Category Archives: relieving

Let it snow! Let it um, snow…oh crap it’s gonna snow

Happy holidays, everyone! Whoa wait, what? Who am I and what have you done with Ro? Yeah yeah yeah, so I’m not all bah humbug this year, what can I say? something about being a part of a happy family with a child, in the cold, with the scent of a pine candle on a warmer next to my computer has made me embrace the holidays like I haven’t done since I was newly sober and life was shiny and new. Hmmm, shiny new life, happy with the holidays. coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, snow. The first time it snowed here a week ago, it felt magical. We woke up to everything covered in sparkling white, at least that’s how I imagined it. The kids had the day off thanks to the once monthly teacher planning day, and the sounds of happy children filled the air.

I put on the heavy winter coat I bought at Value Village over my normal layers, added a heavy crochet scarf (granny squares sewed together that was supposed to be a bed coverlet that I gave up on) and my new fur lined boots and went outside with Jayden. We walked up and down the street with the kids and I marveled at the feel and sound of crunching underfoot. David’s ten year-old kept brushing piles of snow off Jayden’s nose. the kids filled a wheelbarrow full of snow from people’s cars to build an ice fort in the front yard of the house across the street from David’s. There was so much joy!

Then I started feeling the cold and my scarf was getting kind of gross since I had it wrapped around my nose and mouth and did you know that cold makes your nose run?

When we stepped into the house, my body instantly began baking in my layers, my boots squeaking as snow melted and I realized my feet, and Jayden’s, were wet and tracking snow into the house. Not so magical, I thought.

I peeled off layers and dried our feet and settled in to drink coffee and read some Twitter while the kids played outside. When it was time for Jayden to have a pee, I bundled up, wrapped the scarf around my face, laced my feet into my boots, and went back outside to enjoy the snow again. David’s son came into the yard and pelted me with a snowball. It was on!

I picked up the nicely packed snowball and rubbed it up, imagining red stitches against the white, my fingers across four seams. I narrowed my eyes at the giggling child at the plate, wound up and let fly. It went way left and was most definitely a wild pitch. A runner on third would have scored easily. All the ten year-old’s snowballs hit me squarely. Hmmm, this isn’t fun like I remember it the few times it snowed in Tucson when I was sighted, I thought, as a kid, or as an adult at the pool hall when we scooped snow off of cars to throw at each other since it didn’t stick on the ground. That night had been the first time I’d driven in the snow,, and last, unbeknownst to me. It looked like warp speed on the Starship Enterprise as the flakes were caught in the beams of my headlights.

This time, there was no snowball fight with friends in a parking lot and no warp speed stars. the kids went off to a friend’s house and with no happy little voices frolicking around, just Jayden and me crunching around in the snow alone, we went inside to where it was warm and where David, accustomed to the Washington weather, waited with coffee and a hug.

The snow turned to ice after some lovely freezing rain and temperatures, and I got used to bundling up for the minute it takes Jayden to relieve himself. Apparently, this weather hasn’t been normal around these parts for quite some time, though more snow is coming. Just in time for the frigid air, a big box full of winter clothes arrived on my doorstep from a Rays fan friend in Florida. She’d lived in the Pacific Northwest for awhile, and those clothes were going unused, so now I have a variety of sweaters to choose from, rather than this Rays shirt, or that Rays tank top, with this Rays hoodie, or that one. She even sent a hooded wool coat. thanks, friend!

I think I’ll wrap this up and go make some chocolate peanut butter candy to see how the boys like it. I get to make Mom’s old favorite holiday sweets now that there are plenty of people to enjoy them.

Merry Christmas!

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Filed under baseball, coffeeholic, crochet, family, gratitude, holiday, Jayden, mom, num num food, relieving, sobriety, twitter me this, weather, working dog

Tampa Bay Trip – Day One

I have a big top secret writing project planned but I have so many blog posts hanging over my head that I can’t focus on the big one. It’s silly right? Nothing says I need to post here at all but The Roof was my first writing project so I feel beholden to it somehow. So how does one catch up when so behind? One post at a time. Or one win at a time, in the Rays’ case. So I’m starting with day one of the Florida trip that took place forever ago.

So much preparation went in to this trip and not just on my part. So many people played a part in this once in a lifetime dream come true. There were the donors who made the trip completely financially stress free, there were friends planning transportation, there were groceries bought for my hotel room, every need I could have possibly had was met. So the day I left Tucson, March 29, was full of excitement, not stress. I had complete trust and faith in the people I was turning my life over to for a week. Did I mention I had never met any of these people in person? People were astounded when I told them I was flying by myself to a state I’d never been to and people I’d never met. As more of the story of how these people made the trip possible came out, my joy spread like wildfire. I had one paratransit driver say he couldn’t wait to tell his wife the story. Another driver shared a story about strangers helping her family after a tragic death. Everywhere I went, there were stories of the good in people. I couldn’t wait to get on the plane!

My flight was scheduled to leave Tucson about 11am. We got to the airport around 9:30 and I quickly realized Saturdays are not the day to travel. The Tucson airport is generally pretty quiet, a rather lazy airport. Not the day I left. I was so nervous that when we got to the ticket counter my hands were shaking as I handed the ticket agent my ID. “Why am I so nervous?” I asked B.

“You’re excited,” he said knowingly.

The ticket agent complimented my manicure. I had gotten my first ever shellack manicure in blue for my Rays. My ring fingernails were covered in glitter as an accent. It was so fun getting pampered in the week before the trip!

There was a long line at security. I just wanted to get on the plane so I could finally relax. As we reached the TSA agents a deep voice told us to go to him. I can’t remember what he asked me to do, oh I remember. Not everyone has to remove there shoes these days. He asked me to remove my shoes and I jokingly said, “is it because I’m blind?” He said yes so matter of factly that my mouth dropped open and finally he laughed and assured me I wasn’t being singled out. I like joking TSA agents. People are so boring when they’re serious all the time.

We finally got through security. B was allowed to come with me to the gate. It was so crowded that there wasn’t anywhere to sit so I plopped on the floor by Jayden and checked in on Foursquare.

– Aside –

I used to hate Foursquare so much that I had any mention of it muted in my Twitter client. People constantly shared every single place they ever visited. Why? Why do I need to know you’re getting gas at the Chevron? One day I was reading twitter on my iPhone where I had no mute filters set up and someone checked in at their child’s school! SeriouslY?

– End aside –

I wanted a good record of all the places I visited on the trip and Foursquare came in really handy for that. Not only was it great for my memories, my friends in Florida could track me as I came to them. I shared everything on Twitter and Facebook. It’s so much faster then sending texts to let everyone know you’ve arrived safely.

I felt so bad for Jayden since he couldn’t eat or drink the day we travelled. I gave him a small piece of cookie (dog biscuit) as we waited to board. We didn’t wait long. Soon it was announced that people with small children and disabilities were being pre-boarded so B kissed me goodbye, handed my carry-on suitcase to the helper and I was on my way! Weeeee!

As Jayden followed the helper through the jetway I was told it was a full flight. I hate those words haha. Full flight means they won’t be able to clear the seat next to us so Jayden will have to stay all scrunched up. I always get the bulkhead seat so there’s a little more leg room. We sit on the window so I can keep my leg position such that Jayden can curl up nicely between my leg and the window.

the helper handed me over to a flight attendant and she helped us to our seat. My carry-on was stowed and I got us settled as the plane began to fill up. I had bought a mini messenger bag that I could sling across my body in the hopes that they would let me keep that on me. The last time I flew, I used the hip pack I got from Guide Dogs so I could keep my phone and gum and stuff on me since there’s no under the seat space in bulkhead. Last time I flew however,I had gone to visit Chupa in Colorado and when we stopped for coffee after we left the airport, I was mortified to walk into Starbucks with my hip pack. It was a good laugh haha! I’m not a very vain person but something about a hip pack, you know?

they let me keep my messenger bag so I was all set for the flight with gum, Advil, granola bars and Jayden’s cookies. Let’s goooooo!

The seats next to me were empty for so long I started to feel hopeful but at the last minute a couple sat down next to me. The husband took the aisle seat and the wife wasn’t very vocal. She also had an incredibly smelly sandwich. As the plane taxied and started picking up speed she said, “I love this part!” I agreed and thrilled as the engines got louder and the moment of liftoff was felt as my back was pushed into the seat. Airborne! On my way!

(I’m so glad all the memories are coming back to me so vividly. I did not plan on waiting so long to write about the trip.)

I just got distracted by Mariah Carey singing Vision of Love.

As soon as we were allowed to use our electronics I got my iPad out and settled in to listen to “Code Zero” by Jonathan Maberry. Audio books are so great at passing time. Before I knew it we were making our final approach into Dallas. I thought about my friends Amanda and Taylor. I was so close to them!

When we landed and could come out of airplane mode I checked in on Foursquare and was told the place was swarming. Little did I know just how many flights came in and out of that airport!

