Tag Archives: travel

You must be newly blind?

I think it’s a wonderful time to be blind. For the first time in my life as far as technology goes you can go to any of the big companies and use their operating system Straight Out of the Box. Microsoft, Apple, and Google all offer options straight out of the box that are accessible to anyone who is blind. That really is a dream come true saying that statement. When I was a kid I would have to buy a laptop for example then pay around $1,000 to add on a screen reader. You couldn’t just buy a cheap computer back then no computers were really cheap but even the cheaper ones wouldn’t work with a screen reader you had to have extra Ram to make it work efficiently. So we would spend around $1,500 on a laptop plus then an extra thousand for the screen reader. That isn’t the end of it though unfortunately! What would happen is the screen reader would have to be updated every 6 months to a year depending on how fast technology was moving. So for that you would have to buy what’s called a maintenance agreement which would cost around $25athree upgrades. Things have gotten a lot better since then really we have apple to thank for making voiceover accessible and so good out of the box it has Force Google and now Microsoft to play catch-up and do the same. After seeing Microsoft I really feel that they are wanting to make they’re operating system accessible. This hadn’t been the case under the previous CEO but I really do feel they are trying hard to catch up and possibly become better than what we currently have. It will take time but meeting the people who are actually developing narrator and the other products I do believe in them. Four jobs we need them and Jaws to become better!

I had a few moments out there of just realizing how far technology has come for blind people and how affordable it’s becoming. I think I told you last post I switch to Android! I actually trade in my Galaxy S9 in for a new Galaxy Note 9. I did that because I wanted the bigger battery and even though I’m not thrilled with having the bigger phone the battery makes up for it. This note 9 simply is the best phone I’ve owned in 2 or 3 years! It’s fast and gets me through the day and then some. I used it the entire day once getting to the airport so I had a four and a half hour flight to Chicago and another hour to Louisville. It did amazing I still had 50% of my battery left when getting to the airport to call an Uber. Accessibility wise I do run into a few frustrations with apps however it’s nothing that I can’t manage I’ve pretty much replaced any app that I used on a regular basis on iOS besides games. I wish Android had a few more games that were developed for the blind or that were developed for everyone that worked with the screen readers! I miss my card games! I think though I’m going to stay with Android for the foreseeable future

It’s funny though I was at the airport waiting to fly to Chicago and I heard voice over coming from someone’s iPhone. I thought I wonder if I know them because you know all blind people know each other! See how I plan to the stereotypes? Anyway I heard the guy talking and I said George is that you? He said who is that? I said it’s me Joe. I had met this guy George at the world blind Union conference that was going on out there he works for the American Federation for the blind. I also met his colleague Matthew so I assumed Matthew was with him and I said Matthew are you there too? It was pretty cool recognizing them from afar.

I didn’t have a moment though we’re I realized as a blind person that we still need to push forward. I have contemplated ending the blog and not giving updates because honestly my life isn’t that interesting. However I met Chris in Chicago who changed my mind. So I get to Chicago from Seattle and ask for an agent to get me to my gate because I only have about 30 minutes and didn’t want to risk being late. So Chris meets me and asked me where I was coming from so I mentioned that I was coming from Seattle he asked if I was there on business or pleasure? I responded business. He said just out of curiosity what do you do? So I gave him the run-down and advised I was out at Microsoft for 4 days. He said wow you can work at Microsoft? I didn’t really know how to handle this question but basically what I actually do. He said oh so you must be recently blinded? Me know I have cancer when I was a year old. Chris damn dude you must be really smart! Me that may have been a? I apologize but I’m dictating. Anyway I said no I work with a lot of people who are smarter than me I’m just a tester. It really is true I’ve talked about this and other post I feel that the blind developers I work with do not get the same recognition they deserve for producing these products. Anyway it’s sort of irritates me that people still have this opinion that blind people just sit around and do nothing all day. It’s sort of baffling to me for someone who has worked their entire life! Well maybe not my entire life but most of my adulthood. I’ve had the struggle that most blind people face in finding employment but I’ve been fortunate I know there’s people out there who aren’t as fortunate and haven’t found work and it’s guys like Chris that really irritate me because unfortunately you have some of those same folks hiring. The problem is that I feel you go into an interview and people look at you and say wow how would he do this or how would she do that? They’re not looking at the realization and the abilities of person actually has their seeing themselves as a blind person. It was completely out of the normal for Chris to think that a blind person could actually work at Microsoft never mind that I had actually met three blind people who work at Microsoft while I was there.

