever seen the Real Sports peace on J Williams I think the peace alone speaks volumes of what coach K is about. If you’ve never seen the story go watch it. Basically J Will was in a motorcycle accident and was never able to play basketball again. Coach K visited him in the hospital, and Williams moved in next door to him. You just saw the love he had for his players.

Saturday night I went to a birthday party for my friend Amanda. We met at Applebee’s, and we had horrible service. I ordered chicken strips at 6 and by 640 they hadn’t come and they switched waiters for the table. Apparently they did finally come around 830. I left and went bowling with some friends from work. I won’t mention names, because I didn’t ask, but it was a blast. I’ve not been bowling since college when Carlos and I used to go, and I was rusty. I bowled a lot of gutter balls, but I managed one strike. Again look at my last post sometimes miracles happen in sports. It was a fun evening! I had two bowling analysts, who tried to give me pointers. The real fun was the competition between the two of them because if I got some pins with one the other would pressure me. It mainly just made me laugh, and even blind I think beer helps you bowl better. Robin was kind of nervous, because she lost track of me when I would go bowl, but she got over it eventually.

Sunday came, and I thought I would get emotional for the games, but I did pretty well. I watched a lot of sad dog videos in the morning, so a lot of the emotion was out of me. At halftime during the Packers game my friend texted I saying the Packers look good. I responded by saying I won’t feel comfortable until they’re up 30. Let me just recap the last 4 minutes of the game. The Packers were up 19-7, and still lost. Unbelievable, but anyway I was pacing around my living room just in shock the entire time. On the last drive where the Packers kicked the field goal I stopped and Robin came over and sat beside me. I put my hand on her head, and they made the kick. I’m starting to feel good again, but overtime came and that quickly deflated. My overall thoughts are this Packers had no first downs the entire fourth quarter you can’t do that these days In the NFL and expect to win. The other stat that blew me away off 4 turnovers the Packers only scored 6 points again not a good thing. You didn’t come here to read sports stats though but that’s my take from the game. I won’t even touch the Colts game other than after it I walked over to Ethan’s colts hat, and I laughed, and said no sports miracles today, and I guess are teams will have to meet up in the regular season again. I think they may play next year I will have to check, and it should be in Indy so I may try to go.

My final thing today is my struggle with getting in to my wireless router. I have Uverse from AT&T, and they have this device code that is printed on the side of the router. I used this app called be my eyes which just came out recently. Basically the premise is if you need help you can connect and they can tell you what you need to know using the camera. He gave me my password which I knew, but still thought it was cool. I then took a picture and sent it to my brother who gave me the code. I love to go in and mess with the settings. There are a few people with Uverse around me, so I changed the channel my router was on to give it some separation. That seemed to really help, and everything’s working well again. It was a struggle to get that device code though it took me about 2 and a half hours. Cable doesn’t make you do all of that thankfully. I did call AT&T though and had to listen to don’t text while driving messages first off you’re the Uverse people is this relevant? Plus these public service announcements are more annoying than useful. Trust me when I drive there is no texting going on its all focus and skill.