We waited until everyone got off the plane and then a guy came to help us off. he got my carry-on and as we emerged from the jetway he asked if I wanted to ride on the cart that was at the gate. Remembering how much walking was involved at the Denver airport, I gratefully said yes. Jayden and I got on the cart and I grinned as the air hit my face. Inside. Air on my face inside. I reached down and touched Jayden’s head and could feel him trying to look at everything. There were so many passing sounds and smells. Snippets of conversation , the rolling of suitcases, food areas, the driver calmly making the cart’s presence known. We drove. And drove. And drove and soon the enormity of the airport dawned on me and my gratitude for the cart was overwhelming. Finally we were nearing the gate and I asked the driver if a restroom was near the gate. He stopped right outside the ladies room and waited for me to take me to the gate. Such service!

I found a seat and then remembered I liked to check in at the gate desk just to make sure Jayden and I were visible. I started heading in the direction of where I heard airport staff and a man asked if he could help us as I tried to drag my carry-on behind me. He was so nice! He helped us to the counter and back to a seat and then we sat and talked while I waited to board. Conversation began with questions about Jayden and where we were heading. I asked if he lived in Tampa since that was where the flight was going and he explained that he was hoping to get a standby flight and had stopped at that terminal to rest. that’s how huge this airport its! I can’t remember where he was traveling from but he was waiting on the last leg of a long journey. I want to say maybe he had been in South Africa doing church work. Wow. Just wow. He was waiting to get home. We talked a bit about the travel and he asked for more details about my trip of a lifetime. I asked if he had Twitter and he said he did, his son made him get an account but he didn’t use it often. I told him about the #RoToTrop hashtag and he said he would look it up. I wonder if he did!

Finally it was time to board again and I felt a bump of excitement. One more flight and I’d be there!

It was yet another full flight but the couple next to me were nice. I finished “Code Zero” and tried to hide my tears at one point. Joe Ledger books aren’t supposed to make me cry, Jonathan Maberry! *Shakes fist*

I decided to listen to some Josh Groban for the last bit of the flight and at one point Jayden moved so I bent to touch him and the music stopped. What? I took the headphones out and had volume. I tried the headphones on my iPhone and they worked. What the heck? Fine, I’ll listen to Josh on my iPhone. Crap. No I won’t. I had taken off all my music so I’d have plenty of room for media on the trip. Hmmm. I checked the audio books I keep on my phone for safe keeping. Old iTunes downloads that I got before I had Audible. Ah, “Silence of the Lambs”. That’s good. Are you about a size fourteen? Oh good good. Precious?

As we made our final approach into Tampa I couldn’t help it, I squealed with delight. “I’m so excited, you guys!” I said to my seat mates. I explained why and the man said, “Ah, I thought that was a Rays shirt you’re wearing.) this puzzled me because while he was correct, I was waring my Stripes for Archer shirt and I didn’t think it said Rays anywhere on it. I later confirmed this so the man had to know about the fan club! I was already among friends!

Ohmigod I’m in Tampa, I thought as the plane landed. I checked in on Foursquare and checked text messages. Manda had left a text saying they would be where the train stops, whatever that meant. Oh boy, another huge airport?

I not so patiently waited for everyone to get off the plane and finally my helper came for me and I was off. Ohmigod! We did indeed have to ride a train. It wasn’t far from the gate and suddenly we were getting off the train and I heard screaming and shouting and a very clear, “there she is!” Jayden had never met these people but he seemed to know they were friends and he was pulling pulling pulling towards them as my helper and I followed with my carry-on and then there were arms around me and laughing and Jayden was beside himself excited and I was meeting Manda, Davis and Tina. With all the commotion and noise we were making you’d have thought a lot more than three people had come to get me haha! Finally we calmed down and made our way towards baggage claim. I was in desperate need of coffee since I limit my fluids when traveling. I’d had a cup of water on each flight and that was it. Manda said she was pretty sure there was a Starbucks in the airport but in the end we decided to hit a drive thru on the way to St. Petersburg. I just wanted to get my suitcase and take care of my boy. Davis ran ahead to look for my suitcase but came back and told us it wasn’t there. Everyone else had come and gone so I felt a nudge of panic. We went to the baggage claim office and my claim ticket was checked and it showed that my suitcase had arrived. Just then some more luggage got to the area and yes! I had all of Jayden’s thinks with me in my carry-on as well as all the Snickerdoodle cookies I had baked the day before so I had the important stuff, but I was happy to have all my clothes haha.

We made our way outside and oh the humidity! I was warm from all the activity and when we hit the humidity I was instantly covered in sweat. We found a place for Jayden to pee, on this raised shrubbery thing that was not ideal. I was laughing at how hot I was, fanning myself with my shirt and they all laughed and said they were wearing sweaters. Are you crazy! It had rained all day and was like sixty degrees. Oh brrr haha! It was so humid because of the rain.

After relieving Jayden we made our way to the #RoToTrop Mobile, otherwise known as Davis’ SUV. He had shoe polished the hash tag on the back window. I got into my cary-on to get into Jayden’s food but I could not find the travel bowl I had brought with me. I’m usually good at remembering where I packed stuff but I could not find it. They all tried to think of what to put the food in and Davis lamented the fact that he’d had the car detailed. No loose trash to the rescue. Then a lightbulb went on over Manda’s head and she ran to her spot in the car. “Frisbee!” she shouted.

“Where did you find a frisbee in there?” Davis wondered.

turns out Manda had gone to a charity bowling event that day held by David Price and frisbees were part of the swag. It was perfect! Jayden happily ate and we both chugged water.

Finally we got settled in the car and set out to find Starbucks. There was a lot of laughing and I dropped an f-bomb and smacked my hands over my mouth. I have a sailor mouth but that rarely comes out on my blog or Twitter. Everyone laughed and started dropping their own f-bombs which made us laugh some more. It was good times! Oh and I got my Starbucks so the caffeine deprivation was over.

We got to the hotel on Treasure Island near where Manda lives and checked in. The room was in a great location. Jayden and I wouldn’t have to go far to get to some sand where he could relieve. I started calling it his litter box haha. They all carried in groceries! Gatorade and Pringles and bananas oh my! They are too sweet! Oh and lots of bottled water. There was a mini kitchen in the room. After a bit Davis and Tina left and Manda and I hung out as I started to settle into my room. There were two double beds which was nice since the second bed held my suitcases. There was a small table with two chairs, a dresser with a TV on it, and the little kitchen. It was cute! The table was perfect for my electronics.

We decided to order pizza and oh man was it delicious! I ate a ton which was good because I couldn’t eat much the rest of the trip. nerves, man!

We sat up and talked forever, took Jayden out and walked down to the ocean. That’s how close my room was to the water! Actually we didn’t get all the way to the water because Jayden did not want to walk anymore. We turned around and made our way back and Jayden left a present haha. No wonder he didn’t want to walk anymore! We picked it up and kept going. Manda freaked me out for a second when she said something like, “now if I can just figure out where the hotel is.” Wha! Turns out it’s really really dark on that beach at night. You aren’t even supposed to be out that far that late. Oops! Did you know there are birds that chirp at night? The sounds were so cool! the distant waves and the night birds. Awesome!

We got back and Manda left. Her house was within walking distance of the hotel. I got ready for bed, spent some time on Twitter, then curled up with Jayden and listened to my audio book. Jayden loved that bed haha! He doesn’t sleep in bed with me at home. He ended up taking up most of the bed himself haha!

So that was day one! My arms are just a tad sore from all the typing.

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Filed under #RoToTrop, accomplishment, apple Inc, Audio books, baseball, coffeeholic, fellowship, gratitude, iPhone, Jayden, jayden quirks, music, num num food, relieving, silly girl, twitter me this, working dog

Doggy Diaries: Jayden and the Return to the Human Dentist

All my dental issues certainly aren’t making me lack for things to write about, that’s for sure. Jayden and I went back to the dentist today to have two cavities filled. I just prayed this morning that things with paratransit would go more smoothly and that the driver would not be late picking me up like he was on Friday.

My prayers were answered, at least for the first ride. The driver arrived promptly at 10am and we had one pick-up and drop-off and then it was my turn. I was there fifteen minutes before my appointment time and they took Jayden and me right back.

I wish you could have felt the difference in Jayden today. I’m sure other guide dog handlers will know what I mean when I say I could just feel that his confidence was much higher than it was on Friday when everything was uncertain and I was stressed and in pain. Today it was like he was thinking, ok Mom is much better, I know this place, these people are nice, it’s all good.

Today he just followed the woman back to the exam room and there was a spring in his step. This time I wasn’t stressed and my pain level was severely decreased after being on antibiotics all weekend for the infection. The fillings were done without a hitch and Jayden even slept right through the drill. He’s been through so much medical stuff with me he just doesn’t even bat an eye anymore. He used to give the stink eye to anyone who laid a hand on me haha! I think he understands what medical professionals are now.