I feel like the dictation so far is killing apples! I haven’t corrected anything yet. Any mess-ups probably are from me not speaking clearly. Anyway it’s been a crazy few months hard to believe I’ve been married for two already! Abby and I are doing well our heat went out today so I called and have a repairman coming tomorrow. This happened once before at my house and it was a cold night thankfully and Louisville it’s not that cold yet! It’ll probably get down to about! I’m enjoying being married though we are a good team! Her more so than I probably. I haven’t had to sleep on the couch yet so that’s saying something! The next entry I’ll be back to the keyboard well as long as Apple fixes their damn iPad keyboard issue. I bought an iPad to be a replacement for a laptop lately since iOS 12 though for some reason when I click on a box my keyboard refuses to type the thing it’s supposed to do the best! Too bad apple doesn’t hire me to be a quality assurance person for them I would have pointed this out and beta! It really is driving me nuts.

I’m going to be real with you guys for a minute. I recently just got back from a trip and I do like to travel but the older I get I realize there’s a sadness with that. As a blind person I don’t enjoy going places as much as I used to when I was a kid. I think as I’ve aged I miss some of the things people who can see get when they travel. For me all the sounds are the same. I think that’s why I enjoy Germany so much because it was actually different. I gained a lot of experience and her new things that I don’t often hear here. Seattle or Redmond felt just like Louisville! I used to flip on the radio and go up and down the dial listening to different shows or programs because city-to-city they would be different. Now radio is the same no matter where you are! So that’s gone. I didn’t even bother. However went out walking or driving around in a Uber. I noticed all of the same restaurants and the same things that Louisville has. I mean sure I could go to the Space Needle but what am I gaining from that? I don’t know maybe I’m just being a little grumpy but it is true the more we grow and become unified the more things are looking the same. I know that may not have hit you guys yet as people who can see, but for blind people it really is sort of becoming sad. I think that’s why I enjoy going to see Fraser in the country because it’s different it’s quiet not many people around and it’s just something I don’t get to experience every day. I also grew up on a farm so it reminds me a lot of my childhood but these are all feel the same to me for the most part. Other than being definitely more pine trees and sort of forest e feeling it was Louisville! I just had to travel five and a half hours to sort of be in the same place. I think some services are helping with describing different scenery and things, but at the end of the day it’s sort of his old the same to me. For example when Abby and I were in Chicago and we did our sailboat river cruise we learned a lot about the city’s architecture, but nothing really remain with me from that. The feelings of being on the water in the wind were incredible and that is what stuck with me. Mainly because it’s something I don’t experience every day here in Louisville. I’m sure though if you asked a majority of the people on that same Cruise they would point to a picture of something in the skyline from Chicago or something they salt. After that cruise really Chicago is just a big city experience. I don’t know it’s sort of made me sad in a weird way that I feel this way, but there’s not much I can do I’m just saying and sharing my experience. I wish that going to Seattle or going to anywhere else somehow felt different. I tried to go to some local restaurants while I was there and did. I had a great shrimp burrito for example, but most of the places that we were near were chain restaurants. Due to timing I ended up having to go to Red Robin one night and Jersey Mike’s the next. Maybe that also maybe just sort of feel like I could have been anywhere else or at home. I had a co-worker with me the first two days and he was walking around and describe some of the scenery to me which helped! One morning on his own and I met him at Microsoft. He was telling me about all the things he saw on campus which I thought was me but had I been with him I don’t think I would have felt any different than I do now. It’s great that they have a treehouse but I can’t see that..