After I was done, we had awhile to wait. My appointment was done forty minutes before my paratransit window even began. I knew I probably scheduled that one a little too late but I didn’t want to take any chances. I talked with the receptionist about my oral surgery stuff and she called to schedule a consultation with them on Wednesday. That I can do alone since there won’t be any extracting going on. I called the place when I got home to ask about the building and about how long the appointment will take and if I need to arrive early, but they didn’t answer and haven’t returned my call. Until I get my ride scheduled, I feel like I can’t quite relax today.

After I got that scheduled I used the human relieving circle and then took Jayden out to the place one of the women showed me on Friday. Jayden went right back to it and relieved and then took me back to the front of the building. I hadn’t been paying enough attention to how far the door was after the turn but I could tell he had passed it. He was just exploring haha. We turned around and found the door and settled in to wait.

At 1pm I called paratransit because it was the end of my window and no van was there. She said I was next and the van would be there in five minutes. When we got on board, the driver apologized and said she had been on her lunch break and didn’t realize she had gone past the end. I thought to myself, you should have kept quiet, your dispatcher covered for you.

I listened to my book for a bit and then some really nice ladies got on so we talked about dogs until the driver got to my place. I had made the mistake of telling Jayden he’d get a banana when we got home and he jumped up from his down, all excited. The ladies got a kick out of it. When we got off the van, he practically ran to our door haha!

I’m in quite a bit of pain as time goes on now. Not where the cavities were filled, but up by the back wisdom tooth that needs to come out. My mouth still needs so much work that this was like poking an angry bruise. I hope the oral surgeon’s office calls back soon so I can just relax.

Jayden is snoring loudly on the couch beside me. God I love that dog!

Oh! I almost forgot the joke I played on the dental assistant haha! She gave me safety glasses to put on and after I had them on I said, “I can see!” I am such a brat.

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Filed under Dental Health, Doggy Diaries, humor as coping skill, Jayden, jayden quirks, NaBloPoMo 2013, num num food, relieving, silly girl, working dog

Rays Road Trip Day One

So I shut down my Twitter client so I would just focus on writing this post. I tell you, Twitter has ruined my blogging haha! I want to capture as many memories as possible from this trip so I’m just going to write. I can pretty much guarantee that this post will be long. (Yep, WordPress tells me it’s 3,600 words. Whoa!) My hope is to write about the first day today before the Rays game at one and then write about the second day tomorrow. Let’s see how I do.

So for those who don’t know, B and Jayden and I set out on Tuesday August 6 for Phoenix, AZ to attend the two Rays games against the Diamondbacks. B got us a really nice room at a brand new hotel in downtown Phoenix right near the park and the hotel was pet friendly with complimentary dog bowls. When B read me the description of the hotel my eyes lit up. I was a little leery of dealing with other dogs but if the place was pet friendly, there would be a nice and easy relieving area, right? Ha!

B got a fantastic deal on the room. He’s really gotten good at road trips on the cheap, using hotels.com. The closer it got to the trip the more excited I started to feel but I made myself keep on an even keel so I wouldn’t get exhausted before we even left. Added to the mix was the possibility that we’d be going on the field for batting practice before the Wednesday game. What? I know. I got a message about it from David Price’s lady, Tiffany, a few days before the trip. David Price wanted to get me on field passes. Oh. Em. Gee. I felt the excitement bubbling up inside me at the possibility, images began dancing in my head of walking with Jayden on the grass, could we walk the bases? Could I get an idea of how big the field is? I started thinking about meeting the guys, getting a hug from David Price so I could tell how tall he is, telling Evan Longoria all about how he gave me baseball, was all this going to happen? Whoa there, slow down, stop it girly. Stay even. Deep breath. No highs ok? Don’t start with the expectations. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst right? Yes, even for fun things. So I tried putting that out of my mind. I told my friend Manda on Twitter and of course I told B and Carol but that was it.

So anyway, I had been checking the weather in Phoenix. Not for the impact on the games since Chase Field has a retractable roof, but for me. I was happy to read that it would be dry there. It had been somewhat humid here and I know I know those of you who live in humid climates think I’m nuts but I live in the desert because it’s dry most of the time so when you add a little moisture, I feel it.

We left here about noon on Tuesday and I was reading Twitter on my phone. David Price was tweeting a lot about food, making me laugh. Then Sarah Maddon, who I really hoped to meet who lives in Phoenix, tweeted about rain and Jaime Edmondson, Evan Longoria’s lady, tweeted about rain and I was like what? No! It’s supposed to be dry! Sure enough, we soon encountered wet freeway the closer we got to Phoenix. Bullocks. I heard rain on the windshield. Normally I love rain, however when I have to leave the house and go out in humidity, it’s a problem. Oh well, brush it off.

We hit a little bit of traffic going into Phoenix but not major traffic jams, miracle. B let me know when we drove passed Chase and I said hi to the Rays though it was like 2pm so they probably weren’t there yet. B found the hotel and it looked like it was valet only. He drove around looking for a lot but nope, valet only. Ok so valet is nice right? But when you’ve been in the car for two hours, you want to get out and stretch and leisurely move. At least I do haha. Nope! You have to get out and get your stuff right away. I’m not used to valet anything. I’m a small town girl haha! There was also kinda loud music playing. Not your normal stuffy hotel music either. So I couldn’t hear very well. We were downtown too so there was traffic noise right there, traffic and music and I just told Jayden to find B and I went on auto pilot. Somehow we got inside. B was checking in and I asked about the relieving area when suddenly there was another dog in the lobby so I was controlling Jayden and explaining that he couldn’t say hi and then B was done checking in and I asked him if he heard where the relieving area was because I hadn’t.

I had made sure we got a room near the elevator so I wouldn’t have to walk Jayden too far down halls in the morning when he had to pee. We were on the sixth floor. Holy plush carpet Batman! We went up to the room so I could use the human relieving area then we went back out to relieve Jayden. Remember how I thought a pet friendly hotel would have a convenient relieving area? Ha!

We’re walking and I’m like, “are you sure this is where they said to go?” There’s traffic and we cross a street and I’m like what? And it’s humid and I’m covered in sweat and then we’re going up some steps and I’m like, “seriouslY?” I hear a fountain and B said yes, the grass by the fountain and then there’s grass. Wow. Alrighty then.

We get back to the room and there’s time to relax before we need to head to the field. I need coffee desperately. B starts looking for the coffee maker. Hmmm. Actually you know what? He looked for it before we took Jayden out. There was no coffee maker in the room. Are you kidding me? I asked when we took Jayden out and the concierge lady said she’d send one up. They have coffee on the second floor in the morning too. I also requested dog bowls. So when we got back to the room we had the dog bowls and a coffee maker. I collapsed on the couch thing next to the bed and begged B to start a pot of coffee. I’m imagining those little pots in most hotel rooms right? Wrong. B isn’t a coffee drinker but because of me, he knows how to brew boring old coffee in boring old makers. I hear him making questioning sounds and I’m like, it should just be a little packet of coffee like a tea bag. He hands it to me. Oh! This is a K cup! Uh oh. I don’t know how to use a Keurig. I know what they are but I’ve never used one. So B reads the instructions and gets it figured out and brews me a cup. A cup. For me. The coffeeholic. Ha! There were two K cups. Two cups of coffee. I had to save the other one for morning. Oh my. But, the one cup was ok for right then and there.

I think I tweeted some then, Jayden drank water, we relaxed. I turned on my Verizon hot spot since the hotel didn’t have free internet. It was getting closer to game time and I was getting more and more excited. I changed into my Rays shirt and hat and we got ready to go. We were just going to walk from the hotel. The description on the website said it was a seven to ten minute walk. Not bad and B said it wasn’t far. Ha!

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Ok, where was I? Short walk, right. I fed Jayden and we set out, pausing at the relieving area. It was so humid right there because of the grass and the fountain so I was drenched in sweat before we even really began the walk. Thank goodness for the cloud cover! It really was a gorgeous late afternoon for a walk except for the humidity. Rain had really cooled things down nicely.

We walked and walked and walked. And walked. And then walked. Jayden wasn’t happy. There were surfaces he didn’t like. I wasn’t really ok physically which added to his discomfort so the walk wasn’t fun but we finally made it. We’re here? Finally? The Rays are here! yay!

We got the tickets I had ordered over the phone. I asked the will call girl about what would happen if I got field passes and she said if they were there tomorrow, they’d be at window one. Naturally I focused on her saying “if”.

We walked not very far inside before B found our section. It was blissfully cool inside Chase Field. I had bought accessible seats on the phone but B said, “this is supposed to be accessible?” I asked if there was an usher and one magically appeared. She looked at the tickets and explained that she would get us chairs. Our seats were indeed accessible! We got cushy folding chairs right where wheelchairs would go. We just positioned the chairs behind a row of seats so we had drink holders and everything. The usher closed a rope behind us and we settled in. Jayden had tons of room and the seats were great. We were on the first base line behind the Rays dugout and up a few levels. We hadn’t needed stairs or an elevator. We had been to Chase for a game back in 2009 when the DBacks played the Angels and back then they didn’t have nearly as much accessible seating as they do now.

So anyway, I put Jayden’s mat down but he immediately plopped his belly down on the cool concrete, resting just his head on the mat. He passed out. It was blissful to take my backpack off! I learned from the game in Colorado, which I haven’t even written about here oops, and brought my own radio. It’s the radio I got when I was first blind, before I had any iThings and digital audio books. It’s an AM/FM CD player, like you’d have in your office. We had to get batteries for it, batteries! How archaic! It took C batteries. I didn’t even know there was such a thing haha. The radio got good reception as long as I held it on my lap. Unfortunately I couldn’t listen to my guys, Dave Wills and Andy Freed. If only the At Bat app wasn’t two minutes behind. Oh well, luxury problem. I had a radio and that was all that mattered.

Are we to game time yet? I will turn this blog right around and go back home.

I had given our seat info to some friend son Twitter, something I also learned from Colorado. Before we left the hotel, I tweeted Dave Wills and asked him the best way to make sure we met since we missed each other in Colorado. He said to tweet him when we got there so I asked Manda to tweet him my seat location. I snapped a pic of the field and tweeted it to let my friends know we’d made it. B was hungry but the heat and humidity had zapped my appetite. I knew I needed to eat something so he got me some nachos and then went off to find food fore himself. I munched on nachos and listened to the sounds of the park, music playing, fans talking,, laughter, calls from the beer guy. The game wasn’t quite close to starting. I was just taking it all in. You can feel the enormity of Chase Field. It was just as impressive as it was the first time I was there in ’09 only more so now that my Rays were there. Joe Maddon was there! Evan Longoria was there! Wil Myers was there! David Price was there! Jim Hickey and Tom Foley and Fernando Rodney and Jose Lobaton and Jake McGee and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist and and and!!!!

“Ro?”

Did I just hear Ro? I had just shoved a nacho in my mouth. The din around me and the sound of my chewing was playing tricks on me.

“Ro?”

I know that voice!!!! I turned around in my seat, waved, pointed at my mouth and the nachos.

“It is her!”

I set the nachos on B’s empty chair and stood laughing and shouting about my mouth being full. It was Dave Wills and Andy Freed!!!! Right there!!! the men I listen to every single day, the men who taught me baseball, the men I so wanted to meet! They were right there!

I hugged them both and jumped up and down and they met Jayden and we chatted and I said they needed a park like this in Florida and they said a bit smaller and we chatted and I can’t even remember about what exactly. It was so comfortable because they weren’t strangers to me at all. I know them, probably better than they realize. When you listen to someone talk on the radio for at least three hours for at least 162 games, you learn about them. Especially Dave and Andy because they are great friends so they chat on air and you really get to know them. And here they were! I was just so happy, probably the happiest I remember feeling in a very long time. B got back with his food and I introduced them and they razzed him about wearing a DBacks shirt and then they had to go to work and they said they’d come by the next day too and I whispered about the possible on field passes and said, “shhh I don’t know if it has to be on the down low” and they laughed and we hugged again and they were gone. Wow! Ok, I’m good, let’s go back to the hotel. We got up and left. Just kidding!

Oh, one thing that really impressed me about Andy Freed was he just came out and asked how I went blind. I love that! Just get it out there when you’re curious. I can’t remember which one asked me how long I’d had Jayden but I ended up explaining that he was raised for a year before his training and Andy Freed said he knows someone who raises puppies and I asked if it was for Southeastern Guide Dogs there in Florida and it was. It was just kinda cool to have that link with him. Puppy raisers rock!

So wow, the game part of this post is probably going to be the shortest part. It was so awesome to be able to cheer loudly for my guys and ring my cowbell. Coors Field in Colorado had banned cowbells. Maybe that’s why I haven’t written about that game. I didn’t really get to be a fan there. Anyway, I got to ring my bell and cheer and listen to the DBacks radio guys describe the action and B was there and Jayden was there and my Rays were right down there on the field and yay! I heard the crack of the bat in person and yay!

Ok so Jeremy Hellickson is a slooooow pitcher this season. It’s bad enough listening at home on the radio but it’s kinda torture at the park when he’s pitching and taking so long between pitches. I just knew Dave and Andy would be talking about how his defenders were on the field way too long and getting bored and the DBacks radio guys were definitely taking jabs at Helli and how slow he pitched. He did get a hit though! I Honestly don’t even remember a whole lot about the game itself. I was oh for one coming into the game since the Rays lost the one game I went to in Colorado so I was hoping for a win. I cheered and rang my cowbell when good stuff happened and I heard other cowbells and it was awesome to add mine to the chorus.

At one point, Evan Longoria was batting. I had my headphones on in both ears, keeping track of what happened. Then the crowd got loud for really the first time and completely drowned out the radio in my ears. I figured since the crowd had gotten loud, something good happened for the DBacks so I sat back and waited for it to quiet down. B shouted, “you were awfully quiet, why didn’t you cheer?”

“The crowd got loud, I couldn’t hear the radio, I figured they got him out.”

“Longoria hit a home run!”

Crap. Evan Longoria hit a home run at a game I was at and I didn’t even cheer because I didn’t know it had happened.

I said that to B and then said, “well, that’ll make a funny story for the blog.”

When I read Twitter that night after the game, there were so many tweets about Evan Longoria hitting a home run and how excited I must have been. All I could do was shake my head and chuckle. It was a valuable lesson. I kept my finger on the volume wheel after that so when the crowd got loud, I could turn up the volume.

When the DBacks fans did cheer for something good, I could tell the difference then. Unfortunately, the DBacks fans got to cheer the whole rest of the game since they won it. I was now oh for two. Bullocks.

We stayed until the last out. Even though my guys had lost, it had been such a fun night! I packed up and we waited for the crowd to dissipate some before heading out.

{Pause writing to drink coffee}

Just had a quick thought, in twenty years I can say I was at a game during Wil Myers’ rookie season, a game in which I didn’t know Evan Longoria hit a home run. Who else can say that?

I stopped at the ladies room and the female DBacks fans were all nice to me. Classy fans, they really are. I was so impressed with the way the park cheered for Ryan Roberts, who is now a Ray but who used to be a DBack. It was just a great experience all around.

As we were heading out I heard my name. It was Sarah Maddon! Yay!!! I was so hoping to meet her after talking to her on Twitter quite a bit this season. She’s tiny! I only know that because we hugged, not because I did that blind movie thing where the blind person feels up everyone they meet. I got to meet her husband too. We only chatted briefly and then the rest of her party were leaving so we parted ways. I had the biggest grin as we walked out! I got to meet three of the people I hoped to meet! yay!

It was a completely different world outside the park than it had been when we walked in. There was a saxophone player somewhere nearby playing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I sang along, a bounce in my step. There was music everywhere! Musicians on street corners, musicians in bars, music everywhere! There were people walking on the sidewalks, milling around outside bars, smoking cigarettes, talking and laughing. It was like we had been transported to a big city. Oh wait, that’s because we had haha!

We stopped and relieved Jayden before going back up to the room. Ah, quiet. I tweeted some and read all my mentions. My Rays Twitter Family had been very active and it made me smile to read all the messages. I love them so much!

I decided to shower that night because we had to check out the next day at noon. The shower was bizarre! Imagine a normal stand up shower with two sliding glass doors. It was like that, only with one door and it didn’t slide. It was where the shower head was and the other side was completely open. My uncle has an open shower like that but his is a big thing, this was just crazy haha. And it’s drafty hahaha!

It took me a long time to fall asleep and I didn’t sleep well. It had been such an incredible day and perhaps the latte I’d had in the seventh inning contributed to the sleep issue but man it was good. I had also been a little chilly in the air conditioned park.

The bed was extremely comfortable though I was confused at first. I always turn down the comforter and fall asleep with just the sheet. When I went to turn down the comforter I grabbed sheet. Huh? Turned out they made the bed with a sheet, the comforter, and another sheet, like a duvet cover that doesn’t close. Interesting. Haha! The room was swanky indeed. I was almost bummed we were only staying one night.

I think I’ve pretty much captured all of the first day. My arms are pretty sore now haha! Time to go through and edit and see if anything else comes to mind. Coffee first. 😉

Finished editing and Jayden asked to go outside and I checked the time. Whoa! Gotta love the writing induced time warp!

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Carnival Post – Top Ten

Here is the complete Carnival!

***

It’s the tenth Assistance Dog Blog Carnival! Click here to read about what the blog carnival is and click here to read about this round and it’s topic. The ADBC has come full circle in this round, being hosted by the original host, After Gadget.

I have had the ultimate writer’s block but really wanted to submit since I submitted in the first round. I’m just going to write and not try to be organized haha! The topic for this post is “Perfect Ten”. I wracked my brains trying to come up with an idea but my inner creative chick is still sleeping apparently so I’m just going to jump in to some free form and see what comes out. Sometimes writing about Jayden is like trying to express gratitude. I tend to get very flustered when my heart is so full.