I’m a pretty positive guy so I’m not sure I wanted to end with that. I don’t have much else to say other than it is a great time to be alive with all this technology! I know this might be hard for you to understand but I don’t honestly sit around and think about having sight at all. Just when reflecting in a forum like this and hearing people talk about visiting Seattle and things they did I realized that there are definitely disadvantages that I’m seeing. I’m very content with being blind I honestly if given the chance probably would not take Vision if it were available to get. I would have to relearn everything I’ve talked about that and other post. I will give you guys one break quote from me. I think that we’re all custom to what we know. The grew up in the country sometimes the city could be scary. If you grew up in the city sometimes you might think the country scary. Ultimately how we grew up the things around us develop the character we become. I’ve been blind since a child and to think about having sight randomly is sort of scary. When I sit in my chair and listen to a baseball game for example I have no light perception my brain is completely focused in on that game. Or an app. Anyway if I could see I would constantly have light hitting my eye Michael May talks about that in his book crashing through when he was able to get some Vision back.

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So Sighted people can kill us now and just do community service tell all your friends.

I want to say first of off Happy Birthday to my Robin. I saw a video of Abby and I opening gifts for her and it made me smile. I miss her so much. I want to thank the instructors, trainers, and staff at the Seeing-Eye for all they do. The instructors have to train a string of dogs walk miles upon miles in rain cold or shine, and I do want them to know how much I appreciate them. Maybe I’ve been a bit harsh on the school lately I’m just frustrated. They gave me 2 great dogs that made such an impact on me, and I don’t want to hurt the hard work from those people. That being said maybe out reach or communication needs to change. If I go back it would being to the Seeing-Eye because of how they do ownership of the dog, plus no dumb extra stuff like graduation etc..

Recently Abby rode home with a cab driver and he said Joe doesn’t need to get a dog because technology is so much better now. First off technology has improved, but it’s still clunky at best. I think now the only thing that is 100% is I know where I am with GPS. Meaning I have an idea with in 30 feet or so. Cane technology hasn’t gotten any better. I actually got 4 different cane tips to play with and they all seem cheep and not useful but my old faithful marshmallow rolling tip. Canes even have gotten worse since people want them thinner and lighter they just break so much easier now. Sure they have laser canes so fancy but not practical.

I tell you what I want Aira is awesome but sucks if your cell connection sucks which is more than I’d like with Verizon or at&t. What I want is a device that can keep you in a straight line. I have to look drunk as hell walking down the street, because I veer left and right. The dogs kept me straight and also could follow the sidewalk making it less work for me. I miss that so much. To that cab driver or to anyone else who is sighted who thinks they should weigh in on what a blind adult should do how about you put on a blindfold and just walk 10steps then remove it and see where you are. Honestly look at something put the blindfold on and move 10 steps. I bet you veered off track a bit. Now go to a busy street or have a damn lawnmower factoring in and see how walking 10 to 20 steps is now.

My other annoyance has been passing people. Man Robin and Frasier were so good about maneuvering me around people it was just awesome. Today I got behind another blind person and couldn’t get around them. Every time I would go right to pass they would veer right so I kept tripping them lol. It’s so frustrating though to not be able to pass someone when I want.

This next story my friend shared, and I can’t believe it. This guy kills a blind man by running a red light. This infuriates me that no one seems to care. What if it was me or Abby? We’re going off parallel traffic hoping you guys pay attention. Driving has become such a wright when it should be a privilege in this country. Recently I was crossing a light and a car blew its horn first off don’t do that. I don’t know if your honking at me or something else. I think a car was trying to turn which I still the light and they were signaling me to wait. It’s just scary out there even easy intersections have become difficult because no one enforces the laws we have. I like in this article it points out what the sighted person was doing he is going to work, but what was the blind gentleman doing? All I know reading the article he was blinded 20 years ago. Maybe he was walking to see his granddaughter, or just exercising this is a piss poor article and the writer should be ashamed. I guess even though the sighted guy ran the light the blind man was just in his way. It basically paints the sighted person as this working class citizen and the blind person who was by all accounts correct in his street crossing worthless. In the comments tell me I’m wrong and misinterpreting this article.

http://www.koin.com/news/local/multnomah-county/driver-who-killed-blind-man-admits-careless-driving/1247569655

Cain travel takes time

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

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. 