Jayden isn’t perfect and nor am I but I always say our match was perfect. Guide Dogs for the Blind was perfect in matching Jayden to me. I can’t imagine anything that is lacking from our partnership. When GDB asked me what I wanted in a dog I had no idea since I grew up with cats. I told them I just needed a chill dog who would be ok when my MS flared up and I needed to rest. I think GDB gave me the most chill dog available haha! He is cool with whatever I need. He loves to relax on the couch with me but when I need him to work he snaps to attention like a soldier. He has gotten so in tune with me that he knows exactly what I need, sometimes before I do. He’ll slow down on walks when he knows I’m tiring. Sometimes I try to speed him up and he disobeys and then I feel my fatigue. He knows before I do; it’s pretty crazy! He really was the perfect match in so many ways. I’m amazed at these schools and how well they do in the matching process.

I never imagined all the added bonuses (non guide work stuff) that would come with a guide dog. Let’s see if I can come up with ten added bonuses:

Good Potassium Numbers

When I was in the hospital when I went blind, my potassium was dangerously low. They gave me a pill and after I saw my doctor upon my release, she ordered a banana a day. That didn’t work out so well because I couldn’t make bananas last long enough; they went bad so quickly. After I got Jayden, I remember his raiser telling me Jay loved bananas. Now my potassium stays in good shape thanks to bananas and orange juice. How could anyone not want to share a banana with a dog who goes crazy when he hears the question, “do you want a banana?” (That link has audio) Oh and orange juice taste even better when it’s a banana chaser!

Tear Soaker Upper

I should have known what a comfort Jayden would be when I’m sad. Heck even my cats have soaked up tears over the years but they don’t hold still like Jayden does. Since Jayden and I have that incredibly strong bond of assistance dog and handler, he knows when I need him to just lay still and let me cry on him. It’s a good thing tears don’t hurt his coat haha!

A Schedule A Dog Makes

One of the hardest parts about going blind and being medically retired was the sudden loss of a schedule. Weekends were no longer anything special since every day was like a weekend. Working folk think this would all be a dream come true but when you’re twenty-nine and suddenly can’t be self supporting, it’s a huge loss of identity. It’s amazing what a schedule will do to add a sense of purpose, at least it did for me. Jayden is on a feeding and relieving schedule very similar to what he had at guide dog school. Working my life around his schedule led me to realize how great schedules can be for adding structure to my otherwise structureless life. I’ve since come up with workout and cleaning schedules that turn my week into a “work week” and allow me to enjoy weekends with B. Amazing how a pee schedule for my guide dog turned my day-to-day life into something more “normal”.

Fitness Lives

When I decided to get a guide dog I knew I’d have to do some work to build up my stamina. I needed to be able to walk a mile since I’m pretty sure that was one of the requirements for acceptance to GDB. Luckily the blind center has a gym and a health and wellness program and my name came up on the waiting list at the same time I decided to apply to GDB. Serendipity? My whole life I’ve wanted to be fit and healthy but it’s hard without guidance and I was never successful. I reached my goal of being prepared for guide dog school but I never stopped with the fitness. It has since become something of an addiction for me and since I no longer can work out at the blind center, I’ve developed a program for myself at home. I’m more fit that I’ve ever been and exercise has been the best form of treatment for the MS. This might be the most important added bonus!

Ex-Smoker

Ok this is easily a tie with the fitness as one of the best added bonuses. Anyone who smokes or used to smoke knows how hard it is to quit. For me it was easier to quit drinking than it was to quit smoking. Jayden became another motivation however, when I thought about what would happen to him if I wasn’t around. I also hated exposing him to that and I’ve now been quit over a year.

Someone To Watch Over

I’ve never wanted children. Ever since I was a teenager I didn’t want children. It’s almost as if something prepared me for my future. It’s not that I can’t have kids now,I’m fully capable, but I wouldn’t have the energy. The MS is definitely my primary disability, not the blindness. However as a woman, it’s in my nature to want to care for something. I worked in therapy about the choice not to have children because even though for years I told myself I didn’t want them, there was still this huge sense of loss when I realized I would never carry a child and rase an adult. Jayden has filled a huge part of that void and that is something I certainly never expected. I knew going into this partnership that Jayden would look to me to fill his needs but I never expected the fulfillment I get out of being that person for him! I take pride when the vet tells me how good his teeth look or when a fellow dog lover tells me how great he looks. Yes, he was raised by another before he came to me, but I’ve continued to mold and shape him and care for him and I think of him as my child. I think most animal owners think of their pets as their kids, I know I always did with my cats, but this goes so much deeper. I never expected my guide dog to fill most of the void left by the child I’ll never have.

Fear Management

The first summer after I went blind we had an insane monsoon season and during one particularly bad storm, I asked B to go into the spare room and get the cat out of there. I can’t remember why I wanted her out. B went to go get her and then I heard shattering glass and the door slam and I started screaming, not sure where B was. The wind had been howling and whistling, sounds I had never heard before. B was ok, he had just come out of the room when the wind blew the window in and caused the door to slam. After that I was terrified of wind. I was afraid I would transfer this fear to my dog so I asked at school what to do about that. I was told to just try and be as cool as possible and make storms fun for my dog. I never imagined how this would cure me of my fear! Now the wind has to be really bad to scare me but I don’t panic like I used to. I just calmly take Jayden with me to a safe spot in the house and “cuddle”. I feel safer and he doesn’t get freaked out. I love this added bonus! That fear of wind was getting debilitating before Jayden came around.

Ultimate Feet Warmer

As I’ve been writing this off and on over the last few hours, Jayden has been in several positions on the couch next to me. While I was writing the last bit, he got off the couch and lay down on my feet. It’s almost like he was saying, “don’t forget to include how much you love it when I lay on your feet!” There is just something so comforting about the weight of him on my feet and nothing is better at warming them! I love it when he does this. The only negative about when your dog is comfortable with some part of him resting on you is that you don’t want to disturb him and therefore don’t move. I’m pretty sure my feet are going to fall asleep haha!

Attitude Adjustment

It’s really hard to stay in a bad mood when you have a goober head constantly cheering you up. I might be feeling depressed and then it’s time for Jayden’s afternoon Kong Wobbler treat. I’ve taken to pronouncing “wobbler” so it sounds very French and you can’t stay in a bad mood when you’re asking your dog if he wants his Wobbler in a high pitched silly French accent. Then when he’s done with it and I ask him to show me and he takes me to where he left it, I get so proud and excited and he gets thrilled to get his reward “cookie”, that I find myself grinning so big my cheeks ache.

Fellowship

When I decided to apply for a guide dog, I told my friend Chupa that I wanted to start a blog to document the process. I jokingly said I could call it Doggy Diaries or something. She said I totally should and my old Blogger blog was born along with the Doggy Diaries category. Before I knew it I was a part of a fellowship of other guide dog handlers and puppy raisers and I felt so apart of the blind community, finally. I felt so alone when I went blind since no one I knew understood what I was going through. There was one woman I spoke with on the phone, a friend of a friend and it was actually her guide dog who was the first guide dog I met. This blog though, led me to the people who helped me feel not so lonely and they came with me on the journey of getting a guide dog. Some of those people are still my closest friends today and I bet some of those people are submitting posts for this very carnival. The fellowship in the guide dog community is certainly one I never in a million years expected when I applied to GDB in September of 2009!

Ok wow, my arms are aching something awful but look, I wrote the post! Haha, and it turned out more organized than I thought it would. I’ll come back and add a link to the complete carnival post when it’s up.

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Doggy Diaries – Jayden got treats and new toys and a storm for his birthday

Jayden is four today. Four! Four. Four? How on earth did that happen? I mean really? I’ve had moments of feeling panic for some reason. Four just feels old. I’m being overly dramatic, I know haha. It’s been an emotional day. July 15th will always have a double meaning, Jayden’s birthday being happy and the other part sadness.

But, we’ll stick to happy. Jayden always gets extra love and extra spoiling on his birthday, which means a lot haha. The other day he gets extra spoiled is the anniversary of our meeting, on February 17th.

So first, he had a Kong stuffed with peanut butter and two and a half of his Iams dog biscuits. The Kong is this dental Kong thing, so both ends are open wide and the center is a bit narrow. It’s perfect for jamming biscuits in there.

When he was done with it, he showed me where it was which earned him another half biscuit. Then B went out to get groceries and dog food and I had him pick out new rubber squeaky toys for Jayden. He found a rubber squeaky bone and a rubber squeaky football. Of course I’ve forgotten the name of the brand. Just asked B, it’s JW. Anyone know anything about that brand? Anyway, I was going to put groceries away before playing but Jayden heard the squeak and came running. I cut the tag off the bone and gave it a toss and Jayden attacked, chewing and tugging with me and then when I tossed it again he ran all over the house with it, scattering the cats on his way. He came back to me huffing with no bone and B had to go find it. Jayden had dropped it in the cats’ room haha.

We played for a bit and then when I was putting groceries away, Jayden was more curious in that than the bone, so he watched me and then we shared a banana.

I cut the tags off the football, which is really cool by the way, and gave it a toss. Again Jayden ran around the house with it, but he didn’t lose that one haha!