A quick Robin story and travel

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

My Kentucky Louisville dilemma

Last night I was talking to my friend Denny and he made a good point. He said that I should choose either Louisville or Kentucky and that be my home team. it’s very difficult and I haven’t thought about it a lot other than I enjoy watching them both play men’s and women’s. If you’re asking me which announcer I like better definitely Kentucky Tom is great where Paul seems lost and a bit boring. My love for Kentucky sports radio also has fueled my Kentucky interest lately. Also when I took Kevin to the game over a year ago the Harrison’s were amazing they talk with him, and were very nice for young men. Even the last time I went they saw Robin and said something about their favorite dog. Kevin hasn’t been feeling well and they’ve gone above and beyond for that two minutes that they speak with him to make him feel normal.

I don’t really have the same contacts that I do in Louisville other then it’s my home court. It’s a hell of a lot easier for me to go to games then catch a greyhound to Lexington. I do have a nice usher that I know and half the time during the game he comes and sits by me and we just talk about sports. So this leads me to my first problem. The pizza guy came today which I tipped big because it sucks ass outside. anyway I answer the door with my Kentucky had on and he says go Big Blue! we proceeded to do a go cats chant. After he left my Louisville hat was sitting on the table and I had a hard time eating my pizza okay not that hard but it put me into some decision-making for the first time. Can I continue to go on supporting both or will I have to choose? I don’t know! That’s an open question. Maybe next time I’ll have my Louisville hat on and we can do at go carts chant.

I went to Atlanta on Thursday and did some advocating for a travel company for service animals. I gave a half hour speech and I think it went well. I don’t know what will come of it maybe a job I’m just keeping quiet for now. The travel really killed me I left Thursday morning and return pretty late Thursday night and I’m just not built for that like I used to be. I’m going to continue watching this Minnesota Wisconsin game hoping the badgers lose so Purdue has a chance but it doesn’t look like it right now. This snow and slush really sucks I’m going to have to go out and shovel my drive again, but the drivers that of pick me up I have all commented that my driveway is clean and they have a path they actually thought I paid someone to do it which felt nice that they said that.

Christmas lights boy this should be a hoot

As I said when I started this blog today is great to be blind versus any other generation. Even in my life I’ve seen time diminish significantly when trying to complete tasks. granted you have to probably spend a little more money to do so, but it’s way worth it in the end. for example I noticed today Robin was out of food, so I decided to use Lyft and go to feeder supply. I went the driver actually went in and help me get the kind of food I needed and then went to Arby’s and was home within 15 minutes. The same trip using public transportation or door-to-door service would’ve taken at least two or three hours. I know because before we had services such as Lyft I faced that. In fact a lot of times I would go to Walmart because I could hit subway and do my shopping and one trip versus having to go to different places. so even with my struggles I welcome Lyft and Uber. My driver pick me up at 10 and I was back home by 1034 with the hot Cordon Bleu chicken from Arby’s. hopefully dictation got that right.

On Friday after I wrote my blog this girl Jessica came to my house so Taylor left and we watched a movie and hung out. Today we’re going to go look at some Christmas lights I’m not sure how that will be for me but I will pretend and make light of it as usual. I bought a MacBook air so I’ve been spending a lot of my day learning things with that. I’ve gone back-and-forth whether or not I really wanted a computer and I settled with that it definitely is nice helping me do things I can’t do from my iPad or iPhone.

My final thing today is I would’ve been great in the 50s. i’ve been listening to some bing Crosby and realize I have a pretty deep voice and I would’ve sold millions of Christmas albums. That’s what I tell myself in the shower anyway.

Lyft

Tonight I had something happen that is been a long trend of annoyance to me. I went to a store to buy beer and when I went to pay the girl said I don’t know how we can do this? She was referring to me signing a receipt or in this case touchscreen. I’ve had several delivery people from Jimmy John’s and Papa John’s say the same thing recently. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if they phrased it as a question sort of like what I did. However instead it’s phrased as more of a thought and they’re not really directly talking to me.

I took this new service tonight called Lyft. I want to give them praise, because it was actually pretty useful. I used my iPhone and scheduled a ride my driver was named Vicky. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I figured she probably had never met a blind person, but I wanted to try the service and see if it would be better than yellow cab. When she got here I told her I was blind and had a Reds hat on, and she quickly told me she saw me and pulled up. When I got in it seemed like we were longtime friends. She told me she was 55 and was a retired firefighter I told her she did not look a day over 30. She said when I called you and you asked if I would wait for you why you picked up beer I thought why would somebody need to drive them to get beer? I told her I lost my license yesterday. I also thanked her for allowing me to continue my habit. Overall it was a really great experience, and I’ll probably try it again. I enjoy the companionship rather than getting very little talk and fears of the dog. She actually saw the exchange of me and the clerk at the store and on our way out I said that’s part of the fun of my life they’ll take my money and then freak out when it comes to something small like signing. It really is amazing to see how uncomfortable people get.