I don’t know how long we played. The game was on, Rays and Red Sox. Looking back at last year’s birthday post, there was a Boston game on later that night. I wonder who won that one? The Rays lost today.

I put on afternoon coffee after putting the toys up and Jay and I both collapsed on the couch together for awhile. Then I gave him his Kong Wobbler. When he’s done with it he comes to me and I ask him to show me. He takes me to it and then gets a cookie. (Iams biscuit) Today he came to me in the kitchen not long after I gave it to him. I figured he got it stuck somewhere so I asked him to show me and then I put my hand on his back and followed him.

This part amazed me haha. He took me to the back of B’s couch, where there’s a space between the back of it and the wall, with a shelf thing, a small set of drawers and B’s CD racks. I felt around for a second and then Jayden shouldered past me into the little space in the corner. I crawled in after him and felt him and he was pointing his nose to my couch, which is on an L to B’s couch. I wriggled into the space and felt around, finally grazing the plastic of the Wobbler lodged under my couch. I burst out laughing and calling out lots of good boys.

I don’t remember how I taught him to find the Wobbler and Kongs and stuff for me. He just kinda picked up on it I think, from watching me time and time again feel around for his toys and such. I honestly don’t know. He finds stuff just about every time for me though and sometimes if I’m feeling around and not finding whatever it is, I can sense his frustration and he’ll go paw it or nudge it toward me haha! One time he actually picked up a Kong and tossed it at me.

The finding was the only work he did today. The rest was tons of play, cuddling and treats. He’s passed out on the floor at my feet right now as a storm rages outside.

I know he doesn’t know it’s his birthday or why he’s getting extra love, treats and new toys, but I know, and I have so much fun celebrating with him and spoiling him! I just can’t believe he’s four. He wasn’t even two when I brought him home.

My little boy is growing up! Happy birthday my mellow yell goober head, I love you sooooooo much!

I was just wrapping this up and was going to edit when the storm got nuts out of nowhere. I have to make my poor birthday boy wait to eat and relieve since this storm is insane. Frustrating! Poor boy has to wait on his birthday. B just stepped out for dinner and this freak storm hit.

Ok that was nuts. It rained solid for about two hours. I finally tried to have Jay do his business on the patio but he wasn’t having it. We got soaked even under the awning. He’s used to eating first but I thought it had been awhile since he had been outside and he was sitting by the door. Since he didn’t go I went ahead and fed him and in that short amount of time, the rain let up. We went back out and got wet but not drenched. B had forbade me to even go out on the patio to see if Jayden had to go just before all this, it was that bad.

Crazy way to end Jay’s birthday. I’m really glad he doesn’t know it’s his birthday and that he couldn’t eat or pee when he’s used to haha! I’ve lived here my whole life and can’t remember such crazy rain. Wow.

B said it looked like an alienate invasion. I wonder what the damage reports around town will be.

Anyway, happy birthday Jay! Haha, hope I did a good job of staying calm so you won’t get afraid of storms. I think I did. Felt that panic rise up a couple times, but I stomped it down. Actually, I don’t think the wind got as bad as it’s gotten before. B just exclaimed, ‘there’s the sun!”

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Doggy Diaries – Office Odyssey

It’s been awhile since a Diaries post, mostly because there just hasn’t been anything really new or exciting to write about. Last month was such the emotional hangover kind of month that life just kinda seemed to be put on hold, aside from the normal workouts and such.

This week has been about being in recovery mode from the latest emotional blow and then holy weather Batman, did it get crazy here in Southern Arizona. Highs in the thirties? Huh? Waking up to seventeen degree weather and a wind chill of one? Where were we??? Even Jayden, who loves to sniff and dilly dally after relieving, was pulling me to the door. It was crazy, and the weather change didn’t help my physical recovery from the emotional roller coaster.

Then the unthinkable happened. Jayden destroyed another Kong and I didn’t have a backup. Oh no!! He is so used to his frozen treat in the afternoon that for the last two days when I’ve locked Timmy up to take Jay outside, he gets all excited, only to be disappointed when we come in and I have no frozen Kong for him. I think it’s been good though. It’s shown him that routines change even though his mom is very set in routines haha.

Today it was finally warm enough to get out. The cold is much better for me than the heat, but when it’s cold, my body is so stiff it doesn’t move very well. I got a massage last night though, so today I was much looser and there was a package for B waiting at the office. I waited until the afternoon when it would be warmest and called the office to make sure someone would be there. No answer. I waited and called back. No answer. I know sometimes they just can’t get to the phone so I decided to set out.

We stopped at the mail and then headed toward the office. Jayden’s pace was quick and he was all bouncy. Yay work! We got down to the office and the door was locked.

I actually looked at where that little fake clock would be. You know the one that says, will return at blah blah blah? Yeah, I tried looking at it. Um, yeah I’m blind. You knew that, right?

I tried the door to the clubhouse which was open so we went in and I sat on the chair by the door, thinking I’d hear if anyone came back. I thought I heard the door so we went outside. Nope, false alarm. I decided to use the bathroom in the gym so we walked back through the clubhouse. I heard the door open behind me.

“Hi, is that Sam?” I ask.

“No, Sam’s in there, I live here,” came a male voice.

“Oh Sam’s back?” I ask.

“No…no one’s there, you’re going into the gym”

“Yeah, I’m gonna use the restroom. Did you happen to notice what time they’ll be back?”

“Yeah, it says 1:45 but it’s like, 2 now.”

I was glad he had noticed the little fake clock thing that I had forgotten I couldn’t see.

After I used the restroom we went back to the office door. It wasn’t too cold there, being sheltered from wind and there’s a doormat so we sat to wait. And wait. And wait. At one point another resident jogged up and said, “no one’s in there?”

“Nope,” I said when I really wanted to say, yeah they’re in there, I’m just hanging with the guard dog.

A little while later the gym guy came back out. “Still waiting?” I would have loved to reply, “Oh no, no, got my package, it’s just cozy here.”

I thought about going back home but I didn’t want to leave again once I got home and I had already waited for thirty minutes. You know when you’re watching a really terrible movie, but you figure you’ve already wasted an hour, you might as well see it through? Plus it was really nice to be outside since it was no longer the arctic desert.

I had to use the restroom again. Yes, I know. But I had been drinking my afternoon coffee. You know when you go out to eat, and you go use the restroom, how awesome it is to return to the table to find your food has arrived?

The door was unlocked when we came back outside. The manager asked if we’d waited long and I assured her it was ok. I wanted to inform her she was an hour later than her fake clock had claimed, but I didn’t.

We chatted about Jayden while I crammed B’s package into my backpack and then started the trek home.

Jayden’s pace was fast again and it felt like we were flying home. I knew he thought he’d be getting a Kong and felt bad. I gave him a Kong Wobbler instead and then sat on the floor to call Carol. All of the sudden Jayden was running all over the house. I could just hear him thinking, outside! I was outside! I walked! It wasn’t freezing! Outside! Yay! Run run run, bounce off me, run run run, boing boing boing.

The boy went bonkers. You’d think we hadn’t worked in a month hahaha!

So that’s the latest. I told B Jayden wanted a new Kong since we sat around for an hour waiting to get the package, but truth be told, I really enjoyed it. It was normal, to be working Jayden. I swear Jayden is the only constant in my life.

We’re gonna go out again tomorrow, just because I’m as stir crazy as he is. And that my friends, was the end of our week long winter. 😉

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Doggy Diaries – Dress party hair

It’s been busy around here, so time for a monster update.

I’ll start at Wednesday, since I finally got back to the gym then. I had been in quite a slump since the week of not knowing whether I was sick or not. The lovely vicious cycle of auto immune, get fatigued, need to rest, rest too much, non activity makes fatigue worse, fall out of routines, get nothing done, mental state gets affected by messy kitchen and not working Jayden much, finally get the energy to start to snap out of it, special circumstances not relating to auto immune interrupt attempt, mental state gets worse, event coming up that must be planned for, have shopping date lined up, not looking forward to it, party coming up, dreading it, planned day arrives and is perfect medicine for getting back to life. And on and on and on lol.

It felt great to work out Wednesday but I was still just really blah. Thursday I had plans to go shopping with Georgie for my holiday party dress. She’s at the university, so things have been crazy for her, and the day before the party was going to be the best day for her. I was dreading shopping, even though I normally love it and this year was going to be even better since I’m at my slimmest. Luckily once she got here, I was finally looking forward to it.

We went to JC Penny because that just seems to be the best place for holiday dresses. You get something cute but don’t spend a ton. Georgie was armed with what kind of material I needed. No wool or velvet or anything that would make dog hair cling. It seems as though the fashion this year is that one strap look, which I did not want. Georgie found four different black dresses. I hadn’t really had an idea in mind about color, but it seemed black was it.

The first dress I tried on was the one. I tried on the others for fun but the first one was a no brainer. It’s black but on the bottom it’s embellished with little silver things. It’s knee length and A-line, which Georgie said just looked amazing on me. It passed the dog hair test, fur just falling off. It also had these tiny little snaps under the straps that went around bra straps. I’d never seen that before, genius!

We went to the shoe department. I wanted flats; I do not do heels. She handed me a shoe but it had a corduroy type material on it. That would not pass the dog hair test. She found another pair and went to go get them from the sales person.

I’m sitting there, Jayden at my feet, my dress in the chair beside me. I hear the bell ringer outside. Ring ring ring. Jayden had been very distracted by that when we entered the mall and I couldn’t hear Georgie over it. Finally the ringer had taken a break so I could get inside. Ring ring ring. JC Penny announcements over the intercom in english then spanish. Someone walks out and sets off the security thing. Silicone Sally says, “Please return to the nearest sales associate. We must not have removed the security device.” She repeats in spanish.

Ring ring ring. Ring ring ring. People talking. People everywhere. I hear murmurs about Jayden. Children in the distance. Ring ring ring. Where’s Georgie?

I finally start to get a little panicky. Eventually Georgie runs over and tells me she’s waiting for them to get the shoes, they had finally gotten to her, only two people working the shoes. She goes back over. Then finally comes back. Shoes way too big. She goes back. They don’t have a smaller size. Sales associate comes over, apologizing for the wait, asking if she can help us find anything else. Georgie explains about dog hair. The associate finds a pair of black leather ballet flats with silver decorations on the bows. Oh perfect! Please have my size! She goes to get them. Georgie and I sit there. Ring ring ring. Associate comes back. They fit! Let’s get out of here.

I saved over a hundred dollars. The dress was a hundred and so were the shoes, both marked down to thirty. Wow! Georgie and I went to lunch. We went to the diner. They’ve closed. Man. We went to Denny’s. They have patty melts now. We both get that and then Georgie orders half the appetizer platter. We used to always get that. I accuse her of trying to make my dress not fit. It’s a size 10! Last year’s was a 14. My new dress fits perfectly. What’s all this food gonna do?

Before Georgie had come to get me, I had been working out getting to a hair appointment on Saturday, the day after the party. I’m more excited about that than the party. 😉

Friday comes and I took it easy, talking on the phone for most of the morning, then slowly beginning the getting ready ritual. Sometimes getting ready really wears me out, so I did it all in stages. I had to wonder if the party was the fun part, or if the preparation was? All the exfoliating and moisturizing and pampering. I blow dried my hair even though I rarely did that, to make my hair even straiter and fuller. It reached my waist, long and black against my black dress.

B took some pics of me with his cell phone cam. Sorry I can’t share them here. I new the sun would be setting and it would be perfect. I put the pics on FAcebook and got compliments before I even left the house. Nice!

We drove out to the party. It was at this golf resort where it had been the first time I went to B’s holiday party. We parked and began the long trek inside. I don’t think B wanted me to work Jayden because he told me to grab his arm. We had to walk through a parking garage and there were lots of moving vehicles. Once we got up to the floor where the party was, it was mayhem. People everywhere! I had Jayden on a tight lead and did human guide with B. It would have been really hard to work Jayden and keep track of B with all those people and noise. The doors to the ballroom weren’t open yet. B asked if I wanted to go outside where it looked quieter. I was going to use the GL since Jayden was quite attracted to all the people. We went outside and found a friend of B’s and his wife. The friend had retired, but was still doing some consulting. His wife had just had foot surgery, so she was gimpy. I didn’t have Jayden’s GL, oops! I’d forgotten it was in my backpack. It was fine though, I just moved his collar up. Just that little thing makes him listen better. We sat outside for awhile and more people came over, some I had met before. One couple were admiring Jayden and how good he was, so I gave them a crash course in puppy raising. I also let them say hi to Jay and they were just in love with him.

Finally the ballroom doors opened and we went in to find a table. B’s friend found a table near the hallway doors, perfect. We wouldn’t have to weave through all the tables. I sat by his wife and we instantly started talking. We hit it off quickly. Before dinner was served, B took Jay and me to the restroom. This was the main place Jay did his job haha! Thank God for him, because the restroom was huge. No problem though; he’s perfect in restrooms haha!

When we got back, Jay instantly lay on my left. He usually passes out quickly but he was alert for the longest time, sitting there with his head up. I kept reaching over to touch him and make sure he was ok with all the stimulus.

The salad was yum and then our main dishes arrived. We had ordered about a month before the party and I didn’t choose the meat dishes because it was either steak or chicken, too hard to cut. I had ordered a vegitarian dish even though when B had described it I couldn’t quite tell what it was. When I got it, I was pleased to find it in a large bowl. Perfect for containing mess haha! It turned out to be almost like a greek plate, kinda like ravioli but in a pastry instead. It was delicious! All through dinner I chatted with my new gimpy buddy and we laughed about our men waiting on us. There was coffee nearby, Starbucks yum, so B kept going to refill for me. Her husband went and got her decaf. We had fun being waited on.

I met countless people. I saw people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Jayden finally passed out around when I started eating dessert, a custard type thing in a pastry thing, with blueberries and raspberries. Yum!

I was nervous about how it would be when the music got louder for dancing, since last year it was insane. But it wasn’t bad at all this year. We were able to still sit and talk, so we just hung out by our table. I wanted to see if we could find a spot for Jay to pee so B and I went outside and found a large grassy area. Grass! I gave B the leash after Jay relieved so Jay could just walk around and take a break from work. After that we went back inside. Jayden went under the table this time, completely hidden by the table cloth. Several people made comments after I said he was under there lol. There’s a dog under there???

We stuck around for the raffles but didn’t win anything. My new friends left about twenty minutes before we did, and after the last raffle was done, we took off. Things hadn’t gotten crazy like last year, at least not yet. We didn’t stay as late as we did last year haha.

I should mention that even when Jayden was on lead and B did human guide, Jay still worked, putting his paws on steps for me. When that harness is on, even if I’m not holding the handle, it’s like he knows he’s on duty.

We drove home and encountered a ton of cop cars. Still don’t know what was up with that. When we got home, I changed quickly for a good play session with Jay. He just goes nuts after a long work session. He ran around with the Wubba, dropped it, ran back for it, ran around some more, dropped it, lather, rinse, repeat.

We finally crashed out about midnight. What a night! It had been great. I don’t know why I had been dreading it. I’m sure it was because of my lack of energy leading up to it. I was able to conjure enough to make it through, though.

Yesterday morning I woke up excited. I was going to the salon with Lish.

A few weeks ago, I was reading a ton of Scott Westerfeld’s blog and ran across this post about a girl donating her hair after reading ‘Uglies’. Read that post, it’s really sweet. After I read it, I followed Scott’s link to Locks of Love and discovered that they now take colored hair. I had never tried donating before because I’ve colored my hair for years. This was exciting.

I posted about the possibility on Twitter and got several responses telling me how cool that would be. I had been thinking about cutting my hair and finding out I could donate it just cinched the idea. Long story short, through the wonders of Twitter, I found out about a salon in town that gives complimentary cuts and styles when you donate, and they take care of shipping the hair and everything. I had been there before for a trim a long time ago and used to get brow waxes there. Lish used to work there too. She offered to take me and before georgie had shown up on Thursday, I had an appointment for 1pm on Saturday to cut off my long lovely locks.

Friday night was my last night of long hair and I really noticed it. I noticed how it got caught in my purse strap, how I had to pull it back with a clip to eat, how it got caught between my back and the chair. I thought about all the hair that fell out around the house, how it always got stuck in Jayden’s face if it wasn’t pulled back, how I always had a hair band around my wrist. I was nervous to cut it, but knew it was time for a change and knew that someone needed it more than me.

At the salon, they have their apprentices do the complimentary cuts. They are trained stylists, but they are learning that salon’s way. I really liked my stylist. He listened to exactly what I wanted before cutting my hair. He sectioned it into four ponytails, to maximize the donation, Lish explained. She had donated her hair before too. When I felt the stylist snipping, I squealed and so did Lish. Lots of laughing haha!

Jayden did great at the salon. I think he was still exhausted from the night before. He just passed out beside me. Girls kept coming up and saying what an awesome dog he was, how they wished they could get a lab like that. I explained about career change adoptions and how to look into that. They were all very excited.

The cut took awhile. He did a great job of really shaping and doing what I wanted. I had told him I wanted a bob but not a crazy angled bob. He gave me just that. So now my hair falls just to the nape of my neck and gets a little longer on the sides. When it’s tucked behind my ears, it barely comes passed the lobes. It’s way short! Each ponytail was a foot long. Nice!!

When he was finishing up with the cut and style, the colorist came over for a consult. I’ve colored my hair with boxed temporary black for years now. I want to go lighter, so we talked at length about that process. I have an appointment in early January to start the lightening process. I can’t wait!