I still have a lot to learn

Last night Erica and I had a conversation. Monday I had left robin by herself all day, because she wasn’t feeling well. I didn’t ask her to stop by, because it would have been out of her way to do so. Anyway Monday night was pretty rough, because she hung up on me and I wasn’t really sure where we were going to go from there. She called me back and said she would come over Tuesday night to talk.

We went out to the little pond at my apartment, and sat for a while talking about each other’s day. I find the water sound so peaceful. Finally we got down to the meat of the conversation. She said that she understood why I am protecting myself, but if I want us to grow I have to let things go. I agreed with her I basically started off the conversation with I’m sorry I was wrong. In my mind I felt I was doing the right thing, and maybe it’s not about what was wrong or right, but I didn’t call her or include her with what was going on. She told me she wants to be a part of my life I love robin, and so does she, and she wants to protect that. She used an example that I really understood. She said what if I was sick and didn’t want you paying for a cab to my place so I just didn’t tell you that would make you mad right? Of course I would be, because I would want to get her soup or do whatever she needed to help her feel better.

I’m not perfect, and I know people like Jared tried to show me flaws in my ways of thinking, but this is the first time I get it. For me I’m just trying to rationalize I’ve had a hand full of bad relationships, and why would someone want to be with me and my short comings? I watched my dad growing up and he did all the driving and handy work. I’m good at doing things around the house, and have a pretty good skill set but I just feel lacking somehow.

Mel told me that if I want someone caring and loving they’re going to want to be nurturing towards me. I may have butchered a bit what she told me, but it was helpful. I’ve never seen my thoughts on being independent as harmful, but now I see they need a little improving. I still want to take things slow, but Erica and I reached a level of understanding that felt really nice yesterday. She also said that I do more for her than I realize, and I don’t have to worry. She gave me some examples which were really nice and thoughtful. Things like I text her in the morning, or randomly just to say hi with a little positive note. She told me she’s never had that before. I also hooked up her surround sound recently which she was struggling with. She also mentioned how I was able to just fit right in with her grandpa, and she liked that. I just thought her examples were easy for me to understand, and I felt more wrong and awful for creating a situation.

This whole experience has me feeling like I will always learn. Maybe were never really done learning! I’m independent and I take care of everything for myself, but because I can’t drive or build something for Erica I felt inadequate which really is ridiculous. I’m sure it comes from rejection and just a lot of negative feelings that have built up, because it isn’t easy. When you find someone who wants to love you you have to hold on I would have eventually just killed it thinking like how I was. When I moved to Louisville I met a guy named Jerry. He owns about 18 rental properties and is totally blind. He does construction work on everyone. He is building a new house right now, and if it wasn’t so far from where I live I would have been interested. I’ve helped drive fence posts, but I never thought I could build a room on my own. That is me limiting myself, because Jerry can do it. I asked him how he designs something, and he just told me it comes natural he’s always been good at that kind of architecture. I think were molded by are environment and ultimately what we know. If it’s important to me to learn how to build a house I’ll probably figure it out if it’s not I’ll just pay someone.

Tonight is our first date, so I have the butterflies. We’ve gone out as friends a lot, but there is this spark now, so it’s a bit different. I have a nice romantic first kiss planned after dinner as well, so here is to hoping.

By the way next week Pilot Neil is coming in to town for the Derby, so I’m excited to have some live stories involving him. Friday I have off, so were going to the track for Oaks day. He is always challenging me to try something different like that football story I told you about a while ago, or tandem bike riding. He usually will let me drive as well, so were always up to something. I asked him recently if he had found a new blind friend to replace me In Philadelphia. He responded with he’s moved on to searching for someone in a wheelchair he’s met enough blind people. We are planning on going to some baseball games this summer, because he has a plane and has to fly to maintain a license. His wife Adrian goes along, so we have a good time. She keeps us in line a lot of the time.