So that, in a nutshell, was the last few days. After we walked out of the salon, I felt my fatigue begin to say hi. It had held off for the time I needed it too and now it was begging for coffee. We got home and B couldn’t believe how short my hair is haha! I had told him before we left that I’d be back with his new girlfriend. He just kept saying wow, wow, wow. Haha! He likes it. 😉

I forced myself to stay up until about nine last night and then gratefully took Jayden for his last relieving and crawled into bed. I’m looking forward to washing my new cut today. Oh, I also lied to Gamma. I told her Lish and I were going to lunch. I want to surprise her today with my new cut. It’s gonna be fun!

I think I’m taking the day off tomorrow. I can definitely feel how all the activity over the last few days has me tired. Time to finish my crochet projects. I must get them shipped out. Talk about delayed.

Ok, must get through another few hours and then I can relax. =D

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Filed under coffeeholic, Doggy Diaries, Gamma, holiday, Jayden, num num food, plugs, puppy raisers, relieving, Silicone Sally, spoons, treat for me, twitter me this, working dog, workouts, wow

Doggy Diaries – Food switch complete and a gym adventure

Today is the first day of just the Blue Buffalo. I decided to stop doing the integration once we reached a full cup of Blue, since the lady at Blue Buffalo said he’d only need one cup twice a day. So, bye bye smelly Science Diet! Now we’ll get to watch and see how he does on just the Blue. So far everything seems great.

This morning I had Dave watch from afar as we got to the part of the sidewalk that Jayden was having problems with. Sure enough, he hesitated, but then obeyed my “hop up” and leash action. I just knew it would be like when you take the car to the mechanic. Ah well lol! Jayden happily walked all the way to the office without any problems. I had given him a chance to relieve before we left, even though it was only just an hour or so after his first relieving of the day. He didn’t need to go, and didn’t indicate on route that he had to go. When we got to the office, we had a party with lots of praise and jackpot kibble.

Dave got there and said the only thing he saw was a motorcycle parked in a spot nearby, with a black cover on it. He thought maybe it spooked Jayden and maybe it wasn’t always there. We have no way of knowing if it’s a new addition. Hopefully whatever it was is fine now, as he had no issues, and the morning got fun from there on out.

We have a little gym here at my complex but I haven’t used it at all since going blind. I talked to Glenn on Monday about wanting to lose another five to ten pounds by December 10th for B’s Christmas party. Glenn had said it’s definitely possible, but since I’ve totally plateaued I’ll either need to step up the workouts or change my eating. I eat pretty well aside from the occasional fast food, so working out more just sounds more happy making to me hehe. So I asked Dave to help me figure out the gym and see if we’d have to mark the machines.

It was so fun showing Jayden where to go. Especially since I have leftover visual memory of the place. We walk through the clubhouse to a door into the gym. Jayden immediately wanted to take me to the restroom haha! Everywhere we go, he finds the restroom. Wow.

First, Dave and I picked out a safe spot to have Jayden lay. There’s a nice corner so it’s perfect. Then Dave checked out the treadmill. It’s not totally tactile, but there are raised lines I can feel and can find the controls easily enough. So I practiced starting and stopping. Luckily it beeps when you increase and decrease, so I can tell how fast I’m going.

Next we checked out the eliptical. We don’t have one of those at Saavi so I’m glad to be able to use it. Same thing with the buttons, not exactly tactile, but good enough and it also beeps. When you add resistance, it feels like you’re walking in deep sand. Sweet! I practiced getting off and on that a few times and then we checked out the weight machine.

It’s got a lap pull and a leg extension just like Saavi and Dave showed me how to change the weight. It uses the same weights for the different machines. The extra one that Saavi doesn’t have, is the tricep extension press and the peck press. Sweeeeet!!!!

I am *such* an exercise addict. Can you tell?

So, I’ll be adding home workouts to my Saavi workouts. After we checked everything out, we practiced another way of getting to the gym, in case I want to go when the clubhouse is locked.

We can access it from the pool, so we started at the manager’s door which is our landmark and I directed Jayden to find the gate to the pool. It’s just a series of easy moving turns. Once in the gate it’s a quick right and he has to negotiate patio tables and chairs. He took me to the sliding glass door, which is a good landmark because it has a mat, and then I directed him to the other gym door, where I gave him a jackpot kibble. We practiced going back to the gate, more jackpot, then back to the gym door. The second time around, he made a bee line for that door haha! Lots of praise.

Jayden was prancing and wagging the whole time. I could tell he enjoyed the new challenges. I’ll probably do the pool route a few times here and there even when the clubhouse is open, just to keep it interesting.

We talked to my maintenence guy a bit because B has been getting pack rat crap in his car even though he drives it every day. I noticed a funny sound when we went to Gamma’s on Sunday so he looked under the hood and noticed a nest. It doesn’t look as though anything has been chewed. I talked to S, the maintenence man, and he said that if you put a bar of Irish Spring soap in the engine compartment in a place where it won’t fall into anything, the smell keeps the pack rats away. Sweet!

He then told me about the great pumpkin massacre of years ago. He was alerted to tons of pumpkins being destroyed and when he showed up, the cops where there. The residents thought kids had done it, but none of the upper level pumpkins were slaughtered. Then he noticed the teeth marks. Yep, you guessed it, javelina. If you stick a candle in a pumpkin, it smells good. Javelina supper.

I’ll be glad when pumpkin season is over! Though I do love all the pumpkin flavor stuff everywhere right now, yummmm.

Soooo, anyway, food switch complete and Jayden seems himself again. I think it was just fall fever. He’s used to working more now I think. I’ll take advantage of cool weather and use my home gym until it gets hot again. Yay! More muscle!

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Filed under desert life, Doggy Diaries, Jayden, NaBloPoMo 2010, num num food, relieving, weather, working dog, workouts

Doggy Diaries – Food switch Day 6 – More mystery and some improvements

I know I slacked in writing about the fifth day of the food switch yesterday, but we didn’t do anything. I gave us both a day off since things had been rather frustrating. We got the mail and that was it. There weren’t any issues all day; I just got chores done.

Today was the last day of a half cup of Blue. Tomorrow he goes up to three quarters of a cup. Relieving is all normal, oh except yesterday he didn’t poop in the morning, which was really odd. I got him all riles up in the afternoon and he went. Maybe he’s already got less waste eating only a cup twice a day of the SD, who knows.

This morning all was normal. Fascinating, I know haha! We started the laundry and after I put the load in the washer, I thought I’d try the route to the office that he refused to walk on Wednesday. Same problem. He gets me across the parking lot, shows me the curb, gets on the sidewalk, and won’t budge. I wonder if it’s because the last time he tried to alert me that he had to go but I misunderstood, so he went in harness. Shame for a guide dog? I didn’t force it after some leash action didn’t work. He was all too eager to go back home.

When I switched from washer to dryer, I took my cane with me. He got me to the sidewalk and once again wouldn’t budge. So I got out the cane and had him heel. He didn’t drag in the heel position at all. A few times he tried to pull me off the sidewalk but I knew he didn’t have to go. I told him no. After about twenty feet I put the cane away and he worked it fine. Odd.

On the way back, he stopped. I probed out and nothing was there and we weren’t at our rocks. I told him to hop up and he did. I noticed that we walked into shade. It got sunny again, then he stopped at more shade. Shadows? Could it be shadows on the way there causing him to refuse it? This just makes no sense. We’ve walked that sidewalk countless times.

I picked nothing up with the cane. Nothing. I can’t wait for Dave to come on Tuesday. Watch, it’ll be like taking your car to the mechanic; when Dave’s here, Jayden will probably walk it perfectly.

I didn’t push it, I didn’t get angry with him. If it’s leftover shame from harness relieving, I don’t want to add to it. I might try a different way to bypass that area just until whatever this is passes.

I have a very spontaneous plan tomorrow, and while Jayden refusing to work that sidewalk almost deterred me, I’m not gonna let it. I’m not gonna say what it is until after we do it, so wish us luck!

Everything else is fine. We worked for about 3 hours pretty much straight this morning, in and out. On the way back from getting the maile, the last chore, there were the yip yip dogs. Uh oh. Dog distraction. Jayden made no indication but as soon as I heard the dogs straining on their collars and gagging themselves, I told Jayden to leave it, just in case. The boy actually sped up as if to say, I’m a good boy, I’m completely ignoring them, silly dogs, let’s get away from them before I’m tempted. He got LOTS of verbal praise from me for that, especially with how people distracted he’s been. It usually takes a leash correction when dogs are around, but he didn’t need it. He also ignored the people we met along our way. So that is much improved. He got a jackpot kibble upon arriving at our door, good boy!

After we were all done I got the Wubba out and Jayden went absolutely nuts! He sure works up energy after working. Strange. He ran all over the house, running into me right as he began his tear, bumping into my hand. Ouch. Then I was trying to wrestle the Wubba to tug it and I got too close to his mouth right as he chomped. Ouch. I suppose it’s better to get hurt whilst playing with a guide dog rather than when working a guide dog haha! It was handler error, that’s for sure.

So, fall fever, puppy moments, who knows. Everything seems to be evening out now, so we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Hopefully I’ll have a good update for ya’ll. =D

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Filed under Doggy Diaries, dogs, Jayden, jayden quirks, num num food, relieving, working dog